By Raymond Oise-Oghaede
There is no gainsaying the fact that the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is the current most pressing global problem that requires urgent solutions. Since its outbreak, the casualty figures have been on the upward trend and there seems to be no solutions in sight. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to fighting it headlong to curtailing and eventually eliminating its catastrophic consequences. Expectedly, a lot of postulations have been propounded as the root cause(s) and motives behind the pandemic. So, aside from the weeping, wailing, mourning, and gnashing of teeth that are trailing the virus; serious misgivings, misconceptions, and bewilderments are not left out. While some people have linked it to the emerging Fifth Generation Wireless (5G) Network in some countries; some have posited that it is a fall out of supremacy battle between certain super powers; many have also averred that it is an act of sabotage by one country or the other; while, some others are of the opinion that it is a natural act of god to punish the enormous sins in the world; to mention but a few. As a result of the foregoing, and in line with my style; I have decided to take a closer look at the situation and appraise it generally with a view to bringing out some factors that will be beneficial to all and sundry. Therefore, this review is not to join issues with the above postulations/allegations or any other whatsoever; but, to contribute my little quota to supporting efforts being put in place globally to tackling the scourge. Thus, I will try as much as possible to internationalize its context and adopt a simplistic approach devoid of technical jargons for better understanding.
The virus which allegedly emanated from Wuhan in China has been spreading unabatedly from one country to the others across the continents of the world. As at present, efforts to finding globally recognized vaccine(s) for its cure have not yielded the desired results. Medical personnel and care givers have been overstretched in their efforts to managing the situation and minimizing its effects; unfortunately, a lot of them have paid the supreme price (of losing their lives) while trying to save the lives of others. It is my solemn prayers that the Almighty God will in His infinite mercy heal those that are infected; grant the dead eternal rest; and give their loved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Though, some countries/states have adopted either `partial or total lockdown` to curtailing its spread; this has also led to devastating and unpleasant effects on the socio-economic lifestyles of the people. In more organized societies, measures have been put in place to cushion the effects; while some developing countries are also trying within their limits in this regard; albeit, with majority of their citizenry still subjected to hunger and pains. A lot of businesses have collapsed as a result of border closure, cancelled flights, and the resultant interstates and intrastate movements’ restrictions.
Consequent upon the above, it is not surprising that some countries and groups of persons are already seeking `damages` and `remedies` from China to mitigate for their enormous losses. To a larger extent, one could say that these expressions of grievances and demands for compensations are understandably justified; but, I am of the strong opinion that there is the need to exercise constraints and tread cautiously in order not to plunge the world into crises that would be difficult to manage. All possible avenues must be explored to determining if the root causes of the pandemic was `natural` or `man-made`; and, whether it was `deliberately` or `erroneously`, and `unintentionally` inflicted on the world. There have been conflicting reports from some `findings`; and, the importance of establishing open, transparent and globally acceptable results cannot be overemphasized. “Everybody must go to equity with clean hands”; thus, world leaders should work in conjunction with relevant organs of the UN to constitute an impartial team of scientists/researchers/investigators who must be given unrestricted access to information and place(s) necessary to assisting in unraveling the true cause(s) of the virus and intention(s) of the `inventors`. It is only then that the culpable person(s) or state(s) would be made to face the full wrath of the law. In as much as there are still leaders with unequivocal integrity and uprightness; everyone should be rest assured that the truth of the matter would be brought to the fore. However, in view of the fact that the pandemic is still raging ferociously; the primary focus at this stage should be to pull resources together to finding lasting solutions to save the world. The issue of `unmasking` the culprits (if any) and making them pay for their crimes against humanity would be dealt with at the appropriate time. So, as it is, all conspiracy theories should be viewed as `allegations` and `suspects` should be seen as innocent until proven otherwise.
