Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has said it is unethical to talk about the health status of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
According to him, not even a doctor can dare reveal the health status of his patient without being authorized to do so.
Adesina stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.
The presidential spokesman was asked how the chief of staff was doing and he replied: “Obviously you listened to the minister of health earlier in the day when he briefed; he didn’t confirm, he just said an aide to the president. So I wouldn’t be mentioning names.”
When pressed further he added: “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.”
When asked if the presidency was deliberately keeping mum, 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 reveals it and a statement was issued to that effect; he authorized it. Our vice president 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, the presidential spokesman said: “It is a normal thing it is done from time to time. The Villa is under a retainer-ship, people that keep it clean, that fumigate it from time to time so there is nothing extraordinary about it.”
On the presidency’s day-to-day activity, Adesina said: “The Villa is fairly on a low key in the because the entire country is also on a low key. 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 at alow key.”
Adesina said the fact that the president is not speaking to Nigerians on daily is a matter of style.
He said: “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 information was passed 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.
He said: “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.”
Asked to speak to Nigerians he said: “I will be telling Nigerians that we are part of the global community. The world has an emergency, has a crisis; the world has battling it with each country trying as much as it could within its capacity; Nigeria is part of that global community. The country is doing its best; let’s stay focused, let’s continue to battle this virus which is a common enemy of humanity and let’s leave little things aside and face the major thing.”
Asked if the love the president showed Nigerians in 2019 during the campaigns has been lost, 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 set up in committees, in task forces, in groups and they are doing the work and they keep Nigerians abreast with developments, so we let them do it.”