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Coronavirus Fallout: Which Way Nigeria?

Barely four weeks after the total lockdown imposed by the Federal Government on some states, those affected directly and the remainder of the population are as confused as ever on what next?

Aside the minutiae of reportage being conveyed to the press daily and broadcasted by media, those at the helm of affairs handling the coronavirus response are hardly disseminating any information which could be useful to Nigerians whose lives have been altered significantly and on hold for weeks.

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According to the NCDC report, as of April 23rd, 981 total people have been infected by the virus, 197 recovered fully and 31 total number of deaths. However, there is hardly any indication that the decision makers in the seat of power have a plan of re-opening the national economy after it has taken a recess. We are inundated daily with the latest figures of cases affected by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, but are not well informed of what to expect by those who know better.

Ghana on Monday announced that it was gradually re-opening its economy and relaxing the total shutdown. South Africa, the second largest economy in Africa after Nigeria has already begun to intimate its citizenry with details of a phased reopening of sectors in the economy by the end of April.

Discerning Nigerians are not getting feelers of what to expect and hope for in the next coming weeks and months and it is disturbing as they are in the dark. Everything is as opaque to the citizenry as the style which the national government has adopted for some time now. If at all, only state governments have been more proactive with the way they have taken charge of patient care, palliative measures, information dissemination and awareness as well as preventative strategies for curtailing the spread of the viral infection.

Many Nigerians might begin to worry about the security of their jobs. The world oil price, which is the major source of revenue for the several branches of government in the country, is at a record low. Inflation might climb faster as food prices are skyrocketing because farmers and merchants could barely experience fair logistics of farm produce any longer.

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Although, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, recently met with the president on April 10th per the huge task of the sustaining the economy which his office has been saddled but more needs to be done. The Economic Advisory Council (EAC) which President Muhammadu Buhari ostentatiously set up rivalling the role of Osinbajo in the Economic Management Team (EMT) is only known to have met with the president once. There is no known sitting or constitution of any other high powered economic team which a co-ordinating Minister of the Economy coordinates. There are alternatives indications that the current Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed, only oversees the disbursement of funds whenever the time for revenue allocation to local governments, state governments, and the federal government arises. The best we have seen so far, as usual, is the same disadvantaged Nigerian population resorting either to self-help or communal help.

Any note of urgency or emergency concern with the spirit which the reaction towards coronavirus ripple effect is generating is too vague for the citizenry to see or understand. This is why the government must speak up. It is time for the Presidential Task Force on coronavirus to step into a higher role and provide strategies which will salvage the economy and sustain the people through this drought.

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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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