In continued show of his strategic, proactive and all-inclusive leadership, Governor Udom Emmanuel yesterday held a media chat with journalists in the State. The Special Media Parley which had 100 percent of Members of the State Executive Council in attendance and streamed across many electronic and social media platforms was at the Banquet Hall of the Government House, Uyo.
Apart from the periodic updates from government quarters that have been occasioned by the ravaging Corona Virus pandemic, the Governor used the opportunity to further put matters in proper perspectives and assured Akwa Ibom people in particular and residents in the State in general of government’s continued and sincere commitments to the challenges of COVID 19. To succeed maximally, the Governor said all must see the fight as a collective one and implored all to support the government patriotically in its genuine efforts, instead of resorting to falsehood, needless criticisms, mischievous allegations and false alarms.
The content of His Excellency’s speech and subsequent highlights during interactive session with the audience came with sectoral updates that proved that the Governor is indeed on top of the situation, and that the many assumptions that had been traded by critics in the present circumstances can only happen in a state like ours where some persons always seek to take advantage of situations to draw attention to themselves, just because of bad politics.
The Governor categorically decried a situation where some few unpatriotic persons in the society have chosen to take a different course from the collective efforts, focus and will of the general majority.
Although no leader in any part of the world anticipated a pandemic of this deadly dimension, Governor Udom Emmanuel reiterated with a sense of modesty that, due to his proactive approaches to issues, COVID 19 met the State as if the Governor foresaw what will happen when he aggressively pursued the revamping and upgrading of healthcare centres in the state right form his first term in office. In plainer words, hospitals in the State were already equipped with basic equipment, which made it easier for the state to response to COVID 19 with less stress but with technical upgrading of such equipment to match the time. The clairvoyant steps taken, according to the Governor who spoke with a sense of confidence and pride in successes so far recorded, had served the state the panic and bad consequences associated with the Corona virus outbreak.
The Governor gave a breakdown of what has been done in addition to refurbished hospitals; deployment of about 200 Medical Doctors from the available 407 and about 2000 nurses in the state; isolation centres with 25 bed with modern facilities; and 13 ventilators. Others include stable power supply from a newly procures generator for the Ibom Specialty Hospital; functional ICU unit; digitalized/functional situation control room; and a call centre manned by 50 medical experts. Of course, on ground already is the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Ikot Ekpene that has been brought into full steam with the time.
Typical example of such medical infrastructure is the ongoing construction of a-300 bed isolation centre in Ituk Mbang, Uruan Local Government Area, which the Governor said is fast nearing completion and will be commissioned in two weeks time. He said an agency has already donated 100 beds while the State Government shall provide the remaining 200. As result of this, in addition to other things that have been put in place, the NCDC has in its special appreciation scored Akwa Ibom 99% in its assessment of states’ responses to COVID 19. That indeed is a plus based on evidence and conviction. The governor said COVID 19 has enabled the State government to make more investments on healthcare in the State, and therefore challenged other states to follow up for future unforeseen instances.
On COVID 19 in particular, which has generated some controversy by those who don’t know the exact situation, the governor disclosed that the number of specimen so far collected from the State is 84; with only 3 active cases still remaining as we speak, and 3 persons having been discharged. To ensure things work according to plans, the meets every day with the COVIS 19 management and response team as well as media team, in strict adherence with directives from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) whose officials have been in the state for more than two weeks now giving continuous direction on how best to go about the war against COVID 19.
Other than needless criticisms from those who will never see anything good in government, the governor hinted that the state is already strategizing on modalities for post-COVID era and will soon set up an economic think tank to that effect. He therefore emphasized on the area of all supporting government in its contact tracing of persons with possible symptoms of COVID. Members of the public were advised to make calls to that effect to appropriate quarters rather than be overwhelmed with fear because COVID is not a dead sentence.
It was another occasion of rapturous applause when the governor disclosed that foodstuff like rice and even flour that had been distributed as palliatives to the vulnerable were all sourced from the state, a plus to his revolutionary approach to agriculture and industrialization of the State. He however commented that the 1, 800 bags of donated by the federal government to the state were found not to be in good state, and therefore will not be given to Akwa Ibom people until further checks were done.
His Excellency also debunked allegations in the social media that over 10 of his Commissioners were down with COVID 19, describing such as the crudest imagination of mischief-makers and enemies of the state. As physical evidence to the contrary, the governor asked all members of the State Executive Council to stand up. All were sound and hearty with no one missing. “I may not have had to bring out the whole EXCO, but it is important for the whole world to see that the foundation of what they read in the past two weeks is nothing but blackmail”, Governor Emmanuel said.
It was on that note that he disclosed that the redeployment of the State’s immediate past epidemiologist, Dr. Aniekem Uwah, was nothing new but a normal thing in service regulations. Above all, it is commendable that even in the crisis and stress that have come with COVID 19, the State government had as at April 24, 2020 paid salaries to all its employees across board.
Short of mentioning names, the Governor appreciated all frontline and marginal fighters on the battle against the dreaded pandemic for their commitments and selflessness. He particularly thanked the medics, the press and the NDDC for donation of 100 million naira to the state. He also appreciated the compliance of residents in the state to laid down regulations as well as precautionary and prevented measures. The State Executive sympathized.
It was beautiful that the governor provided a forum for questions to be asked. Hence, the remarks made at the end by the Akwa Ibom State Council Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Amos Etuk, were indications of appreciation of what the governor has done so far, satisfaction for the excellent answers he gave to questions raised during the interactive session, and a note of solidarity for His Excellency’s pragmatic leadership.
It would therefore be expected that all shall join hands with the governor in fighting this novel of humankind called Corona Virus, rather than taking delight in blackmail, misinformation and falsehood for unprofitable aims.