Nigerians afraid of hunger, not Covid-19, says activist

*Claims Barrister Ogie, Philip Shaibu frustrated Edo CoS out of office

Fearless and consistent, Patriot Patrick Eholor, famous for protesting against unpopular decisions of state governor governors and even against the federal government, the National Assembly and other sectors that made him receive a meritorious award from the African Bar Association last year in Liberia from President George Weah is bold and fearless. In an interview, Eholor cries out about the dangers facing Nigerians in the wake of COVID-19, and specifically in Kano and comments on the late Abba Kyari.

Speaking on Abba Kyari, he said he was a victim of his own impudence. “Before he passed on, because of nepotism and indiscipline of these so called bosses who call themselves leaders,
Abba Kyari moved the budget allocation of the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Agriculture. Who does that? That’s why I said he is a victim of his own impudence. As we speak today, such misdemeanor has not been reversed. Whatever money the Health Minister needs, he will have to pass through the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, I am told, has to approve whatever he wants. Its not done anywhere! The current minister now, is finding it very difficult to do what he has to do in this Covid-19 era.

“Unfortunately, as is usual with our ministers, they feel that the president is “God” and they can’t approach him and tell him where they feel the pain. The president isn’t God, he was elected.

“I hear there was no isolation centre in the whole of Kano until yesterday. I hear also that the few people they had put in the center had contracted Covid-19 and have absconded. So there are walking corpses everywhere in Kano, waiting to die, and distributing the virus.

“If he had not subsumed the operations of the Health Ministry to Agriculture, perhaps the health sector would have been working and he won’t end up a victim of his own actions. So we have to be careful not to throw stones into the market as we don’t know whom its going to hit”.

What can you say about Kano and the challenges of Covid-19?

“We should call the lawmakers-Senators and Federal House of Representatives, who know that they were genuinely voted in, and acknowledge that they have a responsibility to represent those who voted for them, and remind them that this Covid-19 is real and they should stop playing politics with it.

“First, Nigeria should wake up to be responsible to its citizens, to talk to Airtel, MTN, to talk to local and multinationals, Dangote, and our rich men. They should call them to come in and assist Nigerians.

“Nigerians need that help because they cannot be at home and also be hungry. They are not afraid of Covid-19, they are afraid of hunger.

“There was a protest in Kano where people were chanting ‘coronavirus barawo, coronavirus barawo’. It means they are ignorant, it means there is no leadership in that constituency, it means there is no governance in that area. Otherwise they will not say that Coronavirus is ‘barawo’, they would have known that its a deadly disease and has no respect for anybody

“Having said that, are you aware that about 25 to 35 of very prominent people have lost their lives in the past few days in the north? So what they have to do is to begin inter-state ban of passenger vehicles. There should be no movement into and out of the states.

“Nobody, for instance, should leave Edo State for Lagos; nobody should leave Ibadan for Sagamu, Kaduna for Sokoto, Warri for Bayelsa, or leave Bayelsa for Calabar. Because there are lots of ignorant carriers who do not even know and they are taking it from one place to another, because they have not experienced the symptoms and so, they move about innocently, yet walking corpses.

“You need to have seen or heard what happened in New York, and over 53,000 died in that country. In my last interview, I told you over 10,000 lost their lives. So by the day, its counting.

“We have people who go to the north and buy cows, tomatoes, yams and onions. We also have our northerners who travel from the north to the south, they should stay in the north for now. If there is any person coming to the south, let us quarantine them.

“It’s not enough to say they have no right to travel. They should be in their respective quarters until we find a solution”.

Let’s come back to Edo State and its politics. What’s your opinion on the resignation of Taiwo Akerele the Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki?

“You journalists know what’s going on. What I think is that you reap what you sow. This thing started from Adams Oshiomhole who is my brother and my friend. Because Oshiomhole is a man that was so open in governance, he entertained no secrecy.

“He might have his own flaws, he might have his own issues, but he was open to a fault. When he took Barrister Osarodion Ogie as his Chief of Staff, Ogie enjoyed that position without interference. But Patrick Obahiagbon, the ‘Igbodomigodo’, who is also my friend, was not so fortunate. Igbodomigodo was a victim of loyalty, of kindness, a victim of honesty. Because he had an aspiration, those who didn’t want him to aspire higher, who wanted to stop him, did just that.

“Osarodion Ogie took the job of the CoS and was doing the job of the CoS, even though he was no more the CoS. Igbodomigodo was not too happy, but because of his loyalty to Oshiomhole, he bore that burden.

“Now, Akerele came from Lagos and didn’t understand the politics. The Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, who I know very well, who loves power and will do anything to get it, he knows that, he is my friend. Even when he reads now he will smile and giggle, because he knows that I am the Observer-General in politics.

“The same way, he knows the history of his boss, Adams Oshiomhole. But he and Ogie didn’t want a free hand given to Akerele. Akerele was more like just a CoS by name. He wasn’t doing anything representative of his office. He was redundant, and may have become useless, but because he was not a useless person, he realised sooner than later that he was very useful to himself, his friends and family and said I will no longer tolerate this, it’s either I live freely or die. So he said, I beg to resign. Thank you for letting me work with you”.

Are you invariably saying Governor Obaseki has no hand in that?

“I don’t know the governor too well to either deny or accept anything on his behalf. I love the governor so well from a distance, but I am afraid of the devil in him, that undermines the genuine work he is doing”.

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