Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday recalled how he contracted the dreaded COVID-19 from a fellow governor in 2020.
El-Rufai, while speaking at the seventh Ahmadu Bello Foundation lecture in Kaduna on Saturday, also said no fewer than 50,000 people would have been killed by the virus last year if a lockdown had not been imposed.
The governor had, on March 26, 2020, imposed a lockdown on Kaduna, following the outbreak of the disease and partially lifted it on June 9, 2020, after 75 days.
According to him, he spent 26 days in isolation, adding that even his wives ran away from him.
The lecture tagged ‘COVID-19: Way forward for Northern Nigeria economy,’ was organised by the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation.
El-Rufai said, “A governor infected me with COVID-19 virus and I brought it to Kaduna. I was locked up for 26 days. My wives ran away from me. Fifty thousand people in Kaduna would have died of COVID-19 last year, but for the fact that Kaduna State was the first to lock down.
“I am happy to say because of COVID-19, we have been able to put in place infectious disease wards in our hospitals. People travel around the world so there may be ‘COVID-25’ or 30. With what is happening in India, the situation is scary. But God has been very kind to us.”
Emphasising the need for the North to improve on the quality of its leaders, the governor argued that 60 years after the demise of the late Sarduana of Sokoto and premier of the defunct Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the region had yet to have a leader like him (Sarduana).
According to the governor, the late premier of the North remained the best leader the region had ever produced.
He noted that the North must produce leaders that cared for the people, adding that there was the need to provide jobs for the North before the 500 million estimated population of Nigeria by the year 2050.