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COVID-19 Intwrview: Gov Ikpeazu’s statements were doctored – CPS

*The governor vividly explained what his administration is doing and more, Ememanka insists

By Hassan Zaggi and Daniel Tyokua

The Chief Press Secretary to the Abia State Governor, Barr. Onyebuchi Ememanka has explained that the 20 minutes interview granted by his boss on COVID-19 were misconcieved and distorted for political mischief.

The CPS in a statement stated that the governor during the interview explained all the efforts by his administration to keep people in the state free from the virus, just as he detailed plans already put in place to contain the menace, should it find its way to the state.

According to Ememanka, “apart from discussing the pandemic and how it operates, the Governor went ahead to outline measures which the Government of Abia State under his leadership have taken and will take in our battle against this disease.

“He spoke about the efforts of the global medical community in trying to find an answer to this disease and even made a reference to a Professor of Virology at the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike who is working hard on this issue. He expressed confidence that the medical community in the world will definitely find an answer to this problem, judging from the concerted efforts made so far across the world”.

He wondered ow a 20 minute interview metamorphosed into a video of less than one minute with emphasis of the parting shot given by the Governor, stressing that it is a clear indication of the mischief that pervades our social media space.

The statement reads: “On Friday , March 20, 2020 at around 7pm, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu granted an interview which was aired live on Facebook. In that interview, he spoke extensively on the Corona Virus Pandemic which is currently the most topical issue on discourse across the globe today.

‘As his Chief Press Secretary, I personally conducted that interview and it lasted for about 20 minutes.

“Apart from discussing the pandemic and how it operates, the Governor went ahead to outline measures which the Government of Abia State under his leadership have taken and will take in our battle against this disease.

“He spoke on the nature of the human body as possessing the natural ability to fight back when brought under attacks by certain harmful micro organisms.

“He spoke about the efforts of the global medical community in trying to find an answer to this disease and even made a reference to a Professor of Virology at the Micheal Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike who is working hard on this issue. He expressed confidence that the medical community in the world will definitely find an answer to this problem, judging from the concerted efforts made so far across the world.

“He spoke about prevention and the need for the exercise of utmost discretion by our people in our social relationships. He spoke about personal hygiene.

“He went ahead to inform Abians that he would address the people of Abia State the next day and make major policy pronouncements on the ongoing fight against this pandemic.

“He specifically spoke about “Community Action” and emphasized the need for our people as a collective, to join hands in this fight by supporting each other. He spoke about management of the disease, especially at a time when no cure has been found yet.

“He made it clear that this disease is not necessarily a death sentence and advised against panic responses by our people. He called for calm and advised our people not to “die even when the virus hasn’t reached here”.

“In discussing this pandemic, Governor Ikpeazu was not on an unfamiliar terrain. He is a scientist with a Doctorate Degree in Biochemistry. His area of specialization is Clinical Biochemistry.

“He taught this subject in several universities both at the undergraduate and post graduate levels and rose to become the Head of Department of Biochemistry at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology before politics came calling. It will be extremely preposterous to think that a man with this kind of background doesn’t understand the issues involved here.

“In ending that interview, the Governor sent a message of hope to our people. That is what leaders do all over the world.

“At a time when things appear tough, leaders must give their people hope.

“After outlining the measures his administration has taken and will take, he assured our people that we will pull through this period, just as we did during the period of Ebola, Monkey Pox and others.
“President Donald Trump of the United States called for a National Day of Prayers. He did so because he believes that while mankind keeps working hard to find solution to this challenge, our ultimate hope lies in God.

“By assuring our people that Abia will not be hit by this pandemic because our state is mentioned in the Bible, Governor Ikpeazu simply was sending a message of hope to our people. That statement was his parting shot in an interview that lasted for twenty minutes.

“How a 20 minute interview metamorphosed into a video of less than one minute with emphasis of the parting shot given by the Governor is a clear indication of the mischief that pervades our Social Media space.

“The full version of that video remains all over the Social Media as it was shared by over 200 persons.

“True to his promise of addressing our people, less than 24 hours after that interview, the Governor addressed a Press Conference at the Government House Umuahia where he made clear policy pronouncements.
“Joined by his Deputy, the Commissioner for Health, Commissioner for Information and Heads of Medical Agencies in the State, including the Chief Medical Director of the Federal Medical Center Umuahia, the Governor reeled out measures which are already in the public domain.

“As at today, Abia is the only state in this country that has a functional Telehealth Facility linked to the 772 Primary Health Care Centers in the State through which credible information on this pandemic can be assessed with ease.

“With three Isolation Centers and a fourth one in the offing, with the high level of public enlightenment, with the provision of basic items like hand sanitizers, face masks, etc, with the order closing down state owned tertiary institutions, postponing the earlier announced convocation of our state university, an instruction that primary and post primary schools in the state must conclude their activities and close for the term by the 30th of this month, we dare say that Abia is prepared to face this challenge.

“The unfortunate and utterly mischievous doctoring of that video, it’s wide circulation and use as a means of attempting to disparage the Governor are not only senseless but also lend credence to the efforts of people who believe that an unregulated social media is a bomb waiting to explode.

“For the record, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu stands by that statement of faith that our people will pull through this tough period, just as he stands by all he said in that interview.

“He stands by the deliberate efforts his administration has taken so far and will take in the days ahead. Governor Ikpeazu, like most Abians, believes that God has the ability to protect us from this pandemic, just as he believes that we have the ability to play our own part and put necessary measures in place.
“In Abia, we pray. But we work too”.

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