The Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi Foundation (RAAF) has sped into the forefront of the battle against the global pandemic, coronavirus which has now started spreading across Nigerian states.
Since Oyo State recorded its first case of the coronavirus, the foundation established by the senator formally representing Oyo South, Senator Adesoji Akanbi quickly swung into action with major interventions at hospitals, markets and other public places.
There had been fears as it was reported that there was only a 4-bedded isolation centre with an empty chlorine tank at the University College Hospital, UCH, which is supposed to be the most equipped health facility in Oyo State.
Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi with his team visited the teaching hospital on Monday, March 23 where he donated some money to boost their financial capacity to cater to possible coronavirus patients in the state.
The Public Relations Officer of the UCH, Ibadan, Mr Toye Akinrinlola, confirmed this gesture on Wednesday, March 25 during a breakfast show on Fresh 105.9 FM Ibadan where issues regarding the coronavirus pandemic came to the fore and that as at the time of the interview, a few private organisations like the RAA Foundation had supported them.
Before this, the foundation also launched a series of public enlightenment jingles on major radio stations like Lagelu FM, Splash FM, Fresh FM and Okanlomo online radio. Produced in Yoruba and pidgin English, the jingles teach residents across the state how to follow recommended actions and stay protected.
In addition to this, the Foundation has also produced thousands of jars of alcohol-based hand sanitizer which it is distributing in markets and other public places to groups, associations and some individuals across Ibadan the Oyo State capital.
In a chat, Senator Akanbi said that his foundation had to take responsibility for this having realised that the best way for Nigeria to win the battle against the coronavirus is to take the message of prevention to the masses.
“If the health systems in countries like Italy, the United States and the UK can struggle to contain this deadly coronavirus, there is no need pretending that Nigeria will not struggle. Our best bet is to proactively educate our people about prevention so that we don’t find ourselves in that helpless situation,” he said.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, March 24, the cargo area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos received aboard an Ethiopian Airlines cargo plane, Nigeria’s share of the coronavirus kits donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and Ali Baba Foundation to African Union member states.
This delivery sparked reactions from many Nigerians, who kept asking what the Nigerian businessmen were going to do, especially the known philanthropists and politicians.
Asked if he was inspired by this, Akanbi said that his intervention started before the delivery but noted that indeed the gesture by the Ali Baba founder should spur more well-meaning Nigerians to join him in fighting the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
“The support by Jack Ma is indeed inspiring and also a major challenge for the Nigerian elites. This is the time to prove to Nigerians that their lives matter more to us, not just their votes during elections and their money when they patronize our businesses,” Senator Akanbi said.