Coronavirus: Gov Makinde apologises for holding PDP rally

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, on Thursday, apologised for allowing a Peoples Democratic Party ‘mega rally’ in the state even in the face of an emerging threat and fast spreading coronavirus disease in Nigeria.

No fewer than a thousand persons were present at the PDP rally, which had other governors of the party in attendance including Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State.

Many Nigerians have described the party’s action as ‘irresponsible’, ‘insensitive’ and ‘disappointing’.

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Makinde, who has been under scathing criticisms since the rally held Wednesday in Ibadan, the state capital, said he regretted his action which “should not have happened”.

The governor said, “I have received your complaints about the rally that was held yesterday, and I feel obligated to state in clear terms that we acted based on the information we had at that time. In retrospect, it should not have happened and I take responsibility for that lapse in judgement.

“We do not currently have any confirmed case of coronavirus in Oyo State; (yet,) we still all need to be more proactive.”

Makinde said the state government would set up the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force led by himself and it would hold its first meeting on Friday, March 20, 2020.

“Immediately after the meeting, I will hold a press conference and update you on all decisions reached and so far, implemented,” he added.

As of Friday morning, Nigeria has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a few suspected cases, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Social distancing has been recommended by the World Health Organisation to prevent community transmission of the virus that has infected over 200,000 lives globally with over 8,000 attendant deaths.

The governments in Nigeria at both federal and state levels as well as religious institutions have banned gatherings of more than fifty persons per time as part of measures to prevent community transmission of the infection. Punch

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