The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, will not make it as a serial liar. Based on how poor he performed before Femi Gbajabiamila at the Covid-19 hearing, Ehanire will score F9 on the Richter scale of liars. Indeed, even when he was offered an opportunity to cure his ignorance, he failed.
But Ehanire will have to go back to the lions den for flipping and fibbing on the Chinese "doctors" he had sworn on his Hippocratic oath were sent to help Nigeria deal with the pandemic.
Trouble started in March when the health minister announced that Chinese "doctors" would be arriving to help Nigeria fight the pandemic.
Ehanire's colleagues, and some China-hating members of the public, declared their dismay with the decision to bring them in. But government logic swayed many of us.
Dr. Ehanire said the decision had been taken and reminded us that "these" experienced hands could give Nigeria the first-hand-experience it needed to tackle the global pandemic.
Finally, on April 8, the "doctors" arrived, 15 in number and all gaily dressed in summer attire. They formed a single line at the airport and were inspected by Nigerian officials who assured they would be quarantined for 14 days as required by protocol.
That should have ended the story, except that Nigerian media practitioners are leeches who never give up on an issue once it has sunk its proboscis into it. The media put their GPS on the whereabouts of the doctors until Ehanire was forced to break silence again.
He announced that the visiting Chinese were actually not 'doctors' after all; they were technical staff of the construction giant, CCCECC. They were in Nigeria to give technical advice on a project the company was handling here. How they were packaged as doctors may never be fully understood, nor should anyone question that decision. To calm nerves Ehanire assured that the Chinese technicians indeed gave the Nigerian government valid advice on how their country handled the pandemic.
If you are surprised at that, then you probably know nothing about how foreign expatriates get their coveted accreditations in Nigeria. An oyinbo carpenter transforms into COREN equivalent of an engineer on landing here.
All those hustling years spent praying for ASUU amounts to nothing when 'white' people's transformation happens even with a six-hour flight. The Chinese are different as frequent flyers tell us that it takes 12 hours to fly from China to Nigeria, double the time to fly from Europe. That is enough time to earn a doctorate degree or an MBBS. This is why a Nigerian health minister once asked locally minted doctors to drop the dream of wearing stethoscopes and embrace tailoring.
The wicked and unpatriotic Nigerian media with their elephantine memories won't let our visiting Chinese "doctors" be. They forced Dr. Ehanire to confess that once the Chinese "doctors" landed in Nigeria, they evaporated. Later, we were told they were now stranded. They became stranded because Nigerian airspace is closed to non-essential flights.
The Chinese couldn't sneak out before eagle-eyed aviation minister, Malam Hadi Sirika wore his flight lenses. Those lenses captured and grounded 'Flair Aviation' hired for humanitarian services for conducting commercial flights. Michael Orodare, an investigative reporter later discovered that Flair Aviation, is a German-based company that does not operate aircrafts. The airline fined by Malam Sirika must then have been Flair Jet - registered in the UK and chartered for operations in Nigeria. If you would expect your aviation minister to have his facts correct before hitting Twitter which till now has no correcting fluid, you know nothing about ministerial privilege.
Years ago, Sirika passed through WAEC and JAMB and vowed never to go back. It is not natural to call ministers to order for little mix-ups, what is important is that money is now in government coffers, a welcome development in these Covid days.
It could have been necessary to make the correction because under the #Change era, Sirika made enemies who accused him of bypassing home talents to sign up the logo design contract for his paper Nigeria-Air to foreigners. From6, the Bahraini-based company that designed the logo for a handsome price later adjusted its vaunting claiming it worked with a local company for its final product.
Malam Sirika proudly travelled to London, UK, Nigeria's 37th State and favourite recuperating destination of President Muhammadu Buhari to launch the phantom airline. The new sense of dynamism minister Sirika has raised internally generated revenue by N500,000 although some news media claimed it is double that amount.
The offending airline by whatever name stands blacklisted in the books of UKCAA, MFA and the UK High Commission. Those who claim to see helicopters overflying national airspace during armed attacks are advised to detain them for a hefty ransom. We can't do much to big birds in flight.
Those of you claiming that these official confusion fuels claims in some quarters that Covid-19 in Nigeria is a scam, please fear God. You all have no way of explaining how Kogi, a state bordering nine contaminated states, including the FCT has remained Covid-19 free? Ohomorihi avoo!
POSTSCRIPT: On Monday, the death was announced of Alhaji Ibrahim Gashash, a Kaduna-based philanthropist and human rights campaigner. Gashash was a long-time mentor and friend. May Allah be pleased with him and comfort the family he left behind.