“If they tell you that death is on the road, will you pass through the road?” If your answer is no, then, there is the need to go the extra mile to ensure personal safety during this Yuletide season.
Christmas is naturally a time of celebration. Since November, for instance, there have been series of activity in Nigeria – marriages, burials, and several others. Some persons are even celebrating surviving a (sentimental) Leap Year; a year of EndSars; a year that witnessed fluctuation in the price of petroleum products than any other; a year of Covid-19, among others.
While people were heaving sighs of relief that COVID-19 was ending with the year, another wave was reported with a more deadly strain. Understandably, this is causing considerable panic as no one wants to die. But, if you survived the first wave by adhering strictly to established health protocols, you can certainly, by the grace of God and adhering to the health protocols, survive the second wave also.
It is Christmas but this Christmas is going to be celebrated differently – possibly by isolating yourself, reminiscing on the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ and praying against the ills of the society. Yes! This is a season that you do not need to pray only against the COVID-19, but pray as well that His birth will make the world a better place; a place where love for one another, love for the human race will wipe out oppression and greed.
This Christmas can be uniquely celebrated by looking at how the world would have been without the teachings of Jesus Christ, and since we cannot celebrate His birth with fun fare, we can in our quiet moments thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ and make up our minds to imbibe and put into action those things that He taught us to ensure that the world becomes a better place.
On Tuesday, December 22, 2020, the Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa alerted Deltans on the need to be extra-careful to ensure that they are safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, the governor allayed fears of a possible lockdown of the state, he noted that the use of facemasks, regular washing of hands, the use of sanitizers, avoiding crowded areas, and ensuring social distancing should not be compromised.
Coronavirus is such that you cannot see it with the naked eyes and may not know who is carrying the virus. So, personal safety necessitates that everyone is treated as a suspect. Just like driving, that you see every road user as a drunk or lunatic for your own safety, so it should be with Coronavirus. See every other person as a COVID-19 patient until the wave is over!
There are several alleged conspiracies about the virus, but safety will ensure that after the storm one will be alive to analyze what happened and who or which countries were involved in the conspiracy theory. The question remains, ‘If they tell you that death is on the road, will you pass through that road? If they tell you that someone is carrying COVID-19, will you hug that person or shake hands with him/her without considering your personal safety?’
Governor Okowa is doing what he is elected to do by warning the people to take precautionary measures and ensuring that the health facilities in the state are equipped with the required personnel and facilities to tackle any outbreak of disease.
However, it is important and desirable that those health facilities were not put to use because everyone obeyed the laid down health protocols and is healthy.
Democracy provides for a lot of freedom or liberty. So, there is a limit to which the governor can go, especially in the Nigeria situation that, most often, state governments wait for the Federal Government to initiate responses or give directives to avoid contradictions.
In a nutshell, it is about your own safety. Governor Okowa has warned against public gathering, he has also told us what to do to avoid being a victim and has gone further to equip the hospitals to ensure that should there be victims, the hospitals will be available to render service; but I can confidently say that it is always better to tell the story of health challenges when you are not the victim.
Imagine, who will tell the story of the number of persons who died from the illness, the deceased or the living?
At that early morning press briefing, which he jointly did with the Corps Marshal of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, Governor Okowa, also reeled out what his administration is doing to ensure free flow of traffic on the Niger Bridge. Okowa and Oyeyemi agreed that the gridlock witnessed on the bridge was as a result of people driving through dual-carriage way, only to meet a narrow road on the bridge. They expressed the hope that the situation will become a thing of the past when the second Niger Bridge is completed.
They also observed that security agencies that mounted roadblocks at the bridgehead would be encouraged to engage more on intelligence gathering than making use of roadblocks to ensure free flow of traffic. While Boboye emphatically said, that members of FRSC would not engage in ‘booking’ but will ensure free flow of traffic, he praised Okowa for his interest in ensuring that the right things are done.
He stated that apart from building a training school for FRSC in the state, Governor Okowa has also, released staff of Delta State Traffic Management Agency (DESTMA) to work closely with FRSC to also ensure free-flow of traffic on the roads during this Yultide season. He noted that a lot of persons are travelling during this season.
It is Christmas and if we remember that more than one million lives have been claimed by COVID-19 all over the world, and that more than 76,000 cases have been recorded in the country with more than one thousand deaths, you just have to be suspicious of that your relation that came for Christmas and adhere to the COVID-19 laid down health protocols.
Governor Okowa has always appreciated the love shown to his administration by Deltans and at every opportunity, thanked God for the peace and unity that exists in the state. So, it will not be out of place for yours sincerely to toe the lines of the governor by thanking God for the gift of life and wishing Deltans a happy Christmas, a Christmas that will be celebrated with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols and prayers for a prosperous, healthy 2021.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa
President Muhammadu Buhari