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‘Let’s leave politics out of managing COVID-19 pandemic’

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Concerned stakeholders in Nigeria have raised the alarm over the danger of politicising the country’s management of COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting the globe. In separate interactions recently, these concerned Nigerians said there was need for a more seriousness approach to managing the dreaded coronavirus, adding that adequate measures should be put in place to confront the pandemic.

A member of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and former Minister of Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye, Coordinator for the Africa Health Budget Network, Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, former National Legal Adviser of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire and Chairman of Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Mr. Lanre Suraju expressed these concerns.

In his view, George lamented that while across the world scientists and all kinds of specialists and epidemiologists are racing towards a solution, “I do not see the same level of seriousness, the same level of coherence and deliberate, aggregated and aggressive management of this pandemic in our country.”

Banire also said the government should seize the opportunity provided by the pandemic to ensure the development of the nation’s alternative medicine.

The former military administrator of Ondo State said Nigeria is desperate for an assemblage of elders to salvage the country regardless of geographical or any other affiliations at this dangerous time.

According to him, “It appears that our engagement of the coronavirus is at best sophomoric, indifferent, stripped of professional enlightenment, lacking in necessary comprehensive vigor to tackle heads-on this murderous scourge.” He also faulted the composition of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, saying, “It is not exactly a first line of well hewn, cutting edge intelligentsia that this nation can boast of. Virtually in all fields of human endeavour, there is always a Nigerian with sterling talent that can rival anyone anywhere with prodigious exemplary demonstration of merit. We have them here: virologists, epidemiologists, microbiologists, morbidity experts, homeostatic scholars, infectious disease experts and many others who are experts in the field of study of the dysfunction of the human body. Why are we not using them to mitigate, combat and destroy the Covid-19 malady?”

The PDP chieftain wondered what Nigeria is actually doing to contain this scourge, adding, “The only way to achieve this is through collaboration on a defined platform. No one can do it alone. Let us assemble experts from various related fields. Let us challenge our scientists with the best of working incentives and give them marching orders to crank up their laboratories, to explore the furthest reaches of knowledge and holding them as our first line of defense to save our country from this alien, invisible virus”.

Just as George dismissed government’s pumping of money into school feeding programme while the schools are not open as a little absurd, Banire said the involvement of government in Social Intervention Scheme, especially at this period, was a waste of time and resources.

In line with George, Garba also expressed displeasure over the composition of PTF for COVID-19; so also Suraju, who said Nigeria could not continue the way it was doing things before with the outbreak of the pandemic that challenges the orthodoxy, suggesting that more determination was required to address the present challenges confronting the country.

Garba also lampooned members of the PTF on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for failing to carry out enough test since the outbreak of the pandemic.

He lamented: “It was unimaginable that out of over 200 million population Nigeria is yet to conduct up to 40,000 tests and we are going out of lockdown. Does this not portend great danger?”

Agunloye said the manner both government and the citizens are taking the pandemic is not only worrisome but called for immediate attention, otherwise “Nigeria and her citizens might be endangered. If during the lockdown, the number of those testing positive keeps increasing, what about now that various governments are gradually easing the lockdown?”

The former Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) marshal said it was baffling that many Nigerians up till now are still in doubt about the reality of the pandemic, “not because they actually wanted to but due to the lackadaisical approach in which they believe government itself has been handling the management of the pandemic.”

The SDP stalwarts noted that one could not particularly blame the Buhari government for what is happening in the healthcare sector, saying, “It has been a problem previous administrations failed to deal with. There is no provision for Nigeria to handle this type of emergency situation it finds itself.”

He suggested that concerted efforts beyond partisan politics, ethnicity, and religion should be put in place henceforth to see the country out of the pandemic and to also position it to confront its challenging aftermath.

“While I want to say the government deserves to do more in the situation,” he said, “the citizenry themselves must make up our minds to accept the reality that COVID-19 exists, its kills and could also be cured or avoided if necessary caution is observed.”

Human rights lawyer, Professor Joy Ezeilo, tasked government to begin in earnest to plan ahead out of the economic recession the COVID-19 pandemic will create just as she urged the lawmakers across the country to take advantage of the pandemic to address the crisis of social security in the country.

Ezeilo also noted that COVID-19 has also thrown up the issue of poor social securities in Nigeria, which the governments have failed to address. She also expressed surprise that even in this modern age “we could see Nigerians doing open defecation and facing crises of good water.”

A former president of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Dr. Wale Okediran, said despite the successes the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) recorded in the formal sector, there is need to carry the informal sector along.

Another human rights activist, John Odah, however, lamented that COVID-19 has actually exposed the deplorable situation of Nigeria health system. He said Nigeria trains doctors for other countries to use while the few that couldn’t find their way out of the country are frustrated due to poor facilities.

A university don, who specializes in public and private international law, Gbenga Odutan, said it was time Nigeria started anti-corruption awareness in financing of the healthcare system, adding, “The country is currently paying for its long term neglect of adequate financing of the healthcare sector, which the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously exposed.”

Odutan said corruption is a problem Nigeria could not afford to overlook, saying, “I want anybody to challenge me. Nigeria is not spending enough on the healthcare sector and the little it is budgeting is being siphoned; that is reason most public and national hospitals lack necessary infrastructure.”

The don tasked all anti-corruption agencies in the country to start beaming their searchlight on the graft in healthcare sector. Aare Onakanakanfo of Yoruba Land, Otunba Gani Adams also urged the federal government to look towards a traditional solution to deal with the pandemic just as Madagascar has done.

