A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Moh’d Lukman, on Monday warned opposition and government critics not to allow politics and legal arguments undermine efforts at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
He ws apparently reacting to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faulting of President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech which it described as “empty and failed to address the salient demands of the impact of the scourge (of COVID-19) on the nation” and the legal argument raised by a private lawyer, Ebun-olu Adegboruwa SAN that the restriction of movements in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states required the approval of the National Assembly.
Lukman argued that these unpatriotic positions will further endanger the precarious situation in the country, stressing that what Nigeria needed most was a collective approach to solving the challenges posed by COVID-19.
According to him: “They all miss the point, very conveniently, that the world, including Nigeria, is fighting a war that is a threat to human life in a manner that the world has never experienced before. It is an unconventional challenge such that the enemy, Covid-19, doesn’t respect politics, legality or recurse to any form of interest. It was in fact in recognition of this that the President declared that we are all as individuals the ‘greatest weapon to fight’ the war”.
He pointed out that after the hue and cry prior to the presidential broadcast of slow response from government, one would have expect some attempts to direct attention in the country to strengthen the capacity of the government to succeed in containing the spread of the virus.
Lukman asked the PDP “if there are other more effective measures to contain the spread of the virus, which the President has failed to take. Or could Mr. Adegboruwa be implying that there are legal provisions that could be invoked that would ensure containment of the spread of the virus while at the same time respecting the rights of citizens to move freely?”
The APC leader further aruged that with the positions of PDP and Adegboruwa, they have failed in the test of rational and logic reasoning that put protection of life on a frontline charge for any government. He maintained that, “once human life is at risk, we must take every step required to safeguard human life first”.
The PGF Director General however singled out former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and PDP governors for commendation.
He noted that their position in the fight against the global pandemic was at variance to that of their party.
As for PDP, we can argue with some confidence that the position of Mr. Ologbondiya is not shared by the PDP leadership especially Alh. Atiku Abubakar and PDP Governors. This is because
Lukman said that Abubakar has already demonstrated commitment and support to the Federal Government to win the fight against Covid-19 by contributing N50 million to the war, arguing that in the same vein, PDP Governors are working in partnership with Federal Government and all Governors in the country, irrespective of party affiliations to role out uniform initiatives in all our states under the coordination of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
Commanding the elected leaders in the opposition, Lukman said, “Without any hesitation, it could be argued that PDP Governors are not playing politics with the challenge of fighting Covid-19 in the country. We are all very encouraged for the inspiring leadership of Alh. Atiku Abubakar and PDP Governors for rising to the national challenge of teaming up with all Nigerians irrespective of party lines”.
He then appealed to leaders of non-governmental organisations in the country to demonstrate commitment towards responding to the challenge posed by Covid-19, concluding that “undermining initiatives of government based on excessive politics and legal arguments will only further endanger us”.