THE GREAT DIVIDE

I was driving down one of the great Dual carriageways of Abuja when I noticed that they were erecting a fence down the centre. I suppose to prevent pedestrians from crossing the road and getting killed. But our leaders don’t think that way. They do not think for the people. It will be more like to prevent human remains splattering their cars. I looked for more overhead bridges to ease the burden of keeping two communities apart. NONE. For the poor pedestrian, to just get across the road to visit a friend, he has to walk miles under the sun or find a bus to drive miles one way, then miles back on the other side – and they may not be able to afford it. In other words the poor are made to suffer more so that the already comfortable rich cannot be irritated by crossing, irresponsible pedestrians.

It is amazing how our leaders think in all their thinking. Those who need the greatest help are dismised or made to suffer more so the comfortable in expensive, air-conditioned cars can suffer less. Abuja was planned for the comfortable car driving air-conditioned rich. No plan for pedestrians not to think of disabled. Buses and Okadas were banned because they were eyesores to the comfortable driving rich and blocked Zone 3 and that plunged thousands of ordinary pedestrians into greater pain. They ban Motorbike Taxis (Okada/Achaba) of the hardworking poor because they obstruct them and thereby plunged more shuffering shmilers into greater hardship and the self-employed drivers into the kidnap and armed robbery business.

The most recent craze are the South African businesses and Malls. These Malls are not erected with the people in mind but for the rich to be richer and the poor, poorer. As our leaders rush for the bonanza and money they make, Governors coldly introduce these monsters among their markets of petty traders, claiming they are doing development so the rich can shop like they do in London. Yet our society do not have the robustness of London. These Governors and Ministers do not think of organizing the poor traders to own modern markets. They just choose the easy million dollar routes for their pockets. They have stolen the people’s money, but that is not enough. They have now brought the South African conglomerates to drain the little money in the pockets of our poorest.

As they introduce Shoprite, Woolworth, KFC, Mr Price, Game, etc to Abuja and all over the country, I watch the oppressed fools Jubilate their new modernity, but I also watch the confusion of the traders of WUSE Market as they slowly close down, with its 12,000 traders and barely employed youths, being groomed for unemployment and the kidnap businesses. Our Rulers point to the 500 newly employed at the check-out counters, stacking shelves or playing security at our new cathedrals of capitalism, neatly forgetting the thousands of families losing their businesses and the wealth being drained out of the country.

And they call it development? 

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