Essays, Writers

Moving Ahead Post Coronavirus Pandemic by Oyinola Abosede.

  Introduction “To expect the unexpected shows a thoroughly modern intellect” Oscar Wilde The truth is that however prepared the world might have seemed for any sudden occurrence, it definitely did not see the Covid-19 pandemic or its aftermath coming. The current Covid-19 world statistic depicts above 90 million confirmed cases since the inception, and Nigeria presently has a total well above 100,000 cases in a recent report rightly asserted by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. While the nation is presently out of the lockdown, and is gradually resuming business activities in various sectors of the economy with many schools planning towards the much-awaited resumption, I was torn between disbelief and worry when an official announcement was recently made by the health minister about the need to prepare for the second wave of the pandemic that affected our markets and economy due to its unprecedented disruptions. Now, with the rising cases of the Covid-19, we are faced with a critical challenge on our response to the second wave of this virus. I strongly believe deep beneath the depressing curtain of darkness; the stars do exist and moreover every cloud has its silver lining. Analysis from the First Wave Pandemic Definitely, Nigeria wasn’t sufficiently prepared to tackle the effect that the outbreak of the Corona virus disease would have on the economy and this can partially but surely be linked to the over reliance on petroleum as the national source of revenue. However, with the fall in the price of crude oil and the general downturn in major sectors of our economy including construction, tourism, real-estate, manufacturing and aviation; the economic impact of the Covid-19 was drastic. As quite expected, the national budget for the year was unattainable in terms of the expected revenue as oil prices had to fall below the actual price fixed for the year. This was unavoidable as the international demand for oil fell and national demand was also lesser than supply. Needless to say, the nation wasn’t prepared for the hit on its major source of revenue: oil. Undeniably, the fact that Nigeria was barely recovering from the recession from years back also contributed to the severe effect the lockdown had on the economy. Small business owners could not open and this affected the livelihood of the average Nigerian citizen who had to go to work daily before feeding. The predicted laying off of workers happened massively and many were left unemployed. To worsen the situation, the prices of essential commodities also rose significantly. Also, the immediate effect of the national economic decline owing to the lockdown was the increase in crime rates, as more crimes were reported in various parts of the country every day. Though the government took measures to ensure that the effects of the lockdown would be reduced to the achievable minimum by disbursing funds to state governments and communities, as well as loans, only a little could be alleviated as the economy rather became worse. Indeed, the question that lies ahead of us as a nation is whether we are able to learn from the crisis presented by the pandemic and how to position ourselves to move ahead in the post Covid-19 world even as we still hope and await a vaccine to be produced. The globally experienced disruption that the pandemic has foisted on humanity is no doubt harrowing. However, the bitter truth is that the pandemic has taught humanity several positive lessons.   Learning Development from the Pandemic Need I say that this pandemic has led to improved hygiene of most people in our nation today. Even at the individual level, most people forget to wash their hands as often as necessary because of a hectic lifestyle. Since part of the safety precautions to keep the Covid-19 spread at bay requires consistent washing of hands. I believe this habit will most likely remain in the lives of the people long after the pandemic is over. The physical well-being of the people will be better maintained since people are likely to wash their hands frequently and correctly while sanitizing surfaces may be a larger priority. Furthermore, the Covid-19 has caused most private sector to rise for a social cause.  Even with government resources under strain as public health professionals ramp up efforts to test more people and provide care for the coronavirus patients, the private sectors stepped up to help fight against this pandemic. Significant financial contributions have been made through the special fund set up in various parts of the country. In addition to the contributions made, many organizations have switched from their major business activities to producing materials needed such as personal-protective-equipment, sanitizers, face-masks etc. to support the government in the battle against this pandemic. Moreover, the pandemic has called our attention as a nation to a shift in the diversification of our economy and to focus more on the agricultural sector. In addition to this, it has exposed us to digital transformation -telelearning, telecommuting and most especially telemedicine which could actually be an effective way of getting things done. Moving Ahead towards the Second Wave Indeed, the biggest opportunity presented by Covid-19 in Nigeria is the chance to reset some of our economic approaches in a way that maximizes our chances of developing more resilient and sustainable approach to globalization. The battle against the Coronavirus disease elucidates the importance of technology. For instance, Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom, a video communication tool that became popular for its use in virtual meetings became a billionaire during the Coronavirus saga. No matter the stumbling blocks, it is the responsibility of every citizen in the country to take the bull by the horns. I strongly believe Nigeria is blessed with brilliant and tech savvy youths. Innovation and digital technology should be embraced in the country since it is particularly important when dealing with global challenges such as pandemics and climate change, that threaten everyone. Also, the post covid-19 world will be shaped by decisions being made in

Essays, Writers

The War We Want To End Soon by Oluwatimilehin Folarin.

