The Rich Also Cry…
The flooding in the islands of Ikoyi, Lekki and Victoria is what you get when citizens are detached from the governance process which determines their existence.
We’ve seen a flood of emotions by many on social media. A lot of it is gloating, indignant retort and plenty of trademark Nigerian humor, oftentimes distasteful. As with everything in Nigeria, It has become a battle of who has the better deal — Mainland or Island.
Unfortunately not many are talking about how our ‘siddon look’ attitude is once again causing many to endure a harrowing experience which is caused in part by administrative ineptitude. This flood is man made and self inflicted and we can only blame our government and by extension, ourselves for being docile and ineffectual, after all, we are the government.
If you have lived in Lagos long enough you’ll know that the greatness of Lagos is largely exaggerated. Public transport is a mess, there’s little or no decent public housing, where it exists, it is inadequate. Roads in many places are in terrible shape (just drive through the inner streets of VI, Lekki & Ikoyi). Many Lagos residents have to provide their own water and don’t even get me started about public education. My point is, like practically all parts of Nigeria, Lagos is a mess. What makes Lagos even worse is the fact that there’s absolutely no demand for accountability from residents. Lagosians have grown used to getting it done themselves — water, security, light and sometimes road and have failed to realize that the reason government exists is to make life better for all.
As long as I’ve known, Lagos has always had a problem with flooding during the raining season. We’re all talking about it now because the elite are now experiencing what ordinary Lagosians have long lived with. Just go to places like Aboru in Ipaja and many other parts of Alimosho local government, you’ll find residents who can probably now call themselves experts in flooding. It is however a good thing that the rich are also crying, hopefully it will get the Lagos state government to have a larger conversation about town planning, waste disposal and drainage channeling. Now that the elite, who are one of the primary culprits for poor town planning in Lagos, are being battered by mother nature, maybe we can finally agree that the way we are allowing Lagos to grow is inimical to the long term existence of the city. As a city so close to the Atlantic and with the ever growing threat of climate change, we need to ensure that our town planning is able to withstand anything that mother nature throws at us.
Lagosians can’t continue to play the ostrich. You have to get involved in the governance of the state. Demand that the right things be done, irrespective of the place in Lagos, Island or Mainland. If Island residents had been speaking up for mainland residents who have been experiencing flooding on a regular basis for years, government would have taken preventive action to make sure it stops on the Mainland and it doesn’t happen on the Island. We have to watch out for one another, humanity is one irrespective of social class. The Lagos state government needs to make some tough decisions concerning town planning, waste disposal and drainage systems across the state. They won’t be popular decisions, but are necessary to avert greater loss of lives, property and livelihood. We can’t continue to leave things to chance.