By Ibraheem Kolawole
Natural disasters are things human beings cannot stop but can only take precautionary measures to avert its destruction on livelihood. Flood, as an example of natural disaster that always occur during raining season has killed, displaced many and in other cases rendered traders helpless as many have watched their goods been damaged or swept away by flood; This is not a new scenario in Osun state.
Flood is a natural disaster that Osun as a state always contends with annually, perhaps as a result of the Osun river that surrounded the state capital and linked virtually every part of the state. As a resident of Gbodofon, Osogbo West LCDA, Saturday August 2019 was an horrible day that may be difficult to forget in hurry, it was a night of flood as houses, workshops were all submerged by floodwater after a heavy downpour.
My residence was occupied by the floodwater which seemed to have missed its way by forcing itself to another path while the heavy rain continues, my family and our tenants all rushed out of the building to save ourselves from being drawn in water.
We strived to avoid the natural disaster from taking over our building by pouring out the water caused by flood of Gbodofan river channels, but the efforts proved abortive as neighbours watched us with sympathy while others joined us in the rescue intervention. Our building is not too far from Gbodofan river and we have been living in the apartment for decades without this horrible experience.
Having escaped that day, we taught it were over, on 27th of September, 2019, the river bank overflowed again and treated us as disdains who never yielded to previous warning, we were helpless watching our properties submerging by the uncontrollable floodwater.
The day seemed like life has ended as all working equipment of shop owners, artisans doing business in the area were swept away. Few hours after the rain stopped, the news of the disaster spread across the state, many spectators stormed the area watching how the flood took over our properties as I and the other occupants joined in helpless situation aiming for an urgent intervention from the government.
The situation was obviously beyond our control, that day I understand and affirmed the assertion that human being cannot stop natural disaster but can only control it for his own advantage. Even the worshipping centre of Christian faithful situated at the river bank was taken over by the flood.
Few hours later, the Executive Governor of the state, Adegboyega Oyetola with other top officials of the government appeared at the scene of the incident to see for themselves the level of damages.
The governor with his response team issued and executive order for immediate action to curtail the flood against further damages and to rescue the affected occupants of the area from the natural disaster.
Dredger and excavator were deployed to the area the next day to expand the water way for water to flow well, I and other occupants whose workshops are situated at the river bank were all advised to vacate the premises which we all acted upon.
Since the raining season started this year, officials of the state government have been coming around to see for themselves situation of this area so as to know other precaution measures needed to be put in place against unwanted flooding.
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One unique character of the state Governor, Gboyega Oyetola is proactiveness, since inception of this administration, his attitudes and continence are pointer to his believe that prevention is better than cure. Through this giant step by expanding the water ways, we have been at rest and nurse no fear that flood can horridly visit us again.
He demonstrated that he is a man of few words but immediate action, contrary some impression that his on spot assessment executive order was a political statement, in few days it was implemented and this singular action reinforced that trust of the people of Gbodofon in his administration.
Beyond the usual dredging, Oyetola has introduced another innovation which is Trees planting which is key as important component in creating resilience in the ecosystem to floods, droughts and pollution.
According to environmentalists, the Tree roots will stabilise the river banks and can reduce the rate of bank erosion. This is one of the mechanism Oyetola government has taken. Tree has been planted beside Gbodofan drainage. This innovation, if sustained will not only reduced flooding but reduce government expenses on annual dredging of water ways
Ibraheem Kolawole Writes from Gbodofon, Osogbo, State of Osun
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