By Dennis Agbo
ALL Progressives Congress, APC, presidential aspirant in the 2019 election, Dr. SKC Ogbonnia has taken a swipe on the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof Chukwuma Soludo for suggesting that African nations should withdraw the Covid-19 lockdown measure because of the pervasive poverty index in the continent.
Ogbonnia in his critique of Solodu theory wondered if the renowned economist, was suddenly cast with a voodoo spell in the thesis that was widely circulated, noting that Soludo succeeded in doing nothing but used delusive ideas to create more problems than solutions.
He admitted that the former CBN Governor raised some salient points but went off on tangents, and in the process, peddled fallacies as facts.
In his appraisal of the Soludo Solution on Covid-19 in Africa, Ogbonnia maintained that even as the lockdowns in Africa may not have been backed with adequate palliatives, the strategy is widely proven to be effective, adding that the situation could have been worse in Nigeria, if President Mohammadu Buhari had not locked down Lagos and Abuja as at the time he did.
He maintained that contrary to Soludo’s citing of America as an example of government’s proactivity, the harsh realities of lockdowns even with the stimulus package in USA, over 30 million Americans lost their jobs in 45 days while other millions have no money to pay for food or shelter; indicating that the current situation in USA is a far cry from the picture Soludo painted.
“This is not the time for inflammatory innuendoes. Unlike in America which has become the COVID-19 global epicenter, lockdowns in China succeeded because the people had a coherent message and the mental discipline to execute the agenda. Therefore, Soludo must not ignore science and security to confuse Nigerians by copying and pasting the COVID-19 visions of Donald Trump, whose every medical idea has cost more lives than it has saved lives,” Said Ogbonnia.
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He advised that on no account should Nigeria relapse to open border economy, as being canvassed by Soludo, noting that protectionism was vitally essential for true Nigerian independence. “Imagine what could have been, if the country still depended on imported rice and chicken during the COVID-19 experience.
“To answer Soludo’s central question: ‘Can Africa Afford Lockdowns?’ YES, Africa has already been able to afford the lockdowns in a significant way or even better. The continent clearly contained COVID-19 more than their counterparts, thanks to the African exceptionalism of good weather, nutrition, and timely interventions, such as the lockdowns, selfless healthcare workers, “photo charity”, family support systems, and a resilient populace. The economic forecast is gloomy, like elsewhere, but Africa will soon re-open, probably faster than many developed economies.
“Best of all, the Coronavirus lockdown scheme is a historic equalizer and thus has a silver lining for Africa. Our leaders ought to have learned that the African economy will skyrocket by investing at home and patronizing local products and facilities. Nigerian leaders, for instance, might have learned to lead by example, matching words with action in all facets of the national economy, particularly in the Power, Aviation, Automobile, Steel, Healthcare, and Education sectors,” Ogbonnia concluded.