A sign of the exceptional ability of Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to tackle a problem head-on and with admirable candor is his continued fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. As the incident commander, he leads the state army of anti-covid-19 crusaders from the front lines, albeit at enormous personal risk to his own health. When such a character is faced with impossible challenges far beyond his human and material capacities head-on, this writer believes he should be praised and encouraged rather than being pilloried as some are accustomed to. do it.
This brings me to the recent outcry over the flash floods in Lagos. The relentless flooding in parts of Lagos is causing concern: it has given rise to alarming reports in some neighborhoods that Africa’s most populous city may soon become unlivable. Therefore, the predicament of the governor who is usually a go-getter and problem-solver can be better imagined.
I have to say without fear of being contradicted that Lagos finds itself in this cosmic dilemma due to its geographical location at sea level, as many other developed cities that occupy the same position struggle with worse experiences. Knowing that flash floods have wreaked havoc even in the world’s most advanced countries, a naturally flood-prone terrain like Lagos is extremely unpredictable, and at times it ridicules even the wisest experts with its volatility.
For example, large parts of Europe have been inundated in recent times by flash floods despite the “advanced” nature of these countries. Only the Netherlands, according to verifiable statistics, has been able to prevent the kind of frightening deaths that have occurred in its wake. Here’s why. The Dutch had spent years earlier billions of dollars from various sources to prevent disaster. That kind of money is not easy to come by again, especially for a city like Lagos in a country still struggling with relentless recession.
To have a fair assessment of this demon and its manipulation in Lagos, an understudy is imperative. With a proper assessment of the environmental situation of Lagos, it is safe to say that, being
Home to over 24 million people and being a topographically low-lying city on Nigeria’s Atlantic coast, the combination of sea level rise due to climate change with this type of population explosion has made it difficult to make real projections empirical scientists.
It is not a question of exonerating the governor because there are few glaring gaps in the treatment of environmental questions. At the same time, these shortcomings are not due to a lack of passion for making a difference on the part of the governor. Simply put, they are often related to circumstances beyond its control and that of the government.
By implication, I am not saying that there are optimally and richly maintained drainage systems in Lagos: a fact requiring an urgent governance response. Nor has enough been done on the problem of uncontrolled urban growth. Statistically however, including a study by the Institute of Development Studies, the land in Lagos can only cede to full control after billions of dollars have been spent.
In fact, given the type of topography that Lagos faces, especially the erosion of the coastline which makes the city vulnerable to flooding; the rise in the water level which is eating away deep into coastal lands and the type of funds currently available to the Lagos State Governor as an administrator who has to deal with other conflicting issues, this n is wondering how he managed to keep his head above the storm.
If flooding requires this enormous effort, it must quickly become a major global concern. No, thanks to the counter-effect of global warming and the resulting swelling of water bodies during torrential rains, such as the one recently observed on June 16, 2021. As a result, parts of the state have experienced a wave of rain. worrying flooding to varying degrees. With their livelihoods and daily activities disrupted, it is natural for Lagosians to protest and blame the flash floods at their leader’s doorstep, hence the tendency to criticize the governor. But, frankly, although the responsibility for governance rests on the shoulder of the head of state, an understanding of the dynamics of environmental issues and the social and scientific demands of climate change would elicit a better understanding. of the governor’s predicament in facing an unmitigated problem.
The economic and ecological impact of floods is both colossal in terms of cost and pain. Every time he unleashes his terror, the flood leaves many homeless; steals their personal belongings from people; hurts a lot and brings even the most powerful of men to their knees.
Fortunately, the state has a proactive governor who is doing all he can to mitigate future occurrences of the destructive effects of flooding on the natural fabric of the state and its citizens. Nonetheless, it is a difficult task due to the state’s ‘Water State’ status due to a large body of water – a place of aquatic splendor. Judging from my personal investigation, the governor, nicknamed the “relief commander” and his team of knowledgeable experts are developing pragmatic approaches that will ultimately prevent overflows and excess water during the rainy seasons.
- Ojewusi written from Lagos.
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