The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has dismissed a statement by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the alleged mishandling of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The group described the statement as “endemic myopia and sensational gibberish” designed to deflect public attention from the accusations of embezzlement of funds and incompetent leadership rocking the party’s National Secretariat.
In a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO pointed to the numerous successes recorded by the Buhari administration through the proactive initiatives of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as well as commendations by respected global figures that acknowledged the positive impact of President Buhari’s administration in managing the Covid-19 as incontrovertible evidence that PDP’s finger-pointing is a wasted and misdirected effort.
“Nigerians are now familiar with the PDP’s accusatory bombasts, but this latest outburst is a demonstrable show of undisguised preference for the mundane. This statement is a true certification of the reasoning that the PDP is, in fact, a university of lies. In the face of the impressive management of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country, it is crass irresponsibility for the PDP to describe the Buhari administration as lethargic ‘with no concrete commitment solution’.
“This is an absurdity on steroids. All taken together, the proactive formation, inauguration, and streaming of the PTF have shown leadership and capacity, reflecting on low numbers of infections and case fatalities compared to other jurisdictions. We can only imagine the extent of damage to the population and economy if we were unfortunate to have had the PDP in power”.
The group described PDP’s allegation that the Buhari administration did not make any budgetary provision in the 2021 appropriation for the acquisition of essential therapeutics as another indication of the opposition’s ignorance and a penchant for pedestrian reasoning. “No responsible government inputs figures in a Budget without being sure of the cost of item/s.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance, which released over N118.37 billion for COVID-19 capital expenditure in 2020, had offered clarification that a supplementary budget would be forwarded to the National Assembly at the appropriate time. That is the right thing to do, not imputation by guesswork, which enables stealing and funds diversion as was the corrupt practice in the old PDP days of budget-padding and anticipatory approvals.
“We think PDP is still suffering from endemic myopia, perpetual denial, and deliberate misperception, which are morbid symptoms of an opposition party in the final stages of disintegration. It is undeniable that Nigeria is one of the earliest countries to proactively and efficiently respond to this pandemic; even the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed this”.
BMO retraced the timeline of the global announcement and official Nigerian response to Covid-19 to buttress PDP’s ignorance of the response sequence. “The WHO declared the coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), on January 20, 2020, and a pandemic on March 11. However, our NCDC experts had already pushed out a virus notification on their website as early as January 7, 2020, and on January 26, they had rolled out a multi-sectoral National Coronavirus Preparedness Group to coordinate Nigeria’s preparedness and mediation.
“The Buhari government not only vigorously confronted the scourge, but it also rolled out robust and effective measures to ameliorate the economic fallouts of the pandemic. This administration was quick to set up the PTF as early as March 9, 2020, ‘to oversee and coordinate the country’s multi-sectoral and inter-governmental efforts both to contain the outbreak and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic’; closed our national airspace to prevent flights arriving from the most affected regions of the world; and announced a lockdown, beginning at first with the most affected States.
“The NCDC tuned up contact tracing activities and increased capacity for case detection and treatment in collaboration with the State Governments. Treatment centres were expanded from an initial single center in Lagos with 35 beds to 121 treatment centers with 6,550 beds nationwide, while the number of testing laboratories increased to 28 in 18 states by the end of May, 2020.
More than 13,000 healthcare workers have been trained on IPC and Covid-19 case management and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In case the PDP propagandists fell asleep through this momentous period in our modern history, no less an informed authority than the UN Secretary-General Anthony Gutierrez singled out Nigeria for praise as one developing country doing a remarkable job of stemming community transmission and mitigating the impact of the pandemic.
“The Buhari administration, through the PTF, worked and continues to work tirelessly on this. Appropriate measures were taken as a response, which helped protect the larger population from infections and death. This is why we have one of the lowest numbers of infections and fatalities around the world. The PTF continues to roll out timely information and protocols to ensure that citizens remain fully informed on the virus’ development and responses.
According to the BMO, the administration has been giving out palliatives in many kinds to the most vulnerable of the population across the country to cushion the effects of the lockdown on the citizens, as well as other intervention schemes for small business holders who have lost their means of livelihood from the pandemic, through programs under the FG’s Economic Sustainability Program.
“A supplementary budget will be presented to cover the 100,000 doses of vaccines which the government plans to procure in the first quarter of 2021.”
BMO advised the PDP to heed the wise counsel of Mr. Edward Kallon, United Nations Resident Coordinator and representative of the UN Secretary-general in Nigeria, who, while launching the Covid-19 Basket Fund to complement efforts to mobilize resources in support of the National Covid-19 Multi-Sectoral Pandemic Response Plan, developed by the Presidential Task Force on Covid19, said: ‘We applaud the Nigerian Government … for its efforts and measures to mobilize resources to address the impact of Covid-19 urgently’.
“However, the Government cannot do it alone. For the country to succeed in fighting back the threat of the coronavirus epidemic, we must all come together across all sectors to support the government at this time of great need”, the statement added.