Covid-19: Enough of public relations by government

Since the outbreak of the virus, the Federal Government of Nigeria, which has preoccupied itself with chasing the opposition and pushing for an Islamic republic, has done more of public relations on behalf of the virus instead of adopting proactive steps to ensure the virus did not make it into the country. The level of peripheral knowledge on the Corona virus that an average Nigerian possesses is excellent yet needed knowledge is lacking.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

People post contents that inspire fear rather than knowledge of what to watch out for and, then the ministry of health is the hallmark of unpreparedness.

This global pandemic called Corona virus is one that will test the strength of the economy as well as the standard of living of the country it invades. It is not a disease that came to stage a comedy show as many Nigerians, including the Federal Government, are wont to believe that Nigerians can fight off this one with prayers and our tropical rainforest climate.

It is on this backdrop that I like to ask: Can Nigeria afford to shut down economic activities for one day? The time has come to test if indeed Nigeria’s economy is the strongest within the African continent.

For me, to shut down the economy for 24 hours under this present administration of inept leaders is asking for suicide. This is because the increase in isolated cases so far means that Nigerians are in continuous transit in their struggle to feed their bellies.

Today’s emergency requires that schools, market centres, mosques and churches need to temporarily shut down but to do this will require the government to step down the price regime of electricity, petrol, water, food-staple and pharmaceutical drugs. Governments need to pay or advance certain amounts in workers’ salaries to enable the family unit subsist until the pandemic is checked.

This is why it is always advised that it is better to be prepared at all times for no one knows when an opportunity will appear. The outbreak of this pandemic has exposed the degree of unpreparedness of this federal government to counter emergencies. The shock from the sharp drop in the price of oil alone was devastatingly too rude for the limping economy to absorb that the government had to suspend her quest for a loan.

The suspension is not for any other reason but the unwillingness to face another humiliating shock should the China NEXIM Bank refuse to grant the loan in the light of what the parent country (China) is grappling with.

Now that the sectional security architecture as designed by President Muhammadu Buhari, the polarized polity, the RUGA agenda and the relegation of the vice-president all of which have been the preoccupation of this government, are being rendered as parochial in the face of Covid-19, only time shall tell if a new Nigeria and indeed a new world–that is devoid of ethnicity, religious bigotry and primordial politicking–will emerge after the crisis of Corona virus.

 

Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh,

Abuja.

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