By Simeon Okworide
The apprehension created by the COVID 19 has devastated and destabilized the entire globe as the death toll continued to rise on daily basis in view of its containment collectively across the globe.
One thing of note, since the outbreak of the COVID 19 in Wahun China is that, the Corona virus epidemic effects has weaken many economies across the globe, including the economies of the super powers.
The enormity of devastation caused by the Corona virus to the world economy is much that, it beyond human imagination and comprehension resulting to different conspiracy theories and analysis from all segment of human consciousness is a testimony to the fact that the world has lost control over the management of the affairs of the cosmos through wrong investment by world leaders with imaginary views not related to God’s way.
The truth of the matter is that, Nigeria as a country was ill-prepared and still ill-prepared for the containment of the Corona virus in view of any escalation of the deadly disease because the recent visit by the senate president to one of the isolation centre where it was discovered that the necessary equipment required were not installed, confirmed the statement of the health minister Dr Ehanire Osagie who disclosed that the initial 700 million naira approved by the federal government for the containment of the Corona virus has not been released by the finance minister further gave credence to those who earlier said, that the federal government always pay lips service instead of rising to the occasion and render the services required of them.
Some school of thought were of the view that there should have been some kind of tremendous improvement since Ebola was well managed when it broke out in 2014 were optimistic that there will be a lot of improvement especially in the areas of facilities having declared the Corona virus “Pandemic” by the world health organization (WHO).
But the reverse is the case as the newly created isolation centers were not just equipped, but the national centre for disease control (NCDC) has just 6 laboratories across the country for tests is an indication that the country has not learned any lesson from the previous experience is worrisome and every discerning mind will think otherwise.
However, to catch our mind back, there is need to remind us that, in 2014, precisely on June 24 when the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) broke out in Nigeria through an American/Liberian citizen, Mr Patrick Sawyer who sneaked into the country at that time, knowing fully well that he (Sawyer) was positive to Ebola.
One major thing of note that need to be remembered and to be reflected on was the zeal and energy displayed by the federal government led by Ex-president Goodluck Jonathan by declaring a “National” emergency on Ebola and early release of 1.9 billion naira for the containment of the deadly disease and management of other isolated centres setup in view of its spread following the president meeting with the 36 states governors where a decision to setup isolated centres in all the 36 states was reached apart from the earlier 200million naira approved for Lagos state.
At the time, we also recalled that before Patrick Sawyer brought the Ebola virus disease to Nigeria, the federal government (FG) in its magnanimity gave the sum of 3.5millions dollars to our neighbouring West African countries with the Ebola disease to manage the containment of the disease from not spreading to other countries in the region was an indication of good leadership by example and it also portrays the government with good intentions and sensitive to the plight of her neighbour and citizens.
The ill-preparedness and lackadaisical nature of our government not taking things serious at the right time will continue to hinder us as a nation, depriving us from progress and development.For instance, since the outbreak of Lassa fever in 1969 in Lassa village presently in Borno state, the home of Boko Haram, no meaningful measure has been put in place by successive government to tackle the Lassa fever syndrome.
It is equally sad and painful to note here that 51 years on the line, still, there are no serious measures, each time there is an outbreak, still claiming lives without any serious effort from the government in finding a lasting solution to this Lassa fever menace is worrisome.
The issue of preparation is critical to any nation progress and development because it is an equipment to bring the people together to share common experiences among themselves as it relates to information received by the individuals.
It is crystal clear that Dr Jide Idris, former health commissioner, Lagos State, who performed creditably well during the era of Ebola outbreak, had warned Nigeria about this Corona virus disease since July 2019 before it started formally ravaging the World in early December of 2019, yet there was no sign of readiness by the authority concerned, knowing fully well that the disease does not move about, but it is the people who move from place to place that takes the disease along. There should have been some kind of seriousness on the part of the government, having experienced the Ebola saga in 2014.
What we have seen in this current situation is that there is no uniformity in decision taken, compared to the era of Ebola where the president met with the 36 states governors, with the minister of health, including the 36 states commissioners of health in attendance where a uniform decision was taken after wide consultations and deliberations on how to contain the deadly disease.
It is therefore, disingenuous of us as a country to think we can cope when more developed countries are finding it difficult to cope.
Now that we found ourselves in this current situation, there is need to say that the lockdown of Abuja and Lagos by the president and lockdown of states by their respective governors in late response to contain the spread of the COVID 19 “pandemic” by and large, extending such measures to places of religious worship will go a long way in curbing transmission.
While majority of Nigerians appreciate and commend the president directives to convert the 37 NYSC orientation camps to isolation centers, there is need for the Federal and States governments to give out incentives as palliatives measures to cushion the effects and hardship that might follow the 14 days lockdown, since majority of Nigerians survives on daily income
At the moment, billions of naira are being donated by good spirited individuals and corporate organizations to assist the government to contain the COVID 19 pandemic from escalation, the Senate President has urged the federal government to provide relief materials as palliatives to cushion the effects of the attendant hardship that might follow. Also the Lagos State emergency legislation on COVID 19 passed by the state house of assembly, empowered the governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to spend #20 billion during the period under review is a welcome development, if the said amount would be spent for the betterment of the Lagosians.
The government should create channels to distribute food items to the doorstep of the people with stipends attached and since the numbers of account holders in Nigeria is fifty millions, the BVN can be used as means of sending money by crediting these accounts to lessen the burden currently being experienced by the people.
The statement allegedly credited to the honourable minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that “No Nigerian is hungry” if actually he was quoted correctly, it further butressed the position of some schools of thought who had argued that this administration has always pay lips service and full of propagandists.
However, from the foregoing, it is correct to say that the government of the day is insensitive to the plight of the people, compared to what is obtained in other places where government made adequate provision for their citizens in preparation of the lockdown in their countries.
The corona virus disease pandemic further exposed the country leadership dificiency in management, especially in the areas of disasters