By Lateef Adegbite
When Pete Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, for the 2023, general elections, asked Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Aand Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration, and now the Opposition People’s Democratic Party , PDP, Candidate that they should suspend Campaigns , he knew how bad the flooding was in different parts of the country.
Obi, may have asked the duo, to join him in suspending their Campaign in solidarity with the flood victims because they are the three front liners in the 2023, general elections. The LP, Presidential Candidate may have been ignored but he kept to his words: suspended his Campaigns to visit some of the worst hit states.
He has visited Samuel Ortom, governor of the the north central state of Benue, in his private residence in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, before heading to the state where where he had interacted with some of the flood victims. He was said to have followed the Benue visit with a to Senator Douye Diri, governor of Bayelsa state, in Yenagoa, the state Capital, to sympathise with flood victims.
Suleiman Adamu, the minister of Water Resources, had said recently,that hundreds of houses and farmlands have been submerged in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, Anambra, Eboyi, Imo, Abia, Delta, Rivers , Cross river, Adamawa, s and Taraba, home state of Theophilous Danjuma, a former minister of Defense during Obasanjo’s Administration.
The other states that were said to have been flooded in the country included Niger, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi and Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari, home state. Even some parts of the FCT, was also flooded. Although, the former Anambra state governor may not be able to visit all the affected flood states but he is most likely to visit the critical states, which will give him an insight on what to do to control the flood if he is elected a the next Nigerian after the 2023, general elections to address the crisis.
While he international Community and Nigerian wealthy businessmen, are concerned about the country’s devastating flood challenge, the Katsina state born Nigerian President, who ought to have taken time out of his busy schedules to visit some of the critically flooded states to see things himself but he has failed to do so.
On Sunday, October 23, 2022, he had departed Nigeria with Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and other top government functionaries, to Seoul, Capital of South Korea, ‘’to participate in the World Bio Summit, 2023, organised by the Asian country and the World Health Organisation, WHO.
King Charles of Britain, in deep consolation of the unprecedented flood in Nigeria this 2022, that had rendered many people homeless, in different parts of the country, was said to have written an open letter to the Nigerian President about the lives lost to flood. ‘’I am deeply saddened’’, he had said. Coming on the heels of the British King open Letter to Buhari, was a pitiable Statement by the Leadership of the United Nation’ Children’ Funds, UNICEF, that over one and half million Nigerian Nigerian Children ‘’are at the risk of water borne disease, drowning and malnutrition as floods hit over 20 of the 36 states of the Federation’’.
The UN, agency had said that another two and half million Nigerians are in need of humanitarian assistance, noting that 60% of which are children. It further stated that out of the floods which have had affected 34 out of the 36 states of the Federation had displaced no fewer than 1.3 million people.
Given reports making the rounds since the floods hit the states, there have been reported cases of diarrhea, waterborne diseases, respiratory and skin disease which have been on the rise in the recent time. In the north easten states of Adamawa and Yobe, a neighbouring state to Borne, home state of BokoHaram insurgents, alone, a total of 7,485 cases of Cholera and 319 associated deaths were said to have been reported as of October 12, 2022.It noted that as rains are expected to continue for the next coming weeks, ‘‘humanitarian needs of are also expected to be on rise.’ these sates’’.
Joe Biden, the North American country of the United States, US, who is concerned that over two and half million people , in different parts of Nigeria with many homes being damaged and completely destroyed, displacing millions of people, had made provision for $1 million to support the country’s flood victims. That much was confirmed by Beth Leonard, US, Consulate in Nigeria.
‘‘We are filled with grief for the flood victims , who have lost so much source of livelihoods, , homes and even loved ones’’, the US, President had said through Mrs. Leonard, the Country’s Consulate in Nigeria’’ he had said.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, Jim Ovia , a former Managing Director of Zenith Bank , and now the Chairman of Visafone Telecommunications and other wealthy Nigerian businessmen were aid to have risen up to expectation to come to the support of the flood victims. The duo are also members of the Committee set up by the Nigerian President to raise Funds for the flood victims across the country. Dangote, President of the Dangote Industries, who was said to have contributed $950,000, for the day to day running of the Secretariat, in the FCT, was said to have also donated $15.8 million, equivalent of N2.5 billion while Ovia, the Co-Chairman, according to informed sources donated $6.3 million or N1 billion , going by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, exchange rate. The Committee was said to have targeted to raise N100 billion for the flood victims. In Rivers state, Nyesom Wike, the Rivers state governor had donated N1 billion for the flood victims, in the state. Note that Ahoada West and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, are the two Local Government Areas that are most affected by the flood.
Recall that the office of for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had announced recently that some $38 million or N6 billion would be needed to assist the over two million people which the UNICEFF, had said are have been rendered homeless since the flood hit the country between July ,2022 and now.
As a prelude to controlling the devastating flood, across the country, Babatunde Fashola, a former governor of Lagos state and now minister of Works and Housing, may have spoken the mind of the Nigerian President when he said that the government is going ‘’to require all approach from the Local , state to Federal Level to deal with the flood’’. The President was said to have also directed the state governors, irrespective of political persuasions, ‘’to liaise with the ministry of Water Resources to work out a solution to the flood crisis’’.
On the initial reports making the rounds that it was the release of excess water from the Lagodo Dam reservoir by the Central African country of Cameroon, that had caused the flooding of several states in Ngeria because of the refusal of the Nigerian government to contribute its counterpart funding to build the Datsin Hausa Dam in Adamawa, home state of Atiku, the PDP, Presidential Candidate, for the 2023, general elections, Adamu, and Engineer and minister of Water Resources, had said that there was never any such agreement between the two countries.‘‘ I have checked the records of the ministry, there was never anything like that’’, he had said.
The minister had admitted that Datsin Hausa along with Kashimbila, and the entire tributaries of River Benue that have not been dam ‘’, noting that ‘’this is why River Benue constitutes a major source of flood from the confluence downwards’’. He had said that the trans –boundary waters that come into Nigeria from Rivers Niger and Benue constitute only 20% of fresh water.
According to him, 80% of the flood ravaging Anambra, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross river, Rivers, Benue and other parts of Nigeria are that ‘’the country is blessed from the sky’’., noting that the government will address the crisis squaely befor the enext rainy season.