  A common enemy that is threatening human survival I have finally figured out the ripostes to the questions enveloping the atmosphere. The aged ones are terrified, the youths are petrified, and the young ones are horrified. It came hastily, progressed from a cradle of worriment to sources of unbiased demise of people. We are now in a season when every second is accompanied by two thoughts: either we win this war or we lose our lives in the process. COVID-19 brought the entire world to a cessation, so much that the economic, social, and legal order of human existence was altered. Beyond that, COVID-19 launched us into a war-like situation where all human entities have transited into soldiers militating against a common enemy that is threatening human survival. In fact, a new feature of using a nose mask has been added to any formal dress or traditional wear. Sporadic and intermittent washing of hands has become a culture. Interestingly, the brain has even configured its settings that alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be applied on the hands as frequently as possible. Deepening the sore of the wound caused by the deadly virus, the death toll being experienced now is second to none in recent months. While efforts are being geared towards putting an end to the war, the second wave of the coronavirus could not be evaded due to some underlying factors. This has however left us with a conundrum to rejoinder on the plausible steps to take for the development of homegrown solutions needed in this situation.   The prediction of a second wave war According to James Gallagher, amongst many other medical practitioners, a second wave was predicted some months ago.[1] The audacity with which many health tycoons presaged the possibility, without doubt, makes it look like the war we are in, just began. Although in June 2020 when there was an observed decline in the new number of confirmed cases, a professor of epidemiology and director of Center for infection and immunity at Columbia University, Ian Lipkin opined that a time will come when the virus would massively return or new strains of the virus will colossally develop.[2] As lockdowns were eased across all countries, months after months, the last quarter of the year 2020 experienced a sudden upsurge in the number of new cases of the deadly coronavirus. This trend gave rise to an average of 22,000 confirmed new cases per day in December among the Africa nations, surpassing the peak rate of 18,000 during the first wave. Sadly, in the continent, nearly half of the total cases are the ones recorded from October till now.[3] When we thought the second quarter of last year will be the peak of it, the gear has been changed, and the war is still much ongoing.   Reasons for the second wave Judging from the outcome, the early unmonitored green light on easing the restriction of movement was dangerous. If we had phenomenally learnt from the Spanish flu that escalated in 1918, wiping millions of people from the face of the earth, the people vested with authority would not have been ‘careless’ in lifting too soon, the restriction on movement without adequate measures to prevent a second wave from emanating. To be candid, the perfect explanation to the situation of things can be concisely explained by a message on a building in the Chilean capital Santiago – ‘No volveremos a la normalidad, porque’ la normalidad era el problema.’ In English, it reads, “we won’t get back to normal because normal was the problem.”[4] Many people were too adamant and resolute that the government should make things return back to normal, and in the call for that, they neglected the consequences of rushing without the acumen required to fight the war against a deadly virus. Without any iota of doubt, we are already in the new ‘normal,’ and patience is all that is required for us to fight this war well, and end it soon.   Also, the disparity in the responses of various individuals, organizations, and nations to the pandemic, affected the collective strategy needed to end the war against COVID-19 early. While some have been following COVID-19 precautions, some observed for a few months and then regressed, and others, erroneously believe that the source of the death of millions of people is a mirage. So sad! No wonder the Holy bible stated in Hosea 4:1, ‘My people perish because of lack of wisdom.’ Furthermore, the decline in the compliance of the masses in using nose-mask can be attributed to the spike in the COVID-19 cases being recorded. Based on the research led by scientists at Britain’s Cambridge and Greenwich Universities, they educated the populace that lockdowns alone will not stop the renaissance of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, but also, adoption of consistent nose mask-wearing. Even the homemade masks can intensely reduce transmission rates if everyone in the battleground wears them perpetually.[5]   In addition, in some cities, towns, and communities, while only few or no public places are shutdown or practicing social distancing, others are operating normally as if a virus that is airborne does not exist. While some government and community leaders have taken the right path to mandate mask-wearing and physical distancing in public areas, some opined that is a matter of personal choice. We cannot be fighting a common enemy with complete dissimilarities in ideology, war stratagems, or methodologies. It is utterly wrong!     Strategies needed to do to put an end to the war   Learning from what my father usually iterate to me when I was young, “the wise man foresees the struggle ahead and creates defense mechanism for them: the blockhead goes blindly on and suffers the repercussion.” Just like I will not want the world to encounter the third wave of war, I will like to suggest the following solutions to be employed by various leaders in order to win the battle against coronavirus in due time. First, everyone needs

