By Raymond Osho
ABEOKUTA: Worried by the current pandemic in the world, a group in Ogun state has appealed to the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun to brush aside politics and partner with critical stakeholders to cross fertilize ideas towards winning the battle against the novel Covid-19.
The group, under the aegis of Concerned Citizens of Ogun (CCO) in an open letter signed by its spokesperson, Ishola Somoye expressed the need for state government to have more hands on deck in the fight, arguing that two heads are better than one.
CCO urged Abiodun’s administration to put in place strategic measures in order to win the fight against the deadly epidemic.
The strategic measures, they said, must include; upgrading the health sector to contain the pandemic, enhancing surveillance and active case finding across Ogun State like that of China, partnering with National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the media to educate the people of Ogun state on what is expected of them.
Others are that the State government should place particular emphasis on reducing human infection and prevention of secondary transmission of the infection, regular supply of direct social palliatives to communities among others.
The open letter also requested the slash of Abiodun’s allowances and other political office holders in order to have sufficient funds to cater for the venerable group in this hard time.
The letter reads in parts, “At this point, CCO would like to emphasize the need to slash the allowances of Gov. Dapo Abiodun, political Office holders and members of Ogun State House of Assembly. Let the era of jumbo pay come to an abrupt end so as to have sufficient funds to fight coronavirus. If we are not adequately equipped, we might find ourselves in a mess.”
While stressing the need for adequate funds to put in place necessary facilities, the group stated that the larger part of the 2020 budget should also be channeled towards purchasing sophisticated health equipment.
“It is highly imperative that Governor Dapo Abiodun retool the implementation of the 2020 budget. Of course, this must be done in collaboration with the State House of Assembly.
“A larger part of the 2020 budget should be channeled towards combating the epidemic, by purchasing sophisticated medical equipment and ensure direct social palliatives get to the needy during this challenging period.
“We must think of survival first, before any other project. A lawmaker that is not healthy cannot partake in plenary session, a president or governor can’t commission projects when Nigeria is in crisis”
“CCO is appealing to Gov. Abiodun to brush politics aside and start working with critical stakeholders for cross fertilization of ideas towards winning the battle against Covid-19.
“The Bible also confirmed God’s position on cross fertilization of ideas. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together”. The book of Ecclesiastes 4:9 also did same: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour.
“More capable hands are needed in the fight against the spread of Covid-19. Let’s not wait till cases in Ogun State start growing geometrically before we start doing the right thing,” it added.
The group challenged the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to caution it’s members on the habit of distributing food items for campaign.
“There’s urgent need for the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State to shun the act of “stylish campaign” in this situation. This is not a time to play politics. Those using the distribution of relief materials as an avenue for campaign must be stopped. Also, all the Local government Chairmen who are distributing relief materials to the less-privileged and vulnerable groups should render a humanitarian service rather than the other.”
“Politicians must stop using distribution of materials as a means to declare their political intentions to the people, this is not an electioneering period but a sober moment. We have seen different pictures depicting different politicians posing with beneficiaries and the relief materials to take photographs.”
“We will not also forget to note that food items that were distributed to the people by the state government is insufficient as people in different communities are complaining bitterly.
“Where on earth is it possible for a community to share a 5kg rice or garri during this lockdown? This is a community that consists of over 75 Houses. Unfortunately, Ogun State is marked as one of the richest states in the nation.”