By Simeon OSAJIE
Following the humanitarian crisis occasioned by the ongoing flooding of the coastal regions of the country, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone F (South South), has called for the suspension of all political campaign activities in the states of the South-South geopolitical region for two weeks
This, according to the union, would allow for concentration of attention in harnessing efforts and resources needed to bring succour to the suffering masses.
In a statement jointly signed by the Vice President, Opaka Dokubo and Zonal Secretary, John Angese, the South South Zone of the NUJ described as inadequate relief efforts so far embarked upon by the Federal Government, impacted states and local governments in the region.
The statement further noted that while the Zonal leadership of the NUJ acknowledges and appreciates efforts that are being made by governments at the subnational level in the region to address the catastrophe, the Federal Government should urgently deploy disaster containment and management architecture to the region and save lives of Nigerians.
The statement noted with regret that it was a sign of insensitivity to the plight of the people of the region for politicians to continue to engage in exuberant political activities within and outside the region while the people whom they are jostling to govern are facing a situation that has completely overwhelmed them and rendered them destitute in their homes.
“Our people are dying and in desperate need for help. This is, therefore, not the time to play politics; this is not the time for half-hearted gestures and cosmetic measures in dispensing the common wealth of the people.
“This is the time to save lives. This is the time to demonstrate the true meaning and value of service in leadership. It is the time to practically demonstrate that the people remain at the very center of all politics and governance”, the statement said.
Going further, the statement added, “It is unacceptable that, in the midst of plenty, the flood victims should beg to just stay alive for a few days, as they now sleep and wake up in open spaces without food and other essential daily needs.”
The union, therefore, urged the various state governments in the region to rise up to the challenge of providing needed leadership in harnessing and effectively coordinating efforts and making meaningful intervention to contain the situation.
To this end, the union called on all elected and appointed functionaries of government at all levels to return and stay home and lead the charge, while it entreated all political parties, their candidates and supporters to synergize and forge a common front by toning down their activities and pooling efforts and resources to save the lives and livelihoods of the people they are aspiring to serve.
The statement as well appealed to non-governmental organisations, agencies including multinationals and other corporate bodies, religious organizations and public spirited individuals and groups to volunteer critically needed assistance and support to save the situation.