The dreaded COVID-19 disease is no respecter of any human being or office. It infects and even kills whoever it pleases at any point in time, wherever it chooses.
Both the mighty and the lowly, kings and paupers have continued to taste the bitter pill that COVID-19 is all over the world.
From the advanced and highly sophisticated climes of the Western world and Asia to the less developed and poverty-stricken continent of Africa, this monster of a disease has continued to claim victims and record casualties every minute of the day.
In Nigeria, just like in other parts of the world, the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic does not suffer fools gladly, especially with anyone careless with his health, as it capitalises on underlying health conditions to wreak havoc.
The fear of this tiny virus has indeed become the beginning of wisdom for all living souls.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, many citizens have been infected by the virus and many have succumbed to its sting.
Nigeria recorded its index case of Coronavirus on Friday, February 28, 2020, when an Italian who had been working in Nigeria returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos on February 25.
This index case placed Nigeria as the third African country to have recorded Coronavirus outbreak, after Algeria and Egypt.
In no time, the virus transformed into the Frankenstein monster that it has become, raging and ravaging populations without impunity. It has defied all far-reaching measures put in place by the government to halt its wild fire-like spread. And today, it has become somewhat ubiquitous!
Within a spate of four months, and as at midnight Tuesday, over 25,694 Nigerians have been infected with no fewer than 590, including prominent individuals, already dead. About 9,746 have however, wrestled with death, courtesy COVID-19, won the battle for their lives and have been discharged.
This statistics underscores one incontrovertible fact: COVID-19 has no respect or regard for even those in authority. As at the last count, five state governors in Nigeria have experienced the deadly pang of COVID-19.
But while three have gone and returned from the place of Golgotha that COVID-19 is, two are still battling with exorcising the evil virus from their body systems in self-isolation.
Governors are chief executives and chief security officers of their states, but these enormous powers they wield in the political space pale into insignificance before this tiny but mega-potent virus.
In the course of their personal lives and official duties, a number of them have fallen victims to the deadly Coronavirus.
Here are the five state governors who have been infected by the deadly COVID-19.
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed was the first state governor to catch the virus. On March 24, he announced the shocking and sad news to all Nigerians that he had tested positive for Coronavirus. He immediately went into self-isolation.
But the Bauchi governor reportedly got infected after having contact with the son of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who had also tested positive for the virus.
Mohammed’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, explained that the governor, who returned from an official trip in Lagos, had contact with Mohammed Atiku Abubakar in the Aero Contractors aircraft, where they shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.
But after 16 days and precisely on April 9, Governor Mohammed surprisingly announced, through his official twitter handle, his miraculous recovery from COVID-19.
He said he had tested negative to the virus.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai
Barely four days after the Bauchi governor disclosed his COVID-19 status, his Kaduna State counterpart, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, on March 28, became the second governor to have tested positive for the coronavirus.
El-Rufai disclosed this in a video shared on the official account of the Governor of Kaduna State, @GovKaduna, saying he was already in self-isolation as required by the case management guidelines of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control for asymptomatic patients.
But after four weeks, and precisely on April 22, the Kaduna governor announced that he had tested negative for the coronavirus.
Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State disclosed his own COVID-19 status to all Nigerians on March 30, becoming the third state governor to test positive for the deadly virus.
Makinde, in a tweet on his personal Twitter handle @seyiamakinde, said though he remained asymptomatic, he had already proceeded on self-isolation.
The Oyo governor had attended the National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, where he met with his colleagues from the other states. The Nigerian Governor’s Forum, thereafter, advised its members who attended the Abuja NEC meeting to go into self- isolation or undergo COVID-19 test.
But miraculously, after six days in isolation, Governor Makinde announced that he had tested negative for the virus, setting the record of the fastest recovery period in the country since the index case.
Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu
Ikpeazu, tested positive for the Coronavirus on June 8.
Abia State Government’s statement announced that the governor had already gone into isolation before his result returned positive. The government statement directed the state’s deputy governor to act on Governor Ikpeazu’s behalf while he receives treatment for the infection.
But 22 days after, the Abia governor has yet to announce whether he has completely overcome the virus or not.
Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu
On June 30, Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu became the fifth governor to have tested positive for COVID-19.
