Last Thursday the long awaited opening of the Onitsha Shopping Mall, otherwise known as Shoprite, came, with the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, performing the opening ceremony.
The Onitsha Shopping Mall was conceived by the immediate past administration of Peter Obi along with the others in Awka and Nnewi. The shopping malls were expected to provide the people of the state with quality and genuine products in variety.
The absence of such had been bemoaned by the people of the state who are known to heavily patronize the one in Enugu. But today Anambra has got one, with the prospect of having two more.
While we commend ex-governor, Peter Obi, for his vision, we also commend the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, for continuing with the project in fulfilment of his promise of continuing and completing projects started by his predecessor.
Obiano could have chosen to abandon the project and cite any reason for that. He however chose to see it through and it is the people of the state that will reap the gains by way of employment opportunities therein and the opportunity to get genuine products.
We however appeal to Gov Obiano to focus attention on the other two malls in Nnewi and Awka. Ensuring that they take off will further provide employment to our people and ease the problem of those who drive all the way to Enugu to do business at their shopping mall
Its presence will also expectedly force other operators to shun fake or sub-standard products in order to favourably compete with Shoprite.
However again, we are worried by the seeming stalled activity at the two other shopping malls under construction. The guess is that they are hampered by poor finances. But then they are projects that will boost the economy of the state as well as give it a different look.
We also urge the governor to expedite action on the International Hotel and Conference Centre being constructed on the same grounds as the Shoprite in Onitsha. It is a project planned to bring back our people who come to Onitsha to do business after which they relocate to Asaba where better hotels are available. Their going to Asaba means that the cash that would have flowed in Onitsha will now boost the economy of Delta State.
It was thought that Onitsha, being one of the largest business hubs in the country, needed such a facility as a hotel of international standards, thus the idea to construct the hotel then being handled by the Protea group which was expected to also manage it in order to give it their trademark touch.
Sadly, it appears work has stalled there. This is the reason we appeal now to the state government to also ensure that the project is completed, even though we understand that another group has taken over. Its completion will maximize the business opportunities in the complex that already has Shoprite.
For now we celebrate with the Anambra State government and her people on the opening of the Onitsha Shopping Mall and hope that the purpose for which it was set up will be fully met.