Are We Losing Calabar ?

By Iwara U. Iwara
By Iwara U. Iwara
In the last couple of years, it has been extremely difficult to come across an indigene of Calabar, a dweller or visitor, whether it be a first timer, who consciously refuses to point you to the complete elegance of this city, majestically perched on the tip of the Atlantic Ocean and constantly tickled by the often undecided ferocity of the ocean waves. Indeed, those who are true to themselves applaud not only the city’s handy exquisite cuisine, but too, the warmth of the people, her secure nature and the predominant “keep every where clean” disposition of the city’s people. I am referring to a city that can work your blood pressure down with her much sought after hidden whispers and a firm but humane embrace, sincerely delivered. I still maintain that those who say CALABAR is better expressed in the words, “Come And Live And Be At Rest”, were mincing no words and look certainly influenced by the face and backside of a gallant and bold Calabar.

Calabar's latest offering,the overflowing refuse bins
Calabar’s latest offering,the overflowing refuse bins
Now, have you been to Calabar lately? I ask this question because in the last couple of months, this city has been infamously dragged to the mud by her tongue twisting leaders. These leaders currently occupied with superintending over the dismemberment of Calabar have turned their backs on the city, leaving her exposed and raped without shame. Her streets are beginning to greet us with a foul stench and bold overflowing refuse bins. In places like the Marian market, refuse has taken over one lane of the road, ‘ordering’ motorists to have one hand on the steering while the other hand holds the nose, blocking the nostrils, as they drive pass. It is an unconventional commandment that can only be ignored by people with a pig’s DNA. Streets that use to be painstakingly swept have been left abandoned …till further notice. Those who sweep these streets have just discovered that our leaders always read the scriptures but ‘jump and pass’ the part that states unequivocally that a labourer ultimately deserves his wages. It is the one reason why their protests and lamentations have become the noisy buzz of an expectant fly racing to the latrine.

If like me you use water piped to your house by the CRS Water Board, please how often does water come out when you turn the tap on? Aren’t we presently confined to being early risers now, rushing to beat the queue at the nearest commercial borehole and then walking back and forth in search of water like a soldier’s parade rehearsal? The image of groups of kids, going in search of water like it is done in the village, has come to town and nobody knows when this painful cup will pass away.

Security of lives and property is becoming a ”help yourself” affair as our indigenous ‘Scolombo’ boys and affiliates, ‘graduate’ another class of street urchins from ino university. The Scolombo phenomenon is making people less and less likely to spend the first few hours after work in a favourite spot around the street corner, discussing a business proposal or just grabbing a drink and devouring a plate of whatever wakes a man’s salivary glands. With reckless abandon, these kids are robbing, killing and getting away, only to return with a ferocious boldness that spells more casualties on our side. It has not become the responsibility of our government to shield us from these hoodlums, but government instead finds generous time at her disposal channeled to senile novelties forgetting that because of our plight, we are refusing to be overrun by any desire to say and do things that pamper such leaders. This use to be a city where you can leave your car engine running while you dash into a shop and grab a few items, I doubt if most people can dare do that now…you may just have lost your car.
Our city is under a leadership induced siege, the kind of leadership that is blind to the yearnings and aspirations of her people. “We no more feel the freshness of this city, when you get off the plane”, like a friend recently said and I cannot dispute this. Those who should bail us out are dozing and in places where we try to help ourselves, we are called names like “failed lawyer, gutter journalist, busy body activists” etc, by the stand up comedians masquerading as aides to them.

This is our horror movie; Calabar has been plucked from the top of an iroko tree and hung on a fairy tree, planted by men and without faces. But whoever told them that this city can have refuse in her market showcase and it bothers them not, just told them a blatant lie because those whose Calabar bragging rights are threatened have gone on their knees, with a humble and contrite heart, so that our dear Lord will grant us the grace of power in our hands with which to elect our true leaders, relying no more on whatever pact three men got into that has in turn left us groaning under the weight of the bad leg of a tripod.

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