“Let someone else take his office” (Acts 1:20).
Judas Iscariot was entrusted with the common purse (treasury) of Jesus and His followers. Indeed, a serious position of trust. But painfully, he betrayed that position. By his action, it became necessary for someone else to take his place, and that was done by casting lots after prayers.
In the same vein, the government of Nigeria has been entrusted with the trust to pilot the affairs of this country.
Some ills may have occurred in the last five years of this administration. However, the present coronavirus pandemic has taken the rot in the Government to a whole new level. It has become a clear case of betrayal; nothing short of public abuse of trust.
Borrowing from the words of the Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja Metropolitan See, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, “I am making a case.” But mine is not a case for the reopening of places of worship, but for “some other persons to take their place.”
A. On April 6th, 2020, the plan to invite a Chinese medical team to Nigeria by the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, chaired by Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, was in the news. This was because the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) led by its able President, Dr Francis Faduyile, rejected the proposed plan of the government outrightly.
Faduyile in an open statement on April 6th, saw the move by the Federal Government as a misplacement of priority. For him, it was “a thing of embarrassment to the membership of the Association and other health workers who are giving their best in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic under deplorable working conditions.”
But while reacting to the NMA, Mr Garba Abari, the Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), was of the opinion that members of the Chinese medical team were only coming to share experiences with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and not to directly take charge of the fight against the deadly virus, which at the time was still at the early stages in Nigeria (cf. Premium Times).
The move by the Federal Government attracted reactions from well meaning Nigerians who called on the government to retrace its steps. But as usual, the call fell on deaf ears. In fact, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire during PTF daily briefing on April 6th, insisted that the Chinese medical experts will be sharing their experience of the progress they have made in China in the fight against the virus. He said, “The Chinese medics will be providing technical support to Nigeria in the fight against COVID-19, and also sharing experiential strategies of how their country curtailed the spread of the virus.”
On April 8th 2020, the 15 member team of Chinese Medical professionals arrived Nigeria, to share their acclaimed experiences in the fight against coronavirus as claimed by Ehanire.
Many weeks later, precisely during the PTF daily briefing on May 14th, the same Health Minister, Dr Ehanire was asked by a journalist, of the whereabouts of the Chinese Medical experts. Dr Ehanire, obviously verwhelmed by the true reality, said, “I want to explain that first of all, I think not all of them are doctors and I heard that some of them are technicians, but they are staff of CCECC. The ministry of health is not their host, so we cannot always explain what happened to them or where they are.”
Going further, he said, “There seems to be a lot of interest in these doctors, but they are staff of a company. I would be very happy if you do not ask me where they are. They are really not our guests in that sense, but we have been able to learn some things from them. We shared ideas of what they did in their country in managing COVID-19.”
While defending the initial ‘deceit’ that Dr Ehanire could not defend on May 14th. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola during the PTF briefing of May 19th, claimed further that the acclaimed Chinese Medical Team came to help fix critical health facilities in Nigeria.
Who is deceiving who here?
Fellow Nigerians, breeze don blow, fowl yansh don open! If this government cannot be trusted in giving us accurate information as to public trust/responsibility, then we absolutely have no government.
For me, this is the height of abuse of public trust. Why should I trust a government that tells me one thing and does the opposite? Tell me, why should I trust a government that made a law on social distancing, and yet always violates the same law? (The arrest of the popular actress, Funke Akindele Bello aka Jenifa , which saw a crowd of security personnel and prosecutors far above the number of those who attended the party of which she was accused, and the funeral of the late Chief of Staff (CSO), Mallam Abba Kyari, which saw a large number of government personnel at the interment as against WHO/NCDC protocols, are only a few cases in point).
On May 14th 2020, the Nigerian Government through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Mrs Sadiya Umar Farouq claimed that 697million naira will be spent daily on feeding of school children. If my mathematics is correct, it means that 13.5billion naira will be spent on a monthly basis.
How do you account for school children while schools are closed? The same government claimed that it has given out palliatives to over 3.6million people. Yet, millions of Nigerians are dying daily from hunger and starvation.
Yet the same government that always complained of lack of adequate funds to fix our deplorable roads, our epileptic power, our dilapidated schools and health care facilities, wants to spend 13.5billion naira monthly in feeding absentee school children.
What a reckless government!
The Nigerian Government claimed that security personnel are enforcing lockdown restrictions through interstate borders. But sadly, what we keep seeing is the influx of strangers assembled in food and animal trucks, into the Southwest, Southsouth, and Southeast zones of the country.
Some of our security personnel have overnight become rich as a result of lockdown restrictions. If they are not violating human rights by way of brutality or killing of innocent Nigerians, they are extorting money from desperate Nigerians who are left with no choice than to travel for businesses in order to survive, since the government cannot provide for their sustainability.
Today, one can easily pay his/her way through the interstate borders. But once the means to pay one’s way is not available, the person is filmed and the video is posted online for violating lockdown restrictions.
What does this government take us for? Fools! Never! I think on the contrary, it is the opposite. Nigerians are too intelligent to be fooled by this government. Think of the fame of Nigerians out there who are making Nigeria proud in the global space. From religious personalities, medical/health experts, scientists, professionals in academia, etc. And think of Nigerians who have been accused and found guilty of fraud and money laundering in Europe, and America. Then, you will know who the real fools are.
This country appears to be rudder less right now. Some weeks ago it was the Legislature that wanted to desperately impose a controversial health bill on us. Today the Executive would have us believe anything on the whereabouts of the Chinese medical team, their desperate feeding of absentee school children, the palliatives drama, and abuse of lockdown restrictions by security personnel. Who knows what will happen tomorrow?
Fellow Nigerians, when next it’s time for elections let’s make the right choices, and find others to take their place. In the meantime, let us keep watching, analyzing and talking, as hidden truths continue to unfold.
Indeed, coronavirus is an Eye-opener in Nigeria.
© Israel GodsPower ANAWEOKHAI, MSP.
Image copyright @ WIKIPEDIA