Wao! Its been a long lull. I have not posted any article of mine in a long while now for some heaven-knows-what reasons. Actually am inexcusable no matter the work load or challenges because looking at the likes of Adeolu, Dipo, Bridget, Odedeyi, and Topsie (I mean blogs i don't miss), I am challenged to bury my excuses and keep it up. Infact these folks have been great sources of motivation to me in this school of blogging. I am greatly indebted to you all.
What I am about to blog about has actually been on my mind for over a month or so now but for reasons I don't want to offer as excuses (lol), it has not seen the light of the day. Its about my beloved Garden City, the capital of the treasure base of the nation. Enjoy!
Well, for those who may not have read my complete profile, I stay in Port-Harcourt City (PHC). In fact I was born and brought up here. Ever since the present government of Gov. Chibuike Amaechi came to power, the story of PHC has been a tale of one demolition after another. Before I delve into the main gist of this post which are some positive lessons God taught me from this, let me do a brief run down of events so far.
Like I said earlier, it has been a tale of one demolition after another. Mile One market (the busiest and may be the biggest market in PHC) has been under construction even before Gov. Amaechi came to power. The old structures there were "batchers" (woods) and have been gutted by fire several times, the latest was in January 2004. So the then government of Celestine Omehia decided to put up a befitting structure and so, had to demolish about two-third of the existing structure. The plan was to build it in phase so as to cushion its effect on the traders. The traders were displaced and temporal sites provided for them while those who couldn't afford shops at these (two) temporal sites moved to places like fly over park, mile III market, others went into streets to rent stores, put up stalls/kioks and table tops, while others took to hawking. While the market is still under construction even as I write, Gov. Amaechi demolished and drove out all those trading at the fly over park. Another batch of the demolition was carried out at mile III market thus forcing the affected traders to move into streets in the manner described above. Some others as a result were forced out of business.
While these displaced traders were counting thier losses and trying to regain lost grounds in the various improvised locations they now find themselves, the government came up again this time moving into streets demolishing kioks, stores, extensions and in some cases residences. While some buildings were partly affected some others were completely leveled. It means some traders lost both thier business premises and residence.
Initialy, the reasons given were that these buildings were either illegal structures or they were too close to the roads. For this reason, no compensation whatsoever was paid. The rapidity and manner these demolitions were been executed, makes a child's play of Fashola's version in Lagos. At least I was in Lagos for some days in January for my younger sister's wedding and was in a postion to compare the two.
The second of this demolition exercise is billed for the second quater of the year and this time, the reason is that certain roads are to be dualised and as such houses whether illegal or not have been marked and owners given ultimatum to comply. Sorry! I forgot to inform you that in places like Trans-Amadi (oginigba), Old Aba road and co, that the dualisation project is already in top gear and stores and houses have already been demolished. However, this time landlords were duly compensated but trust them, thier tenants (residents and traders) were left to bear the brunt while they smiled to the banks. Our office was heavily affected and the reconstruction works to move it backward away from the road was born by our management without any input from our landlord even after he has been duly compensated. That's by the way...
As if that wasn't enough, Okada (commercial motocyclists) was outlawed in PHC and its environs on Dec. 31st 2008. There are areas in PHC where fences are not permitted and have all been pull down while for other areas they must, as a matter of state policy, be see-through. You can imagine the level unemployment and angst in the land. As they would say, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge but space will fail me to highlight them in details.
Those in government have taken the pain to explain to us that they are trying to implement the Port-Harcourt master plan which some claim has been a dust collector at the brick house (i.e Rivers version of the Aso Rock).
And I was told that Gov. Amaechi, speaking as a special guest at a ministers conference earlier in the year stunned his audience when he asserted that it was God who instructed him to embark on his policies.
I am one of those who have been very critical of the government for all these "anti" people policies and moves. But get me right! I am of the school of thought that "Rome was not built in a day". My criticism has been that the governor is taking too many things all at once thus exposing the masses to untold hardship instead of taking it "one step at a time". So, one morning while treking to work and reflecting on the state of things in the city, as I passed by heaps of demolished houses and shops, the Spirit of God started opening my eyes to the other side of the story. I was saying to myself bitterly that Gov. Amaechi shouldn't think of reversing all these mess just all at once because they came to be over a peroid of years. Yes! PHC was (is) a mess as it has lost its much touted garden city status. The situation was such that every available space in town including drainages, parking lots, backyards, around fences etc was converted to shops, residence and stuffs like that. With refuse dumps (heaps) almost at every major junction.
