THE Church was packed full. It was a gathering of eminent Nigerians to remember. But there probably were more soldiers than dignitaries and well wishers who came to wish Papa Adekunle Ajasin final bye. The men in green were in the Owo Church to “guard” then No 2 man in the country: Lt.-Gen. Oladipo Diya who came to stand in for his dark-goggled and evil-hearted boss, Gen. Sani Abacha.
A soldier was standing over my head with a gun. I looked at him and his weapon intermittently that I could hardly concentrate on the service until Most Reverend Abiodun Adetiloye, then Primate of the Anglican Church started his sermon.
He told a story I will never forget that day in 1997. It was about the day God was creating the countries of the earth. He would create a country now and deposit gold there. Another country, he would create and put cocoa and bronze therein. But when he was to create Nigeria, He deposited oil, gold, bitumen, iron and all mineral resources you can think of.
Resentment grew among other countries and God saw their ill-feelings. But he continued putting more resources in Nigeria until He was satisfied.
He now turned to the raging countries to ask them the cause of their anger and they told him it was about the resources He put only in Nigeria. He shook his head and laughed at their ignorance about the fact that resources on their own do not make a country great. He told them “Look at the leaders I will put in charge of the resources”.
Coronavirus is showing to all those protesting countries today how useless a country can be with all the resources on earth if it is badly structured and with wrong leaders. With all the resources God deposited in this land, it could only boast of five test centres for its over 200m estimated people (Nigeria cannot even count its citizens). India has over 1.3billion people and on their national news daily you will see “Indian Population as at 9:pm tonight is ….. “.
My heart bled when I saw a “fine bara” letter a top medical institution where the Saudi Royal family used to come on medical pilgrimage is allegedly now sending all over town to be able to buy simple things like ventilators, a confirmation of how well the leaders of this country have done over the years!
The Senator who removed his face mask to sneeze and release bacteria all over the hollow chambers is a typical representation of those who run this place.
And we have many slices of how leadership wrecks a country all over is in this season of pandemic starting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari who is now positive of Coronavirus.
Only God knows what the business of a COS is going with the Power Minister to a high -incident country like Germany to negotiate equipment in the midst of this pandemic outside what Nigerian leaders are notorious for. The man returned to the country and continued the reckless and impunity-driven lifestyle of a Nigerian VIP. He didn’t self -isolate. He was at the Federal Executive meeting where he is the direct boss of ministers, he met the President and governors, he attended weddings, burials and other functions. He must have spread the virus all over the country particularly among the big men and women. And now my brother, Omoyele Sowore is alerting the world that they are aiming for his head because his SR published the starts of Kyari. The irresponsibility that misrules our national life would have kept this opaque while all those who met Kyari would not have been aware of what they possibly carry and contain the spread only in Nigeria!
London is one of the most badly hit cities of the world by Coronavirus but our Ambassador there being a retired Justice of the Supreme Court notwithstanding is a Nigerian big man above all else. He turned 80 and had to throw a lavish party. He imported a lot of personalities from Nigeria with Ebenezer Obey there to serenade. Two of Justice Oguntade’s guests have been reported dead of the virus.
The National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was in London for several weeks during the spread of this disease and could not be said to be ignorant of what was going on. In fact when his party was involved in leadership crisis he fired a memo home in which he deployed Coronavirus imagery.
He returned to the country after Kyari has been diagnosed and Oguntade guests were dead but the big man in him would not make him to self-isolate. He was seen knocking elbows with Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo- Olu a day after he arrived. He spoke with journalists who would go and put the same equipment in the mouths of other personalities. Political meetings would not be reeled out where favour-seekers would not be in short supply.
Only God would know what Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed who is now Coronavirus positive was looking for when he chose the period of pandemic to pay a courtesy visit to the country’s disease control centre. He even took a group picture that was almost a kilometre long in a malady that was uniquely Nigerian and devoid of the commonest of sense.
It is only a leadership made of the Nigerian stuff that would know our zero capacity as a country to handle this type of virus, that even countries with the best of medical facilities are only trying, that would leave our borders open till we did. I do not want to accept the suggestion that we could jeopardise the health of the whole country just to wait till the time a few privileged citizens felt they were ready to return to the country.
And the great difference a good leadership can make could be seen between Nigeria and China. This Coronavirus problem started in China but that country of 1.4billion people has run it out. China and Nigeria were at par on most development indices in the 70s.
The country recorded a total of 80,928 confirmed virus cases with 3,245 deaths. Another 70,420 people have been released from hospital and 7,263 remain in treatment.
“It’s very clear that the actions taken in China have almost brought to an end their first wave of infections,” said Ben Cowling, the head of the division of epidemiology and biostatistics at Hong Kong University’s School of Public Health. “The question is what will happen if there’s a second wave, because the kind of measures that China has implemented are not necessarily sustainable in the long term.” But they have succeeded and Trump is now talking of working closely with that country.
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, had called for a “people’s war” against the epidemic, and the party’s propaganda outlets have in recent weeks hailed the party’s response as a success and a model for other countries. We have not heard of one word from our own President and his party’s propaganda about his whereabouts.
China was able to build a Coronavirus hospital in Wuhan in 10 days. It is doubtful if Nigeria can lay a foundation of a modern hospital in 10 months. The only hospital we can build in such period would be one whose entire budget would be in the pockets of officials with only the site to show.
Weeks back, Nigerians were running from Chinese but today it is Chinese who are packing their bags and leaving Nigeria in the replay of Nigeria-Ghana scenario. The song here was “Ghana -Must-Go” when we chased them out. It is Nigerians who are now being kicked out of Ghana.
My friend, Adebayo Adeleke posted a news clip from Joy TV recently of “73 prostitutes” deported from Ghana comprising 71 Nigerians.
Nigeia we hail thee!
…And some provocations
And Mrs Biola Agbaje sent out this thought-provoking one on COVD-19 during the week and her concluding lines got me thinking further on our national tragedy:
“Returnees from abroad have drivers, PAs, etc to rush and meet them at the airport, house helps, cooks, etc, who are only too glad to shake ogass’ hands in welcome. Many get infected. They go home to their one bedroom homes, where six people squeeze into, and infect their families. An ever expanding circle of contagion, with a population of 200+ million! And NEXT TO NO healthcare! (please don’t let us fool ourselves).
And therein lies the irony, the unfairness of our corrupt system. Who will get the scant Medicare available? You got it- the same 1 per cent who brought Covid-19 into the country in the first case!
Alibaba’s Jack Ma has just sent $$$millions of medical aid to be distributed among African countries. News is that Nigeria has taken delivery of hers. Please watch and see who gets it.”