Cholera Epidemic: Hold Government Responsible-ACN

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Action Congress’ National Publicity Secretary.

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) says the cholera epidemic that has killed several Nigerians in recent weeks is the result of the failure of governance at all levels since lack of potable water is the major cause of the disease.

According to a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, governments at all levels have remained blind to the plight of the people over the years, adding that had the various governments lived up to their responsibility by ensuring that the people have access to potable water and good health care, many of those who have died from this disease so far this year would have been alive.

“It is a shame that cholera is killing our people like chickens in the 21st century, despite the fact that it is cheap to treat using oral rehydration solution, a gauged mixture of sugar and salt to be mixed with water and taken in large amounts.
“It is even more shameful that this is happening in a resource-rich country like Nigeria,” the party said.

ACN further lamented that while the death toll resulting from the disease is on the increase, the country’s leaders have engaged themselves in what it described as “a diversionary debate on zoning,” while the Federal Executive Council is busy churning out – on a weekly basis – billions of naira in contracts that barely touch the lives of the people, as “the so-called representatives of the people are busy sharing the spoils of office.”

The party said had the federal, state and local governments paid attention to good governance, many of the underlying causes of the diseases that are now ravaging the country including cholera and measles would have been removed.

‘‘Governance has taken the back seat in our country. Decision makers have not been making conscious and consistent efforts to work towards achieving the eight development goals set out in the UN Millennium Development Goals. Goal number six deals with combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases (like cholera and measles),” ACN said, adding that the recent outbreak was a proof that the country was not prepared to meet the eight MDG goals in the target year 2015.

The party said the latest available figure from the Federal Ministry of Health – which definitely understated the facts – shows that 352 deaths and 6,437 cases have been recorded. While the cases have so far been limited to 11 states in the north, the ministry said the entire country is at risk of the disease.

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“Add this to the fact that measles has also killed 83 people this year and infected 5,073 others, and the needless deaths from Malaria and other diseases, and one begins to wonder whether we remain a part of humanity.

“The palliative measures being embarked upon by our clueless state and federal governments is nothing but a mere tokenism. Only a development-oriented approach can rid our country of these diseases,’’ it said.

The party said one of the solutions to the attitude of the country’s leaders and to prevent what it decsribed as cheap deaths is for Nigerians to register en masse, vote massively and defend their votes stridently during the 2011 general elections, so that leaders who have the interest of the people at heart can be voted into the various offices.

“With the exception of very few states, the class of 2007-2010, whether at the executive or legislative levels, may well go down as the most rapacious and do-nothing class in the history of our nation.
“It is time to send them packing, along with the party that sired most of them,’’ the party said.

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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