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Port Harcourt: Eke and menace of illegal markets

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By Goodluck Edafe

HONOURABLE Solomon Eke is the newly elected Executive Chairman, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I saw his electioneering campaign agenda and I knew at once that he will do well in government.

He conveyed an understanding that governance is service delivery. Interestingly, within the first one week in office, he has started the good fight against illegal markets that dotted and almost taken over major roads in Port Harcourt. This is a welcome development. I call it the good fight.

It’s curious that our modern society is losing a sense of community sanity. The proliferation of illegal markets on major roads in Port Harcourt is alarming. Just before the Hon Chairman started the new fight of redemption, half of the East-West road for example, at the University of Port Harcourt axis, Rumuokoro axis and Oil-Mill axis was taken over by illegal daily market traders.

Apart from vehicular accidents that are possible and evil of the huge refuse generated and dumped on the roads by the illegal traders, the stiff traffic jam regularly experienced on the road is crushing. Thank God for Hon Eke who came into office with a new consciousness.

As a road user, I have waited a long time for this kind of hygiene revolution and action against the illegal market operators. But, let quickly say here that this is not the first time, we are seeing an attempt to clear the roads in Port Harcourt of illegal market traders. Many who attempted it in the past lost the fight to the illegal market operators not because the illegal market operators had more weapons of war but because they were more determined and committed to their goal. The police and government personnel deployed to sustain sanity and ensure that the illegal markets are dead and buried forever compromised their obligation.

They submitted not only to the usual cry of “We are widows” but also to the lure of naira and kobo from the illegal traders. Note that just within the same month of the new fight, the illegal traders especially at the Oil-Mill axis have started regrouping and the officers on duty have started the compromise. Can the new fight succeed? It’s a matter of time.

Historically, the war against illegality and bad habits in societies are usually not won with kid-glove. Leadership has to be proactive and decisive. Socio-moral consciousness in our country is extremely very poor. We buy exotic cars and build porch houses yet we pay little or no attention to building and developing the minds which ought to be the greatest asset in life.

I encourage Hon Eke to sustain the good fight against the enemies of our collective sanity, for in doing this; his name will enter into the good book of history. In the last few weeks, we have enjoyed a good drive on decongested roads. Offenders must be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

Edafe is Secretary, Urhobo Progress Union, Port Harcourt.

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