When this reporter briefly visited his hometown in Ekiti SW Local Government Area of Ekiti State recently, it was glaring that the youths of the town had left in droves for destinations unknown in their quest for greener pasture. While some fortunate ones have relocated abroad, most end up in the urban centres, putting pressure on the over-stretched public infrastructure and utilities.
Checking rural-urban migration in Nigeria has been a constant knot in the rope of national development, and the drift has not abated. A simple solution would be for government to make the rural centres attractive enough to retain the restless youths and adults, through the provision of basic infrastructure, power, good road and rail networks, access to market and telecoms base stations, to boost contact and the economic activities of the hinterland.
If a comfortable train can get to rural Ekiti, which is around 300km from Lagos, in two or three hours, many citizens will relocate back to the more environmentally-friendly country-side, thus checking the rural-urban drift. This reporter would have no business ‘managing’ in Lagos when he, alongside thousands of others, can commute daily from his village and go back at night after work. Is the Transport Minister listening?
• Abimbola Akosile