Standing Together Against A Common Enemy

By Tayo Ogunbiyi

Since February 25th when the first case of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic was confirmed in Nigeria via an Italian, there has been a steady increase in the figure of infected people. As at 16thApril, confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 442 with 13 fatalities.

Lagos remains the epicentre of the pandemic with a total of 251 confirmed cases while the FCT comes next with 67 cases. Of late, a few other States have recorded alarming increase in the number of confirmed cases. These include Kano, Osun, Edo and Oyo with 21, 20, 15 and 13 cases respectively. Kano’s case is particularly disturbing, as the State 21 recorded cases occurred within such a short period of days. No doubt, cases of the pandemic is progressively rising across the country.

It has, however, not been all gloomy, as there have equally been an impressive increase in the number of discharged cases. Thus far, we have witnessed a total of 152 discharged cases across the country, with Lagos having the highest figure of 90.

In as much as the continuous rise in cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country should give everyone cause for worry, experts have, however, claimed that when compared with the situation in other climes across the world, ours is still relatively lower.

However, it has become pertinent for everyone to be on same page with the government and other crucial stakeholders in the battle against the vicious enemy. The need to put up a common front in order to put a decisive halt to the spread of the deadly virus in the country cannot be over-emphasised.

Therefore, all compatriots need to fully come to grasp with the reality of this deadly virus. It is quite ironic that many still regard the virus a hoax, claiming it is not a black man’s ailment. Ignorantly, many have equally labelled it a rich man’s virus while some still carry on as if it is all a joke. In some parts of the country, people still congregate without regard to the social distancing rule. Even in places where the lockdown has been proclaimed, as part of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus, many still carry on with business as usual.

Ironically, the disease often spread easily at large gatherings.

In South Korea and Singapore, the disease spread largely through public gatherings. From the experience of a few nations that have successfully curtailed its spread, strict adherence to the stay at home order as well as social distancing.

Thus, the need to shun all forms of large gathering, and even stay at home, where possible, cannot be over-emphasized. This is the most effective way to break the circle of transmission, as it has worked very well in other places.

Similarly, all States in the country must effectively collaborate with the Federal Government in the fight against this lethal but invincible adversary. As it has been observed in a few cases, this is not the time for needless politicking. The enemy we are up against does not recognise partisan gulf or any such divisive platforms. Choosing to play politics at this crucial time would be highly insensitive and counterproductive. Therefore, we must set aside every discordant tendency, no matter how cogent, and stand together in this hour of crisis.

On its part, the Federal Government and all its agencies must be fair to all in the handling of all COVID-19 related issues, especially as it relates to the distribution of relief packages and provision of essential technical support to affected States.

One must commend the role of the private sector, faith-based organisations and other well-meaning individuals in providing vital support for the government in the battle against the lethal virus. This is quite laudable, as it is quite obvious that the government alone cannot pull this one through. Therefore, every support surely counts.

However, more compatriots of means still need to come on board, especially in terms of provision of palliatives to vulnerable members of the society as well as members of the informal sector who solely depend on daily income.

  1. dealers in essential medical and food items must not engage in undue price hiking. It is true that business is solely profit driven, but excessive profiteering from such national tragedy should not be contemplated. It would be contrary to the basic ideal of patriotism.
  2. If we can all work together as one against the noisome pestilence, with a common vision and goal, victory is surely in sight. The enemy that confronts us knows no language. It knows no tribe. It knows no political affiliation. Neither does religion means anything to it. It has no respect for neither the rich nor the poor. All it wants is blood. For this evil virus, there is no discrimination in blood. Blood is blood.

    Therefore, we need to come to terms with the reality of what we are contending with. More technologically and economically advanced nations of the world are cringing under the lethal blows of this unseen foe. The mighty are falling and hitherto potent instruments of warfare are being effortlessly demystified.

    Perhaps more importantly, it is imperative to emphasize that COVID-19 patients that have been given a clean bill of health must not be stigmatized. It will be insensitive and absurd to do such since the appropriate authorities have confirmed them free of the virus. Rather than complicate things for them, we must help to fully integrate them into the society. Remember, it could have been anyone.

    As in the case of Ebola, this tough time shall also pass. As Governor Sanwo-Olu, the dynamic COVID-19 Incident Commander of Lagos State, rightly affirmed: “We have overcome more challenging situation in the past, and we shall surely surmount this also”. But then, we must be willing to observe all precautionary measures put in place by the appropriate authorities to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

    Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.

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