COVID-19: Roles for Fashola, Chukwu
By Anthony Opara
Recently, I suggested that the Works Minister and former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, SAN should replace Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation who is at the head of the war-room in the fight against Covid 19. I also suggested that the Minister of Health who worked with Fashola to fight Ebola to a standstill, Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu should also be brought in to work with Fashola.
No good coach changes a winning team hence the team that defeated Ebola should be pressed into service. Some may argue that Ebola is different from Covid 19 but none can deny that for the sacrifices made by patriotic Nigerians like Dr Ameyo Adedavoh and her colleagues at First Foundation Clinic in Obalende, Lagos, Ebola would have wrecked havoc in Nigeria as it did in some other countries where people died in droves.
It’s hugely surprising that Fashola has said nothing with regards to this pandemic. Apparently nobody has deemed it fit to consult him on what to do to eliminate Covid 19 and I won’t be surprised that nobody has consulted the former Health Minister on what to do. In more developed countries, virtually all knowledge and institutions are being pressed into service but here we are bickering about federal and state rights as well the data base for the sharing of financial palliatives.
Instead what we are getting is the definition of poor Nigerians who can fall into the category of beneficiaries. While the bickering went on part of the Treasury House office of the Accountant General of the Federation went up in flames. We have been assured that documents upon which the Minister for Disaster Management based her physical disposal of monies to some Nigerians are intact. This is according to Information Minister Mr Lai Mohammed but let me not digress.
None can dispute the manner in which the former Health Minister Dr Chukwu and former Lagos Governor Fashola headed a team that stopped Ebola in its tracks. Fortunately the men and women that worked then are still available. They should be pressed into service to fight this pandemic that appears more serious than Ebola. As I write over one million people have died all over the world over Corona Virus and the figures are climbing. Nations of the world are doing everything to stave off the virus but here all we see is Government not showing the required leadership to deal with this pandemic.
Dr Iheakweazu the head of the National Center for Disease Control NCDC seems to be the face of the fight against the scourge whilst we have a Presidential Committee headed Mustapha who seem more interested in sharing palliatives than fighting the pandemic.
It’s time for a real committee headed by the Works Minister to deal with Corona Virus. Fashola and Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu knows what they did in the Ebola era. They can do it again given the type of support that President Dr Jonathan gave them. Many people cried out at the onset of the pandemic that a President that is present should step out and lead from the front. It took public outcry before the President addressed the nation and locked down Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory.
In locking these locations he also locked down the economy of the country and now hardship is biting hard as it’s biting all over the world except in China where factories have reopened and they are supplying the entire globe of essential Covid 19 medical equipment. Now the Chinese have sent doctors to Nigeria and equipment to help in the fight against the Pandemic. Their arrival is against the advice of the Nigerian medical community. Government says they are here to offer technical support. They are on 14 day quarantine according to govt after which they will do what they were contracted to do. They came with medical equipment to ostensibly help in the fight.
Govt is a continuum so what Fashola did in the Ebola war should be in some government archives. This is the time to get the information from the archives and let’s reuse what was used that worked.
A Liberian brought Ebola into Lagos same way an Italian brought Corona Virus into Lagos before irresponsibly elites spread it by their refusal to self isolate after coming back from Corona impacted nations like America and London.
Babatunde Fashola is alive and should take over from Boss Mustapha in the headship of the team. He is a very serious minded. With him in charge Nigeria will soon see the end of the virus.
I believe in this except the APC government are merely paying lip service to the fight against Covid 19 or they think it’s another opportunity to steal national patrimony to enrich individuals. Let the government be prepared to give account of all the monies donated by kind hearted individuals and corporate organizations for the fight against the virus.
There is a need to recognize that there is an emergency and locking people down is not the only way to fight or curb the spread. Let us remember at this time that Biafrans were not only locked down but bombarded almost every day but the civil war lasted for three years. Locking people down is no answer as Policemen on the roads are busy collecting bribes and letting people go their way. My cousin went out to visit an atm machine to collect some money as there was nothing at home. He was accosted by Policemen who collected 500 from him and let him go. His explanation that he needed to get some money to buy food stuff fell on deaf ears but the so called were happy to collect 500 and let him go. This is the state of lockdown in Nigeria.
While the virus is spreading some states are considering relaxing the lockdown for people to celebrate Easter. These Governors forget that even the Vatican has been shut down and Catholics asked to worship from home. The Kaaba in Mecca is shut down.
Serious people are taking the virus serious but we are here arguing on whether it’s 5G implementation is the cause of the virus. I am sure Fashola will set things right. If Nigeria is serious in combating this pandemic Fashola and Dr Chukwu should take over