Feature Article of Sunday, 22 April 2012

Columnist: Blukoo-Allotey, Johnny

A.M.A. Please Remove This Looming Danger at Flower Pot Now!!

Currently undergoing rapid and unchallenged assembly at the roundabout at “Flower Pot” on Spintex Road is a thirty foot high, twenty foot diameter behemoth of what must be an advertising post of some sort. As far as billboards in Ghana go, it must be novel, being circular. But it is ugly. This monstrosity, whose diameter is almost the same as that of the roundabout, is made up of a circular steel column with several smaller octopus-like extensions sticking out of it and forming a twenty foot high basket-like frame two feet from the ground. It is quite like a carousel. It is on this merry-go-round, that plastic sheets advertising some product will be hung.

I write in protest, not only at the ugliness of this new addition to the avalanche of advertising billboards whose quality and conception are unbefitting of our capital, but mainly about the DANGER that this ponderous, unsightly and dangerous billboard will bring.

Roundabouts are, to the best of my admittedly scant technical knowledge, designed to ensure that motorists can see other motorists entering or leaving them. This is a prerequisite for roundabout design. Roundabouts must as far as is practicable be kept uncluttered to ensure the safety of motorists, and pedestrians. Save for some ornamental shrubs and greenery they are usually quite bare. In Ghana, in the quest for revenue generation, through advertising, we have allowed our roundabouts to become ‘income earners’ for our town and city authorities. Billboards abound in them. Tacky dwarf-height advertising hoardings encircle them. All well and good as long as the safety of motorists and pedestrians is not endangered or compromised.

But with this colossus at Flower Pot, I beg to register the collective and righteous indignation of countless users of the Spintex Road at the extreme and imminent danger it poses to us and call for the immediate dismantling of this Meccano-like structure. I’ve had dozens of calls exclaiming “What on earth is that, it’s dangerous!” When plastic sheets advertising products are finally stuck onto it, the essential view that motorists and pedestrians have, and require to have of oncoming traffic will be severely obscured and limited. Their safety will be compromised. It will lead to accidents and pedestrians being run over.

Apart from the obvious safety concerns, the rains are upon us. I doubt that this iron octopus will survive a major storm. It will collapse in bad weather, obstruct the road, endanger motorists, and cause traffic to build up. A.M.A must forgo the income from this particularly dangerous billboard and immediately instruct the advertising firm and advertiser to ‘REMOVE’ it at once. We hereby raise our valid and unequivocal objection to this monster’s continued presence at Flower Pot.

A.M.A., your powerless, ubiquitous, red paint ordering its removal won’t do. Have this ugly, leviathan of a billboard removed immediately by its owners or do so yourself. Or should we do it for you?

Johnny Blukoo-Allotey, Accra, Ghana.