COVID-19: PTF has performed above average, says SMBLF

•Restates stand on federalism

Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has commended the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 for what it described as its “above the usual average Nigerian performance” in sensitizing the citizens to the ongoing global pandemic that is ravaging the entire continents of the world.
SMBLF said but for its lapses in handing the burial of Malam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, the body would have scored well in its marking scheme, even as it noted its apology for such lapses against the background that the leader of the task force, Boss Mustapha, had admitted that he never knew much about the bad state of the health infrastructure in the country.
SMBLF gave the commendation in a statement jointly signed by Chief E. K Clark for the South-South, Chief Ayo Adebanjo (South-West),  Chief John Nwodo (South- East) and Dr. John Pogu (Middle- Belt), copy of which made to the Nigerian Tribune in Lagos.
According to SMBLF, the PTF still did its best in the circumstance in keeping the people informed of most of what it needed to keep them abreast of, remarking that what had been the product at the end of it all was a total failure of the system and not that of the Task Force per se as Nigeria as a country was “not prepared to confront a health challenge at the level of  Coronavirus that was taking down Prime Ministers and Kings around the world.”
“The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders FORUM (SMBLF) has some words of commendation for the Presidential Task Force  (PTF) on COVID-19 for their above the usual average Nigerian performance in sensitizing our people to the global pandemic ongoing.
“But for their dropping the ball at the burial of Malam Abba Kyari, the committee would have scored well in our marking scheme. We, however, noted their apology which we will always want to see as a pattern in governance moving on.
Even when the Committee was chaired  by  SGF Boss Mustapha who confessed he didn’t know much about the bad state of the  health infrastructure in the country. We wonder if that would have been the take of the man who was on the ballot if he was given the job.
“The PTF still did their best in the circumstance in keeping our people informed of most of what they needed to keep them abreast of, but at the end of it all, what we had was a total failure of system and not committee per se.
“But for God who was kind to us, we were not prepared to confront a health challenge at the level of  coronavirus that was taking down Prime Ministers and Kings around the world,” the leaders said.
SMBLF said that it was time the country “recalibrate” now that it had survived the first wave of COVID-19 with minimal damage, pointing out that “only those who have serious challenges would now think we can return to the careless and reckless lives we were living in the past.”
The group particularly frowned at a situation where the whole country was said to have just about 169 ventilators “with blessed states having an average of five and some having none at all,” declaring: “A ventilator is no more than the
technology our blacksmiths have been using over the years to blow air!”
“There is no reason any standard hospital should not have it,” the leaders further declared.
SMBLF restated that the country can’t go back to the old order of central planning that kills local initiatives and leave it dry, warning that “everyone would have to take issues in federalism as a matter of survival this time or to perish is the unkind alternative” even though the period did not offer “time to campaign for federalism.”
“We would not be in the mess of states waiting for Federal Government to come and be opening isolation centres for them if we had run this country as a truly Federal Republic with federating units standing on their own with adequate resources being managed by them and legally agreed taxes paid to the Central government for common services,” the group said.
“The wages of our sins are here with us and we have a little window to amend our ways,” it declared.
SMBLF, however, appealed to the citizens to take their safety as a personal priority as the lockdown was eased down, even it urged them to cooperate with all lawful directives from the government as they resumed productive activities across the country.
It urged them to always maintain social distancing, wear masks, wash their hands with water and sanitiser always, and avoid going out if there was no need to do so, among others, praying God to make all witness to final end of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) said it is completely devastated by the news of a massive attack of COVID-19 on the founding chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, his succeeding son and six other members of their household and staff.
SMBLF, however, said its consolation was that “Dokpesi is a strong man and the God that we serve will prove Himself once again in their lives.”
“There is nothing we can say at this point than to pray that we shall praise God with the Dokpesis when this shall become a story told. Our hearts are with them in this troubling time,” the leaders said.

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