Nigeria’s foremost Virologist, Prof. Oyewale Tomori couldn’t hold his emotions while delivering his address at the National Summit on COVID-19 organised by the Presidential steering Committee in Abuja, in 2022.
The theme of his address tagged: “To build Back Better,” was aimed at gearing political office holders to reviving the aspects of Nigeria’s culture that lacked accountability, transparency, honesty and fairness.
The foremost virologist, who noted that although Nigeria has continued to grapple with seasonal outbreak of diseases which has challenged the country’s health system over the years, explained that the real enemy which has weakened the country is financial impropriety.
Tomori, who decried lack of financial accountability in the health system canvassed an urgent need to address accountability issue in the health care sector.
Speaking on the impact of good governance, Prof. Tomori said he was able to reach the peak of his career as a result of the free education provided by previous leaders who had ruled the nation.
He tasked politicians on good governance and patriotism to the country stating that Nigeria can only be moved forward by selfless leaders.
Prof. Tomori also sought an enabling environment for the new generation stating that they are way smarter than the previous generation if given an opportunity to thrive.
According to him: “I am what I am today because Nigeria my country provided an enabling environment for me to thrive and to excel. All my education was done in Nigeria. The government of Obafemi Awolowo introduced free education in my region and that began my indebtedness to my country.
“We must apply big back better first to our old cherished culture. If we must reposition our country to end current and future diseases and pandemics, we must start with building back better those aspects of our culture that revered honour, that treasured integrity, that prized probity, that appreciated accountability, that valued transparency, that embraced honesty, that practiced fairness, that ensured equity, that dispensed justice fairly and cherished patriotism.
“The first epidemic we must address is the ones affecting our culture and true Nigerianess. We must have a nation where national interest buries self interest, otherwise, this summit will become a mirage and a vapour. It will be burnt to ashes by the fire of evil that blick us. Unless we build back better on our culture, the outcome of this summit will descend to the valley of the disregarded and the disremembered and become another expensive exercise in futility.
“Mr President, the generation of Nigerians that we have today is more smarter than my generation. Give them one tenth of the enabling environment opportunity which good governance gave my generation and Nigeria would be donating vaccine to poor Europe as India is doing, Nigeria would be providing loans to China and not the other way round,” he added.
The summit which had in attendance the former Senate President Hammed Lawan, Chairman Presidential steering Committe, Boss Mustapha and representatives of the diplomatic community was aimed at enabling government to build back from COVID-19 pandemic as Nigeria targeted eliminating the virus by the end of 2022.
Hafsoh Isiaq is a graduate of Linguistics. An avid writer committed to creative, high-quality research and news reportage. She has considerable experience in writing and reporting across a variety of platforms including print and online.