ASABA/Nigeria: The Delta State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC in the State, of placing more value on capital projects instead of joining the collective effort to protect and secure the lives of Deltans, following the outbreak of the deadly Corona Virus which has ravaged the world and has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, (WHO).
This accusation was contained in a terse press statement issued by Delta PDP Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, who not only described the APC statement that Delta State government should reduce the size of government aides, instead of cutting down on capital projects in the wake of the Corona Virus scourge, as a thoughtless and heartless attempt to trivialize a very serious issue that involves human lives and indeed the lives of Deltans in particular, but also condemned the penchant of the APC to always see everything as political, even when it is a matter of life and death and the lives of Deltans are at stake.
Dr. Osuoza said: “The Delta PDP is disturbed by the recent statement credited to the State APC and it’s publicity Secretary, Mr. Sylvester Imonena, which is sadly a thoughtless and heartless attempt to trivialize a very serious issue that involves human lives and indeed the lives of Deltans in particular, by calling on government to reduce the size of it’s aides, instead of cutting down on capital projects, as a way of saving funds to do more projects, following the drop in oil prices and dwindling revenues occasioned by the Corona Virus scourge.
“Does the APC even understand the monumental magnitude of what this Corona Virus scourge is all about or that it is even bigger than the size of capital projects and the number of government aides? Do they even know that the deadly Corona Virus has so ravaged the world that it has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO)? Do they realize that even as we speak, no certified and endorsed treatment or cure has been discovered for it and all human lives are at stake all over the world? Must the APC always trivialize and politicize every issue, including those that involve human lives, because it wants to talk?
“Our Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa had, as a responsible leader, rightly informed Deltans during his quarterly media chat with journalist, that the State government may be compelled to review the 2020 budget because the recent crash in global oil price has posed a major threat to the source of government revenue and this will no doubt affect the successful implementation of the 2020 budgets of States and the Nation at large.
“Governor Okowa had also added that the State government will however be very cautious and not rush into decisions on this and while it will slow down on capital budget it would also encourage contractors to stay on sites. He had also noted too that the Corona Virus outbreak is currently affecting the national economy negatively, as many industries are not in full production at the moment and that if the threat is not checked, it is going to create more negative impact on the economy, especially, the internally generated revenue.
This declaration and explanations by the Governor are very clear and unambiguous, so it beats the imagination on how the APC has now jumped into the murky waters of its own very illogical and totally diversionary ocean of comparing the Corona Virus issue with the number of government aides.
Unfortunately, it appears that the APC and it’s publicists either do not read newspapers or listen to the news, otherwise they would have been properly informed that its own government at the centre, led by President Muhammadu Buhari had, in response to the very serious nature of the situation, recently met with some Ministers and set up a committee in his own words ‘to assess the impact of Corona Virus on 2020 budget and the economy in general’. The committee’s responsibility will be to check how the dwindling price of crude oil caused by the outbreak will affect the country’s economy.
The Finance Minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, also confirmed that the committee would decide whether to reduce the budget benchmark of $57 per barrel and if that happens, recommend a reduction in the size of the N10.59 trillion budget. The question we want to ask the APC now is, why didn’t the committee even think of suggesting that President Buhari and his wife, Aisha and Vice President Osinbajo and the other members of the Aso Rock cabinet cut down on the humongous number of aides in the presidency in response to the Corona Virus?
Only quite recently too, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is also the APC leader in Delta State and South South, told Nigerians to brace up as Oil Price dropped as a result of the Corona Virus.
Omo-Agege said that the recent global outbreak of the Corona Virus poses peculiar challenges, not only for personal health, but also for the economy and business, manifesting already in the global oil and foreign exchange markets, which have now become frightening challenges that we must solve.
According to him Nigeria needs to deal with the sharp drop in global oil prices and its impact on the 2020 budget and the exchange rate, and by implication, on the short, medium and long-term health of the economy and while he is optimistic that we will get through this, he also adds that it is going to require, more than anything else, bold policy changes to restructure the economy because it is still too dependent on crude oil.
Our advise to Delta APC now is to also urge the Deputy Senate President to reduce the number of his considerably over-bloated aides, especially those who are not even Deltans anyways, but were appointed largely on political patronage to his non-Deltan political godfathers and are not adding any single value to Delta State but instead occupying positions which are supposed to be rightfully meant for Deltans, as his own response to tackling the Corona Virus.
We are very pleased to note that the APC has acknowledged the excellent economic strategies that have ensured the increase in our internally generated revenue, which is more than can be said of the clueless Federal government at the centre which is borrowing everyday and plunging Nigeria into a huge debt problem. We are equally impressed that the APC has also recognized that the capital projects we have completed and constructing have touched and will touch the lives of Deltans directly and indirectly. This is indeed a great admission by the opposition and we want to assure them that we take this praise very highly and that this recognition and endorsement will spur us to do even more to continue to touch the lives of our dear Deltans positively.
We, however, do not wish to join issues with the APC’s spurious and unfortunate argument on the appointment of political aides, when the whole country is more concerned with finding responsible ways and practical solutions, instead of the useless suggestion of cutting down on aides, to address this life and death matter of Corona Virus outbreak in our land, but we must quickly condemn the statement of the APC that these Deltans, who are legitimately engaged by their State government, do not add value to the social and economic development of the State.
This statement alone simply shows that the APC has placed more value on our projects, which touch the lives of Deltans directly and indirectly than on the very lives of those Deltans whom these projects are meant for, because, if the APC publicist had even taken a little time to consider what exactly the scope of social and economic contribution actually covers, especially for those who are gainfully employed and earning a living to cater for themselves and their families in Delta State, then he would not have made such an unfortunate and sadistic statement.
We want to advise Delta APC that everything should not be about politics. There is a time for politics and there is a time to save human lives irrespective of political parties and affiliations. This case is not about PDP and APC anymore. The Corona Virus Scourge is about saving the lives of Deltans because as a responsible political party, every Delta life matters to us.