Ibadan, the sprawling city in the heart of Oyo state is on the verge of witnessing a total facelift with the new drive of the current administration to change the age-long narrative which tagged it as the dirtiest city in Africa.
Although there have been several efforts in the past to make the city look clean, safe, and healthy for living, these efforts have failed to meet the much-desired results.
Before the coming of the Seyi-Makinde-led administration, major streets, and junctions were littered with filth and solid waste, it was against this backdrop that the Oyo State government recently engaged Mottainai Africa as a consultant and in conjunction is recruiting environmental health officers under the Ministry of Environment.
Since the announcement, no fewer than 2,000 able-bodied men and women in the state have applied for the job openings. Findings from the Ministry of Environment show that many youths and women are still sending applications for these roles. These environmental health officers will be saddled with the responsibilities of monitoring and enforcing health and hygiene policies and legislation.
The much-publicized successes recorded by the Ajimobi-led administration became a kangaroo of a sort as residents threw caution to the wind, disposing of refuse indiscriminately in medians and on major highways. The situation became worrisome when the stench oozed out from filth in many places within the Ibadan environment. This almost gave room to fears that a looming outbreak of epidemic may be on the way. But with the intervention of Mottainai Africa, it appears the narrative is poised to change.
The question now is, are we gradually returning to the era of having Environmental Health Officers going around the state to ensure the city is clean and hygienically safe as was obtainable in past years? If that is the case, then this administration has demonstrated its willingness to improve the lives of its people by fostering public health safety measures, enriching the youths through the creation of employment, and improving the public perception of Oyo state as a whole.
An environmental expert, Suraj Adekanmbi who spoke on the development said the government is already demonstrating its commitment or resolve to rid the state of filth scattered in different parts of the city with the ongoing recruitment. He also noted that the engagement of a consultant was the right step in the right direction.
Ngozi Okoye writes from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.