The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has blasted the State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC of spreading fake news to Deltans and playing politics with the deadly Corona Virus and the arrangements put in place to handle the global pandemic, if at all it filters into Delta State.

Responding to the latest Press Statement by the APC Publicity Secretary Barr. Sylvester Imonina which alleged that isolation centres in the State are ill-equipped or non-existent, the PDP Publicity Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza, chided the APC publicist to stop displaying crass ignorance over a serious matter that involves the lives of Deltans and instead try to follow up on global updates concerning the Corona Virus to be well informed before issuing any other embarrassing press release.

Dr. Osuoza said: “It is becoming quite annoying and distracting to always have to point out the crass ignorance which the APC in Delta State continues to display even in understanding simple things like the difference between a ‘Holding Centre’ and an ‘Isolation Centre’

“First of all, it is imperative to state here categorically that THERE IS NO SINGLE REPORTED CASE OF CORONA VIRUS OTHERWISE KNOWN AS COVID-19 IN DELTA STATE SO FAR, and it shall remain so by the Grace of God until this pandemic goes away globally in Jesus name, Amen.

Having established this clear fact, it becomes equally important to state here for the avoidance of doubt that the Delta State government set up 12 holding facilities across the State, as a precautionary measure to mitigate against the potential spread of the Corona Virus,

These holding centres are General Hospital, Okwe; General Hospital, Ogwashi Uku; Central Hospital, Ughelli; Central Hospital, Warri; General Hospital, Bomadi; Central Hospital, Sapele; Central Hospital, Kwale; General Hospital, Ekpan; Central Hospital, Oleh; General Hospital, Agbor; Eku Baptist Hospital; and Asaba Specialist Hospital. These holding centers are already existing and fully functional General and Central Hospitals across the State and were set up in accordance with the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC guidelines.

Let us also quickly state here that the Delta State government also recently unveiled a purpose-built, fully equipped and operational ready Isolation Centre, located in the Federal Medical Centre in the State capital, Asaba, which was commissioned by the Governor of Sokoto State, His Excellency, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal on Thursday, March 19, 2020.

It is therefore very embarrassing and shameful to imagine that APC, a party which wants Deltans to take it seriously, does not even know the difference between a HOLDING CENTRE and an ISOLATION CENTRE. This is very unfortunate indeed because even a well educated elementary school child can easily differentiate between both facilities and give the meaning of what each stands for, just by mere pronunciation of the English words ‘Holding’ and ‘Isolation’, not to talk of someone who claims to be a lawyer.

In fact, for the APC publicist to boldly and brashly assert that a visit to more than eighty (80) percent of the said hospitals where ‘isolation’ centres are purportedly located showed that they are home to darkness and torchlights when it is dusk, and even adding that lack of drugs, understaffing and dearth of competent medical personnel are synonymous with the ‘hospitals’, is an unpardonable reflection not only of his total ignorance of what holding centre is, but sadly of what an Isolation centre should look like when there are no patients. The problem here is that he has been watching too many television reports and documentaries from countries where the Corona Virus cases have overwhelmed the medical personnel and facilities and he has mistaken such for Delta State where a single case has not even been reported or recorded.

We will not belabour the point of definitions any further, but would rather give Delta APC the assignment to find out the meaning and difference between the two facilities and issue another press release apologizing to Deltans for spreading fake news, misinforming the public and mischievously mentioning another facility in Isoko land, which is not even on the list of designated Holding Centres already provided by the Delta State government. Obviously, the information available to the APC is false, misleading and dangerous especially at this critical time.

Again, we are still shocked by the sheer ignorance and inverted economic wisdom which the APC has continued to exhibit with its obsession over the salary of political aides.

Here we are, faced with a global pandemic which has virtually collapsed some of the biggest economies in the world, folded up international business empires and conglomerates, closed down uncountable small and medium scale enterprises, rendered many people redundant and unemployed, quarantined whole populations of men and women in their homes, claimed thousands of lives so far and counting and even compelled many governments to reduce interest rates, costs of consumables from gas to goods and seek ways to provide funds to pay some monies to these people who have been incapacitated by the plague of Corona Virus.

And the APC in it’s warped mindset is still talking about cutting salaries of political aides to save money to tackle Corona Virus? Do they even know or understand the magnitude of what is happening in the world right now? The obvious answer is that they are ignorant.

As for the level of preparedness of the proactive Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration, which the APC tried to discredit, here are the facts:

1. Immediately the news of the Corona Virus broke, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who himself is a distinguished Medical Doctor and had previously served meritoriously as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health in the Nigerian Senate at the time when the dreaded Ebola Virus filtered into Nigeria and was successfully contained by the Government of the day, quickly directed the inauguration and activation of a Rapid Response Team, headed by the State Commissioner for Health and supported by the State SSG and key Commissioners. The Team quickly swung into action, long before many States, even those who eventually had reported cases.

