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  In the past two weeks, several villages and cities in Nigeria have been ravaged by floods. According to official reports, 617 people have died and over 1.7 million people displaced as a result of the flooding. Following this displacement and loss of human lives are losses of properties, livestock and farmlands. Experts have warned that these losses will result in food scarcity in November and December and even into 2023. 
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The flooding has attracted the aid of the state and federal governments as well as foreign humanitarian organizations. The most affected states include Taraba, Rivers, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Niger and many others. While the president of the nation, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, is yet to visit affected areas, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party Peter Obi has visited Bayelsa, Benue, Taraba, and Kogi states to sympathize with the flood victims in these states. Peter Obi who earlier in the week visited Governor Samuel Ortom at Benue government house, asked all presidential candidates to suspend campaigns and visit these affected areas. Peter Obi who promised to visit affected states has got many tongues wagging. Many have lauded this move by the 61-year-old Peter Obi who is running for president in 2023 under the Labour party. On the other hand, naysayers believe that the money-pinching politician is simply politicizing the ugly situation. Whatever the case may be, there is so much to understand from Obi’s visit to states affected by flooding. 
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In his visit to the Ibi local government Area of Taraba state on the 26th of October, 2022, to sympathize with the flood victims in the state, Obi, called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on all flood-affected areas across the country. He said:
“We are calling on the government to come with interventions, declare all the affected states – a disaster area…What the federal government has to do to stop this is to ensure that the waters are distilled.” 
Peter Obi’s visitation and calls have been interpreted in various ways. Many observers believe that Obi’s desire to declare a state of emergency in affected states shows his responsiveness in addressing crises, which will come in handy if elected as president in 2023.  Secondly, many observers have pointed out the empathic nature as well as the emotional intelligence of Peter Obi whose visitation to affected areas is very pivotal in the kind of leadership Nigeria needs today. His ability to suspend his campaigns and sympathize with victims of the flood shows how much he values the life of the ordinary Nigerian. His visitation has remained very much talked about in the news recently, which has stood him out from his competitors.
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Thirdly, it has also been pointed out that the presidential candidate of the Labour party is very energetic, who despite visiting various cities in Europe and the United States in the past few months has not relented, but has been able to find the strength and courage to visit affected states. In the past seven years, the nation has had to cope with a hospital-bound president, who on various occasions has needed to check into London hospitals due to health problems. While millions worry that another aged hospital-bound president in the person of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu might succeed the present president, Peter Obi’s energy and youthfulness give Nigerians hope to elect someone who is up and running.  Finally, Peter Obi visiting various affected communities indicates a kind of presidency that will be self-aware if elected. In the past seven years and ten months, the nation has had to deal with a government that leaves communities affected by disaster and conflicts to their fate. Hence, a president that visits affected areas, to capture the state of things, rather than relying on secondary sources, is worth voting for in the forthcoming election in 2023.  Featured Image Source: TheCable
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This article was first published on 28th October 2022

nnaemeka-emmanuel

Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.


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