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Lokoja: Navigating the territory of the white lion in total darkness



Kogi State governor, Yahaya Adoza Bello
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By Abel Ogwu Augustine

In the heart of Nigeria lies Lokoja, a city steeped in history and a confluence of cultures. Named after its founder, the British explorer William Balfour Baikie, Lokoja stands at the crossroads of the Benue and Niger Rivers, embodying the essence of Nigeria’s geographical diversity. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Yet, amidst its rich heritage and strategic location, the city faces a paradoxical reality – it grapples with the paradox of being dubbed the “most expensive state to live in” while being enveloped in a shroud of darkness due to inadequate power supply.

Lokoja’s historical significance is undeniable. As the first administrative capital of Nigeria during the colonial era, it witnessed the passage of British explorers and the establishment of vital trade routes. However, the city’s present state is marred by the darkness that seems to blanket its potential.

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The moniker “most expensive state to live in” raises eyebrows and questions. How did a city with so much potential become a place of financial strain for its residents? The cost of living has become an albatross around the necks of Lokoja’s citizens. Prices of essential commodities, housing, and services have skyrocketed, leaving many struggling to make ends meet. The reasons for this apparent paradox are multifaceted.

One prominent factor is the energy crisis that casts a long shadow over the city. Despite its proximity to Nigeria’s energy sources, Lokoja suffers from chronic power shortages. The absence of reliable electricity supply has cascading effects on businesses, education, healthcare, and overall quality of life. Industries are stifled, students’ potential dimmed, and healthcare delivery compromised. The darkness that envelopes the city seems emblematic of the challenges that have obscured its potential.

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Lokoja’s struggle with inadequate power supply is emblematic of larger infrastructural deficiencies. The roads that wind through the city are often pocked with potholes, and the lack of proper drainage systems amplifies the discomfort during rainy seasons. As development projects stutter, the promise of progress remains distant.

But amidst these challenges, Lokoja’s residents exhibit a remarkable resilience. The city’s inhabitants, known as “Lokoja people,” display a vibrant spirit that defies the darkness around them. Community initiatives and collaborations attempt to bridge the gaps left by infrastructure deficits. It is the people’s collective determination that provides a glimmer of hope in the midst of uncertainty.

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Lokoja’s story is not one of resignation, but rather a call to action. The potential that lies within its historical significance, cultural diversity, and geographical advantage can only be unlocked with deliberate efforts. Addressing the energy crisis, investing in infrastructure, and fostering a conducive environment for businesses are steps towards shedding the title of the “most expensive state to live in.”

It is time for Lokoja to rise from the shadows and harness its potential. As the confluence of Nigeria’s rivers represents unity, Lokoja should symbolize progress. It is time for the city to transition from the territory of the white lion in total darkness to a beacon of hope, development, and prosperity.

A. O Augustine, writes from Abuja Nigeria and can be reached via email

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