The emergence of the novel dreaded coronavirus popularly christened, COVID-19, no doubt, is a litmus test destined to gauge performances of every elective political office holders, especially sitting governors. Unlike governors who, by sheer providence, find their ways into offices, with little or no mission-statement, the virus has been a corollary on how the governors have been able to prove their mettle in the discharge of their statutory duties in the provision of good governance and quantitative leadership to their citizenry.
Remarkably, boiling down the situation on ground, at the moment, in Ogun state, the state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has never let down the people of Ogun state, upon his assumption of office on May 29, 2019. He talks less, but his actions speak volume of his steadfastness and commitment to provide good leadership. The Iperu-born Prince has distinguished himself from among the pack of other governors. He is not, “A ma se” (we are going to do all the projects) person, apology to his predecessor who did nothing, throughout his eight-year tenure in office, to fulfill his electoral promises, but everything was empty-based. His is a departure from those playing politics with people’s lives and public safety.
Here comes the outbreak of the pestilence, Abiodun is in the firm grip and control of the situation. He has put to shame transducers and cynics who have been chasing shadows and also, cashing in, on the opportunity to befuddle the sophistry of the good people of the state through their “Greek gifts” under the guise of providing palliative relief materials and economic stimulus.
Thus, the passion in Governor Abiodun is driven and bolstered up by his desire for a purposeful leadership.
By and large, among democratically elected governors that have mounted the saddle of leadership in the Gateway state since its birth on February 3, 1976, none has ever come under scathing attacks and stiff opposition in a succession bid from his predecessor than Abiodun. He has survived many landmines and dirty tricks to make the state ungovernable under his care.
Ranging from near empty treasury, late payment of salaries and wages of workers, backlog of arrears payable to workers, non-payment of pension arrears to retirees, delay in promotions, pseudo-flaunted “legacy projects” to a huge debt profile, Abiodun has inherited a lot up his sleeves to grapple with, upon his assumption of office on May 29, 2019, in a bid to enthrone sanity in governance.
It should be noted that, while Abiodun was still smarting off from the rots of office of his immediate past predecessor and instilling confidence in the state workforce that has relapsed into a slough of despondency over poor governance, it gladdens the heart the approaches he has been handling the coronavirus pandemic with various measures already being put in place are highly commendable. The government has continued to endure that the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens and residents are paramount to it.
While appreciating the seriousness attached to the healthcare needs to curb the spread of the virus and prevent those who have not contracted the disease from contracting it, the governor, with his large heart, underscores the essence of the need to strike a delicate balance between the public safety and welfare of the citizenry. His demonstration of this purposeful leadership, in this regard has, to a large extent, warmed the hearts of the people.
With the various measures put in place to further curb the transmission of the virus, apart from strengthening the tracing process, the state government had identified 210 persons that had contacts with the positive cases, out of which 110 underwent the required mandatory 14 days quarantine period. In the overall aggregate, two of this number tested positive, while the remaining 108 tested negatives on completion of the quarantine period.
The other 100 persons that are still observing the quarantine period and are being observed and monitored by specialist doctors and other healthcare workers, the development is a living testimony of the resolve and commitment to combat the virus headlong.
It is a cheering good news that Ogun state that we are proud of, has been able to curtail and contain the pandemic effectively so far and to a large extent, surpassed the global average for tested cases and transmission under the care of Abiodun.
The global average is one (1) positive case to three (3) new infections, but in the case of Ogun state, it is one (1) positive case to one (1) new infection. In comparison, even with the relatively lower number of positive and active cases, the government is still undaunting to prevent further infection spread and death from the dreaded virus.
Among other novel measures the government has put in place and have to be brought to the front burner is the recently procured state fully funded molecular laboratory that it is installed at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, the first of its kind in the annals of the country. The state government is awaiting the accreditation of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for it to commence full operations.
Also, the second molecular laboratory donated to the state government were still expected to arrive the country soon.
Besides, the government has concluded arrangements for the deployment of drive-through testing facilities across the state, particularly around the vulnerable areas, such as the land border communities with other states in order to stem community transmission into Ogun state.
Notwithstanding, the government has taken a look at relief palliatives to mitigate the attendant effects of the lockdown.
In the first phase of the distribution of the relief palliatives, it had benefited not less than 60,000 households, approximating 300,000 individuals.
In line with the promise of the governor in his media briefings last Friday to embark on the second phase, it is expected that additional 80,000 households of about 400, 000 individuals, comprising of the elderly, the poor and vulnerable would benefit from the largesse.
The on-going process is targeted to capture 500,000 households or three (3) million individuals in a bid to lightening the burden of the lockdown and stave off starvation.
However, it has further introduced another window of relaxation from the renewed 14-day lockdown which commenced on Monday (April 20), Wednesday (April 22) and Friday (April 24). The period of relaxation was scheduled to hold between 7:00 am and 2:00 pm on each of these days.
To complement the efforts of the state government, nose mask or shield made from local materials or fabrics that effectively covers nose and mouth is encouraged to prevent contract or spread of the virus.
From the foregoing, it needs to be pointed out that, there is a clear distinction between a leader that is endowed with a spirit of kindness, resilience and humility and another leader that is glacially insensitive to the plight of the citizenry. Consequently, the Iperu-born Prince belongs to the first class of a leader who has seen it all and he is already doing the utmost to continue to provide good governance and quantitative leadership.
• Comrade Sunday Ilori wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.