Ebola: Jonathan’s re-election rallies to continue while government orders schools to stay closed

President Goodluck Jonathan

Federal education authorities have ordered all schools to stay closed in response to President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive on gatherings over Ebola fears, but the president appears set to violate his own rule yet again by expanding his re-election rallies amidst outrage following two previous campaigns in Awka and Ibadan.

The Federal Ministry of Education on Tuesday directed that all public and private primary and secondary schools should remain closed till October 13, about a month extension of normal school resumption date.

“All primary and secondary schools both public and private are to remain closed until Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, which is the new resumption date for all schools throughout the federation,” the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, announced after a meeting in Abuja, with Commissioners for Education from all the 36 states.

“This is to ensure that adequate measures are put in place before the students report back to school,” Mr. Shekarau said.

Mr. Shekarau said the meeting also agreed that all Ministries of Education should immediately organise health training for at least two staff in each public and private school.

The schools must ensure the trainings are provided by appropriate health personnel on how to handle any suspected case of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, he said. The trainings must be concluded not later than September 15.

The minister also directed all the state ministries to establish a Working and Monitoring Team and also appoint a designated Desk Officer on Ebola. The officers must report on daily basis to the commissioners on situation in the schools not later than Sept. 1.

In further measures to curb a deadly virus that has killed five in Nigeria since July, Mr. Shekarau also ordered the immediate suspension of ongoing summer classes conducted by some private schools.

Mr. Shekarau also advised all tertiary institutions to suspend exchange of staff and students’ programmes, visits, and major international seminars and workshops until further notice.

“They are to monitor movements of foreign students in their campuses and liaise with appropriate government health institutions to organise and ensure effective sensitisation programme for all their staff,” he said.

But while the directive holds, the Transformation Ambassador of Nigeria [TAN], a group campaigning for the re-election of President Jonathan in the 2015 election, has announced four more political rallies for the president.

The rallies are scheduled to hold from Saturday, August 30, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, for the South-South region; while another will hold in Minna, Niger State September 13, for the North-Central Region; and in Gombe three days later for the North East. The final rally will hold in Kano, September 27, for the North West.

By September 27, TAN would have completed its final regional rally at least two weeks before schools reopen for learning.

There were no indications as of Wednesday that the organizers of the rallies, which draw tens of thousands of Nigerians together amid an outbreak transmitted through body contact, intend to shelve further gatherings after earlier ones sparked outrage. The government too has not indicated it plans to halt the campaigns.

Lagos lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, accused the government of lacking the moral and legal grounds to stage the events. “It is hoped that the organisers of the rallies will stop them on legal and moral grounds,” Mr. Falana said after the first two rallies.

TAN kicked off its series of zonal rallies in Awka, the Anambra state capital, on August 16, just a week after Mr. Jonathan said such gatherings be suspended across the country.

The Awka meeting, covering the South East, held just two days after news broke that a nurse under observation for the Ebola virus had fled Lagos to Enugu, about 78 kilometres from Awka.

A week later, on August 23, the South-West version of the TAN rally was staged at the Liberty Stadium in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, about 136 kilometres from Lagos, where health officials battled to trace primary and secondary contacts of Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American, who brought the Ebola Virus to Nigeria.

While the government allowed TAN to continue its rallies, it made attempt to stop the Nigerian Bar Association [NBA] from proceeding with its annual general conference scheduled to begin on August 24 in Owerri, the Imo state capital.

President Jonathan wouldn’t halt the rallies despite personally warning against such large gatherings as part of measures for checking the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.

“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,” Mr. Jonathan said on August 8 while declaring the control and containment of the Ebola virus in Nigeria a national emergency.

The president’s directive came on the heels of a similar one by the Lagos State Government, which has been working hard to stop the deadly virus from spreading in the country.

The state Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris, had while briefing journalists on August 6 advised churches, mosques and other religious organisations to suspend all activities that involve large gatherings of people until the Ebola outbreak is brought under control.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, also said at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Meeting on Wednesday, August 20, that the Osun Osogbo festival as well as other major events in the country should be put on hold to curtail the spread of the virus.


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  • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

    I like the sounds coming from the Education Ministry now supervised by Mallam Shekarau.

    However, it would have shown a seriousness of purpose, rather than duplicity, if the GEJ-led admin is not flouting its own directives on the measures for curtailing and controlling the spread of Ebola VD.

