Mr. Peter Obi, the Vice Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 elections, has expressed concern over the plight of vulnerable and unemployed Nigerians whose survival is tied to their day-to-day activities.
Obi, who spoke on the heels of the total lockdown of the country being announced by federal and state governments, said that whilst all possible measures should be deployed to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, “appropriate measures should be taken to mitigate the suffering of the very vulnerable in our midst.”
According to Obi in a statement on Thursday from his media office, “There are several millions of our populace who are unemployed and underemployed, whose means of livelihood depends on daily income which the present situation will definitely worsen.”
Obi said that in locking down the country, such vulnerable people should be factored into government policies, as is the case in other countries, by putting measures in place to cushion the effects of the lockdown on them.
The one-time Anambra State Governor expressed gratitude for the efforts of some political leaders, captains of industry and corporate bodies. He urged the Federal Government to do more to mitigate the situation, especially for poor Nigerians, as being witnessed in other climes.
According to him, “It would be counter-productive to keep only the elite in mind when taking such far-reaching decisions as closing down markets without having some cushioning measures for the traders.”
Obi also has some drastic suggestions for elected leaders in the country, saying to them: “This is the time to be with your people in your various constituencies.”
He said that the call of leadership at these trying times entails that public officers especially legislators, should be observing the stay-at-home directive in their various constituencies to help their people to find solutions to their problems and challenges.
Obi said that by being in their constituencies to monitor the situation, the elected leaders would be in a position not only to support their people in their time of need, but to also properly advise government on how to address the fallouts of government policies.
He called on leaders of all segments of society “to make sacrifices and show commitment at this critical period in the history of our dear nation.”