Nigeria has had it’s fair share of the global crisis of the covid-19 pandemic with 276 confirmed cases, and five deaths at the moment. Since it’s first occurrence in Wuhan, China late 2019, the current peril of the covid-19 pandemic has affected the world with social and economic impact that will be felt for years.
From mid March till now conversations and expectations around governance in Nigeria has been centered around the effectiveness of state governments across Nigeria to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
With the Federal Government largely unable to play the part of a national unifier to take decisive actions to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the leadership we normally expect from the central office has instead come from state executives throughout the nation — or not.
In this piece we will only take a look at the governors who have done a better job at meeting the moment, by acting decisively and boosting the morale of the citizens at a time like this.
Now let’s take a look at the governors who have remained poised to avoid a further spread of COVID-19 in their states.
7. OYO STATE GOVERNOR – SEYI MAKINDE.
Battling with the social and economic impact of COVID-19, perhaps one governor who has done more to put the nation on a war footing in the fight against coronavirus has been Governor Seyi Makinde. His actions have contributed to Oyo’s relatively modest number of cases, with just 13 confirmed cases of the virus infection in the state already.
On March 25, even though Oyo had yet to suffer a major outbreak of Covid-19, Governor Makinde called for the statewide closure of public schools—the first governor in the nation to do so, forcing most of his fellow governors to recognize they had to follow suit, and fast. Likewise, Seyi Makinde set the pace by the issuing directives for all public state workers to stay off work. He then commenced engagement and sensitisation drives around markets, motor parks and public places.
In addition to this He set up Diagnostic centres in the state, provided newly equipped 100-bed Infectious Disease centre at Olodo, Ibadan, rolled out palliatives to vulnerable citizens in the state and as at April 14th commenced a containment and decontamination exercise to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the state.
6. OSUN STATE GOVERNOR – ADEGBOYEGA OYETOLA
From the confirmation of the first case of coronavirus in Osun state till now, the state government have performed impressively in curbing the spread of the the virus. At the moment the state ranks as the 4th state with the most coronavirus cases, having recorded 20 positive cases already.
As part of efforts to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the State, Governor Oyetola was able to set up holding centres across the state, to isolate and treat suspected & reported cases of the virus in the State. As a way of leading by example, He subjected himself to test, considering the fact that I was in Abuja one of the epicentre of the virus, before it got to Osun. With His tests results coming out negative.
In addition to this Governor Oyetola, on March 29th imposed a complete lockdown of the State, just few days after the state’s first confirmed case and further a sit-at-home order, with a six-month imprisonment to anyone who trespasses the order.
By April 5th, the Governor had directed for the distribution of food and relief materials to the vulnerable persons in the state. And ensured that palliatives and other needed necessities were supplied to citizens of the state. He also ordered immediate payment of stipends due to 25,907 vulnerable citizens.
This covered payment of N20,000 each to 15,289 elderly citizens & people living with disabilities under our Special Grant Transfer (SGT) scheme & N7,500 stipend to 10,618 youths under the Public Work Fare (PWF) programme.
At the moment 17 Patients have tested negative and have been discharged from isolation centres in the state.
5. EKITI STATE GOVERNOR -KAYODE FAYEMI.
The preparedness of the Ekiti State Government in curbing the spread of the coronavirus in no doubt needs to be applauded. The state Governor began preparations in curbing the spread of the virus, after it’s first incident in the country in early March.
The Governor ensured that citizens of the state were properly sensitised about the virus, and urged for social distancing immediately. Fayemi immediately moved to ban large gatherings and prepared the public for more stringent measures. The quick action has paid off; Ekiti State is one of the states with less confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, with just two recorded cases, and at the moment having no coronavirus patient at its isolation centres.
In addition, Governor Fayemi has set up 24/7 Emergency Operation Centre to coordinate response to this public health threat. With dedicated hotlines made available to the public to call if they suspect infection.
At the same time, Dr Fayemi ordered for the decontamination and disinfestation of public places towards curbing the spread of infectious diseases including the raging coronavirus pandemic disease. And flagged off the distribution of food items and other palliatives to citizens aimed at cushioning the stay-at-home order necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. FCT MINISTER OF STATE – RAMATU TIJJANI ALIYU
The Minister of state, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria, is one top official who has acted aggressively to contain the virus. At the moment Abuja ranks as the 2nd state with the most coronavirus cases, having recorded 69 positive cases already.
Following her contact with people who have tested positive to #COVID19, the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu submitted her sample for COVID19 test. And stayed in isolation to observe all precautionary measures.
As Covid-19 cases exploded in Abuja, the minister began the containment and decontamination exercise to help curb the spread of coronavirus in the state, and by April the minister commenced the distribution of food stuff and palliative materials to the less privileged as part of measures to cushion the effect of the sit-at-home presidential order.
In addition Dr. Ramatu set up Diagnostic centres in Abuja, and a 300 bed COVID 19 isolation and treatment center at Idu, Abuja.
