For years the parcel of land that lies opposite the then Central Hospital, Benin and also the Prison(Correctional Centre) on Sapele Road became a habitat for different shades of people ranging from destitute to deranged people.
Gist had it that two very prominent families of Benin extraction laid claim to the ownership of this choice landed property situated within walking distance of the heart of the Edo State capital. Thus selling it became a subject of who is qualified by law to lay claim to its ownership and thus sell it legitimately if the need arises.
Then emerged the arrival of a new sheriff in the history of the state, a technocrat, who from day one has often talked about making the environment conducive for business to thrive.
One cool morning the residents of the acclaimed City of Bronze woke up to see that construction work had started in the hitherto dilapidated building after the illegal occupants had been sent packing. In no time what emerged was a high rise building fitted with modern day materials.
The erstwhile dilapidated structure became the talk of town. The talk ranged from what the new building is meant for. Some argued that it was going to be a new hospital; some others felt it is a new service apartment; still some others felt it would end up being a block of flats etc.
When the new building was nearing completion it came as a big surprise that what emerged was a shopping mall. Inscribed on the complex are Ford Mart, Legacy Mall while the pay off line is best buy, best price.
The next line of debate about the edifice among people is who owns it. While some were of the view that it belongs to the state government some others felt that it either belongs to Governor Godwin Obaseki, his wife, Betsy or probably one of the members of the state executive arm.
Gist making the rounds is that the young man acting like the owner of the business is actually a place holder for the real owner who is shying away from public glare.
The shopping mall opened with fanfare and soon became the outfit to patronise as its oven fresh groceries, beauty products, foodstuff and the likes sell for very competitive prices. So far patronage of the shopping mall has been quite encouraging with customers most times queueing up as early as 7.00am to gain entrance into the mall which is opened officially for business by 8.00am.
Also the management of the outfit is promoting the state government owned job creation agency, EdoJobs, by making it a policy that any worker to be engaged must be a product of the job creation agency.
But shocking to customers is that the outfit does not have a convenience within the merchandising unit. Customers who are pressed to relieve themselves will have to go outside the building, a walk of about 300 metres, where the security and maintenance staff congregate, to ease themselves.
Pray that the customer does not soil his/her dress before getting to the convenience, a small dingy room. What a minus for a beffiting complex that some have rated as one of the best in Edo State at the moment.