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Why didn’t Tinubu help fix slums?

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Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Sir: The image of a festering slum at Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, in a recent daily edition of the Daily Trust, where open defecation points almost coincide with a drinking-water well that is still in use will make anyone puke in disgust.

Is this Nigeria of the 21st century where the richest black man in the world hails from? Isn’t Osun the ancestral state of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who hails from Iragbiji town? What did a “Tinubu Boy,” Rauf Aregbesola, do to uplift and gentrify Osogbo and other places in eight years when he served as governor? One is sad because the Yoruba people are stereotyped across Nigeria on account of personal and neighbourhood hygiene and it appears that no influential Yoruba person has shown a desire to help remove this stereotype.

The one powerful Yoruba person who should have said, “no to slums!” this past 20 years was Tinubu, who unlike other politicians of this day, was able to hold a clout in nearly all of the states of the Southwest. Tinubu goes to England, America and sundry other places and he appreciates their clean streets and dwellings otherwise he won’t buy a house in London.

But it seems that folks in his native Southwest are consigned to live with vermin, disease and eyesore for as long as it takes. What is the point of being super-rich and super-influential if one’s community is not neat? Nigeria’s “big men” class keeps disillusioning themselves that they can live apart from slums that fester around them. No, they can’t, because domestic and security workers from these slums and flies and insects and mice all from these slums are the active links between these sequestered “big men” and the slums they choose to ignore. We were aghast to see on newspapers, the neighbourhoods some of these “big men” call “home” or “ward” during the last series of general elections.

Tinubu can, if he still wishes, counsel for the immediate gentrification of the Southwest region by massive slum-clearance schemes and provision of low-cost homes for the very poor. It is as doable as reading A, B, C.

Sunday Adole Jonah, Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State.


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