By Dr Tom Ohikere
Today’s claim of Covid-19 virus in Kogi state which necessitated the lockdown order by the state government has shifted the emphasis from level of obligation imposed frequently requiring acceptance of what is not considered visible by the state government to a precautionary stands with the federal government.
This reorientation in any case should enhance deliberation and never to be understood as reduced to a choice but, on the contrary, a reciprocal exercise of intelligence and will, balancing the different alternatives aims at protecting the lives and livelihoods of Kogi people.
On the other hand, skeptical philosophers stress that the support of the majority does not imply the truthfulness of the statement. This truism is important as a basis for the growing discredit toward “consensus”that follows.
Governor Yahaya Bello’s efforts to reject the broad consensus of the Covid-19 virus existing in Kogi state has seemingly proved abortive as a result of pressure from the federal government and some elements in the state.
Kogi state had activated a rapid response team since 2017 to curb any epidemic suspected to occur like the Ebola and Lasa fever which had so far performed to the commendation of the national and international health organizations.
This team has also been committed to ensuring that the dreaded Covid-19 virus do not enter the state but has been under serious pressure to announce fictitious victims of the Covid-19 virus with some people accusing Bello’s administration of taking an unpatriotic and disruptive stance at a time of national health crisis on the lame notion that all the states surrounding Kogi already have COVID-19.
Earlier Bello promised not to bat an eyelid to what he call “fraud “Kogi state will not give in to pressure to announce fictitious cases of COVID-19. We will only announce a real case of confirmed COVID-19 when it exists, and we advise our people to strictly follow the state government’s guidelines in the prevention of the disease, for as it stands, Kogi state is officially COVID-19 free!”
But just yesterday, Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi state ordered for the locked down of Kabba/Bunu local government area of the state, following the purported index cases of COVID-19 in the state as the CABLE online newspaper reported how Ahmad Ejibunu, chief imam of Kabba, and one of his aides tested positive for the disease.
This has once again reignite the controversy trailing the COVID-19 response in Kogi, a development that pitted state authorities against their federal counterparts.
Prior to the NCDC’s results of Wednesday, Kogi and Cross Rivers were the only states yet to confirm any case of the virus, a record widely disputed by health authorities and federal officials who believe governments in both states are discouraging tests for people with symptoms of COVID-19.
Authorities in Kogi and Cross Rivers believe there is a plot to compulsorily report COVID-19 cases in the states but medical experts and federal officials said the low number of test samples turned in from the states is making it difficult to ascertain if they are actually coronavirus-free.
Ejibunu, who was transferred to Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, from Kabba Specialist Hospital was eventually referred to the National Hospital, Abuja, where he was diagnosed with the disease.
Though the Kogi state government had however rejected the results, accusing the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) of perpetrating fraud, but because of the insensitivity of some people who are still yet to believe that Kogi state is Covid-19 free, Bello swung into action and ordered for a 14 day total lockdown in the local government area of the suspected victim, Kabba/Bunu local government area of the state as a proactive measures to contain the virus from spreading if at all it exist.