Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The people of Obunagha community, Gbarain clan of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have been given relief materials over the flood disaster that hit them.
A philanthropist and governorship aspirant in the state, Mr. Keniebi Okoko, over the weekend, donated several items to the residents who had lost their means of livelihood to the flood.
The people of the community, led by the paramount ruler, King Funapre Gabriel Akah, had decried the neglect by the authorities as well as the oil companies operating in the area for not coming to the aid of the community.
According to him, 10 cluster communities, which play host to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), have their homes, farms and livestock taken over by flood and relief materials have not been sent.
Okoko, who made the presentation himself in a packed hall in the oil-producing community, noted that the donation was not politically motivated, adding that ever before he became interested in politics, he had made it mandatory to attend to the needs of his people every year.
Items donated included rice, mattresses, pillows, toiletries and other food items which were received by the leaders of the affected communities at the Obunagha community town hall.
Acscordong to Okoko, “God has blessed me and there are less-privileged in our community going through this suffering.
“So, it is only proper and morally right for me to do this and not about showmanship. Its impact on the lives of the people is what I am interested in.
“It is wrong to use people’s suffering to score political points. It is wrong for people to use other people’s suffering to win votes.
“I understand the pains the people are going through. Their property has been destroyed and their means of livelihood affected.
“I am not here to play politics, but to respond to the suffering of my people. God will punish me if I can help these people and I sit back and watch them lose everything. It is not a one-off thing. This will continue.”
Responding on behalf of the affected communities, Akah, described the gesture as unprecedented and commended Mr. Okoko for his love for the people affected by the flood.
“In 2012, what happened was worse than this, but we didn’t receive any help like this. Today, our son has chosen to help us. We thank him for this visionary action,” he said.