The All Progressives Congress (APC) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately halt the rallies being organized across the nation in his support by the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), saying the rallies are jeopardizing Nigeria’s efforts to control the spread of Ebola.
”Mr. President, you said your ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian. But the TAN rallies for your re-election are endangering the lives of thousands of Nigerians in these days of Ebola. Some things must simply transcend politics. This is one of them. Please stop the rallies now,” the party said in a statement issued in Ilorin on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
It said the President must in particular ensure that the rally slated for Port Harcourt on Saturday is stopped, in view of the spread of the Ebola virus to the Rivers capital and the fact that 100 people have been placed under surveillance there following the death of a medical doctor from a suspected Ebola disease in the city.
”If TAN goes ahead to organize its rally in Port Harcourt, can anyone guarantee that none of those who have had contact with the medical doctor will attend? It can only be better imagined the kind of danger that those who will attend the rally will be subjected to. Therefore, President Jonathan has a historic opportunity to put the well being of his compatriots above politics, for once,” APC said.
The party reminded President Jonathan of the statement he made on Aug. 8th, 2014, when he was declaring the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria a national emergency, thus: ”Religious and political groups, spiritual healing centres, families, associations and other bodies should, in the meantime, discourage gatherings and activities that may unwittingly promote close contact with infected persons or place others at risk.”
It also reminded the President that his administration has postponed the resumption of private and public primary and secondary schools across the nation as part of the measures to curtail the spread of the virus, wondering what message the same government was sending to Nigerians by allowing TAN rallies to continue.
”Mr. President, add this to the fact that Nigeria’s economy is losing millions of dollars to the Ebola disease, and you will realize that the need to control the disease supersedes personal political considerations,” APC said.
The party said the TAN rallies in Awka and Ibadan, and the forthcoming ones in Port Harcourt and elsewhere flout the advice by the President against large gatherings that can encourage the spread of the disease.
It described as untenable the argument that the rallies are not being organised by the government, hence the President has no control over them.
”Mr. President, you are the sole beneficiary of these rallies. Top officials of your administration, led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim, have been attending the rallies. The signatures being collected by TAN are ostensibly to encourage you to run again. So this is your show,” APC said.
The party wondered how President Jonathan can, on one hand, be complaining about the stigmatization of Nigerians by other countries over Ebola and, on the other hand, turning a blind eye when his supporters are doing things to flout the Ebola control measures put in place by his Administration.
”The embassies of the foreign nations in Nigeria are seeing all that is happening. They are seeing how the efforts of the federal government to control Ebola are being sabotaged by the supporters of the President. How then can we complain when our citizens are stigmatized abroad? How can we complain when the foreign governments issue travel advisories to their citizens coming to Nigeria? How can we complain when they start barring Nigerians from coming to their countries on account of the Ebola virus?
”This is why we are calling on President Jonathan to call his supporters to order today. We are also calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the President not to endanger the lives of Nigerians simply because of his personal ambition,” it said.