#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD: How Governmental Failures Add Up To Disasters By @Lanre_Olagunju

Published:12 Jan, 2013

When government decides to remain hopelessly insensitive to its duties, it results into unpopular but severe implications like citizens trying to find individual solutions to public problems. Nigerians do not expect much from the political class anymore and it shows in the unending quest to personally provide basic things that should have been provided by the government. In several ways, this has telling adverse effect not just on the economy but the environment as well.


One of the most basic psychological needs of man is the need to quench thirst, without the availability of a basic need like water, striving to live becomes difficult. When you consider that in the 21st century, people still struggle for a necessity such as water, and that people actually still drink from the same river they defecate, wash and bath, it becomes absolutely impossible to consider if such people can ever strive for self-actualization.

Sadly, in a country of over 150 million people like Nigeria, only a meager 30% have access to portable water. Is it that government is not aware of the absence of portable water which remains a major pre-requisite for improved health care and sanitation? Moreover easy access to portable water practically helps in combating water borne diseases like cholera.

In the fashion of looking out for alternative means to provide basic amenities, a large percentage of property owners in Nigeria depend on underground water i.e. borehole, which they dig privately, as any attempt to ignore it is to deny occupants access to portable water.

As an hydrologist, I know that uncontrolled drilling of boreholes poses long term environmental threat like man-made earthquake and other environmental damages. It’s quite vital to consider that in places like Lagos and Abuja, people build on less than half a plot. And each individual wants to have a borehole in his residence. This results into excessive pumping of groundwater. And when large quantity of water is pumped out of the ground at a rate higher than it’s recharged, the ground, over time becomes hollow. After a while, the ground will compress and this might lead to collapse of building on such land, leading to loss of lives and property.

Going by the occurrence in countries with similar issues, it has been proven that when groundwater in any community is extensively and excessively withdrawn, after a long period of time, it results into lowering of the land surface, which is called subsidence. It was discovered that the earth lowered by 4.7 meters in Japan which badly affected many structures. As a result of this, Water Law was established to reduce the withdrawal of groundwater. Uncontrolled groundwater extraction via boreholes was responsible for recording similar occurrence in Su-Xi-Chang in China and also in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1994. In terms of contamination, a couple of people in northern Nigeria have lost their lives to drinking borehole water contaminated with Zinc poisoning.

Fortunately, this is a sector that can be revived if government surrenders it over to knowledgeable private investors.


To avert being in the dark due to the constant lack of electricity, individuals purchase generators, as there is hardly a household without at least one I beta pass my neighbour generator– a small sized generator commonly used to power low power-demanding gadgets . To remain relevant in business, big industries and corporations use mega generators to run business activities. And when many couldn’t break even, they had to move production to neighbouring countries with better power supply. But that aside, we can’t neglect the fact that the fumes from this alternative now turned regular source of power is actually toxic. The toxic waste from generators are contaminating the environment and in the wider sense, it’s reducing life expectancy by increasing chances for diseases like cancer amongst other deadly ailments.


When the judiciary fails or slows down justice, as a nation we’ve mastered to take the laws into our hands by lynching alleged criminals, just like the incident of #Aluu4 that shook Nigeria in October 2012. A case where four innocent undergraduates where gruesomely lynched and burnt alive for a crime they actually never committed.


Rather than ask for better roads with nice road networks or even demand that alternative means of transport like the modern train system be put in place, tired and frustrated citizens would rather buy Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) that can whether the bad roads with deep potholes wide enough to cook for an entire community. And you begin to wonder if increasing the number of SUVs on our bad roads would temper the economic gawkiness that lack of good transport system constitutes.

Without talking about security, one can actually go on and on.  And sometimes you can’t but be tempted to ask that won’t the country be better off without the government which is only famously known for corruption, mismanagement and failing successfully at disbursing its basic responsibilities.

Nations only thrive when the government and citizens do that which is required for economic progress and development.

I am @Lanre_Olagunju

#INSIGHTWITHLARIGOLD runs on www.omojuwa.com every Saturday.




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