Open Letter To National Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Mai Bala Bunu

I’m obliged to write this letter to you to express my concern over an issue that can earn us negative moral ratings as a political party and as Nigerians in general.

Dear Chairman

I’m obliged to write this letter to you to express my concern over an issue that can earn us negative moral ratings as a political party and as Nigerians in general.

The prevailing Pandemic situation in Nigeria and and the fact of being a COVID-19 Survivor have compelled me to write this letter to you as a loyal and committed party member and a patriotic Nigerian.

I want to state categorically here that the contents of this letter are my personal opinions based on personal experience, interaction with people and observation of events happening around us daily.

Personally, I felt the decision to revalidate and conduct new registration of members is a laudable and commendable one. Because as we move towards another general elections in 2023, the need to update our membership register could not have come at a more opportune period.

However, laudable as the Registration plan may be, what about the TIMING of the exercise? With due respect sir, it is my considered opinion that the timing is not appropriate at this time, especially given the the renewed surge in the spread of Covid as it is being reported on daily basis by the Presidential Task Force.

Some states are already over stretched in oxygen supplies and care.

Our Government has for some time given directives to the Religious bodies to reduce congressional attendance at both Churches and Mosques. So many states have cancelled social gatherings. While others are compelling the use of face masks to reduce the rate of infection and fatalities. So why must we go into an exercise that will certainly draw large crowds across the various states?

The stage is set for the exercise and I must confess that I’m personally impressed wit the preparations and logistics put in place for the exercise. I have no doubt in my mind that it will be a resounding success for us and will be a springboard for achieving one strong, united party.

However, the situation in the country occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic have compelled me to have a rethink on the desirability of continuing with the exercise as planned.

Mr Chairman, I’m strongly of the opinon that this exercise should be postponed till a more appropriate time.

Personally, I believe this will not only shore up the image of our great party but will also save lives of Nigerians.

There is no doubt that the second wave of COVID-19 has proven to be more dangerous and deadly.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Mr Boss Mustapha had warned that the second wave of the pandemic would be more dangerous and deadly. Events since the beginning of the year have proven him right. Mustapha himself was struck by the deadly virus and yours truly also tested positive to the virus recently. Mustapha, Others and I are lucky to survive. But several others did not.

Mr Chairman, let me give you a grim statistics of COVID-19 in January 2021.

Between January 1st to January 22nd, a total of 196 deaths were recorded from COVID-19. This amounted to 13.2% of the whole total of 1, 485 fatalities recorded throughout the country.

This is also means that an average of nine people died daily of COVID-19 between January 1st and 22nd.

Between January 19 and 22, a total of 6, 134 people tested positive to COVID-19 and the number of infections continue to grow higher and higher prompting the Federal Government to even consider another lockdown.

Already, places of worship are operating in half capacity while in some states, most civil servants are working from home.

All these measures were put in place to control the spread of the deadly virus, my question is do we need to aggravate the situation by going ahead with our registration and revalidation exercise?

The exercise is meant to register millions of our members across the federation and I forsee two scenarios: it’s either we have our members coming out in multitude to register or most deciding not to come out at all for fear of being infected. The two options are not good enough for us as a party.

If our members come out to register in high numbers, then the possibility of increase in the number of COVID-19 cases might be high and ultimately lead to increase in the number of fatalities.

If our members refuse to come out for fear of being infected, then we will have lesser numbers of members to be registered for our party. Either way, God forbid, we lose.

We are the ruling party and we must be in the forefront of promoting the welfare of our people, pushing this exercise forward will rather add to our popularity rather than reducing it. We can afford to do this because we presently don’t have any particular election to deal with.

The second variant of COVID-19 is ravaging the world and most countries of the world have entered a second lockdown.

There is a Federal Government directive that we should avoid large gatherings of people and that social distancing should be maintained at all times and personally, I don’t believe we can achieve adequate social distancing if the registration and validation exercise is allowed to go ahead.

I’m a survivor of COVID-19 and I knew the harrowing experience I went through which I would not wish even for my bitterest enemy.

My humble opinion and suggestion is we should postpone this exercise to a time that is conducive, when the coronavirus situation in the country would have improved.

Thank you and God bless.

Honourable James Abiodun Faleke

Member representing Ikeja Federal Constituency

Chairman, House Committee on Finance

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.