AKESAN INFERNO: The Thirst That Killed Our Businesses | Titilola Babatunde Dayo
If we had a thousand wishes for Sunday January 5, 2020, none would ever be about sending fire to visit the shops of the lower class citizens of Oyo town. But it happened.
And whether fate or humanly orchestrated, it is a scar we will always remember. Sadly, the identity of Sunday as a day of rest and joy in the presence of God quickly changed to an event that caused tears to flow down the eyes of poor sellers. What would have been a day of rest, alas, became a day of unrest filled with false hopes that someone would intervene.
Should we lay the fault on what might have caused the fire? Maybe, at least if we know it was a deliberate act. But whether intentional or by accident, the fire happily performed it function, turning shops into dust and waste. In the realization of how effective the fire was in quickly surmounting dozens of shops, one cannot but wonder where the firefighters were.
Surprisingly, the town’s only fire station is less than fifty meters away from the market – a stone-throw you might say. One would believe the firefighters would have contained the fire before doing more damage. As unfortunately as it would be, there was no help, not even from the very near station supposedly to house firefighters. Whatever their defense was that caused their absence in the fire scene is without doubt, inconsequential compared to the necessity of their intervention. Their irresponsible act cannot go unnoticed.
But while we blame the surprising and shameful omission to perform of the firefighters, we must also invite the government to the blame cycle. In this current world of democracy and in a town with elected leaders, this incident is a clear indication that our elected leaders are not doing well enough. Or did they omit the thought of protecting the people against fire outbreaks? With great doubts!
There could be two views to this; one is whether the firefighters are being sincere with their claim of lack of water and sufficient equipment or whether they have siphoned the finance channeled to provide them with what they need. But whatever is the case, it appears the state government has done so poorly in the aspect of providing sufficient infrastructure for the fire station and ensuring adequate monitoring of the functionality of the station. By all means, as regards curtailing fire emergencies, the elected leaders of the town especially the State House of Representative members should be ashamed of themselves. If they could not see the need to build a responsive fire station, how would they notice how bad electricity or road network has become in the town?
Undoubtedly, the fire outbreak is another reason why Oyo citizens must think thrice before electing their leaders. Or what is the essence of voting for someone who does not know any bit about the situation of the people. The condition of the town’s fire station is nothing to write home about and none of the elected representatives has seen what is so glaring. In the strong hope that our representatives become more responsible in their respective offices, we must also recognize our collective duty as rational voters.