By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA — FORMER Director, All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council in the 2019 elections, Dr Theodore Ekechi has said that the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic exposes the decay in the health sector.
Dr. Ekechi, who is also a member of the North East Development Commission, also commended the Federal Government for the proactive measures put in place in curtailing the spread of the virus.
He stated that he began an early campaign on steps to be taken to avert the spread of coronavirus pandemic due to the poor state of infrastructure in Nigeria.
Speaking while receiving the “Distinguished Nigerian Ambassador for COVID-19” award at the weekend, the former Commissioner for Information in Imo State noted that one advantage of this covid-19 pandemic was that it brought to the fore the deficiencies and the failures of our healthcare system in this country.
He also stated that it “served a very great lesson that the benefits of upgrading the healthcare facilities are not for the poor, not for the middle class, it’s actually and indeed for the high and the mighty”.
While commending the Federal government for implementing the six-point agenda of his call to temporarily close the country’s entry points, ban public gatherings, shot public institutions, as well as schools, markets and worship places, Ekechi, said all through his public life, journalists have provided a boost to his career.
Ekechi noted that he was encouraged by some journalists who helped him to spread the message as well as parted him on the back for the campaign.
According to him, “I saw what was happening in China and America and I knew that these people were better than us. I saw how they were being disturbed by the disease and how we are at home. We in Nigeria, I knew we are like a crippled fowl which needed to start early to escape for it’s life in the time of trouble.
“He that seeks to catch a black goat must do so while the day is bright and not at nightfall. We are like people in darkness.
“Many people agreed that I said the truth. Many journalists that I called at that time encouraged me and helped to disseminate the message. Since I came into public life, it’s journalists that assist me. Even when the coronavirus took the centre stage in the country it’s the journalists that helped me to spread the message.”
He, however, stated that government had indirectly implemented his suggestions in phases to tally with the first 40 days he had called for ban of public events, schools, markets and worship places.
He said, “I want to explain that it was not totally true that government did not heed my advice. You know that out of pride some people in government may not acknowledge your true advice. It’s true that they did not write to commend me if you examine their body movement, you discover that all my recommendations were implemented. But if they had implemented them exactly as we said it we would have prevented so many things.
“I want to put it on record as well as thank the Federal Government they actually responded to that call, they may not have acknowledged it publicly. If you look at the six-point agenda of my call they did all, they shot the schools, they shot the NYSC, they shot public institutions, they also restricted work for public servants that are not on essential services, they also banned seminars and workshops that are not essential, the mobilised the military, they closed our borders even though they did not close as at when due, they mobilised our healthcare centre even though they did not mobilise enough.”
He urged journalists to continue to promote that Igbo is more patriotic than any other ethnic group in Nigeria.