2. The State Government has already established a purpose-built and well-equipped isolation centre at the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba to handle any emergency. The modifications made, in line with the instructions and directives of the NCDC, will ensure the greater safety and care of patients as well as the medical staff that will be attending to them, in the event of such an occurrence. It will also ensure that patients can safely interact with their visitors and family members without having to pass any infection to them, and with an incinerator provided, medical consumables used to treat any patient in this facility will be immediately incinerated to ensure proper care of patients.

3. The government has embarked on the training of healthcare personnel to work at the isolation ward. Five members of the Rapid Response Team in each Local Government Area are also being trained, in addition to the training and engagement of 129 auxiliary and paramedical workers across the State, which has commenced, as well as the training of laboratory scientists on sample collection.

4. Appropriate documentation and database for the arrival of passengers and crew have been put in place to be completed by all in-bound in the two airports (Warri and Asaba) and three seaports (Warri, Koko, and Sapele) and all passengers arriving Asaba airport are already subject to temperature measurement. This is in addition to the directive that all incoming sea vessels are to observe a 14-day quarantine period to be cleared by the Port health personnel before birthing in any seaport in Delta State.

5. The State government is also assisting in the local production of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and the Ministries of Health and Information, as well as the Directorate of Orientation, has already commenced and intensified public enlightenment campaigns to inform and sensitize the public on safety protocols regarding COVID-19.

6. All primary, secondary and tertiary institutions are to be closed effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, for 30 days.

It is quite saddening that against the backdrop of these very comprehensive and quite effective arrangements, including the fact that our dear Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has as a responsible leader who cares for his people, actually taken time out to address Deltans and calm their anxieties, the Delta APC has chosen the route of perfidy by saying that the Delta State government is lying and playing to the gallery.

Indeed how can any rational, right-thinking person or group see these elaborate preparations already in place, even when there is no case of Covid-19 in the State, claim to be disappointed and say that the government is not genuinely prepared to tackle the situation it has set out to handle the ravaging Corona Virus (Covid-19) issues if at all it arrives. We are at a loss to understand the accusation of insincerity on the Corona Virus situation and its correlation with the appointment of aides in order to do projects or even have enough funds to tackle the Virus headlong whenever and wherever it surfaces in Delta State.

The sheer stupidity of the logic is even more emphasized by the fact that on the same day the Isolation Centre was inaugurated, a major legacy project, the Mariam Babangida Way was unveiled, Commissioned and completely delivered by the Okowa administration. In fact, some present chieftains of the APC should hold their hands up when projects are being discussed in Delta State, but we are a responsible political party and our philosophy that government is a continuum continues to drive our desire to deliver the dividends of democracy to Deltans.

We want to assure Deltans therefore that the State public health centres are on red alert and active surveillance and intensive risk communication are already in place to mitigate any incidence of Corona Virus. The Delta State government has switched from watch mode to alert mode and this has been sustained to ensure that Covid-19 will be effectively contained in case of an outbreak.

Ours advise to APC now is to behave like a responsible political party and play an active role in ensuring that Deltans are constantly sensitized and enlightened in embracing and adhering to the precautions already mandated by the World Health Organization, the NCDC and the Ministry of Health, instead of spreading fake news and misinformation to gain cheap political points at the expense of the precious lives of Deltans.

The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa will spare no efforts or resources to ensure the health, safety, and protection of our citizens but we must emphasize that observing proper hygiene and mandated safety protocols remain the best way to protect ourselves and stop the spread of this Virus. We, therefore, wish to appeal to Deltans to remain calm and vigilant and not allow the APC lies and propaganda to cause panic.

We must at this juncture advise and caution APC in the State to henceforth desist from publishing unverified information capable of causing panic and fear, especially on the social media. Our greatest enemy that we must fear most is the spread of false information which is a greater danger than the pandemic. We urge Deltans to always get information from ONLY official channels and disregard the negative propaganda which the APC is hell-bent to continue to put out at the expense of the lives of Deltans.

Delta PDP is very confident that we shall overcome this threat if we adhere strictly to the precautions mandated by the appropriate authorities. We are carefully monitoring developments around the Country and the State and will update Deltans accordingly and, where necessary, take drastic actions. But we will overcome working together as a united people who value our lives and the lives of our fellow Deltans.

PDP! Power to the People!!

Dr. Ifeanyi M. Osuoza
State Publicity Secretary
PDP, Delta State.

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