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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has mocked the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for its “initial politicized and badly handled palliative measures”.
He identified six areas Nigeria must give attention in order to recover from the COVID-19.
He gave the suggestions on Friday at the 2020 Sobo Sowemimo Annual Lecture held at Abeokuta Club, Ogun State.
Obasanjo told the government to urgently start the process of getting the economy back on track.
His speech was entitled “COVID-19 and Nigeria Security Issues: They Way Forward”.
“The first is food availability and security. Second is employment and job security. Third is change in the pattern and style of living including travelling. Fourth is innovation, science, technology, digitalization and Artificial Intelligence. Fifth is local content, raw materials and substitutes. Sixth is diversification of the economy and enhancement of export commodities.”
He said with good leadership, right policy, public and private sectors working together, and the civil society joining hand, all the six areas can achieved.
“I hope that Africa, as a continent, will emerge economically stronger from COVID-19. For us in Nigeria, we have no alternative but to get it right. Otherwise, the future will be worse than the present that is uncertain and bleak with economic downturn and pervasive insecurity.”
Obasanjo, however, commended the efforts of the federal and governments in tackling the pandemic.
“Although, restriction is being lifted, we are not out of the woods yet. Awareness-raising must continue and we must disabuse the minds of the ordinary people who are being made to believe that COVID-19 is not real or that it is the disease of the rich. They must be conscious of the fact that the disease has no social or economic limitation or barrier.
“We must not let down our guard because we may not have reached the peak yet. If the epicenter has moved from China in Asia to Europe to North America and now to Brazil in South America, Africa may or may not escape being an epicenter. And even then, we must be prepared for the possibility of a second wave.
“The UK’s claim of inventing a cure drug, dexamethasone, has not been disputed.
In fact, it has been recommended by WHO for treatment in acute cases and we should be equipped with such drug. It is also hoped that a vaccine will soon be available. When that happens, we should quickly be equipped with it, as COVID-19 like flu may never completely disappear from the surface of the earth.