In Nigeria, rainy season is here. But ahead of the rain torrents, State of Osun had begun control works and re-works on the notorious headstreams in the state, frontally to dock all possibility of flood invasion, going by metrology forecasts. Flood in Osun and elsewhere could result from natural factors of storms, increased supply of sediments and elevated large intensive discharges, meandering in different directions and bending to the velocity of water currents, contributing run-offs to the boisterous Osun headstreams, with the equilibrium of the resistant headstreams catastrophically inundated and braiding the flow into multiple distributive deltas, behaving differently, sometimes similarly but commonly in rainy seasons, resulting in floods, as bridges, piers, filled lands, sands bars and other obstacles including new buildings, kindred structures and deposition of debris by recalcitrant residents in the neighbourhood disrupt stream channels.
The effects of floods on human well-being could be disastrous. For instance, in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) era in Bola Ige House, Osogbo, state capital (2003-2010), life and property were ravaged by yearly floods; classrooms, collapsed and schooling was threatened; village settlements were submerged and abandoned; farms crops were extensively destroyed; major roads, streets, bridges, drainages and footpaths were cut off, and pedestrians suffered due to flood devastation while struggles by Osun residents to eke out a living, encumbered. And in intensity and impact, the ecoterrorism fired up a variety of deliberate environmental crimes against Osun masses, with the residents exposed to the pangs of water scorpions and bad temper snakes that live primarily among dead waterlogged leaves and plants in the wild Osun headstreams; and other colossal loses in human and materials simultaneously harbingered bioterrorism, the supply of muddy water officially net-worked for public drinking in the state. Both the ecoterrorism and bioterrorism of the pillaging state headstreams, resistant to control was such that actually destroyed Osun environment, intimidated and coerced the PDP government into ostensibly profound inaction, open decay and obviously clumsy stalemate. The party never knew what to do with the defiant headstreams in the state.
And for the flood agonies, the governed dramatically got back at Open Forum, the PDP civic engagement gadget, the PDP-Governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (2003-2010) dialectical medieval vocabularies with nebulous quantities of primordial, native proverbs that bore precise calibration but opprobrious meanings, ‘princely’ decorated with primeval mechanistic phrases and consistently at variance with the crucial issues of effects of flood imperil on the governed. The odious vernacular phrases or terms, not infrequently made no effective philosophical, moral palliatives in lieu of flood jeopardy but were propagandized to be amoral, mischievous, malicious, disintegrative, wicked and shameful by his abrasive handshakes, static eye balls, stone confidence, crocodile smiles and deliberate aloofness from the colossal loses of the governed to flood encroachment. The PDP reactionary democracy in Osun hexes public thinking, jaundiced till this day.
The Oyetola political will at tackling flooding, has its robust antecedence firmly entrenched in the continuity of the unsparing attitude of his predecessor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (2010-2018), now Hon. Minister of Interior, Federal Republic of Nigeria, to life and living in highly flood bedeviled Osun of the PDP era. Oyetola’s thoughtful political will of the magnitude rated in him, not one garbed in ignorance, indolence, an inch, influences his behavior towards floods and land use. His works and re-works on the profusely stubborn Osun headstreams, for greater dept and width, are a good solution to flood issues, good answer aimed at improving drainage and sanitation in the state, incapacitating the contingency of flooding, this year, by reducing flow resistance of the water ways, protecting lives and properties, and as consequence, promoting the holistic interest of the governed in government policies, programmes and projects just as sand dealers access with ease several metric tons of sands dug-up by dredging and re-dredging works.
And Osun residents can sleep with their two eyes closed even at cloud burst this year, heralding imminent fall of volatile, raging rains, with water banks now made accessible, stream channels now drained and deepened for flood flow, structures near streams now demolished and lands now reclaimed by the state Ministry of Environment. ‘’So far, we have dredged about 50kilometer-waterways,” said Engr Solagbade Oladepo, the ministry’s Hon. Commissioner, in a chat, stating, “we have plans to plant trees by water banks to prevent overflow of the banks; we have also stepped up flood awareness advocacy to change human attitude to flood plains,” to sustain the famous Osun flood-free status. He added, “government’s investment in the project is huge and no specific amount can be quoted off-hand for now.’’
For the ‘huge’ finances invested despite paucity of funds, Oyetola should be highly commended because control works and re-works on the obstreperous Osun headstreams makes acute, deep seated demands on the state government finances, with his deliberate equal commitments to the totality of the public interest in governance. Cross sections of the governed have openly expressed satisfaction with his government, working to the answer, not against the answer on public question in environmental welfare; they opined that funding from the federation accounts on ecology and environmental disasters should come to Osun now as preventive medicine rather than later. The imperative of flood control works and re-works on the rustle state headstreams is to crop destructions in the state on sustainable yields, focusing on Osun vegetation, Osun topography, Osun life and property and avert threats posed to Osun atmosphere, Osun hydrosphere and Osun lithosphere.
In the main, the intransigent human attitudes to water ways must stop; deposition of debris on stream courses must stop; and dry season farming too close to stream channels must stop. Individuals have a significant role in curtailing floods, and government must deal with anyone caught violating environmental laws.
This is about waste policing by everyone in Osun.
OLUSESI is Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy, All Progressives Congress (APC) State of Osun
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