The Sheer Irresponsibility of Disobedience… and it is Startling…!

At the beginning of the CoronaVirus saga,four basic rules. Four simple rules were rolled out – for our safety. And for the safety of our Country. And for the safety of our World. I have fasted and prayed. I love Nigeria intensely. I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care what Mazi Nnamdi Kanu calls Nigeria…na him sabi. The World Health Organisation (WHO),the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC) together and severally have given us Four basic rules – to be safe:
1) on returning from abroad, be screened at the entry points;
2) Report immediately if you feel ill;
3) Self isolate, if the NCDC says so;
4) wash your hands regularly AND maintain social distancing.
Simple rules. Yet, so difficult to obey. The sheer irresponsibility of Disobedience…is Startling.. I have always believed that there is a big difference between Arrogance and irresponsibility. While arrogance implies  aloofness – precursor to social distancing- due to a surfeit of a particular acquisition,but,not necessarily including irresponsibility. Irresponsibility on its part,carries within a misguided arrogance and a large chunk of innate rascality.
  In this Post,on the 2nd day of the Federal Government’s slightly belated, but, rightly guided desperate efforts, to hold down, corral and destroy the COVID-19 ( an effort succeeding, thanks to Dr Ihekweazu,DG, NCDC). When I say “thanks to Dr Ihekweazu”, it is generic. Our gratitude envelopes all the medical and ancillary staff, in the frontline. Our frontline warriors, who have shown the World the Nigerian Spirit. Reluctantly, I include the Hon Minister of Health, whose bumbling, blabbing and incoherence hasn’t inspired much confidence in the Government. We, all Nigerians, must thank the Governor of Lagos State and his team, for their courage, prompt action and resoluteness.
I hasten to remark that we,Nigerians, are living witnesses to the continuing sheer irresponsibility of Disobedience, that has been displayed by certain “leaders” – and that has put the Country in panic. By their deliberate, arrogant disobedience, these leaders, will have the blood of many Nigerians on their hands!

How To Kill A War
The best way to kill a war, according to “International best practices”( a favourite catchphrase of Nigerians) is to sabotage the war efforts. In this wise,the saboteur and his agents mount a wide, intense campaign during the war. This includes a continued incitement of citizens to disobey simple rules.
Meanwhile, the Government’s counter to the saboteur is weakened by the internal bitterness of subordinates,who had hoped to become the head of the Agencies. Instead, what we get is the imposition of incompetents and nonprofessionals.

          But we do not learn.

In 1984, the Maj Gen Buhari Administration introduced the War Against Indiscipline (WAI). Apart from the Queue culture,which stuck, all the other facets of the “War” were sabotaged. It was sabotaged from within and without. Today, 36 years after, all we have, is our imagination “what would have been” and where we would be now. Sabotaged. Today, if we had listened and obeyed, our all embracing fear of COVID-19, would be less. We would only have being cleaning out our trenches

            But we killed WAI.

Today, since 2015, we have being fighting to kill the new War. Really, they have largely succeeded. They cleverly now call the War Against Corruption, Buhari’s War Against Corruption. The very “Commanders and foot soldiers” are the ones killing it; egged on by “invisible” Masters. The  All Progressives Congress(APC) that “won” the General Elections in 2015, is peopled and virtually run by  the top rungs of the defeated People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who “decamped”.( Read my post, the Enemies Within).

  Now, here are disturbing instances of sheer irresponsibility, which have hindered and are hindering the fight against CoronaVirus more difficult:
1) The PDP broke it’s curious silence, a few days ago, when it called on the President to dissolve the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 or remove the disbursement and distribution of money and equipment from the Taskforce and appoint a “Committee of Eminent Elders”. Quite clever. They have begun the process of casting doubts on the credibility of the Taskforce. They have their chorus boys and cheerleaders waiting. The President and the Taskforce must prepare for them.

  2) I wonder what the Nigerian Ambassador to UK/ Northern Ireland, Justice Ogunlade,was thinking, when he organised a lavish and star-studded 80th Birthday party – for himself. And this in the midst of the rampaging CoronaVirus. It’s disturbing. Not only his misstep, but, that so many of the attendees,from Nigeria,are well informed. Here’s how a reporter put it,” Many of these high profile guests have since returned to Nigeria, further raising concerns that some of them may have imported the dreaded virus into the country without knowing it.” Honestly,it was not a matter of  “without knowing”, It should be noted that by the 31st of January,2020, the UK authorities  had detected the presence of CoronaVirus. Thus,by March 10 when the Ambassador staged his birthday party in the Hilton,Park Lane, London, the virus had fully taken up strategic positions across most parts of the UK,as the Sahararep put it. This means that as is usual in Nigeria, “big manism” and “do you know who I am?” syndromes would have taken over at the entry points. And the poor security personnel would be browbeaten into “sorry,sir, please pass..” Again, the says it all, “…many top Nigerians who arrived the country, refused to submit themselves for medical screening for the virus.” It has been reported that over 50 top Nigerians attended. In fact, by the 16 March, Dele Momodu, the publisher had come back and was visiting the former Emir of Kano. It was not a passing visit. In his Twitter handle, he enthused,”I spent some  quality and illuminating time with the former Emir of Kano.”  Today, he has put the former Emir, his family and the entire neighborhood in jeopardy.
  Today, by his impetuous and unnecessarily self indulgence, His Excellency, the Nigerian Ambassador to the UK/ Ireland, Justice Ogunlade,CFR,CON, has put millions in Nigeria and the UK, in jeopardy.

