Wednesday, April 1, 2020 7:19 pm
When he joined the discussion on Journalist Hangout, a national television programme devoted to discussion of current affairs by journalists on the channel of TVC on Tuesday, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State certainly cut the picture of a dejected man.
The crew of the television programme had linked him to the programme via skype to get an insight into the preparation he is making to tackle the growing confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the State had spiked from two early Monday to five early Tuesday.
By Wednesday, the burden of the Governor had even got heavier as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control announced the increase in number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state to 14. With the new cases, Osun made an unenviable leap to number three in the rank of states with high number of the pandemic in Nigeria.
The Governor had told the television panel on Tuesday, that Osun, a state which has been battling to pay salaries, pensions of its workers for many years now is not just prepared to handle the pandemic, not because of laxity, but the financial muscle to do so is just lacking.
Indeed, the Governor revealed that while state had set up isolation centres where those with positive cases will be treated in different parts of the state, it had just managed to procure seven ventilators, a critical equipment needed for the treatment of patients with serious symptoms of the pandemic.
This state of helplessness in the face of a deadly rampaging pandemic was echoed when Mr Ismail Omipidan, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Oyetola spoke to journalists on Wednesday after the announcement of the rise in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state from five to 14.
Omipidan attributed the surge in number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Osun 127 indigenes of the State who returned returning from Ivory Coast on Saturday.
He said the returnees who were held at the State’s border with Ogun were later quarantined at an isolation centre in Ejigbo and the state government later decided to test them for coronavirus.
He added that 12 of the returnees tested positive to the coronavirus and were currently receiving treatment.
“On Saturday, 127 persons from Ivory Coast in six buses came into the state from Ogun and were disallowed by the State Executive Council from mixing with the general public to prevent community transfer of the virus.
“Between Saturday and Tuesday, 24 samples from the returnees were sent for COVID-19 testing and three of the samples came back positive.
“Another 47 samples was also sent for testing again and the result came back today with nine more persons testing positive.
He said that those that tested positive were receiving adequate care, adding that the state government could only provide immediate care for patients.
Yet, the fact that the number of confirmed cases in the state with the least financial allocation from the federal purse and very poor internally generated will continue to rise is now beyond contention.
“The remaining 56 persons had also being tested and their results are being expected, but at this point, we will be needing the assistance of the Federal Government to manage those that have tested positive and others that may still test positive,” said Omipidan.
All efforts by Osun State Government now is devoted to ensuring that the situation doesn’t balloon out of control.
Already, Governor Oyetola, just like his counterparts in other states had put the state on a lockdown.
He had also set up a committee made up of eminent and prominent indigenes of the state from Pastor Enoch Adeboye to billionaire businessman, Deji Adeleke to provide relief for the residents of Osun who have been asked to stay back in their houses as a way curtailing the spread of the pandemic.
But the Governor is also asking for urgent help from the Federal Government.
“I want Federal Government to come to the aid of the states. As it is, most of the states do not have the facilities to combat the disease. As we all know, most of the states are struggling to pay salaries, like us in Osun, in spite of the fact that we are struggling to pay salaries, we have purchased seven new ventilators and set up isolation centres. So FG should come to our aid,” Oyetola said on TVC on Tuesday.