By Kelechi James
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s Monday broadcast on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it is very disappointing.
According to the party, the speech, just like the “pre-recorded broadcast of March 29, 2020, failed to address salient issues of urgent concerns to Nigerians in their daily struggle against the spread of the plague in our country.”
In a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said: “The party expresses sadness that Mr. President again failed to show leadership and displayed total lack of touch with reality as he failed to give any hope on palliatives to the ordinary Nigerians as they face hunger and economic pangs of the lockdown. “It is more painful that President Buhari could not address the immediate needs of the people or provide a trajectory that will take care of their future.
“Instead, Mr. President bored our nation with a rehash of global data already known to Nigerians in addition to promises that are far-flung departures from the harsh realities on the ground.
“Nigerians expected Mr. President to directly address the established failures of his palliatives distribution, particularly the provision of funds to the poorest of the poor, which has been marred by allegations of corruption and diversion of funds. This is in addition to allegations of diversion of rice and other food items meant for the poor masses.
“Can Mr. President claim not to be aware that not a handful of Nigerians have received any palliatives and that huge majority of our citizens are complaining that they have not been reached with any panacea despite his administration’s claim of having reached 2.6 million household? READ ALSO: Buhari extends lockdown in Lagos, Ogun, Abuja by 14 days.
“Announcing the expansion of the palliative scope to 3.6 million households without addressing the failure of the scheme and with no parameter to showcase the declared expansion is an encouragement of the corrupt system that has been depriving Nigerians.
“The PDP challenges Mr. President to disprove Nigerians by publishing documents showing the beneficiaries of the claimed 2.6 million household social intervention, the benefiting communities as well as the parameters that will be deployed for the additional one million household.
“Our party holds that what has been witnessed in the last two weeks is a total incapacity and fraud by those he has currently charged with the responsibility of taking palliatives to the people.
“Already, there are serious agitations and unrests in Lagos, Ogun and some parts of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT where Nigerians, who earn their means of livelihood on daily basis and who have been locked out from their means of subsistence and can no longer withstand the pangs of hunger, are becoming restless.
“Our party still believes that Mr. President needs to quickly retool his approach and adopt an all-encompassing model that will take care of the hunger and deprivations, which this lockdown has imposed on Nigerians.
“President Buhari should be forthcoming on what palliatives are accruable, in the immediate, to each state of the federation in this national fight against the pandemic.
“This is because, given our peculiar federal system, we still insist that the fastest approach to reach the people is through the state and local governments using methods like traditional institutions, community leadership and faith-based organizations.
“The PDP therefore charges President Buhari to reorder his approach to cover the incentives his administration will provide to save the lives and jobs of Nigerians and then address the nation again accordingly.
“PDP invites compatriots to continue to provide help for one another as we continue to stay safe and obey World Health Organizations guidelines.”
By Kelechi James