Bill Gates, Peter Obi and Nigeria’s pandemic, By Hassan Gimba
In the past year, hardly can find a word that elicits palpable fear, confusion, hope and scepticism as COVID-19. Surely COVID-19 has changed the world drastically. And definitely, it has changed the way we think and the ways we interact. The pandemic has also been a source of a lot of hardship because, as a result of it, many businesses have closed shop.
The pandemic has been a reason for many job losses and plans gone awry. It has killed a lot of initiatives, pushed more people into poverty, bred many other diseases, pushed some into suicide and killed so many more.
In a world that believes it is civilised and can get a panacea for everything, such a scourge cannot be allowed to remain unchecked for long, hence the race for COVID vaccines. It is quite understandable why the world is at its tenterhooks because the pandemic has afflicted over 105 million with over 2.3 million deaths worldwide.
Globally the race to rein in its spread is apace. We can all see how medical personnel are battling against scarce resources to save the lives of hundreds of thousands. You see them, you feel them. And your heart goes out to them.
And because they are sincere to themselves, while searching for medical solutions, governments take care of their citizens through palliatives – in cash and in-kind – at personal levels. At corporate levels, the governments provided and have kept providing bailouts to a lot of businesses. The pandemic brought fear and confusion among the serious countries, but there is also hope that a solution will soon be in hand.
Here, there is make-believe fear among the authorities. People are confused because the source of the fear is not visible. However, those at the forefront of the anti-COVID-19 campaign are just fine because they are making money off it while the generality of the people increasingly become more sceptical. Yes, unfortunately, as if we are not part of the global village, the pandemic has been turned into a money-making venture. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) goes about it in a way that raises suspicion over its motives. States must declare a rise in the infection figures or risk being labelled high-risk areas.
A source close to the NCDC revealed that one of the reasons states like Yobe and Kogi were “blacklisted”, apart from being straight over the pandemic scare, is because their governors shot down the plan to cause the presidency to impose another lockdown on the nation. A lockdown is like a blank cheque to the itchy-fingered officials.
But tales abound of its staffers suddenly becoming rich overnight or about the agency giving out contracts in billions that end up as nonexistent projects while appropriated monies have been paid out. The NCDC, officials of the federal ministry of health, to an extent, and those of the presidential task force on COVID-19 have turned the pandemic into a means of making money out of the misery of fellow citizens. The daily allowances they each take home makes one believe the funds collected are meant for them alone.
When the first lockdown was announced early last year, subsequent events proved that the palliatives meant to cushion the excruciating difficulty envisaged were misapplied. While the world is losing greatly because of the scourge but sincerely fighting it, Nigeria’s officials are smiling to the bank. All these and more are factors that have made many people distrust the government, its agents and agencies.
Many conspiracy theories have been flying about, especially when the so-called ‘Chinese doctors’ surreptitiously brought in disappeared like ninjas. Nigeria now intends to spend between N400 and N450billion to procure the vaccines. The intention is to vaccinate 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population at $8 per vaccine. But the government would do well to get the vaccines from a country or countries that the citizens would at least be at ease with. Of course, the government has ways to make people get vaccinated, no doubt, but a government that owes its authority and credibility to the people needed to make the people comfortable. Already people are afraid of western produced COVID-19 vaccines but luckily, Russia, India and Cuba have produced them. The majority of Nigerians may be more comfortable with them than those from the western bloc.
However, there are even two schools of thought on this. The first which does not believe in the pandemic as being touted in Nigeria is the one led by Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi State. Bello believes that with such amount, each state in the country can have one (two for six big states) N10billion world standard hospital and we shall be better off for that.
Another school of thought led by Mr Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, believes we can get the vaccines at one-third of that amount. He offered to lead the federal government’s purchasing team to get this dream bargain for the country.
But this is even if we need the vaccines in the first place. Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world for the past 20 – 30 years, believes we do not need them. All the conspiracy theories surrounding the pandemic begin or end with his name. Sometimes his name may not be at the start or finish because it has appeared in the middle.
