Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has apologised for organising a political rally in Ibadan, the state capital, yesterday, in the face of the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor also took responsibility for “the lapse in judgement,” saying it was based on the information available to his government at the time.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state had held a rally yesterday to receive some prominent South West politicians who rejoined the party.
The rally had attracted widespread criticisms for been ill-advised and ill-timed judging by its potential to aid the spread of the ravaging virus.
He said, “I have received your complaints about the rally that was held yesterday, and I feel obligated to state in clear terms that we acted based on the information we had at that time. In retrospect, it should not have happened and I take responsibility for that lapse in judgement.”
Makinde in a statement he shared on Twitter via @seyimakinde, also announced the the setting up a COVID-19 task force headed by himself.
He said the task force would hold its inaugural meeting tomorrow after which he would address a press conference to update the public on its decisions.
Read full statement:
My dear good people of Oyo State, it has become imperative to communicate directly about the COVID-19 situation in the state, and the measures that the Oyo State Government is taking to ensure the prevention, containment and control of this disease.
Between yesterday and today, a lot has come to light in Nigeria regarding COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus Disease, which has been ravaging the world for the past few months.
At a point, some people thought we were immune to this disease.
I know some among you may still hold that opinion. Although as stated by our Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello, at a press conference this morning, we do not currently have any confirmed case of Coronavirus in Oyo State; we still all need to be more proactive.
I have received your complaints about the rally that was held yesterday, and I feel obligated to state in clear terms that we acted based on the information we had at that time. In retrospect, it should not have happened and I take responsibility for that lapse in judgement.
On assuming office on May 29, 2019, I swore an oath to serve and protect you, I want to assure you that our administration is doing everything in our power and working with the agencies of the Federal Government, to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of this virus.
I urge members of the public to not give in to any form of panic. As a people, we can take several measures to beat this virus.
It has been shown that maintaining proper hygiene through frequent washing of the hands, scrubbing for 20 seconds with soap and water, and the use of hand sanitizers that are 90% alcohol based, is a key way to prevent the spread of this disease.
I implore all citizens to make these practices a routine and a priority. Social distancing is also highly encouraged. Therefore, as at this moment, the Oyo State Government is doing the following:
Setting up the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force led by me. This task force will be holding its first meeting tomorrow, Friday, March 20, 2020. Immediately after the meeting, I will hold a press conference and update you on all decisions reached and so far, implemented.
The Free Health Mission which was launched on Monday, March 16, 2020, will continue. The mission will be used as a vehicle for disseminating information about Coronavirus prevention and control.
However, anyone experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 such as dry cough, fever, nausea, severe headaches, difficulty breathing & tiredness should please, isolate themselves & call the following Ministry of Health helplines: 08038210122/ 08023229267/ 08073431342.
Once again, I urge all citizens of Oyo State to remain calm and observe all preventive measures announced by the State and Federal Ministries of Health and their agencies.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
God bless Oyo State.