National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said yesterday that Nigeria should not be lulled into false security by the current low level of coronavirus spread in the country.
He said while we may not know now why it has not touched us in the way it has affected other nations, strenuous efforts should be made to help educate and lift public awareness on the virus and other issues.
Tinubu, in a letter of appreciation to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, and Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Raji Fashola for the hard work they put into organising the postponed colloquium to mark his birthday, said it is “even more urgent that we educate and increase awareness of this possible public health menace.”
He also hailed other members of the committee, Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, Mr.Dele Alake and Mr.Yemi Cardoso, saying “over the years, your exertions in this regard have been outstanding.
“Your efforts have deeply enriched the social, political and economic discourse of our nation.
“I am deeply honoured that such a group of talented individuals have devoted so much time and energy toward making the colloquium the excellent annual event it has become.
“The spirit of the colloquium has always been one of public service and social progress.
“To keep faith with that spirit, we must seriously consider the need to postpone the colloquium.
“Due to the troubling promulgation of the Coronavirus, the world has entered an unprecedented phase.
“Many nations have instituted travel restrictions and have curtailed various forms of economic activity and social events.
“We thank God that Nigeria has only had three cases thus far.
“However, we note the number of cases is slowly increasing across Africa.
“This is of great concern. That the virus has not yet come in great numbers should not lull us into false security.
“We know not why it has not touched us in the way it has affected other nations. Thus, we cannot be certain that it will not eventually visit Nigeria in significant numbers.
“I believe we have a unique social responsibility to help educate and lift public awareness on all issues, including the coronavirus.
“We must lead by example.
“The colloquium is something I look forward to every year.
“This year, I was greatly looking forward to the discussion on innovation in basic education.
“However, I think it even more urgent that we educate and increase awareness of this possible public health menace.
“We do not want a situation where we have gathered for a good cause only to later find that the event might have been a conduit to disseminate not only knowledge but also the virus as well.
“We should foreclose this possibility even though it is slight.
“I value the work you have done in preparing the colloquium, for the chosen topic is essential to our national discussion.
“Your work needs to enter the public record and it will do so.
“However, I ask you to take a step back to review and reconsider whether now is the best time to hold the colloquium because of the overriding public health concerns and the need to persuade people that they must begin taking precautionary steps against the virus such as foregoing large public gatherings.
“My fervent prayer is that our nation escapes the brunt of the coronavirus.
“However, we must prepare for the opposite. And we must assume leadership on this matter by focusing public attention on practical measures to blunt a possible spread of the virus.
“If you decide that caution is required, then the colloquium can be postponed but not cancelled.
“It is important that your exceptional work be presented to the Nigerian people once we believe public health concerns have been addressed.”
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