COVID-19: IMO STILL IN THE HANDS OF GOD
BY NWADIKE GOC
Thanks to critics and opposition writers, especially the PDP. With these, the Imo state Governor Hope Uzodinma slowly but steadily aligning to some of his expectations in handling the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in the state, even as most of his aides that are currently fighting these critics do not truly understand the impact of these critics..
At their various prods and pushes, especially from the main opposition PDP, the Imo Governor Uzodinma addressed Ndimo on the 28th of March 2020 where he reeled out some expected strategies and additional measures his government had deployed to prevent the dreaded COVID-19 disease from entering the state. He had earlier addressed Ndimo, but followed it with some lackadaisical approach which portended unseriousness, including the encouragement of crowd and partying at various homes of his commissioners.
Following these jabs, the governor announced the availability of team of Special doctors he claimed were on ground to handle any emergency “just in case the disease finds its way into the state.” Thank God the NCDC currently does not have any confirmed case of the disease in Imo state, so we are not disputing the availability of “Special Doctors” yet.
The Governor also announced that “the ministry of health is embarking on immediate training of community health educators who will be deployed to our rural communities to regularly enlighten our people on how to stay safe from the virus.
“Equally sanitizers will be sent to all communities through the traditional rulers for distribution to the people. The public health educators that will go round the communities will have enough sanitizers to sanitize the hands of those they come in contact with”, the governor promised.
Unfortunately, as at today, neither my Traditional Ruler nor my community had played host to a single Community Health Educator from the government, let alone received sanitizers. All we have regularly observed are teams of police officers harassing our poor market parents struggling against hunger. If care is not taken, rebellion against these security teams is eminent.
Similarly, the governor announced an indefinite closure of all markets, including open religious worship at churches and mosques. It is either the people are being deceived by the government through blatant lies, or that those saddled with enforcing these orders are nepotists who are discriminatory in approach.
We have also seen brisk businesses going on around our border towns with neighboring states. Instead of “combined team of security agencies and health officials” manning barricaded road blocks, what we have are youths collecting tolls and allowing people free access into the state. No health official is on ground at the Uli, Anambra-Imo boarder to carry out “necessary health checks” as assured by the governor.
While we shall continue to raise alarms where they are necessary, the Imo state Governor must ensure that his words are matched with actions as subject matter is of life and death, not politics.
It is also heart-warming that donors have started coming into the state with the governor announcing yesterday the receipt of Twenty-Eight Million Naira cheque from the United Bank of Africa (UBA), and another delegation from two major oil companies in the state, namely; Seplat & Waltersmith Oil & Gas Companies. They were at the Imo State Government House, Owerri, bearing some medical materials.
It is the view of this writer that these gifts are judiciously and fairly distributed to our people early enough before many of them die of hunger or even contact the virus through pressured socialization.
Like already noted in my previous thoughts, the Imo state government should further reach out to relevant Electricity authorities and strike understanding on why there should be a near steady power supply in our homes at this trying period. The idea of people being locked up in their homes without access to the outside world is killing.
The governor should also go ahead and pay workers their salaries. The accompanying pains are becoming worse than the Coronavirus itself.
Finally, a Situation Room on the COVID-19 should be raised where regular and updated information concerning the disease would be shunning out to Imolites. The Isolation centre now finally being developed at the Woody Wellness Centre Owerri after initial lies about its existence should be professionally manned to forestall dearth of trained medics where the case attacks Imo state.
The Coronavirus pandemic is fast spreading all over the world, and Nigeria is not left out. At the last count, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Wednesday night confirmed 23 new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country, bringing the total to 174. Nine of the latest cases were recorded in Lagos state, seven in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, while five were confirmed in Akwa Ibom, with Kaduna and Bauchi recording one each.
It is on record that testing kits are nowhere available in Imo state therefore our reliance on information from the NCDC whose main concentration has been the nation’s capital and Lagos. The implication is our reliance on faith. Next is precautions where truth and transparency must come from the government in the state.
Thank God that Imo is still in the hands of God!
*_Greg Nwadike GOC writes from Orlu in Imo State_*