Essays, Writers

The 2nd Wave Of Covid-19 : Building A Resilient Capacity To A Glorious Exit by Victor Okonjo.

  The invasion of the dreaded monster corona virus also known as the covid 19 pandemic into the human race was one that caught all and sundry unaware. Human activities and life style have been adjusted in different dimension due to the resultant effects of the covid 19 pandemic. With Nigeria as a case study, the emergence of corona virus redirected the usual agenda of both the government and the governed. All effort was put in place to curb the spread of the covid 19 pandemic since its inception. At a time when one thought we were rounding up the fight against covid 19 the second wave came more intense. Before we talk about how to defeat the second wave of the covid 19 pandemic especially through the use of home grown solutions, let us see how we handled the first wave of the covid 19 pandemic. A Review on the First Wave of Covid 19 Pandemic and it Management: In Nigeria, some persons would agree that the emergence of corona virus exposed the level of deficit in infrastructural development across board. It made everyone to realize that there were alternatives to the normal ways of doing things and that became the new normal. The threat of covid 19 pandemic and it attendant effect forced hands to be on deck. This paved way for the application of local content to prevent the spread of covid 19. We saw how face mask were improvised to meet local demand; Members of the academia intensified effort to scale up the production of hand sanitizer and automated hand washing compartment; automated body sanitizing machine and improvised ventilators were produced by science and technology experts. There were also attempt by herbal specialists to see the possibility of developing curative measure against covid 19 pandemic through herbal remedy but are yet to be scientifically proven. All these took place in the period under review during the first wave of the covid 19 pandemic amidst several challenges. Government was dared to do the needful by upgrading health facilities after reckless abandon for years. At a time when the tide of the first wave was going down, many thought it was a good omen until the re-insurgence of the second wave of covid 19. Applying Gained Lessons to Develop Resilient Capacity Over Second Wave of Covid 19: The re-insurgence of the covid 19 pandemic popularly addressed as the second wave is said to be more deadly than the former and a setback on the fight against covid 19 pandemic. However, with the development and production of vaccines, there is a sense of optimism for a way out. Nigeria, on her own path, must seize the opportunity to be more responsible in the fight against covid 19. This can be done using gained lessons from the former to develop resilient capacity towards a glorious exist.  For it is our common wish to see covid 19 go extinct from our domain and come out victorious against the dreaded monster (covid 19). Furthermore, the moment of time send us a clear signal that we have no choice than to rise to the occasion in dealing with the covid 19 pandemic. To achieve this, we must look inward and take close scrutiny on the lessons gained thus far with a view to deliberately develop homegrown solutions. As a country, we should be looking inward more than outward in galvanizing steps to tackle major confronting issues. This is the time to articulate local resources to deal with the spread and prevention of covid 19. While other countries of the world spend time in developing their local base with local resources, Nigeria should not stay put but get busy in rallying her scientists and medical experts to a cooperative effort in enhancing local content and human capacity development. This is with a view to facilitate the development of treatment and prevention mechanism against covid 19. Nigeria has a league of talented individuals especially in the area of science and technology the only problem is lack of encouragement and support. It should not be on every occasion that the country seeks help over her problems outside her shores even without first looking inward for local solutions. We should believe in our local content and capacities to prove our resilience in order to witness a glorious exist from the covid 19 pandemic. Covid 19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the true realities that charity indeed begins at home. As people who seek development and growth, we should be crusaders in advancing the campaign of improved inclusion of local content to address local problems and concerns. Homegrown solutions are usually more effective than imported ones if given due preference. This is because, it is been developed by local experts who have a good understanding of local concerns. Just as we were able to express the ingenuity of local skills to improvise non pharmaceutical items like face mask , hand sanitizer, hand washing facilities, ventilator e.t.c  during the first wave, we can also improve and advance further in harnessing the potential of local content through the homegrown solution ideology. Nigeria has a lot to gain in giving due appraisal and consideration to homegrown solution. When we embrace this path, with conscious and consistent effort, we will invigorate a resilient capacity against the second wave of covid 19 or any other odds and achieve a glorious exist.   Victor Okonjo wrote in via okonjovico@gmail.com

