Salient Thoughts On The Rivers State Monorail
There has been a very short supply of defence in favour of the dream child of the former Governor of Rivers State, and present Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi - Rivers Monorail, and it is probably due to the fact that most Nigerians want quick fixes and so politicians have become masters in a 'white wash' style of governance. Any story that highlights the future is something nobody really wants to hear about.
We want it now, we don't care about tomorrow, is now our way of life. "Bring am make we share", has become the order of the day. So I don't expect much people, including his core supporters, of course, to be the side of Amaechi, in terms of the highly taunted monorail project.
It is estimated that 20-30 years from now, the streets and roads of Port Harcourt will be extremely jam packed with human and vehicular presence. We have also been told that this situation will be heightened if alternative forms of transportation are not created within this seemingly long period. Areas like Park, Rumuola Junction, Rumuokoro Roundabout, Eleme Junction, Mile 3, are red spots on the pictorial view of population density cum transportation in Port Harcourt. What these clearly means is that soon, it will take a longer time period to move from one place to the other in the city of Port Harcourt - the economic hub of Rivers State.
Fortunately for Rivers people, Rotimi Amaechi took a peep into the future and decided to connect Port Harcourt to the league of 'must visit cities' in terms of adequate transportation amenities, at a time when crude oil sold for over $100 per barrel, with Rivers receiving her fair share of the proceeds. This Writer will not be dragged through half baked arguments in favour or not in favour of the total sum expended so far on the monorail vis a vis the level of work done. In all, nobody is yet to dispute the fact that the Rivers monorail is the cheapest the world over. What I am more concerned about is the futuristic heights of an edifice that is both a tourism and economic booster. Probably a reason why President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.
When Nigerians travel all over the world, they are often enveloped in the awe of western infrastructural development. We all take pictures on the side walks in Wall Street, the gigantic hotels in Dubai, the beautiful coffee shops in England, magnificent restaurants in Paris, advanced bridge construction in Russia, oh, we are all in love with the children of Urban Planning. What we forget is that back home, the sufferings of the masses would have been curtailed if our fathers and mothers had adequately planned for us.
The Rivers monorail will not receive the support of the present Governor, Nyesom Wike, a man who has clearly shown disdain for other academic disciplines i.e History and English Studies in many of his poorly presented public speeches. There is no doubt whatsoever that Wike does not also have any interest in the subject of Urban Planning and the likes. According to the Governor on Channels TV, he is a career politician, and I take this in its strictest sense of whatever that means.
As we glide through this perilous tale, where those held under the spell of ignorance and anger are attempting to erase the footprints of a good man in Rivers State; we must be vigilant, lest we leave our minds idle to the virus of calculated lies. Just like Adol Hitler did not succeed in exterminating arts, culture and religion in Europe, so also I believe that the good intention of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the Rivers Monorail will not be overshadowed by aggressive charlatans.
Solomon Okocha writes from Lagos, Nigeria.