By Mumini Abdulkareem
Following the death of the Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Governor of Kwara State, Dr Adisa Logun due to Covid-19 on Wednesday, there have been growing calls for members of the cabinet and government officials to go on self-isolation.
Logun’s death from Covid-19 complications which was confirmed by the State Government in a statement has stirred great concerns in the state over the possibility of the spread among the government officials and those that might have had contact with him including the Governor.
The Governor in an apparent move many believed was aimed at exonerating himself of being a suspected carrier of the disease said he had last met his late chief of Staff over 90 days ago.
According to a statement by the Commissioner for Communication, Henrietta Adenike Afolabi-Oshatimehin, “It is important to note that His Excellency the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq last had any physical contact with the late Chief of Staff on April 6 during the launch of the conditional cash transfer for the elderly. The Governor’s subsequent meetings with the late CoS had all been virtual. Similarly, the State Executive Council meetings and most official engagements have consistently been held through virtual platforms in line with the COVID-19 protocols,” the commissioner said.
But shortly after the statement, the Governor has come under fire by some residents and on the social media many of who have queried whether he has been running governance alone and taking unilateral decisions on matters of the state.
Some of the posers that have been raised are whether the Governor will not make himself available for another round of test and self-isolation, has has been running a solitary government and taking unilateral decisions after his admittance that he last saw his last CoS 14 days before the incident, how was the decision to reshuffle cabinet alone and whether the N1.56bn covid was appropriated for.
According to Adio Odunjo from Obbo-Ile in Ekiti local government area of Kwara State, the Governor has not been sincere to Kwarans on the issue of Covid-19 adding the people can no longer keep quiet.
He said there is no place in the world where the status of a public office holder is keep in secret noting that the Governor’s reported isolation at a time was never brought to public notice.
“Again, the late chief of Staff was Covid-19 positive and people were kept in darkness, many people in the government house are now potential Covid-19 carrier. …This government is doing more damage to people of Kwarans than good delivery of dividends of democracy”, he added.
Some elders across the state under the aegis of Kwara Concerned Stakeholders recently demanded for explanation from the governor for embarking on a secret isolation after the death of former Chief of Staff to the President, late Abba Kyari whom he had met few days before without informing the citizens who pay his salaries as tax payers.
The Governor was further tackled by Civil Society Organisations within and outside the state on how the N1.5bn declared as spending for Covid-19 in three months was spent.
Two leading Kwara State based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Brain Builders International (BBI) and Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), expressed reservations concerning the government claims.
Executive Director of BBI, Olasupo Abideen, said although managing Covid-19 is very expansive, the Kwara State Government has something to hide over the release.
“I don’t want to pre-empt that any embezzlement has taken place until we have line by line items of how the N1.5bn was spent just as they do for budget. Agreed the pandemic is very expensive to manage but when there is issue of trust, people starts to feel something is fishy. The government should be more open and following our numerous engagements with Kwarans, their major problem about this administration is that they are no more transparent. But is evident that the government is trying to hide something”, he submitted.
On his part, Dr Alagbonsi said “The figure needs to be verified by citizens before a credible comment can be made. We are going to request for further information on amounts published, especially concerning the palliatives. We need access to information on the bill of quality of food items bought with the money disclosed by the government on palliative. We also need the government to provide specific information on the types and quantity of items received as donations. All these will be reconciled with our own data on the palliative before we can arrive at any credible conclusion”, he noted.
Recall that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on had threatened to institute legal action against the Kwara State Government over it’s failure to provide information on COVID-19 funds.
According to a statement on the Twitter page of the group, the Governor failed to give details of spending on COVID-19 despite the request it made.
“In response to our FoI request, Kwara state governor has wrongly claimed that: “information on details of spending on COVID-19 is protected from disclosure by the Freedom of Information Act.
“We’ll see the governor and his government in court soon”, SERAP added.