Essays, Writers

Covid-21 by Ojetunde Esther.

COVID-21! The Coronavirus disease 2019(Covid-19) started in Wuhan city, China and has since then spread throughout the world locking down even the strongest economy. A virus as dangerous still requires a human being to replicate and without them, it is like an object. The Covid-19 virus like other viruses in Nigeria, HIV, tuberculosis has come to stay. The high time we accept that the better for us. In this second wave of the virus which has started ravaging the countries of the world is said to have been a mutation of the virus in the United kingdom. Hence making the vaccine almost useless. There are lessons Nigerians need to take home from this virus; Prevention is better than cure. Improvement on research. Enlightenment of the public. Empowerment of local herbal cure people. PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE. One thing this virus exposed in people was our weakness in preventing our selves. Before we point accusing fingers at the government for not closing the airline early and borders, let us reflect on ourselves too. When last did we use our nose masks? Oh ok I used it yesterday Ok yes, but where on your chin or nose or even your neck? Did you sneeze on your elbow? What of that your uncle that came back from Benin republic? Did you allow him self-isolate for 14 days upon return? Or no you smuggle him in The bulk of these problems are on us, the faster we take the bull by the horn the better for us. The more we fight the disease by protecting ourselves, we reduce the risk of transferring it on ourselves. We also prevent the death of health workers most especially doctors, this disease has sent them to their early graves.   IMPROVEMENT ON RESEARCH I have always passed by a research institute beside my hostel on the way to class and back and wondered what those people were always doing there. Not until this pandemic and I started hearing about NCDC results then I understood their significance. Even though I was a literate like many other people we weren’t even aware of what they really do or 10% are vaguely familiar of what they do. This should not be so. The government need to invest money into research. If these had be done we won’t be facing the high transmission rate we are facing now. Researchers would have gone into investigating the disease right from when we were hearing rumors of it. ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE PUBLIC When you ask people on the streets if Covid-19 is real, 5% believe it is real while the remaining 95% argue with whether it is real or it been a disease for only the reach. What a tragedy it is! The government needs to step up it’s games by coming down to the level of the masses and saying it in a way that can understand. Not just organizing meetings at Abuja and propounding laws that are not feasible. A visit to the market will give a good instance of that. People muddled up together in a place. The place been dirty, dirty beggers on the road sides and sellers dragging people to buy their wares. How do you practice social distancing in that kind of situation? The leaders know the way they clamour and gather people together during campaign, those market people especially. If they can do that the rate of transmission would reduce. Government should also bring people out to show people so they can see with their eyes the effect of the virus and how real it is. EMPOWERMENT OF LOCAL HERBAL CURE PEOPLE In Pharmacy, drugs are obtained from two main sources; Plants and Animals. Those in research could also employ the help of these people. It would hasten their process of producing the drug. These people have worked with the plants for years. The knowledge passed down to then by their fore-fathers. Though they might not know the chemical composition of those mixtures but compromise between the two will make a great combo, and the drug is produced!This is the knowledge that India use to produce herbal tea we drink and other treatment and today they are called the father of modern medicine. Therefore, the second wave been Covid-21 for it not to become covid-22 or covid-22 the above listed points should be considered and everyone taking the parts they consign them home to work on. Ojetunde Esther, a first-year student of Pharmacy in the University of Lagos wrote in via ojetundeesther45@gmail.com      

Essays, Writers

A Bird At Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush by Favour Amoye.

