- 3 commissioners suspended for improper dressing in Ebonyi
- CBN issues two new merchant bank licences
- Ekiti PDP accuses ACN of attacking members
- Daniel eulogises HID Awolowo at 97
- Jonathan hails Koroma's re-election
- Collapsed man: Edo dep gov threatens Airhiavbere
- Communal clash: Police arrest gang leader, 12 others in Nasarawa
- Corruption: There ‘ll be no sacred cow - Jonathan
- Amosun’s wife tasks students on reading culture
- Flooding: Dangote committee sets N50bn target
- Adamawa LG election conducted peacefully
- 1999 Constitution: Women group calls for amendment to gender-biased provisions
Flooding: From placebo to permanent solutions
LEADERSHIP is primarily about solving communal problems. Hence, a leadership is assessed by how effectively it addresses and redresses challenges and threats common to the people. However, the dividing line between a good and a bad leadership is the attitude brought to solving a problem. While bad leadership only tackles a problem on the surface, good leadership refrains from doing that but gets to the roots of the problem with the aim of getting an enduring solution. The fundamental difference between functional and dysfunctional leadership is the vision; functional leadership considers the whole picture in its response to a threat or challenge while a dysfunctional leadership is myopic and is only concerned about proffering immediate solutions without any consideration for the long term effects. A dysfunctional leadership always leaves an array of avoidable problems for its successors because of its preference for placebo rather than permanent solutions.
The sky opened on Wednesday and Thursday last week and poured down rains in torrents in most parts of the South West region of the country. In at least three of the states in the region, the rains poured for upwards of six hours, a situation which resulted in some parts of Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states being flooded; some houses were submerged, bridges were washed away while other properties worth millions of naira were destroyed.
According to reports, the flood could have been more cataclysmic and could probably have resulted in loss of lives if not that the governments of the states had been proactive and had dredged some of the rivers, a development that made for the quick de-flooding of affected areas. Unlike what happened in the city of Ibadan on August 26, 2011 when incessant rainfall resulted in the loss of many lives as the flood did not abate in good time thus sweeping away many houses and their owners, the rains of last week could not wreak much havoc because the Oyo State government had deepened and widened most of the rivers and streams in the city before the rains started.
The same scenario also played out in Lagos State. Contrary to what happened last year when a downpour of similar magnitude visited untold hardship and devastation on many communities in the state, the rains of last week had minimal adverse effects such that by Friday morning, most areas had been fully de-flooded.
The problem of flooding is an inherited one in most of the states. It is a consequence of the ‘planlessness’ of the past. Apart from the city centres, most parts of the states are not properly planned, what is available in most of these areas could best be described as haphazard development; development at the whims and caprices of the people, not development championed by the government; development by the rule of thumb, not a well thought out one. Most of the areas affected by the flooding are places where structures should not have been built in the first instance. How could anyone build a house on floodplains, canals and levees without expecting a flood disaster at one point or the other? Or how can anybody build a school on waterways, as it happened in the case of the Living Foundation Nursery/Primary School in Lafia, Nasarawa State, where seven school children died in a flood last week, without knowing that disaster would come knocking somehow someday?
But those who approved such structures are as culpable as those who constructed them. Part of the responsibility of government is the regulation and moderation of the citizens’ excesses. While it may not be out of place for an individual to express a desire to build on a canal, it is out of place for any government agency to assent that desire.
One of the responsibilities of leadership is finding the best solutions to identified problems and going ahead to implement them. Flooding has been identified as a problem and the permanent solution to the problem is to free the water paths, floodplains and levees of all forms of hindrance. In plain language, the Lagos State government, instead of telling those who live in lowland to relocate because meteorologists have predicted that there would be more rains, should spare no effort to evacuate the residents from those places so that it can do proper dredging of those areas to avoid a spill over of flooding from the areas to others whenever it rains heavily. With this, the state will become safe for everyone.
In the same vein, Oyo State government should go ahead and pull down all the structures erected along riverbanks which had been marked for demolition since last year. The reason is simple, until the waterways are cleared, flood disasters will not cease. While acknowledging that this is a tall order for elected officers who would like to avoid stepping on toes, the point has to be made that leadership is not a popularity contest; its core is utmost public good. Therefore, if instead of carrying out a surgery, the leadership opts for a placebo treatment, it is a disservice to the people. If the governments in these states fail to do the needful, they will not be better in this respect than those who caused the problem because they will be merely postponing the evil day. Flooding is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is a global phenomenon. However, contrary to what obtains in many other countries, flood disasters are common in our country because for long we have refrained from doing the right thing. Flood disasters are a rarity in many first world countries because their towns and cities are planned and they do not allow any form of deviation. If we want to put flood disasters behind us we need to learn to do the needful.
If we keep doing the same thing and expect a different result would we not be thought of as insane?Share