COVID-19 : Council chief canvass harmonisation of data for proper planning

April 11, 2020
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The Executive Chairman of Ifako Ijaiye local government area, Apostle Oloruntoba Oke has harped on the need for harmonisation of available data,to ensure proper planning in the country. He gave the counsel while speaking with Olanrewaju  Adesanya after the conclusion of the second phase of the emergency stimulus package distribution to households within in his area. Excerpt:

What really inform the model adopted for the stimulus package distribution in your local government ?

First and foremost we have to acknowledge all the proactive steps and measures,taken by our amiable Governor,His Excellency Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu because of what he has done to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state. Yes different people across the local governments have been doing things at their various levels but in our own views,that is myself and  my councillors and members of my exco, we are of the opinion that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well that if we are gonna do this thing let us package it in such a way that whatever we are going to give to people will be appreciated by the recipients and that is what drove to do it this way,so we have like four different items in the package and this were well received by the recipients and we are also happy that they are happy about what we have done.

How will you rate the compliance level of the 14 days sit- at -home order issued by government to contain the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic in your locality?

Well at the initial stage, the first four days the level of compliance was okay but after that it declined and it is unfortunate that people don’t  really recognize the import of the restriction order in the first instance because if they do they would not be deviant.

Even when you go out you are endangering your own life,it’s a risk for anybody to go out and for government to have come up with those measures,it is to help us, it is for the safety,security and good health of the citizenry,but people don’t see it that way, fine it is only a person that is alive that can work,it is only a person that is alive that can eat but they would tell you what are we going to eat and that is why you see an increase in the number of cases of infected people,which not to be so, if Lagosians and indeed Nigerians will fully comply with the order then the problem would have been declining.

Given Nigeria peculiarities how do we determine the vulnerables in order to ensure they are relieved in this trying times?

Well,when we talk about vulnerability we all know the level of poverty in the country and we know that a lot of people are going through hard times because of situation,so whatever measure and palliatives that are introduced by the government should be appreciated,fine it is not possible for any government to satisfy the yearnings of the people. Governments world over can not satisfy all the yearnings of their people 100 percent, so whatever government is able to do should be appreciated,for instance at the state level government targeted 200,000 households of course it is not every household that will benefit from this but the state government must have gone through rigorous process, look at the LASRRA records, check their records and information about people who were actually captured in the register of the state so through that they would be able to know which family is vulnerable, text messages were sent out to some individuals and households and they are going to deliver their packages, so far I think measure is still okay in terms of palliatives but of course not everybody that will be captured in the net of those that vulnerable.

Some are of the view that money should be shared to people, especially those who hike a living daily depending on their hustle?

It is not as if we have not been giving money to people but it is not going to happen the way people expected,because everybody expected you to give them money but where is that done even in America it is not done that way? It is not that you go on the streets and begin to share money, where is that done? Where are the resources?

To use for that as a local government , it is not possible but I feel that whatever we are able to do for our people they should learn to be appreciative.

The youths are given preference than the aged in other climes in measures taken to handle the pandemic rocking the world, can we burrow a leaf from there?

You see in any society where you don’t have correct data about the citizens that is what causes problem, it is always difficult to start classifying the categories of people we have;these are youths,these are aged people,these are old men,these are elderly women,it is difficult to begin to do that and that is why we decided that okay let us see how many people we can reach, going from street to street with the leaders,that is the Community Development Associations (CDA).

In essence,are you canvassing for a solution to our data capture deficiencies in the country?

It is essential that we ensure we have adequate data, because any society that does not have data regarding the number of people,what they do,their work and things like that it is always difficult to plan, that is just the basic thing to do, getting data I don’t think it is a difficult thing to achieve.

We do birth registration, we do LASRRA registration, even through National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),so they should look at all these they have done and bring out correct and reliable data from all these schemes and it will be easy to plan and know the number of people to cater for.

As a government  we should  be able to know the number of people that will be graduating from our Universities so as to ascertain as they are graduating what provisions are afforded to take care of them and all that, so having data is quite essential.

The federal government just pronounced the extension of the restriction order by a week, how will you counsel the people within your domain on compliance with the new directive?

My advise to them is that we should still continue to comply,until the restriction order is completely lifted. Ebay whatever instructions given because that is the only thing that can be done to stem the tide otherwise the scourge of the virus will continue to increase which is what need to be stemmed for us to be comfortable. I think that is what government must have observed which must have informed them to extend the restriction order and until government is satisfied that yes they have gotten to a stage that the spread is abating and that at least curve is flattened and is on the negative side that is when government can come up to say yes now we can lift the restriction.

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