Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has advised the federal government to focus more on reviving the economy than on how to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
Bello said this on a live television programme yesterday.
The governor said Nigeria cannot afford another lockdown in its present economic state.
He said members of the presidential task force on COVID-19 are meant to advise the president based on current realities and not get involved in things that would make life difficult for citizens.
He said spending huge amounts of money on getting the COVID-19 vaccines is a misplaced priority.
“I think I would rather be excused from the discussion of COVID-19. I have taken a position and I don’t see myself shifting from it any time soon,” he said.
“I say this against the backdrop of the fact that we saw a lot of gimmicks and antics, merchandising of foreign products that is not marketable in Nigeria at all and I said this long ago and some people advising Mr. President continue to take a wrong trajectory. I will say that.
“You see, all these brouhaha coming up about the issue of COVID-19 vaccines, I don’t think we deserve it now. We have an economy that Mr President inherited, recession, low income, left, right, and centre and Mr President is doing his best to make sure he pull out of the woods.
“I think we the followers, those of us charged with the responsibility of advising Mr. President should do that with utmost fear of God almighty.
“We are talking of insecurity in the country, let me tell you that when you lock over 200 million citizens at home for one day, you cannot quantify the number of lives that are lost. Livelihood lost can never be regained. We don’t need that marketing strategies. But unfortunately, they are there; they are doing their job.
“But honestly I am not on the same page with them. In Kogi, we did not lock down, despite all the troubles, we refused to lock down. Today Kogi is safer in terms of economic delivery and it has manifested in the number of investment flowing into Kogi today.
“We simply made sure things work in Kogi. Imagine what we are losing as a nation, we don’t need to partake in this marketing of vaccine or COVID-19, let our people be free, that is all I am telling the PTF.
“Mr President entrusted you and has absolute trust in you and you have the duty to advise the president in line with current realities today, I don’t think we have to overburden the matter.
“We are rushing to get this product to force on our people I don’t think PTF should go that route.”
Using an analogy, Bello said the PTF cannot employ foreign methods to solve the pandemic issue in the country.
The governor said the amount the PTF said the country had expended on the management of the virus could have been used to do other things that would benefit the country.
“The N3.5 trillion expended on COVID-19, we should not have gone that route,” he said.
“If we are going to expend N540 billion in the purchase of vaccine, we should be asking questions over national issues that concerns our life.
“I mean you can’t, for crying out loud, do cut-and-paste when it comes to issues like this. That is the challenge we are facing in the management of this COVID-19. I don’t think we should apply same solution across.”