There is massaive anxiety in Ondo State over the COVID-19 status of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who is seeking re-election in the October 10 election on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The governor went into 14-day isolation on Tuesday after informing the state that he had tested positive to the dreaded Coronavirus.
Fears are rife that his absence at the critical period may affect his camp’s preparations for the APC primary billed for October 20 in Akure, the state capital.
The APC governorship shadow will be holding barely six days after the expiration of the 14-day isolation period.
No fewer than eight aspirants, including the governor, are jostling for the ticket of the party. Other contenders are Olusola Oke, Segun Abraham, Bukola Adetula, Ife Oyedele, Awodeji Apata and Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose.
However, the party is yet to decide on whether the primary will be based on direct or indirect mode of election.
Party insiders fear that with the governor in isolation, there may be gaps in consultations and mobilisation anchored by the ‘Aketi Group’, the dominant structure nurtured by Akeredolu.
Also, his absence may stall the work of the Reconciliation Panel set up by the Mai Buni-led National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to reconcile aggrieved APC chieftains in the Sunshine State.
Only on Tuesday the Committee named Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello as head of an eight-member peace panel.
Few months ago, Akeredolu had tested negative to the virus. But, by yesterday’s disclosure, he joined the list of governors who had earlier tested positive.
They are Mallam Nosiru el-Rufai (Kaduna State), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), who is still recuperating from the illness.
Akeredolu, who disclosed his positive status in a tweet, said: “Earlier today, I got confirmation of a positive result for Covid-19. I am asymptomatic and not displaying any symptoms. I am currently self-isolating and supervised home management will be administered by the wonderful team at our Infectious Disease Hospital. I ask that we all stay safe and be well.”
The governor, who said he had malaria a few days ago, explained that he was treated and “ got over it.”
He added: “And as at the time we had our party NEC, my colleagues called on me and spoke with one of them who felt that malaria should not be treated lightly, I should go ahead and have a test for COVID -19.
“The result came out today, June 30, 2020 and I tested positive, but asymptomatic.
“But, my trust in God to get through this is unshakable. So, my people, if you have malaria, get tested.”
Akeredolu, who explained that he was neither feeling sick nor hot in anyway, said “but my doctors have advised that I should take the normal treatment and self isolate.”
He stressed: “I believe that supervised home management will be ideal for me now.
“So, for now, I will be isolated. Let me assure our people that as you can see me, there are many of us that don’t have the symptoms, it is there and you cannot see it.
“This time, we will conduct another test and we will know the result. Let me assure our people that the work is going on.”
The governor pleaded with his political associates to “continue with the re-election project because we are sure to win.”
Ondo State had recorded 276 cases of COVID-19.
While 89 patients had recovered, 19 deaths had been recorded.
Akeredolu, who has begun treatment at home, said he was very strong to continue to work from self-isolation.
He said: “Work is going on. At home, I am attending to files. I appealed to my political associates to continue the work.”
On his second term ambition, Akeredolu said: “Few days time, I will do another test. Work is going on. We are sure to win. I am gifted to get through to my destination. I am a man with special gift. My trust in God to through this is unshaken. I pray to God for his hand of healing to get through to us. I thank God for the discovery of this on time.”
The governor removed the face masks to assure Ondo people that he was the person talking behind the mask.
Akeredolu directed members of the State Executive Council, close aides and others who have had reasons for constant contacts with him to undergo compulsory CONID-19 tests.
A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, said the governor resolved to self-isolate in line with accepted global standards in respect of COVID-19 protocols.
He said: “Mr. Governor trusts in God that all will be well even as he seeks the prayers of all and sundry during this period.
“There is nothing to fear and no component of government business will be adversely affected within the period of the governor’s self-isolation. In this regard, Mr. Governor calls on all to be steadfast and remain committed to his or her assigned official responsibilities.
“ Mr. Governor calls on his campaign team to continue with all planned events and itineraries as regards the Re-run Project. We shall win and win big, he assures.”
An APC governorship aspirant, Isaacs Kekemeke, hailed Akeredolu for disclosing his health status.
He said he received with shock the news that the governor had tested positive for the disease.
He commended Akeredolu for the disclosure and the decision to self isolate immediately.”
Kekemeke, in a statement from his Lekeleke Campaign Organisation and signed by Chairman, Strategic Mobilisation and Communication Committee, Demola Ijabiyi, said Akeredolu demonstrated concern and care for the health and welfare of those around him, including those who would have necessarily come into contact with him by virtue of his high office.