Coronavirus: A government-citizen concern, By Meduoye Adeyinka

Posted by News Express | 9 April 2020 | 820 times

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•Meduoye Adeyinka

Quietly silencing naïve souls and causing ripples within the surface of the earth like a pebble thrown into the river, she wriggles her way into the core of the land, making striking incursions here and there without recourse for discourse. At first, we flexed our muscles via the office of the health master like that of the comical Johnny Bravo, while her shadow was busy saluting the Western world with loads of “hellos” already sent out.

This time, the keys of our already porous borders were well hidden for reason(s) best known to those at the helm of affairs, as she quietly crawls into our manageable society where the truth is often hidden to make informed decisions. We shivered and jittered to her arrival like a harmless dragon with no heart fire. The scourge has reached dangerous proportions, with a spike in infection numbers around the world, which in no time is inducing inevitable adverse effects on the global economy and on practically every facet of human endeavour.

We were not caught unawares as the skewed face of poor leadership in our nascent democracy is part and parcel of her continuing governance. The sweetness that comes in jetting out to treat even the slightest of aches has turned sore in their mouth while the aroma stenches.

Before now, patriotic and concerned Nigerians have been lamenting the slow pace of human capital development – such as good infrastructure, concrete health-care system and reliable power supply, etc., from up-north to down-south – yet, we were termed wailers with loose tongue. Of course, some of us aren’t sycophants or praise singers, promoting cheap politics by worshipping and gobbling at the feet of public officials, who are statutorily required to promote transparency of being submissive to the wider populace.

The pandemic is hitting harder, evident in its minute-by-minute increase of her victims. It is stinging and spreading invisibly, as religious centres have forcefully shut down, and students have in no time scampered away like rodents from closed schools. Simultaneously, we are all wrestling an unseen but common enemy of mankind, which has no respect for human decency. In her diary, every human class belongs to a queue, and the richness of humans is no antidote to its disappearance. Tragic!

With the aim to gain untamed relevance – rifts and scuffles are common in the game of political and economic dominance – but there are times in which the lords of amends are being invited to the struggling table. At every corner, the world continues to speak in one-voice; the once run-away with penchant for looting the treasury are back home in isolation. Loosed relationships are getting strengthened, and leaders are now connecting with the led. Some even speak in the godly manner in such critical times saying: “Our only hope remains up in the sky, God rescue your people.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his national address, has directed the mobilisation of the whole instruments of government to confront what have now become both a health emergency and an economic crisis. But what is evidently missing from the chart is National Relief for all. In precarious times like this accompanied by total lockdown of a few selected states, how do struggling Nigerians residing in those states feed? Or will manner fall from heaven? We ought to measure our palliative measures accordingly, to fit into the present time.

The world isn’t watching with bated breath as the global economy is being boxed into upheaval. The president said: “Although, we have adopted strategies used globally, our implementation programmes have been tailored to reflect our local realities.” But what we have failed to adopt as a nation are the national relief strategies used by our Western neighbours. Which way Nigerians? Our leaders are much expected to be responsible and responsive. They failed to realise that the pandemic is deadly, but hunger is deadlier. Yes, we are trying to solve a problem: But don’t you think we are channeling to create another amid this?

Fellow Nigerians believe lies and falsehood preoccupies the media space; they claimed they have already started the distribution of relief materials to the most vulnerable and poorest masses, when it is obvious that we don’t have a well-structured database to identify and capture such class. If the N20,000 disbursement by the government is true, since most of the beneficiaries are “un-banked” – if there is any word like that – how were they paid? If true, then thumbs up for the government of the day. Valid!

It is now regarded as a norm in our society that Nigerians embrace every slight opportunity to extort their fellows, on no course for challenge. Those covering the retail-essentials commodities aren’t helping matters at all. In a blink, the prices of every day food items skyrocket on the false and flimsy excuse of scarcity. Some secretly hope the pandemic stays much longer in a clue to make more money from already stored essentials. That is very bad.

In Nigeria, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been implementing numerous strategies and programmes to ensure that the adverse impact of this virus on the country is minimised. Applause! Even if it is taxpayers’ money, the members of the National Assembly have done the unthinkable and the memorable for the sheer display of their philanthropic acts, to be directed to the purse of the National Relief Fund as headed by the Presidential Task Force. This is commendable as the gestures of these men are exhibited once-in-a-while, especially during elections. One should be concerned that they do not re-loot multiples of it, after the situation must have subsided.

Also a quick salutation to notable Nigerians, religious centres and organisations who, in one way or the other, have been offering help and partnering with the government at all levels and responsible agencies in contributing their quota either through civic engagements, community-health-volunteering, monetary and in-kind donations, etc., to curb the spread of this pandemic. The fear that the donations might not be managed with corrupt-free hands is stronger than that of the “Social-distancing” preached in every sane corner.

While the labs are widely opened for vaccine discovery, as the pandemic continues to break news; embraces every detail of major headlines, and dashes the hope of social gatherings. It is no easy time – no conveniences, as every nation in the world are challenged at this time. Our collective responsibility is much needed than ever to mitigate the spread of this virus. Keep playing the lyrics of “Stay safe” by staying home. It will surely go as it came.

God bless Nigeria!


Source: News Express

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