Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, and with the gradual increase of confirmed cases of people who have tested positive to the virus, the Senate and other well-meaning Nigerians, last week, demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari address the nation. This is in order to reassure Nigerians of the efforts of his administration to contain the global disease in the country.
The Presidency, however, frowned at this. Perhaps, to show its displeasure, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement, asserted that such calls were simply hinged on cheap politics.
“…Populist advocacies such as one accusing the President of ‘complacency’ simply because he has not made a television address by ranking members of our respected parliament are cheap and sensational. These are not the times for populism and cheap politics,” the statement read.
While Nigerians were still decoding the various facets of Shehu’s statement, President Buhari in a Tweet, on his verified Twitter handle – @MBuhari – explained why he did not consider it important to address Nigerians.
“We have the Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) working round-the-clock with several other agencies, as well as state governments, to ensure this. I have absolute confidence in the relevant ministers in the cabinet, the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus which I recently established, and the officials of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), who are all providing constant updates and professional counsel,” the President Tweeted.
Notwithstanding what may have been put in place to contain the pandemic, many still believe that it is not out of place for the president to show leadership by speaking up.
Indeed, how much hope has the president given by keeping quiet? By speaking up, he would not only be showing empathy but leading from the front as many world leaders are currently doing.
Perhaps, we could draw examples from world leaders like the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump; the Prime Minister of Britain, Boris Johnson and the Presidents of South Africa, and Ghana, who have constantly addressed their people on the raging health crisis.
President Buhari, as the leader of the nation, must at this time lead from the front and prove that he, indeed, cares.
2 other talking points
Waiting for Coronavirus status of Buhari’s daughter
Last week, the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, on her verified Twitter handle – @aishambuhari – announced that her daughter is on self-isolation having returned from The United Kingdom, one of the countries where the Coronavirus pandemic is widespread.
“Good afternoon Nigerians, earlier today my daughter returned from the UK which is among the high-burden listed countries of COVID-19. Based on the advice of the Hon. Minister of Health, Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and that of NCDC, she is on self-isolation not because she displayed any symptoms of the COVID-19,” she tweeted.
In all fronts, the President’s wife gets commendation for doing the right thing. This is the leadership by example most Nigerians are clamouring for.
As the pandemic has seen to the death of over 16, 500 people globally, there is every need for all and sundry to take drastic measures in ensuring that they do not spread it intentionally or unintentionally.
Aisha gets further applause for exercising initiative in shutting her office to contain spread of the virus. However, a bigger applause awaits her as she makes full disclosure of the real status of her daughter after a Coronavirus test is conducted.
Reduction in fuel price may not last!
President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, approved a reduction in pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as fuel, from N145 to N125. He gave the approval after the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, presented the proposal to the Federal Executive Council (FEC). Sylva had briefed FEC on the need to reduce the pump price following the fall in oil price in the international market.
There has been a controlled applause since the announcement was made. The expectations are that the development would help Nigerians manage the spiraling cost of living worsened by rising inflation.
It is instructive to note, though, that the reduction has been touted as part of a periodic review that would henceforth drive the management of fuel price.
For keen observers of the economy, it might be too early for Nigerians to rejoice as speculations are rife that the Buhari administration may just be perfecting plans to deregulate the petroleum sector through the back door.
By John Chukwu…