The African Democratic Congress has said Nigerians will not accept anything short of an apology from the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and the All Progressives Congress administration as a whole for deceiving Nigerians as regards the true intention of a Chinese team that arrived the country on April 8, 2020.
In a statement on Sunday by the National Publicity Secretary of ADC, Yemi Kolapo, the party insisted that senior ministers of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet had failed to address the real issues surrounding a clear case of deception in their reactions to pertinent questions raised by concerned Nigerians on the whereabout of a 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 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 coronavirus on human lives and on the Nigerian economy and should be supported and encouraged.
“However, the involvement of the frontliners of the anti-coronavirus efforts, in an avoidable misinformation mess, must not be treated with levity or swept under the carpet. Since it is clear that the Buhari administration has exhausted possible face-saving strategies to no avail, in a matter that had been followed by the entire world, a simple apology will reassure Nigerians that we are not being taken for fools.
“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Democratic Congress was at the forefront of calls for support for the APC administration because of our conviction that politicising the crisis would neither benefit citizens nor the economy.
“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.”
The ADC argued that the Health Minister had not still told Nigerians why he left his duty on the day the team arrived to join Zhou Pingjiang, Ambassador of China to Nigeria, in receiving the Chinese team if their business in Nigeria was not more than what the CCECC had stated.
The party said: “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.
“Not apologising for this needless messy situation would send a wrong signal to the world on the manner of governance in Nigeria. If the APC administration rode to power on an anti-corruption facade, the principal actors should, at least, pretend to be men of honour.”