The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed concerns over the reported appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari as the ECOWAS COVID-19 Response Champion, given the failure to personally lead from the front, in the fight against the spread of the pandemic in Nigeria.
The party, however, counseled President Buhari, in a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, to see this appointment as a serious wake up call to make himself more visible and personally involved in the front in this fight against the pandemic in Nigeria, on which pedestal he can champion a response in the sub-region.
The PDP said it believes that the decision of the ECOWAS leaders was predicated on the past leadership roles played by the country in the sub-region and urged President Buhari to wake up to the challenge and ensure that the laidback approach of his administration does not whittle the confidence other nations repose in Nigeria.
The PDP also said it 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 his country.
The party further stated that 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.
“President Buhari must 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.
“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. Such cannot be done unless the current administration ends its corrupt political parochialism.
“The PDP therefore urges President Buhari to stand up to the challenge, make himself more visible and personally involved in the front, like other leaders; 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.
“Furthermore, the PDP calls 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,” the PDP further stated.