By Adegbeyeni Abiodun (Sagacious)
When the word coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 is in discourse; it poses a serious concern to all and sundry. The ravaging pandemic has for the past few months wreaked its havoc in most of the countries of the world ranging from tens of thousands of deaths to gradually bringing the state of some countries economies to a comatose. In essence; the plethora of this pandemic wherein churches and mosques are locked down, businesses closed and movements restricted amongst others has forced numbers of people from various sectors to go on a compulsory holiday.
In February 2020, precisely on the 27th, Nigeria recorded the first confirmed case of coronavirus which was an Italian man on a visit to the country. Prior to this time; there were calls from every quarter on the need for the federal government to close all our boarders to avoid the extension of this virus into the country but it all fell on the president’s deaf ears. The health Minister on his part announced that Nigeria has the necessary facilities to contain COVID-19 should there be any case. I make bold to say with the way things are going; his remarks could be likened to that of a parrot who flauntingly boasted to have her barn filled with goodies when in the real sense it is empty. Our case is no different from a fool who wants to bury a corpse before digging the grave.
The daily rise in the cases of coronavirus is no doubt making the majority of Nigerians apprehensive. So far, Nigeria has recorded 210 cases, 25 discharged and 4 deaths. To say the pandemic caught us unaware is stating just the obvious. Someone jokingly said if this pandemic started in Nigeria; our leaders would have all scrammed to other countries by now, leaving us to our fates but it’s quite unfortunate there is no hiding place. Both the rich and the poor are feeling the pang of the lady called corona!
|Corona Virus (COVID-19)|
Bill Gates while addressing the now-defunct National Economic Council on the 22nd of March, 2018, emphasized the need for the federal government to invest more in health and education. Instead of taking the American billionaire words in good faith, the presidency took swipe at him. It’s barely two years now that Gates made that statement and he has been vindicated. The ravaging pandemic has revealed the substandard health sector of Nigeria. Despite the fact that billions go to the health sector in the budget; nothing to show for it than embezzlement and the reason for this is because they believed they can always travel abroad to enjoy medical facilities.
It got me awestruck that since the outbreak of coronavirus in Nigeria; some state governments have been able to set up isolation centers with standard equipment within a few days. Not only that; funds are being donated by public and private sectors within a few days. While I commend state governments working round the clock to contain the virus and also the donors giving their hard-earned money; I’ve got some questions begging for answers: why haven’t our governments been deploying the same energy and will over the years to develop our county? Does that mean the donors have delight in contributing in times of crisis than contributing to develop? One of my friends jokingly said it’s the same thing with people trying to contribute to your burial than for your well-being. It’s so sad!
Nigerians have been taught this time that freedom is sacrosanct and as such must not be joked with. Staying home this time around even under your own roof is no different from being under a siege. The federal government promise on conditional cash transfer only exists in audio. It’s tantamount to wasting of time to rely on a government that has a preference for cows than human beings for palliative. A government that planned to spend #100billion on cows but only released #15billion to fight COVID-19. A government whose under watch Covik 1-9 virus has transmuted to Covik 419 virus wherein his clansmen are fond of their pockets this time. I mean a government that budgeted #37billion to renovate the ordinary building of NASS. A government that seeks $500million dollars loan to rebrand NTA. Expecting miracle from Buhari is like expecting a handshake from a leper; it can’t be possible even in the world to come.
People whose source of livelihood is on the street are languishing in hunger. Even only the creme de la creme of the countries who have contracted this virus is being tested and attended to I watched a video of a man whose wife was abandoned in an isolation center and I became lachrymose. His plight was evident in his words. He emotionally said he preferred his wife dying in his house than the reckless abandonment and suffering meted upon her. What a country!
I call on state governments to be more proactive in containing this pandemic to forestall a possible surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria. I want to finally commend our health workers who are putting their lives on the line to help contain this virus. May God reward you all. I hope the lessons both the government and the masses have learned this period will not slide into obscurity. This time too shall pass and we shall overcome! I’m leaving the rest for another day.