Sunday, July 11 was a day England fans had high expectations of winning the Euro 2020 Football Championship, whose final was played between the Three Lions and the Azzuris of Italy. The Championship final is played every four years among Europe’s best 24 national teams.
Their defeat on penalty kicks in the final of the European soccer cup caused a barrage of online racist attacks against the Black players who missed goals in the shootout.
Nigerian-born Bukayo Saka, who was among those that failed to score a penalty during a penalty shootout of the Euro 2020 soccer championship final match has been downcast since then. We wish to console him and the other Black players who have been subjected to racial abuse in the cause of playing for their adopted country, England. We are happy that the rest of the world has not taken side with the perpetrators of the ugly incident. Equally encouraging is the position of the English Football Associatin [FA] and the British Government, who have roundly condemned the racist abuse of the Black players.
The FA had in a statement “strongly condemns all forms of discrimination and is appalled by the online racism that has been aimed at some of our England players on social media.”
It added that “anyone behind such disgusting behavior is not welcome in following the team.”
We are encouraged by the FA’s position that it would do everything “to support the players affected, while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.”
More encouraging is the position of England manager Gareth Southgate, who shouldered the responsibility for the team’s loss, as he praised his players and condemned the online slurs.
What is more, Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted his comment on Twitter, saying, “this England team deserves to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.” He added that “those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
We wish to commend the British Prime Minister for condemning the unfortunate racial incident against the footballers as well as London Police for opening an investigation into the incident.
We make haste to urge the police to bring perpetrators to justice to serve as deterrent to other racially- minded persons both in the UK and elsewhere.
Obadiah Mailafia[December 24, 1956-September 19,2021]
His controversial death on September 19, of this illustrious son of Nigeria came as a great shock to the nation. Obadiah Mailafia until his demise over allegations of poor attention from the various hospitals he was taken to was a development economist, international polymath, central banker, statesman ; the 2019 Nigeria Presidential election candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC), and a columnist with some of the national newspapers.
The Northern Governors Forum[NGF] has described his death as a great loss to the nation as well as the entire Northern region.
In a statement , the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong said the death of Dr Mailafiya is a sad development not only to his family, but to the nation because of his enormous contributions to the socio-economic pursuits of Nigeria.He said: “The legacies of Dr Mailafiya will continue to be celebrated as he showed passion for development, emancipation, truth, justice and equity in all his interventions at various platforms.”Also, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, described the demise of the renowned banker as a great loss. Gov. Ortom said the nation will greatly miss the contributions of Mailafia in the economic and political spheres of Nigeria, particularly at a time the country needs patriots in tackling the myriad of challenges confronting it. No doubt Mailafia will be greatly missed.
Children as Victims of Insurgency
Nigerian children are passing through one of their most trying times in the nation’s history. Hardly does any day passes without reports of these young ones usually referred to as the leaders of tomorrow being kidnapped, raped and even killed by bandits and terrorists in a society that is losing its moral direction.
Dr Ihekweazu’s Appointment at WHO
In the midst of nationwide insecurity, which has made life miserable for many, Nigeria had something to cheer, when one of the nation’s pragmatic administrators got an international job recently.
While Dr Ihekweazu still serves as the head of Nigeria’s infectious disease agency, the letter disclosed that he will assume the new office on November 1, 2021, and will be in charge of WHO’s pandemic and epidemic response hub in Berlin, Germany. The letter stated:“I am pleased to welcome Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu as an Assistant Director-General for Health Emergency Intelligence from November 1, 2021.
“You will lead the work on strengthening pandemic and epidemic intelligence globally, including heading the WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin.” Ihekweazu and other members of the new global WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence were inaugurated, recently in Berlin, Germany, by Director-General of WHO, Dr. Ghebreyesus and Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel.The WHO DG noted that Dr. Ihekweazu who is currently the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control[NCDC] was trained as an infectious disease epidemiologist, and has over 20 years of experience working in senior public health and leadership positions in several national public health institutes, including the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases, the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency, and Germany’s Robert Koch Institute.
He has also led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.The WHO DG also noted that Dr. Ihekweazu, who was born in Germany, is a graduate of the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria and has a Masters in Public Health from the Heinrich-Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany.The new appointee is said to have led several short-term engagements for WHO, mainly in response to major infectious disease outbreaks around the world.
In 2003, he was awarded a Fellowship for the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training and subsequently completed his Public Health specialisation in the United Kingdom.He is widely published in medical peer-reviewed journals.Dr Ihekweazu was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2016 as the acting head of the NCDC, the agency responsible for the control and prevention of communicable diseases in the country.The Epidemiologist became the first substantive head of the disease agency in November 2018, following the signing of the NCDC Act into law.
As NCDC Director-General, Ihekweazu has led the response to large outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Yellow fever, Lassa fever and monkeypox.Since the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, Ihekweazu has led Nigeria’s public health response to the pandemic through the NCDC.He has been serving on the WHO’s IHR Emergency Committee for COVID-19, chaired by Didier Houssin.Dr Ihekweazu also serves as a Member of the Africa Task Force for Coronavirus Steering Committee, where he chairs the Infection Prevention Control Sub-Committee.
With his very rich credentials and exposure, there is no doubt that Dr Ihekweazu will succeed in his new assignment. DAILY ASSET which awarded NCDC under his leadership as the Government Agency of the year 2020 in our prestigious Lecture and Award in February in Abuja, has been vindicated for the global recognition, which was made largely possible as a result of the drive and other leadership qualities of the NCDC’s chief executive, Dr Ihekweazu in the last few years, especially in the campaign against COVID-19 pandemic.
We have no doubt that he will succeed in his new post at the WHO having prepared adequately for such important international assignement.
We urge the new Assistant Director General to bring to the front burner the health challenges of African countries especially tjose associated with public health issues.
For instance, the distribution of COVID – 19 vaccines has been a challenge in much of Africa. This is one area, the Nigerian expert can use his good offices to bring to the attention of the global health agency.
His appointment should serve as a source of motivation to other Nigerian professionals, who should note that wherever you are and whatever you do, excellence will have no hiding place and that in due course will be noticed and appreciated.
DAILY ASSET congratulates Dr Ihekweazu for this international recognition and wish him success in his new assignment.
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