It’s regrettable to note that while the whole of humanity is humbled by the ravaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic, putting all world leaders, the world health system, humanitarian and public spirited individuals on their toes to find a lasting solution to the novel disease, and return mankind back to the path of normalcy, some charlatans, sadists and mischief-makers in Rivers State have chosen the unholy path of condemning and rubbishing every effort by the State Government to safeguard the lives of the people and contain the spread of the virus in the State.
One will ordinarily expect that such fastidious persons should come from the uneducated class or at best, the half educated which is dangerous as well, but it benumbs all sensibilities to note that in most cases, such ungrateful bulk are the well educated, the highly placed individuals in our society but who have sworn not to see anything good in what the Rivers State Governor, His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike does as long as it is not coming from their paymasters.
One of such undesirable elements is Mr. Austin Tam-George, a former Commissioner for Information in the State under the present administration led by His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
From his body language which he has just made manifest in his recent outburst by heaping all manner of allegations on the State Palliatives Committee headed by Amb. Desmond Akawor, Mr. Austin Tam-George may have sheepishly owned up as one of those who is aggrieved that the spread of the coronavirus pandemic has been stoutly checkmated by Gov Nyesom Wike through proactive measures including necessary lockdown in parts of Port Harcourt, closure of schools, markets, religious organizations, courts etc, all in the interest of the people, and the efforts working out effectively.
Having been stunned by the commensurate success being recorded in the state vis-à-vis other states of the country, Mr. Austin Tam-George rather than give kudos to the State government for getting it right, has decided to pick holes on the Akawor-led committee charged with the distribution of the palliatives to Rivers people with the most vulnerable- the poor, the handicapped, widows, orphans and the like as targets.
I make no doubt that the best thing to do in this circumstance would have been to ignore the uninformed criticism of Tam-George but for the need to put the records straight.
The state palliatives committee nonetheless, recognizes the fact that criticism as was first instituted by Aristotle, was meant as a standard of judging well, not to vilify or for vengeance for being booted out of the system for incompetence and distrust.
The palliatives committee is also acquainted with the truth that “nobody will ever get ahead of you as long as he is kicking you in the seat of the pants”, as Tam-George appears to be doing.
For further enlightenment to Austin Tam-George and his co-travellers, the palliatives committee as set up and equipped by Gov Nyesom Wike is a well thought-out initiative devoid of ethnicity, religious bias or political colouration and headed by a renowned, respectable and a more reasonable personality with sufficient international exposure cum knowledge of the ideals of international organizations, in the person of Amb. Desmond Akawor, the former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea.
The committee has representatives of security agents, the Police, Army, Airforce, DSS and the Civil Defence, the Clergy, Civil Society Organizations, the Media, Publishers in the State, the Nigeria Union of Journalists etc.
The committee member who acts as a ward supervisor assigned to a particular ward, hands over the items clearly documented which must be endorsed by all the five ward representatives made up of Ministers of God, Traditional Rulers, Community Youth Leaders, Women Leaders and Community Leaders.
The committee member is also mandated to follow it up to the point of delivery to each unit.
The distribution network is tightly knitted and organized that it cannot be mismanaged or politicized as observed only by Mr. Tam-George through his effective prism of fake news.
Furthermore, it’s only belittling of Mr. Austin Tam-George to imagine that recipients of the State palliatives are forced to swear oath of allegiance to qualify to receive the palliatives from the committee.
It only takes a diabolical character (a ‘juju man’) to think in that direction or is Mr. Austin Tam-George a juju man?
One expects Mr. Tam-George, to be so concerned with the health and safety of his Okrika people at least rather than dissipate his energies on looking for faults where there are none or join hands with Governor Nyesom Wike administration to ensure that the good people of Rivers state survive the pandemic to the glory of God.
Ignoring all of this, and taking to fault-finding and unnecessary criticism of the genuine efforts of the Wike-led government which is for now second to none in Nigeria, rather presents Mr. Tam-George and rightly too, as a certified agent of the Coronavirus pandemic and should be dreaded as well.