JABI LAKE PARK: A tale of 8 Years in 8 paragraphs

On my way from the airport, I reminisced about my trip to the city of Lagos; where I saw mediocrity highly celebrated, where if you ask why any job wasn’t properly done, the possible answer you get is the honorary degrees awarded, and chieftaincy titles in the arsenal of the supposed person in charge. You probably will lose your appetite by the end of the listing of this accolades, for the simple answer to the question ''why is this government not doing anything about the death trap they call roads?'' But who am I kidding, Lagos at least had roads.

My dad met me, and as usual took me through the normal route with no show of
Jabi Lake
sentiments concerning my safe arrival to my humble abode. Well, I am already used to that African behaviour. But, then I saw something different. It looked like a product of an organised thought. It was the very description of Nigeria above mediocrity, I have always known this place but today to me it had been reborn. With a sense of pride, admiration and swagger in my mind I said  to myself ''I am bringing my girlfriend here first thing tomorrow'', I got to know this place later to be JABI LAKE PARK a stunning relaxation location in the heart of the Federal Capital Territory.

In 2012 the duo Edith Nwapi and Perpetua Onuegbu of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) carried out a study titled “Reviving the Jabi Lake Park for Tourism Development” . It was a comprehensive study that clearly established the Jabi Lake Park had the potential to compete with any Leisure park across the globe, generate considerable income and one most youths would particularly be interested in, it could actually create jobs. This park according to their finding could actually become one idea that could be so positioned in the world of ecotourism that it could birth other similar ideas across the country. This resulted in a change. And now? Well, grasses are now being cut once in a while. This has been the case for the past three years. Nelson Mandela was still alive! Why? Frankly, because of complacency, largely by the Department of Parks and Recreation, FCTA (Federal Capital Territory Authority).

I mean the very thought that there is an entire department committed to parks and recreation in the FCT amazes me. I try to imagine how a normal work day looks like in that department, as civil servants trail in and out of the building and receive their monthly pay-check. Let’s do it together, if you don’t mind. Okay. Did you not at some point imagine some form of brainstorming on the welfare of packs and recreations in the FCT, some documents been exchanged, some standards been enforced and new ones established? Even if it’s just for an hour, to show they actually went to work, while the remaining seven hours was spent on the usual irrelevant issues, like sports and politics, things that very few civil servant had any influence on. I'm sure you did. So for seven years if they brainstormed at least an hour a day, they would have spent (excluding Sundays and Saturdays) at least a hundred full days brainstorming (I mean twenty-four hours). If they did, some things ought to have improved don’t you think?

The Jabi lake park of this current dispensation lacks identity; is it a leisure relaxation park or a sport arena? or both? It also lacks security. At this point in Nigeria, you’d expect that no government authority will be careless about anything that could pose a security challenge to a community or even the country at large, and yet they are probably a thousand ways to enter this park, and is not because of an entry diversity but because there is just no fence. And there is also the absence of any real security presence or patrol, this lake park has become over the years a modernised habitat for outlaws, and if not checked this place once imagined to be a place of peace would be a place where criminal interns would be sent to perfect their trades on the innocent Nigerians that had just left their houses for the purpose of relaxation. And then the waste disposal? I remember a time my friend walked for about thirty minutes around the park looking for a bin to dispose the plastic bottle which housed the drink he finished a couple of minutes ago, but there was just none. Or maybe they were, but we had to search much more like we are looking for a precious artefact. As we progressed, we saw what the department actually had in mind when they thought about waste disposal in the park by not providing waste bins. It lacks standards, anything goes here.
Waste disposal

Sport relaxation arean 

The park system must exhibit quality in design, construction, and maintenance of its facilities and resources. It should be a source of pride and help improve the local economy by inducing visitors to the area and encouraging economic investment in the community. It has rained in every month of this year so far, areas of dry land in-between green grasses in the park. This is not a product of the weather but as a result not of use but of misuse. As a lover of soccer, I have actually given this much thought. But, the truth of the matter is, the grasses are supposed to be green in a park of this nature and potential, and constant soccer activity in some areas actually rips it of that. This has to be stopped in those areas and reduced in other areas, this is why stadiums have been built and other mini-stadiums exist in almost every area around Abuja, some standards should be set, the sort of sports permitted in this jabi lake park should be regulated, and where they could be played in the park should also be clearly specified.

I am totally against the selling of ticket at the entrance of the park (as seen in the Lekki lake park), as I believe there are a lot more ways revenue can be generated for the maintenance of the jabi lake park, through local businesses thriving from the existence of the park and much more. It’s still apparent that an overhaul is very necessary for the progress of this park. So however the revenue is generated, maintenance should be done as often as required. The Jabi lake park we want is one whose environment is appealing, thought-provoking, a natural sensation and where absolute relaxation is possible without fear of experiencing disturbing smells and sights, disturbance from loud music and finally fear for one’s safety.

In conclusion, if it’s too much work to be excellent in the delivery of the Jabi lake park, then please put it up for sale, and end this tale abruptly, but before you do that please collapse the department of parks and recreation because they are a waste of the tax payers money. 

By the way, am just a bystander. 

Follow: @dbystander1


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