By Musa Adamu
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has expressed strong optimism that Nigeria and the world would ultimately overcome the existential threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was even as he commended all levels of government as well as the international community, corporate Nigeria, and kindhearted individuals for their efforts to end the pandemic and mitigate the challenges occasioned by it.
Ekweremadu made these known at the weekend during the distribution of his palliatives to his constituents.
Represented on the occasion by a political associate and Secretary of the Enugu State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Cletus Akalusi, Ekweremadu specially commended the Governors of South East for their proactive measures, which he said kept the COVID-19 figures in the region low. But he urged the states not to relent.
He said: “I commend the Governors of the South East for the proactive measures taken by them. I believe this accounts for the comparatively low cases in the region. I commend in a special way the Government of Enugu State for the successful management and discharge of the two COVID-19 index cases.
“Nevertheless, we must not let down our guards. We must consolidate on this advantage of minimal cases by continuously staying safe and building capacities in the areas of medical infrastructure, equipment, personnel, and food security to prepare ourselves for the days ahead”.
He called on Nigerians to be their brother’s keepers, and urged the Federal Government to increase its social interventions to lessen the burden of hardship on Nigerians.
“I wish I could reach out to everyone that needs help at this time, but I shall continue to do my best. I call on our people to continue to complement governments’ efforts in cushioning the hardship occasioned by the pandemic on the less privileged citizens.
“As Chairman of the South East Senate Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the South East gets its fair and equitable share of every intervention by the Federal Government in addition to our modest individual initiatives to help our constituents in these trying times.
“I call on the Presidency to consider increasing the number of beneficiaries as well as the amount given to individual beneficiaries in the Conditional Cash Transfer programme in order to impact a more significant number of indigent Nigerians”, the lawmaker, who represents Enugu West Senatorial District, stated.
Ekweremadu, however, stressed the need for the nation to marshal out realistic plans to deal with the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
“It is no longer news that the International Monetary Fund, IMF, has predicted that Nigeria would suffer its worst recession in 30 years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a member of the seven-man International Parliamentary Taskforce on COVID-19, I have been holding useful virtual meetings with my colleagues around the world with the aim of mitigating the effects of the pandemic on vulnerable citizens in developing nations.
“And in countries with low capacity to deal with the pandemic and its effects. We will continue to share perspectives with a view to mobilising ideas and global resources to deal with the pandemic”, he added.
The lawmaker equally appreciated Nigerian health workers, whom he said were at the frontline of the battle against the novel coronavirus and called on African, particularly Nigerian scientists, to join the race for the cure and vaccine for COVID-19.