COVID-19
PTF on COVID-19 chairman, Boss Mustapha..positive confessions

By Yinka Odumakin

IF heavens did not raise men and women across Nigeria who will rise like one man to do what is necessary to rescue the sinking ship of this country, we can as well be composing the funeral oration of a country with a great potential that never manifested. I have had sleepless and troubling nights about the future of Nigeria in recent time and I have had my nightmares which I voiced out in some of my close circles.

Shortly after we commenced our lockdown, I shared with my class in Ife that I was seeing image of cannibalism in a post-COVID Nigeria which alarmed one of the sisters, Yemisi Dabiri. With a calm disposition that should be very useful the day Nigeria chose to be a useful country, she pleaded that I should be positive about the country.

I understood her. We often love our sick relatives to the point that we want the doctor to be in their positions and make positive confessions even when all the vital signs are negative!

Positive confessions

But a human society was once driven to that point in history. “And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad, king of Syria, gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five  pieces of silver.

“And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son. The king was so distraught that the Lord do to him more than that if the head of Elisha the prophet rested on his neck that night.” (2Kings 6: 24-29)

Unfortunately, there is no prophet whose neck a king can go threaten in Nigeria to resolve its problems and the minds that created them cannot be the ones to resolve them. This is why current political parties that created the problems will not be the ones that will get out freely.

When this country returned to civil rule the year after Abacha’s reign, it was on the basis of a bad restructuring codified into a constitution he wrote to succeed himself. Nobody saw the constitution. There was even no clean copy for the President to hold for the inauguration ceremony. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that took over power left things as they were and went boasting of how it would rule the country for 50 years, though it lost it in 2015. It ran in 2019 as a registered party but not as a gang desirous of winning.

While a lot of those who were disenchanted with the ruling party in four years looked up to it as a vehicle to defeat APC, most of its governors were broom wavers at night. The APC on its own in 2015 used deception and guile to hoodwink the people. They came to power to observe their promises in the breach. It didn’t take more than the first term for the people to see through them but they still managed to get a second term in office.

They did not finish the first year in the second term before Coronavirus came to take over. It is under the pandemic that we saw less of the lies they turned to statecraft. The Secretary to the Federal Government had to tell a truth that he never knew that our health system was this bad. Even when they attended the burial of Abba Kyari in large number, Mustapha had to tender apologies publicly!

The truth of the matter today is that COVID-19 has shattered most ideas even in organised systems not to talk of our own disorganised arrangement. All what had been used to deceive us in the past cannot stand the test of time again. The politicians are in rags as nothing covers them again.

Last December, I read in New York Times how British voters were hauling insults at their politicians. “They’re all idiots. Stuck up, stupid, useless idiots,” said Liam Peters, 37, a carpenter from Barling, in southeast England, who voted to leave in the 2016 referendum. “We voted for a very simple thing: to leave. We didn’t vote for deals or endless negotiations. We just want to get out, but our politicians are useless, and they have turned one of the most important decisions in our history into a farce.”

After three years of painstaking negotiations, votes and delays to Brexit, many Leavers hoped that Boris Johnson would achieve what he said he would and wrench Britain out of the bloc, “do or die.” But since Parliament returned from summer recess last week, Mr. Johnson has failed at every turn, losing four key votes and his majority in Parliament, and facing the humiliation of his own brother’s stepping down from Parliament and his government. Ultimately, in less than one week, he lost control of Brexit – the one thing he vowed to deliver.

“Boris is just as useless as everyone else. He’s a joke,” said Tony Edwards, a 64-year-old retired truck driver from Essex in southeast England. “All the MPs are corrupt; they just care about collecting their paychecks. The best solution at this point is to shut down Parliament and elect new representatives because this Parliament does not represent the public. We voted out, and out means out.”

READ ALSO: Total Health Trust Provides Covid-19 Relief for Healthcare Providers in Nigeria

Things were not looking much better for Mr. Johnson on Friday. In one glimmer of good news, a judge did toss out a suit brought by the activist lawyer Gina Miller challenging the legality of the prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament for several weeks.

But things were decidedly gloomier for Mr. Johnson on other fronts. The  opposition parties in Parliament announced that they would not support Mr. Johnson on Monday in a  second vote to authorise an early election. And that was fine with Lizzie Burton, 28, an advertising agent from London. “No one wants another election, we’ve had one recently and it didn’t change anything,” said Ms. Burton, who voted Remain in the referendum. “What we need to solve this gridlock is a second referendum.”

Ms. Burton believes that a significant portion of the public who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 was misled by campaigners, who she says played down the economic impact of Brexit, especially if it occurred without a withdrawal agreement. “The true reality of Brexit is now out there in the public sphere,” she said, “and I’m convinced that many people have taken stock of that reality and changed their minds.”

If that is the case, it is a late-breaking development, because over the years the polls have reflected the deep polarisation of the electorate, with relatively little movement from one side to the other.

Remainers, as the aggrieved party, have tended to be more vocal in expressing their displeasure. Last weekend, tens of thousands gathered in London to protest what they decried as Mr. Johnson’s disregard for democratic norms in his single-minded pursuit of Brexit. “If you shut down Parliament, we shut down the streets!” the demonstrators chanted in unison.

But the discontent was not limited to Mr. Johnson’s opponents. Even Conservatives expressed dismay at his highhandedness, particularly the sacking of the 21 Conservative members of Parliament who voted against his Brexit strategy, when he himself was elected prime minister by only around 100,000 party members.

“This is not the Conservative Party I voted for,” Belinda Ashton, a 48-year-old housekeeping manager, said on Thursday as she flicked through a tabloid at Liverpool Street station in London that ran the headline, “Britain’s worst PM.” “There is no way I would have voted for a party led by Boris Johnson,” Ms. Ashton continued. “Just the fact that he can get elected by a handful of people and then come in and sack so many MPs that were elected by the public, like a Middle Eastern dictator. It’s absurd.”

Even though she does not support the main opposition Labour Party or its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, Ms. Ashton believes that his leadership would increase the chances of a second referendum, which she supports.

Sitting in the sunshine in the garden of an East London pub, eating a bowl of french fries and sipping on a glass of Coke, Matt Thomas, a 42-year-old insurance agent, laughed at the mention of the word Brexit. “It’s just theatrics, it’s actually pretty entertaining,” he said. “But I’m not too worried, because what we’ve seen this week is that Parliament is still capable of doing its job by averting BoJo’s chances of delivering a calamity and driving this country off the cliff.”

I have been wondering if these guys are mad with their politicians over just one issue, how would our own people rage against our own over all issues?

I am not saying all people in APC and PDP are not useful but the good guys in both camps would have to team up with patriots outside their camps to present an agenda that can make this place safe for human beings to live. We can’t continue this way. The present politics, politicians and political structure are obsolete. What is on ground both ways mean nothing.

 

FEEDBACK

Re: Coronavirus and our fault lines

Dear Yinka,

THANKS for your article on the above subject. You have once more opened the pages of Nigeria’s history to those who do not know and those who know, but pretend not to know.

A people who do not want to learn from their past will continue to try to solve their problem using the same unworkable solutions. This is what Albert Einstein called madness.

The issues you raised will help all right thinking Nigerians to know better those who are dragging us backward instead of pushing us forward.

When will the sleeping giant of Africa awake from her slumber and face the stark realities of the present? We cannot continue to fool ourselves. “Which way Nigeria?”

  • Tony O. Ekwe

VANGUARD

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