President Muhammadu Buhari has been called upon to retrace his steps and include Oyo State and other states with confirmed cases of Covid-19 in whatever measures being taken by the Federal Government to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.
A three-term member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Ajibola Muraina, who gave this advice on Monday, warned the Federal Government not to play politics with the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, wondering why the President failed to mention Oyo, which has the third highest incidence of Covid-19 in the country after Lagos and Abuja, in his state broadcast or extend any of the measures put in place to check the spread of the disease.
The lawmaker stated that the exemption of Oyo State and a few other states where there have been confirmed cases of Covid-19 from the measures being taken to address the situation could mean harm for their fights against the virus.
He noted that though Governor Seyi Makinde has been doing a good job in handling the crisis, with adequate measures already put in place to contain the disease such as embarking on massive sensitisation and issuance of directives to ensure the prevention of the disease, the Federal Government would have to include Oyo State and other states in whatever measures and benefits being made available to Lagos and now Ogun.
He added that the perceived lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government towards Oyo State in the handling of Covid-19 crisis has already reflected in the incapacitation of the University College Hospital (UCH), a federal hospital, to handle the crisis until the Oyo State government funded a Diagnostic Centre in the hospital.
Muraina, who commended Makinde’s proactive leadership, which he said has seen the state embark on a full-scale campaign on precautionary measures against Covid-19, putting in place measures to ensure social distance, among others, as well as setting up well-equipped isolation centres with a total of 114 beds in Ibadan and Ogbomoso, advised the Federal Government not to leave Oyo State and others where there have been confirmed cases to face the challenges alone at this period.
He said: “Last Sunday’s national broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari could not have come at a better time than it did, after widespread criticisms on the President’s handling of the Covid-19 situation. In the broadcast, the President highlighted some of the measures the Federal Government has put in place and those that will still come on stream as the nation continues to seek ways to overcome the ongoing health crisis.
“It is, however, pertinent to mention that the President’s broadcast, through an error of commission and omission, left out Oyo State and a few others where there are confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the measures being put in place to check the spread of the virus, despite the fact that Oyo State has the third highest number of Covid-19 incidences in the country.
“By omitting the name of Oyo State and, indeed, a few others where the confirmed cases of Covid-19 exist from the first donation, not only has the Federal Government left the states to hold their own in the face of the Covid-19 challenges, it has also made donors look away from them.
“While I would want to give the President the benefit of the doubt by agreeing that Oyo State and others were inadvertently omitted in the national broadcast, it is imperative that the Federal Government takes steps to correct the omission and immediately retrospectively include them in all plans put in place to fight the spread of the virus in Lagos and Ogun states.
“As the President would have known, the UCH, which is supposed to the flagship of hospitals in the country has had to write an SOS letter to whom it may concern, seeking funding for facilities to handle the Covid-19. This, in itself, is an indictment on the Federal Government.
“But for the intervention of the Oyo State government, which collaborated the setting up of a Diagnostic Laboratory for Covid-19, the burden of sample testing for any suspected case in Oyo State would still have been on the over-pressurised centres in Lagos.
“While it must be noted at this point that the efforts of the Governor Makinde administration have been tremendous, with the ongoing massive sensitisation campaign and precautionary measures put in place by the government as well as the setting up of well-equipped isolation centres in Ibadan and Ogbomoso, the Federal Government should not shirk in its responsibilities to the people of Oyo State.”