For over thirty days counting, the nation has been on what I would want to term an “extended emergency curfew”. You might want to call it a lockdown, shutdown, forced in; depending on the perspective you are considering this from. The goal obviously, is to curtail the effects of the ravaging pandemic – corona virus disease that is spreading like wild fire ready to consume a forest.
In the national address delivered by the President last Monday, it was as though the minds of poor Nigerians were relieved as the country’s number one citizen proclaimed a gradual relaxation of the lockdown to ease and speed up the process of economic recovery. However, this was subject to the situation of things in each state. Hence, relaxation of the supposed “emergency curfew” was dependent on the recorded cases cum recoveries in the states.
Nigerians for long, have been known to be flexible, adaptable, resilient and dogged. Some things that have hitherto sparked violence, uprisings and insurrections in other countries of the world, have been accepted and adopted into the mental cognitive and reasoning faculties of Nigerians.
Thus, most times, we as Nigerians have been conditioned and forced to erroneously believe and accept the illusion as to “letting sleeping dogs lie”. Afterall, in all situations, you would hear an average 9ja man saying “All Is Well”. In a purported show or ridicule, all seems not be well this time as things and events seem to be taking another turn this time around.
Undoubtedly and unarguably is the fact the lockdown has affected the chances of survival of thousands of Nigerians. Initially, the Federal Government’s declaration of a lockdown was accepted by all and sundry. Afterall, health as it is said is wealth. Nigerians in their show of jamboree and excitement quickly rushed to the markets to make their last minutes shopping so as to keep body and soul together.
Further extension of the lockdown awakened the consciousness of Nigerians as to how a country can declare a forced holiday on its citizens without making preparations for their survival. The absence of aids and assistance from all tiers and strata of the government, has subjected many to excruciating pains and emotional turmoils without end.
Several disheartening stories continue to flood the streets of the media (print and electronic). People on a daily basis are recounting tales and experiences of woe as they are forced to go hungry.
Our supposed ‘political bourgeoisie’ who should have used this period to make life befitting for members of their constituents, continue to amass wealth at the expense of the poor “proletariat”. One then begins to wonder if Nigerians can actually survive the lockdown for an extended period.
In the last few weeks, calls from different quarters signalled the fact that there might be a negative downward turn of events. Without much ado, the Federal Government placed the stay at home embargo restraining people from moving out of their houses. While this is commendable to a certain degree, it is condemnable in another degree because the government has the machinery through which the will of the state is performed has refused to cater for its citizens. Many of these citizens get their daily means of survival from daily hustles.
In places like Lagos, the level of compliance with the “stay and sit at home order” is waning. Several residents are becoming impatient due to hunger, discomfort and other things which are incapacitating them from staying indoors. On a normal day, Lagos has majority of its citizens as daily earners. Therefore, it would rather be an irrational decision on the path of the government to declare a lockdown without providing any form of assistance (cash and kind) whatsoever. Thus citizens are turned to “sheeps having no shepherds”
The above is the same situation been painted in almost all parts of the country. Erroneously, many people have been coaxed to believing the fact that the stay at home order is essential so as to avoid contact with the disease. Thus, they forget the Yoruba adage that says even if you live beneath the earth, or under the water, the goddess of misfortune can pick you up and achieve her aim.
While the government in some states are said to be distributing palliatives, many have expressed concerns and reactions as to the rationale used in disbursing the items. To them, it is more of a “man know man” affair which makes it lopsided, uneven and unbalanced to the benefit of all and sundry. This is what has made me conclude that Nigeria’s democratic system of government wasn’t propunded by Abraham Lincoln and hence, our own definition of democracy is government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich, at the expense of the poor and marginalised.
Fortnight ago, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, via his Twitter handle, @DrTedros, applauded the initiative of countries who have enforced the restriction of movement order to contain the spread of the ravaging corona virus disease (COVID -19). This is not without imploring the countries in question to provide viable necessities of life for the poor and vulnerable.
Several countries of the world such as the United States, Canada etc, have provided measures as regards this. Nigeria as usual is operating from the rear view. This is amidst the current reality of many living below the poverty line.
Don’t you think that we are at great danger if amidst all these, the government suddenly starts to fight a national disease of hunger or you aren’t not foreseeing what I am seeing? Where are the monies donated by private organizations, other countries like Germany, as well as well meaning philanthropists?
I guess the actors who are shooting the corona virus movie haven’t concluded the movie. Hence, it is best to watch the concluding lines before actually deciding if Nigerians can actually endure the current economic hardship as we have always did in the past.
Lets keep watching!