Reactions have begun to trail the sudden withdrawal of the fleet of the Free Covid-19 buses scattered into the roads by the Rivers state government as a part of the measures in tackling the frightening rising rate of the Corona Virus pandemic in the state.
On June, the state government rolled out free transport scheme to cushion the effect of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, experienced by Rivers residents.
The 28 fully air-conditioned luxury buses were to ply covering designated routes in Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Eleme and Oyigbo, to cushion the hardship experienced by commuters
Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the free transport programme was a demonstration of the governor’s sensitivity to the plight of Rivers people this time of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Sunny Ejekwu, the Commissioner for Transport, while speaking at the launch of the scheme, said the initiative was a revelation that the governor is bothered about the health of Rivers people. He assured the people of the state that the scheme was to outlive the pandemic.
According to him, “With the
launch of this scheme, you can feel the pulse of a governor that is concerned
about the health and welfare of Rivers people. Since the outbreak of this COVID-19 pandemic, he has done so much to show his love for the people.”
Ironically, just weeks into the over-hyped funfare that blitzed the launching of the scheme, the buses have evaporated out of the streets of Port Harcourt and the designated routes.
The COVID-19 free bussing scheme has eventually turned out to be another short-term cosmetic only initiative designed to impress rather than to last. It appears that investment made into the scheme was probably a bloated self-indulgent hype rather than for purposes beyond the need to cater for the vulnerable as the government had wanted us to believe.
For Chief Ekereidor Ranson, who described the action as really regrettable maintained that the action only goes to buttress the lingering whisper that there was some dastard plans behind the initiative and stated that it looked like a conduit to tactfully explain the seeming waste of the huge donations the state received from philanthropists and corporate organization for the pandemic.
“For me, honestly, it was just a mere cosmetic and selfish hype which avenue Gov. Wike wanted to use to retire the huge monetary allocations and donations the state generated towards fighting the pandemic”, Chief Ekereidor stated.
“Hhhhhmmm. That scheme was just another kpoju kpoju. I had initially lauded the initiative especially at this point when the average family income can no longer sustain the home. I saw it as another ‘Soberekon-for-the-masses’ scheme and believed the government was serious and honest to the people of the state. Just six weeks later, the buses are all vanished. Where are they? How much of the public money was actually used? No one knows and yet no one is asking questions. We are now all dumb even when this is a very serious issue”, Barr. Greg Worudor stated.