*Enugu* By Johnpaul Anih, 7-10-2020
Everybody thought it was going to be the mother of all wars in Enugu State.
It was the story everywhere, including the social media and beer parlours in Enugu.
Everybody looked forward to the day of battle and who would win.
It had happened in Abuja and many people lost their lives and property. Same thing in Lagos.
When the rumour was spreading like a wild fire, the military, or rather the air force which is very nearby dispatched their men close to the expected battle field. They also mounted a road block very close to the expected battle scene.
Both Federal and State police detachments were patrolling the area for nearly two months. At times, even the Civil Defence joined, pretending to be there for a different reason. But we all knew it was to monitor the mood and movements of the people.
The expected battle field was the notorious ukwu-orji slum settlement sharing boundary with the Enugu international airport which area was included in the ongoing airport refurbishing and expansion.
People had anticipated a fierce battle between the Enugu State government and the settlers against the notice to evacuate the area. People expected heaven to fall and heads to roll before the settlers can be dislodged.
Ukwu-orji was like Ajegunle, where people, including the police and other security agents were scared to go because of the obvious, no matter how armed you were. You were sure to be confronted by dare devils ready to give you the fight of your life.
When the evacuation matter was first muted, fillers from the ghetto spoke of a state of battle readiness by the young men and women – ukwu-orji brought up girls are as dangerous as the boys – and all swore to resist evacuation with their last blood.
Apart from having lived at the place not for upwards of hundred years and above, ukwu-orji settlement is one of the most dreaded the black spots in Enugu.
As Enugu’s main and oldest hub of prostitutes of all ages and descriptions, the place harbours Enugu’s highest breed of hoodlum children of prostitutes, over 80% of whom have not seen the four walls of any school or training institution, and have grown into irredeemable hardened criminals ready to kill at any moment.
After all said and done, Gburugburu brought his characteristic leadership charisma and political diplomacy into play and lo!, the settlers sheath their swords and before you could say Jack, they had all evacuated to the last man. It was like magic. People were surprised. Gburugburu had done it again. Winning a war without a fight, a feat he had done again and again before.
The day bull dozers came with the police to ukwu-orji to clear the area, it was a mere formality as not one soul raised a voice of protest. Everybody had evacuated peacefully.
That was Gburugburu magic. A feat which only people like Gburugburu can perform. It was the same way he handled traders at Oye Emene market who were peacefully relocated to the Emene express road, unlike other regimes before when protests were the order of the day.
Recall that when our brother Rochas Okorocha wanted to do it in Imo State. It was a real war between him and Owerri people over the relocation of Owerri market which was finally stopped.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene, Chief Oliver Ani, aka Eze Elisiaku, one of Enugu prominent said that Gburugburu’s unusual leadership charisma and dexterity in conflict resolution were the reason for the peaceful resolution of the widely anticipated ukwu-orji evacuation crisis.
They are also some of the reasons why people have tipped him for the presidency or vice presidency of the country as only people with these personal and political attributes can effectively harness the tribal and ethnic conflicts that have hindered real unity in Nigeria.
Who would not agree.
Mazi Omife I. Omife