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Politicizing The Coronavirus Outbreak

Events in the past few weeks since the index patient of the Coronavirus disease, otherwise known as COVID-19, was isolated show a trend of underground politicking at play. It reveals what could be some level of politicking at play in the action or inaction of public officials.

Ideally, one would expect that such a matter of life and death as evident in a pandemic would not be tainted by politics but as interests align everywhere in our daily lives, bigotry, hypocrisy and nepotism have crept into the picture.

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First of all, the lack of show of empathy which was displayed earlier by the political class in Nigeria reveals what some argue to be tone-deaf to the needs of their constituents and the Nigerian people in general.

Also, the arrogance showed by the elites who have managed to import most of the cases recorded in the country, without subjecting themselves to self-quarantine upon returning from high-risk countries suggest that these set of people originally thought they were immune to common health conditions until they fell, victims.

The presidency, for instance, seems calm and collected until the Chief of Staff to the Nigerian president, Abba Kyari, tested positive to the virus. Reports have it that even President Buhari, who used to be in constant proximity of Abba Kyari – despite testing negative – has gone into isolation after showing symptoms. We recall that Buhari has underlying health conditions which had led to his frequent travels for treatment abroad. However, it appears at this time that there is nowhere else to run to for medical tourism by these top government officials.

In a similar vein, and following the close rapport which Abba Kyari recently had with members of the ruling party across many Nigerian states, the State governors are now making a rush to set up COVID-19 isolation centres in their domains since they do not know if they or their family will need such facilities very soon.

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Rather unfortunate though is the trend where some of these VIPs and elite class who are suspected to have been infected with the virus are getting waivers to get tested while other more severe cases of ordinary Nigerians have been waiting in line for days.

There are even hints that the test kits, face masks and other medical kits which the Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, sent to Nigeria out of his benevolence are now being shared among the high and mighty in Abuja. The cargo of medical items arrived Nigeria yesterday – rather than have it distributed to the states where they are most needed urgently, the items were immediately flown to Abuja where Nigeria may hear nothing about it anymore.

In a country of 200 million inhabitants, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) was quoted to have only carried out 178 tests in the span of more than a month. While other nations are aggressively testing, Nigeria was underprepared for the eventuality of testing suspected cases of the Coronavirus.

There are now suspicions that the control of nipping this COVID-19 pandemic may have been hijacked by politicians from the hands of NCDC despite NCDC’s struggles with inadequate materials, equipment and facilities.

Nigerians have once again resolved to self-help; as a result, some members of the private sector are rising to the occasion by providing necessary funds and infrastructure to curtail the Coronavirus trend.


The Cable NG

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Macaddy Gad

Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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