Why Buhari should cut short his Sallah holiday for sinking Benue

It’s no longer news that this week, Benue State in Nigeria’s north central region, plunged several depths under water no thanks to torrential rainfall.
By afternoon of Thursday, August 31, 2017, most of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, had been submerged.

The rains that sank Benue went into overdrive on Monday, August 28.
As the week tapered toward the Eid-El-Kabir holidays, residents of Makurdi were conducting businesses off rooftops and more than 100,000 people had been displaced.
President Muhammadu Buhari left Abuja for his hometown of Daura in Katsina State in time for the Sallah celebrations on Wednesday, August 30.
In essence, Benue was already sinking whilst the president was in the country’s capital city; conducting business from a makeshift office that hadn't been damaged by rodents.
That he wasn’t briefed about the natural disaster, is in itself tragic and evinces how tone deaf Aso Rock can be. But that is subject matter for some other day.
Even the press got round to reporting the Benue disaster very late in the day. It wasn’t until Thursday, August 31, that press coverage of the flooded Benue plains kicked off with some intensity; forcing Abuja to react.
“I have received with great concern, reports of the flooding in Benue State, displacing, from early estimates, more than 100,000 people”, Buhari said in a statement, late Thursday.
 “I have directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately mobilize personnel and resources to the aid of the affected communities and persons.
“I will be monitoring and getting updates on the rollout of the Federal Government's humanitarian response to the Benue flooding disaster.
“My sympathies go to the Benue government and people. I assure that the FG will make available ALL assistance needed by the Benue State Govt and affected communities.
“We will surmount this disaster, and, working with the State government, bring succour and relief to all affected persons and communities", the president said.
The president’s statement arrived late in the day and federal response to the disaster has been characteristically tardy.
However, the nation’s Commander-In-Chief has carried on with his Eid-el-Kabir celebrations in Daura as though a carefully crafted statement and dispatching food supplies to Benue is all it requires at this time.

In contrast, Benue Governor Samuel Ortom, has been photographed with boots on the ground, knee length in flood water.
US President Donald Trump isn't exactly anyone's idea of a role model but he showed up at Hurricane Harvey and said the wrongest of things. But at least he showed up.
At times like this, presidents show up, not because their presence will make the disaster magically disappear or bring succor to the devastated, but because it’s called leadership for a reason.

When a nation’s Commander-In-Chief flies his office to places hit by disaster or conflict, he shows the rest of his team and government agencies that they all have to care and fix the mess. It also shows that he cares. Empathy is an underrated ingredient of leadership but it does matter.