*A man loading COVID-19 food aid in Abuja, Nigeria
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said “the manifest incompetence” of the regime of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), as well as his failure to lead from the front are responsible for Nigeria’s failure to check the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The PDP raised the alarm following the increase in infection and mortality rates in Nigeria.
It said this could have been curtailed if the nation had a competent, proactive and transparent leadership with the capacity to articulate a quick national response to the pandemic. This heavy accusation was contained in a statement signed by Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP. Ologbondiyan said, “The party notes that the situation had been worsened by greedy and corrupt All Progressives Congress leaders and the cabal in the Presidency, who are cashing in on President Buhari’s ineffectiveness to pillage resources meant for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic in our country.”
However, a statement issued by the Buhari Media Organisation’s Chairman and Secretary, Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke dismissed PDP’s allegations. It insisted that the President is setting transparency standards in the management of the COVID-19 funds that the PDP finds difficult to comprehend. But, the PDP insisted that it was distressing that since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, the President had not demonstrated the desired visibility; addressed the nation only thrice (each time, after much prodding), after which he had remained out of public visibility, leading to lack of effective coordination of the fight against the pandemic.
According to Ologbondiyan, President Buhari’s backseat approach had also encouraged the reckless pillaging of COVID-19 palliatives by his officials, leaving majority of poor and vulnerable Nigerians unattended to; a principal factor responsible for the general poor compliance to lockdown directives in major cities. He said the gradual easing of the lockdown, was because “Mr. President is working from a blind spot due to his narrow involvement in the fight.”
The PDP spokesperson stated, “His (Buhari’s) reopening of the economy without any post-lockdown stimulus had further worsened the situation as the resultant economic stampede; had led to massive violation of health safety and social distancing protocols.” The party also said the President’s failure is also responsible for our nation’s inability to rally indigenous researchers, manufactures, virologists and healers for homegrown solutions, which would have arrested the situation in our country.