The African Democratic Congress (ADC) has said Nigerians would not accept anything short of an apology from the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a whole, for deceiving Nigerians as regards the true intention of a Chinese team that arrived the country on April 8, 2020.
A statement released yesterday by the National Publicity Secretary of ADC, Ms. Yemi Kolapo, insisted that senior ministers of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet had failed to address the pertinent questions raised by concerned Nigerians on the whereabouts of the “15-member Chinese medical team.”
According to Kolapo, the lame explanation by the federal government that the 15 Chinese men were guests of the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) and not of the Nigerian government could not close the “untidy” case, even with the follow-up clarification by the CCECC.
The party said: “Members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, health workers, and other essential service providers have worked tirelessly in these trying times to mitigate the effect of the dreaded COVID-19 on human lives and on the Nigerian economy and should be supported and encouraged.
“However, the involvement of the leaders of the anti-COVID-19 efforts in an avoidable misinformation mess must not be treated with levity or swept under the carpet. Since it has become clear that the Buhari’s administration has exhausted possible face-saving strategies to no avail in a matter that has been followed by the entire world, only a simple apology will reassure Nigerians that we are not being taken for fools.”
Kolapo stated that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ADC was at the forefront of calls for support for the APC led administration because of its conviction that politicising the crisis would neither benefit citizens nor the economy.
“But, this Chinese medical team saga is, however, a dent that cannot be straightened with a passing remark, not with the kind of world attention the federal government attracted to Nigeria a few hours before the arrival of the doctors turned technicians,” she said.
The ADC argued that the Health Minister has not told Nigerians why he left his duty on the day the team arrived to join the Ambassador of China to Nigeria, Mr. Zhou Pingjiang, in receiving the Chinese team if their business in Nigeria was not more than what the CCECC had stated.
“If we must build a better Nigeria and stamp out corruption in line with President Buhari’s much talked about agenda, government officials must lead by example and act honourably even in the most difficult situations.
“The minister erred in three main areas. He lied, deliberately or unwittingly, that the federal government was expecting a 15-member Chinese medical team, and even went ahead to say that they will assist the country in the fight against COVID-19. He ridiculed the image of Nigeria by going in person to receive mere technicians from another country in the middle of a big health crisis, and has refused to tell Nigerians on whose order he acted. He trivialised a national disgrace by responding nonchalantly to a matter that has put a huge question mark on his integrity as a senior minister in the Buhari cabinet,” the ADC said.