Nigeria is not working with data that is why. Because our NCDC and perhaps entire health sector is probably sponsored by Bill Gates (having squandered monies meant for taking care of the people) they have to just do what is called ‘cut-and-paste’ and get with the programmee. Our press are also in cahoots with this programme and I suspect there is a fund somewhere that keeps them oiled for barraging the people with bad news at this point. You hear that they are keeping students home in Europe and because you don’t know yourself in Nigeria you forget your huge educational disadvantage or the fact that COVID-19 is not particularly an issue for children – and even for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole – and you ask children to sit at home where you have no plans for them.
I have always wondered why state governments in Nigeria are so quick to shut down schools because of coronavirus. The argument that the children will infect their grandparents is a little farfetched when we consider that we are wasting their innocent time and lives too. You hear that some states are shutting down businesses in America and so you shut down your own buying-and-selling businesses where people are trying to survive over here. You forget that your economy produces nothing and cannot afford unnecessary lockdowns. Today, Nigeria suffers on several fronts; our educational sector is damaged, our businesses are damaged, government finance is damaged and who knows? Maybe many recent deaths attributed to COVID-19 are related also to the sedentary lifestyle it has foisted on many of our frail people since April 2020.
Settling into my hotel in Dubai (you can’t believe how cheap they are here. If you knew, you will curse all the overrated hotels located in expensive slums in Nigeria that rip people off), I see intermittent ads that one could go to the Department of Health website to book an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. As at then 1.7million out of the odd 10 million population had already received the first shot of the vaccine. I tried to book online and it wouldn’t work so I made a note to visit the World Trade Centre where a new vaccine centre had just been opened just to find out what was happening. I also needed to make a booking for a meeting room for an upcoming event sometime in April. I was a bit apprehensive of it all as I walked the long halls of the WTC. But I shouldn’t have worried. These guys are professional and friendly. The first security guy I asked told me there is no need for an appointment. I should just sit there and they will call me in. There were more than a thousand people around, males and females. It seemed that as I was already there there was no escaping. They were so nice, so firm, so cooperative and so helpful. So, I took position. Thirty minutes later I had the first shot. Free. Second shot in 21 days. There were people from every race there; Caucasians, Arabs, Indians Africans… the works! I have never thought they could want to kill people with the vaccines. How many will they kill? Sterilize? Maybe. But I am no longer in the baby-producing department lol. The UAE is a place of hope, and Dubai especially is ahead of them all. Sheikh Muhammad Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum understands the value of investment in people. Dubai is the most positive and futuristic of nations. On the Morning Show on Dubai One TV Channel they reported that many Indian businessmen were recently moving their offices to Dubai as a result of this positivism. I must say that I have been spared of the enveloping gloom that has become of Nigeria these days, where all we hear are the deaths of usually big and famous rich people. I have had to block some sites that only report corona death and invincibility. Let us give hope and life to our people, not to kill them in a thousand ways before their deaths.
So, I think we can see that contrary to earlier story, Alhaji Atiku did not spend N8m to get his vaccine. He is a Dubai resident and like every Indian or Bangladeshi worker, he will stay in the queue and get his shots. If Nigerian leadership, past and present, had not been army of locusts, we would have been able to start giving then jabs by now. We hear they want to buy 100,000 shots but they will prioritize ‘strategic leaders’ in government and health workers. Health workers I understand but who is a strategic leader? What has the strategic leader done for us lately? This means it will be another man-knows-man matter as the ‘strategic leaders’ first protect their own family and then long-leg ensues. We should be putting the government under pressure to get the vaccines and urgently return Nigeria to business. We should be using this to position for advantage at the now operational AfCFTA. This is what I suggested right at the beginning when we didn’t even have this benefit of one-year experience with COVID-19. Seems even with one year gone, we don’t want to learn anything. A nation like the UAE knows that it cannot fight the powers that be. Many people I have spoken to here believe this is a man-made disease, but a disease all the same. Now, let us get the vaccine and keep moving, not crawl into a corner, lose hope, and die. Well, for me, I suffered no effect. The jab happened so quickly anyway, and when I removed the plaster later, there wasn’t even a hint of blood. I hope it was not a sleight of hand. Who knows? Who cares? The mystery around COVID-19 remains, but a people can choose whether to get swept away with misery from the mystery, or actively pick themselves up and keep moving. Dubai has chosen to move on, and I wager that this country UAE will reap big time after this is all over, barring any unforeseen catastrophe from anywhere else. The UAE keeps expanding. I hear there is an EXPO city being built afresh near Jabal Ali. Makhtoum is mad! China has also moved on. A country where the first occurrence was reported, has not declared more than 4,000 plus infections out of her 1.4billion to date. China remains a closed state, but productivity has since been going on even as it strategically takes positions in other countries with its savings (e.g rail sector in Nigeria). Most of Europe is toying with its future, especially the UK. The USA under Biden will also almost likely shut down again. Winners and losers are emerging.
My suggestion is that Nigerian government should break the bank, take from reserves and begin a process of mass vaccination immediately. Our people’s lives have been on hold for too long. We can ill-afford this. We should know ourselves.