“Calabar is now a shadow of itself,” He retorted. I vividly remember my uncle’s reaction while driving around the city that night.
I had high expectations of Calabar. I looked forward to seeing a megacity filled with glamour and beauty and a town where I could relax and call home.
What went wrong? I asked myself rhetorically. Calabar used to be one of the major centers of attractions in Nigeria. Not only does it possess historical structures about Nigeria, it also hosts the biggest festival in Africa.
I could remember all the stories about this city, the movies, and the music, how I was fascinated about being in Calabar and beholding its beauty.
Although I had glimpses of hope, I still could not help but wonder how it all went wrong and what happened to the nation’s most beautiful paradise.
After a series of critical observations, I found some faults that contributed to the degradation of this city.
The Lost Paradise
Poor maintenance of infrastructures
The most critical issue I found that affected this city was the problem of poor maintenance.
Government negligence towards rehabilitating infrastructures that have faded in quality were being used as tourist sites.
These neglected structures have resulted in the degradation of the city, leading to a negative impact on the rate of tourism in the city.
Another related issue that affected the city of Calabar is the lack of infrastructural reforms leading to the degradation of basic features.
These features are evidence of the stunted growth of the city of Calabar and must be addressed if it wants to regain its status as a City of paradise.
Asides that, poor landscaping contributes majorly to the increasing rate of structures dilapidating in Calabar.
The causes ranged from poor refuse disposal, topography, and urban planning greatly affects the city.
Structures no longer have a lasting quality due to poor landscaping, and even those still standing hardly get rehabilitated after dilapidating.
Critical examples can be seen in the historical centers in Mary Slessor’s home, the slave trade centers, Tinapa, and Marina resorts.
Other structures like the stadium in 11 11 roundabout, the Watt market in watt, and the Marian markets are some of the features begging for attention.
And unless massive rehabilitations are carried out on these structures, then Calabar may never get close to becoming the paradise it used to be.
Unstable power supply
For years, the city of Calabar has struggled with poor power supply.
The inability to generate sufficient power to light up this mega city has persisted for a long time, either existing infrastructures have been degraded, or the gas supply is not enough.
This makes major areas in Calabar like Wapi junction and Parliamentary Extension deficient in power supply leading to a discouraging growth of entrepreneurship and economic activities within the city.
Faulty traffic lights
If not for preparations towards hosting another carnival, Calabar’s major roads have been without street lights or a working traffic light. Everywhere is always dark at night, even on a major road such as Calamari.
The absence of working traffic lights has also been a problem for commuters, especially those who ply the Effiette rotary road and Watt market road.
Absence of serenity and peace
Peace and harmony bring stability to any society. It fosters the development and growth of any society and contributes to how humans flourish in social settings.
As a city, Calabar has been able to get better in some aspects of security. However, other areas still beg for consideration.
The aspect of peace, building interpersonal trust, and relationships between one another help in boosting an overall feeling of happiness and vibrancy among its citizens and in creating the perfect atmosphere.
And this is required to achieve long-term sustainability and balance to the environment and help boost opportunities and economic growth.
An example of where this is needed most is the Calabar south local government area.
If the city of Calabar is to return to its lost glory, then peace and security must prevail in Calabar south, lawlessness curbed, and the way of living must be accommodating and conducive enough to everyone residing in the city.
A documentary by Al Jazeera shows the volume of solid dirt accumulated daily in Calabar.
From being the cleanest city in Nigeria to becoming one where cleanliness no longer prevails.
The rate at which waste accumulates and no longer gets disposed of is alarming.
If you drive through the entire city of Calabar, you’re sure to be greeted by the oozing smell from heaps of waste piled on every corner of the road.
The deplorable state in which these dirt are left unattended makes them keep getting decomposed, and is a major cause of concern and must be addressed if Calabar wants to retain its status as the cleanest city in Nigeria.
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How to Recover the Lost Paradise
There is hope for the lost paradise. Calabar can regain its lost glory and be great, and it can still be the paradise it used to be.
It’s all about taking the right step in the right direction.
Everyone must act accordingly, from the government to the citizens. Solid decisions must be taken to ensure an immediate structural reform in every sector in the City of Calabar.
Economic-based policies that are projected to revamp the economy, formation of strategic partnerships, improving the growing rate of urbanization, and control of population density are major strategies that can revive the development of this city and bring it back to the level where it was.
In addition, other activities like high-value maintenance, rehabilitation of public structures, proper refuse disposal system, and eco-management.
Ecosystem and tourist sites like the beach, Obudu ranch, and other attraction centers should maintain state-of-the-art structures they once possessed to reveal its beauty and project the city as a hub for entertainment.
Market strategies to entice tourists and incentives for investments in and around urban areas should be put in place.
A serene calm and peaceful environment must be maintained to create the right impressions and foster the development of Calabar.
If all of these measures are used, then the city of Calabar is well on its way to becoming the paradise once known to be.
Read also the following posts about places in Nigeria;
- Best 10 places to visit in Kwara state.
- 10 Fun locations in southwest Nigeria.
- Top 10 Historical sites in Nigeria.
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