ON Wednesday, April 6, 2022, the Federal Government continued its gradual relaxation of restrictions on public gatherings which it imposed as a means of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic since April 2020.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Federal Government still insists that those attending political gatherings such as campaigns, meetings and voting should strictly be guided by safety rules issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The Commission’s safety rules are based on Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC’s, guidelines.
The Federal Government, especially the PSC, deserves commendation for the meticulous manner in which it has handled the COVID-19 briefings, mostly on live television. It is one of the reasons that Nigeria has recorded one of the lowest infection and fatality rates for a country of such a huge population.
After the initial wave of the pandemic, we have weathered the Delta and Omicron variants which swept the world. Nigeria has officially recorded over 256,000 out of about 495 million cases worldwide. Nearly 10 million Nigerians have been vaccinated with over 21 million having received at least one dose. Unfortunately, we lost 3,142 compatriots. But compared with other nations in Europe, America, Asia and Latin America our fatality rates are thankfully among the lowest.
Our check on the NCDC micro-website indicated that as at April 6, 2022 there were only an average of 14 daily cases nationwide over a seven-day period. This was what gave the Federal Government the confidence to further loosen its restrictions.As we warm up for the unfolding political season, we must not be carried away by the low death rates and behave as if the pandemic is over.
This is where the Federal Government’s prompter to maintain the COVID-19 protocols comes into play.
Having lived with the pandemic for over two years, we now know what it is all about. We now know how to fight it. We now know how to stay safe and keep those around us safe. We have mastered how to live with pandemic.
The challenge before us is not to drop our guard and thus become victims.
The social distancing rules should now be part of us. The frequent hand washing with soap and use of hand sanitisers are part of routine personal hygiene which we should internalise and carry to the future devoid of COVID-19.
The wearing of nose masks, especially in crowded places and indoors, will protect us from other communicable diseases, not just COVID-19.
We call on the INEC to remain resolute with its implementation of the COVID-19 protocols in all activities it conducts during the forthcoming campaigns and elections.