  If 2020 managed to etch one thing on the back of our minds, then it has to be the Covid-19 pandemic. For the length of my essay, I would like to take this from the perspective of the African continent. It was and still, a sad one for the African continent as over 2.7 million Africans have been infected with over 65,000 death cases, But if there is one thing that holds, then it has to be the fact that the current second wave is threatening to even take more lives and to record more cases. With the second wave in full flow and it poses to be an even severe one with the additional conundrum of a new variant, The African health system seemingly has their work cut out for them. Despite the bold and heroic efforts of doctors on the continent of Africa, infections have been growing and the capacity of the system to treat them is dwindling. One might want to argue that since the cases in Africa is a little less than 3 million cases, it shouldn’t be blown out of proportion more than it is, but with the developing state of the countries on the continent, it is only logical for one to believe that the figures published do not paint the total picture.   And if this was just a yarn on the logical thread, then it certainly has become even more concrete as it has been corroborated by the WHO Facts and figures. Over the last few weeks, countries such as Egypt and South Africa have recorded a high increase in the number of cases as they account for the few countries in Africa that were initially affected by the new covid-19 variant. Between them, they have had over a million cases and such figures are more than alarming. With all the facts and figures thrown our way, it further buttresses the fact that if covid is to end, then there has to be a vaccine. As other pandemics in history, vaccines and modes of treatment have come into place that has either eradicated them or stemmed them out considerably; keyword- Considerably. Early research by doctors from all over the world has brought about the Pfizer vaccine but then it seems to have its pros and cons which seemingly the African continent is finding hard to grapple with. Firstly in terms of its cost… According to the south African government, they labeled the cost of Pfizer’s vaccines as prohibitive. Pfizer in a subsequent statement has communicated their resolve to supplying vaccines and making them affordable in conjunction with governments from across the continent of Africa. “We have allocated doses for supply to low- and lower-middle-income countries at a not-for-profit price and we are actively working with governments all around the world,” the emailed statement said. Since there was so much excitement when it was announced last year by Pfizer,  that after their interim analysis had been carried out, it shows that the vaccine candidate is 90% effective in protecting people from Covid-19, I guess that excitement has been stemmed down when they realized the constraints that come with the importation and other modalities that come with it. This then brings us down to the sacrosanct topic of developing a homegrown solution, one that will be proven and tested to ensure that covid is a thing of the past sooner rather than later but how willing are our government to invest in research and then, production of the vaccines here in Nigeria and the continent of ca. Though over 24 million covid-19 vaccines have been administered over the world, Africans are always skeptical as to how they will fare when administered and that notion was further strengthened last year when two French doctors namely Jean-Paul Mira and Camille Locht made racial remarks about Africa being somewhat of a testing ground for vaccines In his exact words, Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at Cochin hospital in Paris, said: “If I can be provocative, shouldn’t we be doing this study in Africa, where there are no masks, no treatments, no resuscitation?” “A bit like as it is done elsewhere for some studies on Aids. In prostitutes, we try things because we know that they are highly exposed and that they do not protect themselves.” Dr. Mira had earlier questioned whether the study would work as planned on healthcare workers in Europe and Australia because they had access to personal protective equipment to prevent them from catching the virus. Even though these remarks were swiftly met with apologies all in the act of saving face, it doesn’t help to dispel the strong notion that most Africans have that vaccines brought here could do more harm than good. After all, there was a significant jolt of excitement when capsules containing extracts of a local Malagasy plant artemisia with proven anti-malarial properties and other indigenous herbs such as ravintsara inspired by a national herbal infusionnn  was believed to be effective in curing and treating coronavirus infections during the first Covid-19 pandemic. Although the initial wave of expectancy has dwindled out due to some improper handling of the vaccine by the Malagasy government, it still stands as a ray of hope that indeed homegrown solutions can offer a way out of the pandemic. After all is said and done, we would agree with the cliche that says that a bird at hand is worth two in the bush. With cases skyrocketing, one luxury we don’t have is time as with every second, Lives are at risk. A homegrown solution will be a stitch that will save even more than nine… Amoye Favour is A Poet and also a copywriter. He is A Student of Obafemi Awolowo University. His poetry has been published in literary magazines including Literatus issue amongst many others. He wrote in via amoyefavourtoluwalase@gmail.com

Essays, Writers

A Conscious Commitment To The Important by Matthew Oduola.

It was such a momentous New Year’s Eve. We were all anticipating for the year to bring into reality those numerous good things we have already drafted. Unfortunately, It got us unexpected in another dimension. I was not at first moved when the news got to me on 30th day of January 2020 on the outbreak of a severe acute respiratory syndrome in the city of Wuhan, China. The disease called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by a virus SARS-CoV-2 was reported to have recorded its first human cases in December 2019. It was not a joke again when I heard the news of how dreadful the infection was and that it had spread to some leading countries of the world, not alone, but also killed so many lives. Well, I knew already it would not stop helping to come to my country Nigeria because I could boast of the negligence of my government. And so it did, the first case was recorded on the 27th of February 2020. The case, an Italian man who returned from Italy to Lagos thereby brought COVID-19 along. Behold, the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic began. The infection caused many companies and institutions to be closed down or practised limitations. All schools were closed down from kindergarten level to tertiary institutions. Our well-drafted plans were interrupted. We would not have expected this. But we are in it already. We can not turn back the hands of time. We were almost adapting to the new way of life — no social gathering, wearing nose masks in public places, the use of hand sanitisers and the frequent washing of hands. Yet, those could not stop the second wave from approaching. You know, in any society, the law is an illusory concept that works only when everyone voluntarily agrees to live by it. And if you can find something everyone agrees on, maybe it does not exist. It is quite understandable that humans are very tough when it comes to obeying rules especially those that will restrict them from doing what they love to do. I remember when I visited a public market around June last year, I was baffled with how people were moving headlong with almost no distancing amongst us even with few wearing their nose masks despite the news of the increasing number of people the virus has killed in some countries. Although it did not do as much here. But as humans, we prefer to rather make it worse and profer cure than preventing it. There was a day I heard the news of a Pastor in the United States who disbelieved in observing the control measures against COVID-19 died of it. Well, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic would not mind invading us. Due to a long time restrictions caused by the infection, communities began to reopen bars, restaurants and stores during the spring and summer season of 2020 to progressively go back to the normal way of life. People were eager to go out and resume their regular activities. But it did us no good as many people failed to follow the safety precautions thereby leading to an increase in the number of cases. As at October 2020, the number of cases in the world was slightly above 490,000 but now, as at yesterday 11th of January 2021 over 9.7 million cases have been recorded with 50.2 million people recovered and 1.94 million deaths. That is a huge increase to say. At this time we need to learn and understand that our lives are paramount assets and need to be kept by adapting to the stated way of life so that we may not experience again a third wave. Nothing is more important than life. You realise the simplicity of that point only when you confront death every day. If those who died of the virus by violating the precautions were given a second chance, maybe they might choose to fight for what matters more. Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant. If you may ask me if there is a better cure for the virus, I would say yes. The better solution that we can all partake in its provision is to follow precautions and adhere to instructions. I call it a homegrown solution. If we had long time followed this, we might not need to divert more funds on vaccines to cure it. While many vaccines have been issued to cure the virus, if we still fail to practise social distancing, wearing of masks, frequent washing of hands and non-involvement in crowded places, the virus may not be totally erased. Think about it, an infected man is given a vaccine and is cured, then he remembers that his birthday is in two weeks time. So, he makes preparations for his birthday party. On the day, an infected person who is his friend and yet to show symptoms attends, he would probably infect some of the people who attend the party with the virus when they make connections. Then they might need to receive vaccines to be cured. And if they still fail to stop involvement in public gatherings they may be infected again. So, there is a continuation. The virus would persist. At this point, we should realise that if we truly hunger for the total eradication of the virus, we should be consciously committed to the application of this homegrown solution. Matthew Oduola a student of Industrial Mathematics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure wrote in from matthewoduola@gmail.com

Essays, Writers

As True As Our Very Existence by Johnson Onyedikachi.

