COVID-19 RECOVERY: ENHANCING LOCAL CAPACITY FOR VACCINE PRODUCTION CRUCIAL FOR AFRICA, SAYS BUHARI

*Osinbajo represents President at Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting, delivers his greetings to Anglican Conference

*VP declares: Nigeria will be transformed

For Africa to attain the high level of post-COVID-19 recovery recorded in more developed economies, stakeholders in the continent must begin to develop the required collaborations for local production of vaccines, according to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The President, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, made the observation on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the 51st Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, CPA (African Region).

According to the President, “without vaccination of a huge number of its people, Africa remains at continued risk of socio-economic stagnation, because continuing infections including from new variants, will prevent full recovery. There is evidence that the economic rebound in other parts of the world is positively related to the extent of vaccinations that they have undertaken.

“We appreciate the vaccines that have come to Africa through the COVAX Initiative and other bilateral donations, but there remains much more to be done. We must ensure that while we are at it, we must develop the collaborations to be able to produce vaccines within Africa itself.”

Speaking further, President Buhari noted that “to be sure, we need resources that will help increase the scale and pace of vaccinations against COVID-19 in Africa. The high and upper-middle-income countries have achieved vaccination rates of over 80%, while very few African countries have reached the 5% level of vaccination.”

On the issue of Climate Change, the President said “it is another area in which global development is impacting Africa, and in which we need a unified response.

“It is particularly important for Africa Commonwealth governments to pay attention to this matter. In any event, the protection of the environment is a matter of core concern for the Commonwealth.

“The issue of climate change poses a number of dilemmas for African countries and we must strive to find the right balance in shaping our responses.”

In this regard, President Buhari said “the international community must meet its pledges to Africa and the developing world in terms of financing and technology, to support mitigation and adaptation to climate change.”

“The $100billion a year pledged by the wealthier economies to help developing economies respond to the challenges of climate change has never been met.

“Such investments will help our economies to invest in renewable energies and undertake climate-friendly agricultural practices, and green urban transportation.”

The President added that “given this situation, it is fair that as African policymakers and legislators we are compelled to respond through policies that drive growth, create jobs, and improve livelihoods, and that pays special attention to the needs of women and girls.”

Dignitaries at the event included top officials of the association and a good number of parliamentarians from across the continent, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and the regional secretary of CPA, Ms Nenelwa Joyce Mwihambi, among others.

Shortly after the event of Commonwealth Parliamentarians, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo attended the closing session of the 2021 Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Divine Commonwealth Conference (DIVCCON).

Prof. Osinbajo opened his remarks by extending “the warm greetings of our President, President Muhammadu Buhari” to the congregation.

Speaking on the theme of the conference “Quit you like Men”, the VP said just as societies elsewhere were transformed by a generation of believers, Nigeria’s fortunes will be turned around for the better by the present generation.

According to the Vice President, “every generation of believers has the capacity to transform their societies, by the grace and mercies of God, we will transform ours too.”

Prof Osinbajo urged Christians “to be strong, steadfast and courageous in the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ”, regardless of the challenges.

Said the VP: “Scripture makes it abundantly clear that unless the church, the pillar and foundation of truth is standing right; society cannot stand right. Everywhere the gospel has been preached it has also led to social transformation.

“The principles that changed the world or the Protestant reformation were preached from the pulpits in Europe and America. What is preached from the pulpit determines the moral tone of society.”

Prof. Osinbajo called on the Church, particularly the leadership to say and do what it preaches.

The VP explained that “the problem we have with preaching of the gospel and achieving what it promises is because the disconnect between what we say and preach, and what we do is so loud that the power of the gospel is beclouded.”

Referencing relevant chapters in the Bible, Prof. Osinbajo said though the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is contrarian, the promise of a better life should be the motivating factor for all Christians.

Earlier in his remarks, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, His Grace, the Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, said though the country is experiencing challenges of poverty and insecurity among others, Christians will not relent in praying for the nation to overcome the challenges.

The Primate also led other clergymen at the event in a special prayer session for the country and its leadership, including President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President whom he described as a humble leader serving God and the people.

The Divine Commonwealth Conference, which is an annual convocation of Christians across denominations, had in attendance participants from the different dioceses of the Anglican Church in Nigerian and beyond.

Released by:

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
11th November 2021

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