Bill Gates, like the Kogi governor, believes that what we need are functional, state of the art hospitals dotted around the country. Bill Gates’ proposition to the Nigerian government: Invest the billions in healthcare, not COVID-19 vaccines. “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system, particularly the primary healthcare system, will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives,” Bill Gates says.
The co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wants Nigeria to prioritise the development of its health sector rather than focusing on the COVID-19 vaccines. Nigeria should divert resources budgeted for the approved COVID-19 vaccines into the development of the country’s weak health care system, he opined. “There is no doubt that the impact of putting money into the health system, particularly the primary healthcare system, will be very high in terms of saving children’s lives. Nigeria should not divert the very limited money that it has for health into trying to pay a high price for COVID-19 vaccines,” he advised.
Mr Gates did not stop at that. He said Nigeria is already a beneficiary of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, a public-private global health partnership to increase access to immunisation in poor countries. “The key is that Nigeria is still eligible, and so, for a lot of those vaccines, they will come through the GAVI facility that we have raised money for”, said Gates. That means Nigeria will get a reasonable number of the vaccines free of charge.
But will they pay heed to him? Already it is as if those who have other intentions for these hundreds of billions will neither listen to the Kogi governor nor acknowledge the offer of assistance by Peter Obi, whom they may begin to see as a busybody. But everybody knows Mr Obi’s reputation as a frugal overseer of government purse. As for Bill Gates, he may as well take his advice elsewhere before they will accuse him of interfering in a sovereign country’s affairs.
As it happened during the first lockdown when there was an insistence that school children trapped at home must be fed, so there will be insistence now to buy those vaccines. As billions were spent in the first lockdown on palliatives but only those provided by businessmen were seen – those later vandalised – billions will be appropriated for vaccines but only those received from donations would be the ones to be seen.
But the worst of all is that the presidency may allow all these shenanigans to happen. The pilferers will have their piece of the cake. And sadly, Nigerians will continue living as if nothing momentous has happened.
But we can see why charlatans set the agenda in our country. So long as the words of governors – serving and former – will not be taken seriously or those of people like Bill Gates will carry no weight with us, so long will the words of Nnamdi Kanu, Femi Fani Kayode, Sunday Igboho and Shekau continue to shape the thinking of our masses and set agenda for our country.
And so we shall continue to see the initiative being taken away from the government by non-state actors. Now we witness the “expelling” of “criminals” (not minding whether they are criminals or not) by Igboho on the one hand and the “dissuasion” of criminals on the other by Sheikh Muhammad Gummi – both responsibilities of the government, yet out of government’s hand.
APC National Convention: it is irresponsible To Call For Sack Gov. Buni Led CECPC
APC National Convention: It is irresponsible to call for sack Gov Buni led CECPC
It is irresponsible to call for sack of the well constituted and highly celebrated action-packed Governor Buni led Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, All Progressives Congress over the planned national convention of the party. Uptil now, the CECPC has not told anybody that it is not going to conduct the party’s national convention after it has successfully conducted Ward, Local and State Congresses as it said that it is only embarking on nationwide consultations with Party leaders and stakeholders to prepare the ground for a rancour-free National Convention.
It is very wrong for anybody to say that Governor Buni is holding on to the seat to score political goals. For the avoidance of doubt, Buni is a sitting governor that has his second term fully secured in 2023 if he decides to run. The people of Yobe state who overwhelmingly voted for him in 2019 are extremely happy and ready to return him to consolidate on the solid transformation of Yobe state as truly the pride of the Sahel.
Let me say that this call for the sack of the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee amounts to playing dirty politics, and it is cheap and irresponsible. In fact, Nothing can be more irresponsible and reckless, as such a statement. Nobody in his right senses will call for the sack of the focused and result-oriented Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee.
The Governor Buni led CECPC was legally constituted by the 8th resumed of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the All Progressives Congress APC which constituted the Caretaker Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee in place of the dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. It has performed tremendously well in rebuilding and repisitioning the party for greatness. No amount of hysterical calls for resignation will prevent it from carrying out its constitutional mandate. As a progressive governing party guided by its rules, the CECPC will continue to take the right steps and follow due process in carrying out its activities, in this case the planned national convention is sacrosanct. The APC as a party for all will continue to act on its words.
