FSDH Webinar: Sanwo-olu, El-Rufai, Obaseki Speak On COVID-19 Pandemic and Local Realities

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Friday, May 22, 2020 / 3.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV / Header Image Credit: FSDH

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As Global economies begin to explore the options of gradually reopening after several months of COVID-19 induced lockdown, the FSDH Group made up of FSDH Holding Company, FSDH Merchant Bank, FSDH Asset Management, FSDH Capital and Pensions Alliance Limited,  hosted a webinar which provided an opportunity for three state Governors H.E Mr Babajide Sanwo-olu (Lagos), H.E Mallam Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and H.E Godwin Obaseki (Edo) shared their perspectives on "Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities".


Moderated by Mr. Hakeem Bello Osagie, Chairman of FSDH Group, it was an opportunity for the Governors to give further insight into their approaches to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in their respective states, and steps they intend to take towards the gradual reopening of their state economies.


Governor Nasir El-Rufai in his remarks said during the initial lockdown from the last week of March, Kaduna state had focused on protecting large critical factories, while ensuring that the Food, Beverages and Pharmaceuticals sectors remained active and accessible to citizens.


According to El-Rufai the state had worked assiduously to ensure that the companies operating worked within the guidelines of the appropriate sanitary conditions and hygiene standards necessitated by the COVID 19 virus.


On social gatherings,  that had been banned in the state, the Governor said there had been continuous engagement with religious leaders. He said Kaduna State had partnered with telecommunication companies to utilize the telephones to provide palliatives for the citizens.


On his part Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu said Lagos State had been well-positioned for the COVID-19 pandemic,  because of the Ebola outbreak and its management protocols put in place 6 years ago.


In response to the current health challenge, he said that the State currently has 18 isolation centres with 1,500 bed capacity with 22 sample collections centres.


He said that the three-pronged strategy for Lagos State in addressing the challenge of COVID-19 was that of collaboration, coordination and communication. Sanwo-olu  said there would be a gradual approach to reopening Nigeria's economic capital.


In Edo State, the Governor, Mr.  Godwin Obaseki, explained that the State's focus has been to serve as the "Logistics Hub of Nigeria", with emphasis on governance, human capacity building and expansion of health care infrastructure and effective communication.


Obaseki informed the 3,000 participants at the webinar that Edo State was ramping up its capacity to deal with the COVID-19 virus by strengthening the Federal Specialist Hospital in Irua dedicated to infectious disease and improving the infrastructure at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH.


Jaya Wen, an Associate Professor at the Harvard Business School, in her contribution said there were many "easy wins" in the approach to opening up the economy, which could be explored including the following;

  • Hygiene, sanitation and distancing: Secure supply of soap, sanitizer, and masks, provide handwashing stations  in public areas, implement spacing and capacity controls in public areas.
  • Ban large gatherings: Engage community and religious leaders focus, with emphasis on events to hotspots.
  • Public messaging and education: This entails coordinated campaigns about hygiene and distancing, increase public enlightenment and education on the COVID 19 transmission.
  • Travel restrictions: This should cover international hotspots, keeping flights within the country with essential services and movement of items like food.


Also speaking, Professor Asim Khwaja, of the Harvard University highlighted the crisis of knowledge failure,  the binary chart curse and the need for citizen engagement as key issues to be considered and addressed by the global community, as the gradual easing of the lockdowns take shape.


Dr Alero Roberts, a Senior lecturer at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, affirmed that molecular tests on COVID-19 are already ongoing in Lagos.


The moderator Mr. Hakeem Bello-Osagie believed that the pandemic presented political, sociological, economic and  psychological realities for nations across the globe.For Nigeria, the Chairman of the FSDH Group was of the view that it was a time to rethink the structure of the nation.

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