|The Edifice that Isa El Buba is Building|
Anybody that has been a movie freak in Jos back in the seventies and eighties will definitely remember there used to be a movie theatre by the name of Scalar Cinema along Kashim Ibrahim Street. Changing times let to diminishing interest in movie watching in Nigeria. Consequently, cinema houses started experiencing reverses in their fortunes, leading to the closure of some of them. As a result, former Scalar building was taken over by a church known as Christ for all Nations. Eventually the building itself was demolished. In its place now is a tall building whose construction is ongoing. When I counted the number of floors, there were about ten of them.
In the whole of Jos, it is possible to count the number of towering structures that go beyond seven floors but not higher than eight floors. There is the Standard Building, PIPC building along Murtala Mohammed Way, The Federal Secretariat at Tudun Wada and the Plateau State Ministry of Education building at Joseph Gomwalk Secretariat of the Plateau State Government. If this building along Kashim Ibrahim Road is completed, it would have set a record as the highest building in the city of Jos. In addition, it will be the only such building to be owned by an individual. All the other ones listed are owned by either the Plateau State Government or the Federal Government. This individual is a clergy man that goes by the name of Isa El Buba.
The name Isa El Buba first rang a bell in my mind earlier in the year 2007 when he organized a well publicized evangelical crusade that was attended by the Plateau State Governor, Jonah David Jang, the year Jang became the Plateau State Governor. People came to know him as a man from Borno State that was formerly a Muslim, a fact that seem to explain the presence of the prefix “el” in his name. It appears El Buba has taken a decision to make Plateau State his home as he has managed to weave himself into the brotherhood of the Plateau people so much that he is said to have written a popular jingle praying for Plateau State and which is played each time the television and radio arms of the Plateau Radio and Television Corporation, PRTVC opens or closes for the day. Some years back, civil servants had to pick up a quarrel with El Buba for sticking his nose where it was not wanted when he dabbled into a labor misunderstanding between the Civil Service and the State Government.
It is rumored that El Buba plans to establish a school of theology and the towering building is meant to house the school. This leaves me wondering. First, the noisy nature of the street along which the structure is been erected makes it unsuitable for learning. Secondly, the conditions of similar buildings in the city are enough to warn Pastor El Buba of the waste it will amount in putting millions into its erection. The top floors of these buildings are virtually uninhabited due to absence of elevators as a result of the difficulty of maintaining them and the unpredictable electric power situations that has made the use of elevators risky in the country as a whole. Secondly, should one decide to sell such a structure, it will be difficult to find buyers for the same reasons. Where someone decides to buy at all, he will under-price it, knowing the top floors will be of no use. On the other hand, the worth of the structure will only appreciate with time, had the floors of the building been spread over a large expanse of land as is expected of a conventional school, just like The Theological College of Northern Nigeria located in the outskirts of the city.
A lot of people however believe that the pastor knows the rational bankruptcy associated with the erection of that kind of edifice and that he is only doing it to serve a more important purpose which is, primarily, to demonstrate to himself and onlookers, what he is capable of achieving.