RAUF AREGBESOLA,A trailblazer
On assumption of office on October 27, 2010 and in his bid to prevent the repeat of July 7, 2010 flood disaster which ravaged Osogbo,the capital city of the state of Osun and other cities,immediate dredging of some flood disaster-prone streams and rivers in the state was Aregbesola’s priority and a huge sum of money was released for the assignment.
The gesture was to guarantee the safety and rekindle the hope of residents, especially those living very close to the streams and rivers.
Flash floods are common in Osun in the rainy season (May-September), many parts of the state had witnessed the fair share in the hazards caused by flood over the years.
Besides destroying buildings and lives, floods have the devastating ability to ravage crops and destroy transportation routes of any community that are unlucky to have the unwanted visit of flood.
Residents of Osogbo, especially people around Rasco area of Oke-fia cannot easily forget the devastating flood experienced in that axis year in year out before the advent of the workaholic Rauf.
The Rasco area of Oke-fia is an area in Osogbo which had always been prone to flooding over the years, due to construction of houses on erosion path, on streams, blockage of drainages and total disregard to the environmental laws. This is also the case in many parts of the state.
The Rasco bridge which was built many years ago has over the time had became too small and not large enough to contain the volume of water flowing during the raining season. The annual flood occurrence in the area has resulted to loss of live and properties; it is a commercial area where complex, shops and containers are located.
However, relief came to the people of the state when the present administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who has demonstrated his commitment to prevention of flood and erosion control in his first term by embarking on dredging of streams and rivers across the state, made move and addressed the Rasco flood. The Rasco flood control project started with separation of buildings and shops that were built on waterways and those that were very close to the river. The separation cost the government millions of naira.
During the exercise, it was discovered that the cause of flood in the area was because the original path for the water had become too narrow to contain the water whose volume has risen over the years.
There was need to expand the waterways, the Rasco river was subsequently dredged to clear the debris preventing the free flow of water. A reinforced retainer and concrete chanelisation of about 12meters wide and 2.5meters high was made to have a smooth control and flow of the river.
Significantly, a much bigger bridge which corresponds with the wider range of the water path to control the huge volume of water, a triple cell bus Culvert with each of the cell constructed to a specification of 2.5 meters wide and 3 meters high was put in place to guide against a situation where the flood overflows to road.
The bridge was majorly reconstructed to be able to accommodate the now high volume of water that pass under it, the state government also thought it wise to construct the bridge to meet world standard as the road over the bridge has now been reconstructed with pave stones to add beauty to the area.
The havoc wrecked on the citizens of Osun in 2009 and 2010 by floods is such that cannot be forgotten in a hurry because it left a lot of homes and families in pains and sorrows which many of them are yet to recover from.
For her almost eight years of existence, the Aregbesola administration has not looked back in the determination to avoid flooding in Osun as rivers and streams such as the Okookoo and Ogbagba streams in Osogbo has never been left untouched on a yearly basis.
Running into about 75 kilometers, the water ways which the Aregbesola dredging machines worked on annually include; Esimirin, Agbara, Opa, Gbalefefe, Ogboku, Osun streams in Ile-Ife and Modakeke-Ife axis.
We also have the Opopo, Ogbun, Amino, Akeri in Ila-Orangun. In Ilesa axis there is the Omiru, Olutokun and the Adeti streams. The Mogimogi and Aiba rivers in Apomu and Iwo respectively are also not left out. A number of stream and rivers of not less than 30 kilometers in towns like Ipetu-Ijesa, Ejigbo, Yakooyo, Ipetumodu, Asipa, Ikirun, Iragbiji, Ede and Igbajo are also being dredged on an annual basis to avoid flooding.
At the beginning of every year, meteorologists have always done their job of predicting and at the same time warning the people and government of the amount of rainfall that will be witnessed in any particular area.
But it is so unfortunate that most state governors in the country always resort to the fire brigade approach of doing things. The floods would have already wrecked its harvock and ravaged homes and farmlands before the government begin to act. Many state governments in the country believe in spending huge amount of money on relief materials instead of spending lesser amount of money preventing flood.
Thanks to our futuristic Rauf.
Almighty God, Ruler of Heaven and Earth I beseech thee to secure and protect the lives and properties of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as his tenure gets to a glorious end. Amin