How government failures killed night life and created a slum in Warri
By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
Going by the well established definition of a slum as an urban residential area associated with poverty, deteriorated infrastructures or incomplete, and primarily inhabited by impoverished people, it will not be out of place to qualify Warri, Delta state, Nigeria, as a major slum.
The reason for that judgment is obvious. For the residents and first time visitors, the city is laced with the above deficiencies and more, as poor leadership has weakened the social and economic will of both the city and its residents.
GbaramatuVoice believes that Life in the present day Warri is far from glamorous as families are cut off from the most basic services, They are typically not connected to basic services such as clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, residents are at great risk of contracting water-borne and respiratory diseases.
While this calls for concern is that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration has persistently refused to see Warri in its pitiable state or recognize that such challenge is in existence.
Regardless of what or how the state government may feel, the newspaper is of the view that Warri as an urban settlement deserves more attention from the state because the living conditions and quality of the people are much worse when compared with other major cities of its class in other states.
Take as an illustration, in Wari of today, both nightlife and the night economy that comes with it have died natural deaths as streets are deserted even before it is 9:00p.m. There is neither visible security on ground or well functioning street lights to derive this all important sector.
To the male graduates and non graduates residing in the city, their major source of economic scour is the operation of tricycle (popularly called Keke) as a transportation means.
This rude development has significantly made the one’s oil city to be currently addressed as “Keke City”, as the number of tricycles in operation outweigh the cars and buses put together.
Female graduates and non graduates are not exempted from Okowa’s neglect. Presently, many take consolation in the operation of POS points (a petty cash receiving/payment platform).
Again, this largely explains why every nook and cranny of the city is dotted with umbrellas.
Like the generality of Warri residents, while this troubles us as a media organization is that what is happening in Delta state is in sharp contrast with experience in other major cities in the country.
A cruise at night around Abuja, the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT); Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve and our very dear Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital, will not only tell the story better but support the newspaper’s assertion.
Most painfully, residents had thought that Governor Okowa would have saved the city from its perennial flooding by constructing good drainage systems. But that hope has since been dashed as the governor reputedly did nothing in that direction. Today, each time it rains, flood threatens residents in volume and intensity.
As the Governor of the state, Okowa at some point in 2019 gave the people of Warri a forlorn hope by establishing Warri and Environs Special Development Agency, to among other things promote infrastructural development of Warri and its environs. But until now, nothing has changed even there is this belief in some quarters that infrastructural decay in Warri has morphed from bad to worst.
Compounding this challenge is the awareness that Asaba, the state capital, is not insulated from Governor Okowa’s leadership style of neglect.
While the Newspaper calls on the Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s led administration in the state to use the remaining months of their tenure to right these wrongs, the question on the lips of deltans is: from the present poor performance in the state, what kind of leadership value will Governor Okowa add to the nation if elected the nation’s Vice President in the forthcoming general election?
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