Yes

“To delay action is the same as death” – Vladimir Lenin

In the last one week, the number of recorded COVID-19 cases has risen by 300%. My lord, we need not be told, we have a major health challenge at hand. I fear that it may be hard to manage just like in Italy. And who do we blame for this? The government, of course. Here is why.

Nigeria is characterized by a poor healthcare system. The hospitals in the country are poorly equipped. The sector suffers a huge brain drain because a number of the medical practitioners trained in Nigeria have sought greener pastures abroad. The Nigerian structure also makes it difficult to observe the basic preventive measures for this COVID-19 which includes regular hand-washing, social distancing among others. Many lower class Nigerians live on, and feed their families from, the proceeds of their daily businesses. Many others live in houses with shared toilets and bathrooms. In these kind of situations, for instance, social distancing is a luxury that cannot be afforded.

Therefore, the best bet for the country to have nipped the deadly virus in the bud before it wreaks havoc is by preventing it from entering into the country. But as it seems, the government has failed in taking proactive measures to prevent this, and the nation may pay dearly for this.

The government’s failure is largely in its inadequate readiness to prevent the virus from being imported and entrenched in the country. Travel bans and restrictions on public gatherings should have been announced much earlier. Rwanda and Kenya, for instance, declared travel restrictions and bans on public gatherings after the index cases were confirmed in the countries but Nigeria had to wait for 8 confirmed cases before it declared travel restrictions. In actuality, the confirmed cases could have infected 10 different persons each who could have gone on to infect other people. If this is the case, considering that victims of this virus may show no symptoms up to 14 days, the outcome may be tragic.

The government has also failed in managing potential cases of the virus in the country who are mainly returnees from countries that have been exposed to the virus. Ideally, all returnees from high risk countries should have been placed under compulsory quarantine in a government facility for at least 14 days, including high profile government officials. But returnees have been left to join their families and many of them are not observing the advice of isolating themselves for at least 14 days. They have, and still continue to infect the general public without knowledge that they carry the deadly virus.

Milord, these instances have shown clearly that the government has faltered in the first step at battling the viral disease which has become a global pandemic. We can only hope that they are able to prevent the disease’s viral spread in the country in order to avoid a disastrous situation.

Good that the federal government has locked down Lagos, Abuja and Ogun. But, My Lord, this is in a country where over 80 million people live below a dollar per day. But the government said it has identified 10 million vulnerable people. Haba! Tell me, where and what would the 70 million people feed on? Let’s think about it o!

People who blame things rarely change things. Blame is an unassailable change-avoidance strategy- Andy Stanley

Sequel to the record of the index case of COVID-19 in Nigeria recorded on the 27th of February, 2020, the Nigerian government took drastic measures to see to the containment of this virus. How my fellow scribe would deem it fit to blame the government for the spread of the virus is a question I’ll wait patiently for him to answer, when even in developed countries like Italy and USA, the virus keeps spreading. So why not Nigeria, a third-world country?

A truth not hidden from anyone is the fact that the virus is present in Nigeria, and ever since the record of the first case, a public tracking system has been devised by the NCDC. This means that every Nigerian is aware of the cases as they are found in different regions and that they know enough to protect themselves.  Subsequently, people associated with reported cases are isolated and taken care of. 

So, is the Nigerian Government responsible for an individual who decides to associate himself with a known case? Is the government accountable for the people who did not believe the virus exists? Is the government responsible for the people who went about their usual businesses with no protection leading to further spread? Blaming the government solely for a responsibility that should be shared, I’ll say, is entirely wrong.

Now, an argument which most Nigerians bring up to fault the government is that the borders should have been shut before the virus attacked Nigerians. Have you once stopped to think about the social and economic implications of this, fellow scribe, readers? Would you have got those goods you ordered for if the borders had been closed earlier? Or would you have had your family members arrive safely?

The fact is a lot of businesses depend on foreign goods, the absence of which may lead to their death. In the words of the president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, “If everyone closes his borders, what do you think will happen to the world? There are still necessary travels that need to be done. But if you travel, ensure you self-quarantine.” 

By the way, expecting a total closure of the border and flight restriction as most people clamored for would have been great in other countries, not Nigeria, where corruption is a meal fed on by many. The flights would have found a way, I can get.

Another measure taken by the government was the closure of the NYSC camps as soon as possible. Yes, the authorities in charge made a wrong judgement by opening it in the first place, but didn’t they rectify that as soon as they could, by sending the corps members home? Reality dawned on the gravity of the virus and steps were taken. In fact, no case connected to the NYSC camp has been recorded so far. Isn’t that a way the government has absolved itself? 

Now, the government has announced closure of three states. This is for us to suffer mildly for us to survive largely. But no! Nigerians hardly ever pleased. Same people who say they are hungry have money to subscribe and troll the government on social media and share fake news and all sorts of skits there too.

Please before you blame the government, ask yourself are you playing your part? Or are you part of the problem? Either ways, in the words of John Kennedy, ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. What have you done for Nigeria?