CONCERNED stakeholders in Nigeria have raised the alarm over the danger of politicising the country’s management of COVID-19 pandemic currently affecting the globe. In separate interactions recently, these concerned Nigerians said there was need for a more seriousness approach to managing the dreaded coronavirus, adding that adequate measures should be put in place to confront the pandemic.

A member of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and former Minister of Defence, Dr. Olu Agunloye, Coordinator for the Africa Health Budget Network, Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, former National Legal Adviser of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire and Chairman of Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Mr. Lanre Suraju expressed these concerns.

In his view, George lamented that while across the world scientists and all kinds of specialists and epidemiologists are racing towards a solution, “I do not see the same level of seriousness, the same level of coherence and deliberate, aggregated and aggressive management of this pandemic in our country.”

Banire also said the government should seize the opportunity provided by the pandemic to ensure the development of the nation’s alternative medicine.

The former military administrator of Ondo State said Nigeria is desperate for an assemblage of elders to salvage the country regardless of geographical or any other affiliations at this dangerous time.

According to him, “It appears that our engagement of the coronavirus is at best sophomoric, indifferent, stripped of professional enlightenment, lacking in necessary comprehensive vigor to tackle heads-on this murderous scourge.”

He also faulted the composition of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, saying, “It is not exactly a first line of well hewn, cutting edge intelligentsia that this nation can boast of. Virtually in all fields of human endeavour, there is always a Nigerian with sterling talent that can rival anyone anywhere with prodigious exemplary demonstration of merit. We have them here: virologists, epidemiologists, microbiologists, morbidity experts, homeostatic scholars, infectious disease experts and many others who are experts in the field of study of the dysfunction of the human body. Why are we not using them to mitigate, combat and destroy the Covid-19 malady?”

The PDP chieftain wondered what Nigeria is actually doing to contain this scourge, adding, “The only way to achieve this is through collaboration on a defined platform. No one can do it alone. Let us assemble experts from various related fields. Let us challenge our scientists with the best of working incentives and give them marching orders to crank up their laboratories, to explore the furthest reaches of knowledge and holding them as our first line of defense to save our country from this alien, invisible virus”.

Just as George dismissed government’s pumping of money into school feeding programme while the schools are not open as a little absurd, Banire said the involvement of government in Social Intervention Scheme, especially at this period, was a waste of time and resources.

In line with George, Garba also expressed displeasure over the composition of PTF for COVID-19; so also Suraju, who said Nigeria could not continue the way it was doing things before with the outbreak of the pandemic that challenges the orthodoxy, suggesting that more determination was required to address the present challenges confronting the country.

Garba also lampooned members of the PTF on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for failing to carry out enough test since the outbreak of the pandemic.He lamented: “It was unimaginable that out of over 200 million population Nigeria is yet to conduct up to 40,000 tests and we are going out of lockdown. Does this not portend great danger?”

Agunloye said the manner both government and the citizens are taking the pandemic is not only worrisome but called for immediate attention, otherwise “Nigeria and her citizens might be endangered. If during the lockdown, the number of those testing positive keeps increasing, what about now that various governments are gradually easing the lockdown?”

The former Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) marshal said it was baffling that many Nigerians up till now are still in doubt about the reality of the pandemic, “not because they actually wanted to but due to the lackadaisical approach in which they believe government itself has been handling the management of the pandemic.”

The SDP stalwarts noted that one could not particularly blame the Buhari government for what is happening in the healthcare sector, saying, “It has been a problem previous administrations failed to deal with. There is no provision for Nigeria to handle this type of emergency situation it finds itself.”

He suggested that concerted efforts beyond partisan politics, ethnicity, and religion should be put in place henceforth to see the country out of the pandemic and to also position it to confront its challenging aftermath.

“While I want to say the government deserves to do more in the situation,” he said, “the citizenry themselves must make up our minds to accept the reality that COVID-19 exists, its kills and could also be cured or avoided if necessary caution is observed.”

Human rights lawyer, Professor Joy Ezeilo, tasked government to begin in earnest to plan ahead out of the economic recession the COVID-19 pandemic will create just as she urged the lawmakers across the country to take advantage of the pandemic to address the crisis of social security in the country.

Ezeilo also noted that COVID-19 has also thrown up the issue of poor social securities in Nigeria, which the governments have failed to address. She also expressed surprise that even in this modern age “we could see Nigerians doing open defecation and facing crises of good water.”

A former president of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Dr. Wale Okediran, said despite the successes the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) recorded in the formal sector, there is need to carry the informal sector along.

Another human rights activist, John Odah, however, lamented that COVID-19 has actually exposed the deplorable situation of Nigeria health system. He said Nigeria trains doctors for other countries to use while the few that couldn’t find their way out of the country are frustrated due to poor facilities.

A university don, who specializes in public and private international law, Gbenga Odutan, said it was time Nigeria started anti-corruption awareness in financing of the healthcare system, adding, “The country is currently paying for its long term neglect of adequate financing of the healthcare sector, which the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously exposed.”

Odutan said corruption is a problem Nigeria could not afford to overlook, saying, “I want anybody to challenge me. Nigeria is not spending enough on the healthcare sector and the little it is budgeting is being siphoned; that is reason most public and national hospitals lack necessary infrastructure.”

The don tasked all anti-corruption agencies in the country to start beaming their searchlight on the graft in healthcare sector. Aare Onakanakanfo of Yoruba Land, Otunba Gani Adams also urged the federal government to look towards a traditional solution to deal with the pandemic just as Madagascar has done.


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