By Lawrence Olaoye
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday cautioned politicians in the country against playing politics with the nation’s recent victory over the dreaded Ebola disease.
Jonathan, who spoke while launching the Tony Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund at the Presidential Villa, noted that the Federal Government did a lot in the battle against the disease.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had recently taken on the federal government over the containment of the disease, saying that the President and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cannot appropriate the credit
The opposition party said the two states hit by Ebola, Lagos and Rivers, are APC states, stressing that the promptness, purposefulness, doggedness and determination shown by the governors contributed largely to the successful containment of the disease.
Jonathan said, “I am quite pleased with what is happening because I have realized over the period that government alone cannot solve human problems. Anything done by government once you involve the private sector and the civil society there is always a difference.
“The most recent one is our ability to manage Ebola.
People are trying to play politics with it which is quite unfortunate. But we had assistance from international donors, our development partners participated in terms of giving protective gear and various suggestions.
“The federal government did a lot of things in terms of logistics, moving people from one part of the country to the other, quarantining people within their residences and getting doctors or medical experts to follow up. We did not arrest anybody, moving people from Port Harcourt to Lagos for treatment and so on. A number of things were done”, Jonathan said.
The President who announced the sum of N250 million as support to the fund commended Elumelu for the initiative to provide interventions that would rebuild the economic resilience of local communities affected by conflicts and natural disasters.
He noted that the Elumelu Empowerment Fund would also provide interventions focused on the medium and long term needs of post-conflict and post disaster communities which would be achieved by revitalising their socio-economic and environmental fabric as it relates to the four core pillars – social welfare, enterprenurship, reconstruction and environmental management.
Speaking earlier, founder of the foundation, Elumelu, said the fund is a non-profit organization which seeks to partner with local citizens to transform communities that have been ravaged by natural disasters, hazards, and conflicts into thriving and economically sustainable communities.
According to him, the fund would create opportunities and empower people in affected communities across the country to rebuild their lives and businesses, and instill a sense of economic empowerment for the long-term.
Elumelu further said that the fund would have a lasting impact by making social investments and grants in select communities that empower individuals, foster an enabling environment and support a generation of entrepreneurs who can lift themselves and their communities out of poverty and onward and upward into prosperity.
He also announced a N1.5 billion donation from The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holdings’ companies to seed the fund.