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COVID 19: President Buhari, Please Do Not Let this Get out of Hand

Flattening the curve is most important at this moment of the coronavirus crisis, but the math of overcoming this health disaster is against us.

We did not have a good doctor to patient ratio before covid 19 came to our doorstep, and the number of respirators and ventilators available to a nation of 200 million people is embarrassing. 

So we do what Nigerians know how to do well, hope to God for a miracle. Will heaven help a country that does not help herself?

This is an Invasion

Covid 19 is an invasion we cannot fight in an all-out war. We do not have enough health workers and use obsolete equipment. Many of our medical hands have left the Nigerian shore for countries where they get respect and proper pay for their work. 

It is, therefore, a smart choice to choose our battles, lock down the epicentre and the areas close to it. But are we sure the virus is not a step ahead of us, quietly ravaging the country?

If countries with good health systems are failing, are we crazy to hope Nigeria will not fail? Yes, we are crazy. We did it with Ebola; we can do it with the novel coronavirus. We can be lucky again.

Yes, we are crazy to bow our head in prayer while the enemy raises a cutlass over it. It’s been the Nigerian way of fighting medical invasion and you are the present General in charge of winning this war. Good luck with that.

Lockdown is not the Same for Everyone

It is freedom for those who will get their salary at the end of the month, no matter how long the lockdown lasts, probably because they work from home. 

It is fun time for the students, who for now think it is an early holiday season. When this is over, they believe their lives will pick up from where it stopped. 

It is worrisome for the businesspersons because as the clock ticks, and the country cannot flatten the curve, they lose money. They worry about their investments in a crumbling economy that might take years to recover.

They watch helplessly as the crude oil, the liquid we worship, slide down to a new low and become cheaper than a faux leather iPhone case.

It is fear for your federal workers and their state counterparts. If they got January salary in the middle of February, will they get March salary in June? A prayer point like, ‘let the Osun workers’ experience not be my portion’ becomes appropriate for their morning devotions.

It is death for most Nigerians. This is what should make any responsible government develop worse symptoms than whatever covid 19 can cause. 

Many Nigerians live the ‘daily bread’ life. The informal sector has a vast subdivision of people that don’t have bank accounts because they don’t have savings. If they do not earn, they do not eat.

If things go the Italian way, trouble looms for us all, but it will be the end for your class of people, especially your generation that failed this country.

The novel coronavirus

Hell Hath No Fury like Hungry Poor People.      

If you let this get out of hand, the Nigerian submissiveness to suffering will end. Your generation has milked that submissiveness for far too long. You lead a people that for many years accepted that half akara is better than nothing, but if that half akara disappears, the ‘nothing’ will drive us to madness.

It is not even certain that feathers won’t be ruffled before this disaster is over. You and the governors need to give good reasons for poor funding of the health sector and prioritizing roads and rails over the Nigerian life.

It is high time we spent huge resources to overhaul our health and education sectors.  Can we repurpose the loan of 500 million dollars meant for NTA, if ever approved, to equip our teaching hospitals and medical centres?

Mr. President, it baffles me that you planned to spend a loan of over 183 billion naira on NTA in a country with over 10 million children out of school! Are you not perplexed?

If you let this get out of hand, people will die, and those who survive will rise and tear down the gates of the rich. No! We won’t tear it down; the security guards of the rich will open them for the people and join in the plunder and bloodshed. We will loot malls, burn market stalls, and attack security officials.

The anger bottled by the sour promise of ‘e go better’ will be unleashed on those who took our commonwealth for themselves.  We will dishonour the honourable and drag the elite politician with his starched babariga.

Even the gates of Aso Rock will fall. The Arab spring will be child’s play compared to what will happen.

This seems like an exaggeration. It is laughable. This is Nigeria, a nation of docile people. We do not revolt. We love to suffer in silence and bask in the hope of a better tomorrow.

But you let this get out of hand. Just let it go the Italian way!

Mr. President, it is time to lead us. Be that leader at the front, guiding us, calming our nerves, and promptly easing the challenges that will come with this pandemic.

Step down from your hill of power and walk among your people. Bring back the sai baba of the election campaign period.

It is a time like this that catapults a leader to glory or sinks him with the epitaph, “Here lies the worst Nigerian president ever.”  And that’s putting it mildly.

Mr. President, rise to the occasion.

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