Says: Lockdown is the only way to save Nigerians from untimely death.

*The danger is when people are not aware of being carriers of the virus.

* I spent millions to purchase relief packages for my constituents.

By Olayinka Ajayi

 

Tajudeen Adefisoye, is a member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency in Ondo State. In this interview, the lawmaker maintained that for donations to serve its purpose, Nigerians must see that the funds are spent judiciously by the donors’ intention.

What is your view on the 14days extension of the Lockdown by President Muhamadu Buhari amid accusations that the government is not sensitive to the plight of suffering masses?

I agree that the lockdown has brought hunger to some household, but it will be most unfair for anyone to have accused President Buhari of being insensitive with the two weeks extension. It is unfortunate that some Nigerians still don’t appreciate the enormity of the danger posed by a coronavirus. The President won’t gain anything with the lockdown extension, except for the fact that the decision has become necessary to save our nation from the epidemic.
The decision to extend the lockdown is no doubt a difficult one for the president, yet it is the only way to save millions of Nigerians from untimely death. We have all seen what this deadly virus has done to nations with most advanced healthcare facilities. What do you think we become the lot of a nation like Nigeria with little or no medical capacities to combat this virus if people are allowed to move freely and we have a full-blown community transmission. President Buhari has done the right thing in the best interest of Nigerians by extending the lockdown.

What do you make of those that have recovered from the pandemic coronavirus like the Oyo state governor, Seyi Makinde among others?

The case of Governor Seyi Makinde is just like that of other governors that have recovered from coronavirus. We must understand that they were asymptotic at the time they tested positive to coronavirus. It was easy to treat them at this stage and it was the more reason they quickly recovered because they tested positive before the virus would begin to cause damage to their lungs. Besides, we have a different immune system and the immune system of Makinde seems to be very strong. Where we have major danger is when people are not even aware of being carriers of the virus until the virus may have caused substantial damage to their lungs. This disease is real and very deadly and nothing should be taken for granted.

… But there is a contribution made by kind-hearted Nigerians as well as the recent €50 million donated by European Union, EU, to Nigeria to curtail COVID-19?

These donations should be well appreciated by all Nigerians and myself inclusive. These are well thought out and timely gestures. However, these huge donations can only make meanings to Nigerians if they are judiciously utilized. What we have seen in recent times with the Conditional Cash Transfer Programme is most disappointing, to say the least. What we have seen thus far with the CCT programme is a betrayal of trust and abuse of office at this critical time in the life of our nation. It is ungodly for anyone saddled this national assignment of conditional cash transfer to help themselves with this money at the expense of suffering Nigerian masses. All these well-intended donations can only be deemed to have served a good purpose if the funds are seen by Nigerians to have been well spent by the intentions of the donors.

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Some have fingered politicians as the root cause of poor deployment of palliatives, what’s your thought on this?

Few politicians may have been insincere with the distribution of relief packages from either their states or the federal government. However, politicians have mostly been the ones using their monies to buy food items and hand sanitizers for distribution to the people. This, in reality, may mean that politicians have been responsible for the diversion of essential items they have bought with their resources. An average politician will either be from a specific area or representing a certain constituency. You should also expect that these politicians will be very close to their people and they are also expected to know their area very well. In my case,
I spent millions of naira to purchase relief packages for my constituents. I was the first member of the House of Representatives to donate my two months’ salary before the speaker announced two months salary donation by all members. In all, I have donated four months’ salary to the cause of providing palliatives for the people of my constituency. So far, food items and hand sanitizers have been efficiently distributed to our people. So, the assumption that politicians are responsible for the poor distribution of palliatives may not be true after all.

How will we evaluate palliative disbursement in Ondo state so far?

Distribution of palliatives so far
witnessed in Ondo State have been the one done by the individual politicians. Senators, members of the House of Representatives, members of Ondo State House of Assembly and former and aspiring political officeholders. And of course, the distributions have so far achieved intended results. I am gladdened by the fact that the people of Ondo State are quite appreciative of what had been distributed to them so far.

But critics alleged that the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu’s palliative disbursement was done among party members?

This claim is unfounded. Truth is that Governor Akeredolu is yet to commence the distribution of relief materials to the people of Ondo State. Also, it will be very wrong and unfair of anyone to have accused Akeredolu of giving palliative materials to his party members alone. Although we are not in the same political party, I can attest to the fact that Akeredolu is fair and just when it comes to the interest of Ondo State people. I am certain that the governor is not a selfish politician and he will surely carry everyone along by the time the distribution of Ondo State palliative starts.

What is your advice to the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 as a way of achieving almost result in disbursement of palliatives?

The best way for the PTF, to achieve the result in the distribution of palliatives is for them to carry the governor of each state and both the federal and state Assembly legislators of each state along. The legislators are the ones that know virtually everyone that lives in their constituency. They also have the advantage of knowing all the wards and the units in their constituency. Anything short of this may be tantamount to aiming to shoot a bird with the two eyes closed.

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