By Richard PETERS
The whole world has finally come to realize that humanity is threatened by an enemy, who has no respect for life, irrespective of class, religion or race. In the recent count, almost all countries of the world have had a harsh and harmful romance from the virus, with a dark, dreaded and unstable economic future of the world in sight.
Research institutions, experts, corporate organizations, etc. have been working day and night to ascertain which love song the virus would submit to, yet the World Health Organization (WHO) still keeps us in suspense, waiting eagerly, perhaps endlessly to know what our fate would be, and which vaccine should be adopted from the myriad available.
In the midst of this, many great leaders have wept like babies as the pandemic has devastated almost what they had worked for over the years. Others act as a confused mother whose baby is convulsing for the first time: confused, fearful and tearful. And just a handful of them have stood their grounds to confront the enemy squarely. The last category of leaders have given hope to the people by stationing all the medical weaponry strategically to confront our common enemy. The results are monumental. What separates the last set from previous ones is their mindsets, and Akwa Ibom state governor, Udom Emmanuel falls into the last category.
Even before the first case of coronavirus was recorded in the state, the governor went ahead of his peers to equip two isolation centers, in addition to the upgrade of medical facilities across the three senatorial districts of the state. His “proactiveness” in handling the pandemic in the state has made many to believe that he is a prophet: A man who sees tomorrow.
How then will you explain to someone that a governor since assumption of office, almost 5 years ago prioritised in upgrading health Care facilities in the state, with state-of-the art medical equipment as if he saw the coming of coronavirus? How will you describe a man who on assumption of office also tilted our attention to the richness of Agro-economy by creating food banks for the future? This manifested in the establishment of Ibom Agricon Rice Mill at Ini LGA, Flour Mill at Onna, cassava processing Mills, cocoa, plaintain and tomato plantations across the state, to mention but a few. Today, his foresight has saved the state from hunger as almost everything we use are derived from the state. During the total lockdown in the state, palliative was provided by the state government to ease the effect of the decision on the citizens, and most of the items given were Akwa Ibom made. What a beautiful time to measure performance. Many are still asking, is Gov. Emmanuel also among the prophets? Your guess is as good as mine.
Not quite long, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) commended Gov. Emmanuel on his expertise and activeness in contact tracing which has greatly helped to reduce the number of cases in the state. Recent reports have equally attested to the fact that Akwa Ibom is one of the few states that are front-runners in the recovery rates arising from COVID-19 pandemic. The latest is from The Emergency Digest report. The feat is not magical, it is a result of purposeful leadership, honesty in handling state affairs and accuracy in delivery of his campaign promises.
Without mincing words, the management of covid-19 in Akwa Ibom is the best so far, as the governor meets with the covid-19 incident Management team on a daily basis to evaluate the situation and take informed decisions to safeguard the people. This, he does without playing to the gallery. He doesn’t want his involvement to be blown beyond proportion like the tradition of many is.
This is what one gets when the state’s covid-19 response team is working in strict adherence to the NCDC procedures, as the body had been in the state for 2 weeks to give first-hand directive on how to conduct test for coronavirus and address other vital issues. It is not magic.
The 300 bed isolation center at Ituk Mbang is near completion, and the State government has already taken delivery of 100 beds from an agency, while the state will provide the remaining 200.
For record purpose, Gov. Emmanuel had seen the future before now, and at the mercy of exaggeration, coronavirus is surprised that Akwa Ibom had already prepared for its ill- triumphant entry into the state. The state can boast of well-equipped hospitals, isolation center with beds plus modern facilities, 19 ventilators, functional Intensive Care Unit, digitalised and functional situation room and call center manned by 50 medical experts, in addition to 407 medical doctors and 2000 nurses as foot-soldiers, readily available to defeat the enemy. No wonder the enemy is always defeated at sight in Akwa Ibom, to the amazement of sister states.
As it stands now, the active covid-19 patients are all in good condition. This is not rocket science, but the product of excellent and transparent leadership. Nobody hides anything. Nobody plays politics with human life in Akwa Ibom. When it comes to naming patients at the isolation center, one must understand that there are ethics in every profession, and the confidentiality of the patients which is a serious ethical issue in the medical field, remains paramount. It must be respected by all means, except otherwise stated by the patients.
However, this fight demands collaboration. No commander fights and wins alone. It is always the collaborative efforts of other soldiers that gives victory. Hence, everyone must join hands in this fight. Citizens’ adherence to precautionary measures against coronavirus is paramount. As the state chief executive is at the Frontline, bombarding the enemy’s camp from all angles, the citizens must obey his commands, for our collective safety and victory to be guaranteed.