Privacy, Please. Self-isolation, contemplation And Introspection in the Time of CoronaVirus…

There is a saying that a man’s best moments are when he is alone. Thus, while the self isolation, the quarantine and social distancing as a result of the unexplainable CoronaVirus are traumatic and restrictive, this is the Time to activate the slideshow of our life – from the age of awareness (7 years?) to the present. For many of us, it will be humbling. But for some, who have deluded themselves about how wealthy, how influential, how powerful AND how God is just a concept,this time remains” just a short break..and life goes on.” I leave them to wallow in their self deceit.

This time of the slideshow will allow us for the fourteen (14) days or whenever we emerge from this cocoon, to see LIFE in a new light. We will see how vulnerable, how nothingness,we are. We will see that just a slight breeze, has collapsed our World – with all our Intelligence. With all our technology. As my son, Mohammed, told me, ” in reality, we, humans are so weak”. We are.

Today, I look at the growing list of those Nigerians,who have tested “positive” to the CoronaVirus. It’s virtually a Who’s Who in the Nigetian society. Fittingly,it has to be them. It just has to be them. Without gloating, in any case, gloat or not, they are part of our larger society. They don’t cook for themselves. They need us to drive their State of the Art cars. They need us to power their generators,when NEPA( since we grew to adulthood, it has been so called, so, indulge me!) decides to cut the light. They need us to drive them to the airport,to board the planes and bring back – to infect us – CoronaVirus. So, here we are, held in appalled bondage,by an illness,we didn’t invite, we can barely pronounce its name. All because our “big men” cannot stay still. Cannot spend time in Nigeria, without travelling, “abroad”. How will we know they are different from us? Now, I stand. Now I sit. Quaking, because I’m scared. Truly and thoroughly frightened. For myself, I’ve had a good life. A few hiccups in three score+ years. I’m scared for my children. I’m scared for my grandchildren. They deserve to live. They deserve to be living Nigerians. This is not meant to be a scare Post BUT, by God! Be Scared. And the only way to be truly safe, is Stay at home …and Observe all the simple rules, that ordinarily, we should have being observing.

The post CoronaVirus Nigeria will be a new society. People will realise that spitting in the streets or peeing in any gutter or leaving our gutters open, uncleared and unfumigated, are threats to life.

Introspection

This period of enforced stay at home is also the best time for introspection. We now must face our realities. We must collectively look at our Union. We must be flexible and decide to turn Nigeria into what we see “abroad” that drives us senseless. We hear of “over there, everything works”, yet, the moment these “impressed”, model visitors touch the Nigerian soil,at MMA, Lagos or Nnamdi Azikiwe,Abuja, they magically revert to the customary lawless, abusive and Country bashing thugs; bespoke suits, not withstanding.

We have an advantage that these countries never had : We have different generations we can call, who have varied experience. From the Nigerian Civil War, from military persons to brilliy diplomats.. and o accomplished thieves, of any hue – cybercrime, pen robbers,plain thieves. Today, Nigerian professionals are to be seen in all countries and ACTIVELY indispensable. The CoronaVirus pandemic will give Nigeria the opportunity to pull in these professionals. We should be able to meet the “high standards”, they say operates “over there”. They will be able to teach us how to attain “International best practices”.

So, where do we start? We start from the beginning. And the beginning is using the money donated to fight coronaVirus. Below is a tabulated schedule:

  • Using the money now available with the FG Stimulus package, pay to every Nigerian – using both the BVN and crosschecking with the NIM – the stopgap sum of #20,000( twenty thousand naira) urgently.
  • Using the donated money,so far and the Stimulus package, pay the sum of #100,000 into the Account of ALL the Frontline fighters – doctors, med lab, ambulance drivers, nurses, Armed forces, Police, Civil Defence, Federal Road Safety, Fire Service and all other very indispensable staff of the Hospitals, isolation centres, testing centres and all those at our various checkpoints. Sounds unattainable,but, It is attainable and within days!
  • An immediate payment of #100,000 to all members of the Armed Forces and Police, in the North East, Northwest and the Niger Delta. They are very frontline.
  • Immediately, invite NASENI( National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure), NIPRD(Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development), DICON( Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria), Peugeot Nigeria Limited, Volkswagen of Nigeria and Innoson. Working under the supervision of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control ( NCDC), fashion out our own unique face masks, ventilators, PPE, fumigators and first line drugs.
  • Without inhibitions, invite and mobilize plastic companies like Okoya, Eleganza and Nigerian Plastics, to standby and produce immediate prototypes.
  • Discard all tribal inhibitions and call the ABA boys. We must use this period to start our International Technology Village,in ABA. We missed the first chance to do so, immediately after the Civil War, but, maybe, Now God is giving us a 2nd Chance to take our place in the Community of Technologically Advanced Nations. We can. And We must.
  • And all these within a set deadline. This is a national emergency.
  • Since we cannot at this stage bring in Nigerians from different countries badly affected, I have in two different posts advocated for a cash transfer payment as was done for the Nigerian Students(?) in (Wuhan) China. The various ambassadors have, ought to have and should have a list of Nigerians, in their different countries. As the President said, we must create a sense of belonging. The Nigerian Diaspora Commission MUST act now. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

Postscript

While the President’s Speech of Sunday, 29 March, 2020 was full of encouragement,I CONDEMN in the strongest possible terms the inclusion of the school feeding programme,a political party policy that not all the States keyed in. The President has called for collective action from ALL Nigerians, so, why would anyone now put in the President’s Speech a Party policy that is a fated failure from pronouncement. You want to call out the school children,at this critical time? Or you will give money to the caterers to go from house to house, in APC controlled States? And what happened to non-APC States.Please. Please.

Still on Mr President’s Speech. What is the definition of “vulnerable”? And who are the class of people that make up that nebulous group, in a country, if the truth be told, 90% of Nigerians fall into that group. Again, I hope someone is NOT already looking at the situation in which millions were paid to “vulnerable” people at #5000 per( five thousand naira per) in some States,in a list compiled by the State political party in control?

Postscript 2

Speaking of Nigerian Professionals abroad. Today, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) deserves the gratitude of the whole Nation. By his professional posture, he has being able to hold down the CoronaVirus. It could have been worse. We thank you and your team.