By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday said that the dreaded Covid-19 pandemic was “ beyond technology, power and resources,” as countries that were well endowed had all been hit by high casualties.
Accordingly, he urged state governors and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 to work more closely together as the nation strived to contain the dreaded pandemic.
The President spoke during an online meeting with the Governors’ Forum, disclosing that the PTF had briefed him on next steps in the national response to the pandemic, “and I have directed that they work very closely with the Governors.”
Buhari’s admonition may not be unconnected with reports that the PTF and the governors who are incident commanders in their various states were seemingly working at cross purposes.
The PTF had, for example, expressed displeasure with the arbitrary lifting of restriction on religious gatherings by the governors of Adamawa, Zamfara, Borno, Gombe and Ebonyi States last week, describing their actions as hasty.
Also, it is common knowledge that some governors had openly lampooned the PTF, denouncing their approach to the management of the pandemic in the country.
These altercations and counter actions by the states’ chief executived had led to the criticisms from some quarters that there was no national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina quoted Buhari to have said: “We have to be very careful. We need to continue to educate and persuade the people to accept the reality of the situation, and do all that is necessary to stay safe.”
The meeting also discussed economic and security issues, among others, with the Governors commending the President on the “leadership and direction” he has given the country in combating COVID-19, the statement noted.