Citing of a Bus Terminal Within The Umuahia Capital City. Why Governor Otti Should Have A Rethink.

Governor of Abia State, Dr Alex Chioma Otti and Former Abia State Commissioner of Finance, Chief Obinna Oriaku

Citing of a Bus Terminal Within The Umuahia Capital City. Why Governor Otti Should Have A Rethink.

Last week, many of us were thankful to God for the grace to see the one year anniversary of Governor Alex Otti, as Governor of Abia state.

We witnessed the Commissioning of some roads and flag off of the construction of a bus terminal as appropriately described above.

My concern is with the citing or location, of the bus terminal at Umuahia.

The newly expanded Ossa to Okpara Square road renamed Theophilus Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi Boulevard (though it has no feature of a boulevard) welcomes a visitor to the center of the state capital with the statue of Dr M.I Okpara in the same stretch, greeting you.

I am of the strong opinion that the same road should have been named Okpara Square or M. I Okpara Way instead of this interjection of names, for merely just the sake of name change.

Overlooking the Okpara Square, is the TradeMoore Event Center which the Otti administration wants to convert into a Modern Bus terminal.

While I congratulate the state government, for being alive to its duty, by reclaiming the State owned facility which was allegedly, illegally occupied by Trademoore Developers at a location that used to be Umuahia Main Market (Ogwumabiri Umuahia), which was relocated by the administration of the former Governor TA Orji due to the nuisance and traffic congestion which usually welcomes visitors to the city capital owing to the activities at that location.

We all know that just like motor parks, every market has its attendant negatives.

Unfortunately, this present government is proposing a bus terminal in the same location.

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While I appreciate the importance of a modern bus terminal, just like the reason the governor gave for relocating the Aba bus terminal, I strongly feel that just like the Aba terminal is being relocated to the Port Harcourt – Enugu expressway, the Umuahia bus terminal should also be cited at the old site, which is about a few kilometres after the Tower located on the express, by the Aba/Umuahia Expressway.

This will enable the city to be decongested beyond the negatives of a bus terminal in the middle of a city center.

It also demeaning that while other locations with iconic names of these past patriotic leaders are known for political/social and spiritual gatherings, our own Okpara Square will be known with a bus terminal.

From Tafawa Belewa Square in Lagos to Okpara Square in Enugu, Barnawa Paradise Park Kaduna and Heros Square Owerri, all are known and used for s
State events and recreational purposes but not bus terminals.

I will suggest that the State convert half of that Trademoore event centre to a recreation, relaxation, amusement center for children and families with a morden shopping mall.

Today in Umuahia, there is no location kids and even adults can freely go for recreation.

This center will be built to have, state of the art recreation equipment for kids, like merry go round etc.

The other half of the Trademoore event centre should have a covered stand by both sides for open events, be it political/ social or spiritual which would be rented and offer some sources of revenues.

The excuse that the rail line is closer to that location in support of the bus terminal, does not hold water as it negates the essence or reasons for relocating all bus parks in Aba to the Expressway.

The Optics for any first time visitor to Umuahia, using the newly reconstructed Osaah road will be “wowed” with a beautifully constructed recreation park which will add to the urban renewal project rather than a bus terminal.

It will also enhance the aesthetics of the capital city.

We will be creating a better optic and image, of our iconic leader for the present and future generations, about the personality of our revered Dr. Michael Okpara with his imposing statue identified with a recreational center instead of a motor park with its attendant environmental pollution.

Umuahia people and indeed Nde Abia will be grateful if this bus terminal is relocated around Abia tower to create a new ecosystem along that corridor especially because of the inter city travelers that have no need entering Umuahia city.

This will by every standard further expand development across the state capital of Umuahia.

Unfortunately, as usual the cost and structure of these projects are hidden from Abians.

I strongly feel, we need to know, though Public – Private Partnership (PPP) would have been best funding structure for this kind of project.

Obinna Oriaku (Ekwedike) writes from Abia state, Nigeria

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