- Insists he is undeserving
BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – Nigeria’s main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment as the ECOWAS COVID-19 Response Champion is undeserving given his failure to provide required leadership in fighting against the pandemic spread in Nigeria.
According to the main opposition Party, having failed to personally lead from the front, President Buhari cannot honestly fit into the shoes of a champion in the war against coronavirus.
However, the PDP urged the President to consider his appointment as a serious wake up call to make himself more visible and personally involved in the COVID-19 fight to justify the champion status conferred a response in the sub-region.
Insisting that the ECOWAS leaders’ decision was predicated more on the past leadership roles played by Nigeria in the sub-region, the PDP said President Buhari must be alive to the challenges of his new status and ensure the laidback approach of his administration does not whittle down the confidence other nations repose in Nigeria.
A statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said; “The PDP agrees no less with submission by some Nigerians that the ECOWAS leaders might not be aware that President Buhari had held only two national broadcasts since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, without a clear-cut national strategy, beyond the routine, to combat the scourge in our country.
“The ECOWAS leaders may not have been properly furnished with the disheartening situation in Nigeria where a prevailing corrupt system had failed to provide panaceas to majority of vulnerable and poor citizens whose means of livelihood had been crippled by the lockdown. This is in addition to alleged diversion of palliative funds and materials by dishonest officials.
“The PDP therefore urges the Buhari Presidency to assist Mr. President to immediately reengineer our national approach by ending the current political parochialism and bringing in our known experts and competent hands in various relevant fields to help develop and implement urgent national strategy to check the spread of the pandemic in our country and the sub-region.”
The opposition party therefore challenged President Buhari to “look beyond the officials and cronies of his administration; most of whom are bogged down by gross incompetence and corruption, so much that they have failed to develop and implement the desired national proactive response, including provision of drugs, equipment and transparent distribution of palliatives.”
The statement further said; “Our nation needs a response system that can galvanize multilateral interventions to contain and defeat the deadly virus as well as action a quick economic stimulation after the pandemic”, adding that; “Such cannot be done unless the current administration ends its corrupt political parochialism.”
While urging the President to effectively take up the challenge, “make himself more visible and personally involved in the front, like other leaders”, the opposition also said he must “take steps to end the corruption and incompetence that is bogging down the interventions in our country as well as constitute the Eminent Nigerians Group to manage COVID-19 donations so as to eliminate corruption and political bottlenecks.”
On the welfare packages meant to address the sufferings of Nigerians occasioned by the lockdown, the PDP called on “Mr President to channel all government palliatives to states for implementation through our local governments, traditional and faith-based institutions, while taking urgent steps to slash the price of fuel, reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) recover stolen COVID-19 palliatives and oil subsidy funds and direct such as panacea to Nigerians.”