    Does this suggest and confirm that the man, GEJ, does not “give a damn!” indeed?

    • tuco

      Oga sir, the man doesn’t give a damn, period. He’s only after 2015 and nothing he believes can stand in its way.

      • djay

        Thats all

    • redeem

      THE MONKEY IN U–WAHALA———HAS COME OUT–AGAIN WITH NOTHING IN YR HEAD–NOW ITS POLITICAL RALLIES–NO HEAD NO TAIL——–RALLIES ARE ATTENDED BY ADULTS———————NOT SCHOOL KIDS–THERE IS A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN POLITICAL PARTY EVENTS–AND SCHOOL KIDS SEPARATE THE TWO

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        It takes a monkey to know another, right?

        Are you an irredeemable kind of monkey, redeem?

  • BlackieUmukoro

    Mr ballister falana, is your NBA conference ongoing as we speak, or has been postponed. Are other parties not doing subtle campaigns or the nuisance statements issued by lie muhammad are not political or of electoral value. Make all these jagajaga commot for road, abeg

  • NwaMbaise

    You are sounding sooooo pathetic and like the broken record. For your information, the closed schools are where CHILDREN go to school, under care of the government, teachers and parents. They have to be protected. Political rallies are not compulsory, they are for adults who can take informed decisions on their own. You might as well ask the markets to close? Churches to shut down? Mosques to install Ba Shiga? APC should stop this childish finding fault with everything Jonathan or PDP does. By now, I thought APC will have made their manifesto public, so that the electorates will know how they are better than the ruling party. Enough of this, already!

    • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

      Nwa, just so that you are aware.

      The government prevailed on the religious institutions to suspend all events that meant large gatherings in view of the Ebola virus.

      Now what did you say again?

      • NwaMbaise

        Sir Kay. There is a difference between and order not to carry out a function (resumption of schools) and an appeal not to carry out a function. The appeal on religious organisations not to congregate did not stop the RGCC from their convention, nor did it stop NBA from their AGM. Neither has it stopped people from congregating in churches, mosques or even markets. Remember again, we have to take care of our children because they are more vulnerable to such epidemics. Let us stop politicising everything.

        • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

          Nwa,

          I am honestly not looking at this from a political prism.

          I just don’t like half measures or exclusivities when all is at risk.

          I don’t think there is any rational being who would deliberately go out looking to be infected by any virus, hence the government proclamation, which I applauded when they went knocking on the doors of the religious organisations.

          If our religious institutions can be prevailed upon by our political class to be sensible, why should the political class not take the same pills it prescridbed?

          • charles

            good talk brother…

          • NwaMbaise

            Sir Kay, if we must tell the truth, the appeal for religious orgs to avoid congregating was initially directed at Lagis state where the outbreak was noticed. It was not nationwide. Again for some religious adherents who have an injunction to pray certain number if times in a day, or attending jumat as part of their religious obligation,it might be difficult to implement. But not everybody is a member of PDP and anybody attending their rallies is aware of any risks. If not looking at it from a political prism, have the football leagues been suspended? Have the Mushin or Oshodi markets been closed? Because these areas. Maybe the govt should have clamped a dusk to dawn curfew then we know there is emergency.

          • ifebuche

            You always are. We know you. Expired biased doctor.

          • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

            Doctor?

            It seems you may need one to examine your mental stability at this stage, ifebuche.

            The quacks you have been patronising do not appear capable of dealing with your type of derangement.

          • dudu

            well said

      • Darlington Mudiaga Atumu

        I have an alternative option…..lets suspend all political events till 2019 while allowing GEJ to rule as President till then….at least that way there will be no political rally and boko haram will not be used as a blackmail tool against the president and ebola will be history. …
        If there will be elections in 2015 then let political activities kick off….

      • kemkem

        When did they do that? RCCG just finished its convention with roughly 18million – 20million people in attendance for one week. And many other religious group have done and still doing. Even Boko Aregbe did not cancel OSUN OSOGBO. Please govt did not stop any body group not to congregate. Church services are still being held everyday.

        They only appealed, and also advised the churches that their members in Ebola ridden countries should stay away for now. HABA! Dont let us distort facts and mislead people with lies embedded in propaganda as done by APC….

        • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

          The government prevailed and appealed to for this reason, kemkem.

          Please do verify.

          It is nothing to do with propaganda.

