The Coalition of Oodua Self determination Group (COSEG), has monitored responses by the Federal government and South-West states to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic since the index case in Lagos and subsequent spread across the country.
The COSEG leadership has extensively reviewed and analysed the progress so far. While acknowledging the efforts of the various tiers of government, we’re not unwary of the huge gaps in the management of the crisis in Nigeria most especially as it affects the South West.
We however appreciate and commend the federal government’s support to Lagos state to combat the COVID-19 pandemic giving the pivotal role of Lagos in our national economy.
Lagos was exposed and unprotected to the ravaging disease as a gateway and frontier for international flights, land borders and sea cargo activities. Her strategic location, cosmopolitan nature, and commercial centre for the country and West African sub-region endangered her for the huge transmission of the deadly diseases.
This has led to the exponential spread at this stage of community transmission. Lagos state within the available capacity has demonstrated seriousness and responses to the management and treatment of case-patients and related issues.
But this is grossly inadequate given the overwhelming and multi-dimensional factors associated with the management of the crisis and low support from the federal government.
Some of these are:
I. Shortage of food and hunger for the poor and even middle class
Ii. Insecurity has led to armed gangs terrorising the neighbourhoods
Iii. Insufficient test kits and ventilators
Iv. Endangering the lives of health workers and their families
V. Nepotism and reckless looting of the palliatives and cash transfer by the federal government.
WE CONDEMN COPY AND PASTE SOLUTIONS
The management of the pandemic by the federal government is no doubt a clear indication of a planless Country. Just like in all spheres of our national life, where the Nigerian ruling elites have outsourced data collection and planning to foreign interests, we observed the current copy and paste solutions for the management of COVID-19 will not work because of the peculiarities of our social system.
Our sister country Senegal, has gone ahead to develop local testing kits and ventilators at extremely low costs. For example, the test kits is just at $1 while the ventilator goes for $60 compared to the foreign price of $1,600.
The shortcomings of the Senegalese experiment notwithstanding, to us is a right step in the right direction towards total liberation of Africa from the claws of foreign interests especially the mindless Chinese. We, therefore, urge the federal government to support all Afrocentric knowledge to tackle the pandemic and other issues.
LOPSIDED APPLICATION OF SIP
The success of the lockdown if tangible has been quickly eroded by the mismanagement of the palliative, preferential cash transfer along ethnic dichotomy at the detriment of the southern states, lackadaisical public health initiatives for looking inwards.
The COSEG also noted that the federal government has not done well in the management of the lockdown it imposed viewing it from the late closure of our international borders and inadequate plan for the continuation of food production and distribution sector.
This has led to extreme pressure and pain on the populace merely surviving on daily hustling before the pandemic, hence the rebellion we have seen in the streets and neighbourhoods of Lagos and other cities. The mass death in Kano and disregard for government directives in most states are good examples.
EXPIRED RICE TO SOUTHWEST STATES
The COSEG is particularly taken aback on the shameful act of distributing expired rice to the south-west.
Could this be deliberate or Is it a grand plan to poison our people?
What reason would the federal government give for such acts?
How would the South West ever trust the safety of subsequent foods and palliative materials from the federal government ?!
Elected and appointed Yoruba sons and daughters at the federal level have a duty and role to play for the welfare and safety of our people at this crisis period. The Yoruba people are watching the activities of these representatives and will take stock and appraisal at the appointed time.
The possible extension of the lockdown is another matter that COSEG have deeply considered.
We are concerned that the rate at which the community transmission of the COVID-19 is spreading may necessitate a further extension of the lockdown. However, to avoid a total breakdown of law and order, to protect the gains already made in our collective sacrifice, the following should be done:
1. The surplus supply of food, water and electricity.
2. Adequate security in the streets and neighbourhoods.
3. Other relief packages like utility bills waivers and deferment of cooperative loans payment.
4. Stimulus for farmers in crop, livestock and fish production and distribution.
5. Mass distribution of personal protective materials to the populace
6. Distribution of standard PPE for, and welfare of the medical workers, who are the front liners in this phenomena battle for humanity is of grave importance. Mr President must ensure he personally supervise this.
7. Diversification of the monolithic economy to an agrarian, knowledge-based economy (KBE) and industrialised economy.
8. Direct CBN through NIRSAL and other financial institutions to scale up start up capitals to new businesses and the existing ones at less than 5% interest per annum for production and allied SMEs devoid of nepotism to rejig the county’s economy.
9. Lagos State is obviously the most hit by the COVID-19 as the epic centre of the pandemic, the base of the Country’s economy, we urge Federal Government to make further provision for the State to support its economic ecosystem.
The COSEG demands transparency in this campaign; we urge the Federal government to liaise with Human Rights groups, community-based associations and anti-corruption civil society organizations to monitor and question how the palliatives are being managed.
The Yoruba people can no longer subsume their destiny in the project of 1914 that is ill-fated, the subjugation of our collective interests without our consent.
Nevertheless, COSEG has resolved to present the Yoruba quest for self-governance before ECOWAS, AU, UN and other international bodies should the official policy of nepotism of the UNITARY GOVERNMENT camouflaged as federal state persist. Because this policy which is not different from apartheid has continuously incapacitated our people; undermining our capabilities to provide for our needs.
OUR DAY SHALL COME!
Comrade Rasaq Olokoba