Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has said he did not manifest any of the symptoms of COVID-19, which include high temperature, sneezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing, in the past two weeks before he was given a clean bill of health against the novel coronavirus on Sunday.
He made the disclosure on Monday when he spoke via telephone on the COVID-19 Situation Room, a special programme of the Fresh 105.9 FM Ibadan, anchored by an ace broadcaster, Isaac Brown, meant to give updates about the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Makinde stated that after he tested positive for COVID-19, two different tests had been conducted on his samples and the two samples returned negative for coronavirus. He explained that the second test was done at the laboratory where he had tested positive, while the third test was done at the virology laboratory of the diagnostic centre in Ibadan.
According to the governor, “COVID-19 affects each person in different ways. I watched a lot of television programmes while in isolation. The same virus would get into somebody and that person may not show any symptom and he may not even know that he has the virus. The same virus would get to someone else, and that fellow would become really very sick and would need a ventilator. But my prayer is that whoever that has the virus will go through the period with minimal damage to their health.
“I was asymptomatic throughout. Without the test, I would not have even known that I had COVID-19. This is the more reason we are advising social distancing, as there may be people with the virus that are not also showing any symptom. It is also the reason we pushed for a testing centre in Ibadan so that we can check more people who might have come in contact with COVID-19 cases.
“My aspiration, which I have already discussed with the task force team and EOC, is that we must set a target to test close to 10,000 people in Oyo State. We will do it. We are setting up to get that done. If we are able to meet that target, we would be able to map the state correctly. We will be able to warn communities if we see traces of the virus in those communities. However, my advice remains that people should say at home; only very important trips outside the home should be made.”
Makinde, who stated that black seed oil mixed with honey, as well as Vitamin C and carrot, were used to boost his immune system while he was in quarantine, noting that “there are local solutions” to the management of the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor, however, faulted the Federal Government’s palliative measures in curtailing the spread of coronavirus, saying: “Two days ago in the task force meeting, the Head of Service told me that the conditional cash transfer from the Federal Government would be N20,000 to people in 10 local government areas of Oyo State. I said it is good. But this programme predates this administration and I have never been impressed for one day about the way they identified the poorest and the impact.
“They have been making noise in the newspapers that they have some items for us. So, I sent the people at the liaison office – first day at the Nigerian Governors’ Forum’s meeting, I was told that those items were taken to liaison offices. So, I called the liaison office in Abuja and asked, did you receive anything? But they said no. They told them to come to somewhere in Jabi to collect those items. They brought them yesterday (Sunday). Well, I thank them; it is nothing compared to what we require. Some gloves, personnel protective equipment, like 25 overall.
“There seems to be a lot of cheap talk at the top level. So, as a state, we really need to take our fate in our hands. Take, for instance, the 100-bed capacity Infectious Disease Centre at Olodo [which] opens from today (Monday). If we have critical cases that need ventilators, we are able to attend to them there.”
Makinde also stated that his administration has been “very deliberate in not directing a total lockdown until palliatives are put in place. The major challenge for us is that we need to cut out the middlemen and also ensure that those who actually need the palliative are those who get it.
“A lot of well-to-do Oyo State people have risen to the occasion. Government cannot do it alone. No matter how little, what you have given to people, these are helping the government. When eventually we are able to get things going from the government side, it would add to what has already been done.
“I see this as an opportunity for us to ensure that we get to the real people that need those palliatives. The data is already being collated by our people in the field. They started yesterday (Sunday). I can promise the people of Oyo State that it is not going to be business as usual, where we show a pile of foodstuff in some warehouse somewhere and it would not get to the people who need it. That will not happen in Oyo State,” Governor Makinde said.