          Just out of curiosity, how did you get the attendance figures for the RCCG convention? Rumours, propaganda or fact?

    • charles

      u r insulting our collective intelligent …its either you grow up or vanish from the social media….

  • Gbo_lee

    The insensitivity of Jonathan to this country is just a disgrace. So his rallies are untouchable,more important than students going to school….very unfortunate

    • kemkem

      PLEASE GBO LEE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL AT ALL…. WHAT HAS POLITICAL RALLY OF ADULT GOT TO DO WITH CHILDREN IN THE PRIMARY NURSERY (Can they take informed decision on how to protect themselves).

      WHEN AREGBE REFUSED TO POSTPONE OSUN OSOGBO, DID FED GOVT STOP THE GATHERING….. PLEASE LET US ALL PUT ON OUR THINKING CAPS WHEN WE ARE WRITING HERE … THIS IS A PUBLIC FORUM.

  • Ken

    You can’t blame Jonathan, he’s simply being serious about what he wants. Of what use is it to him to stop campaigning and lose the election? None of those criticising his actions will do differently if in his shoes.

    • Efe1

      Is election campaign open yet? The man is breaking the law by the back door.

      • kemkem

        There is campaign on for their Primaries. All candidates are doing that already. ONE MILLION APCS CANNOT STOP PDP FROM WINNING. SOUTH WEST GONE OF APC BY 2015, SOUTH EAST GONE, NORTH CENTRAL GONE OF REACH OF APC, NORTH WEST BELONGS TO PDP, NORTH EAST (NORTH NORTH SHARED BY HALF.

        People are getting wiser and well informed, Jonathan is the Captain of Ship called Nigeria. Part of the occupant knows the only way they can take power is by mutiny, (through the ungovernability of the country promised by BUHARAM) and sneaking under the ship to bore a hole so that water can gush and make the ship in grave danger, NOW WITH A NOISE THAT THE CAPTAIN IS NOT EFFECTIVE THAT IT IS ONLY WHEN THEY ARE IN CONTROL THAT SOLUTION WILL BE FOUND…….. NO WAY. APC DESTRUCTIVE OPPOSITION TACTICS HAVE DESTROYED NIGERIA BEYOND WHAT THEY TOO CAN FIX.

        SOLUTION IS ALLLLLLLL, AND I MEAN ALLLLLL HANDS MUST BE ON DECK WHILE SOLUTION IS SOUGHT BY THIS CAPTAIN.

        • Shehu

          OF COURSE, CAPTAIN OF DESTRUCTION, CAPTAIN OF A SINKING SHIP.

        • kd

          Kemkem, na wah for you o! Take it easy! All your comments sound desperate and cantankerous. Hope Jonathan is aware of your existence?! Or are you just so full of hate and venom that you are in denial of the situation in the country?

        • charles

          Are u awake or on trans…dreaming….wake up man…grow up

  • John green

    I believe it’s those who are not at their state of minds that will vote this same guy again, despite all the troubles in the country and the lives been lost everyday, he only reasons to spend more money on those guys to campaign around for him, with loads of trouibles to solve in this nation. We need a serious man and a competent president not just a lad been pushed around

    • adewale

      Are you speaking for yourself or all nigerians? Hope say u no dey go church cz of ebola.

    • kemkem

      AS FOR JONATHAN HE WIN AGAIN…… and with the way things are in APC (APC is actually dwindling and losing base so fast. DEAD ON ARRIVAL. Its Like the Tower of BABEL which is a Tower of Confusion, A Tower of Sinisters which produces A CACOPHONY OF SADNESS AND CHAOS) ……….. THUS PAVING WAY FOR JONATHAN TO WIN AGAIN.

      TINUBU HIMSELF KNOWS THIS.

  • adewale

    PT, drop controversy report….we all draw our verbal daggers. They incite d pple against d person and office of the president either directly or indirectly. When obasanjo was thr same modus….Will u pple learn to stop this jona diz jona dat…..are we so gullible dat we swallow all wat diz ragtag journalists throw @us…….una for no dey go church, mosques….funny nigerians.

  • kemkem

    THIS WRITE UP THAT JONATHAN CLOSES SCHOOL WHILE HIS CAMPAIGN CONTINUES can only be done by a HALF INTELLIGENT MISCHIEF MAKER LIKE ini Ekot and published by One And Only LIE -ISSUING PAPER LIKE PUNCH OR PREMIUM.
    What is the relevance of school closure got to do with campaign. It could have been comparable if Jonathan had banned POLITICAL RALLIES while his own continues or banned PUBLIC SOCIAL EVENTS while his own continues.

