It hit us like a thunderbolt. It came with an uncommon bang. That’s why it’s still resonating. It shook us to our foundations. We nearly caved in. We almost gave up.
The COVID-19 pandemic really took the world by storm. It held us by the jugular. And we have never remained the same again. It changed all the narratives, some positively, some others negatively.
A new estimate suggests COVID-19 first visited on November 19, 2019. Wuhan, capital of China’s Hubei Province, is not in dispute. It remains its tragic birthplace.
Even from its inception, we could smell a scam. We could see the traces. They intended to make it an unending calamity. It instantly became a cash cow. A new oil block, a viable sub-sector of the economy!
They predicted total doom for us in Africa. They were cocksure we would be picking our dead from the streets. And they were irritatingly arrogant about it. The Western media was agog with it. That never happened. Big shame!
They were disappointed. Then they resorted to emergence of various and ridiculous variants. They were so particular about the last variant, Omicron. They said it’s strictly African.
The reason they coined it to be most deadly and most tragic. They claimed it was made in South Africa. They strived had to confine it to Africa.
But they goofed. They could not. Omicron put up a stiff resistance. It defied them and their sordid tactics. It ignored them. It escaped without control to their lands in America and Europe. It was even more devastating over there.
They were confused and in great panic. They couldn’t defend the bogus figures being mindlessly churned out of their mills anymore.
Apprehension set in. Fear ruled their airwaves. So? Luck smiled on them. They jumped for joy and celebrated to high heaves.
They found an escape route. World Health Organisation (WHO) is it! It’s their willing hand and useful instrument. And they “wisely” reached out to it. The global health body was ready to play ball.
Trust them, they secured a timely reprieve. WHO actually gave them a relief, a window to flee and fly. And they did just that. It was in fact a soft landing.
WHO was forced to do their biddings. It was compelled to make a U-turn. Its Emergency Committee on International Health Regulations hurriedly assembled its members on January 13, 2022. The stakes were high.
Only item on the agenda was COVID-19. It “met to evaluate the latest developments. The meeting also sought to revisit the COVID-19 response measures.”
And WHO surrendered to the whims and caprices of its masters: “The committee identified the following actions as critical for all countries, lift or ease international traffic bans.”
Why? WHO explained: “They do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress experienced by state parties.”
It was specific on Omicron because that is the target: “The failure of travel restrictions introduced after the detection and reporting of Omicron variant to limit international spread of Omicron demonstrates the ineffectiveness of such measures over time.”
It offered “viable” alternatives: “Countries should rely on evidence-informed risk assessment when choosing to introduce travel requirements, namely, masking, testing, vaccination, and quarantine, and avoid placing the financial burden on international travellers.”
WHO was humble enough. It duly recognised the limited global access and inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Its best advice: “Proof of vaccination requirement for international travel should not be the only pathway or condition permitting international travel. State parties should consider a risk-based approach to the facilitation of international travel.”
This is how: “By lifting or modifying measures, such as testing and/or quarantine requirements, when appropriate, in accordance with the WHO guidance.”
Lagos State was quick to fall for WHO. It followed suit without blinking an eye. Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, was emphatic: “We are now out of the fourth wave, we don’t know what will happen next. So, we are going back to the drawing board.”
He justified the decision this way: “There was a reduction in positivity rates of COVID-19 infection from 29.3 per cent recorded on December 21, 2021, to 1.9 per cent on January 20, 2022; bed capacity utilization at only 2 per cent and fatality rate at 0.71 per cent.”
With that, Lagos is good to self-exit COVID-19. It changed tactics. It would, henceforth, do things differently. A new normal: “We really need to look at how to encourage Lagosians to take these vaccines. We know that vaccines are effective in terms of reducing your vulnerability to severe illness from COVID.”
Thumbs up! That is how it should be. Enforcement of vaccination should be by appeal and encouragement. We have seen that compulsion couldn’t work and it would not. Coercion would also fail.
All the same, see Abayomi’s latter-day confession: “It (vaccine) doesn’t so much protect you from COVID. But it protects you from getting extremely unwell or even dying.”
The sudden turn of events was amazing but heartily welcome. They are now chorusing a new song. In simple and clear terms, COVID-19 has ended. No matter the variant, Omicron, Delta or whatever.
That is what we are insisting. Yes, COVID-19 once existed. But they changed its face and phase. They turned it into a monumental racket, flimflam. We are extremely glad it exited the way it did.
In the midst of this, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) and Bank of Industry (BoI) came with their affliction. They are truly our undoing.
The trio made us lose a staggering N6.030,410 trillion within one year. Just to contain the pandemic! We are having unending nightmares. We are dazzled and dazed at the same time. Who would not?
They claimed, to keep our fragile economy running in the COVID-19 pandemic, the CBN and DBN jointly expended over N5.4 trillion between 2020 and 2021. And they are proud they did it on our behalf.
Encouraged, BoI would add its own N599 billion to the expenditure. This would come in form of loans. This would amount to N6.030,410 trillion. Yet, no single hospital was built, not even a cottage hospital.
Thank heavens we would be spared further recklessness. No more blind expenditure in the fake name of one pandemic.
COVID is no more. So say WHO, all of us. Any dissenting voice? Identify yourself now, or…
YAHAYA BELLO, HERO OF COVID-19
The COVID-19 has voluntarily opted to wind down, courtesy of the World Health Organisation (WHO). And the pandemic has gracefully elected to end its venomous attack on us.
Let us remember Yahaya Bello. He firmly holds sway in Kogi State as governor. We cannot honestly feign ignorance of him this critical time. That would be unfair on him and a dis-service to humanity.
For all intents and purposes, he defended his state against the COVID-19 onslaught. That is a given. The reason the pandemic could not penetrate the state.
He is the hero of COVID-19. Nobody deserves it better than Bello. He stood his solid ground. He sailed through successfully. He refused to be dragged in mud.
The governor stuck stoically and stoutly to his guns. And this paid off handsomely. Like the Bello he is, he remained as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.
He could not be moved or swayed or negatively influened. He capture his territory and maintained his lane. He did it with uncommon dignity.
He denied COVID-19 and its agents entry into Kogi State. And the state is better for it. Many times, they attempted it, and all the time they failed. All their efforts fell flat.
Bello would not trade the health of his people for anything. They tried all manner of tricks. They lured, appeased, cajoled and blackmailed, all to no avail.
Those plots, ploys and schemes could not break him. His strong character would not allow that. They all collapsed like a house of cards.
He is the only COVID-19-resistant governor in Nigeria. He refused to be convinced. His conviction that COVID-19 was a fraud, a swindle, was unmatched.
So, while the pandemic lasted, he never abandoned his people. No, he would not contemplate that. He stood out to be visibly and physically counted. Even among his peers and governor-colleagues.
None of them could match his doggedness on COVID-19. From start to finish, he didn’t falter. He neither lost steam nor momentum. He made his position clear to everyone who cared. He insisted his Kogi had nothing to do with COVID-19 and its vaccines. And so never was anyone quarantined or isolated in Kogi. Not a single isolation centre
was thought of.
Yahaya Bello was on the forefront. He took the bull by the horns. He didn’t fight COVID-19 to a standstill. He fought to its grave. He came, he saw and he conquered the pandemic.
We ought to celebrate him for being outstanding. He treated COVID-19 quite differently, because he understood its language. He achieved results and good success.
He saw what the rest of us failed to see. We doubted him to our own detriment. And we paid heavily for it with our meagre resources.
On COVID-19, Bello laughs last and is still laughing the best.