If you live in mainland Lagos and work on the island - these are preferred times to invoke the ILO rules on vacation and take a leave. Except of course you don't mind soiling your record with incessant Oluwole sick leave for the next three months. Reports say that it would take that long for the repair on the 3rd Mainland Bridge to complete. The alternative is to pay area boys to ferry you through the lagoon in and out of the area or borrow President Jones' antiquated aqualung, the one he used to navigate the creeks of the Naija-Delta while mulling his lack of shoes.
On the other hand, if you work on the island and live in Owode, Badiya, Aboru, Iwaya, Arowojobe in Maryland, Ajegunle Elede or Eti-Osa, you may do well to apply as an internally displaced person to the emergency relief agency before the long queues. The way things are going, you either abide by Tunji Bello's ultimatum to quit; or wait until President Jones gets too much bad press and decides to excise Lagos into the lagoon and the Atlantic, and then send a bill to that effect to the legislathieves. But there is another alternative - relocation.
I love relocations, especially forced ones. Ask Nasir el-Rufai, bulldozers have no feeling; they go where they are sent and have been known to turn dreams into rubbles just in a whiff of their anger. You may be planning to attack the driver, but who knows there may be drone bulldozers in operation soon. So take my advice - declare yourself a refugee and grab whatever they can give you while they still care.
Natural disasters are the ladder that some need to bridge the gap between poverty and want into the Greenland of millionaires. In countries where governments exist to plan and regulate, they do not wait for the monsoon to clear drainages; or turn the other eye while settlements are built on sewer lines. But above all, they have home insurance.
Natural disasters would always be a part of human existence. In certain quarters, the lack of them may be the perpetration of hunger for some. Disasters help leaders of relief agencies get their due in society. Suddenly, telephone numbers ring off the hook and typewriters are busy cracking on overtime forms and tour allowances. The moment disaster strikes, the antennae of consultants pick Naira signals. Disaster brings money. It turns the keys of locked warehouses and sends the contents flying to both the needy and the hoarders. It brings smiles to the dry cheeks of hungry market women - a chance to clear their wares.
Disasters are a newsman's delight. They help curb reporters to hone their skills on human angle stories, help humorous line editors cast headlines and rest their heads from ever-demanding readers. It is also a good time for politicians, it allows them to give a tenth of what they have stolen and hoarded and to get a good press out of their 'generosity'. This is good mileage whenever re-selections are held.
Unfortunately, natural disasters do not last long enough and are usually infrequent. Their whole hoopla usually last all but a week before the caravan of news moves to the next 'disaster'. Politicians return to their trenches usually to relish the photo-ops that disaster relief affords them. It is usually the single chance they have to see humbly men and women old enough to be their progenitors genuflect on the altar of their stolen relief. Governors profit more, as they hand out the handouts, they do not bother to tell the recipients that this is a part of their common patrimony, no; they tell recipients that this is out of their own generosity, a part of the dividends of democracy.
Disasters have multiple layers of opportunity. It opens the door for compensation for those who are smart enough to have had plans for their houses and exposes the foolishness of those who don't. It opens an opportunity for those who have long coveted having an opportunity to build dream houses in already cleared land instead of having to reclaim swamps and spending huge sums of money in the process.
Once the smoke of the bulldozers has died down, the usual scramble for reclamation begins. Those with claims to the land in question kill themselves for a small fraction of the new layout which they then flip to the highest bidder. Soon, like the Phoenix, from the ashes of disaster springs modern estates. Old squatters are 'resettled' in virgin areas and left to open it up and make it habitable until there is another reason to 'relocate' them.
The founders of present-day Netherlands must be squirming in their graves. They missed the opportunity of building their flooded country on the logic of Naija disasters. Barack Obama came too late; he too missed relocating people from hurricane, tornado and flood prone areas to those foreclosed warehouses and buildings. If there is reincarnation guys, don't waste government money building houses, paying real compensations, just relocate for a while, sell the land, chase off the owners and continue that way. Those happy-go-lucky Dutch architects whose understanding of the flood plains of Amsterdam, Hilversum and Rotterdam won them laurels for their floating homes could have died in obscurity. Who says the corrupt system in Naija could not teach the so-called developed world how to handle a disaster without boring holes in government purse?