THE All Progressives Congress (APC) Sunday told President Goodluck Jonathan and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to stop taking credit for the country’s successful containment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), saying it amounts to sheer dishonesty for the duo to turn what was a collective effort to a PDP campaign issue.
In a statement issued in London yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan and his party were wrong to have appropriated the credit for the successful containment of the EVD without giving due credit to the real heroes of the successful battle: Dr. Stella Adadevoh and her colleagues at the First Consultant Hospital; officials of the Ministries of Health in Lagos and Rivers states and the patriotic Nigerian volunteers, among others.
The party described as a cheap shot and a shameless venture the President’s decision to make the Ebola success story a campaign issue during a PDP rally in Benin, giving the impression that only the PDP deserves the credit for the successful containment of the disease.
Meanwhile, the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday expressed displeasure over criticisms heaped on the Federal Government by the APC regarding the management and control of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Nigeria.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement yesterday said the APC is frustrated and unhappy because Nigerians are happy with the PDP-led Federal Government for “the speed and energy with which it tackled the scourge and brought it under control.”
“We know that the APC prefers that the Ebola scourge continued unabated in Nigeria so as to have what to blame the PDP-led government for. Now that it has been contained, the APC is frustrated because the people are happy with President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP-led Federal Government for the proactive manner with which the disease was confronted and overcame”, the party said.
The PDP insisted that the national success recorded on Ebola was because President Goodluck Jonathan refused to politicise the issue but took the bull by the horns through an aggressive multi-sectoral approach for treatment, awareness and control to the admiration of all Nigerians and the international community.
However, the Nigerian Embassy in the United States (U.S.) has refuted a publication in one of Nigeria’s major newspapers to the effect that U.S. airports plan Ebola screening of Nigerians arriving at U.S. ports of entry.
In a statement by the embassy, signed by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S., said: “The Embassy contacted the U.S. authorities and hereby report that there is no truth in this report. The United States Director of Disease Control, Mr. Tom Frieden, denied any of such plan. He stated that ‘restricting travels between the U.S. and West Africa where Ebola virus is widely well-spread will likely be ineffective and will make it harder for health officials to root out the virus.’ He went on to say that the only way we can get to zero risk is by stopping the outbreak at the source in Africa.
“With particular reference to Nigeria, Mr. Frieden said that Nigeria’s extensive response to a single case of Ebola shows that control is possible with rapid and focused intervention. The Center for Diseases Control has dispatched its personnel to study how Nigeria contained the killer disease. They will also visit Senegal to study its model.
“Also speaking during an emergency session at the United Nations Security Council on Ebola last Thursday, the Director of World Health Organisation, Migrate Chan, told participants to take a clue from the stable condition in Nigeria and Senegal. As if to join in the celebration of Nigeria’s independence, the influential New York Times in its October 1 edition carried a front page report on how Nigeria effectively tackled Ebola.
“The U.S. government, especially the Department of Health, is very much impressed with the success achieved by the Federal, Lagos and Rivers State Governments in combating Ebola. The announcement by Nigeria that it will assist other African countries to combat Ebola has been well received by the U.S. government and public.
“Nigeria has donated $3 million and sent its officials to assist affected African countries. The U.S. government, with Nigeria’s Minister of Health, is working to assist affected West African countries in tackling Ebola. To this effect, the U.S Department of Health postponed the invitation to Professor Chukwu to take part in a series of discussions and activities on Ebola in U.S. so that he can concentrate on assisting West African countries on Ebola.
“The embassy therefore appeals to Nigerians not to be worried of being subjected to any extra check at U.S. ports of entry, saying: “All Nigerians with qualified U.S. immigration papers are welcome here.”
The APC said while indeed Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu exhibited the kind of professionalism and purposefulness that are not common with the Jonathan Administration during the battle against Ebola, it will be uncharitable for the PDP-led Federal Government to pretend as if the government of the two affected states did nothing.
The party reminded President Jonathan that the two states hit by Ebola, Lagos and Rivers, are APC states, and that the promptness, purposefulness, doggedness and determination shown by the governors of the states contributed largely to the successful containment of the virulent disease.
The APC statement said, among others: “The cities of Lagos and Port Harcourt are perhaps the largest metropolis to have ever been hit by the EVD since the first outbreak was recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo almost 40 years ago, and any mishandling of the disease could have spelt disaster not just for the cities but for the country as a whole.
“Unlike the President and the PDP, we will also like to give credit to the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, for acting out of character with the do-nothing Jonathan Administration. We hope President Jonathan and his party will stop making the Ebola success story in which opposition states were the main actors a fulcrum of their campaign for the 2015 general elections. They cannot and should not take credit for the containment of Ebola in Nigeria.”
The PDP said that it was public knowledge that immediately the disease surfaced in the country, the PDP-led Federal Government swung into action and co-ordinated intervention efforts with the Lagos State Government, Nigerian medical personnel and international health organisations to bring it under control.
“The PDP makes bold to state that the multi-sectoral approach deployed by the Federal Government with the concerted collaboration of the Federal Ministries of Health, Aviation, Information, Education, Transport and other relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Immigration Service for intensive screening, quarantine and treatment efforts as well as the massive awareness ended the spread of the disease and resulted in its containment in our country.
“We are also amused by the contradictions in the APC’s statement in which it also commended the roles played by the Minister of Health, Prof. Chukwu in the containment effort. We ask, is the minister not appointed and supervised by President Goodluck Jonathan? Is he not of the PDP? Or is the APC now trying to appropriate him?
“Apart from concerted collaborations using the Federal Ministry of Health, it is on record that President Jonathan released N200 million each to Lagos and Rivers states to help in fighting the disease, including improvement of health facilities and public enlightenment across board.
“At every point, the President recognised the efforts of all Nigerians, especially the medical personnel, including the brave and courageous Dr. Ameyo Stella Adedavoh and all the doctors and nurses who made sacrifices in containing the virus. It is also on record that at no time did the PDP or the President relegate the contributions of the Lagos State government on Ebola,” the PDP said.
The PDP, therefore, advised the APC “to learn to keep quiet if it has nothing to offer and desist from always trying to divide Nigerians by politicising serious national issues for selfish and unpatriotic reasons.”