Bauchi govt’s nonchalance as flood sacks communities

When natural a disaster strikes, as severe as flood that is hitting Bauchi state right now, government is expected to do more than just releasing consolation statements and/or sending some bags of maize to the affected communities. The person in charge must roll up his sleeves and work round the clock to ensure succour is brought to the victims. A concerned leader would declare a “state of emergency” in such a terrible situation involving people’s lives and property, whose security is the top priority of all governments. Consequently, it must take precedence over all other sociopolitical concerns.

Under the present Bala Mohammed government, priorities are frequently misplaced in Bauchi state. With the election drawing near, the governor concentrates more resources on the political gatherings of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the guise of Kaura Economic Empowerment Programme (KEEP), which is aimed at empowering his supporters and party members, than on dealing with other emergencies like floods and winds calamities. In its entirety, KEEP is not awful (even though the package exclusively benefits PDP supporters), but humility demands that the government focuses on saving communities that are being destroyed by flood.

The state’s response should be comprehensive, covering everything from evacuation to first aid and appropriate medication to providing temporary housing, relief supplies like food, clothing, and beddings, rebuilding destroyed settlements and farmlands, and resettling people in their original villages and hamlets. Anything less than the aforementioned would be perceived as a failure and an insufficient political commitment on the part of the state government to assist its citizens in their hour of need.

Several rural roads are breaking down because they were constructed without adequate drainages. Additionally, some settlements – houses, shops farmlands and other structures – were built/sited on waterways, which make them vulnerable and increased their danger of being inundated. Since “all land belongs to the government”, according to the law, the government should investigate into that and formally relocate such groups to places that are safer. This way, the state will be able to prevent flooding tragedy that has been ravaging its towns and villages every year especially during the rainy season.

It’s awful to see how poorly the Bala administration is managing the situation right now. The best they could do was to deliver some food to the affected villages and write a press release, leaving the victims to their own dangers. For crying out loud, this is the 21st century, and people want their resources used for their well-being, not the other way around. With the Ramat House’s current opulent lifestyle, it is obvious that the necessary resources are available; the only thing lacking is the political will to serve the state with unwavering sincerity of purpose.

With the above concatenation, Governor Bala should know that as governor, the well-being of the citizens rests solely on his shoulders as an obligation, there is no escape from that. If he nonchalantly allows these communities to wallow in misery, Bauchi state voters will not find it difficult to send him packing unceremoniously at the forthcoming election. I assure you, Bauchi people can be the best in that respect.

Adamu Bello Mai-Bodi,
NPA Quarters,
Apapa, Lagos

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