Home News COVID-19: Despite Outcry, Buhari Refuses To Lock Down Oyo

COVID-19: Despite Outcry, Buhari Refuses To Lock Down Oyo

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Despite the public outcry that followed the failure of the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to order the lockdown of Oyo State in his first address to the country on coronavirus pandemic, he has again refused to lockdown the state as he extends the lockdown in three other states by 14 days.

The president had on the 29th of March, in his first address to the nation since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, ordered the lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun state, in a bid to curtail the spread of Coronavirus in these states.
However, this decision was greeted with outcry by residents of the state.

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The Senator representing Oyo North senatorial district at the National Assembly, Fatai Buhari, while reacting to the decision of the federal government to exempt Oyo state from the lockdown, said, ” I don’t like the way only three states were locked down, I would have preferred a situation whereby the entire country is locked down. It’s not about you, it’s about others, it’s about ourselves, it’s about the country. Taking a firm decision sometimes is very important because of the population of the people.”

Another Senator, Teslim Folarin, who currently represents Oyo central senatorial district at the National Assembly also condemned the failure of the president to declare a total lockdown in Oyo state and other parts of the country.

When questioned about the effect a total lockdown would have on the life of poor Nigerians, he said, “Look, people will not die of hunger. For now, staying alive is all that matters. You must first be alive before you talk about what to eat.”

Another lawmaker, Dr. Ajibola Muraina, a three-term member of the House of Representatives, 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 by the federal government could mean harm for their fight against the virus.

Similarly, the Founder of Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu Foundation, Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu, who is a former gubernatorial aspirant in the state disclosed that the President did not lock down the State for political reasons.

”They (Buhari) did it politically, they ignored Oyo state so that they don’t have to give us any funds to support us (Oyo state),” she said during an interview on Ibadan-based radio station, Splash FM.

A socio-political group, Oyo Kajola Group (OKG), in a press release signed by its media coordinator, Adebayo Ayandele, also criticized the failure of the president to lockdown the state. The group also advised the Federal Government to immediately include Oyo State on the list of beneficiaries for COVID-19 funding

“The President had no reason to sidestep Oyo State in his national broadcast on COVID19. That leaves a sour taste in the mouth but we believe that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari can still redeem itself by immediately including Oyo state in the list of the states to benefit from the COVID-19 funding,” the group stated.

Despite the outcry by residents of the state against the decision of the Federal Government to lockdown based on the fact that as at the time the President announced the lockdown, Oyo State had the third-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country which is more than Ogun – one the states which the President ordered to be on lockdown.

Yemi Akinlabi, a former caretaker chairman of Ibarapa Central local government in a chat on a WhatsApp group, said he was surprised the President did not order the lockdown of Oyo and Osun State in his latest broadcast.

He said, “I was surprised that the president did not include Oyo and Osun states in the lockdown. They recorded more positive tests than Ogun state and it’s increasing fast in both states”.

Another resident of the State who bared his mind in a chat on a Whatsapp group, Tope Kazeem,  agreed that it’s true the President shunned critics but was quick to add that the decision of the President depends on the briefing he is getting from the field

“You are right sir. Even Edo( state) but I think it all depends on the briefing he is getting from the field. I think what is favoring Ogun is not about the number of cases but about the close proximity to the epicenter – Lagos.

“And you are aware that most people in Lagos lives in the Ogun state less cities. But he acknowledged the challenges of other states too and assured them of getting across to them,” his statement read.

However, another resident opined that each state can enforce total or partial lockdown if the need arises without waiting for Federal Government to do so.

He cited the example of Osun and some other states that are currently under a total lockdown without awaiting the order of the federal government.

However, some residents of the state called on the state government to order the lockdown.

Deji Bobade, a resident of the state in a comment on facebook stated that he believes the state governor is living in self denial.

His comment read,”GSM (Governor Seyi Makinde) is still living in self denial. He still believes in the efficacy of his carrots to tackle the pandemic. He doesn’t believe in lockdown but they want the federal government to give the state same treatment like Lagos. He’s being smart by half. The curfew is so useless that there’s no need for it. Now government offices would open on 20th April! Whatever for, I don’t know? I won’t be fooled by the statistics being bandied about as the COVID-19 status in Oyo. Its all hogwash. He doesn’t want to lockdown because he doesn’t have any plan for palliatives for the people. UCH has been on lockdown for upward of three weeks now except for emergency services.”

Another resident of the state, Morufu Smith, criticized the decision of the state government to stop the spread of covid-19 by declaring curfew at a period when interactions should have reduced. He added, “It’s as if we don’t have governor in Oyo state.”

Some residents, however, supported the decision of the state governor not to order a lockdown.
Olufemi Adebanjo, in a comment on Facebook, wrote, “The man (Seyi Makinde) has said that he won’t lockdown for lockdown sake. To the glory of GOD the situation is under control. Come to think of it even those state where there is lockdown, the level of compliance is far below average coupled with the rampant security breaches in Ogun and Lagos States in the last few days.”

Another resident, Ifedayo Precious Akinyandenu, wrote,”Despite the lockdown in other states, they are experiencing worst cases. Here in Ibadan, our governor did not lockdown the state and the spread is not at alarming rate.”
In his own view, Ismaila Ashipa was more concerned about the welfare of the vulnerables in the Society. He wrote that there are factory workers whose factories have shut down or down size.

“Who would pay their salaries? If you and I are comfortable, let’s think of the vulnerable,” he added.

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