On COVID-19 and the Nigerian factor by Oluwaphemie Adubi

Lagos State coronavirus isolation centre covid-19
Lagos is the epicenter of the virus in Nigeria

By Oluwaphemie Adubi

Anytime we look at the Nigerian terrain you find that some factors often determine to a large extent how we react to issues, situations or circumstances. I would like to add that regardless of the prevailing circumstance our reactions are often the same most times. The following are often the usual reaction or rather the progression we often choose to display;

Disbelief attributed by a seemingly neurotic reaction to new trends or event (“is a lie”)
A total lack of tact to react fast to issues as at when they arise (“Nothing dey happen”)
Disconnect from reality often shown by our awareness to the happenings around us (“e no concern me as e never happen to me”).

Inability to catch up and act with foresight to stop the impending doom (“Naija Way/Fire brigade approach”) God will help us mentality while doing nothing (“God dey”).

Deal of the day

Whenever all these mentioned above is in play you know that the Nigerian dream is alive and kicking after all that is how the society has always been run. In this era of COVID-19 we cannot but be appalled by how we have all handled the situation. Yes I mean all of us including me writing this we have not handled it well.

This write up is meant for the Nigerian mass you and I and anyone that cares not necessarily for those in power because after all they have always been this way. So for me there is nothing new about their actions only small variations here and there and of cause WE ARE OUR OWN GREATEST PROBLEM sad as that may sound.

COVID-19 entered the scene around December 2019 as we all know in far away Hubei Province in China, this then set the tone for how 2020 would be like as at the time of this write up more than 2.99 million cases and at least 270,000 deaths worldwide this is most likely to increase as the pandemic is on the increase.

My take on this is that had it not entered Nigeria eventually in February and started spreading like wild fire we all were not concerned that it happened in China as at December. Except for those who have relatives or love ones there “e no concern me” would have been in order.

What this portends is that as a Nation we do not have any mechanism to trigger awareness amongst the ordinary citizens. Simply put we the people do not read at all and even if we do we simply do not care to act on what we have read. For now everywhere is agog with news that the Government is planning for the citizens but truth be told how will that pan out? We have also witnessed how palliative measures have been attempted to be distributed among the populace some will never be gotten others will be seen once this pandemic is over (“Naija Way”).

The other day I came across a video via social media showing a particular place within the country where a group of people where chanting there is no corona; the question now is this how is it going? How is it coming together there is there still no corona?(“is a lie”). Now we know how enlightened we are as a people and as a nation. A lady was telling her friends that there is no corona virus whatsoever and that it is all a ruse from the Government, hmmm… are we sure we are in this world at all? Let me say this if at this juncture we still have those who doubt whether deliberately or out of ignorance then there is something fundamentally wrong with us as a PEOPLE.


I kid you not we could have avoided this not because I know how to do it better than those who are there but because we all saw how countries who are well structured struggled to cope when it broke out in their own clime but we simply adopted the “Naija Way” or the “Nothing dey happen” style and allow it come in full kungfu style that is why we are in this situation. Now the Nigerian factor has come in to aid and abet the imminent doom looming on the horizon or should I say the things that will surely happen. There is no greater shame than for us operating a mono economy now that too has almost gone down the drain. A colleague mentioned that we will bounce back once Corona virus disappears well NEWS FLASH!!! COVID-19 IS NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!!

It will only go to the background, it is the new aids and we all have to take heed. The fall in oil price world wide should be a reality check for us if we have been toying with diversification before now, this is the time for us to divest with full vigor. I expect us the citizens to be at the fore front championing this full throttle. Because if you are waiting for the government they will “fall hand” best believe they have issues to deal with the likes of which are inexhaustible if itemized.

To sum it all up the recent ease on lockdown in some states should be viewed as a move to save us from NATIONAL DISASTER everyone should be careful this is not the time to form “Nothing dey happen” cause life as we know it will never be the same again the issues that this pandemic has raised are broad.

In context the following can be deduced; Our health care system cannot attend to the needs of the citizens; we need a total overhaul from personnel to equipment to infrastructure something must give.

Our overdependence on oil has to stop because we do not have total monopoly over it we are at the mercy of major player countries; we need to revamp our refineries we cannot continue with the current system.

Our social security is nonexistent; it is high time we develop a data base of our entire population and it should be politicized this is not about one part of the Nation having dominion over another part it is about human lives enough with the “gerrymandering”.

We need to mature in our politics it should be about personalities over party, it should be about ideology over pettiness. Whatever this thing we are practicing is called should be put on hold. It is not working rather it looks like a Nollywood movie titled “my level of incompetence is higher than yours”.

The list is endless but the above stated are more glaring like electricity being taken always in my country it keeps staring us in the face. Until when next we meet it is much ado about nothing in the Nigerian space after all the “Nigerian dream” is alive and kicking.

Adubi is a banker and political commentator. He can be reached via Twitter @phemylapel