The Coronavirus pandemic has hit Nigeria with a big blow. It has gone to attack the heart of its leadership. From the president to state governors, Nigerian political leadership has had a fair share of the novel virus troubles. The president, Muhammadu Buhari, his vice, Yemi Osinbajo and other political elites have got tested of the COVID 19. The first two citizens and governors of Ekiti and Osun have emerged unscathed from the hit of the virus. They were negative. However, the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed and his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki have all tested positive to the novel virus. As at the time of writing this piece, confirmed cases have risen to 51 with 2 recoveries and 1 death recorded, the National Centre for Disease Control has revealed.
The fight is against the spread of the virus and the overrunning of the fragile health system. On daily basis, some people have been at the forefront providing accurate, up to date information on the virus and leading the charge against a disease that has no respect for age, social class or colour. This piece focuses on those who have taken the initiative to ensure we stay safe right from the time of the index case up until this period. They include political leaders, business men and women as well as brands that are shaping the fight against the Coronavirus. Let us have a look.
The National Centre for Disease Control : This organisation has the mandate to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity against the invasion of diseases. Leveraging on the Ebola experience, the Centre has been responding well to the challenges posed by the disease. Under the leadership of Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu. The Centre has been giving real time update on confirmed cases, recoveries and deaths recorded. It has since created a micro website to serve the purpose of coordinating the fight and communicating to Nigerians on daily basis. Under the Federal Ministry of Health, NCDC has assisted in discovering new cases, monitoring suspected infections and ensuring preventive information is at the finger tips of Nigerians. They operate to disseminate information on Twitter and Facebook. The centre is doing a yeoman’s job fighting the pandemic and the infodemic that accompanies it.
Governor Babajide Sanwoolu : He needs no introduction. He is the governor of the commercial capital of Nigeria. The gateway to the COVID 19. If not for Lagos, the incidence rate would have been higher than we have had it now. The governor rose to the occasion leading the fight against the spread of the virus. Every time there is a new challenge, Sanwoolu provides the needed leadership rallying the political and corporate leadership to help Nigeria put up a fight against the virus. From unscheduled visits to providing real time updates to acquiring the needed equipment to combat the virus, the governor has shown leadership character in the battle against the virus. He has been giving effective directives and ensuring their enforcements. Lagos has taken delivery of disinfectant equipment to step up the fight against the virus. Many other states are copying the Lagos template in the prevention race against the disease.
The Billionaire Aliko Dangote : The billionaire Aliko Dangote is a force to reckon with in Nigeria and Africa. One of the richest men in the world, he has led the corporate world in a response to the fight against the Coronavirus by making available N200,000,000 for the fight against the disease. His foundation, Aliko Dangote Foundation came up with the financial aid when the confirmed cases were just 8. He has done well.
Folorunsho Alakija : She is the richest Nigerian woman. She is also a known philanthropist. When the face masks, hand sanitizers and test kits were becoming gold, she ordered for a million each of face masks, test kits and 10 million sanitizers. As an early responder, she is deserved to be celebrated.
Atiku Abubakar : A former vice president and an opposition leading figure, Atiku has shown class in his interventions since Nigeria’s first index case. At the earlier stage, he was long on words charging both government and citizens to come together to fight the disease. He did not only suggest, he also promised to make himself available when such is demanded. So, he advised the FG to pay N10,000 to each Nigerian to mitigate the effect of the looming lockdown. He also donated N50,000,000 through one of his companies to provide a stimulus package for Nigerians. Despite the fact that his son tested positive to the virus, Atiku has led in words and deeds.
United Bank for Africa : It is a pan African bank with presence in selected countries across the continent. The bank, through its support programme, has promised to donate N5bn which is expected to be shared among Lagos State (N1bn), the Federal Capital Territory (N500mn), 35 States of the Federation (N1bn), UBA presence countries in Africa (N1.5bn) and Medical Centres with equipment and supplies free telemedicine call centre friendly (N1bn). It is a bold move for UBA.
Though it could appear early to pick the COVID 19 heroes, early response matters too as no one knows how long the virus is going to stay with Nigeria. Those who are responding needs to be celebrated now so that they could do more when the situation arises.