BY FEMI OYEWESO, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday took a cursory look at the high death rate recorded so far in the COVID-19 pandemic that is still raving the world and declared that the entire African continent would have been wiped off if the deadly virus had come in the manner of Ebola virus.
The former president, who disclosed that he was once tested positive to the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, emphasised that God has continued to be compassionate and merciful with Nigeria and the rest of African continent since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Obasanjo stated this yesterday in his remarks at a colloquium organized to celebrate his 84 birthday which was held within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.
The colloquium which took place simultaneously both online and offline with the topic, “Reflection on Governance and Changes for Post – pandemic Leadership in Africa” had hundreds of people in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Singapore and Nigeria participating virtually.
With particular mention of Nigeria, Obasanjo said no amount of social or physical distancing would have saved the country from suffering greater degree of casualties, considering the rate at which people clustered themselves in 10 by 12 feet rooms in states such as Lagos.
He wondered how much social distancing requirements would have been able to be accomplished in Mushin, Lagos, where eight people live in one room or Ajegunle, also in Lagos, where no fewer than 10 people occupy 12 by 12 rooms.
Obasanjo, who turned 84 yesterday Friday 5th of March, said he was a bit concerned about it, saying he was relieved 72 hours later when subsequent tests came out negative.
He said he had to call his daughter, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo – Bello that he was not having any symptoms but COVID – 19 tests from samples extracted from him reads positive.
According to him, subsequent tests 72 hours later, all certified him negative to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Obasanjo therefore, advised people not to be afraid to come quite close to felicitate with him on his birthday because of the dread of COVID – 19 infection, saying he has tested negative three times to it.
On why the pandemic did not wreck havoc to lives in Africa like it did in America, Europe and Asia, Obasanjo said many have attributed Africa’s luck to genetics, heat and peculiar food in the environment, but stressed that for whatever might be the plausible explanation, God’s finger could not be ruled out.
He also lamented that the coronavirus spread to many nations of the world because the United States of America (USA) under the administration of Donald Trump was passive in addressing the public health challenge, saying Trump spent all his time dismissing the danger as “Chinese virus until it became a global problem.”