Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday revealed that he once tested positive for the deadly COVID-19, but was relieved 72 hours later when subsequent tests came out negative. The former President was very concerned about his state of health when he tested positive for the virus and he had to call his first daughter, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo – Bello, that he was not having any symptom but COVID – 19 test from a sample extracted from him reads positive. Obasanjo, who turned 84 yesterday, said his daughter advised him to take additional tests, explaining that the result might be faulty.
The former President made the disclosure at a colloquium, organised to mark his birthday. The event was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State capital. The colloquium, which took place simultaneously both online and offline has as its topic, ‘Reflection on Governance and Changes for Post – pandemic Leadership in Africa’, with hundreds of people in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Singapore and Nigeria participating virtually. According to Obasanjo, subsequent tests 72 hours later, all certified him negative to the Coronavirus. The elder statesman blamed the poor handling of COVID-19 by Donald Trump’s administration in the United States for the rapid spread of the virus to other countries.
Obasanjo said: “It will surprise you that I was tested positive for COVID-19. I called them to come and test me, they came on a Saturday, I didn’t get the result till Wednesday and it came out positive, but I don’t see any symptoms. “When they came three days after, they tested me and said I am negative, that is three days after I tested positive.
“My daughter, Iyabo is an epidemiologist and I called her to explain, she said maybe they tested me at the later stage of your being positive. “I told her I had no symptoms and she said it could be a faulty result. But I was tested positive. Since then I have been tested three times negative, so, if you want to come near me, you can come near me.
“It is nothing to worry about, when I was tested positive, my household was running from me, I told them to stay in their place while I stay in mine.” He noted that God had continued to be compassionate and merciful to Nigeria and the rest of Africa, saying if the Coronavirus had come in the manner of Ebola in Africa with its devastation, no amount of social or physical distancing would have saved the continent.
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. On why the pandemic did not wreak 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.
“They said it is the heat, it is the nature of our DNA, whatever it is, God has been protecting us. Now that we are where we are, what lessons can we learn from it? “How are we going to deal with the post pandemic for the good of all of us? What are the lessons we learn on what to do for another one that may come, when, we do not know? “The first lesson that we must learn is that of health first. Whatever it takes, the health of individuals and the health of all of us collectively come first. And whatever that will cost to protect the health of our people we must do.
“And in dealing with health first, we have to act and deal with the protection of our neighbours not just for ourselves because we do protection first. “Health first, but for yourself and your neighbour is important collective protection is what we have failed to do. “If we don’t have the facilities to produce vaccines, we can have the sense to come together and do collective purchase of the vaccine.