The Covid-19 status of 19 out of the 36 State Governors in Nigeria, is still not known.
It would be recalled, that the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had advised his colleagues to go for the test, because of their exposure.
The Governors that are yet to make their status known, are those of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Enugu, Zamfara, Jigawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Gombe, and Lagos States. The rest are those of Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe, Kwara, Benue, Ebonyi, Kogi, Imo, and Abia States.
However, 3 Governors have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and made their status known, using different platforms.
They are: Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi, Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, and Seyi Makinde of Oyo States.
Nigerians from across the divide had commended what the 3 Governors did, saying that, declaring their status was a good example, and would encourage many people to go for the test.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, had reportedly written to all the Governors, to self-isolate after undergoing test for Covid-19, as a precautionary measure.
It was revealed that the results of 14 Governors who subjected themselves for the novel coronavirus test, came out negative. They are the Governors of Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Osun, Ekiti, Edo, Bayelsa, Ogun, Ondo, Nasarawa, Niger, Cross River, Anambra, and Borno States.
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State is among the Governors who are yet to make their Covid-19 status known.
The State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Ali Inname, confirmed this while fielding questions from Journalists, in Sokoto.
According to him, the Governor was only observing social distancing, as recommended by the NCDC, but not on self-isolation, as being insinuated on the social media. Inname also said that the Governor was not tested for Covid-19, because he had not shown any of its cardinal symptoms.
“One can only be tested when he has a contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and later begin to show its symptoms, or has the 4 cardinal symptoms. Our Governor is not showing any of these symptoms, and has been attending State businesses”, he said.
The Delta State Commissioner of Information, Charles Aniagwu, disclosed that it is not necessary for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to subject himself to self-isolation.
Speaking, Aniagwu noted that Okowa was not at the Governors Forum meeting that prompted the call for all Governors to self-isolate.
He revealed that the Governor was only represented at the meeting.
In Lagos, the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis, the status of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is still unknown.
The Commissioner for Information, Gbenga Omotosho, said that it is a personal matter.
According to him: “Although, I have not asked him if he has done his test for Covid-19 or not, but I think the Governor does not need to do the test because other Governors are doing it. He has not shown any symptoms, so why doing it?
“There are many people who are anxious to get the test done, to ascertain the state of their health, why not give them the opportunity to do the test, instead of wasting the testing kits?” he said.
“Some members of the cabinet have done theirs sometime ago. We were not forced to do it; so it is not everyone that did it. Test is not something that should just be done for the sake of doing it, especially if someone has not travelled, or been in contact with someone who has been tested positive”, he added.
Meanwhile, out of the 43 Ministers in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari, only 4 of them had announced their status, despite their exposure to the Key Aide of Mr. President, who tested positive for the deadly virus.
Abba Kyari had attended the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, on March 18, 2020, less than 7 days before it was announced that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; and the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu; are the only known Ministers that disclosed that they tested negative for the coronavirus.
However, if the remark of the Information Minister is to be relied on, all Ministers who are members of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, would have been tested for the virus, but they have not individually made their status public.
Reacting, some Senior Lawyers said that it would be “highly irresponsible” for any Governor that has had contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, not to self-isolate or disclose his health status.
One of the Lawyers, Ernest Ojukwu, SAN, who is a Professor of Law at the Nigerian Law School, stated that, though there is no legal basis for citizens of such States to demand to know the health status of their Governors, it would be an act of irresponsibility, for such Governors to hold back their health status, as regards the coronavirus pandemic.
He added that leadership being built on trust and accountability, would be better served, if and when the citizens could trust their Leaders to be transparent in their dealings, including their health status.
Also speaking, Dr. Biodun Layonu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, noted that since self-isolation is one of the precautionary measures put out by the World Health Organisation, WHO, to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, which so far has no vaccine, it would be “highly irresponsible” for any Governor who recently visited a high-risk country, or had contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, not to self-isolate.
According to him, as a private citizen, he has been on self-isolation in the past days, without seeing his family, and wondered why some Governors would not do so.