Forget the spar between the United States and China over the origin of coronavirus (Covid-19). The reality is that it is already a global contagion. A plague of pandemic proportion. Stealth, evasive, disguised. Covid-19, as you read this, has taken down the lives of over 22,000 people globally in a matter of weeks, with over 450,000 active cases reported. It has humbled humanity. It has exposed the frailty of man, the weaknesses and limitations of super-power nations.
It got humanity scrambling for answers. Technology can’t keep pace with the contagion. Prophets can’t keep it down. Presidents are in hiding. The gun fails. A little virus has brought humanity on her knees. The bayonet, the mortal bombs, atomic bombs and nuclear weapons stand dumb in eternal reverence to a microscopic virulent virus. All the buzz of commerce, all the grandstanding about street credibility, all the boastful clatter in the marketplace have been quietened by a tiny virus. Where are the aircraft? The retinue of private jets? The aristocratic yachts and cruise ships that advertise vanity. The Rolls Royce Septail, Mercedes Benz Maybach Exelero, the Bugatti Divo, the world’s most expensive cars. Where are they? They’ve been confined to the garage, their owners quarantined to enclosures with a stern warning: don’t come out!
From America to Europe, Asia to Africa, the roads are thinning out of vehicular movement. Wall Street has lost its wall-to-wall noise. Broad Street has tanked out of its hubbub. White House panics. 10 Downing Street is distressed. Aso Rock is perplexed. The rich cries. The mighty falls. The poor watches and wonders. Fear, distraught, anxiety stalk the lands. All because of a tiny virus. Man is nothing. God is everything. How can a nano-size virus overwhelm knowledgeable, sophisticated man? A minuscule organism has tamed the most majestic of creation. Surely, God must be angry. He uses the foolish things to confound the wise. An insignificant virus has sent all of humanity on ‘compulsory holiday’, to borrow the words of Pastor Enoch Adeboye. He has used a teeny virus to humble boastful man. And now, the whole world is convulsing like a child (apologies to Pastor Adeboye).
But every cloud has a silver lining. Covid-19 has exposed the folly of our leaders, especially Nigerian leaders. It has exposed their deceit and tom-foolery. And herein is the disguised blessing in the vicious viral plague.
As far back as December 31, 2019, a pneumonia of unknown cause was detected in Wuhan, in central China. It was subsequently reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Office in China. By January 30, 2020, it was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. That’s a red flag warning the world to beware. But man gave no heed to the warning. He continued in his convulsive orgy of global gallivanting. In a matter of weeks, foolish man has surreptitiously spread the virus from Wuhan to the uttermost part of the earth.
But the greatest and most primitive display of folly was by Nigerian leadership elite. Despite repeated warnings from those who should know, Nigerian leaders continued in their banal show of basal values. Always above the law, they ignored all warnings. They jumped into any available flight to Germany, China, England, Italy and everywhere. The ones at home rather than lock the gates and doors, left every vent open to welcome their partners and another set of unruly Nigerians abroad. And within days, they have shipped the virus thousands of kilometres into Nigeria. Well done Sir, well done Ma. Again, the poor watches in frightful wonder. Now the poor suffers the folly of the rich.
In the thick of the global viral meltdown, Nigerian lawmakers and public officials were still scouring the whole of Europe and America. For what? For the love of country? I guess not. Even those who could barely afford transport fare for night bus before their (s)election or appointment are junketing from Abuja to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, US and Europe. And why not? They now have free, uncountable public funds at their disposal. In the heat of covid-19 contagion with global advisory to restrict movement and maintain social distancing, a Nigerian Ambassador shut down United Kingdom for his birthday party where about 500 guests were riotously entertained. That was a good festering ground to spread and share the virus. And they did. Such folly. Some have returned to Nigeria to afflict the poor with their vainglorious recklessness.
But there is a miracle in this covid-19 saga. Nigeria has recorded the least fatality among high population nations. It’s cheery news and to God be the glory. We should pay special tribute to those who worked their socks off to keep others alive. I salute the Nigerian medics and Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, especially. A bigger miracle is that our public officials have suddenly found the grace to stay in their country. I never knew this is possible. That they can get a cure in Nigerian hospitals, holiday (or self-isolate) in Nigerian hotels or even in their homes is a miracle. Nigeria is a major contributor to the religious and medical tourism purse of other nations. Now, the money stays home, no more capital flight. That’s a miracle.
Who would have believed that our governors, ministers and lawmakers who globetrot week-in week-out in search of so-called foreign investors would stay a whole month in Nigeria without worrying about this ever elusive foreign investor?
Covid-19 may be deadly but it has a good side. It has exposed the sorry state of healthcare in Nigeria. The same leadership elite who squandered every opportunity to equip our hospitals are now patients in these hospitals. The obsolete equipment they bought for the price of state-of-the-art ones are the same equipment they will use to treat them. And where they failed to purchase the equipment, the same emptiness awaits them as they take up tenancy in these hospitals. The measure you give is the same measure you receive. Aso Rock has a clinic which has gulped billions of naira over the years but it cannot boast a single, functional ventilator.
May be after the plague, our leaders would wake up. May be they will wean themselves of their self-induced deceit and provide functional medical infrastructure. Nigeria holds the modern world record of having her sick presidents stay in foreign land for medicare for the longest period of time. Where is our sovereignty?
In covid-19 I see the anger of God. He is drawing the attention of mortal man to Himself, but are we listening? Does man understand the message of these times, the sobering essence of this plague? This is the noisome pestilence foretold in Psalm 91 and in the book of Matthew Chapter 24. The Bible is clear on what shall presage the end. It has taken just a tiny virus to keep Nigerian leaders at home. Oh, boastful man, who art thou? What the laws of men, mortal bombs, the best of technologies and deadly guns could not achieve, a little virus did. It humbled man.
Lesson: Man is nothing. God, the creator of all things including Covid-19, is everything. God is the author of both good and evil (Isaiah 45vs7). Be humble, be sober at these times.