The governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has apologised to the people of Oyo State for organising a political rally in the state amidst a coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria.
Mr Makinde came under attack for allowing the South-west zonal unification rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday in Ibadan, saying there was no Coronavirus in the PDP unlike the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“I want you to take two things home. And the first is; they are of the opinion that we should not have staged this rally because of the coronavirus pandemic but it was one of their leaders who said coronavirus has already infiltrated their party. We all know that there is no coronavirus in our own party,” he said.
Nigerians took to the internet to chide the governor, accusing him of carelessness and recklessness.
This is coming on the heels of discovering new cases in Nigeria that include a man who had been in Ibadan for two weeks before departing to Ekiti.
The Oyo State commissioner for Health, Bashir Bello, on Wednesday, said there was no case of the virus in the state.
However, a suspected case of a man who arrived from the UK was being monitored, he added.
Mr Makinde, in a Facebook post on Thursday evening, said he regretted holding the rally.
He admitted it was “a lapse in judgement.”
The governor reiterated his administration’s commitment to serving the people better.
On the coronavirus outbreak, he said his government was working with the federal government to ensure the prevention, containment and control of the disease.
“I urge members of the public to not give in to any form of panic,” he said.
He continued to urge the people to maintain 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 per cent alcohol based, as a way to prevent the spread of the disease.
Social distancing should be upheld, he added.
Mr Makinde said apart from the taskforce committee set up on Coronavirus, the free health mission would be used as a vehicle for disseminating information about coronavirus prevention and control.
“However, anyone who has shown any known symptoms of COVID-19 such as dry cough, fever, nausea, severe headaches, difficulty breathing and tiredness should please, isolate themselves and call the following Oyo State Ministry of Health helplines: 08038210122, 08023229267 or 08073431342,” he said.
Nigeria has recorded 12 cases as of Thursday afternoon.
No one has died of the virus in Nigeria, where reported cases are lower in comparison to South Africa with 116 confirmed cases as of Friday morning.
Meanwhile, more cases might be expected from the country as contact tracing has been intensified to get the people who have been in contact with the confirmed cases.