From WUHAN in China otherther parts of the globe, the novel Corona virus (COVID-19) ravaging the world has shown that human behaviour in a corner of the world can affect and be dangerous to the survival of others elsewhere. The transnational dimension of the problem has revealed that improperly managed personal problem can become large scale global social problem. The trans-territorial backlashes of the WUHAN disaster on the rest of the world, affirmed that human beings are active agents for virus dispersal. With no clear-cut scientific breakthrough yet on the vaccine to silence COVID-19, the world is in panic mode. If the COVID-19 health crisis could hit America, Britain and Germany among others, with thousands six-feet below the ground, what will be the fate of sub-Saharan Africa will frail health system? This is the story of Nigeria — big and blessed with natural resources but unlucky with leadership that has unleashed death centers as health institutions on their people.
At the moment, they appear overwhelmed in the global North where our selfish leaders run to for health tourism but since they have a ‘shock-absorbing’ policy in place, the impact is lessened for the vulnerable and susceptible populace who have been asked to stay at home. Their funded Scientists are in the laboratories to develop vaccines that can rescue humanity from this unfriendly virus which is poised to put asunder what God has put together.
In Nigerian Churches and Mosques, prayer focus has switched from killing household wickedness or prosperity to appealing to the God of Coronavirus to stop perceived anger over man’s serial overstepping of his bounds. As I write, incredulous Nigerians who held on to the myths that Coronavirus cannot survive the Nigerian weather are now confronted with the reality of over 50 confirmed cases and over 1300 contacts being tracked for having primary contacts with index cases. Except for Lagos that has been proactive, the complacent leadership in the country has allowed their poor or non-existent threat analysis intervention skill to afflict the nation before they stopped international flights into the country. Returnees from endemic countries were allowed to mingle with the rest of us because Government cannot provide facility to observe them for two weeks!. Even the powerful who returned from endemic countries failed to observe the self isolation advisory. Now, the hapless and poverty stricken populace who have no international passports and who have been living under excruciating conditions; eating from hand to mouth would have to suffer for the sins of complacency.
The good news is that Coronavirus is no respecter of the presidency! It has proved to be a class leveller. The influential middle and upper classes imported it into the country. They range from the Italian business man to UK/US Nigerian returnees of middle class families, Musicians, National Assembly members, Ministers, to power holders inside Aso Villa. Despite heavily armed DSS, Army, and Police, COVID-19 strolled into Aso Villa with power holders who cannot be stopped by security personnel — the influential Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and some of his aides are infected. Consequently, Governors and Ministers and their aides who had contacts with the cases are now fearful, praying to test negative.
We have begged those in government to have mercy on the rest of us who lack the wherewithal to do health tourism. Many Nigerians have lost wives, children and relatives to sickness that would have been handled if our health institutions had not been converted to death centers. Medical Doctors have gone on strikes over paltry sum and poor working conditions; researchers who the nation should look up to at this moment are not able to help because the State had relegated knowledge through conscious underfunding and intentioned institutional decay and disruptions. We heard promise to stop health tourism — the one who made the promise broke it serially. According to an African adage, if you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents.
It is a total shame that a country whose Lawmakers ordered for latest Jeep to cruise around cannot boast for more than five laboratories where they can test for COVID-19! Just like many villagers get killed by bandits before security would arrive, the blood sample of Bauchi State Governor who eventually tested positive had to travel not less than six hours to Abuja to get the results. In all this, Lagos has become the Federal Capital while Abuja is now a ‘State’ running to Lagos for help. The good news is that UK and US where politicians run to for health care are more endemic, their wickedness has come to haunt them — we are all trapped in. It is now time for those in power to utilise the ultra-modern health facilities that they have constructed and equipped. At least, they tell us that they have built world class health infrastructures. Learning so fast from our wicked leaders, pharmacy shops hiked the prices of face masks, sanitizers and hand gloves more than one hundred percent in such a way that the poor will still not be able to get one and only the class of those who imported the virus into the country will still be able to get one to buy. The parasitic elites who destroyed public education cannot even rest well because their children are also in the global north schooling where the virus is not sparing the careless.
Coronavirus may have originated from China, but China has not looked outward for help. Her investment in education, Science and Technology is yielding results. Put in another way, COVID-19 is a local problem for China with local solution. Unlike United States and United Kingdom whose investments in Science and Technology is making their scientists work tirelessly in laboratories, Nigeria’s historical wickedness to herself through callous leadership who refused to invest in Education, Science and Technology is making it a beggarly nation. We still have to beg others for assistance and wait on them to tell us the drugs to use. Shame on my country! Thanks to Jack Ma (China’s richest man) foundation who has donated 100,000 face masks, 1,000 protective gowns and 20,000 test kits — Africa’s richest man and other billionaires should lift their country.
For the rest of us, avoidance behaviour is critical at this time. Social distancing, regular washing of hands and avoiding crowded places. Worship your God inside your room. Only the living will worship the lord and people perish for lack of wisdom. Stay in your house and buy things in your area. We can prevent it by reducing our movements .
Dr Tade, a sociologist, writes via firstname.lastname@example.org