On Thursday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control placed the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Edo state at 12, the highest in the country behind Osun, Lagos and Abuja. Worse, with improved testing capacity, as the Edo state government, contrary to its media claims, is yet to institute functional testing centers, the numbers could be more.While the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, and members of his cabinet, notably the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, have made it a habit, in line with best global practice, to inform the people directly and regularly on the state’s preparedness to combat the viral disease, the condition of victims in the isolation centers set up to hold and care for them, the number of recoveries recorded, and additional measures the government is implementing or considering to curtail spread ; the Edo state government, led by Godwin Obaseki, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found, leaving the people to their fate in the face of the greatest threat to public health and social order since the Second World War.Godwin Obaseki, the man elected in 2016 to lead from the front, has hidden away, ruling himself out of duty, providing a terrible example that members of his cabinet, including one still held in France over reported money laundering, have all copied.In the state’s greatest hour of need, there is a clear absence of leadership. Obaseki has limited communications with the people to occasionally recorded broadcasts outside of his office, providing evidence that he is off-duty and not in charge. While some have attributed this vanishing act to possible questions on his health and fitness, it becomes hard to summon pity or accept the excuse given that the governor and his aides continue to lie about his status and fudge details.Other governors who tested positive to COVID-19 have been upfront with the development and allowed some time off, alongside good wishes, to recover and resume duty. A clear example of this is the case of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state who tested positive, isolated self, got care, recovered and has now resumed leading the line of his state’s defense.However, Obaseki, who claimed he tested negative through a ‘rapid test’ that has been discredited by the NCDC for its inconsistency and lack of accuracy, has refused to display the result of the accompanying tests and remained perpetually in isolation without justification or explanation to the public.In his absence and nonchalance, the state has faltered in the fight against COVID19. Edo state NMA has decried a lack of medical and protective equipment for health workers and non-functionality of isolation centers the government claimed it equipped. Market women in the state have raised alarm on their abrupt relocation to schools where, in violation of social distancing, they are made to trade in close spaces inadequate for commerce and dangerous to health. Refuse dumps that ought to be cleared and processed for recycling are being fumigated while public spaces remain untended to.These, and other anomalies, form the action of Edo state government while COVID19 continues its march in the state and doctors, lacking protection, are worried sick for their health and families.Leadership in a crisis demands presence, the presence of the leader to inform the people, to inspire and reassure them. Godwin Obaseki has done none. Quite frankly, he is nowhere to be found.