2) A G-Wagon called Assurance.  It is said ,”there’s no limit to the sheer irresponsibility of arrogance”. On 02 March,2020, the 4th Most Important Nigerian,in order of Protocol, the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives, Barrister Femi Gbajabiamila, hosted a birthday party for his 90 year old mother in  faraway Dubai. He ferried a few( 20 – 100) persons, mostly family, according to his spokesman, Mr Lasisi- SaharaReporters said 300 guests – Ordinarily, that would be nobody’s business. Ordinarily. But, by March,2020, the whole world was already tottering
 in fear, of CoronaVirus. The UK had reported its presence; and Nigeria had on 27  February, 2020, announced our Index case. So, the Speaker, Mr Gbajabiamila, should have known, ought to have known..and thus, be more cautious, circumspect,in his obscene display of “love” for his mother. We love our mothers,but, is one head more valuable than those of millions? He has hung death over our heads. It was. It is: sheer irresponsibility and arrogant display of Disobedience.

     Oh! By the way, the G-Wagon called Assurance, was the Speaker’s birthday gift to his wife, Salamatu,on her 50th birthday,in May, 2018.

3. On 18 March, 2020, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in brazen disregard for constituted authority and overt sheer irresponsibility, organised a mega political rally,in Ibadan, unarguably Nigeria’s 3rd most crowded city. Attendees included many very important Nigerians – State Governors, Party chieftains, traditional rulers – and their retinue of orderlies, drivers, hangers on, in their hundreds.
   Imagine how many people were exposed and carrying it forward.

4. And then,one single lady. One single, distraught lady, from the UK, in the middle of March. In the middle of the CoronaVirus; entered Benue State. Nobody knows the routes, the contacts and the several states she passed through. Then, she was declared COVID-19 positive. For me, all the accusations and counter accusations are noise.Whether the Benue State Governor, Dr Ortom, his Deputy, Engr Abounu and the ineffective, inconsequential State Committee on COVID-19, were inordinately HASTY, in announcing that Mrs Susan Okpe( nee Lawani) tested positive, is another matter. Ordinarily, it should be the job of the NCDC to announce the result. I blame the State Government for the poor handling of the matter. On Mrs Okpe’s side, I had earlier faulted her action. I had scored her a high70% on the Guilty Index. Why? Her actions. Her actions smacked of teleguidance; and at best, premeditation. At age 60, I do not think I can be used – for any purpose. Was she? Or did she know or suspect she was Corona positive? After all, she was coming from a high risk country, UK.

    The Benue State Government and Mrs Okpe, behaved with sheer irresponsibility and by their actions, have subjected millions to unnecessary exposure to infection.

4. The Hon Minister of Humanitarian Affairs+ is either completely unaware of the duties of her Ministry or she is completely incompetent. Or she is possessed of unfettered arrogance. Whichever she falls into, I advise her to rethink the public mode of payment of the stimulus package. These are tense times. Really tense. And as she acknowledged on Primetime television, there were many onlookers, who ignored the lockdown order. It will take one person, who runs berserk into the arena; and it will be tragic. This is sheer display of irresponsibility.

  • And as for me, I want the President to know that I am Vulnerable.
  • All retirees are vulnerable
  • All workers – whether civil or public servants- are Vulnerable
  • All military personnel are vulnerable
  • Al students are Vulnerable
  • All 👮 personnel are Vulnerable
  • All FRSC are Vulnerable
  • All correctional staff are Vulnerable
  • All prisoners are Vulnerable
  • All medical staff, on the frontline, are Vulnerable
  • All ASUU and Poly are vulnerable
  • All villagers are Vulnerable
  • All pastors and imams and babalawo are Vulnerable;
  • So, as things stand in Nigeria, the only groups not Vulnerable are the kidnappers and the National Assembly.
      And by the way, Madam, I do not know where you come from in Nigeria,but, in most parts of Nigeria, it is a mortal insult to point at any family and classify them as “poorest”. Have they not being feeding all these years?

    I advise that you review your Social Register. It is faulty. It is discriminatory. And it will create a schism in society. In later years, when the import is understood, it will be like the mark of osu ( in Igboland). Please for the purpose of this palliative, work with the banks for BVN, the Nigerian Identity Card and the Voters Card – and pay every Nigerian twenty thousand naira( #20k). Then, easier for you, pay all the medical staff,a flat rate of  One hundred thousand naira (#100,000). And all the Armed Forces and Police, in the Northeast, Northwest and Niger Delta,a flat rate of One hundred thousand naira. The Bornu State Civilian JTF must be included in the pay out of one hundred thousand naira each.
      To soften this blow, I believe the cash donations by Nigerians; and being collated by the CBN Governor should be used. Every Nigerian deserves it.

    Postscript 2
       We must all note the seriousness of CoronaVirus; and control what we say. There are people in society, whose mere comments, even in jest, can wreck a well meaning policy. Soyinka is in that group. In that wise, Soyinka will do well to heed a telling Hausa proverb, ” Wasa da Yara,gwomma in kwana da yunwa”( instead of playing with children who will throw sand into my eyes, I’d rather go to bed hungry). In recent times, Soyinka has found himself in the negative and unflattering  side of news. Maybe, he should be an elder and advise privately. He has nothing to gain from playing to the gallery. I think it was rude and wrong for Garba Shehu, to descend into gutter language. By Soyinka’s exalted position in the world – and he earned it – I think the Presidency was remiss.Truly.  I believe these tense times, call for maturity and it’s attendant sobriety. We should heed the CNN advice:
        In  a time of crisis, facts first
        In a time of division, facts first.

    Finally, when I was in Airborne Jump School years ago, our instructors told us to treat each Jump as if it was our first jump. Obey all the rules. So, to our medical and other frontline warriors – and, indeed, to all people, all over the world, Obey all the rules. They are so simple. Together we can and will defeat CoronaVirus.