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ASO ROCK WATCH: Is under-pressure Buhari pampering Gov Ganduje? 2 other talking points

Flogging Governor Ganduje

President Muhammadu Buhari is certainly a man under pressure but the demands of the office are not such that he can abandon except his health fails him.

Last week, he had the task of responding to the COVID-19 crisis in Kano State. In doing so, he assured the people of Kano that he will not let them down. This followed the several mysterious deaths recorded within a week in the State. The President’s assurance was contained in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

“The President and his government are with the people of Kano State and will not let them down. If there is reason to believe that the mortality rate in Kano due to COVID-19 is out of control, it will spell a serious development to which the best action would be for the Federal government and state government to work more tightly together to find solutions and implement together.”

The situation in Kano is, no doubt, one of national emergency. The President’s show of empathy was not unexpected. Indeed, nothing less would have been expected from the father of the nation.

Nonetheless, the Kano situation has presented an intricate case. On the one hand, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje is largely perceived to have underperformed in managing the coronavirus pandemic, choosing irresponsibly to live in denial when unexplained deaths began to manifest in the city. On the other, he has also received serious knocks for creating the impression that he was mostly interested in a certain N15billion support from government when he had exercised little or no initiative in building infrastructure for containment of the health crisis.

Ganduje looks to have carried on like an over fed baby, and many think that the President is pampering him and the dire situation in Kano. This claim gained weight in Buhari’s approval to ease the lockdown in the State after the governor, who had shown absolute lack of control, persuaded a relaxation of the measures.

It was Abba Anwar, the Chief Press Secretary to Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, who betrayed the President in a statement when he stated that Buhari had given a nod for the relaxation of the lockdown, to allow for some free movement of people for some hours on Mondays and Thursdays. “We sought for the consent of Mr. President on how to relax the lockdown, to allow for some free movements of people but within stipulated hours of the agreed days,” the statement reads in part.

As father of the nation, President Buhari must be seen to be firm and not pamper some people in authority when it is obvious that they are manisfesting lack of leadership skills. The time to speak truth to Ganduje is now, for he must be told that the sorry state of the COVID-19 war in Kano owes largely to his visionlessness.

2 other talking points

Grandstanding on Workers’ Day

In marking the 2020 Workers’ Day, President Muhammadu Buhari, asserted that his government will ensure that no employer, especially in the private sector, will retrench workers without following due process.  The President’s address to mark Workers’ Day celebration was read by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, during a virtual meeting with Labour leaders in adherence with the social distancing policy.

“I understand the anxiety which has plagued the minds of workers over the possibility of job losses due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and lockdown, especially in the private sector. In this regard, the government will ensure that no employer would retrench or lay off workers without going through due process of social dialogue which includes consultations with workers and with the Competent Authority – Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment,” the statement read in part.

Read also: ASO ROCK WATCH: Now that ECOWAS has asked Buhari to lead COVID-19 fight. 2 other talking points

It would be interesting to see how Buhari matches his words with action. First, he can only keep that promise with the public sector where he holds sway as President of the country. For the private sector, Mr President’s declaration may only amount to grandstanding as he is not in absolute control.

He can only persuade players in the private sector with an appeal if his administration shows increasing capacity to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. It bears repetitiveness to mention that insecurity, dilapidated infrastructure and the never-ending epileptic power supply remain unresolved issues in the nation’s quest for a stable economy.

Walking the talk

Past week, the Presidency encouraged scientists and researchers to urgently and practically work for home grown cure to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, disclosed this in Abuja at the 24th joint national briefing of the committee.

“I have been encouraged by the feedback from Nigerians on the need to deepen research into COVID-19 so that a home-grown cure could be found. Part of the mandate to the PTF is to build a strong base for research. I therefore urge our scientists and researchers to come up with their finding and follow the validation protocols,” Mustapha said.

As exciting as this may seem, government’s good intentions can only manifest in a very practical response. So, we dare ask if Mr President is considering doing something radical by breaking all known protocols and assembling the best that Nigeria could present to quickly find a cure for the pandemic.

The President is challenged to rally the likes of Prof. Maurice Iwu, who had earlier claimed that he has identified a possible treatment for the pandemic, and many other Nigerians who have laid claims to finding local cure for the virus.

These are not times for mere talks. It behooves the President to swing into action, and do all he can within his powers to salvage Nigerians from this health crisis.

By John Chukwu…

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