ERNEST NZOR, Abuja
The national chairman of Allied People’s Movement (APM) Yusuf Mamman Dantalle and the secretary general of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in a New Year message to Nigerians said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gap in Nigeria’s health system.
The statement noted that 2020 was a tortuous year for all citizens of Nigeria and indeed the world at large.
The statement reads in part, “There is no gainsaying, however, that activities in Nigeria our beloved country seem to whither away our hope especially the insecurity that has pervaded all states and even the FCT. Nigerian Citizens have been resilient even in this turmoil, especially our farmers who work tirelessly at the risk of their lives to provide food for all of us to survive.
” Let me pause and pray for the souls of the innocent farmers who lost their lives for our sake.
May they obtain merciful judgement from their creator. Amen.
“The Pandemic, COVID-19 exposed the weak status of our health systems and infrastructure at national and sub national levels. It also provided opportunity for us to have a rethink about the essence of governance and to also interrogate our system and process of service delivery to our deserving citizens. In furtherance of our interrogation, the #ENDSARS protest further demonstrated the decayed state of our governance system and unwillingness of the present administration to accommodate citizens rights of opinion.
” However, it has also challenged those seeking for leadership to be weary of taking things for granted in providing good governance to this generation of citizens who have clearly showcased the possibility of good governance in Nigeria in the way and manner they planned, coordinated and executed the peaceful #ENDSARS protest sustainably for the period it lasted. Indeed sincerity and unity of purpose, transparency and, accountability in service and inclusive participation of all regardless of gender, religion or social status is the bane of success, development and peace. This is my take and I highly commend the organizers.
“The #ENDSARS peaceful protest was a signal for a GREATER NIGERIA AND YES, NIGERIA WOULD BE GREAT AGAIN. We leaders at all levels must have a rethink of our leadership styles, be conscious of the citizens’ needs and be mindful that we are mere custodians of our collective wealth therefore accountability must be our watchword.
“We therefore call on all leaders across levels, religious divides, in all professions, structures, public and private sector, etc to begin to open up spaces for collaboration, partnership and inclusion of citizens voices in all our affairs. Lack of or poor communication strategy with every strata of the citizenry could be dangerous going forward in this country.
“Our governance system must begin to accommodate citizens’ engagement and inclusive participation in service delivery processes in order to demonstrate willingness to accommodate every citizen in the building of this our great nation so that the act of patriotism and process of nationhood can begin to be entrenched in all of us rather than the divisive tendencies of ethnicity, religious bigotry, nepotism, hatred and greed that is displayed in every facet of our national lives. We must grow beyond this parochial tendencies and adopt global approach to our leadership.
” Initiating a peaceful process of dialogue with the aggrieved unemployed youths seeking to know what works for them and implementing same is a better approach than turning deaf ears to them or being antagonistic where state machineries are seen being used to torment them for expressing themselves for the betterment of our country.
“Government interventions meant for citizens must be equitably delivered to them in their various clusters to give room for transparency, accountability and feedback.
“Politicians and civil servants who connive to deprive citizens of their rights to life and livelihoods, employments and access to interventions, information and services must desist henceforth to allow easy access to handouts like palliatives in various forms expected to support citizens during lock down and cushion the effect of Covid 19 pandemic.
” People lost their lives, livelihoods and businesses which brought untold hardships as well as the upsurge of crime and violence, increasing criminality against womanhood, sexual violence against women and girls, and also promoted homosexuality, rape and abuse of minors that were reported in our various media outfits, both traditional and social media. Our Civil Society Organizations and security operatives must rise to the occasion of bringing culprits to book, and obtaining justice for the victims.
“I must however, commend the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, for her doggedness in this fight as I witnessed her visibility in condemning these dastardly act during the 16 days of activism. I hope it will not stop there but concrete actions would be taken to institutionalize punishment for offenders.
“Every sane person would know that 2020 came with a lot of woes ranging from the insecurity in every state/FCT,, armed robbery, banditry, herdsmen attack on farmers, boko haram, Corona Virus pandemic, etc. Let us not also forget the subversion of citizens’ rights by government in power to connive with the supposed peoples’ representatives in the national assembly by seeking to enact laws that aims at silencing the opinion of citizens on issues of national interest with the introduction of the so much propagated ‘Hate speech and social media regulation’.
“All of these happenings are eye openers for Nigerians to rethink our leadership selection process and the type of leaders we should bestow our trust on must be reviewed.
“Would we continue to recycle family members, friends and cronies, as well as repeatedly put new wines into old skins as perpetual leaders, or we would arise and search for Nigerians interested in nation building to lead us at all levels and structures of governance.
“Our political system must be restructured, repositioned and revitalised to take a pride of place in the world’s democratic dispensation.
Despite these woes in the country, however, there is hope and light at the
end of the tunnel especially that INEC has pronounced willingness to start voters registration across the country during the first quarter in 2021.
“This is a wake up call to all citizens. We must be committed to support in the sensitization of all eligible voters to register and participate in the electoral process by creating awareness and mobilizing citizens to also register as card carrying members of political parties to be able to also vote and be voted for to change the status quo of this crop of leaders against future elections.
” I am aware that those with integrity see politics as a dirty game and would not want to smear their names. I tell you it is how politics is played that makes it dirty and it depends on how you choose to play your own. Politics has become a technical and knowledgeable game, and no longer for any mediocre.
” The citizens need renewed hope, trust and confidence in a process that would turn out credible leaders that are sacrificial in service and dedicated to good governance, through citizens inclusive engagement and participation.
“The year 2021 would be a remarkable year for the youths and women interested in participating in party politics and for Nigerian citizens at large. Let us not despair but continue in our resilience, perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit. There is hope for a greater Nigeria if we all agree to eschew bitterness and work together in sincerity and unity of purpose.”
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