Infectious Diseases Bill: Engage Nigerians more in governance, says Popoola to NASS

the huge connectivity distance between the electorate and their elected representatives created a democratic deficit that generated a degree of distrust across the various levels of governance.
200
Joel Popoola

Digital Democracy campaigner and founder of the Rate Your Leader app, Joel Popoola, said the outrage over the move to replace the Quarantine Act with the Infectious Disease Control Act was a direct indicator of the lack of communication between Nigeria 's people and the ruling class.

Popoola, a techpreneur, said the huge connectivity distance between the electorate and their elected representatives created a democratic deficit that generated a degree of distrust across the various levels of governance.

After its launch, the bill, 'Control of Infectious Disease, 2020,' sponsored by House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, has created a wide range of controversies

Among other items, the bill aims to take possession of a health card mandatory for foreign travellers leaving or arriving in Nigeria – much like the yellow fever passport.

Adapted from a similar law in Singapore, it has been branded by some Nigerians as draconian and inappropriate for a democratic Nigeria. There are 82 parts in the bill, which reached the second reading until it was recently packed down.

According to Popoola, “Only Nigeria could find itself with a government unable to pass vital health protection laws during a deadly worldwide health crisis because people thought that the government was too powerful. But that’s exactly where we find ourselves with the stalling of the Infectious Disease Act".

He argued that the bill may have been designed to make it easier for organizations such as the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to take swift action to prevent infectious disease spread across Nigeria and respond effectively to emerging emergencies in public health.

While stressing that all efforts should be employed to curb the spread of the virus, he averaged that in this war,
"He argued that the bill may have been designed to make it easier for organizations such as the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to take swift action to prevent infectious disease spread across Nigeria and respond effectively to emerging emergencies in public health.

While stressing that all efforts should be employed to curb the spread of the virus, he averaged that in this war, "public health officials are our frontline soldiers and it should be clear to every Nigerian how important it is that they have arms that they need to combat.

He stressed that
the fact we have found ourselves in this position tells us a lot about Nigerian politics – and what needs to change.

Explaining what could possibly be the way out of the quagmire of mistrust between the leaders and the citizens, he said:
“That was the thought behind Rate Your Leader, a free app which connects registered voters to the elected officials who serve them –giving them the power to get credible information from credible sources at the touch of a button.

“In times like ours, who can blame a government for trying to get public protection bills into law as rapidly as possible? But the government did itself no favours by trying to force the bill through parliament so quickly.

He added that,


“Nigerian voters need to know what information they can trust, and also that they can trust their representatives. The Rate Your Leader app is designed to battle this democratic deficit by helping politicians engage with voters they serve, helping them understand what matters most to the people who elect them and build relationships of trust with the electorate. And in return, voters can even rate their responses, convincing their neighbours that this is a politician who listens.

“People are more likely to accept something if they feel like their fears have been listened to and addressed, and even more likely to support something if they have been able to help shape it. But this should not be something which only happens in times of crisis and controversy. This should be built into all our politics.

“We designed Rate Your Leader to give the people of Nigeria a direct channel to their leaders. This is something they expect. And it is something our democracy depends on,”

© LIVE updates, Latest headlines, Breaking news, Top Stories, Trending topics, Nigerian Newspapers - The Gazette Nigeria 2020

Published by NINCHI Services Limited

Proudly powered by Extrigs! Pye.