Let it be known that the Governor Buni led CECPC is not in anyway against the conduct of the all-important exercise as planned it only wanted a rancour-free national convention. If some of the pending issues related to fallout of the Congresses in some states are not amicably resolved it will further polarise the party during and even after the convention. The focus remains that achieving and sustaining the APC Caretaker Committee’s peace and reconciliation core mandate wrapping up with credible national convention is all the more gratifying.
Before the CECPC, the governing party is on the verge of collapse and disintegration. As the Chairman of the CECPC, Governor Buni has been a steady hand in troubled times, and that explains why leading the governing All Progressives Congress at a most turbulent period, he has managed the crisis to bring peace to the party and safe it from disintegration, and even set it on a trajectory of success for the coming national convention and ahead of the 2023 general elections.
For a large and governing party with so many crisis points and conflicting interests like the APC, Governor Mai Mala Buni has always toed the line of compromise, temperance and internal democracy as well as tackled internal squabbles when they have occured as a family affair. He is a stabilising factor and voice that is generally accepted and has successfully forged a common ground among all the interests in the governing party.
Governor Buni is well positioned to stabilize the party and ensure synergy between the party, members and the government. He has shown a capacity to steer the party to stability and remains a strategic political asset to the APC and government.
Buni is not a dictator. As the Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, because of his background, he has listened, engaged, accommodated and gave a sense of belonging to every member of our great party.
As a principled leader, Buni has always exercised persuasive powers and negotiating skills in the execution of his responsibilities. It is this power of persuation, tact and diplomacy that endeared him to his colleagues (Governors), and all the leaders of the party across the country.
He has brought his natural abilities as a gentleman, peacemaker and a stabilizing voice to resolve many disagreement and Internal conflict in the party.
Hon. Mai Mala Buni has ensured that meeting of party organs under the CECPC are held regularly. It is only when the party’s leadership meet constantly that it will agree and disagree on issues and resolve matters in the interest of the party.
Buni has used his position to ensure a strong and progressive party institution that will continue to make Nigeria great and will continue to bring the party together becsuse he is focused and knows the issues.
Hon Mai Mala Buni has written his name in gold as he takes on the bold steps in rebuilding and repositioning APC ahead of the national convention and the 2023 general elections.
He has designed a medium, and long term development of our strategies and internal organization to support our public standing as well as our chances of electoral successes in all future elections.
Yusuf Ali Media Officer APC Headquaters Abuja
Gov. Buni Leading APC To Victory
Gov. Buni leading APC to victory
- Hon Mai Mala Buni is not a dictator. As the Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, because of his background, he has listened, engaged, accommodated and gave a sense of belonging to every member of our great party.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has always exercised persuasive powers and negotiating skills in the execution of his responsibilities. It is this power of persuation, tact and diplomacy that endeared him to his colleagues (Governors) and all the leaders of the party across the country.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has brought his natural abilities as a gentleman, peacemaker and a stabilizing voice to resolve many disagreement and Internal conflict in the party.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has prominent people from the North, South, East and West. It means he is a rallying point at the center.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni, the support he has flows from knowledge of the understanding of his person because he has been fortunate to work with his colleagues (Governors) and all the stakeholders, members and teeming supporters of the APC.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has ensured that meeting of party organs under the CECPC are held regularly. It is only when the party’s leadership meet constantly that it will agree and disagree on issues and resolve matters in the interest of the party.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has used his position to ensure a strong and progressive party institution that will continue to make Nigeria great.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni will continue to bring the party together because he is focused and he knows the issues.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has written his name in gold as he take on the bold steps in rebuilding and repositioning APC ahead of the national convention and the 2023 general elections.
- Hon Mai Mala Buni has designed a medium, and long term development of our strategies and internal organization to support our public standing as well as our chances of electoral successes in all future elections.
