Covid-19: Kwara Gov under fire for embarking on “secret isolation”

Action signifies total disregard for Kwarans – Stakeholders He can’t give what he don’t have, altitude has worsened governance – Ex-Reps member

By Mumini AbdulKareem
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara State has come under fire for allegedly embarking on an undisclosed self-quarantine to determine his covid-19 status.
The action left the people in the dark about his whereabouts for 14 days without proper delegation of duties to his deputy, Mr Kayode Alabi.
Concerned Kwarans have expressed concern over the action of the governor without any officially communication from relevant quarters.
There have been calls for the Governor to take the Covid-19 test after his counterparts in other states he had mingled at their state and at the federal executive council meetings tested positive to the pandemic.
The Governor during a state-wide address revealed that he had been self-isolation shortly after returning from the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja in full compliance with the safety protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on COVID-19.
“Until now, I have remained in self-isolation shortly after returning from the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja on March 19. This is in keeping faith with the COVID-19 Protocol that requires anyone with probable exposure to the virus, especially after travel to frontline areas, to either self-isolate for 14 days incubation period or get tested to know their status. AlihamduliLlah, I am fine as I have always been”, he added.
But speaking on the issue Thursday during a radio programme in Ilorin, the anchor of the Kwara State stakeholders Consultative Forum popularly known as “Efunra”, Hon Ayanshola Muhammed described the governor’s action as an insult and display of lack of regards for the electorates that voted for him during the 2019 gubernatorial election in the state.
According Ayanshola who said the stakeholders consist of leaders, elders, youths and traditional rulers across the length and breadth of the state that cuts across political and ethnic lines noted that the action of the Governor has unfortunately impacted negatively on governance in Kwara State.
He said: “Before now, we have demanded and queried the whereabouts of our governor that he should come out and tell the people where he has been because his comment at times like this is a physiological relief for the people.
“What other governors who also embarked on it was to inform their people that they are going on self-isolation, they didn’t keep the people guessing because this is a democracy.
“And when he eventually came out of it, he didn’t even apologise to the people about his absence like it’s done in other civilised climes. It’s like he didn’t like Kwarans who voted for him”, he added.
Ayanshola said the governor’s action affected a lot of things during his absence and many things suffered for the last 14 days he was away.
“Look at the Sobi isolation centre for instance, we are yet to fully understand the level of things there and how prepared we are. In other states like Lagos and Ogun, we see live pictures and footages of their isolation centres with the regular briefings from their governors. Why is our case different in Kwara? We are in the dark about the real state of affairs in the isolation centre we have here.
“People are saying that there is not water, toilet facilities and claimed the ambulance is a refurbished one that is not conducive for taking patients. But we cannot be able to debunk it because we have not been fully briefed about it. The coronavirus pandemic require special training for the medical personnel who are at the front line, the Deputy Governor was only made the Head of the Covid-19 committee; power was not was fully transferred to him and so there is a limit to what he can do while the Governor was away”, he added.
He queried why the Governor has not used his association with the APC government in power at the federal level to push for the use of the Kwara Diagnostic centre built by former Governor Bukola Saraki and adjudged as one of the best in African as a designated test centre instead of waiting for results from other states and the economic benefit that could accrue from such move.
He alleged that the leader of the team that led the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to the state who is also an indigene of the state condemned what he met on ground when he came as the state preparation for Covid-19.
“The leader of the team of the NCDC, Dr Shuaib Yinka Belgore who is also a Kwaran condemned what he met on ground that “there is no preparation in Kwara”, he added.
Also commenting on the issue, a former House of Representatives member in the state, Hon Abraham Ashaolu said the Governor cannot give what he don’t have adding that his action has worsened governance in the state.
In a telephone chat with National Pilot on Thursday, Ashaolu said “He (Governor) has a track record of not actually speaking to the people. That is his own style of governance and presiding over Kwara. That was why he didn’t even deem it fit to address the state at the beginning of this pandemic. It’s not the right attitude but unfortunately you don’t give what you don’t have, he cannot give what he doesn’t have and the state has been the worse for it”.
On the issue of the palliatives, the former lawmaker noted that “during the past administration we had, is it possible for a whole household to be given two or five kilograms of rice as we have seen on social media. What is been given as palliatives is comical and too token, it has no meaning. They are making ridicule of the people and it’s as good as if nothing has been done and something has to be done.
“Kwara is not the only state in Nigeria. Since the governor has made it its style not to do much talking to the people, apart from making Sobi Specialist hospital an isolation centre, we have had little or nothing about other possible places in Kwara north and south. We are just praying that the covid-19 does not explode in the state because it’s as good as there is little or no preparation to handle an explosive situation”.
Also speaking on the issue, former Special Adviser Labour and Student Affairs to the Kwara State, Comrade Bisi Fakayode said the attitude of the governor has eroded the confidence entrusted on him by Kwarans.
“The Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is abusing the confidence Kwarans reposed in him and he is getting to a point that…see in an ideal environment with the vote Kwarans past on him, he becomes our property and we should his in and out and everything about him. But his going into isolation or quarantine without informing Kwarans is an abuse and insult on all of us.
”There are three categories to this issue and even those governors that tested positive handed over to their deputy when they were leaving for isolation or quarantine and even went ahead to announced to the people and that their deputies will be in charge. In his own case, Governor Abdulrazaq held the state into ransome and he cannot exonerate himself from the outbreak and death recorded afterwards because it was as if the state was not prepared.
”We heard that before the deceased was taken to the UITH, the Sobi specialist hslospital was the first point of call but the place was under lock and key which attested to the fact of our unpreparedness. We also learnt that those that are using the place now are complaining of lack of water and toilet facilities. In all what they are doing, there is not transparency at all and I think enough is enough. To compound the insult he is passing on us, when he came back from wherever he went, he didn’t even think that Kwarans deserves an apology.
”I know now that more than the average number of kwarans that voted for him are seeing a different Abdulrahman today and Kwarans will do justice when it is time for them to talk.
”We even learnt that the budget given to the ministry if health for the training of the personnel where not even approved because the Governor cannot be reached and he did not delegate his deputy. It wasn’t the Governor that went into isolation, he locked all of us and by implication, it was the state and the people that went into isolation for the whole 14 days. Everything just stood still”, the unionist added.

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