On Saturday, May 16, 2020, Anambra State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP rolled out its palliative measures to help tackle the challenges facing mankind in the state in this war against the pandemic called COVID-19.
It was quite an impressive list of donors, the money involved and the items purchased as the state chairman of the party, Hon Ndubisi Nwobu reeled out in introduction before handing over to the chairperson of the Anambra State PDP Palliatives Committee, Dr. Mrs. Chidi Onyemelukwe.
Yes, N125 million, 5000 bags of rice, 5000 cartons of Tommy Tommy, etc but something else caught my fancy – TESTING Centre.
The PDP called on the State and Federal governments to provide them a space to set up a testing centre within 21 days. They specifically mentioned the two teaching hospitals in the state, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi(Federal) and Odumogwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku(State) or any other site if none of the two could be considered.
Somebody whispered to me at the PDP Secretariat in Udoka Estate, venue of the press conference, that the state government will not only politicise the issue by not giving a space but also will attempt to dissuade the Federal government from doing so.
I responded that it would be too bad. And indeed it would. I had consistently warned that COVID-19 pandemic is devastating enough to mankind, hence attempting to play politics with it is being completely reckless with the challenges as they are.
Take a look at what have happened and still happening in the United States of America and understand what I mean. Minus the very acrimonious impeachment process in America that politically tore God’s Own Country down the middle, America under any president shouldn’t and would never have been caught pants down by a virus that stayed over two months in China before spreading.
And when it came to America, the Democrats, instead of supporting their president, decided to blame every move he made as if he personally created the virus.
And this unfortunate approach resulted in over 90,000 deaths at the last count and rising, while all medical personnel in America, including adhoc, are near elastic limit with over 1,500,000 cases they’ve had to handle. The economy is in serious tumble while the world’s richest and greatest country face real decline. They’re only still standing because they are America.
Any reasonable leader in any part of the world should have taken a careful look at the world’s most power nation and then called together friends and foes to fight this intractable enemy.
That call should be loudest in Nigeria, a country that was seeking for a 22.8 billion-dollar loan to support the 2020 budget before the disaster came calling.
And if any state in Nigeria needed support more than the rest in this dire moments, it’s Anambra, a state that doesn’t earn from oil production besides the general allocation from the Federal purse. A state, whose revenue now solely depends on IGR to survive, should be grabbing assistance from anywhere and fast. There are salaries to pay and if the state ever derails in this regard, that means they are wittingly pushing some to untimely graves.
Even if Gov Willie Obiano and his APGA government have concluded plans to set up a testing centre in the state, they should immediately channel that money elsewhere and give that space to PDP without further delay. If on the other hand they insist on being unnecessarily political, as they are known with, then the people will know who cares better for their well-being.
And believe me, a testing centre is about the most important facility at this critical stage of the pandemic battle in our state. I move around Anambra and I worry. We’re too careless to contain this virus if it comes in its true colours. The weather is still our saving grace but the rainy season is here. We must be very careful to avoid community spread. Part of that carefulness is testing consistently to determine our contamination status. This data will tell us what measures to apply for effective control.
The countdown has started. We’re waiting for Gov Obiano or President Muhamed Buhari to do the needful.
Meanwhile, stay safe. Your life is presently in your hands.
By Tai Emeka Obasi