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Palliatives to Nigerians: An open letter to President Buhari

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and invariably, Nigeria, as even acknowledged by the President, Mohammadu Buhari in his address to the nation earlier…

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world and invariably, Nigeria, as even acknowledged by the President, Mohammadu Buhari in his address to the nation earlier this week.

An immediate impact of this pandemic on the country is the “Stay At Home Order” that has been arguably, effectively imposed on the whole country, either by the president or state governors. We are now in an ‘Uncharted Post-Coronavirus World’ because of the gripping fear of the coronavirus by a population that is rightfully frightened.

Nigeria is a country that has a strong “extended family system” but generally, no strong federal or state social welfare programs in place at this time. The people in the villages, to a great extent, depend on the kindness of their extended families in the towns for their livelihood.

Nigerians in towns and cities depend on their daily wages or salaries to survive. The lucky ones also depend on families who send money to them from overseas.

As of today, due to the stay at home orders, most of the sources of income of Nigerians have dried up and consequently, there is a lot of hunger, anger, frustration and fear of what the future holds. Despite what the government has done so far to alleviate the hardship, everyone is stretched emotionally, physically and financially and the appeals for help from Nigerians to other Nigerians keep pouring in.

The religious houses which provide emotional release valve and support to Nigerians during difficult times, such as this, are appropriately shut down. There is no place to turn to except our God and our government.

It is at times like these that a leader steps up to lead, protect, provide for, and encourage his people.

Mr. President, I want you to be such a leader at this time for the sake of Nigerians.

You won the general Presidential Elections and assumed the mantle of leadership. Reassure Nigerians of a stable future by providing food, money and other palliatives directed towards the vulnerable members of our society.

It is imperative that you work with religious organizations in implementing this, because Nigerians really do obey the voices of their Imams and Pastors and these organizations have a history of community service.

Mr. President, start with disabled persons, pregnant nursing mothers and families at risk, including our elderly ones. We have several databases in the country through which this can be achieved including, Driver’s License, BVN, National Identity Card, Voters Card, Nigerian Passport, phone companies etc.

History has given you an opportunity to be a transformational leader, grab a hold of this opportunity. Work diligently with the National Assembly, which your party controls, and the state governors, a majority being members of your party, to achieve this. Work with Nigerians, a majority which voted for you. In so doing, help everyone with appropriate and sufficient palliatives to go through this very difficult time in our nation’s history.

May God give you the wisdom to always act in the interest of the whole country.

Dr. Asukwo Mendie Archibong Esq is the National Chairman & former presidential candidate, Nigeria for Democracy Party, writes in from Uyo