By Seye Fakinlede
For two weeks now, schools have been shut down in my state, a state that had earlier announced a suspected COVID-19 case, of which it gladly turned negative.
I personally miss every schooling activity, most especially the SS3, whose efforts are being made to access them through their mock, in preparation for their West African Examination (WAEC), and the School’s 2nd Term examination. Good plans we had, but to hide their heads now is one of the best decisions I as a human is grateful for and every measure to prevent a spread in case.
Had the suspected case be positive, only God can tell the fear that will grip the minds of residents- as regards transportation, and occupation (aside from being a densely populated civil servant state, the majority are wage earners). No exaggeration, Akure the capital city of Ondo State, is a fast-growing metropolitan, soon to be “congested”, and the panic to getting infected would have been terrible.
So, it is best to adhere to the simplest instruction now, “Stay at Home”, only because those who are alive, enjoy live.
However, asking students to stay at home while their parents most of which are self-employed (mostly peddlers) is still a worrisome subject. At least I know that one of the parents of my students’ juggle between being a civil servant or a trader for their family survival. And again, average residents in my state daily fortify themselves with scriptures and may tend not to believe in hiding their heads against any arrow, but thank goodness for the policy the majority surprisingly kept to.
Besides, the current pandemic is a deeper thought, that the things we value hitherto matter less except good health. Not even the endless pursuit of acquiring the “degrees” ( for Pete’s sake, classroom learning is suspended –except how to prevent the pandemic via broadcast ), not even making more money, not even visitation, but everyone is an advocate to ensuring that their loved ones are in good health even one’s neighbour, irrespective of their ethnicity, or religion. I believe this is one of the core messages of humanity that we have long forgotten, but why Soul brother?
Messages of hope are unceasingly flooding the media despite the threatening new cases, philanthropic acts from well-known Nigerians, even top government officials now take refuge in those neglected hospitals they were too busy to fund. No one flies abroad as it has become a case of nowhere to run. Except for a report that a particular top government official is not being honest with their result. Soul brother, this is really not the time to play politics and secrecy while one’s pants burn underneath their skirts.
The pandemic, caught us unprepared as a country I must say. But with wisdom, we have been taking precautions (either late or early). Salute to people who have put their lives on the line, and ensure that we all stick to the social distancing, and self-isolation measures, despite the average Nigerian unflinching belief in a superior power to cure all illnesses, not minding to refute any medical precautions.
However, this has made people become responsible, and accountable health-wise. No one wants to keep silent and suffer alone. Kudos to those who had honestly declared their results due to a contact or two, isn’t this a case of accountability? Isn’t this what we pray elected public officials exhibit in their offices? And press freedom, to publish data cases (in the most affected states) are not tempered with. Figures are daily released, and victorious cases-recovery is made known. Accountability, responsive, and citizen journalism.
Besides, on a lighter note commenting on the “neglected health institutions”, someone jokingly shared on Twitter, that “assuming this (COVID-19) is an African epidemic, our leaders would have fled the country for safety.”
And again concerning equipping our health institutions, I believe this is a lesson that illnesses can be cured not only in abroad but also at home. As many medical practitioners are very willing to do their job and administer treatments, not minding if their lives are on the line, remember Dr. Stella Adadevoh?
Soul brothers, our facilities can be equipped for other health challenges too. It is a matter of priority and selflessness. I hope we remember 2020 and learn.
Wars are not necessarily of cartridges, and other forms of weaponry, but to know that evil daily lurks behind.
On the other side of the war are the brave slain men who died protecting the nation from the terrorism attack ravaging the country as we currently battle this health chaos.
These men dare not stay at home, an irony to the safety precaution. Two deaths shouldn’t kill a man. Their death is a sad reminder that we had always been in a war zone with these signed lives taking bullets for the Nigerian citizenry. A wreathe is never enough to compensate, but proactive ways to ensure that terrorists’ teeth are broken.
Lastly, should this pandemic ceases, and life most certainly return to normalcy not forgetting the vacuums-casualties (God rests their souls, even the slain soldiers), I hope we keep up the same spirit of brotherliness, philanthropism, adherence to basic instructions, put ethnicity and religious sentiment aside, and be cautious individuals. I also hope we not only show concerns only in pandemic situations but be selfless soul brothers.
Seye Fakinlede, currently writes from Akure, Ondo State.