The sense of responsibility determines the manner by which things are handled. Just because some objects or structures are public, shouldn’t make us lose sense of proper handling. Public infrastructures are assumed to be owned by the government but we don’t share the view that we are part of the government. That is, what is owned by government is equally owned by the citizens and vice versa. Unfortunately, a lot of people use these public places with carelessness and impunity. A stock-taking of how public facilities are abused leaves one wondering how unscrupulous and irresponsible people can be.
It becomes extremely worrisome the state of dilapidation of publicly owned institutions. Our public libraries have become shadows of themselves. Books are mutilated, that is the few one still remaining on the shelves. If we go by this pace of impunity in our public libraries, there will be no legacy to leave behind.
Again, most of our roads and streets infrastructure have become an eyesore. The worst of them are the streets as we find many of them occupied by artisans as their workshops. These technicians use the streets for repairs and maintenance services. Some panel beaters, mechanics – our local mechanical engineers, welders and a host of others, are recklessly taking laws into their hands. There are government-owned workshops and even mechanic villages in some strategic parts of the States. Rather than take advantage of these facilities, these artisans would prefer taking over the streets. It is sad that the streets are congested due to the activities of roadside artisans, causing traffic gridlocks or slowing down vehicular movements.
More so, some unscrupulous individuals, many of them influential politicians, have the penchant for organising parties on the streets without due consideration for other road users. They do this with impunity as the relevant authorities look the other way in total violation of existing traffic laws. This is delinquent, a high state of inconsideration to other road users. In the course of the party, which is of no significance to the neighbourhood, all wastes generated may not be properly disposed of on time, causing stench in the environment. Littering the community itself is against the environmental law.
Road users find it extremely unbearable with numerous indiscriminate cars parked at the walkways of our major roads. Most houses in some metropolis of Lagos don’t have spaces for their residents to park their vehicles or some landlords have used these spaces for irrelevant purposes and deprive their tenants the space to park. There are cases of illegal buildings marked for demolition by the agency responsible for illegal structures in Lagos state – Lagos State Building Control Agency (LSBCA). Being a commercial hub, Lagos State landlords would want to maximise the space at the detriment of other public facilities. Some take this recklessness to the extreme by rearing animals: turning a residential area to a ranch or a grazing pasture! These are eyesores for a mega and smart city.
Moving through some market areas in the State, some walkways and pedestrian bridges have become trading squares. Pedestrians dare not stumble on their wares, otherwise, these streets sellers may pounce on you. Some have alleged that some pot holes on our roads are intentionally dug by these street hawkers. Since there may be few traffic with smooth roads, they may have no reason for hawking when traffic is light. It is extremely unpatriotic to destroy our heritage in infrastructures and public facilities. Kraals have shifted base to streets and highways, moving cattle around through farmlands. Crossing highways is suicidal but has become the norm.
Self-aggrandisement through public funds and properties is unconstitutional. Government in her wisdom instituted structures to combat excesses from public office holders, like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC). However, the activities of these commissions seem unnoticed. The corruption index is relatively increasing. Diversion of public funds is illicit and could stem the deficit of development in our society. If you fail while in government, the score sheets reveal more on infrastructures and this is similar to sabotage.
Handling of public properties and institutions permeates generations. The budding generation takes cues from the existing ones. Records are there that successors of previous leaderships don’t outweigh the performances of their predecessors except for a few cases. These few cases don’t share the same lineage. What this suggests is that we should train our children on how to handle and manage public funds and properties. It is the hard-earned taxes from the active citizens that are used to ameliorate backwardness and insufficiency. Nation-building revolves on responsibility shared among disciplined, progressive and dedicated office holders.
The fight against wrong use of public infrastructures should take the lead of discussion among leaders and it should be conveyed thoroughly to the followers; that it is an act of wastefulness and not a show of repulsiveness to leadership when these government – owned structures and properties are destroyed or left to degenerate. Other laws guiding the mishandling of public properties should be more active and not selective while taking effect. Public office holders should lead by example in the discharge of their duties and managing resources as this will have a ripple effect of exemplary lifestyles on all and sundry.