BY: Jude Egbas
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai says when it comes to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Nigeria should learn to look after itself as the world does not care about her.
According to him “We are on our own. The rest of the world doesn’t care. Nobody cares about Africa. The rest of the world is becoming increasingly nationalistic.”
El-Rufai stated this on Saturday, May 30, 2020, during his presentation at the first Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola Colloquium.
The virtual conference was put together to commemorate Aregbesola’s 63rd birthday.
Aregbesola is Nigeria’s Interior Minister. He also served as governor of the southwest state of Osun for eight years.
El-Rufai who recovered from coronavirus on April 22, added that it’s time for Nigeria to begin fixing its deplorable healthcare system and equip its decrepit hospitals as according to him “As a state government, we are even trying to get test kits for COVID-19 because America and Europe are buying up everything. Nobody cares about Africa. They only think of us when they want to test vaccines or when something dangerous is to be tried.
He added “So, we must be more nationalistic and try to develop our internal capacity to produce and be self-sufficient. This was what Osun State under Rauf Aregbesola has tried to do and I think this is a lesson for all of us.”
Nigeria’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, died from COVID-19 in a private hospital on home soil on April 17, 2020 and according to El-Rufai, his death should be a wake-up call for federal and sub-national governments to fix the nation’s weakened healthcare system.
He said “Look at our healthcare system; we are struggling to deal with this pandemic. Today, the fact that the (late) Chief of Staff to the President (Abba Kyari) went and checked himself into a private hospital when he tested positive for COVID-19 is a very clear message that we are in trouble. So, what happens today if our president is sick? We can’t fly him abroad; most countries have closed their airports. Do we have a hospital that can look after the President of Nigeria? In our individual states, do we have public hospitals that can look after the governors? When I tested positive, I got treated by the public health system and here I am.
We must begin to think of how to make government intervene in the right places but not to be obstructionist,” the Kaduna governor said.
In his closing remarks, El-Rufai challenged Nigerians to always vote the right people into offices and to hold them to account.
The virtual conference which was live on Youtube, Facebook, Zoom and Twitter, had as its theme: ‘Government Unusual–Innovative economic solutions to unlock mass prosperity.’
Other panelists at the colloquium included Chairman of Citibank Yemi Cardoso, CEO of Lotus Capital Limited Hajara Adeola, Country Director of DAI and development economist Joe Abah, a member of the president’s economic advisory council and CEO of Financial Derivatives Ltd Bismarck Rewane, Statistician General of the Federation Yemi Kale and Governor of Kebbi State Abubakar Bagudu.