Flood! Flood!! Who Cares Enough To Start A Fundraiser?
A General Call To Corporates And Notable Individuals To Raise Funds To Support Victims Of Flood Disaster In Nigeria
Nigeria has been hit by the worst of flood disasters in its history. The entire world has been terrified by the graphic media reports of the flood that has hit over 30 out of the 36 states of Nigeria yet the rest of Nigerians who have been spared the have been ensconced in the comfort of their world of escape without caring much to take actions to support the victims of the disaster especially in states like Bayelsa, Benue, Delta and Kogi that have been worst hit.
Many Nigerians are probably enjoying the spectacle of how the victims of the floods are suffering while thinking of themselves, how privileged and fortunate they are.
That's the way the world is becoming. A man is drowning and instead of the onlookers offering a helping hand, they prefer to make a live video of the happening event just to savour the fact that the misfortune did not happen to them.
No help and support to the victims of the flood disasters can be too much at this time. We as a people seem to be waiting too often for the government to act when its officials have not yet figured out how they would use the disaster to make money for themselves and enhance their own personal wellbeing and pockets.
The rich business and political class are currently too engrossed in the politics of 2023 to be dashing money to victims of the flood disaster. Such an intervention may have for them failed the "what's in it for me" test.
But thanks to Arise News crew of Dr Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni, Emmanuel Efeni and the backroom producers who have consistently kept the narrative of the plight of the flood victims in the air. They were the first to call on the presidential candidates to halt their 2023 campaigns and turn attention to the victims of the floods.
So far only Peter Obi has heeded the call to suspend campaigns to give attention to the devastation caused by the floods. The man is appearing too good to be a Nigerian in the eyes of many. He even went as far as to give 5 million Naira each in donation in some of the states he visited. Probably being afraid of being afraid of being accused of vote buying, he chose to give such a paltry sum compared to his wealth as a "clean billionaire". Contrary to a false but widely held opinion that Peter Obi is stingy, he has a record of extreme generousity. He once caught my attention by giving 100 million Naira to a cause of the Catholic Church. So I believe Peter Obi could have donated more than 5 million Naira each and he does have the absolute right to advertise his generosity to show he is better than the rest candidates. If the other candidates want to join in the generosity contest, they should also go and donateeto the flood victims and make sure to they also advertise it. That would in the end be in the interest of the victims.
Ordinary Nigerians and businesses can make a huge difference with an attitude of generosity and responsibility to care for one another. Nothing stops business and religious organisations across Nigeria to begin fundraising campaigns for the victims of the floods.
We cannot be worse people than we were. In the aftermath of the Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blast of 2002, Nollywood and Nigerian broadcast community gathered on radio and television to raise funds for the victims.
Trust me, if the floods affected places like Afiesere and Agbarho in Ughelli Local Government Area or my immediate vicinity in Abuja being my spheres of influence, given the reported scale of suffering by the victims, I would immediately take action. I would call Otunba Gbenga Onayiga, the chairman of CASER and urge him to let us hold a fundraising gala. I would approach Tony Ojukwu, SAN, the ES of the National Human Rights Commission and beg him profusely to use his influence to get support for the affected people. I would call Toyin Dawodu in California endlessly for nights, urging him for financial help. I would force all my rich clients to "drop" money to support the victims. That is how I carry out my humanitarian responses as an individual citizen and they have helped many people. But I am just an individual. I want other individuals and businesses connected to the various places affected by the floods to take action by at least adopting my model of local social response in times of crises.
A few of us set on positive attitudinal change can make a whole lot of difference. Those great places that our compatriots are fleeing to were developed by the active implementation of the principles of sacrifice and commitment to the wellbeing of the human being.
Frank Tietie is a Development Lawyer, Media Commentator & Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER),