By Alfred Dogwo, Lokoja.
Every indegene of Kogi state should want Governor Yahaya Bello and his administration to handle the coronavirus epidemic effectively and successfully. Those who seem eager to see the governor fail and to call every administration misstep a fiasco risk letting their partisanship blind them to the demands, not only of civic responsibility but of basic decency.
It’s true that in a serious public-health crisis, the public has the right to expect the government’s chief executive to lead in a number of crucial ways: by prioritizing the problem properly, by deferring to subject-matter experts when appropriate while making key decisions in informed and sensible ways, by providing honest and careful information to the state, by calming fears and setting expectations, and by addressing mistakes and setbacks.
Now, most people are saying that Governor Yahaya Bello has so far hasn’t passed muster on any of these metrics. That he resisted making the response to the epidemic a priority for as long as he could — refusing briefings, downplaying the problem, and wasting precious time. That he has failed to properly empower his subordinates and refused to trust the information they provided him — often offering up unsubstantiated claims from the television instead. That he has spoken about the crisis in a crude political and personal terms. That he has stood in the way of public understanding of the plausible course of the epidemic, trafficking instead in dismissive clichés. And that he has denied his administration’s missteps, making it more difficult to address them.
But who made those mistakes is a matter of dispute. It should now be enough with the coronavirus recriminations. The public need to stop the blame game and join hand with the government to solve the crisis. Eventually, those who failed to respond forcefully to the campaign on the virus will be called to account. But now is absolutely the wrong moment for finger-pointing and blame-shifting.
We’re deep in the throes of an unprecedented emergency and we have plenty to do to pull ourselves out of it. This is the time for us to encourage the government on how to send clear, focused, forward-looking messages explaining exactly what is being asked of us and why changing our behavior is so important. We need more testing, more protective gear, more medical equipment, and we need our leaders to pull together regardless of their party. An obsessive focus on blame is an unwelcome and unhealthy distraction.
Governor Bello is the worst offended. There may be some truth to the accusations. Early mistakes may have led to a slower and weaker response around the state but we thank God no one is yet infected. Ultimately we will want to know whether the governor did everything he could have or whether he made mistakes through ignorance, political correctness or the fog of misinformation. But we will need to examine those missteps in order to prevent similar ones going forward.
The media took the streets that: “The Governor ignored those warnings, took insufficient action and caused unnecessary laxity by allowing free movements in the state.”
It’s not that the media may be wrong. Repeated news stories have documented that Governor Bello’s government was slow off the mark and in fact did many of the same things they are now accusing the public of negligence and not adhering to the rules of NCDC. But again, it is hard to see how this line of attack to the government will help us out of the mess of being exposed to future attack by the epindemic.
It would be a misunderstanding of how the rhetoric of conservative facebook media in the state operates to think the Governor will meet much resistance.
In the world created by Kogi Facebook gamers, policy issues and ways of understanding controversies are fluid and subject to change. What is unchanging are the meta-themes that run through all their coverage that: “The government always lie and so can never be trusted”. Beside all those meta-themes, which have been in operation for a few decades now, is one of more recent vintage: “Bello is careless.”
Watching all that, you may ask yourself how anyone believes a thing they say. But this is what their propaganda machine are built for.
Other than a handful of government doctors and scientists, did any of our leaders in the state or in the diaspora acquits Kogites brilliantly in the early days warning? Many have to be educated about the nature of the threat and certainly needed substantial persuasion before they agreed to order dramatic changes in people’s behavior that would infringe on personal liberty and cause enormous economic damage.
There will be years of studies and reports and analyses, and more than enough second-guessing and Monday morning quarterbacking. Undoubtedly the battle will be won in our dear state on the basis of how Governor Yahaya Bello responded to the crisis — or failed to. And that will be entirely appropriate.
But the cynical finger-pointing, the deflection of responsibility, the politicization of a dreadfully serious pandemic is not right, and it’s certainly not right at this moment. The public need to cooperate with the government to keep their focus on getting us through the pandemic breeze and beyond. Later we can go back to the recriminations.
ALFRED DOGWO is an independent free speech activist and he wrote from Lokoja, Kogi State. 0803 476 8404
Kogi State Government To Engaged More 700 Health Professionals To Sustain Its Health Coverage In The State
Kogi state Government has expressed its readiness to recruit additional seven hundred health professionals to help to sustain its health coverage in the state .
Commissioner of health , Doctor Saka Audu made the disclosure while flagging off of ‘Nursing Now Campaign in Lokoja,the state capital.
He also announced the establishment of committee tagged “inter professionals Association committee ‘to resolve disputes among various Heath bodies in the state.
Doctor Saka noted that the crisis rocking health bodies if not amiably settled would affect Government’s effort to deliver effective and efficient health services to the populace .
He described the nursing profession as unique and Noble as their services to humanity cannot be equantify
Doctor Saka said Government was working out modalities to resolve the disputes that led to the close down of the Federal medical center Lokoja.
In a message on the occasion, the Speaker of kogi State House of assembly, Right honourable Mathew Kolawole assured that the house would collaborate with the ministry by making law that will help to weed out quack practitioners in the state.
The speaker who was represented by the Chairman house committee on health and member representing Lokoja one constituency, Alhaji Isah Tenimu commended nursing for their efforts to safe lives of the citizens.
In a keynote address, the state Director of Nursing Mrs Martina Oguche said this year celebration is focusing on five critical areas which are, ensuring nurses and midwives have prominent voice in health policy making, recruiting more nurses into leadership positions, conducting research that help determine where Nurses can have the greatest impact.
Various Goodwill messages came from the state head of civil service Mrs Deborah Ogunmola,The executive Chairman of primary healthcare agency, Doctor Abubakir Yakubu, and Acting Director of Nursing services, hospitals management board, Mrs, MB Olorunnyomi among others.
Nigeria Senate Kick Against Foreign Methods Of Fighting COVID-19, Rejects N75,000 Test Fee For Int’l Flight
The Senate has cautioned relevant stakeholders in the health sector against killing the nation’s economy by adopting foreign methods of fighting COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate’s admonition against imported measures of fighting COVID-19 came from the co-chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Health and Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West), during an interactive session with stakeholders in the Aviation and Health sectors on safety measures put in place in the wake of the resumption of international and domestic flights in the country.
Senator Adeyemi, who chairs the Senate Aviation Committee, said although based on realities on ground, COVID-19 was real but not potent in Nigeria and many other African countries.
According to him, based on that reality, it was wrong for relevant authorities in the country to be swallowing hook, line and sinker, measures being adopted to fight the disease in Europe, Americas, China and other advanced countries of the world.”There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America, which made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it was there.
“In the light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the nation’s economy.
“People are not finding things easy outside there as a result of the way and manner COVID-19 pandemic is being fought in the country and as representatives of the people, feelers reaching us indicate revolt against government in December if drastic actions are not taken between now and then to make things easier” Adeyemi warned.
For his part, chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), specifically faulted the policy adopted by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, which allows only private laboratories to carry out tests on intending travelers abroad at the cost of N75,000.
The measure according to him, is detrimental to average Nigerians who are being forced to cough out N75,000 for the test, which he described as unacceptable.
“The amount is too high, it should be brought down and public health Institutions laboratories should be equipped to carry out the tests”, Oloriegbe said.
Also, Senator Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South), took up both the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and coordinator of PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, who were both present, on the usefulness or otherwise of facemasks in Nigeria against the backdrop that some don’t comply with the directive and are free from COVID-19.
She said based on what she saw in many communities in Ekiti State last week, residents have jettisoned its usage of facemasks.
Responding, Dr. Aliyu said the three reasons of standard of living, demography and aggressive nature of African countries were identified to defy coronavirus.
Healthcare: Zulum Approves 594 Doctors, Nurses, Others For Borno hospitals, Okays Annual Course For 200 more
… To Increase Doctors, Nurses Quarters
Governor Babagana Umara Zulum has approved the engagement of 84 medical doctors, 365 nurses and midwives, 45 pharmacists and 100 health technicians and other supportive staff, making 594 personnel being added to Borno’s healthcare sector.
Zulum announced the recruitment on Monday in Maiduguri at the end of a meeting with Borno’s public healthcare stakeholders attended by Chairman of Borno Assembly’s Committee on Health, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Salihu Kwayabura, Chairman, National Association of Nurses and Midwives, Umar M. Shettima, and heads of the State’s Health Management Board, Contributory Health Scheme, and Primary Healthcare Development Agency amongst other stakeholders. The meeting held at the Government House.
Of the 365 nurses and midwives, the Governor explained, half were fresh graduates of colleges while the others were recruited from experienced persons who had retired from the Borno civil service after years of serving in hospitals as nurses and midwives. Zulum said they have now been recruited on contract.
On the 84 medical doctors, the Governor said, some were recruited as permanent staff while some are being engaged on contract and sabbatical services.
Zulum noted that the 45 pharmacists and 100 technicians and supportive staff he approved, would work in laboratories and other diagnostic sections as key components of the health sector.
The Governor said the far reaching decision, aimed to drastically increase the number of healthcare professionals across Borno State so as to bridge existing gaps in citizens-doctors and nurses ratio, and to eventually match the increase of hospitals and primary healthcare centres in the state, 51 of which were established by the administration.
Zulum also announced that he had given approval for the State College of Nursing and Midwifery to begin annual foundation programmes that will aim to admit 200 student nurses and midwives annually. He said the foundation will commence with initial 135 student nurses, with five drawn from each of Borno’s 27 local government areas.
The Governor said the State will however enter agreement with all students who will enjoy steady payment of allowances, that on graduation from colleges, they will not leave the State, until after working in the State’s health sector over a period of time, for which they will be paid like other workers.
Zulum also announced that the State will soon embark on aggressive construction of new staff quarters for doctors, nurses and midwives, to encourage productivity.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Kwayabura, pledged the commitment of all stakeholders in the health sector to improved access to quality and affordable medical services in line with Governor Zulum’s development objectives.
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