At a time when many Lagosians were already getting really anxious with some taking a dig at Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos State, over expectations that the governor should have turned Lagos to the proverbial Utopia came the novel deadly Coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19.
Having a totally new and dreaded disease like Covid-19 added to the myriad of problems facing Lagos at this time is like pouring gasoline into a raging inferno.
Already, the pernicious pandemic has got many of the most powerful countries groveling in confusion, and made many of the advanced nations appear completely helpless.
So far, over 500,000 cases of Coronavirus have been recorded and over 20,000 lives llost to the pandemic around the world with Italy, USA, Spain and China recording highest fatalities.
Thus, when the news came out that the lethal disease that has been ravaging many of the most resilient cities and countries around the world had hit Lagos state through an Italian who arrived Nigeria on business trip, the index case of the virus in the country, the whole nation was gripped with unnerving fear.
Apart from poor medical infrastructure and shortage of health personnel in Nigeria, the paucity of quality leadership that could take the front seat at any critical moment in our national life and in any emergency situation has unfortunately been the lot of the nation for so long.
President Donald Trump of the United States of America (USA) was first to describe the Coronavirus pandemic as an invisible enemy while rallying Americans to prepare for an unusual war against the latest threat to global public health and motivated his country men and women for a coordinated fight that must result in victory.
Thus, when Governor Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Hamzat, were seen well kitted in medical Protective Personnel Equipment (PPE) at the Lagos Isolation Centre, where the index case was being treated, it was obvious the governor and his team were aware of the enormity of the current challenge and appropriately geared for the battle ahead.
Promptly, Sanwo-Olu and his team hit the town with the leadership aptitude and attitude and action plan that are most essential in moments of trouble and war.
Remarkably, he is now pulling through in allaying the fears of the terribly frightened citizens over the deadly global disease through his almost per minute updates to the public via available modern communication channels, along with the execution of viable strategies in a spirited bid to manage and mitigate the cases and spread of Coronavirus in Nigeria.
Each passing day, Sanwo-Olu and his team are busy with one laudable solution or the other to stem the tide of the menacing pandemic in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole.
From the new hygienic rules on public transportation and emphasis on personal hygiene, pronouncements on social distancing and isolation, state-wide disinfection of public surfaces, welfare packages provided for indigent and vulnerable members of society to special Covid-19-project automobiles provided to support medical emergencies and increase awareness of the deadly virus across the state, the governor has been pulling out all stops in preventing the pandemic from overwhelming his domain.
Of course, since his assumption of office as governor of Lagos state, Sanwo-Olu has gone through a blazing fire in the hands of the highly anxious citizens who had expected him to turn around the fortune of the state within his first couple of months in office. Yet, the man has remained committed to his development vision for the State.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt that the confirmation of the Coronavirus case in Lagos state is indeed the acid test of Sanwo-Olu’s true capacity and leadership.
Thankfully, the governor has pleasantly surprised a lot of Nigerians, even the rabid cynics, with his pragmatism and exceptional competence which were sufficiently deployed towards the coordination of plans and management of the spread of the global pandemic in Lagos state, and beyond.
Indeed, with these exemplary efforts, Sanwo-Olu has definitely proven himself as a genuine capacity-leader whose performance can be trusted in the most difficult moments and whose eyes are set on the common good of his people.
Obviously, the fight against the dangerous disease is still ongoing in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole as it is everywhere in the world. In fact, it is safe to say that we are yet to see the full bearing of the pandemic in Nigeria with the daily record of new cases and experts suggesting that the number would grow rapidly, unless people commit to the preventive measures rolled out by the government.
Therefore, what a competent leader like Sanwo-Olu and other able government functionaries, including the selfless health workers who are on the frontline of this battle against the pandemic, earnestly demand at this critical hour is the total cooperation of citizens, particularly on all the safety and preventive measures put in place to contain the virus.
Together, I believe, we can totally eradicate this new threat to global public health in our space.
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