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Published On: Sun, Oct 5th, 2014

A mountain of embarrassing gaffes

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By Ayobami Oyalowo

Ihad refrained from jumping on the bandwagon of eulogies following the unfortunate death of the amiable Dr. Adadevoh, the consultant who sacrificed her life to curb the spread of Ebola in our country. Since I was able to privately pay my respect to her cousin, Mr Kwame Adadevoh, who happens to be a good friend of mine, I had thought I will allow the family grieve the death of their sister in peace and solitude.

All that changed when I saw the disgraceful, reprehensible, and self-serving tweet from the loquacious and morally bankrupt Doyin Okupe who calls himself the Senior Special Assistant to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He attempted to clarify the government’s position when he took to his twitter handle to say:

Now, my grouse with Okupe and his principal is this: While we all understand that the law must be obeyed, we are all witnesses to the doctrine of necessity that brought President Jonathan to power in the first instance. I am a hundred percent certain that there is nothing in our laws or constitution supporting such “doctrine of necessity”. Yet the National Assembly went ahead to invoke the unknown law to ensure that the right thing was done and Jonathan was made the President.

My questions to Doyin Okupe are as follows: why didn’t the President go through the National Assembly, if need be, or use his discretionary powers to honour this great woman who, by doing the right and proper thing, ensured that millions of Nigerian lives are now spared from what could have been a dangerous Ebola pandemic? If a strange and an unknown doctrine was President Jonathan’s path to power, why can’t the same man find a way to ensure a worthy Nigerian is honoured?

Okay, I see why she is not that important. She is not a looter, nor a politician and neither is she a miracle-selling charlatan! The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (henceforth to be referred to as SCOAN in this discourse), recently recorded a huge human calamity occasioned by a collapsed building. Initial reports indicated that the church had illegally reconstructed a building within its premises, changed the original approved plan and added more floors to the collapsed building beyond the approved number of floors. If that happens to be true, one would have expected that the premise be sealed immediately until proper and detailed investigations are concluded. But what are we seeing? Not only has the State Governor paid a private visit to the man who heads the church, the church is also moving on unmolested and business is going on as usual.

As if that was not bad enough, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria flew into Lagos on Saturday 20th September 2014 to commiserate with the overseer who oversaw such mass murder of Nigerians and other people from various countries; with South Africa looking to be the worst hit at the moment with about 87 dead and 26 injured as at the last count.

But curiously enough, the President didn’t bother to even call on the family of Dr. Adadevoh, let alone pay them a visit. It therefore shows that her heroic act and subsequent death counts for nothing. No wonder President Jonathan gladly told Nigerians on a live TV show that “I don’t give a damn”. We actually thought it was a slip but we now know better.

Recall that WHO has only recently declared Nigeria Ebola free and actually commended us for a job well done in the containment of the Ebola outbreak. But the real heroine was not a factor, judging from our President’s disposition. Just imagine if Dr. Adadevoh was derelict in her duty like so many others are wont to do? Imagine if Patrick Sawyer had been allowed to leave the hospital (God forbid) when he wanted to force himself out? I shudder to imagine the impact of such action, if Dr. Adadevoh had behaved like our President and refused to give a damn.

Not conferring Dr. Adadevoh with a national honour is not a big issue for me personally, but the fact that the President of the country believes that visiting SCOAN and acting like what happened there is a “normal” occurrence, irks me. No sir, it is not a normal occurrence. What happened at the SCOAN is a clear case of willful negligence that led to the murder of over 115 human beings!

Already, South Africa has airlifted 25 of the 26 of its nationals who were injured, back to South Africa for proper treatment. Data, names and accurate figures from the incident are available to the public; putting faces to all South Africans who were at the Synagogue when the building caved in. And that is an African country. As we speak, the Nigerian authorities are yet to come up with any concise statement let alone figures of the dead and injured. As usual, it will never be known since our leaders over the years have proven and shown over and over again that Nigerians, who are not close to those in power, are expendable and life in PDP led Nigeria has now regressed towards the Hobbesian state which is short, nasty and brutish.

I will love to end this by saying to the President and the people he surrounds himself with–not every time should issues be about politics. Once in a while, be a statesman. Remember that our collective humanity is degraded when we cannot rise above petty sentiments and looking to garner votes.

While visiting Lagos over the weekend to attend the illegal TAN rally, a short, crisp visit to the Adadevohs would have gone a long way towards painting the picture of a man with empathy. These are the types of situations that would have shown the President to be humane, caring and large-hearted. Sadly, in a typical Jonathanian fashion, he bungled the opportunity…

Ayobalo Oyalowo is on twitter @Ayourb.

 

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