It was the bad day for the cut when a raging fire raped millions of businesses in Oyo town. However, even if the story is long stale now, there is still a necessity to look at the aftermath of the inferno. Apart from being an eternal heartbreak to hundreds of people whose goods and money were lost, what has happened so far? And how have the victims fared after then?
After the incident, the spirit of compassion and humanity possessed the good and well-to-do people from within and outside the town. Aids in cash and kind flowed in from different spheres, and it raised the belief that even in the darkest of times, there is still a flicker of light.
Fast-forward to the present time, there has not been much going on around. Not in the spot of the incident neither have the victims been able to hold unto this glimmer of light they thought had come to displace their darkness.
Though, there was a gathering called to secure donations and also share the relief materials gifted by the good rich people all around. While the intention of the “solemn assembly” might be good, one cannot but give more profound thoughts to the realities surrounding the incident.
First, it should be noted that the market is the major point of commercial transactions, and that makes it one of the most important places in the town. Sadly, the only evidential improvement on the land is the ground leveling. It is quite disappointing to see the major source of income of hundreds approached with such a low and lazy effort.
As for the relief materials, one would presume that each of the victims would get a commendable share considering the volume of what was seen and heard to be gifted. Alas, it did not appear so. But since our presumption is subjective, let us continue to imagine the possibility of victims getting substantial shares from the relief materials.
There is a question that many have raised concerning the reconstruction itself – whether it’s the responsibility of the state government or the honorables or the royal house or the town has to wait while praying for the entry of bullion vans. In any of these cases, the development to rebuild is rather slow.
Perhaps we should dig deeper and consider the conflict of interest. The town houses political office holders from both APC and PDP. What should have been a joint effort has become a battle for ownership, misplaced priorities, and power struggle. The incident itself has become leverage for them to again, lure helpless citizens into believing they are the saviors of the town.
Saviors or not, Christ and Mohammed were not sweet-mouthed. They would not say what could not do. In the case of the town leaders, however, there are tons of promises that continue to be unfulfilled. Maybe this is the fate of the town, or perhaps there is still some hope left somewhere. In any way, the current situation is sad and discomforting. There are so many reactions from the townies, yet so little they can do. This is what happens when you are too consumed with the lies they tell you and blinded from seeing the necessity to hold the leaders accountable.
It is the case that we will continue to manage ourselves in this appalling state. But while we do, we can only hope for the better and hold our heads high with the belief that we still retain the power to create a better future.
Titilola Babatunde Dayo writes from Oyo town, Oyo state.