COVID-19: The Wickedness of Nigerian Leaders

Op-ed/Opinion

BY ABDULLAH TIJANI

First of all, it has always been my concern why a disease outbreak in Africa does not spread beyond Africa, and a disease outbreak elsewhere in the world come back to Africa and even causes more death than the original host. After accessing the outbreak of Coronavirus in Nigeria, I got an answer to this classic question. The cause is nothing but irresponsibility of our government.

Our leaders are full of sugar-coated mouth. Before the outbreak in the country, the sullied spokemen and minister of misinformation misled the people that the country has what it takes to contain the virus — instead of striving on how to prevent the entry of the disease. It is not surprising that when it finally entered the country, not only were there no test at the airport, but the victim has traveled more than one state in 24 hours.

The irresponsibility of our government started when they allowed indiscriminate immigration after the virus is already pandemic in some country. A serious government would have laid ban on covid-19 viral country like Italy, but this was not done. The citizens realized how unreliable our government can be, they rained blame on them, but this does not waiver or make them give any swift and urgent action as it is needed in emergency. Truly, the man from Italy was tracked with all his contact and fortunately for us, out of over hundred contacts, only one was positive. This made the total confirmed cases of coronavirus to be two, and this supposed to be the only case, and perhaps the last. But the cases got escalated and out of hands because right steps are not taken.

When the case of Italy man happened, everyone expected the government to shut the border — something every sensible and responsible government would do — but Nigerian government thought it was too close and just one man cannot cause pandemonium in the country of over 200 million people. They refused. I have wanted to highlight the reason government refused to impose travel ban on coronavirus affected countries, but I got my answer why when I heard that Abba Kyari the Chief of Staff was tested positive. 

On February 25, Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus in the city of Lagos from a man who just returned from Milan, Italy, but it is heartbreaking that not only did the President refused to appear public and address the nation at the verge of the existence of the pandemic until 22nd of March when 30 cases had already been confirmed, the government but also refused to shut it borders. I was surprised because this is a government which was fast in shutting border for rice importation.

Finally, on March 20th Nigeria laid travel ban on 15 identified corona-pandemic countries but the result shows it is already too late. Abba Kyari and some of his friends who like travelling with tax-payer money have returned back to the country escorted with the virus. If the virus outbreak was on February 25, what was our government waiting for? The answer here is not ambiguous. 

A Nigerian prominent writer, Chinua Achebe reitrated in his book “The Trouble With Nigeria” that there is definitely nothing wrong with Nigeria, it is just the irresponsibility of our government. If anything has kept the country unkempt and underdeveloped for up to seven decades after independence, it is nothing but wickedness in the irresponsibility of the government we choose. They left us in a pernicious and perilous state when the respite of each sector that makes up our livelihood wither away, while they fly as they wish to find a better life where they know our shadow cannot reach.

The angle which the outbreak of coronavirus took was not expected by anyone. Nobody thought it would go up and up and up to that level where the President would go into self-isolation and Chief of Staff quarantined. And the lethargic leader and grand medical tourist of our time together with his cohorts must not have anticipated for this day — day of reckoning. The day when the sky will be free to fly but no place to welcome them, the day when the primary health centers will be the real primaries, and finally hospitalized in the hospital they failed to equip.

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