There is so much that comes with the power of imagination, for
instance, the power to visualize in one’s mind a community enmeshed in
environmental crises— to relate with their pains, loss, helplessness
and earnestly hope that a solution is proffered.
Sympathy, the usual emotion we feel from a distance in such crises, is
suddenly replaced by grip and panic. This was grip and panic walking
again through the submerged communities of Oke-Ado and Oke Bola in
Ibadan on the 18 and 19 September 2019.
Earlier this year, the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had
reeled out 12 states in the country that will experience extreme
flooding with about 600 local government areas in the country stated
to be under the threat of flood.
Instructions were given to residents to avoid building structures
within the flood plains, keep up with the exercise of cleaning their
drainages and avoid undue disposal of waste.
However, in the late hours of Wednesday 18 September, the residents of
Oke-Ado and Oke Bola had quite a different narrative to the cause of
flooding that bared on them.
Residents of Oke-Ado and Oke Bola had had a break from flooding until
the era of former governor of Oyo state, Adebayo Alao-Akala. The
former governor had seen to the need to reconstruct tardy roads in the
communities but had actually done so at a more grievous cost—roads
were expanded with little attention to the influx of water making
waves from the far-off river of Odo Alagbafo to the drainages in local
The construction was done in such a way that linkages were water could
flow freely were blocked.
Further compounding the problem were the emergence of filling stations
that had barred the torrent flow of water with underground rings.
Consequently, people are constantly compelled to saddle up their
girdle when the storm arises.
Residents, understanding that road constructions cannot be reversed,
attributed the need for constant dredging of neighbouring canals,
ditches and drainages to allow for easy water flow.
The government in their own accord had failed to meet up with the
obligation of sending appropriate authorities to do the needed. They
are, therefore, left to bear the cross of clearing the gutters
“There is a deep gutter that runs from Odo Alagbafo right through Oke
Bola and Oke-Ado. On a routinary basis, we pack out the sands in these
gutters by ourselves but whenever there is heavy rainfall, it goes
straight back in. This we do because the government has not been
consistent in making sure that these gutters are dredged,” one of the
Another victim had added that the manual act incorporated by people to
save their skin has been well practiced for years but they indulge the
services of the right body to do proper justice to cleat blocked
drainages and culvert waterways also adding that residents had also
failed to play their part in keeping flood at bay.
He said, “There was usually a refuse site in the community but now it
is no more in view. Newly sprouted buildings that came up afterward
resorted to putting their waste in nylons and throwing them anywhere
they like such that when rain falls, it moves them all thereby causing
The recurrent issue of flooding is the communities have gone out of
hand to cripple residents off a good standard of living.
While the issue may appear stale even with the minimality of rainfall
ever since September, residents are still yet to recover from their
huge loss and are apprehensive of a repeat of the flood.
“Whenever rain falls, all my properties such as my plasma tv, radio,
shelves are ruined completely. I am not very buoyant to make a
decision to leave my home, and considering the outrageous fees
demanded by agents, it is enough to keep us where we are. We can’t
afford to sleep whenever these rains fall.
“We sleep in it and wake up the following day to continue to scoop
water from our homes. The government should come to our aid as we are
still trying to recover from the flooding issue in 2018—where it had
all started again,” a victim of the flood at Oke Bola said.
Another affected victim in Oke-Ado who preferred to remain anonymous
added, “We were all affected by the flood. It has been two days since
the rain fell, but I can’t open my shop because all my carpentry tools
have been destroyed by the rain. There has been poor maintenance on
the part of the government.
“The drainage cannot flow properly because of the wrong construction
of the road and the bridge that lies ahead. We fear that we may
continue to have to live with this when it happens again.”
SaharaReporters, New York