Akeredolu disclosed his COVID-19 status in a broadcast to the people of his state.
He, however, said he had yet to show any symptom of the deadly virus.
But confident that he would survive the sting of the deadly virus, Akeredolu has said his testing positive for COVID-19 can’t stand against his victory in the October 10 governorship election in the state.
Confirming his positive status, the governor said on Tuesday, “Earlier today, I got confirmation of a positive result for Covid-19. I am asymptomatic. I am currently self-isolating and supervised home management will be administered by the wonderful team at our Infectious Disease Hospital. I ask that we all stay safe and be well.”
In a video on his Twitter handle, Akeredolu, who is seeking re-election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, said, “I want to plead with my political associates that they should continue with the project because we are sure to win. My trust in God to get through this is unshakable.”
He explained, “I had malaria a few days ago and I was treated and I did get over it. And at the time we had our party NEC, and my colleagues called on me and spoke with one of them who felt that malaria should not be treated lightly that I should go ahead and have a test of COVID -19.
“Let me assure our people that as you can see me, there are many of us that don’t have the symptoms. This time, we would conduct another test and we will know the result. Let me assure our people that the work is going on.”
Delta State Gov Ifeanyi Okowa, wife
For Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, and his family, the onslaught of COVID-19 is more than a double whammy.
Last week, the governor’s family had announced that his daughter had fallen victim to the raging virus.
A few days after, precisely on July 1, the governor again announced that he and his wife had tested positive for the deadly virus.
The governor disclosed this via his verified Twitter handle.
He tweeted, “My wife and I have tested positive for COVID-19. We are well and continuing with our isolation/medication. We thank you all for your continued prayers for us and our daughter.”
His Commissioner for Information, Chiedu Aniagwu and Secretary to the State Government had earlier been infected by COVID-19 and are currently in isolation undergoing treatment.
Kogi governor’s intransigence against COVID-19
But one governor, who has stuck to his gun of unbelief about COVID-19 in the midst of the virus’ onslaught in the corridors of power is Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Bello has been at loggerheads with the officials of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control over the status of his state regarding the pandemic.
As far as he is concerned, Kogi State remains free of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Ondo Governor Akeredolu was announcing on Tuesday that he had contracted the deadly virus, Governor Bello of Kogi State was telling the people of his state that COVID-19 was an artificial creation aimed at causing fear and panic among Nigerians.
He went further by declaring that the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Nasir Ajanah, who died on Sunday at an isolation centre in Abuja, succumbed to natural causes and not COVID-19.
Bello spoke during the third-day prayers for the repose of the soul of late Justice Ajana.
He said the fear created over Coronavirus was worse than banditry, Boko Haram and genocide put together, adding that it was artificial but unfortunately sold to Nigerians.
Bello advised people of the state not “to give in to fear and evil of the issues of COVID-19,” adding, “It is a disease that has been imported, propagated and forced on the people for no just cause.”
The governor pointed out that fear kills faster than any other thing, urging the people not to accept “cut and paste, as COVID-19 is only out to create fear, panic; orchestrated to reduce and shorten the lifespan of the people.
“Whether medical experts and scientist believe it or not, COVID-19 is out to shorten the lifestyle of the people. It is a disease propagated by force for Nigerians to accept.”
Armed protesters attack, vandalise Lokoja Federal Medical Centre
On Wednesday, scores of armed protesters stormed the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, destroying the administrative block and carting away computers and office files believed to be related to COVID-19.
A hospital source said that the protesters numbering about 50 arrived on the premises of the FMC, brandishing placards and dangerous weapons.
It was learnt that the demonstration was not unconnected with the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
Some of the placards carried by the protesters read, ‘The state government is not doing anything about the excesses of FMC, Lokoja’; ‘Please help us PMB’; There is isolation centre in FMC, Lokoja with equipment, why are they unutilised?’; ‘Other FMCs across the federation are handling the pandemic, GYB/PMB, come to our rescue’.
Swift intervention of the police in the state, however, said the situation from degenerating to a free-for-all.
The hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Dr Tunde Alabi, could not be reached for comments.
Also, the state Police Public Relations Officer, William Aya, was said not to be available as at the time of filing this report.