Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and has consequently handed over the reins of the state to the deputy governor, Ude Oko Chukwu, who would act as governor until Mr Ikpeazu is nursed back to good health.
This comes as Abia State on Sunday recorded its highest number of people who tested positive for the COVID-19 pandemic and the highest in the country with 67 results returning positive.
A release by the commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi- Kalu, recalled that on Saturday, May 30th, Governor Ikpeazu’s sample was collected for COVID-19 test and on Tuesday, June 2nd, the result of test returned negative.
However, on Thursday, June 4th, according to the release, the governor submitted another sample at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) laboratory for confirmation and this time around the result returned positive.
‘As a result, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has gone into isolation, as required by relevant NCDC protocols, and he is being managed by a competent team of medical practitioners with a view to nursing him back to good health.
‘Consequent on the above, the Governor has directed his deputy, Ude Oko Chukwu, to act on his behalf pending his full resumption of duties.’
The release urged all Abians to take the fight against COVID-19 serious, stressing that the disease is real but not a death sentence.
Recall that the state commissioner for Environment, Dr Solomon Ogunji, died on May 23rd of what the state government said was as a result of complications arising from high blood pressure.
Nevertheless, Governor Ikpeazu had to later direct all commissioners, members of the state Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19 who might have had come into contact with the late commissioner to immediately undergo Coronavirus test and isolate themselves thereafter for 14 days pending the outcome of the tests, a move that suggested the commissioner might have died as a result of the virus.
Speaking from isolation, Governor Ikpeazu said as the governor of the state, he has the responsibility to update Abians about his health status.
He restated his stance that testing positive to the virus was not a death sentence and appealed to the people not to panic but continue to take issues surrounding the pandemic seriously and take all necessary precautions in line with NCDC protocols.