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OYO101: Time For GSM To Refill World Bank Trust Bank | Muftau Gbadegesin

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By June 30, 2022, the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project development facilitated by World Bank will come to a close. But now, the project is in a bind. Approved on the 17th of June, 2014, the project consists of: Flood Risk identification, prevention and preparedness measures; Flood Risk reduction; and Project Administration and Management Support. In the World Bank analysis, the first component of the project assess flood risk in the city of Ibadan, plan risk and risk reduction measures, and finance preventive structural and non-structural measures to enhance flood preparedness.

While the second component is to ensure “flood risk mitigation through structural measures by funding public infrastructure investments for flood mitigation and drainage improvements, the third component will finance incremental operational costs related to the implementation of the project for goods, equip, staff, travel, and project management unit’s consultant services”.
Ibadan, largest West African city has been a flood prone city right from Independence. A quick recap into the devastating effects of flood in Ibadan show that more than 1000 residents were rendered homeless when the Ogunpa River exceeded its banks in 1960. Likewise in 1963, more than 500 houses were destroyed when the River flooded the city again.

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And in 1978, official record revealed that 32 bodies were retrieved from the ruins and devastation of the flood with more than a 100 houses washed off. But the flood of August 31, 1980 brought Ogunpa and Ibadan, to National and International disaster limelight. With a heavy downpour of about 10 hours, estimated to be four times heavier than it was recorded during the 1978 flood according to Wikipedia, Ibadan, the seat of the regional government of Western Nigeria was virtually in devastation. In a September 1982 paper titled Urban Flooding in Ibadan: A diagnosis of the problem, Akin B. Oguntala and J.S Oguntoyin contended that “mis-management of the Ibadan environment in the form of uncontrolled deforestation of hill slopes, blockage of natural drainage and encroachment of river flood plains have increased the runoff rate into streams and rivers, bringing about floods”.

Decades after the publication of that Journal and other works of research aimed at finding lasting solution to incessant flood occurrence in the city, we are still working towards building a resilient city compare to one that only respond to flood disaster. Of the flood disasters that have wreaked havoc on the human and material resources in the city, that of 1980, which had the visitation of President Shehu Shagari and of 2011 left bad memory and greater destruction than the rest.

And when the news of World Bank withdrawal from the Ibadan Urban flood Management project hits the airwaves, conversations both on and offline became muddled with each prioritizing politics over safety wiping off the middle ground and balance and objective analysis. Take the press statement credited the Governor’s Chief Press secretary, Taiwo Adisa for instance, one is sure to find litany of political epithets pointing fingers on political opponents. Of course, that may be fine in some instance but in matters of safety such as mitigating the effects of flood in Ibadan, politics should be jettisoned and be drop in dustbin. For Government should be the solution and not the problem.

“Is Government the problem” Abhijit V. Baberjee and Esther Duflo rhetorically asked in their book, Good Economics for Hard times. And to some extent especially in matters of flood management, and other sundry issues such as building trust with the people and international agency such as World Bank, the simple answer is yes. In part because people don’t plan for government or sign agreement on its part. The very idea of what a city should look like or how to prevent disasters and boost development rests on Government’s neck. But in essence, the bulk of the problem also lies with the people.

People’ s strict compliance to government’s directives and readiness to play their path in the scheme of things go along way in ensuring things work seamlessly and successfully. In other words, where people flaunts directives, development suffers paving the way for disasters. “Flooding” former Environment commissioner, Isaac Ishola once remarked “is caused majorly by the unhygienic attitude of the people”. And that is where the critical role of trust in governance is critically needed.

“He who does not trust enough” Lao Tzu once declared “will not be trusted”. For the state Governor, now is the time to demonstrate trust, both to the people and the World Bank. Otherwise, this life saving project may suffer due to trust deficit. That should not happen.

OYO101, Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion on issues affecting Oyo State, is published on Saturdays. He can be reached via muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850.

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