𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐆𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐬, 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐲 – – When the NCDC got to Imo state a couple of weeks ago they left a warning. They asked Imo to find Coronavirus cases. At the time Imo had no confirmed case, and the NCDC thought Imo which had many citizens in diaspora, and heavy international traffic, was too clean.
Kano was neat and pure until we started seeing graves. What the NCDC warned Imo about was what we saw in Kano. If you sit on it it will ferment, swell and explode. By the time Kano stopped fiddling, stopped talking about malaria and meningitis, and started crying, the Coronavirus had taken deep roots. Many residents, big and small, had perished in Kano. That clean result of weeks ago was out a trap, a curse, a disaster.
But have our governors learnt anything? Perhaps not so much.
Recently in Akwa Ibom, the state epidemiologist was redeployed. Some bickering followed. He said he was shoved aside because he refused to play games, refused to buy into the crooked strategy of the state government to keep the COVID case count low.
He said the state was deliberately denied patients who had met set case definitions access to testing, even though the state had test kits. He made grave accusations. And the Nigeria Medical Association in the state backed him.
He cited an instance when he wanted to test 30 patients but was stopped by the state government who wanted him to test just a few number of cases weekly. The state didn’t want to be labeled a COVID epicenter. He said the state wanted to test bit by bit so that the state doesn’t become one of the Corona league leaders.
Sometimes governments get away with shallowness. But when a governor denies sick people testing and fails to isolate and track cases of an extremely contagious and fairly lethal disease, how can they escape the rich harvest of dead bodies?
What is there to be gained in allowing people wallow in a false sense of security?
Kogi is another example. The reports are everywhere. Patients have come to government run hospitals with COVID symptoms and have been denied tests. Patients have come to government run hospital with COVID symptoms, died, and no tests were done. I spoke with doctors in Kogi. They blame the situation on the incident manager who is the health commissioner. If the Kogi government disputes these claims let the governor publish how many tests he has conducted in Kogi every day since April fool’s day. The current NCDC case criteria are so expansive that every state should be running tons of tests daily.
What is it about winning a clean sheet corona trophy? The sort of goalkeeping needed at this time is rampant testing; case identification and isolation; contact tracing and public health education about social distancing; and other mitigation strategies. Any state denying likely cases testing is scoring own goals. Unfortunately the VAR will only become available when we begin to see graves.
The suppression of data is not an effective way to manage an epidemic.
The problem with Cross River is complicated. The state governor thinks he is very intelligent. He is a professor. But he has become an apprentice comedian, the butt of jokes. He thinks that with masks non one needs social distancing. Every time he speaks he undermines the effort of the NCDC to keep our people properly informed with his highfalutin ambiguities. He thinks the the PCR molecular tests are not good for diagnosis. Yet it appears he doesn’t know what vaccines are because he mistakes them for antibodies that can be harvested by plasmapheresis.
And ignorance, when propelled by arrogance, especially a the highest levels, is very infectious. A Cross River commissioner was seen the other day telling stories about how some people planned to bribe some people in the state to be confirmed COVID positive. She ought to know. Anyone can pretend to have COVID. But only a scientific test by a recognized laboratory can confirm it. Whenever these folks in Cross River have nothing to say they should go to the farm.
The Bauchi state governor made a comical broadcast a few days ago. He recovered from a coronavirus infection and he is touting his knowledge of medicine. It’s obvious he no longer knows the limits of his powers.
He told the public he had ordered the doctors in his state to use Azithromycin and Chloroquine to treat COVID infections. He said if anything untoward happened to their patients the doctors should pass the blame to him. Ordinarily, that should be a cheap Nollywood comedy piece. But that was a governor, in real life, ascribing to himself the power to teach medical doctors how to treat their patients. And that was him probably telling illiterate folks who might have COVID symptoms how to go about self medication, to find azithromycin and Chloroquine at a patent medicine dealer’s.
I would have left Rivers out because Rivers has the only workaholic governor in the country. But Rivers is the state where the governor sends people to quarantine centers when they break a curfew. Quarantine is supposed to be governed by medical science, disease control. The quarantine center is not a prison. It is not where you send people who flout a curfew to. Liberals all over the world have expressed fears that the pandemic could breed dictators. They would exploit the public fear of the virus and trample on the people’s rights. I would have left Rivers out, but Rivers is the state where the governor has mentioned more than once that he thinks some agents of the federal government want to infect his state with Coronavirus. I would have left Rivers out but Rivers has an emperor. I hope I have given honor to whom honor is due.
Let’s leave Makinde, ambitious first term governor, he learnt his lessons early. But when a confirmed COVID case disappears he should track , locate and re-isolate. He should have learnt how to choose his words more carefully after that Ibadan rally. At the rally he had said that Coronavirus belonged to the APC. Okay he apologized. But when two COVID cases went missing in his state recently he said they had gone probably to their final resting place. A governor shouldn’t wish his sick citizens death. After all when he, Makinde, tested positive he didn’t go to the isolation center, and nobody wished death on him. Engineers can be mechanical a times but they should have empathy too.
I will stop here. And it is here I will remind the governors, COVID no be work ! The farmers have to go to the farm. They need fertilizers. They need agricultural extension services. These activities are compatible with social distancing. Where are the improved seedlings? What are the new targets for the import substitution programs? How are we diversifying the economies of the states? Hope they know FAAC is now crippled.
𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝐆𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐬, 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐅𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐲