Nigeria is talked about all over the world because of its internal problems; Boko Haram, corruption and being the poverty capital of the world after overtaking India. Nigeria has been struggling for self-identity and not united to solve its problem because of heterogeneity and so many tribal and political divides.
In football, even though Nigeria has been qualifying for several FIFA world cups but has never won any she has made remarkable marks in other fields of endeavors. Nigeria has produced a Nobel laureate and has her citizens head some international organizations. Nigeria played active roles in various international organizations and vied for positions in them. For example, Joseph Garba, Nigeria’s former permanent representative to the UN, was elected in 1989 to a one-year term as president of the UN General Assembly; Adebayo Adedeji was executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, a UN affiliate; and Emeka Anyaoku became secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations in 1989. After that prominent Nigerians have assumed various positions and capacities. Nigeria has all it takes to follow its counterparts all over the world in taking decisions on how the world should move and how it affects us.
Even in Africa, Nigeria is well known and recognizable in her great roles in Africa. Her great roles are not hidden from the international eyes. Other countries even try to pad her up in her strides because she is seen as the most populous African nation. In this crisis of corona virus, how is Nigeria handling this pandemic? Has she a voice in the decision making? Does she know the magnitude of the problem?
Big countries like Russia and America are having high infection and death rates. We saw what happened in Italy and other countries; the uphill battle they encounter. What preparations are we making with the daily increase in our own cases? Are we waiting for those who are already loaded to come and help us? How long are we going to wait for them? Today, it is no longer charity but justice because charity does not have capacity to hold up an economy.
There are several propagandas and scientific rhetoric over the new vaccine that we are not sure of when it would come to the public. There have been fears and confusions over what could be the substitute before its arrival. It was projected that 54 African countries would be hit by poverty because of the pandemic and UN warned of the catastrophic consequence in Africa.
We hear very often of China and the USA trading blames on each other. We are caught in-between and unsure of things. American President accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of being China-centric and threatened to withdraw its membership and funding. What is our own stance in Africa especially Nigeria? We heard that the vaccine would be sent to the USA first because they paid huge chunk of money followed by other western countries before it might get to Africa? Can expectations not give way to boredom?
Can we not do our own homework to save our people? There are many medical practitioners in Nigeria with various confident claims of ability to cure the corona virus and have challenged the government to bring patients for trial. Instead of accepting our indigenous herbal solutions, our government has embraced and imported the Madagascar’s remedy which can be more expensive than producing locally since we have all the recipes.
The only way Nigeria can cease to be a spectator in this pandemic is by raising a voice and contributing towards its existing problem by using local herbal remedies instead of waiting for the international organizations to give them their own share of the vaccine while their own remedy is at their backyards and needs supports for mass production.
Nigeria is supposed to set the pace in Africa for others to follow not sleeping while other countries that can’t compare in our capabilities overtake us and make us look dormant. What we need now are leaders with listening ears who are patriotic and want the country to move forward. When we have such crop of leaders, ideas for development are easily welcomed and analyzed. Nigeria already has human, material, financial resources and brilliant ideas but lacks leaders that would harness these resources for National development.
What hangs on the lips of everyone even in the remote villages is “CORONAVIRUS” irrespective of various mispronunciations but everyone knows that it is a great threat to the world. World leaders and economies are making post covid19 plans as they gradually open their economies. What is Nigeria planning with the fall in global oil price? This is the time for the presidency and his team to have strategic meetings with heads of various sectors to determine how best to rejig and overhaul the economy to avoid falling deeper into penury.
Nigeria has tolerant citizens with great sacrificing spirits. Our leaders should not continue to exploit this weakness because compliance is not a sign of weakness. They can cooperate once the leaders show true sincerity and work for the collective good of the country. They do not demand for too much but availability of basic infrastructures to live good lives as dividends of voting them in. The citizens have been swimming in the ocean of various diseases that kill everyday even more than the covid19. By using our local effective available remedies, we can open up our economy while taking all safety precautions and wait for the arrival of the expensive vaccines or drugs which will cost us more money.
Time is running out for the president to have his name written in the sand of history by doing this for the citizens. His statue could be raised in the villages for being seen as a “Life saver” who embraced all available options to fight the covid19 without waiting for foreign interventions while people lost their lives. With this Nigeria would cease to be a spectator during the covid-19 and history would document how Nigeria developed home remedies to fight it. We have already faced serious hardships in the economy. Nigeria should not allow this covid-19 pandemic to shatter the economy. The leaders and regulatory agencies should stop dragging their feet in fear of the foreign powers. The time to act is now!
Very Rev. Msgr. Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate