FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19: Azubogu calls for new strategies

... Says South East mustn’t cripple her economy while fighting the pandemic*

The member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo Federal Constituency in the Green Chamber, *Engr. Chris Emeka Azubogu has called for a strategy adjustment in the fight against COVID-19 that must allow economic activities go on alongside.*

Engr.Azubogu made the call last night as a discussant in his contribution during a Teleconference meeting organized on Zoom, courtesy of Global SESSNet [South East/South-South Network]. The Teleconference which had the topic: “COVID-19 - Turning a Crisis into Opportunities; where are our Governors?“ was hosted by Mazi Ezeoke in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with Daniel Elombah.

The legislator christened “Mr. Project” by appreciative constituents on account of his unprecedented performance applauded efforts put in so far by the federal and state governments to win the war against the COVID-19 pandemic. He however observed that at the curve we are, it is time to adopt new strategies that will reopen economic activities while we deepen concerted effort to flatten the curve against the pandemic.

*In his words: "It is obvious that we cannot sustain this war with our economy closed. The ideal thing is to adopt a two-way strategy that will see us fighting COVID-19 and at the same time allow people to drive their respective economic activities”.*
While urging states to adopt ‘State Economic Strategies’ that allow businesses to operate, Azubogu said that there is no better time for us to adjust our strategies in combating the pandemic. We need to ramp-up test centers in collaboration with the NCDC to enable massive testing in the face of increases in community transmission of COVID-19 disease. This, he said, can be achieved through decentralization of test centers to enable massive testing of suspected cases.

On the long run, Hon. Azubogu suggested that the South East in particular should re-enact the Micheal Okpala development strategy that saw the region emerge as one of the fastest growing economies in the 60s.

“This is the time to adopt and upgrade the Michael Okpala development strategy that placed emphasis on the agricultural value chain. It is a time to activate Research and Development (R&D) that will accommodate other growth blocks. We have to create opportunities from this crisis" *Azubogu said.*

The Anambra born federal lawmaker and ICT expert also called for adaptation of a data-driven plan that will give birth to a reliable development demography. He is not happy with the prevailing situation where PPEs [Personal Protective Equipment] cannot be delivered to the entire Southeast region by air as a result of the closure of airports in the region and called for a special arrangement with the FG to allow the usage of Sam Mbakwe Airport Owerri for the purpose.*

The Teleconference saw participants, largely Nigerians from across the globe, making suggestions on how our government and people could turn the crisis occasioned by the pandemic into development opportunities.

Besides Hon. Azubogu, notable Nigerians who made valuable contributions at the conference anchored by Eze Eluchie, Obi Osuji and Marcel Ngogbehei included Chief Osita Chidoka, Prof Odinkalu and a host of others.*

It was a debate-like conversation geared towards changing the narrative.

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