3. ONDO STATE GOVERNOR – ROTIMI AKEREDOLU
Following the announcement of the first case of the coronavirus in Ondo State on the 3rd of April. Governor Akeredolu, worked hand-in-hand with the NCDC and directed all necessary protocol to locate all contacts of the victim.
Prior to this time, the Governor had already taken proactive preventive measures and commenced the fumigation of Akure, the state capital, and provision of disinfectant for citizens. In response to the trend in the number of cases around Ondo State at the time, Akeredolu ordered the immediate closure of all borders with the neighbouring states of Ekiti, Osun, Kogi, Edo and Ogun State. Thereby prohibiting inter-state travels into the state.
In addition to this, Governor Akeredolu, earmarked three new sites in each senatorial district to be converted quickly into Isolation centers. Whilst issuing a sit at home order in the state, the Governor commenced engagement and sensitisation drives on the coronavirus infection across the state.
Governor Akeredolu, further flagged off the distribution of food stuffs, relief materials and palliatives to over 70,000 homes across the 18 LGAs in the state. These quick actions of the Governor has paid off, as Ondo state has one of the least coronavirus cases in Nigeria, with just 3 cases recorded in the state.
2. LAGOS STATE GOVERNOR – BABAJIDE SANWO-OLU.
Babajide Sanwaolu’s leadership poise during this period has been very impressive, as the Governors capability to show true care and responsibility has been tested during these times of crisis.
Following the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Lagos on February 27, which was an Italian citizen from Milan, who came for a brief business visit to Lagos. Health authorities in Lagos took proactive measures and ensured that the patient was placed in isolation & was under constant monitoring. Thereby making it a point of duty to update Lagosians on the status of the index case and subsequent cases, thus dousing tension in Nigeria’s most populated city.
Following the announcement of the third COVID-19 case in the state, Governor Sanwo-olu took actions to protect residents from physical and other potential threats of the virus, and after consulting with healthcare professionals, closed down schools and limited religious and social gathering to no more than 50 people, ensuring that appropriate social distancing must be observed.
By March 28, the Governor had set up a 110-bed fully equipped Isolation Centre at Onikan, and further sensitised and engaged the citizens on the need to practice personal hygiene and stay safe as the COVID-19 crisis continues. As soon as all these were set, Sanwo-olu commenced the enforcement of the lockdown of Lagos as announced by His Excellency, President Buhari.
As part of efforts to lessen the burden of Lagosians, Sanwo-olu announced that for the period of the lockdown, the state government would take full responsibility for the medical bills of patients admitted into all Lagos State-owned secondary healthcare facilities. At the moment over 18,000 people have accessed the medical services with over 600 childbirths, all free of charge.
With enormous support from the FG, and other private establishments in the state, the Governor began the distribution of relief items to 250,000 vulnerable residents and in addition to this, announced that 100,000 youths will be provided one meal per day across all LCDAs.
As at April 17, the NCDC announced that there have been 283 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state. With 90 patients fully discharged and 13 dead already.
1. RIVERS STATE GOVERNOR – NYESOM WIKE.
Perhaps no single governor has done more to put the nation on a war footing in the fight against coronavirus than Nyesom Wike, his pro-active actions have contributed to Rivers relatively modest number of cases, with just 2 cases of the coronavirus recorded in the state, who have all fully recovered and have been discharged from isolation centres.
On February 28, even though Rivers had yet to suffer a major outbreak of Covid-19, Wike urged citizens to maintain top level hygiene standards so as to safeguard from the peril of the virus. The Governor therefore banned movements into and outside the state.
However, by March 26, Rivers state confirmed it’s first coronavirus case, one month after it’s first incident was recorded in Nigeria. In response to this, the Governor ordered the closure of all markets, schools, religious and social organisations across the state. And He immediately set up a 250 bed space isolation center in Port Harcourt, and other parts of the state.
Governor Nyesom Wike, however showed displeasure lion’s share of attention given to the Lagos state Govt. by the FG. Stating that It was quite unfortunate that the containment of coronavirus has been politicized by the Federal Government. While Lagos State received a grant of N10billion as a commercial hub, Rivers State as the nation’s oil and gas hub that produces a greater percentage of the nation’s wealth has not received any support from the Federal Government.
One of the commendable highlight of Gov. Wike’s performance was he setting aside a budget of N2 Billion to buy off all agricultural products produced in the State from farmers and fishermen, and distributing to the less privileged across the state.
In quest to promote the welfare of the people, the Governor ensured the distribution of palliatives to the less privileged and the provision of medical facilities to cater for those who fall ill.
It was obvious that the containment strategies put in place by Governor Nyesom Wike to help check the spread of coronavirus in the state paid off, as the Governor on April 18, announced that the second and only active case of Covid-19 in Rivers State had been discharged after subsequent tests. Meaning that Rivers State will be declared COVID-19 FREE! for now.