MANY people at the level of leadership in Nigeria continue to display acts of crass irresponsibility in spite of frenzied worldwide efforts to scale down group activities to curb the spread of the new Coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.
Over the past weekend, many religious groups ignored government orders to shut down places of worship and encouraged their members to worship in their mosques and churches. Many suspended social events still went ahead.
Some political interest groups also shunned the order to maintain social distancing. The most obvious and scandalous of this was the South-West Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, “reunification” rally which took place in Ibadan on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
It was shocking that the PDP, an opposition party that is expected to tackle inadequacies of the ruling party allowed this mammoth gathering at a time when various bodies nationwide were ordering shutdowns of their activities to prevent the spread of the disease.
We are also worried that the Ondo State Independent Electoral Commission, ODSIEC, has vowed to go ahead with the local government elections scheduled for April 18, 2020, about three weeks away.
If ODSIEC ignores good counsel and goes ahead with this election it means that the state’s 1.5 million registered voters as well as poll workers will potentially be exposed to the risk of infection. From there they could go ahead and infect those who did not attend.
It is shocking that people in positions of leadership in our country are yet to elevate service to and for the people above self-serving politicking that serve no purpose except perpetually under-develop the country.
To the organisers of these political events we ask these questions: What is the hurry? Are they not part of a world where the Olympic Games scheduled for Tokyo, Japan and other big-time sporting events have been postponed indefinitely?
Billions of dollars are going down the drain due to these postponements, yet they had to be done to protect the people and save lives. Oyo and Ondo states are not even among the three states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, which have laboratories where infected people can be tested for Covid-19.
We need to drum the necessity for social distancing into the ears of those who care to listen. Because we lack the facilities and personnel to tackle a major outbreak such as we have seen in China, Iran, Europe, the UK/Ireland and the United States, the best option for us is prevention.
Social distancing, if properly done, will cut the rate of infection spread. It is a preventive measure that will surely be better than any curative one.
Only the living and healthy can play politics. Let us shelve all political activities, stay indoors and observe the rules to beat this infection.