By Jude Dangwam:
JOS-METROPOLIS, the cosmopolitan city and capital of Plateau State always referred to as a miniature Nigeria essentially because it is home to diverse ethnic nationalities as well as serving as a hub of economic activities in the central part of Nigeria. Plateau, especially its capital Jos has been playing important roles dating backs to the good old days of mining activities where different race scrambled on the international commodity “Tin and Columbine!.”
The serene and clement weather of the Jos Plateau over decades have been a factor that keeps attracting visitor and tourist to the Tin City as it’s people will always say to you upon arrival, “Welcome to the Home of Peace and Tourism.”
DAILY ASSET was out to connect the past with the present state of lifestyle and economic activities in the cosmopolitan city of Jos and it was a wonderful day for our Correspondent on the busy spots in the Tin City. He found out that the city which has witnessed numerous ethno-religious conflicts and bombings from insurgents is bubbling with life again, regaining its preeminent position.
Before now, the slogan of Plateau State was “Home of Peace and Tourism” but something unique has been added to Plateau’s slogan, and is called “Home of Peace, Tourism and Hospitality.” The reason is simple; Jos city is now” welcome to all Nigerians coming with good intentions” after decades of trying times from the forces of the enemies.
This indeed have attracted business men and women back into the state with the stability of peace in the last two years giving the city a new definition as one great hub for economic activities in the central part of Nigeria.
A s one rides through the popular Ammadu Bello Way, one is often confronted with a heavy traffic jams, horns of different sounds as motorists blow hot all in a bid to create ways for themselves to catch up with the business of the day. Thanks to the absence of motorcycles and tricycles in the central business areas during the day time, as a result of the order of the state government, if not the traffic situation would have been a different story. riders popularly known as “Okada from this part of the metropolis.”
The aim was to decongest the central business areas to save time for business activities, thanks for the sustainability of the initiative by the Governor Barr. Simon Lalong led rescue government as the central business areas keep gaining momentum in the last two years with business activities.Commercial motorcycles were long before now replaced with tricycles (Keke NAPEP) and every major road leading to the commercial hub has a stopping point for tricycle riders.
These days, people will always be in a hurry for their scale of preference and sometimes such hasty move earns some motorists bashing up each other with their vehicles, though some of the incidents witnessed were resolved in the spirit of brotherhood while some required the intervention f law enforcement agents.
With the heavy traffic jam along the Ammadu Bello Way, begins to imagine if ‘Okadas and tricycle’ riders were allowed to ply the city centre in the day time, and what sort of drama would have been witnessed between car owners and their road competitors (tricycles, motorcycles)?
From a far distance, while approaching the famous old Bukuru Park are eye catching green-yellow-green colours, that could be mistaken for flags, but they are ‘legions’ of painted tricycles popularly called “Keke NAPEP” from the Old Bukuru Park leading to Yan-Taya and Dilimi, stretching to Yan-Doya market where Irish potatoes and yams were, and are still known to be sold at highly affordable prices.
It was there that the market made its name in the history of Plateau’s agro products since time immemorial.
Tricycle riders are well known for one thing in the city of Jos,if any car owner is asked , of one thing that is competing for space on the road with them on highways and the streets, they will not hesitate to tell you that it is tricycle. The tricycle riders are so confident to tell any one that cares that the cost of their tricycles are equivalent or in some cases more than the price of some cars as stated by one of the rider who joked over some of their behaviours on the clean streets of Jos.
The resumption of business activities after the rehabilitation of the burnt Jos Main market is helping in keeping alive the international market again, though not as it used to be. But clothe dealers are making their cool money, though some clothes sellers prefer to market their commodities on the road as seen around Total Filling Station and the popular “Mama Tapgun’s status” Round About which was demolished during Governor Jonah Jang’s administration.
Various successive government over the years keep battling with such categories of people to leave the those places uptil date but to no avail.
The Police duty post under the Terminus International Market’s overhead bridge is very strategic as it helps a lot in curtailing the activities of men of the underworld who are bent in causing one form of trouble or the other for the innocent men and women carrying out their businesses.
This busy Abuja Market area, as the place is called, in the commercial nerves centre along Murtala Muhammed way is well known area for its business activities and is often remembered due to the unfortunate twin bomb blast that rocked the business area on May, 20, 2014 close to Old Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH).
The effects can still be seen and felt four years back, but at the moment, business activities are back to their good old days. The most important thing is virtually everybody is now more vigilant and sensitive to his or her environment than ever before.
The popular Tafawa Balewa Way connecting the busy Plateau Riders, the State Library areas are often filed l with a whole lot of dramas among tricycle owners outsmarting one another for passengers, with everyone working towards meeting his target for the day. The West of Mines Relaxation area is always available, making things happen for night life lovers, although the place is faced with the dilemma of bad roads few years, and this is affecting business activities. But the leader they call “Rescue Governor, of Barr. Simon Lalong has put the road from Standard Junction to the West-of-Mines business area in good shape. This indeed has reduced the heavy traffic created at West-of-Mines through business activities and the bad nature of the road filled with deep potholes as heavy vehicles often come in to emptied all assorted drinks with some imported into the state especially with the fall of Jos international Breweries (JIB).
For most visitor coming into the Tin City of Jos and lovers of nightlife must say one thing or two about the busy West-of-Mines business area, that is where “stomach infrastructure” takes place though at the expense of your pocket.
After a busy working day, one is called upon by friends or his pocket to relax and cool his or her nerves at West-Of-Mines, chilling with some bottle of drinks alongside some sensuous rusted fish and checking meat garnish with all sort of specie’s before going to bed to rest for another busy day.
Gada-Biu is one busy area that was scattered as a result of the 2010 bomb blast on the eve of Christmas Day that claimed the lives on many innocent people who were on late hour shopping for the festivity. But at the moment, commercial activities both in the day time and night times is a nonstop moving train. The most interesting part is that everyone is conscious of his or her environment from past experience.
Nightlife at Rayfield area of the state capital is something else as young people cruise along to clubs of their choice “till mama call” as is been said among the youths.
The free night movement in Jos is something else these days. The narrative has actually changed for a city that was one time divided by the evils of ethno-religious crises, where followers of the two faith Christianity and Islam were on different page, shopping from only their fellow faith men and women.
Today, the situation is different as the good old days of mutual understanding are back. The people have found a common ground of respecting the tradition and believes of one another which was thrown away over the years and the city plunged into decades of fruitless crises as a result.
The busy spots in the Jos metropolitan city after years of dilemmas are clear indications that peace have actually returned to Plateau State now the “Home of Peace, Tourism and Hospitality,” in Nigeria.