Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has offered suggestions on how the war against the raging novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can be won by the federal and state governments in the country.
Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), said that COVID-19 can only be defeated with transparency and collaborative efforts.
He advocated conscious and deliberate efforts by governments to invest massively in job creation and agriculture to ensure food security and safeguard against the upsurge in crimes and hunger post-COVID-19 period.
Fayemi spoke on Saturday as a Keynote Speaker at the 2020 edition of THE PLATFORM, an annual conference organised by The Covenant Nation, a pentecostal church led by Pastor Poju Oyemade.
Other participants at the conference included the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Governors of Lagos, Nassarawa, Kaduna, Edo and Delta as well as the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu among others.
Fayemi, in his virtual presentation at the conference, dwelt on what his administration and the federal government had done to tackle the pandemic, as well as what still needed to be done.
He saluted the courage of healthcare workers all over the country who are going beyond the call of duty to serve on the front lines of the war against COVID-19 describing them as “exceptional.”
The governor also advocated a reduction in the cost of governance owing to a reduction in revenues and streamlining of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to save cost.
He also canvassed robust support for businesses, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and women, to rebuild family structures while modifying conditions for existing loan guarantees and creation of new opportunities.
Fayemi said: “Nigeria must emerge from this crisis with a plan to create jobs, reduce poverty and put food on the table of our citizens.
“We must attract the investment required to bridge the infrastructure deficit, and prioritise the provision of critical investment in education, healthcare, security and other social protection needs.
“Agriculture, the mainstay of our national and many subnational economies, has never been more important, especially as we seek to reduce hunger.
“COVID-19 has shown the importance of food security, and our ability to call on the nation’s food reserve at this time only validates the federal government’s decision to prioritise food production.
“By focusing on job creation and poverty reduction, we will reduce the lack of opportunity, which remains a big incentive for crime.
“However, for those who still insist on criminality, we must be ready to tackle them with well-trained, equipped and appropriately remunerated security agencies.”
While commending the convener of THE PLATFORM, Oyemade, the senior pastor of The Covenant Nation, Fayemi said the forum had become an effective town hall that facilitates conversations in an unfiltered, yet convivial atmosphere.