I was actually advocating, though to myself, a gradual approach when suddenly the Spirit of God took over and started teaching me some stuffs. You know what the Spirit said? He drew a similarity between these happenings and the treatment of a full blown cancer. "Though cancer develops over a period of years, dealing with a full blown cancer does not require a gradual one-step-at-a-time approach but a drastic one, certain changes (in our lives) require a drastic approach and not a one-step-at-a-time one". It was at this point I started studying the governors approach to tackling this problem and the lessons gained are what I want to share with you.
Looking at Gov. Amaechi's approach, I discovered the following at work: (1) conviction (2) the law of intolerance and (3) the law of implementation.
I shall deal extensively on these qualities and how they relate to our progress as individuals and as a nation in the following paragraphs and subsequent post.
Show me a man who is unstable as a reed and I will show you a man of no conviction.
Gov. Amaechi claimed that he has the backing of the Almighty. Wao! what other surest source is there for a man to base his conviction than on God whether right or wrong. This explains why he is undaunted and relentless cos he believes he is pursuing a worthy cause. And that is why he doesn't care a hoot no matter whose ox is gored. Nobody is spared, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the good, the bad, and the ugly have all in one way or the other had a feel of the "amaechi" fever. That is, so long as their properties are wrongly situated or fall within the circumference of the road (re)construction works. If Pamo Clinics owned by former governor, Dr. Odili ( a man to whom Gov. Amaechi owes his political career and rise to fame) was not spared, then you know how serious the matter is. In fact, if the business premises of Gov. Amaechi's wife was reduced to heaps how much more should POWA shopping complex along Mile 1 be. It takes a man of steel conviction to withstand the barrage of criticisms and political maneuvering as Gov. Amaechi has done. When talks were going round that okada (commercial motocyclists) would soon be outlawed, there were calls from every quater asking him to shelve the plan but he turned deaf ears. That is the power of conviction!
Do you know why Nigeria is where it is today? One of the reasons is that we don't have leaders with conviction. What we have are Leaders who have no clear stand on such burning issues like corruption. They speak with tongues in cheeks and when push comes to shove, they chicken out. They have no ideals/values they hold dear, only interests and when their interest is served, they sell out.
On the other hand, we the masses are also guilty of the same. We pay lip service to such burning issues we claim to believe in. We strain at a fly in public but swallow carmels in secret because we lack conviction.
Do you know that God respects men of conviction even when they are wrong? He soughts for such men? You know why? He knows if He could get them to believe in the right cause then there is not limit to what He can do with and through them. Remember Saul of Tarsus who persecuted the church of Christ? The same zeal with which he persecuted the church was the same zeal with which he propagated the gospel of Christ. Before and after his conversion, he was a man of conviction who has always had something for which he was ready to die.
Those who have nothing to die for are actually living for nothing-Unknown
God respects men of conviction! Remember the sons of Rechab (the Rechabites) in Jeremiah 35:1-19? The twenty first century christianity is plagued with christians without conviction- christians tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, christians without backbone. Circumstances and not the scripture shape thier belief system. God convinces them in their closets on an issue, circumstances (and the world around) beat them into conformity in public.
Are there values (and beliefs) you would rather die for than let go? Do you believe in your vision? Do you have something that you stand for? Some terrorists and suicide bombers would rise against this generation of christians in judgement, for if they had been instructed in the true ways of God as most of us are, they would have been more profitable to His kingdom. They were men and women who had something they were willing to die for.
We sing "Abraham blessings are mine" but we often forget that he was a man of unshakeable conviction. He left his father's house, kindred and country at age 75 being fully convinced of the intergrity and faithfulness of the one whose voice he has heard. He left with a conviction that where he was going was better than where he was.
You can not stand out from the crowd and make your mark if you are not a man of conviction.
Imagine what impact you will make if your conviction is based on the infallible word of God.
Those who stand for nothing, will fall for anything-Unknown
See you in the concluding post.