Yusuf Ali Media Officer APC Headquaters Abuja
Re: Buni, Malami Move To Block Convention, Governors Rise Against interim Party Chair
RE: Buni, Malami Move To Block Convention, Governors Rise Against Interim Party Chair
By Yusuf Ali
These days, so many people are saying so many things; indulging mostly in sponsored attacks, and ficticious lies in the pages of Newspapers on the activities of Governor Buni led CECPC, and as spokepersons, we make the deliberate choice of staying out of the most part because it is not worth replying.
But it is hard to ignore the above publication in the Punch Newspaper of 12 January, 2022 which, according to the reports, a party leader who confided to their correspondents is making the false claims that Governor Buni and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN are delaying the APC National Convention because he (Governor Buni) has a Vice Presidential ambition. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are concious of the devilish plans being orchestrated by some mischievous elements to cause disaffection between our leaders and to distract the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee from it’s national assignments of putting the APC family house in order ahead of the national convention.
It is important to note that, at the level the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee is working, there should be no need to be doubtful about whether our great party, APC will be having it’s national convention after successfully completed the Ward, Local and State Congresses.
It will be recall that after the end of the year 2021 meeting of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) on Monday, December 20, 2021 and in the APC 2022 New Year Message, both signed by the Secretary, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, there was confirmation that planning for the National Convention has commenced. Members and the general public have been put on notice that relevant committees will be setup. The only problem hindering the Governor Buni led CECPC to move to the next level is the unresolved issues of reconciliation in some states. Although the Senator Abdullahi Adamu led National Reconciliation Committee is working round the clock to meet it’s dateline, the reality is that it’s not advisable for the governing APC, a party with so many crisis points and conflicting interests to go for national convention with a divided house.
This is the truth of the matter and not the ficticious lies some people are dishing to misled gullible Nigerians.
For the avoidance of doubts, Governor Mai Mala Buni has not told anybody that he has a presidential ambition. These are mere speculations in the Newspapers. Governor Buni has accepted to serve as the APC Chairman Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) because of his love and loyalty to the party that promised brighter days for Nigeria and all Nigerians. He is contributing in this capacity to help develop a strong progressive party institution that can be impactful in the local, state and the national level. He has devoted his life, energy and time to be able to do that. When he is working rebuilding and repositioning the party, first thing comes first. We have to have a structure first. If people start with rebuilding a party today and deciding to become a presidential candidate tomorrow, actually you are trying to destroy the basis of rebuilding the party, because everybody will have ambition.
There are time for everything and Governor Mai Mala Buni has no ambition. As a practicing Muslim and faith in God, he knows that leadership belongs to Almighty God, He gives it whom He wills and takes it from whom He wills none has power to out pass His verdicts. But let it be known that Governor Buni has no ambition. He has not told anyone that he wants to be President or Vice President.
At this juncture, it is important to point out that Governor Mai Mala Buni is not an ambitious politician but a leader with all the qualities of leadership. It is on record that leadership positions and responsibilities was always entrusted on him because of his judgement and respected for his expertise, integrity, etc and hence followed and not because he hold a certain position. He was APC Chairman Yobe State, National Secretary and today by the special grace of God he is serving Governor and Chairman APC Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, positions that he has never aspired but entrusted on him because of his leadership qualities.
At this level and time, what the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee needs is support from across party ranks to achieve maximum reconciliation for the governing party to go for the national convention as one united family ahead of the 2023 general elections.
We must also acknowledged the marvellous achievements of the Governor Buni led Caretaker Committee, attracting three serving Governors to APC and reconciling many aggrieved members that added to the strength of the party. APC is growing in leaps and bounds.
As the Governor Buni led CECPC prepares for the national convention, we appeal to every party member and supporter to seek above everything else the unity and peace of this great party. The party must remain a strong political entity before, during and after the convention.
We should not forget the bigger challenge ahead of us in 2023, the presidential election without Buhari on the ballot. We cannot go into it divided nor can we win the trophy in such a state. We should all uphold the ideas of the party and give it unflinching support for it’s affairs as we journey into the national convention.
Yusuf Ali Media Officer All Progressives Congress APC Headquarters Abuja
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