By Tony Osazua
All 41 athletes and 35 officials on the Kogi State contingent to 20th National Sports Festival ongoing in Benin City, Edo State, have tested negative for the dreaded COVID-19.
The team, which got their COVID test, results early yesterday morning, was subjected to a rather lengthy wait under the elements. Observers noted that suspicion from the NCDC officials was high and not unconnected with Kogi State’s official stance on the Coronavirus disease, which has killed millions around the world and 2,058 in Nigeria.
Recall that in the early days of the pandemic when panic measures was the stock response from many world leaders, the Kogi governor, Yahaya Bello, was caught on video declaring, ‘we ain’t gat no covid!’ as he dismissed reports that he either had the disease or that it had reached his state. That video, which subsequently went viral early in 2020, set the pace for the young governor’s controversial positions on the disease over the next one year.
Swimming against popular tides, the governor refused to institute a universal mask mandate, would not join in the lengthy lockdowns adopted by his colleagues at the NCDC’s insistence and kept his state and economy open throughout. He still campaigns against copycat advisories and use of unproven vaccines till date.
This set him on a collision course severally with the NCDC, the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and other bodies in the coalition managing the disease for the country. When an NCDC team visited his state in May of 2020 to test for the disease, he tried to quarantine them for the 14 days duration and they fled back to Abuja.