Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State says his administration is preparing for life after the COVID-19 pandemic while acknowledging the troubling impact of the disease on economic and social activities.
Dr Fayemi, who is the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, spoke on Friday night during Public Eye Live interaction with Funmi Iyanda on Instagram.
According to him, nobody saw the coronavirus and its devastating effect on the health sector coming when they were preparing for 2020.
“We are having to review the budget of states just as the Federal Government is also reviewing its budget.
“This is the number one challenge for government in the world, and at the local level that’s also our number one challenge.
“We are diverting a lot of our resources to the health sector,” he said.
With nine active cases of COVID-19, two discharges and one death in Ekiti as of Friday, May 8, the governor praised his state’s response to the disease.
“Even though we don’t have the resources of Lagos, we set about this work almost immediately as soon as we had the first case (of coronavirus) in Lagos.
“We set up a local training arrangement. By the time we eventually got the first case around the 15th of March, we were read.
“Our infectious disease centre was ready; we had everything we needed to have in place,” he said.
Governor Fayemi declared that Ekiti is learning from the challenges of COVID-19.
“This virus will go. What if another virus will come?
“We should use this as a chance to focus on building our economy to be ready for this kind of thing.
“Our first priority is to ensure that livelihood isn’t threatened.
“Yes, we want to save lives but people should also be able to eke out a living. We also have a commitment to our small and medium scale enterprises were the bulk of our business people are.
“One of the critical things we are using is agriculture.
We feel this is an opportunity for us to break out of our seeming attachment to subsistence farming to commercial agribusiness,” he added.
Speaking earlier on Public Eye, Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, described policemen as frontline workers in the fight against coronavirus.
He called on Nigerians to cooperate with the police to make the gradual easing of lockdown imposed in most parts of the country easier.
“As police officers, we are also struggling with the challenges of COVID 19. But we suffer quietly and bear our pain silently.
“Police officers just like other Nigerians have also become casualties and victims.
“A lot of police officers that work in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and other big cities in Nigeria particularly in the lower rank live outside of the city centre because of rent.
“With COVID 19 most of these people don’t own private vehicles, but they are expected to turn up to work. Lots of these police officers are spending four or five times the amount of money coming to work than they would usually spend along with the health hazards,” Mr. Mba said.
He confirmed that at least one police officer has died of COVID-19 and an unspecified number has tested positive.
“These deaths and the increasing number of police officers contracting this disease point to the fact that we are indeed in danger just as our brothers and sisters working in core medical fields are also in danger,” Mba said.
Also speaking, Professor Oyewale Tomori warned that Nigeria is headed for a calamity if the right thing is not done to fix the healthcare system.
“Unfortunately, we are a country that lives by lessons forgotten. We did very well with Ebola and soon after that, we forgot all of those things.
“Nobody is talking about Lassa fever. More people have died of Lassa fever this year than COVID.
“It’s unfortunate that we never learn from the past,” the renowned virologist lamented.
Public Eye is produced by Oya Media with support from McArthur Foundation.