For ages, the major problem in Ibadan-land has always been the hydra-headed Ogunpa River that often bear its fangs any time there is torrential downpour, which ultimately resulted in large scale flood, perennially leaving on its trail human carnage of immeasurable proportion, as well as properties worth billions of Naira destroyed.
But, in recent years, the challenge seems to have been tamed by the collaborative efforts of the federal and state governments, and other concerned stakeholders through contemporary infrastructural initiatives, so much that the residents of the ancient city now heave a sigh of relief, as they’re almost completely free from the harassment of this nature-imposed challenge.
It’s therefore absolutely unfathomable and completely out of order for the residents of the ancient city to found themselves overwhelmed by the sound of a loud explosion at about 7.40 pm on Jan, 17, 2024 that completely shattered the peace and serenity of the largest city in West Africa.
By the time the explosion subsided, it has completely reduced a highbrow and classy neighborhood, called Dejo Oyelese Close, Adeyi Avenue, Bodija, Ibadan within the popular Bodija axis to rubble, with about 86 houses of different modern structures totally levelled, 77 people fatally injured and about 7 left dead.
As I put on this piece, integrity tests are being conducted on about other 230 properties within the location of the explosion.
The concerned properties, according to the governor of the state includes 13 houses within 50 meters radius of the blast site, 40 houses within 100 meters radius, 122 houses within 200 meters radius and 53 houses within a 250 meters radius.
The state Authority also confirmed that, the clinical psychologist has commenced counselling for victims of the incident at the Emergency Operations Centre in Ibadan, an exercise meant to psychologically take their minds completely off the incident.
It’s also instructive to note that the operations at ground zero has moved from search and rescue to the stage of recovery.
The governor also identified for selection two (2) Four Star Hotels within the area, where all the surviving victims of the collapsed houses are been temporarily accommodated and catered for.
But, the center piece of this Write-up is not the destructive explosion itself, but rather, the swift response of the governor from the first minute of the occurrence up to the time of this contribution.
Just about 10 minutes after the explosion, the governor and his entourage were the first team to register their presence at the site of the incident.
The governor, in Jeans, T-Shirts and Face Cap, was seen right at the middle of the carnage dishing out instructions to team of rescue agencies and security teams, as well as other spirited Nigerians who were contributing their quotas to ensuring that casualties figure reduced to the barest minimum.
The second day was not less different, as governor and his entourage landed at the site by 9 am, to continue the rescue efforts and more importantly, providing the concrete information that relates to the root cause of the explosion.
At the event, even before the press conference at Agodi governor’s office later on that day, the apprehensive residents of the ancient city already got the first hand information that the dastard act was perpetrated by the foreign illegal miners who collaborated with unscrupulous Nigerians to keep explosive devices that wrecked that large scale havoc, in a particular house within the area where that explosion occurred.
Meanwhile, the purposeful, wise and discerning governor having the consciousness that the explosion incident is a national disaster and not that of Oyo State alone, got prepared the comprehensive report of the event, headed for Aso Villa over the weekends to make the presentation to President Bola Tinubu who has already commended him for his diligence, competent leadership and pro-activeness in ensuring that the devastating effect of the disaster was significantly curtailed.
The president has since dispatched his delegation led by Mr. Dele Alake Minister of Solid Minerals Development to Ibadan for on-the-spot assessment.
President also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to work and collaborate with the state government to offer immediate and comprehensive relief to the victims.
It must be emphasized that we live in a contemporary world where disaster of varying degrees and different modes occur at will, and often, without prior notice.
But, it’s the swift response, diligence and patriotic zeal of the leaders in the authority to deploy resources to counter or halt or reduce to the barest minimum, the effects of such disaster on people, as well as private or public properties that is paramount and of essence.
In the Ibadan episode, Governor Seyi Makinde has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he’s a leader that could be sufficiently trusted and relied on, to provide purposeful, resourceful and courageous leadership in good times and even, during trying times.
The governor has the history of boldness and display of guts in leadership, particularly any time the chips are down.
We could vividly recollect how he successfully & tactically drew the curtains on the nefarious and very destructive activities of NURTW team hitherto led by Auxiliary in the state.
Since the turn of the 4th Republic in 1999, Seyi Makinde remains the only governor in the state who doesn’t owe allegiance and bow to whims and caprices of a god father.
It’s also instructive to note that, he’s one governor who is not unduly tied down and manipulated by the traditional rulers. It’s a very long time that an Oyo State governor has enjoyed this leverage and latitude.
It’s also worthy of note that Governor Makinde a couple of years back, singlehandedly coordinated the election of PDP in the South West, leading to the election of former deputy governor of Oyo state, Taofeek Arapaja as PDP Deputy Chairman, South zone.
Even, former Ekiti governor, Ayo Fayose attested to the astuteness, shrewdness and industry of the Oyo state governor.
Even though he’s in second term of office, a tenure that most governor utilize to rest, as well as paying scant attention to governance and state duties, this hasn’t been the style of this governor who has been commissioning projects in all the five (5) divisions of the state and has also enumerated those on-going projects already projected for completion and eventual commissioning.
This writer therefore applaud and strongly commend the Chief Executive of Oyo State for continually taking governance and state duties of the pace setter state a serious business, laced with commitment, seriousness, vigour and attention they deserve.
This is what has ensured developments in all the nooks crannies, as well as peace and orderliness to reign supreme all over the state.
Kola AMZAT (FCA, FCIB),
Lagos Based Financial Consultant,