Revocation Of The Trademore Centre In Umuahia: A Laudable Decision

Revocation Of The Trademore Centre In Umuahia: A Laudable Decision

24th June 2024, NewsOrient
Opinion, Column, News, Governance And Development
By Emeka Nwosu, PhD.

The Abia State Government under the leadership of Governor Alex Chioma Otti has continued to take hard and popular decisions that generally serve the best interests of the people.

One of such decisions which has received wide acclaim across the State is the recent revocation of the Trademore Event Centre in the heart of Umuahia to make way for a modern integrated transportation hub.

For the benefit of those who may not know, the Trademore Event Centre was formerly the location of Umuahia Main Market, known in local parlance as Ogwumabiri.

During the tenure of Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji as the Governor of the State, the market which used to cause a lot of human and vehicular congestions, was relocated to Ubani Ibeku, very close to Uzuakoli.

The decision was widely applauded as it freed the town from the suffocating human and vehicular traffic that used to be the norm in the town.

Following the relocation of the Ogwumabiri to Ubani, the good people of Abia had looked forward to Governor T.A Orji putting up a befitting edifice like a first class recreational or shopping centre at the space. But this was not to be.

Rather, what that administration did was to privatize the vast space and allocated it to an Abia-born Businessman who converted a huge chunk of the land into a centre for hosting religious crusades and political rallies.

The remaining portion of the land was carved out into a mini housing estate. This was a terrible distortion that constituted a big blight in the capital city of Umuahia.

All well-meaning people of Abia condemned the decision of former Governor T.A. Orji to share out the old Ogwumabiri to private individuals.

With the emergence of Dr. Alex Otti as the Governor, calls were renewed for the revocation of the title so that the place can give way for a more befitting public infrastructure that would serve the best interests of the people.

The calls even became intensified when Governor Otti unveiled his plan to expand the main approach road to Umuahia from the Abia Tower on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway into six lanes. The road leads directly to the displaced Ogwumabiri at the Okpara Square.

I also added my voice at that point in time. In an article I titled “Reclaiming Back the Ogwumabiri Umuahia”, and which was widely circulated on various media platforms, I called on Governor Otti to revoke the deal that illegally gave Ogwumabiri out and retrieve same for a better public use.

I noted as follows:
“The Ogwumabiri is the old Umuahia Main Market which was situated at the heart of the town. Given the perennial traffic and human congestions that it used to cause, the market was justifiably relocated by former Governor Theodore Orji to make for free and unimpeded movement. That decision was well applauded by all well-meaning Abia people who for a very long time endured the pains and stress arising from the choking congestions induced by the location of the Ogwumabiri.

“With the relocation of the Ogwumabiri, the people and residents of Umuahia heaved a sigh of relief and nursed expectations that the vacated premises would be turned into a befitting recreational centre or modern shopping malls where family members and visiting guests could go for social recreation and sight-seeing.
To the utmost disappointment of the people of Abia State, the choice land was carved out and shared amongst the officials of the Ochendo administration. A part of the land was converted into a personal housing estate while the remaining portion has been turned into a ground for hosting religious crusades and political rallies. This is unacceptable!

“The beautiful plan of Governor Otti to turn the Abia State capital around would be grossly distorted if the Ogwumabiri is not reclaimed and put into a better public use. We cannot have a six-lane boulevard that runs from Abia Tower into the city and ends up in front of the abandoned Ogwumabiri.

Governor Alex Otti has a responsibility to review the situation of the Ogwumabiri and recover the place in public interest. The existing structures in the Ogwumabiri should be demolished, including the uncompleted housing estate which has become a den of criminals.

“When this is done, the Governor, in consultation with his cabinet and other critical stakeholders in the State, should consider erecting more befitting and modern facilities in the place that would serve best public interest.

The Ogwumabiri as it is today is a blight in the city centre and should not be allowed to continue. The earlier the place is retrieved and reconfigured, the better for our State.”

It is, therefore, heartwarming to note that Governor Otti has hearkened to the voice of the people by revoking Trademore Event Centre to which it was illegally converted, to make way for a proposed integrated transportation hub, including a modern railway terminal.

When this is fully consummated, it will change the face of Umuahia for good. Governor Otti is encouraged to move a step further by demolishing the uncompleted housing estate at the site which has become a hiding place for all manner of criminals and miscreants.

It is the collective hope of all the good people of Abia State that the recovery of the Ogwumabiri would mark the beginning of the retrieval of all public property, including choice lands and buildings that were illegally appropriated by selfish and greedy officials of the previous administrations.

Thank you, Dr. Alex Otti, for leading from the front.

Dr. Nwosu, a Public Policy Analyst, writes from Umuahia.*

~ NewsOrient