By Omonu Nelson
In modern history, there has never been an outbreak of pandemic that generated so much controversy like the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. Even the dreadful days of HIV/AIDS was never this dreaded and theatrical to say the least.
The conspiracy theory sorrounding Covid-19 is not limited to Nigeria, however, the Governor of the ‘Confluence State, as Kogi State is fondly called because of its natural endowments, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello, who looks to NCDC, Presidential Taskforce and Governors Forum, a’ Rebel’ has taken the debate to bittersweet level.
The Presidential Taskforce and Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, with a nail-biting anger has fumed at Governor Bello’s disposition about the COVID-19 debate. While Governor Bello’s stance has drawn applauds from most Nigerians, the Presidential Taskforce has declared Yahaya Bello’s Kogi as a high risk state for COVID-19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 brouhaha has also unleashed the ‘babel’ effects on the Governors conclave. The Governors Forum is reputed for covering their tracks, especially, when it concerns any of their members, but on the Covid-19 controversy, the Governors have distanced themselves from one of their own (the Rebel Governor).
While responding to the efforts by the Federal Government, NCDC and Presidential Taskforce to purchase COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Yahaya Bello had observed that the proposed vaccine was meant to kill us.
Between Governor Bello, Presidential Taskforce and NCDC, someone is certainly not getting things right. Governor Bello’s position on COVID-19 has been incontrovertible. He has asked the NCDC to stay clear of his state, as according to him, Kogi State ‘gat’ no COVID.
The mixup got messier penultimate week, when the Presidential Taskforce declared Kogi as a high state. The pertinent question to ask is, since this debate has been ragging, we expect people to start dropping dead on the streets of Lokoja, the Kogi State capital and other parts of the state, because the ‘Rebel’ Governor have remained recalcitrant. Nothing of such has happened. In fact, Governor Bello’s approach appears more like what you don’t see, will not see you.
The people, even non Kogites have applauded Governor Bello for his COVID stance. Come to think of it, most Nigerians are yet to come to terms with the reality of Covid-19 and its magnitude.
Governor Bello may be right for taking this position because as he has always argued, the economy is already in a bad shape, adding Covid politics to it will further compound the economic woes.
The Governor and his backers have used the recent data from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to validate this position. NBS had in a recent report explained that Kogi State led the packs in attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). The Governor and his handlers did not waste time to count it as part of the dividend of his refusal to buy into the COVID-19 shenanigan.
Also, the ‘Rebel’ Governor has stuck to his argument that instead of spending humongous 400 billions naira for the proposed purchase of vaccines, it should rather be used to reposition, modernise and turnaround health facilities around the country. Good suggestion, even opponents of the Rebel Governor have agreed with him on this.
Governor Bello may be seen as a Rebel in the Covid-19 controversy but he is sure to be vindicated because the argument is tilting in his favour.
Nonetheless, it is good to ask, what is the interest of the NCDC and Presidential Taskforce?