By Sango Omojola
Fela Anikulapo Kuti already explained to us in Big Blind Country that we are like the egungun in Obesere’s Egungun Be Careful. We are the blind people who cannot see where they are going and if we do not heed to warning, moto go jam us.
Coronavirus has hit the world at a time in which we in Nigeria are quite unprepared after years of the destruction of our health service. More than that, Coronavirus will lead to a shock to our economy, with a strong reduction in oil prices expected to cause serious problems for us. With our economic situation, can we afford to not go to work (stay at home) like those in rich countries are doing in order not to catch or carry the virus? If we have had good leaders who would have diversified our economy away from oil and built a solid foundation for the economy based on good educational policies, we would be better able to manage.
A Yoruba proverb says, igi gogoro ma gun mi loju o, ati okere lati’n wo. That is, we should prevent future troubles by dealing with challenges early enough. Our mis-leaders have wrecked our country over several years that not only are we facing the threat of Coronavirus, we have so many man made epidemics (like poverty and hunger) that remain untreated and which will only make the problem of Coronavirus a worse one.
But as an old adage says, if the sky should fall, it will fall on all of us.
Coronavirus has shown to the world the necessity of taking care of all in order to feel safe and comfortable yourself. The fear of Coronavirus is the beginning of Wisdom, it is no respecter of a person’s wealth, so if it is not treated for all, rich or poor, then it will spread to the rich. So countries that hate socialism like the US are taking measures such as paying all citizens an amount for them to get through the virus. A vaccine for Coronavirus will be developed. Yet, hunger and poverty has been given no vaccine; in so far as it does not threaten the wealthy, they are fine. In countries that adopt more socialist policies such as in Europe, strong national health care systems enable them to cope well. They are able to absorb stoppages of work and move to home based working and so on.
This saying of John Donne is as true now as it has ever been: ‘No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
The Western world may be able to deal with Coronavirus because they have benefited from years of exploitation of the labour and resources of Africa. But if coronavirus remains a problem in Africa, they will never be safe. And the legacy these countries have given to us is an Africa led by their puppets who have forgotten the maxim that ‘When The Poor Have Nothing Left To Eat, They Will Eat The Rich’. Under the influence of neo-colonialists through their so called neo-liberal policies, our leaders jettisoned every safety net left for the poor, such as quality and affordable education and health care. They believe instead in the maxim, every man for himself. In this dog eat dog world, where some dogs think they can lock themselves behind high fences and move around inside armoured jeeps to enjoy their ill gotten wealth, the time is fast coming when the other dogs decide that they are no longer content to suffer and smile. That they are no longer content to die from poor health care provision, unemployment, starvation, and all the other many things in Nigeria that can kill you while their leaders jet to the rich world for the best quality health care.
The time is fast coming when the egungun mis-leaders in power will be told: ‘E don happen, moto don jam am, I don tell am.’
Join the Movement for African Emancipation to help build leaders with new mind-sets that will drive fundamental change in Nigeria, the time is fast coming when things will change.