“I need you to return home with these two points: first, they opine that we should not have staged this rally because of the corona virus pandemic; but it was one of their party’s leaders that had said that the corona virus has infiltrated their party. We all know that there is no corona virus in our party…” the Executive Governor of the State of Oyo said during the controversial political rally staged by the People’s Democratic Party PDP in the city centre of Ibadan, Oyo State on 18th of March this year. The rally was attended by many from all over the country. The governor later regretted his utterances and apologised, but just as it was widely believed by observers, lots of damage had been done by that statement. Today, State of Oyo has the highest number of cases of positive COVID-19 recorded, behind Lagos and Abuja, the two epicentres of the pandemic.
The new cases of COVID-19 recorded yesterday 24th July 2020, is 591. And the highest cases recorded based on States, is Oyo State with 191 new cases. See the report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC below.
591 new cases of COVID19 Nigeria
The State Government has been doing a lot to curb the effect of the pandemic in Oyo State, but it has not been enough. Many places remain crowded. Only worship centres and hospitals have had a significant adherence to the social distancing measures. Most taxi services are still carrying two persons in addition to the driver in the front, and three persons in the back as against the directive of the State’s Task Force on COVID-19. Motorcyclists are in most cases not wearing masks, and would even come quite close to pedestrians while soliciting for customers, some grasping the hands of the potential customers.
Most people who go outdoor do not wear masks to protect themselves. There are rumours where parties still hold even in some elite event centres where attendants are made to keep their mobile phones away from the halls.
Due to her proximity to Lagos and the Idiroko border, the State of Oyo is prone to visitors coming in without being monitored or recorded. Interstate travels from and into the state was never practically banned.
There are a lot to indicate that something drastic is not done to rein in the attitude of the residents of the State towards the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida experience could be looming over the State.