The Corona Virus for every reason made available to time has made history. That recent human history has never been this troubled by the widespread and panic-inducing effect of a pandemic of this magnitude. The world will forever remember this era with nostalgic grief for many years to come. The pandemic tells the story that supports the fact that truth is not foreign and reality is universal with little or no variation.
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In Nigeria, where public health care facilities are nonexistent, this era offers us an opportunity to open up honest conversations on the need to make public infrastructure a priority in the country for the benefit of the masses. In so doing, we will have built quality control to have a grip on emergency situations like this in the future. This will save us the stress of a fire brigades ‘ approach to issues around health challenge and the outbreaks of dangerous diseases. If we do not adopt a national policy prescription on public healthcare with adequate legislation to back same up after this pandemic, this journey ends here.
This journey ends here if after this we go back to business as usual. This journey ends here. If the poor and the generality of the masses cannot access quality medical care after this trying time, it will mean that we learnt nothing under this pandemic and the lockdown, wherein the economy was thrown into pandemonium and we stretched our hopes and travails to find succour in the faith that God holds up for us a promise of divine intervention in times of trouble.
The Nigerian government must learn that the rules of democratic engagement have not changed the world over, that the security and welfare of the people still remain the primary purpose of government, that socio-economic stimulus incentives most dominate mainstream conversations on government policies as we struggle to repress COVID-19, that it’s not ok to leave the masses to their fate when we have the resources to get around the situation as good rich Nigerians make donations to fight this cause.
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If we fail on this, we have failed in everything and the journey ends here for us. If we recover from this and go back to our obnoxious politics of ethnicity and bitterness, forgetting that COVID-19 knows no race but came and hit us not minding our diversity or ethnic colourations then this journey ends here. If we forget how we were forced to distance ourselves from one another, shut down our businesses, isolate ourselves, risk our lives and faced the extreme threat of existential crisis, we will not go back to business as usual.
We must remember the day that gloom fell on us. When the cloud perched on the trees and the image of the virus hung around all corners of our cities, fear invaded our thoughts, so intensely that whilst our children played around our homes we thought of their future. We felt the whirlwind of uncertainty whiff through our space, beclouding our imagination and cascading down the walls of our minds, permeating the reflexes of our natural actions all adjudged as symptoms of the deadly disease. People lose faith when the news of the death toll in Europe and Asia hit the airwaves when global enterprises began to lose it all and the demand for health workers began to alter diplomatic relations.
This is where we are.
How sex workers stood out in anguish and at loss with their hopes extinguished and impediments drawn on their faces. The remains of the day is that hallowed space – the echoes of emptiness filled with void and hopelessness. How the street hawkers took refuge at the roadsides, sitting on the pavements to count their losses with no hope of a new beginning. Baggers – the blind, lame, deaf and dumb are requited with broken dreams and heavy hearts as they languish and embrace the hopelessness of the times.
This journey ends here.
The most relevant conversation at this time is that Nigeria must be fixed. I say this because when this ends we should come out strong with policies and a conscious effort to pull down the existing structure and erect another one. We need a structure whose foundation is built for the masses in mind. We must develop a society where access to social and economic justice will become the primary instrument of our articles of faith. Like a proclamation, we hold this truth to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
But if we fail to establish the aforementioned, then this Journey ends here.
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