The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said yesterday that Nigeria should not be taken into false security by the current low level of spread of coronavirus in the country.
He said that while we may not know now why it hasn’t affected us the way it has affected other nations, intense efforts must be made to help educate and raise public awareness about the virus and other problems.
Tinubu, in a letter of thanks to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, of Lagos State, and Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, for their hard work in organizing the postponed colloquium to mark his birthday, said that it is “even more urgent that we educate and raise awareness about this possible threat to public health. “
He also greeted other members of the committee, Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola, Mr. Dele Alake and Mr. Yemi Cardoso, saying: “Over the years, his efforts in this regard have been extraordinary.
“Their efforts have profoundly enriched our nation’s social, political and economic discourse.
“I am deeply honored that a group of talented individuals have devoted so much time and energy to making the colloquium the great annual event it has become.
“The spirit of the colloquium has always been of public service and social progress.
“To keep the faith in that spirit, we must seriously consider the need to postpone the colloquium.
“Due to the worrying enactment of the coronavirus, the world has entered an unprecedented phase.
“Many countries have instituted travel restrictions and restricted various forms of economic activity and social events.
“We thank God that Nigeria has only had three cases so far.
“However, we see that the number of cases is slowly increasing across Africa.
“This is a major concern. The fact that the virus has not yet reached large numbers should not lead to false security.
“We don’t know why it didn’t touch us in the way that it affected other nations. Therefore, we cannot be sure that it will not visit Nigeria in significant numbers.
“I believe that we have a unique social responsibility to help educate and raise public awareness of all issues.
“The colloquium is something I look forward to every year.
“This year, I was very excited about the discussion on innovation in basic education.
“However, I find it even more urgent to educate and raise awareness about this possible threat to public health.
“We don’t want a situation in which we get together for a good cause, only to discover later that the event may have been a channel to disseminate not only knowledge, but also the virus.
“We must exclude this possibility, however small.
“I value the work you did in preparing for the colloquium, as the topic chosen is essential to our national discussion.
“Your work needs to go into the public record and it will.
“However, I ask that you take a step back to review and reconsider whether now is the best time to hold the colloquium due to the main public health concerns and the need to convince people that they should start taking preventive measures against the virus, as precedents for large public meetings.
“My fervent prayer is that our nation will escape the burden of the coronavirus.
“However, we must prepare ourselves for the opposite. And we must take the lead in this matter, focusing the public’s attention on practical measures to mitigate a possible spread of the virus.
“If you decide that caution is needed, the colloquium may be postponed, but not canceled.
“It is important that your exceptional work is presented to the Nigerian people, as we believe that public health concerns have been resolved.”