The last one week has been a hectic one for Nigerians all over as the COVID-19 pandemic reached a near-alarming rate in the country, following the confirmation by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that 9 new cases had tested positive in Lagos and one in Ekiti.
This aforementioned development, the news of the Lagos Government making efforts to reach out to about 1,300 persons they say may have had contact with the suspects, coupled with the confusion on whether ‘chloroquine’ is an antidote to the virus has generated panic and reasonable fear among Nigerians. And for a country with poor literacy rate as well as high tendency for fake news to thrive, a lot of persons have expressed worry that more citizens may be hurt from acting in panic than by the Coronavirus disease in itself.
In times like these, Nigerians have also had to use the medium unfortunately, to express disappointment in the leadership of the country as they watch and read about “Leaders” of other countries addressing citizens with messages of hope, re-assurance and decisive measures in tackling the pandemic. While the Lagos and Federal Ministries of Health as well as the NCDC have commendably updated Nigerians with timely information on the spead, prevention and management of the virus, majority of Nigerians are yearning for President Muhammadu Buhari to do so same as the Father of the nation (if you like).
This desire however, no matter how well-intentioned, may never see the light of day as the Presidency Friday slammed the Senate and Nigerians by extension, for including such thoughts on their ‘wish lists.’ Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, in making this clear, described it as a “politicisation” of an issue that the President was deliberately avoiding, so as “not to create panic.” He also added that it was a cheap and sensational attempt by the Senate to accuse his principal of complacency simply because he has not made a television address on the pandemic since a high-level Presidential Coordination Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) have been created to ensure containment of the scourge.
Governors of the 36 states through Chairman of its forum, Kayode Fayemi also sees reason with the President’s decision ( in spite of being hale and hearty) not to address the nation, because he has already set up a task force on the COVID-19 virus which has been delivering updates to the nation.
Is the Presidency begging the question or the people have expectedly rightly? Be the judge.
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Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.