By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The former Minister of State for Health, in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, Senator Adeleke Olorunnibe Mamora explained the various challenges they fought to ensure that the bill for regulations of tobacco industry in Nigeria came to stay.
Mamora, stated this on Tuesday, during a ‘Thank you dinner, organized in his honour by the Public Health Community, led by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).
He said it was tough battle to get the bill through.
“When I sponsored that Bill on tobacco ….It was a tough battle, you know that all over the world tobacco manufacturers or tobacco industry have a very powerful lobby group. So there was an attempt to scuttle that Bill. So it was a strong battle but by the grace of God we succeeded in pushing it through, and it was passed by the Senate, and we had concurrent from the House of Representatives.
“Unfortunately before I left the Senate in 2011, the Bill could not be assented to become a law. But good enough the 7th Senate where the immediate passed governor of Delt State was a senator then, took it over as Chairman Senate committee on health, and as they say the rest is history. The important thing is that we now have that tobacco control Act” he said.
Boss Mustapha, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) during Muhammadu Buhari’s administration who also spoke during the dinner said the former Minister has exhibited the spirit of excellence in every area he had functioned.
He said he, and Mamora had worked closely at different times from the days of Action Congress of Nigeria ACN, stressing that Mamora took over from him as the Managing Director of Nigerian Inland Water Ways (NIWA) when he was elevated to the position of SGF.
The former SGF said Mamora was the closest person to former President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the former Minister of State Health would have been the Vice President to Buhari in 2015.
“After the 2019 election. He went back again and served as Deputy Director General to Rotimi Amechi. When the opportunity availed itself. The President particularly wanted him to be a full fledged Minister. And the choice of ministry of science and technology and Innovation was informed by the fact that he had aspired as a government, especially after the effect of COVID-19, it provided a challenge and we also believe it also provided Nigeria with an opportunity, to reengineer our health infrastructure. And his movement, I was a co conspirator with the President to have him move to the Science and Technology and Innovation was informed by the fact that the future of the practice of health was going to be informed substantially by our investment in the area of science, technology and Innovation because that is what is going to drive our health infrastructure going forward. We cannot remain at the rudimentary level that we are and expect any meaningful progress and development in our health infrastructure. So I plead with the public health community for moving him, because when we moved him it was a ground shaking in the ministry of health. That said. Senator Mamora is a decent man. He is not only a gentleman, he is a decent man to work with” stated the former SGF” he said.
Also speaking, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, World Health Organisation Country Representative in Nigeria, recalled his encounter with Senator Mamora stating that as the Minister of State Health, the former Senator made his job easy.
The event was attended by former Senate Leader, Senator, Ndoma Egba, Special Adviser to President Ahmed Bola Tinubu on Health, Dr Mrs. Salma Ibrahim Anas, former Minister Of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Keden Tallen, former Senators and House of Representatives members among other dignitaries.