By Senibo Chris Finebone
It is not for nothing that it is said that two heads are better than one. Then Prof. Kimse Okoko modified it to ‘two good heads.’
I believe that Gov. Nyesom Wike should involve his entire cabinet members (as it appears he does not) in managing COVID-19 in Rivers State. If he does that, I believe every Commissioner would be able to come up with their sub-plans which will form a consolidated plan for the State Committee on COVID-19 to execute. Why am I saying this?
The Commissioner for Health, for example, should be able to have the presence of mind to make input as to how he expects sick residents to reach out and be attended to during the present total lockdown. He will make suggestions as to what those in distress, pharmacies, hospitals and other outlets should do and how during the lockdown. We cannot afford to let people die to save lives, like in digging a hole to fill another hole.
The Commissioner for Information and Communication will aggregate and outline his plans on how to proactively communicate every aspect of government actions in fighting COVID-19 to the people and in the process collate feedback which will further assist government in further tinkering up its plans and actions.
The Commissioner for Water Resources is likely to table his plan to intervene and temporarily provide water for the majority of Port Harcourt residents who do not have their own source of water supply apart from patronising water hawkers and kind-hearted neighbours. Or even state clearly that nothing can be done so that government will be aware that the people are on their own when it comes to water supply during a total lockdown.
The sanitation authority should be able to issue advisory to the public on how to deal with refuse generated during total lockdown, etc.
It does not give anyone joy to keep pointing at Lagos neither is it that they are perfect over there. But man naturally recalls what works. Long before the lockdown in Lagos was put into effect, selected neighbourhood fields were identified and plans made to sell food and medicine to residents. It may not be perfect but something was done.
In all, relevant ministries, departments and agencies will make helpful input towards giving government fight against Covid-19 a human face by lessening the burden of the fight on the common man.
Lockdown is an effective way to break the chain of COVID-19 spread but must be applied in a sensible way in different locales. There is no home in London, New York or Madrid that potable water is not reticulated into. Except you did not pay, there will always be water. Such is not the case in parts of our cities here where everyone owns his/her own water source. Then there are many areas where we have what is commonly referred to as ‘yards’ where many residents’ source of water is either from ‘aboki’ water hawkers or good hearted neighbours. How much water can anyone store in such situations?
The governor of Rivers State should assemble his entire team and ask for input from each and every one of them to enable him fashion out a more organised war against COVID-19 in the State without losing sight of what is working elsewhere. With a novel virus like Coronavirus, no man knows it all and none can reinvent the wheel. He has the men no doubt. His Committee can then go ahead and implement. Meeting with State Security Council alone is not enough. That is what we are saying!
-Senibo Chris Finebone is former Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress, APC. Rivers State.