Reading about the flood in most parts of the country and Rivers State on social media may not fully capture the picture what happens to be the reality of the many persons — men, women, children (including newly borns) whose lives are now on the edge and livelihoods lost since the flood started.
I’ve been privileged to visit EGBEMA and Abua/Odual IDP camps following the DLB team between Sunday and yesterday.
On Sunday, I had to ride in a canoe (for the first time in my life though) crisscrossing tall buildings that have been submerged by the flood in order to access the Okwuzi camp where about 1,000 people have been sheltered for one month now. Living conditions in the camp aren’t anything close to pleasant, but when it comes to survival, self-preservation conquers the quest for comfort. The people at the camp couldn’t hide their excitement as they, for the first time, received any sort of relief items from any agency or individual. DLB was remarkably the first to reach out to them.
However, yesterday at Abua made me experience an emotional rollercoaster.
While running interviews to capture experiences in the camp, I learned they’ve lost someone already and the person’s body has been deposited in the morgue. Life has a way of happening to us even when everything that means the world to us is on hold. Scary!
Hope is such a beautiful thing to have and experience and seeing DLB and his team yesterday, gave them reasons to shout in excitement.
The camp is a crazy quilts of different families, children and people who before could have had differences but are now united by a common unpleasant experience. With their shaking voices, moistened eyes and tired hands, they narrated how they have had to sleep on cold tiles, stand in long queues for food (eating is rationed in the camp following food scarcity) and cater for the most vulnerable ones amongst them which include aged persons, pregnant women and nursing mothers at a time when access to healthcare is nearing impossible.
Grief has a way of uniting people.
But something distinguished yesterday from everyother day in camp and that’s hope. When you’re drowning in the deep waters of life, you’re more likely to hang on knowing someone is out there to reach out for your hands if you can make an effort at stretching them out.
On several occasions, DLB has given those at the edges of life a reason to stretch out their hands during their darkest moments knowing someone cares enough to reach out to them, regardless.
HOPE is what DLB represents to a lot of people. Especially those who have no voices to speak for themselves, those who have no shoulders to lean on and those who are at the brink of giving up feeling they’ve exhausted all possible options. This rare virtue he possesses has made him a friend of the masses and an enemy of those who parade themselves as king makers.
If only people could realise that stretching out their hands to vote for ACCORD come 2023 is their best chance at surviving this deep waters of hardship, poverty, lack of access to quality education or good employment, they wouldn’t hesitate to support a man after God’s heart.
Every part of me strongly believes that the many good things a lot of people have to say about DLB are just tips of the iceberg compared to what we can collectively achieve if we vote him as the masses’ Governor come 2023.
Given the chance, DUMO will DO MORE.