How resilient is the Garden City?

The newly completed Scheme 1 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State

Sir: Environmentalists and regional planners say that a well-planned city benefits everyone. Further, such cities easily bounce back when environmental disasters strike, especially those that are properly zoned. Is the garden city, Port Harcourt properly zoned? Everybody in this town, even those living in suburbs say they live in Port Harcourt. How can people in Obio-Akpor say they are in Port Harcourt even when there is a Port Harcourt city council? It is fair to expect to see so much improvement in cities that are classified as great cities.

Major cities from Australia (Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney) – New Zealand – Canada (Calgary, Vancouver) – Finland are credited amongst some of the best places on earth to live a happy life.

The crime rates are low, quality of health services are high, they have very many nodal-transportation – links as well as a balance in the indices (positive) for measuring growth of a society. Port Harcourt is a big city in Nigeria. It is a century old and, ranks in fame with other cities like Lagos, Kano and Kaduna. But how appealing is this city and how at ease are its inhabitants? A visitor into the town, from the axis of Aba, Owerri and Akwa Ibom, will expect to see a welcoming aesthetic sign post, ushering you into this city, but will find none. The settlement nearest to Aba called Oyigbo is an eyesore. Garbage litters every corner and bend as you drive into town almost all the way to Eleme Junction. Port Harcourt unlike Calabar city hasn’t been able to manage its environment. So poor and out of life is Oyigbo that one is almost tempted to ask if that settlement is part of Rivers State.

I wish the city has a central market like the types you find in Sokoto State, and in Jos, Plateau State. Government reserved areas in the past were places that were quiet, with well planted trees. The Port Harcourt, GRA, deserves an award in contrast for the reason that it is over-taken by noise chaos and hotels.

On occasions from Air force base junction Rumuomasi to Presidential hotel junction you may see people with bad health (cancerous tumors of varying kinds) begging for money so they can go for treatment. On those days you begin to wonder if ever there is a social services unit in the state. Port Harcourt city can be another Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney – Calgary, Vancouver – if only the managers of the city can maintain the old town as they plan to expand the greater Port Harcourt city.

Simon Abah, Port Harcourt.

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