The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has called on all Nigerians, especially leaders of opposition parties to come together, at this critical point in the world’s health history, and rally round the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
The party said Nigeria, like what happened in the thick of the Ebola emergency, had taken bold and calculated steps to ensure that the country “records very few casualties, though there are still wide gaps to be filled.”
A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of ADC, Yemi Kolapo, however, noted that those in charge of the COVID-19 palliative strategy needed to do more research on how best to go as they were clearly doing more harm than good in that regard.
The party observed that the President’s first and second speeches on the pandemic were well put together, and addressed the major areas that should be addressed if sound minds were to reason objectively, noting that the opposition should play responsible politics in these trying times.
The statement said, “Don’t forget, Nigerians have never complained of not having enough well- constructed speeches, which, most times, end up as empty rhetoric. The bones of contention have been implementation, sincerity and ultimate beneficiaries of otherwise good policies. All we need to do now is chase Government for sincere and thorough implementation, and ensure they don’t play politics with the lives of citizens.
“Everyone knows the unfortunate limitations of the current government in terms of driving the economy. But what we have in our hands now, regardless of what some may think, is not a joke. Oppositions, the world over, are building bridges to save lives first, and leaving normal political tussles for normal days.
“When we argue, we must do so constructively, and ask: if we were confronted with a situation that had never happened before, with no certain solution, where a little error could cause the death of thousands of our dear people, how exactly would we handle it?”
According to the party, Nigerians should focus on letting the government know where exactly they are going wrong, “and this is clearly in the area of communication as regards palliatives and their distribution.”
ADC said, “There must be an algebra of distribution that sits well with every part of the country, and with the truly vulnerable in Nigeria. Just today (Tuesday, 14th 2020), the European Union announced a grant of €50million for Nigeria to help fight this dreaded disease. This is just a needle drop in the ocean of help that has come to Nigeria, from within and outside, to help confront this situation.
“As responsible citizens, we must open our eyes wide to follow the funds with the aim of demanding the very much needed accountability at this time. If we have put together a good banking network that works excellently with individuals’ Bank Verification Numbers, it should not be difficult to reach millions of the needy groups if Government truly wants to. The headache should be how to connect the over half of Nigerian adults, about 60 million people, said to be unbanked. And this is what a smart cabinet can do by thinking outside the box.”
The party noted that it was no news that the Buhari government was more at home with political chess rather than economic development, urging the President “to break the political brick walls and call for help where his government is clearly helpless.”
The statement said, “Another area we need to focus on is the fact that the Nigerian economy has not been handled well for many years now, and this big health disaster would naturally constitute another rude shock to the wobbly economic foundation.