Special Report

Searchlight on Robinson Plaza where landlord forces tenants to join his campaign train in Warri

Searchlight on Gbagi's Robinson Plaza where landlord forces tenant to join his campaign train in Warri

Searchlight on Robinson Plaza where landlord forces tenants to join his campaign train in Warri

There is a blanket belief that in Nigeria, the majority of public office holders (both past and serving) are often always reputed for circumventing the nation’s constitution while infringing on the rights of the poor and lowly. There is also another sustained argument by development professionals in the country that the challenge before human rights activists and other advocates for oppressed Nigerian citizens is to begin to spark legislative and policy reforms so that the process of decision-making on issues that affect ordinary Nigerians is opened up.

The above thoughts naturally came flooding among members of the GbaramatuVoice editorial board during editorial board meeting, a well conscripted letter forwarded to the news organization by a tenant at the popular Robinson Plaza, Deco road, Warri, Delta state, Nigeria.

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The said Plaza (business complex) is owned by Honourable Kenneth Gbagi, former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, current Delta state Governorship flag bearer on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

The referenced letter reads in part: Good day Gbaramatu voice newspaper thanks for the news and reliable information.

“One thing I have studied about this group is how information about politicians and political matters are handled.

“I am writing to you concerning the ill treatment melted out at Gbagi plaza at deco road there is frequent locking down of shops there and forcing shop owners to unwilling go with him to campaign for election against their will and these has become too often leaving business owners to count losses as a result of their absence from working places if you refuse to follow them thugs and military personnel will be involved to force you and your own customers out of the shop. You can do your own verification and get to hear and see for yourself. Thank you. (The letter concluded).

Following this revelation, the newspaper dispatched two of its reporters to the referenced market to ascertain the veracity of the above claim.

And to the Newspaper’s greatest surprise, the investigation became more revealing than envisaged.

Aside from confirming as true the above claims by the author of the above letter, our reporters interestingly unraveled the ‘absurd politics’ of tenancy at the plaza and the difficulty faced by poor but innocent occupants/tenants of the aforementioned plaza.

While this remain condemnable as well as qualify as a sin that the Former Junior Minister must share in its guilt, the situation further raises the questions as to: At the time of negotiation of tenancy, were the prospecting tenant told that during electioneering, he/she must lock up his/her shop, abandon his/her business to join the Landlord’s campaign trains? How well does the former Minister understand the hazards faced by the said tenants each time they desert their business and join him in electioneering which unfortunately is his private business?

How many of the tenants can say no to the power of this landlord with all his connections? Who will stop Gbagi from these exploitative tendencies? Or better still, ask him to apply the virtue of moderation in his quest to become the state Governor? And who should be the judge in the present circumstance? Or must we as a people allow useful and the useless occurrences like good and evil go on together allowing our nation to reap whatever fruit that comes to us in the nearest future?

While the following questions were drafted to assist Honourable Gbagi come to sudden reorganization that his present actions and inactions against the tenants is lacking in merit, efforts by the newspaper to get across to him (Gbagi) via telephone calls proved abortive as he neither picked nor returned the calls.

Even as the newspaper is willing, ready and eager to listen and accommodate his side of the story, GbaramatuVoice, in the interim calls on him to stop harassing these lawful tenants as they are equally entitled to freedom of association as enshrined in the nation’s 1999 constitution (as amended.)

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