• Features
  • Updated: October 24, 2022

Flooding: Peter Obi's Donation To Victims, Half Loaf That Is Better Than None?

On Saturday, Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate visited the Atani IDPs camp in his home state of Anambra to commiserate with flood victims.

Photos of his visitation have surfaced on social media platforms, eliciting various reactions from Nigerians.

Obi, in addition to visiting and commiserating with victims of severe flooding that has ravaged states across the country and displaced over two million people, donated relief items to these victims.

Loaves of bread, bags of rice, noodles, a generator, a grinding machine, and other items are among the items shown in the presidential candidate's photos.

Obi had taken to his social media with details of his visitation. 

He said: “Earlier today, I also visited the flood-ravaged areas of Ogbaru in Anambra State and the IDP Camp in Atani.

"The infrastructural damage is extensive. In commiserating with the people.

“I promised that my needs assessment visit will help in determining recommendations to Federal and donor agencies on priority recovery projects.

“In continuation of my visits to areas affected by flood, I visited parts of Anambra East and West with stakeholders; Dr Tony Nwoye and Chief Peter “McPee” Aniekwe.

"Houses were submerged to the roof levels.

He also addressed many Nigerians' concerns about why the Federal Government has not formally declared a flood emergency and the modalities for intervention.

While some Nigerians, particularly those who support the Presidential Candidate "Obidients," praised the gestures and encouraged him to do more, others have questioned the size of the relief package donated by the LP Presidential Candidate.

Bashir Ahmad, President Muhammadu Buhari's Special Assistant on Digital Communications is at the top of the list, mocking the donations on social media.

"Wow. Four bags of rice, 14 cartons of Indomie noodles, around 50 sets of blankets, 24 loaves of bread, a generator among other unverified stuff donated to thousands of families affected by floods in Anambra by a former governor of the state, and a current presidential candidate", he stated.

Despite the largely insufficient presence of federal response agencies in the worst-hit areas of the flood and minimal governmental assistance in relief efforts, Ahmad dismissed Obi's support for the victims, claiming that his actions are unworthy of a former governor.

The Presidential candidate was also said to have donated N5 million to flood victims in Benue State.

And this was after announcing the suspension of his campaign to focus on the raging floods and urging his counterparts to do the same.

It is unclear what Ahmad's expectations were as Obi has no constitutional obligation to fill the void left by the current administration's inefficiency.

Although the President stated on his Twitter account on October 22 that he met with a delegation of Governors and assured them of the Federal Government's full support, a thread of tweets is insufficient as a show of concern by the President of a country dealing with a flood disaster.

Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources stated in an interview with Channels Television on Thursday that the government will not declare a state of emergency in response to the ravaging flooding in some parts of the country because the country is not yet overwhelmed by the incidents.

With over 600 people killed and billions of dollars in property damage, the country is arguably experiencing one of its worst flooding incidents in decades.

More than a million people have been displaced from their homes due to the recent floods, which also impacted some of the government's infrastructure.

Kogi, Anambra, Rivers, Benue, Yobe, Delta, Cross River, and Bayelsa are among the worst-affected states.

When asked why Nigeria has not declared a state of emergency like neighbouring Chad, Adamu, who admitted the dire conditions of this year's flood victims, said the country has not reached that point.

“It’s certainly an emergency but it all depends on what you mean by the declaring state of emergency.

"We have not reached a situation in my view where the relevant emergency management authorities have not been able to deal with this situation. I’m not aware that has happened.

“We have governments, we have the federal government, we have state governments or state emergency management agencies and the Federal Emergency Agency.

"And I think they have not in any way said that they have been overwhelmed by what they have been doing.” 

He also called it a "natural disaster, like an earthquake and everything," and blamed it on humans' disregard for nature and proper planning over the years.

So, if an individual like Obi travels physically to these devastated areas to sympathize with victims and provide relief, he should not be chastised primarily by people who only sympathise with their social media platforms.

Although it is difficult to believe that the Presidential candidate is making these visits with no ulterior motives in mind for the upcoming election, half a loaf is better than none.

"At the very least, someone is showing up for people and physically addressing situations.

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