A socio-political group, Oyo Kajola Group (OKG), said on Tuesday, 31 March, 2020, that despite testing positive to Coronavirus, it was sure Governor Seyi Makinde would continue to do everything possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
The group hailed the Governor for immediately making the result of his test open and saddling a former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Professor Temitope Alonge, with the responsibility of leading the Oyo State Covid-19 Task Force.
According to the group, the business of governance in the state will not slow down even as Makinde remains in isolation.
The OKG in a statement by its Media Coordinator, Mr. Adebayo Ayandele, maintained that contrary to insinuations that the Oyo State government “is not prepared” to fight the Covid-19 scourge in the state, Governor Makinde has done everything a proactive leader should do to contain the spread of the disease.
It added that the narrative that Governor Makinde contracted the Covid-19 at a rally held in Ibadan to welcome defectors back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on March 18, 2020, was unfounded, noting that rather, the governor was exposed to the disease following a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), which he attended in Abuja on March 19, 2020.
The group stated that Makinde, like other governors, was advised to go into self-isolation following the confirmation that Bauchi State governor, Senator Mohammed Bala, had tested positive to Covid-19 on March 24, 2020.
“As a responsible and responsive leader, governor Makinde had gone into self-isolation immediately and remained in the state till he tested positive,” the group said.
Besides, the group also advised the Federal Government to immediately include Oyo State on the list of beneficiaries for COVID-19 funding, adding that statistics available as to the spread of the virus in Nigeria shows that Oyo State has the third highest number.
“The President had no reason to sidestep Oyo State in his national broadcast on COVID19. That leaves a sour taste in the mouth but we believe that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari can still redeem itself by immediately including Oyo state in the list of the states to benefit from the COVID-19 funding,” the group stated.
The statement further read: “We in the Oyo Kajola Group (OKG) received the news of Governor Seyi Makinde testing positive to Covid-19 with mixed feelings. We are happy that the governor, a proactive, responsible and responsive leader was not caught napping in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic when the result was announced, as he has put in place all measures to contain the spread of the virus in the state.
“But we are sad that the governor would remain in isolation for a period of time, which will keep him from the centre of action in the battle to keep Oyo State safe. We can only wish him quick recovery so that he can return to the task of progressively repositioning Oyo State.
“However, we noted with dismay the deliberate exemption of Oyo State from the funding and other measures put in place by the Federal Government to assist Lagos and Ogun states in the fight against Covid-19.
“While we are aware that Lagos is the epicentre of Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria due to its being the commercial nerve centre of the country with an international airport and seaport, the proximity of Oyo State to Lagos, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and the number being tracked in the state, make it imperative for the Federal Government to include Oyo State in whatever measures it has put in place to battle Covid-19.
“Though Oyo State is not in contention with Lagos on whatever it is doing or getting in the fight against Covid-19, it is too strategic to be left out of any measures being put in place by the Federal Government. Apart from having 33 local governments, 351 wards and over three million people, it is the gateway to four South-West states, and a part of the North-Central.
“So, the state will have to spend a huge amount of resources to curtail Covid-19 from spreading and one would think that the Federal Government, which has the responsibility of covering the 36 states and the FCT, would be proactive in covering enough grounds and not play politics with the handling of the Covid-19 situation.”
The Oyo Kajola Group added that it was taking exception to a statement by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, which called on Makinde to declare a lockdown in Oyo State or resign his appointment, wondering why the party could not direct its anger towards President Buhari, who omitted Oyo State from all measures to fight the virus.
“The APC in Oyo State, by making that statement has once again displayed its irresponsibility and complete disregard for the people of Oyo State. It is sad that while the whole world is concerned about the present danger to human existence which COVID 19 represents, the APC is Oyo is making ill-processed and thoughtless political statements. “The attempt to politicise something that represents a clear danger to human existence is to say the least unreasonable, insensitive and inhuman.”
The group maintained that from information available to it, the Makinde-led administration has been working on giving palliatives to the people of the state, especially the most vulnerable and that as a government with human face, it would only declare a ‘total lockdown’ after it has put in place measures for ensuring that palliatives are given to the people.
It said: “Fighting this scourge and ending this pandemic demand strategic actions and not just noise-making. At this moment, a proactive leader should ensure zero or minimal mortality rate, provide adequate enlightenment to the citizenry and ensure that preparations are in place to adequately provide for unforeseen situations in case the number of people affected increases. All these steps are more important than trying to compete and engaging in showmanship and Governor Makinde has put all these measures in place.
The statement added: “Governor Makinde is always engaged in establishing solutions that are homegrown, credible and effective, as well as such that guarantees effectiveness among our people.
“We are also aware that the government has attracted collaboration from a corporate organisation, which is putting in place a 100-bed isolation centres each in two locations in Oke Ogun. When completed, these will take the number of isolation centres in the state to over 300.
“It should also be placed on record that the collaboration of the state government with the University College Hospital (UCH) brought about the establishment of a Diagnostic Centre for COVID-19 in the Virology Department of the UCH,” the statement added.