By Adebayo Adeolu
The five states in Nigeria today that forms Eastern Nigeria are Anambra Abia Ebonyi Enugu and Imo.
The government at the federal and states have to work out ways of solving the erosion problems as it escalates in many of the rural towns which are not so rural and interior as population has tripled in the region over the last century.
The colonial government had encountered the problems but had not solved it completely as Nigeria got independent. The state governors and town planning authorities however will need to look at the economic and environmental damage this will cost the region and the political implications that will emerge if neglected too long. The leaders of eastern region continue to struggle for the leadership at the center while ignoring the home land It would be better to develop the eastern region hub and upgrade it to international standards. The people and governors don’t really need to wait for the federal government before they change the face of the region.
The cry of marginalization won’t help it is better for the people of the region who are industrious to show the world they can do it as nobody can take the region from them.
The Ibo people of eastern region have traveled to every point of the compass on the surface of the earth and have successfully survived in new territory making a difference. They trade and do business and are notable people in different countries around the world. The success achieved should be brought back home not only economically but through the wisdom of what they have seen all around the world. The governors should clamor that these bright people should bring ideas and knowledge back home and focus on what we can call the next level of development where manufacturing and industrial growth will emerge through knowledge based wisdom encouraging economic prominence. The region has erosion problems but how have they tackled it over the years is the question. The region has good soil for agricultural products but the heavy rain has its negative impact where defective planning laws were used.
The colonial government had opened up towns by good planning of roads and drainage systems they often did this in the government reserved areas where proper lay-out were done but once independence came those in government continued as the Europeans they only planned the government reserves where government officials would live and operate ignoring the rural areas and land that belonged to family. This are the private lay-out the government had failed to make a uniform plan concerning privately owned land.
The government layouts come with proper infrastructure like well laid out roads and drainage systems while the private land owners were left on their own to develop the areas which has resulted in houses scattered all around with awkward link roads that aren’t tarred and plots with awkward shapes and the non existence of proper drainage or gutters. This has led to badly planned layouts all over Nigeria surveyors who designed these private layouts often work unprofessionally by trying to maximize the number of residential plots they can cut out in the lay-outs against acceptable standards and design norm of having a well planned layout. They make the roads narrow in some areas without the thought of drains and gutters taken into consideration leading to the absence of uniformity when gully begin to form and emerge from the gradual process of erosion government officials don’t arrest the gradual erosion problems until it festers and becomes a huge gully. Many times the giant gully started very small but when officials are notified they postpone until it becomes a giant problem that would need serious funding and intervention it is believed Anambra has 600 or more gully problems Abia 200 plus Ebonyi 250 Enugu 500 and Imo with about 400 different areas affected.
The local government council areas have to be funded to deal with them. They need to get sand from other areas fill up compact and then create drainage routes when heavy rains falls the water has a Channel drain to pass through where this is ignored erosion takes place open land should be grassed if not in use and where there are sloping areas concrete should be used to cover all these areas and space.
Many governors have come and gone but the current governors should try to expand development into the rural community rather than believing the region is too small to house the Ibo nation ”they should advance” was the famous word towards independence used by nationalists leaders meaning its time to build sky scrapers in eastern region like Japan Dubai China.
The five governors should come together and work toward the advancement of the Eastern region they should change the game which is where restructuring would start. The erosion problems can be solved by using information through technology and wisdom that is available to us through education.
Adebayo Adeolu is a Public Affairs Analyst.