Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari for his Independence Day broadcast just as the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is mobilising the world to rally around Bahamas.
Ghebreyesus said that the world ‘’must’’ rally around the Bahamas in the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Dorian which has not only cost many lives and livelihoods but caused severe damage to essential infrastructure, depriving communities of vital services at a critical time.
The PDP however, described President Buhari’s broadcast as an insult on the psyche of Nigerians, and a mockery of ‘’our national integrity as an independent state’’.
Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement PDP says the speech was completely unpresidential, lacking in patriotic stance and replete with manifest inconsistencies, contradictions, paradoxes and false performance claims, which further confirm that our dear fatherland is in wrong hands.
‘’President Buhari, in his recorded address, failed to forcefully address the key issues of freedom, social justice, constitutional order, separation of powers, rule of law, human rights, credible elections, national cohesion, accountability and transparency in government; the very fundamentals of an independent state, because his administration had violated them all’’, the opposition party noted.
The party regretted that President Buhari had no forceful reassurances on the challenge of escalated insecurity under his watch; he had no clear-cut and operable blueprint to revamp our economy, which his administration wrecked in a period of four years, resulting in so much hardship and despondency that Nigerians now resort to suicide and slavery abroad as options.
According to PDP, ‘’our party notes that this address further exposes that the Buhari Presidency is not interested in nation building; that it is completely disconnected from the people and remains insensitive to the plights of Nigerians’’, arguing, ‘’if anything, Mr. President only succeeded in further demonstrating that his administration is, indeed, in no position to deliver a credible, acceptable and satisfactory independence address.
‘’This is so because under the Buhari Presidency, our nation has experienced the worst form of division, deprivation, human right abuse, constitutional violations, disregard to rule of law, electoral malpractices, disobedience to court order, disrespect for separation of powers and curtailing of press freedom.’’
Continuing, the party lamented that due to the incompetence and legitimacy challenges confronting the Buhari Presidency, ‘’our nation is losing her voice and due regard in the international arena; as the administration has remained lacking in the required capacity and boldness to forcefully engage other world leaders on critical issues.
‘’The dearth in foreign direct investment and the inhuman treatments being meted out on our citizens in countries where we were once held in very high esteem, are some of the injuries our nation is suffering under the Buhari administration. It is quite depressing that while other leaders motivate their citizens on a day like this, President Buhari is presenting uninspiring claims, propaganda and empty promises.
As usual, the PDP has urged Nigerians not to despair but keep hope alive as ‘’we collectively await the Supreme Court to deliver justice and retrieve our stolen Presidential mandate, so that the nation will have a leadership that it truly deserves at this point in our national history.’’
However, the WHO big boss who was speaking upon completion of a visit to the Bahamas said, ‘’it breaks my heart to see the devastation to communities and families who have lost friends and loved ones as well as their homes, possessions and access to crucial services.
‘’Hurricane Dorian is another urgent reminder that we must address the drivers of climate change and invest more in resilient communities. The longer we wait, the more people will suffer. We need to keep the world and people safe.’’
During his visit, Dr Tedros met with the Governor-General, Minister of Health and other government officials and commended their preparedness, readiness and efforts to mitigate the damage caused by the hurricane.
The visit included stops in Abaco and Grand Bahama islands where most households and infrastructure, including healthcare facilities, were completely destroyed. Dr Tedros was accompanied by Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands. Hurricane Dorian hit the country on 1 September 2019, affecting 75 000 people. About 1500 people are still being housed in shelters; about 600 are still missing; and 56 are confirmed dead.
The health sector in Abaco and Grand Bahama suffered a substantial blow, with equipment and medical supplies destroyed and electrical and water supplies interrupted. In Grand Bahama three health clinics have been destroyed and two in Abaco.
The Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO-WHO) is the only United Nations agency with a physical presence in the Bahamas. PAHO-WHO has deployed 20 staff members and coordinated the mobilization of 5 International Emergency Medical Teams for the response. Dr Tedros thanked the teams for their rapid response and tireless service to the most vulnerable.
WHO has mobilised $1.00 million from the Contingency Fund for the hurricane response. Dr Tedros reiterated WHO’s commitment to support the government and people of the Bahamas for the recovery of the health system.
Globally, WHO will continue to work with Member States to make the health sector more resilient and to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially in Small Islands Developing States that are in greatest jeopardy despite contributing the least to the problem.
Last week at the Climate Action Summit in New York, WHO called on countries to commit to cut carbon emissions, clean our air, save lives, and significantly scale up investment in proven interventions for climate-resilient health systems.