The incessant rainfall in the last few days has revealed a lot of structural flaws in the guiding vision and in the administrative focus of Lagos State.
The relentless rainfall has paralyzed all activities. The flood is everywhere. From Badagry to Broad Street the tidal wave of flood has grounded human and vehicular activities. Virtually everyone is stranded at home.
From Ikoyi to the farthest reaches of Epe, Lagosians are being drowned in a stubborn persistent thundering wave of endless flood.
Yes the floods, like some incorrigible rushing currents of an angry river, have virtually intruded into the most sacred sanctum of our homes.
From the streets to the sitting rooms, from the alleys to the bedrooms, the floods have inundated our lives, grounding normal businesses, halting our programs, vitiating our plans, preventing our children from going to school. Thousands have been rendered homeless, Hundreds of millions of properties have been destroyed. Lagos is indeed in a sorry, mournful phase. Homes are being destroyed. Roofs are shattered, vehicles drowned in the sweeping rush of floods.
The roads are now treacherous and impassable. Accidents are provoked everywhere as vehicular movements are predicated on the vagaries of the sweeping, angry flood.
Just two days ago in Ojota, an unbalanced container fell upon two fully loaded buses. The casualties are enormous.
What went wrong? Our drainages are clogged, ill-maintained and abandoned.
In our greed and selfish motivations, we are infringing upon the laws of nature. We are chasing the lagoon away in feverish, selfish paces. But water will always find its level. No one can alter the laws of nature. Nature is now rising up to affirm itself. And we cannot fight back unless we rectify our ways.
For one, the sand filling craze all over our state has virtually distorted the natural flow of the Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. From Apongbon in the West to the waters of Kuramo in the East, we have disrupted and sabotaged the normal pattern of nature.
With the ill-conceived and the ill-designed Eko Atlantic City, we have wiped out the Kuramo water which has served as a natural receptacle, containing the ebb and flow of the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
On that very bed of our coastline, villages, hamlets and towns have been wiped out, drowned in a sea of angry, rushing flood. Huge fortunes have been destroyed.
From the ebbing shores of the Lekki beach to the devastated remnants of Maiyegun Village, from the shattered relics of Aro Village to the painful ruins of Ologolo, from the choked, flooded alleys of Igbo-Efon to the destroyed expanses of Alpha Beach, our dear state has virtually sank beneath the water level. Most of the beaches have been wiped out.
Yes, the state is sinking pretty fast. And the arbiters of power are still fiddling while the state slips below the water level.
I was virtually distraught when I saw the new sand filling madness under the third mainland bridge, on the Eastern shore of Lagos. Ah, what madness! When will we stop this sickening acquisitive fixities?
And even in Banana Island, they are hurriedly chasing away the Lagoon, feverishly constructing an imaginary orange Island!
Where will all these lead us? Mother nature is angry with us. In the collective agreed of the tools of power, they have abandoned common sense for personal acquisitions. They have elevated commercial profit far beyond the confines of morality.
In this reckless pursuit of aggrandizement, the people suffer. The electorates suffer. The traders suffer, the businessmen suffer. The artisans suffer. The doctors, the lawyers, the journalists and everyone else suffer.
Governance is not and should not be about personal enrichment and nepotistic inclinations. Governance must never be about a self obsessed consummation.
Governance is about service. Governance is about instinctive selflessness to provide excellent service for the people.
The use of power must never be predicated on the narrow purview of personal benefits. It must never be about entrepreneurial advantages.
It cannot and it should not be about what’s in it for me or for my family or for my friends.
It must always be people oriented. It must always be people focused. The great nations and societies are built upon the total, relentless devotions of men and women who are indifferent to the acquisitions of personal fortunes, who work selflessly with total devotion to the enhancement of their society. Nations are never built on what’s in for me. Great societies are anchored on the sacrifice and selflessness of men and women of vision who put the good of their societies far above personal gains.
But where are such men and women today? The greed factor is overwhelming. The gross personalization of selfish advantages is everywhere. It is as if there is that mad hurry to acquire wealth, to satisfy self interest at the detriment of the ordinary citizens.
But nations and great societies are never built on narrow fixities of self interest. Great societies are never built upon personal pursuits and blind commercial acquisitions.
Great nations are about selfless devotions, instinctive altruism, deliberate sacrifice, unstinting resolve to the growth and improvement of the society.
Our Lagos is now at crossroads. The massive rainfall has revealed the fundamental imbalances in the visions and the focus of power. Those who presently constitute the leadership of our state must change their ways and their attitudes. It cannot be business as usual again.
We must change our vision. We must change our focus. We must change our ideals. We must change our resolve.
Governance must always be predicated on rectifying the ills of society. It must always be about healing the wounds, restoring hope, brightening our dreams, concretizing our ideals, expanding the expanses of hope.
This is our fundamental task. This is the pivot of statesmanship. We must now rescue our state from acquisitive managers whose sole aim is sheer commercialism of governance. This is our collective duty. This is our burden. We dare not fail. We dare not relent. The future generation will never forgive us if we choose to be silent. We must speak out about the present ills. We must speak truth to power. We must equally provide rectifying solutions even as we point out the errors and the mis-steps of power.
But we must never be frustrated. We must never waiver in our focus. We must be steadfast. We must be strong. And we must be sincere.
In conclusion, this Is the best opportunity for governor Akinwunmi Ambode to rectify the wrongs of old, to heal the wounds of yesterday, to mend the broken places and redesign the structures and invariably return and repair the withering paradise of our beloved Lagos state. This is his challenge. This is his burden.
Finally, the reckless sand filling madness should stop. The clogged drainages should be opened up. The mountains of garbages choking up the streets and residential areas should be removed. Sanity and propriety should be restored in the proper maintenance of all our structures and amenities.
Our state is the melting pot of our nation. It is the face of Nigeria. It is the bastion of accommodation and the instinctive embrace of all strangers. It is like a beautiful shining star upon the hill.
Let us then maintain our ideal of excellence. Let us maintain our ideal of the polished and burnishing epicenter of what epitomizes the best in our nation. May God Almighty guide us on the righteous pathway. I thank you all for listening.
– Chief Olabode George,
Atona Oodua of Yorubaland