Globally, this period is testing and challenging with the increasing proliferation of Coronavirus cases, and while Nigeria has also been facing the challenges of COVID-19, Oyo State has faced its own share of these issues too. Though the Oyo State Government had at different points enumerated her plans and processes in tackling COVID-19, a lot is still not in shape, and we are lagging behind on various aspects ranging from inadequate sensitization and safety precautions for our people, lack of work cooperation between the State Government and UCH, to the slow pace of testing among others.
At this stage of the pandemic, it will surprise you that an average market woman in Oje, Bodija, Akesan and even interior areas of Oyo state is yet to believe the existence of Coronavirus, notions such as “it is a rich man’s disease”, “the poor can’t die from it” among others have been the orientation of our people in the local areas. This is only a result of inadequate information and sensitization. Sensitization at this point should be continuous, using all available mediums to spread the information, both digital and traditional. The Oyo State Ministry of information needs to do more in bringing people at the grassroots to the understanding of COVID-19 impact.
The state government has a curfew of 7 pm to 5 am in place, this according to the governor is to discourage any form of gathering that will lead to the continuous spread of COVID-19, however during the day, no form of precaution is taken by the people in safeguarding themselves. Major markets remain crowded with no social distancing maintained, regular business centers, offices, and complexes remain crowded during the day. These acts defeat the night curfew imposed as people are at serious risk of COVID-19 transmission every day.
Also, a lot of bickering has been happening between the Oyo State Government and the management of UCH Ìbàdàn. This has largely affected the pace at which the State has responded to the COVID-19 challenge. More so, the 104 combined capacity of the Isolation Centres in Olodo and Jericho, and one test center in Adamasingba are the only structures put in place to checkmate the virus across Oyo State so far. A far cry from expectation as there are no plans for other zones of the state at the moment.
The capacity of the test center at adamasingba is also highly insignificant when compared to testing capacity in other states of the Federation. Two weeks ago, the governor said 2,000 residents will be tested per day but as we write, only a little above 600 residents have been tested by the state government in the last one month, according to Governor Seyi Makinde himself on Fresh FM phone interview he granted yesterday 27th April 2020.
As regards palliatives, all we have in Oyo state has been promises with no fulfillment, from face masks to 120,000 households to be provided with food items, the people keep looking forward with unending hope and the State Government remains elusive with relief items. In addition, there has not been any form of fumigation at public places in the state. The only fumigation done was at the state secretariat a few days ago. Our garages, malls, markets, bus stops, local government secretariats, and other public places remain undisinfected.
The State Government should as a matter of importance enforce social distancing by ensuring only markets with essential goods are allowed to open. Also, hand washing spots should be created at specific spots in these markets, while continuous community sensitization about this deadly virus should be carried out.
This is not the time for politicking or sloganeering, as such the state government should wake up from its slumber and address these pertinent issues, because coronavirus is non-partisan, color or race-blind is no respecter of social class and no member of the APC, PDP or any other political party.