AMVCA AWARD NIGHT: COVID-19 NEW THREAT IN LAGOS
There is growing apprehension among residents of Lagos over a report that a popular TV anchor (name withheld), who was part of the just concluded AMVCA Award night is suspected to be sick with the Corona Virus. The TV host, who is believed to have recently returned from the United Kingdom, started to show symptoms of the virus a few days ago. The concern however is that he is believed to have gone into hiding over fear of the negative impact this might have on his brand and career in the entertainment industry. It is worthy to note that although he was not visibly sick while anchoring at the event, he was seen mingling and exchanging pleasantries with several celebrities on the day oblivious of his health status as relating to COVID-19. He was equally said to have visited Cubana Night Club on Adeola Odeku Street on Victoria Island, Lagos severally between 13th and 15th of March.
Some of the celebrities in the know at this moment, who had direct contact with him at the event, are currently in panic mode. The fear that this might create a web of infected victims with its attendant tracing difficulty in envisaged now. It is therefore advised that the state health officials involved in the COVID-19 containment should as a matter of urgency, attend to this issue to assuage the growing fear permeating through the social space if it is indeed true of importance also, the video of the event will be useful if obtained as it will help in identifying those to be concerned about.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Government at all levels should live by the examples of what they expect of the citizens. In the past 72 hours, government at the federal and state levels have given several directives to the citizens which they have not kept. It is disappointing if the Federal government through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation will issue a directive and agencies in the same government will disregard same. An example of this is the recent order for closure of all schools in the country by the Federal Ministry of Education. This is in furtherance to the earlier directives on ‘social distancing’ of not more than 50 persons by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwolu. The Governors of Ogun and several other States followed with similar directives in a move that shows a positive awakening to the seriousness of the issue. It is disappointing to see a contradicting release from Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), an agency of Government, insisting that it is going ahead with its exams as scheduled. It was also observed that not only that the Lagos State Alausa Secretariat was a beehive of activities with its bustling and hustling 24 hours after Governor Sanwolu’s directive. The Ministry of Local Government and the Local Government Service Commission help promotion seminar for workers in its employment in about 4 different centres with each having over 300 persons in attendance and crowded inside one auditorium.
The question here is how much of cooperation can a government who does not respect his own directive gets from the people? One would ordinarily expect that such a Ministry will suspend the event immediately after the Governor’s directive to show the seriousness it attached to the pandemic. On the other hand, there have been observed motions without movements in all the Local Governments’ offices across the country. Several of them have already hurriedly allocated budget and funds for COVID-19 with nothing to show yet. One would expect that by now, information officers in all the LGAs would have begun social and community advocacy and information sharing in the communities. By now, Community Health Officers ought to have begun visits to communities and educating them on the dangers of COVID-19 and the best way to avoid getting infected. All these are presently not visibly seen in any Local Government Area. Federal agencies like the National Orientation Agency (NOA) are very much absent as the case for several years now.
This is a litmus test for leaders in government on selflessness, integrity, trust and good governance. It is imperative to remind the leaders that People will definitely follow a leader that can demonstrate that he says what he means and he means whatever he says.