The politicization of natural disasters! - The Hope Newspapers

The politicization of natural disasters!

Admin 14 Sep, 2016 The Prism

By Taoheed Ajao

The flooded Esporta hotel vicinity in Ondo

The flooded Esporta hotel vicinity in Ondo

For a few days now, there have been torrential rains that led to a heavy downpour which overwhelmed the drainage system of the city of Ondo in Ondo State. The rain, which was particularly heavy and accompanied by storms on Saturday, the 10th of September, 2016, flooded a significant section of the town and caused damages to city social life, structures and businesses.

Past indiscriminate contraventions of city planning codes – building to obstruct water ways which, was not a preserve of Ondo city alone – led to a problem of bad channelization of the city water-ways occasioning reconstruction efforts of drainages by the Mimiko administration.

There initially, was a palpable feeling of relief in the city consequent upon the massive reconstruction works of drainages and water channelization particularly, by the Mimiko administration. It must be mentioned though, that past administrations had sought support from previous federal administrations through the ecological and disaster relief funds, without too much success.

However be that as it may, it is necessary to point out that there is nowhere in the world where adequate preparedness can forestall occurrences of natural disasters: if flooding such as the one pictured above could happen in Houston, Texas; if Hurricane Katrina could wreck such havoc in America; if advanced countries in Europe yearly grapple with the effects of too much rain or too much storms then, it should not occasion any surprise when flooding overwhelms the drainage system of a city as it happened when the levee and flood wall protectors in New Orleans, Louisiana USA, collapsed in 2005!

Rather than use the occasion as one for rabid partisanship and hold out the unfortunate event for spurious comparisons, the untold human miseries and dislocation ought to elicit compassion even if the purveyors of such propaganda are unintelligent enough to differentiate hardships due to infrastructural insufficiency from events of natural occurrence!

An apartment complex in Houston, Texas

An apartment complex in Houston, Texas

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and President Barrack Obama belong to opposing political parties whose differences were buried during the emergency relief assistance to the state during the blizzard – Operation Sandy – of 2011. The assistance of the Federal Government to the communities affected by the disaster is almost always taken for granted. Not here in Nigeria.

Many reasons make it absurd to apportion political blames for the flooding in the city on the present administration of Mimiko, who incidentally, happens to be an indigene of the city. He has not only been the governor that so far, has done the greatest work on the channelization of the water-ways and construction of most drainages in the city, he has, through comparative analysis with all the governors of Ondo State – living or dead, civilian or military – been the one that has given the greatest quantum of infrastructural support to the ancient city throughout its 40 years of being in Ondo State!!

The level of politics in our clime has sunken to such where charlatanism, quackery and demagogy have taken over political discourse. Some are not even content with mere politicization of the flooding along political parties, they have even sought to inflame the Ekimogun into a whirlwind of negative emotion against and thereby, cause disaffection with, their outgoing governor-son, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. Nor is this despicable propaganda even made easier to live with by the reality of the abysmal ignorance and rank amateurishness displayed by these calamity howlers from states with ‘pan-handler’ economy!

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