ABUJA A CITY CRYING FOR HELP

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed,

With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, and they often set the tone for the relationship that follows

Just like in the case of human impression nations state also create impression in the minds of their first time visitor, through their national icons that give one the idea whether things are working in a country.

Life is all about the first impression you create for your self or the entity that represent you.

The first impression begins with what a visitor sees on arrival at the gateways of a country. It tells you about how organized or unorganized a country is. It creates a permanent impression that determines your future relationships.

The welcome you receive at the airports, the working infrastructures that facilitate seamless transfer of luggage, and ease of locating utilities, contributes to impression forming by a first time visitor to a country.

A Capital City is the municipality exercising primary status in a country, state, province, or other administrative region, usually as its seat of government.

A capital is typically a city that physically encompasses the government’s offices and meeting places; the status as capital is often designated by its law or constitution.

Capital cities also serve as the prime economic, population, cultural, or intellectual centres of a nation. The totality of all these helps in how one forms an impression about a country.

Abuja is Africa’s first planned city designed by International Planning Associates, a consortium of three American firms. The city was initially designed to accommodate 3.5 million people. But it now accommodates more than six million residents.

The initial master plan of the city was distorted. The once bourgeoning capital is now crying asking what really went wrong?

The once pothole less beautiful roads that transcends the various districts are now ghost of themselves.

The gardens that were once used for recreational activities and places of reflections for residents, when they are tired with the confines of their homes has given way to beer parlours, fish, amala and pepper soup joints.

On weekends when residents needed the parks most to relax, and take in some fresh air, the parks are converted into prayer grounds for the rich who could afford to pay the rents.

The drainages on the main roads that facilitates transfer of water to the main canals have all there safety covers removed. The gapping hole now constitute a serious hazards to the pedestrians walking on the streets. God knows how many resident and visitors to the city who have suffered broken limbs as a result of this avoidable hazards.

In spite of all this we still commend the efforts of the Honourable Minister FCT, for trying to complete most of the abandon road projects under the master plan.

One other disturbing phenomenon that is becoming a source concern to the residents are the filling of heaps of refuse and over grown weeds that deface and pollute the serene air of the capital city is becoming worrisome.

The Minister must also take personal interest in the manner the contractors handling the road markings in the city.
Apart from the substandard paints the contractors are using for the road markings which last for few days, the jobs are being badly executed.
The Minister must know the road markings, Instead of making life a little more easier for the motorist it creates more confusion as a result of multiple markings.

The intention of making driving less cumbersome especially in nights is lost in the confusion by the shady job.
This effort alone if done properly, could have taken the stress off the motorist, as it may replace the total near collapse of the security lights and road signs through out the cities.

Abuja which is suppose to be bubbling with mesmerising and dazzling displays of light, becomes a glorified big village in the night. You often need the “google map drive” to navigate your way around the city in the night.

The Abuja Power Company AEDC have since abdicated on its social responsibility to the residents by choosing to provide power to the premier city only to those who have ability to pay.

It’s supply of electricity is now determined by your location. Residents are deprived of power not because power is not available, at least according to Minister of power, who said some states are now experiencing 24hrs of supply with other cities getting between 10- 17hrs. This cannot be to true unless if the Minister is living in a separate world.

AEDC now supply power based on return on investment. If you fall within the district area their revenue generation is below return on investment, they yank your area off the system and put you in perpetual darkness for days. They don’t even care to reach out and inform their consumers the reasons for the black out. One wonders if the company has no “Servicom” department to teach their staff on the basic requirements how to treat customer.

When residents call their emergency lines to report lack of power, AEDC always hastily promise to call back a promise it will never keep.

The distribution of power in Abuja is now based on the “have and have nots” The society is segregated into those who have the ability to pay and those that can not pay.

The strategy adopted here is, give power to those areas that have the ability to pay and play around with areas with less revenue yield.

I live in Kado Kuchi and we hardly have lights for 24hrs without interruption. Most times we remain without light for up wards of 72hrs in week. AEDC’s only excuse was they have faults on the line and this has been going on for over two years and no one cared to rectify.

The residents after so much agony decided to find the real reasons only to discover they are being punished. The explanation was there are some few unstructured settlements within the district operating without meters. The distribution company in retaliation always divert power meant for the district to other parts of the city that can pay.
Power is national resource that all citizens must have unfettered access. We must not be discriminated in the sharing of our national resource built with tax payer’s money.

I do not support consumers not paying for electricity they consume. Individuals can be punished if they fail to settle their bills but for the Commercial Manager to put profit above all other considerations by cutting supply to innocent consumers who are up to date in the payments of their bills is pathetic and unacceptable.

To cut the supply of a whole district arbitrarily is draconian, undemocratic and against natural justice. Profit should not be the major guiding principles in the provision of this vital national resource.

I am sure the intention of the privatisation of power supply in the country was not meant to punish or discriminate but to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the system.

We therefore call the electricity regulatory council to correct this unwholesome attitude of the Abuja power distribution company .

We equally invite the Consumer Protection Agency to investigate the matter and protect the citizens from the shylock companies that were handed over our national assets to stop treating us with contempt and disdain .

National Capitals are symbols that represent the best a country can offer, it speaks volumes and creates huge impression about a country.

If the goal of government is to attract investors, the sorry state of our power supply and infrastructure does not give confidence to any serious investor, more especially in a situation where even the capital city is not shielded from the darkness.

I remember in those days when government had to use big generators to provide the city with light 24/12 in order to create a positive impression for the nation.

As precursor to this most state governments copied this approach by adopting the use of solar panels to at least provide their state capital cities with lights. The purpose of doing these are to show how important the capital cities are, be it for the state or national, and how strategic they are in the life of a country.

As nation we must have national priorities. There are things that are not negotiable.They ought to be there to promote our national esteem and pride.

We must not allow our in capacities to block our thinking to do the most elementary things other smaller nations have achieved. We have the good people and resources to make this nation great.

No one will take us seriously as a people unless we change our attitudes and the way do things.

May I also appeal to Mr President to be circumspect in who makes it to the list of his next cabinet. Ability rather then cronyism, political, cultural and subterranean considerations should determine who becomes a Minister for him to achieve “the next level”

The President must not also allow himself to be pushed into doing things hastily. The bottom line is, whether these names come early or later He will still be blamed because the buck ends on his table.

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