Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bleaching Ibadan for Goodluck.

Ibadan feels strange! It looks strange! In fact, it is unreal! President Goodluck Jonathan is making a state visit: as it is customary, the host government, is putting it's "best foot forward". The only problem, is that that both feet are lame!

Part of the attempt at a cosmetic makeover,  or should we call it "bleaching",was the "reconstruction" of some roads.In addition to this, a lot of the roads have been properly marked, and decorated. I did not even know that the Oyo state government had the "out of this world" technology for marking, and decorating roads.

It is what we usually observe in Abuja anytime an important personage is expected. I always wonder to myself, "Is the fellow coming going to physically drive a car through the city, by himself? "Are these markings not supposed to be normal functions of government for which money is voted for? So what happens to the money that is voted every year and never used for the purpose.

Back to Ibadan, the state government ordered that markets be closed. I find that disconcerting. A lot of these people are barely surviving without government assistance,despite the myriads of anti people policies we see everyday: now they have to loose a day's income because a president, who does not even know they exist is coming. It is obvious to all who drive in Ibadan, that the motive behind this move, is to remove the huge traffic gridlock that Ibadan's markets engender. 

Very little infrastructure has been put in place in the last ten years. Would it not have been a good opportunity for the president to see the problems that Ibadan has to grapple with, and possibly get some federal relief.

But then again, leadership is predicated on the relationship between the colonized, and the colonizer. The federal colonizes the state, the state colonizes the local government, and the people on the street get the short end of the stick! No one wants to show the boss that things are bad. And lest we forget, the governor is looking for a second term. 

Some weeks ago I wrote about how we treat corpses on our streets.The week after I wrote that story,  as I passed through Ibadan, I saw the body of a dead man on Ring Road. This road is a dual carriage way, it is one of the lifeblood of Ibadan traffic infrastructure: the body had been there for at least a whole day, or more. For me, that is the real Ibadan, a place where government does not really care, of traffic jams and power outages, and in the words of our beloved J P Clark's, a place of "running splash of rust an gold".

Despite all these faults, and foibles, Ibadan is still a great city, O yato jooooo!!


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