FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19: EKECHI, NCDC, NAFDAC, NACA DGs, OTHERS EARN JOURNALISTS’ RECOGNITION.
As the global war against the spread of the ravaging coronavirus pandemic continue to gain momentum across the globe, the collaborative efforts of international communities, organizations and government agencies as well as private individuals are being celebrated by the media – an initiative inspired by the internationally acclaimed Cable News Network (CNN).
The pandemic which caught the entire world napping as it ravaged China and some other European countries no doubt saw the world outside Africa then gasping for breath.
At the initial outbreak, when the disease was almost perceived to be a Whiteman’s problem only few commentators and even experts had the courage to go contrary to this trending narratives to ensure that the imminence of the disease did not pose an extinction challenge to the developing countries.
It will be recalled that as early as February, Hon. T.O.E. Ekechi in a rare move through a widely reported world press conference in Abuja and paid advertorials in some national newspapers called out the federal government to take proactive actions against the pandemic or live to regret the dire consequences in the not too far future.
Ekechi in an open letter to the President had argued: “China, with her commendable heights as well as advancement in science and technology even with her heroics in medicine, has been struggling strenuously in withstanding the ravaging epidemic of COVID-19 challenge. America – the world omni-super power is almost in state of unprecedented panic. Italy is locked down! If coronavirus can poke China in the face, rattle America to a state of panic, dislocate Iran from her socio-political cohesion, forces Italy to a humiliating and gruesome lockdown – in spite of their great feats in modernity, which includes well organized urbanization, highly structured dwelling, a far-ahead-of-us infrastructural assets and a responsive public service culture, you can then imagine the huge devastation coronavirus will cause if it is allowed to thrust its notorious tentacles in our Nigeria of today! Even His Holiness, The Pope retreated to hold the first ever virtual General Audience. High profile events, including the money-spinning professional league matches are being suspended or cancelled worldwide. What more do we need to ignite our sense of urgency given our medical and other socio-economic deficiencies to ignite our sense of urgency?”
He then advised: “as a concerned and patriotic citizen who is full of praises for the Federal Government’s commitment and proactive responses to this subject matter so far, I most humbly wish to advise, very strongly that the Federal Government urgently take further bold, courageous but painful six steps for an initial period of 40 DAYS so as to avert an impending national catastrophe premised on the coronavirus imminent outbreak to wit …” The measures included support and strategic partnership of relevant agencies and stakeholders.
The good news is that the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 implemented all six-point agenda as proposed though not within the timeline suggested.
It is in appreciation of his numerous advocacy and awareness campaigns on the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, that the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists at its fourth annual health conference on COVID-19 Reportage Assessment held at Goshen University, Nasarawa State honoured Hon. Ekechi with a VISIONARY STATESMAN AWARDN for his insightful, visionary and programmatic interventions.
Other distinguished personalities who were also honoured at the conference are Dr Walter Kazadi Muolombo, W.H.O. Representative in Nigeria, Dr Obi Peter Adigwe, Director General of NIPRD, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, Director General of NAFDAC; Dr Gambo Aliyu, Director General of NACA and Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of NCDC.
Earlier this year the United Igbo Journalists in Abuja also had honoured him as a worthy CONVID-19 AMBASSADOR in a ceremony in the federal capital.
High Chief T.O.E. Ekechi, PhD – a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Imo State, erstwhile Director, Planning and Monitoring of APC Presidential Campaign Council and Board member representing Southeast on the Board of North East Development Commission NEDC as well as National Coordinator, United Nigeria Initiative for Peace & Prosperity was represented at the occasion by Sir Young Toby Ekechi.
MEDIA ASSISTANT TO DR. EKECHI