Nigeria: COVID-19 - Despite Testing Positive, El-Rufai, Bala Mohammed Still in Charge

31 March 2020

Despite testing positive for coronavirus, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, are still in charge and running the affairs of their respective states from isolation centres, Daily Trust reports.

They are the two governors so far to have tested positive for the coronavirus in the country. One of our correspondents reported that since El-Rufai disclosed his status on Saturday, he has been in self-isolation at his residence.

In his short video announcement, El-Rufai mentioned that Deputy Governor Dr. Hadiza Balarabe was in charge of the state's taskforce on COVID-19. He, however, did not make a pronouncement on whether she would be in charge of government affairs while he was in isolation.

El-Rufai said he would continue to issue statements from time to time while in isolation. He is however yet to issue any.

Daily Trust checks revealed that with the state on lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19, not much has been happening in Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House. An insider told our correspondent that COVID-19 has become the dominant issue in the state for which the deputy governor has already been placed to be in charge of.

"Malam is communicating with the deputy governor, chief of staff, the Secretary to the State Government as well as his aides but I can't say if they have met with him physically since he made the announcement.

"He has always been one to ensure governance is decentralised so everyone in Kaduna State is playing his or her part," the source who does not want to be named said.

Our correspondent reports that even before his test, El-Rufai had handed certain government activities over to his deputy and at the forefront of government pronouncements through televised broadcasts or media chats on measures taken by the state to curb the spread of the disease.

In Bauchi, our correspondent reports that Bala Mohammed was still in charge of governance from his isolation centre despite having tested positive for the coronavirus.

Our correspondent reports that although the deputy governor, Baba Tela, is the chairman, Taskforce Committee on COVID-19 in the state, investigation revealed that almost all governance decisions were taken with the consent of the governor.

Governor Mohammed has not yet transmitted letter officially to the state House of Assembly on his health challenges to delegate his responsibility for the deputy governor to take over as acting governor of the state.

Meanwhile, our correspondent reports that there are plots to remove the speaker of the State House of Assembly, Abubakar Y. Suleiman, for allegedly hobnobbing with the governor.

It was gathered that 20 members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are behind the plan to remove the speaker.

Since last Wednesday when the state government, as part precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus ordered civil servants from level 1 to 12 to remain at home and shut down markets, governance activities had been on the lowest ebb in the state.

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