By Asiwaju Yso Oladunni, a Member of the GSM Advocates
The recent explosion in Ibadan sent shockwaves across Oyo State, challenging its reputation as one of the safest in the country. However, it also brought to the forefront critical questions about Nigeria’s emergency preparedness and management. Amid the devastation, one leader stood out – Governor Seyi Makinde.
The explosion, which claimed lives and left many injured, became a litmus test for emergency response and governance in the state. Governor Makinde’s swift and decisive actions have garnered widespread praise, showcasing a remarkable display of leadership in times of crisis.
Within an hour of the explosion, the governor and his team were on-site, a response that witnesses described as unprecedented. The immediate deployment of security agencies, search and rescue efforts, and prompt medical attention underscored the state’s preparedness and efficiency in handling emergencies.
The proactive measures taken by Governor Makinde demonstrate a keen understanding of the critical first hours of any crisis. In a press conference, Prof. Temitope Alonge, a former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, affirmed the well-detailed medical response orchestrated by the governor. However, it was the testimonials from victims and residents that truly painted a picture of the government’s commitment to caring for those affected.
The governor’s declaration of free medical treatment for victims, along with the provision of accommodation and feeding for displaced individuals, exemplifies a leader who prioritizes the well-being of his people. The establishment of an Emergency Operation Centre further showcased strategic coordination in crisis management.
Security, a fundamental aspect of emergency response, received particular attention. The presence of security operatives, both in the immediate aftermath and as a permanent fixture in the affected area, prevented potential chaos and looting. Governor Makinde’s foresight in deploying earth-moving equipment swiftly for search and rescue operations attests to his commitment to accountability.
Governor Makinde’s leadership during this crisis echoes his proactive approach demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of adversity, he has consistently risen above challenges, showcasing courage and decisiveness. The response to the explosion underscores that Makinde is not an accidental leader; his bold initiatives and strategic decisions are part of a consistent leadership style.
In 2020, during the EndSARS protests that rocked the country, Governor Seyi Makinde also exhibited courage. He took a different approach by joining the youths protesting against federal SARS brutality, supporting their cause and helping to defuse tensions that could have led to riots and damages. Unlike other states, Oyo under Makinde’s leadership showcased a unique response, preventing the loss of lives and extensive property damage.
Governor Seyi Makinde took it upon himself to ensure he presented a timely report to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He also received the Council of Obas and Chiefs in Oyo State, discussing security issues and collaborative efforts to address illegal activities of miners.
The medical team at the Emergency Operations Centre and the Honourable Commissioner for Health visited two hospitals where victims from the incident were taken, with over 90% of the victims discharged. The death toll currently stands at five persons.
The clinical psychologist has commenced counseling for victims at the Emergency Operations Centre in Ibadan.
Operations at Ground Zero have transitioned from search and rescue to recovery. The Nigerian Society of Engineers has been conducting structural integrity tests on approximately 230 properties around the blast site.
According to the Governor, security agencies are actively investigating the incident, with updates on their findings expected to be publicized. He also assured residents that his administration remains committed to supporting victims and ensuring accountability.
Makinde continues to exhibit boldness in handling urgent matters, emergencies, and leading Oyo State with pride. In a country yearning for effective leadership, Seyi Makinde stands out as a beacon of hope, proving that with boldness, leaders can shape a better future.