The Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh Lukman, has chided the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Ebun-olu Adegboruwa SAN, for reducing to politics and legality, the issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari, on measure to tackle the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement he issued in Abuja, the PGF DG, frowned that while corporate Nigeria and wealthy citizens are mobilising financial resources to support government, some politicians and non-governmental professionals are adding politics and legality dimensions to it.
“President Buhari, while addressing Nigerians on the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday, declared: “As individuals, we remain the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic.”
Interestingly, immediately following the address, on the same day, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, described the President’s speech as “empty and failed to address the salient demands of the impact of the scourge (of Covid-19) on the nation.
“The statement of the PDP was complimented, perhaps inadvertently, by another statement from a private lawyer, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa SAN who condemned some of the measures announced by the president, which include restriction of movements in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun as illegal, arguing that the president “has not invoked his powers under the Constitution to declare any state of emergency, which must be approved by the National Assembly.
“Clearly, these responses completely ignore the gravity of the challenges and imagine that the problems can be reduced to politics and legal arguments. They all miss the point, very conveniently, that the world, including Nigeria, is fighting a war that is a threat to human life in a manner that the world has never experienced before.
“As for PDP, we can argue with some confidence that the position of Ologbondiya is not shared by the PDP leadership especially Atiku Abubakar and PDP governors. This is because Atiku has already demonstrated his commitment to support the Federal Government to win the fight against Covid-19 for which he has already contributed N50 million. In the same vein, PDP governors are working in partnership with the Federal Government and all governors in the country, irrespective of party affiliations to roll out uniform initiatives in all our states under the coordination of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
“Without any hesitation, it could be argued that PDP governors are not playing politics with the challenge of fighting Covid-19 in the country. We are all very encouraged for the inspiring leadership of Atiku Abubakar and PDP governors for rising to the national challenge of teaming up with all Nigerians irrespective of party lines,” he noted in the statement.
Writing further, the PGF DG emphasised that “it is important that as citizens, we recognise that at this stage, what is required is not politics but capacity to take initiative. If we are not satisfied with the initiatives of government, rather than seek to undermine governmental initiatives, can we come up with our initiatives to stop the spread of the virus? Or are we arguing that governmental initiatives are weakening our capacity to come up with our initiatives?
“In some ways, the issue of initiatives from citizens and non-governmental organisations is hardly the focus. Otherwise, how can we justify many of the responses from Nigerians who seem to indulge themselves with the inconsiderate political belief that Covid-19 is President Buhari’s problem? Whichever initiative the president proposes will be dismissed.
“This only highlights the fact that many Nigerians, for whatever reasons have lost their humanity. As a result, we don’t see the challenge of Covid-19 as a threat to humanity. While corporate Nigeria and wealthy citizens, in their own way, are mobilising financial resources to support government, some politicians and non-governmental professionals are reducing the issues to politics and legality.
“Even when people like Jack Ma, from far away China are making donations to Nigerian government to strengthen capacity to contain Covid-19, critical sectors such as trade unions, civil society and their leaders with all their advantaged experiences in mobilising Nigerians to obey sit-at-home campaigns are simply indifferent, as if the virus will spare them.
“Some have argued that part of the problem is that the government is not engaging them. I am not sure the action of the corporate Nigeria and wealthy citizens is stimulated by any engagement by the Nigerian government. Could it have been because the virus threatens them more than other Nigerians? Certainly not,” he quipped.
Salifu used the opportunity to pray for the quick recovery of the effected victims, noting: “this is dedicated in prayers for the speedy recovery of Abba Kyari, Nasir El-Rufai, Bala Mohammed and all those infected by Covid-19 in the country. May God Almighty endow humankind with the knowledge and wisdom to produce cure for the virus!”