Employees of Oando PLC kicked-off the year by putting smiles on the faces of thousands of people, who were affected by the 2018 floods in Rivers and Bayelsa State, a feat worthy of note and emulation.
Last year, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed that flooding across 16 States and 87 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Central and Southern Nigeria caused 199 deaths and 1,036 injuries. In addition 176,299 people were internally displaced; 3,544 houses destroyed; 150,285 hectares of agricultural land destroyed and a further 826,403 of the population were to varying degrees negatively impacted. Dealing with the impact of urban flooding is always challenging,and this instance was no exception.
Affected communities were left to pick up the pieces after the devastation of having their crops destroyed; leaving the population vulnerable to food shortages and negatively impacting the livelihoods of already struggling farmers.
The floods also affected other livelihoods, such as fishermen and women and in the hardest hit states the flood was so severe some communities were cut off from each other and schools closed.
In an interview with newsmen in Yenagoa, Bayelsa Mr. Yakubu Suleiman, Co-ordinator, Emergency Operation Centre E, Rivers/Bayelsa Territory of NEMA disclosed that several homes, farmland, schools and churches were submerged in the affected communities across eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
To this end, Oando employees donated food and non-perishable items such as bags of rice; cartons of noodles; disinfectant; mosquito treated nets; clothing to over 2,000 displaced families in some communities as well as those in Government-approved camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in their host communities of Rivers and Bayelsa state.
The employee led initiative is grounded in their realization and acceptance that the Government cannot achieve an inclusive and sustainable society alone. Citizens and organisations must work alongside Governments to support the building of the society we all desire. The initiative is further rooted in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy that builds upon the collective strengths of its people and partners as good corporate citizens to power prosperity and long term growth within its host communities.
Speaking on the initiative, an Oando employee, Olayemi Olomo, said , “I believe strongly in helping people in need. Initiatives of this nature have been my passion for over 5 years, and that’s part of the culture here at Oando.”
Inikpi Okutachi, another employee of the company said: “I appreciate how Oando encourages and stands behind its communities, it’s inspiring. I couldn’t help but follow in the steps of the company by making a donation when the need arose.”
Akinbambo Ibidapo-Obe, General Manager Commercial, Oando Energy Resources said: It’s not very often that you find yourself in a company with people who share the same values as you do. I’ve participated in every single employee philanthropy that the company has embarked on and I pledge to continue to do so. Natural disasters do not discriminate; any one of us…our family, our friends could be in the same situation one day and I hope people will rally to support me or them, the same way the Oando team is doing today.”
In a letter to Oando, Major (DR.) Zedekiah T. Isu, Chairman, Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency, appreciated the efforts of Oando employees. The letter read “the State Government through the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) says thank you.”
You would recall that in the first quarter of 2018, Oando employees, as part of its ‘Month of Love’ initiative donated school supplies such as educational books to encourage learning and reading, school bags, school furniture, raincoats in preparation for the rainy season, and other items to aid educational development to three public primary schools in Gbagada Schools Complex.
In commemoration of World Blood Donor Day of same year, Oando employees donated blood to save lives in partnership with LifeBank an e-health company connecting blood banks with hospitals. The objective of the blood drive was to bridge the blood shortage gap in Nigeria and dispel myths around blood donation.
Interestingly, philanthropic practices can be found in the ancient civilizations of sub-Saharan Africa where kindness was paramount to society. Over time, the long history of giving has made a profound impact on humanity. Employee philanthropy otherwise known as corporate philanthropy has become an even more critical part of creating a healthy, sustainable culture within an organization; it’s good for the organization but more importantly a give back culture engages employees and gives them purpose. It is encouraging to see that companies in Nigeria such as Oando, Shell, MTN, NCDMB, Agip amongst others are reviving and imbibing this critical value in their employees.