“Never before has man had such capacity to control his own environment ... We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history or the world ----- or to make it the last.”
--- John F. Kennedy
Distinguished guests, participants and stakeholders of Amuwo-Odofin environment, I warmly welcome you to this all important occasion. By a meticulous submission, this gathering and its purpose, embodies not a few significance.
Firstly, and most importantly, this gathering will dilate on the safety and preservation of our natural human habitat without which there could be no human existence, more so, what will appear the most important concern and pre-occupation of our contemporary society ----- to the civilized as well as the underdeveloped economies ------ the environment.
Secondly, partaking in the dialectics of this subject matter by the real stakeholders of our community. Those who are active or passive contributors, and victims of deliberate or inadvertent environmental degradation and negligence. Certainly, the outcome of this workshop will be generous in truth, precise in purpose, and pertinent to issues, to put us at a vantage position in terms of man-environment relationship.
Thirdly, it is my believe that this workshop will consciously kill inherent ignorance, and broaden our knowledge of proper waste management and environmental sanitation, so much as to expose how we are short-changed in terms of economic benefits when we fail to pay attention to these serious issues.
No time will be more appropriate to embark on this noble project. The truism in this statement is corroborated with the recent unfortunate saga presently confronting our dear nation. Only weeks back the nation was inundated with news of an unprecedented flooding, own to rise in sea level and opening of dam in neighbouring Cameroun, that threatened to wash away our country.
The devastation is better wished away, with trillions of naira worth of properties, investments, and wealth destroyed, thousands of people displaced, including hundreds dead. The after effect is not less worrisome, with news and threats of epidemic, disease, famine and food crisis across the Niger. But the fundamental conundrum is: was it possible that the devastation would have had a lesser effect on us, or made milder, if the flood had met us better prepared, or if we have paid serious attention to our environment?
It is difficult to resist the temptation of discussing the environment without keying in its twin factor ----- climate, and its ever changing nature. The latter affects the former. Environment we can control; climate we can only adapt. The import of this is that the climate is at war with mankind and his environment. It is the responsibility of all that we win this war.
It is without a doubt that our community has been blessed by a relatively better environment. But no serious minded people will take this blessing for granted. We cannot continue to fold our hands in criminal negligence and be complacent going by the recent happenings the world over. It is time to be proactive to save our environment.
As a grass-root government with a penchant for excellent corporate governance, we have embarked upon and are still embarking on series of projects in the area of environment. This administration in the have created a special environmental unit in the L.G.A. to address environmental issues in the community. We also boast of a climate change unit in the L.G.A., the first of its kind, and only one existing in all the 774 local government areas in the country. We have continued to desilt our drainage and engaged hundreds of street sweepers. We have recently acquired a 10-ton TATA truck worth N11million in addition to 2 other dumpers, to help in environmental sanitation. Our health and environment department has been re-organized for effective functioning, and our environmental sanitation exercises have been pursued with unmatched zeal.
However, in all of these, it is not out of place to ask you to play your role and compliment our efforts. We plead with you all that our perception and orientation of our day-to-day relationship with the environment must be changed. For instance, why will a corporate entity which benefits from doing business in our community fail to see it as its responsibility to maintain its immediate surrounding? Better still, is it not socially insane and environmentally criminal for someone to erect kiosk across drainage and walkways; to engage in illicit street trading, or trade in unauthorized places; patronize cart pushers in preference to PSP; to dump refuse indiscriminately around the environment? These are fundamental issues we need to address to stop this insanity, and time is of the essence.
It is hoped that this workshop will help equip us with the necessary information to sanitize our environment. Amuwo-Odofin L.G.A. is the only community we have and it is our collective responsibility to safeguard it and work towards its prosperity. According to the author I quoted at the beginning of my speech; we have the power to make this the best generation of mankind or make it the last. Let us contribute our quota for an emerging new Amuwo-Odofin L.G.A. Thank you and God bless.
Eko oni baaje o!
COMRADE AYODELE ADEWALE
EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, AMUWO-ODOFIN L.G.A.