…says Pres. Buhari’s refusal to brief Nigerians regularly on COVID-19 matter of style
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, absolved himself of blame for his reticence on the health condition of the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari.
“It is unethical to talk about the health status of the Chief of Staff to President, Abba Kyari.
“Obviously you listened to the Minister of Health earlier in the day when he briefed the nation, he did not confirm; he just said an aide to the President. So I would not be mentioning names,” he said on Channels Television programme, “Politics Today’’ on Thursday.
Persecondnews recalls that Kyari was reported testing positive for coronavirus after an official trip to Germany with some government officials.
Prodded further, Adesina said: “Because I have not seen him for a couple of days so I wouldn’t be able to tell you that this is how he is.
“If you ask me about the President I will tell you the President was still in the office yesterday, I will tell you that Mr. President is doing fine.”
According to him, not even a doctor can reveal the health status of his patient without being authorized to do so.
When asked if the Presidency was deliberately keeping mum over Kyari’s health, Adesina said: “No. But you also need to remember that it is a question of ethics. If the health minister who is a reputed medical doctor came out to brief and he didn’t mention names, it tells you it is in the realm of ethics.
“Anybody passing through a health condition is the one that can authorize that it be revealed, nobody else not even a doctor treating that person dare reveal it. Otherwise you will be bridging the ethics.
“Prince Charles for instance tested positive, he said reveal it and a statement was issued to that effect, he authorized it. Our Vice- resident tested negative and he said disclose it and his media aide disclosed it. So that is the way it is done ethically.”
On Thursday’s fumigation of the Villa, the presidential spokesman said it was a normal thing as “it is done from time to time’’.
“The villa is under a retainership, people that keep it clean, that fumigate from time to time so there is nothing extraordinary about it.”
On the Presidency’s day to day activities, Adesina admitted that the “Villa is fairly on a low key in the Presidency because the entire country is also on a low key’’.
He said: We can’t say we are running at a full blast now. Instead of holding meetings where we seat round the table, we can do virtual meetings, consult and contact one another in different ways, we don’t have to hold the meeting in the normal way we use to. But things are low key.”
On the refusal of President Buhari to speak to Nigerians daily in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Adesina described it as a matter of style.
“It’s a matter of style. If you go back to school you will remember in Stylistic class we were told that is idiosyncratic, which means it differs from person to person.
“The style that A adopts may not be the one that B adopts, and there is no style that you can call ‘this style’ for everybody. So, everybody is at liberty to adopt a style that suits him.”
Adesina, however, noted that the President had put certain measures in place to ensure that information was passed to Nigerians through the right channels.
He listed these to include the setting up of a Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus, as well as briefings from the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), among other stakeholders in the nation’s health sector.
With these measures being operational, the presidential aide stressed that there was no need for President Buhari to give a regular briefing as long as there was no communication breach.
“The style our President has adopted is to set up a Presidential Task Force headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), which briefs regularly.
“You have the Minister of Health who briefs, you have the Minister of State for Health who briefs, you have the NCDC who briefs; so you have that chain and there is no lack of information.”
On whether the love Buhari showed Nigerians during the 2019 campaigns had waned, Adesina said: “There are two commensurates, this you cannot parallel with campaigns, this is about day to day affair of the country.
No, you cannot compare the two. If it becomes imperative for the president himself to speak, he will speak.
“But the president’s style is that when he gives you an assignment, he leaves you to do it.
“There are people that he has put in committees, in taskforces, in groups and they are doing the work and they keep Nigerians abreast with developments, so we let them do it.”
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