    INTELLIGENT PEOPLE ALWAYS LIKES TO COMPARE, AND RELEVANT ITEMS TO DO COMPARISON. BUT FOR THIS NO BASIS OF COMPARISON AT ALL……… LIKE OF ADEQUATE AND SUFFICIENT AND SMARTNESS ON THE PART OF TGHE WRITER: ini Ekot.

    • the truth

      Thanks.are people so blind that they do not know that premium times is been sponsored by apc.when was the last time u saw them write an anti apc write upi hope all their editors would be employed in 2083 when apc gets power

  • Proud Yoruba

    Gosh, his writing is so dense, it is hard to follow what he is advocating for. Is it for women, children, non-indigenes? I don’t know, but non-indigenes cannot occupy or claim my land.

    • Advocate of Ngba ngba

      Exactly….he writes so much without making sense! In fact all I can deduce is that he is a separatist, though not bold enough to come out clean. As for Non-Indigenes claiming your land, it has already been claimed, the earlier u start to act the better! Don ‘t leave it for too long, so ur children don’t have to fight two wars at a time. I mean Ilorin and Lagos will be too much for your children to handle. A message from Nwa afo IGBO!

      • Proud Yoruba

        Okay, please permit me to say this again in clear terms, and I beg you to please spread the word to all ibos PLEASE.

        YOU DID NOT BUY OUR LAND and YOU DO NOT OWN OUR LAND!!!!

        Anyone who bought property in Lagos since 1976 or thereabouts, when the Land Use Act was passed, only has what we call a “leasehold.” It means that the land your property is on belongs to the Lagos State govt. and you have to pay them rent on it yearly for the term of the lease. All you got is the building on it or flat in the building. Should the govt decide not to renew your lease, their is nothing you can do, but generally the leases are long. But the govt has all the power.

        Why do we do it this way? It is a sure fire way for the govt to make money (IGR). if you own land freehold, then you would not pay rent and would be the owner of the land and the building and the landlord cannot with a stroke of a pen make you homeless.

        Again, no ibo bought our land, you bought a leasehold.

        This is why we keep telling you to go and invest in your own land, because everything you do in Lagos and other SW state accrue to us and our children because we use the money to develop our region.

        Who will develop your region if you keep giving us your money? You pay income taxes, other taxes, and land use taxes to our govt. and you have no land to show for it, is this good investment?

        I know you won’t believe me, but please talk to a lawyer or google the land use act before you come back abusing me.

        • Advocate of Ngba ngba

          My friend this is the problem I have with you! so u think its easier to walk us out by just ranting!. Besides why wait for 99 years, don’t you tink it will be too late by then?? I am starting to tink u guys are really cowards. like u av always been accused! This is the best time, 99 years will be impossible. Your children will curse you so so badly, trust me!

          • Proud Yoruba

            We may not wait 99 years, remember, we are the landlord we can do anything with a stroke of a pen. I won’t tell all the things that we can do here, but I’m sure you can google and find out because a lot of other countries also use leasehold to sell property, so that they always have control on who stays on their land.

            You just try not paying your rent and see what will happen!

            As the years go down, price of property goes down, because the shorter the lease term, the less valuable.

            Do you still think that you can outsmart us?

            I, on the other hand have land from all my ancestors, who passed it down to us, so we are the actual land owners

          • Advocate of Ngba ngba

            U are in delusional state, so u think that policy affects one not all? Anyway will tell u a secret, delay as they say is usually dangerous as they say, however, in this case its even worst than that on two fronts. First, the more you delay the more you let Ilorin slip off your hands, and as such will find it very difficult to leave this contraption called Nigeria, except u will leave Ilorin for ur slave masters, thereby affirming the long help view, that Yorubas are cowards. The second is the fact that, mere looking at developed cities in Lagos, wisdom should have told u that the more Lagos develops the fewer the lower class citizens, wch automatically means Yorubas will have to relocate to Oshogbo, Ibadan, and co, in search of their ancestral home, as a result of anger. My friend Fight now or remain silent, waiting all that pen trash will not work as any governor that attempts it nwill be voted out by majority. Except he/she will say only igbos should pay, wch u know its impossible.