COVID-19: Why funds must be judiciously spent — Rep Adefisoye

By Olayinka Ajayi

HONOURABLE Tajudeen Adefisoye represents Idanre/Ifedore Federal Constituency of Ondo State in the House of Representatives. In this interview, Adefisoye he spoke on how to combat the raging COVID-19 pandemic, saying that donations can only be deemed to have served good purpose if the funds are seen by Nigerians to have been well spent in accordance with intentions of donors.

His thoughts on the 14 days extension of the lock-down by President Muhammadu Buhari

I agree that the lock-down has brought hunger to some households 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 this coronavirus.

The decision to extend the lock-down was 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 will 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 did the right thing in the best interest of Nigerians by extending the lock-down.

On the recovery of Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde from the disease

The case of Governor Seyi Makinde is just like that of other governors that have recovered from the coronavirus. We must understand that they were asymptotic at the time they tested positive for 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.

On the contributions made by kind-hearted Nigerians and the €50 million donated  by 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 donations can only make meaning to Nigerians if they are judiciously utilized. What we have seen in recent time with the Conditional Cash Transfer, CCT, 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.

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It is ungodly for anyone saddled with this national assignment of conditional cash transfer to help themselves with these money at the expense of suffering Nigerian masses. These well-intended donations can only be deemed to have served good purpose if the funds are seen by Nigerians to have been well spent in accordance with intentions of the donors.

Some have fingered politicians as the root cause of poor deployment of palliatives. What is 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 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 own case, I have spent several 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 poor distribution of palliatives may not be true after all.

On distribution of palliatives in Ondo state

The distribution of palliatives so far in Ondo State until this day has been done by individual politicians. I mean senators, members of the House of Representatives, members of Ondo State House of Assembly and former and aspiring political office holders. 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 thus far.

His advice to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on effective distribution of palliatives
The best way for the Presidential Task Force to achieve result in the distribution of palliatives is for them to carry the governor of each state, 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 units in their constituencies. Anything short of this may be tantamount to aiming to shoot a bird with the two eyes closed.

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