In the past, apart from the city of Lagos which is also a state, you hardly saw Nigerians proudly saying “I am from this state or that state” except for the sakes of not carrying last during an argument. But in a moment of comfort they rather identified with Lagos in some way or the Federal Capital which is not a state; Abuja. Of recent, through many funded projects on at least the capitals of these states, states such as Rivers State, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Ogun State, Anambra, Kaduna etc. have joined the list of proud citizens, people who are not afraid to not just say I am from Anambra but say “I rep Anambra” even in the UK.
Recently, I was in Enugu on a few days trip and noticed the beauty. Through all the mini-estates people had there for buildings with a boys quarters looking like a comfortable five bedroom duplex located in Gwarimpa, Abuja, I wasn’t distracted from the attractiveness of the state because it is a clear fact that Nigerians are known in their villages and home states to be sentimental builders, not just wanting a home but a house which could shut the mouth of every neighbour even if nobody stays in it until Christmas, so this is something that happens from Abia to Zamfara state therefore this didn’t distract me.
Taking a bus from Owerri, Imo state to Enugu and arriving quite late, the first thing I had to notice was the bus stop and the fact buses didn’t just stop anywhere and more importantly they had created a waiting area. Now in all sincerity that waiting area is better than those which exist in Abuja, if at all you can even call those things in the federal capital a waiting area, as noted in the Missing Piece in the Abuja’s Master Plan, most of the waiting areas were located in places vehicles would never stop and people would never wait just like the pedestal bridges were located in places people don’t use. So I quietly whispered to myself Enugu has to teach Abuja some things.
I continued enjoying the capital city of Enugu at every turn; literally. At every roundabout there was an art work I believe was created by some of the locals that spoke volumes and also introduced one to that area, for example at the judiciary area, a tall sculpture of that lady that never seems to hold the judicial pendulum in a balance was placed. As a person new to the city you would be forced to ask “where is the judicial building around here?” also at the turn where the eastern headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was located, there were three apes sitting on each other, with each covering either the eyes, the ears or the mouth- hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.
But the highlight of this trip was when I met a cab driver who I would call Caleb. I needed a cab because it was late and out of observation busses weren’t plying that area anymore, so my friend called this taxi driver called Caleb for me, he was very professional and drove a very comfortable car. On our way I started a conversation with him to pass the time before I reached my destination
Me: I like the infrastructures I have seen in this city
Caleb: yeah, the last governor really tried for the capital
Me: True, only if other State Governors could do the same
Caleb: “laughs” what state are you from?
Me: Abia State “Caleb stops laughing, and looks over to me in distress”
Caleb: Your governors are wicked (I am a bit shocked) but he continues anyway
They don’t have conscience (now I begin to laugh; I had to) even if it was good roads they could do in 8 years we for say dem try, and to even think as an oil producing state 13% of the allocation was sent to them.
Me: Hmmm, you have a point…
Caleb: Yes I do ooh… I keep asking myself what their excuse was.
As oil was even above N100 the standout thing in that state is still only that tower in Umuahia
Chai, they are evil!