It was a fine Sunday and I thought I should spend the night at my friend’s house. Philip and I have been best friends for ages, so it was only natural that we took turns at sleepovers in each other’s house. I got to his house around eight at night and he was preparing to leave for church. I was bemused and when I asked why, he told me there was a midnight service and it was going to be probably the most superb night service they would be having since the inception of the church. “So, you people are going to probably break the COVID-19 protocols,” I pointed out, staring askance at Philip in an effort to rid of his folly. “Shut up joor. There is power in the blood of Jesus. And by the way, we will be having a sealing service in church. Once my pastor pours the anointing oil upon my head, just forget it. Corona cannot affect me again,” Philip quipped and left afterwards. On the 5th of January, 2020, popular Nigerian Comedian took to his official Instagram page to share his dreadful COVID-19 experience, urging Nigerians to observe all regulations that have been imposed to control the spread of the virus¹. I was scrolling through the comments and reactions to that post, and I came upon one particularly familiar commenter. It was Philip, my friend. He lambasted the comedian for being keen on spreading falsehood and inciting fear among the Nigerian populace. Philip said that COVID-19 in Nigeria was merely a conspiracy by the Federal Government and politicians to keep people in their grip and about their bidding. To my rudest surprise, Philip’s comment had somewhat 430 likes, and that proved that 430 Nigerians agree with Philip. It became clear that there are so many Philips in the country who would contract COVID-19 because of seemingly baseless religious and political views. The most suitable adjective for my friend, Philip, is ignorant. And while it could be said that ignorance could be Philip’s very end, I equally believe that his ignorance would be the doom of so many others around him. According to a report from United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the 12th May, 2020, 61 choristers had met for their practice in a church in Mount Vernon, Washington DC². It so happened that one of the choristers was suffering from what appeared to be a cold, but was in fact COVID-19. And after the practice, everything seemed normal. In the following weeks, 53 of the choristers that were present at the practice got down with the dreaded virus, three were hospitalized, and two died from the virus. Hence, a single carrier of this dreaded virus can affect as many persons as (s)he comes in contact with. Now, if there are 430 persons in Nigeria who, just like Philip, my friend, have reasons to believe that all sorts of anointing oils and special prayers mean that they are protected from the virus and can go ahead delving into all sorts of places, meeting all sorts of people, without the tiniest regard for the protocols stipulated by the Federal Government and/or believe that COVID-19 cases in Nigeria are merely a scam pulled by the Federal Government for the ridiculous reasons of trying to control the Nigerian populace, then, there are no arguments why Nigeria will not suffer a second and even a third wave of the dreaded virus. It was on the 17th of December, 2020, that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, chaired by Boss Mustapha, stepped out to announce that Nigeria has gone into a second wave of the dreaded virus³. And that announcement was preceded by tons and tons of predictions by several thorough and keen medical professionals in Nigeria and the diaspora concerning the trend of the positive cases in the country. They had been studying it all along and were only giving Nigerians what seemed like prophecies. If only we had stuck to very rather simple tasks, Nigeria would probably not be facing a second wave. Data obtained from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that Nigeria’s rate of positive COVID-19 cases skyrocketed from 4.2% to 21.3% between December, 2020 – January, 2021⁴. This implies that one person in every group of five will test positive for the dreaded virus. Sounds hugely untrue, but it is this doubt about the figures available to us that has evoked another wave. Sometime in December, Arise TV news had an interview with Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of Trinity House Church based in Lagos. The clergyman had made an open appeal to the Federal Government to close down churches and mosques as the COVID-19 positive cases were on the rise5. In his opinion, he thought that devotion to God wouldn’t be any less than it is if Christians and Muslims were ushered back into their houses until things died out. People like Philip, my friend, saw the clergy’s proposition as being one aimed at discouraging piety in the country, and there were no sorts of words that were not flung at the pastor. In a statement issued by the Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Emmanuel Amodu, it was reported that no less than twenty doctors had lost their lives to COVID-196. While I believe in the power of prayer and the role prayers have played in making COVID-19 cases relatively low in this part of the world, that is no excuse for fanaticism. That is nearly the most suitable word that comes to mind when I think of Philip being asked to get back into his house to avoid the spread of a killer virus and he would get out his Holy Book and begin to chant prayers and march into busy markets. In my proposition, I do not see the need of making suggestions of more solutions than have already been suggested in the past. There could be a height of truth in suggesting that the Federal

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