The lawmaker representing Oyo Central senatorial district in the red chamber, Sen. Teslim Folarin has urged the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde to allow his deputy, Engr. Remi Olaniyan to head the special taskforce on COVID-19 in the state.
Folarin stated this on Friday during a live phone-in programme on Fresh 105.9 fm monitored by OYOINSIGHT.COM.
Folarin stated that he has nothing against the former Chief Medical Director(CMD) of University College Hospital(UCH), Prof. Temitope Alonge holding forte as the head of the Oyo State Special Task Force On COVID-19, while the governor recovers from coronavirus infection because he is a “thoroughbred professional who is competent.”
He, however, noted that this is a period of great uncertainty and the people of the state need a political figure who is physically in charge to give them hope.
“This is a period of great uncertainty that requires both the health sector professionals and importantly the political leadership to give people hope. I wonder where the deputy governor is. Where is he? Have you been seeing him? Why can’t he deputize now?
“As far as Oyo State and Nigeria at large is concerned, this is currently the biggest task for government. Seyi Makinde leading by teleconferencing isn’t enough. People want to see somebody who is in charge physically.
“What is the problem with the culture of rendering deputies irrelevant and redundant. Let the deputy governor come out now and play the role he was constitutionally elected to fill.
”All around the world, when government address coronavirus issues; for instance in America, when Doctor Fauci (Head of American Center for Infectious Diseases) speaks, you see President Trump standing beside him along with the Vice President. That is what it takes around the world. It is symbolic to reassure the public, why must Makinde recover before his deputy can function?” Folarin said.
He also expressed his support for a total shut down of the state to prevent the spread of the virus that has killed thousands globally.
When told the effect a total lockdown might have on poor Nigerians, he said: “Look, people will not die of hunger. For now, staying alive is all that matters. You must first be alive before you can talk of what to eat. “
The senator also criticized the way the federal government is currently handling the fight against the virus and expressed worry over the lack of sufficient testing facilities to diagnose carriers of the disease.
“I seriously doubt all these statistics about the number of infected persons being carried about in Nigeria. Until you complete adequate testing, you cannot finalize on who does or doesn’t have.
“The U.K, for instance, has promised to test at least 100,000 people by the end of April, an impressive and ambitious plan. How many people have we tested? how many do we project to have tested by that same time? what measures are being implemented to scale up testing to a much larger number than what we currently have on ground in the state and at the Federal level?” he added.