Apropos to the aforementioned, it will not be out of place to draw inferences and learn some lessons from the imbroglio. One of such is the fact that the virus is non discriminatory because its effects are not confined to a particular place or against any tribe, race, belief or gender. This means that we are in a “global society” where the challenges of a country or continent can have a spillover effects on others if not handled decisively and appropriately. In this case, the problem affecting one should be seen as affecting others and be treated as such for the goodness of all. However, standard rules and best practices must be strictly adhered to when dealing with such `interference` in order not to constitute `unjustified and unlawful encroachments` on the territorial integrity of the affected state/country. The USA, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, and Spain (without prejudice to other countries) to mention but a few, have been doing a great job in this regard; especially, in the areas of sustaining democracy; upholding the rule of law; and, fighting terrorism.
Another important lesson is the obviousness of the fact that no race, religion, gender and geographical location are superior to the others. The pandemic has made us to realize that we are mere mortals. It means that there are certain things that can happen beyond immediate human comprehension. As a result, no level of civilization or technological advancement can take the place of God in the lives of men. We should all continue to look up to Him through our different modes and styles of worship because He is ONE AND ONLY; anything to the contrary is better left for Him to judge. Let us try as much as possible to keep our sentiments and biases away so that we can tolerate one another and gradually phase out religious crises from our world. The fact that the virus is not distinguishing between Africans, Asians, Americans and the Europeans is also a good reason for us to love one another as ourselves. Racial discrimination, bigotry and abuses should be discarded in all ramifications.
In the same vein, we should also learn that since the pandemic is affecting countries with enormous human and material resources as well as the less endowed ones; it is an indication that “we are in it together; and, we shall come out of it together if we work together”. Therefore, the richer and economically balanced countries should inculcate and or continue to extend supports to countries that need assistance.
The situation should also be seen as an `eye opener` to all countries of the world to invest and concentrate more on researches and inventions that will improve co-existence and prevent the outbreak of such pandemic in the nearest future; rather than on the proliferation of weapons of mass destructions which are capable of causing unmitigated disaster to humanity. All world leaders should lend their full supports to the relevant arms of the United Nations (UN) to give them the desired impetus for taking decisive actions against recalcitrant leaders or governments from indulging in acts of irresponsibility that are capable of spelling doom to human race. This will also ease the pressure on some leaders/governments who have taken up the functions of `policing the world` for the common good or betterment of all. This will also erase the misconceptions that have degenerated to mutual suspicion amongst some countries/leaders. No country should be seen as too big to be controlled when it comes to the issue proliferation of weapons of mass destructions. If we love one another and see ourselves as the same, there would not be need to continue to invent such weapons in anticipation of armed conflicts.
Also, the situation is an avenue for leaders across the world to do self appraisal of their capacities and capabilities to responding to `state of emergency`. This will afford governments to know areas requiring urgent attention and drastic changes to improve the discharge of functions towards ensuring that dividends of good governance are felt and enjoyed by all and sundry. Understandably and in most cases, the situation will create dilemmas that would require tactfulness and acumen to do the needful. For instance, in a situation where a country decides to adopt `partial` instead of `total lockdown` in order for businesses to continue for the fear of avoiding economic recession; that country may lose on both sides, if such decision boomerangs. Apart from unmitigated deaths, the economy will still be grounded when the unpleasant consequences and circumstances compel such government to adopting total lockdown eventually. So, there is need for every country to rely more on professional advices in taking appropriate decisions.
On a lighter note, the situation has made it crystal clear that emphasis should be placed on food production as much as possible. Cash, mineral resources and technological advancement cannot be transformed to edibles in the absence of food; they can only boost the production and or exchanged for food where it is available. Though, there is a general saying that “man cannot live by bread alone”; it should also be taken, that “man cannot live without bread (notwithstanding the availability of supplements) for sustenance”. Thus, investments in agriculture should be prioritized (for countries with comparative advantage) because it will lead to creation of more jobs; increase in food production & supply chain; and, upward revenue trend.
Most importantly, people across the world are hereby enjoined to show high level of perseverance and decorum in the face of the pains and inconveniences we are presently experiencing. We should endeavour to co-operate and join hands with our respective governments by adhering strictly to directives given in the fight against the pandemic. Let us embrace the fact that, no responsible government will watch people suffer and perish without putting efforts to averting/curtailing such unfortunate development. They are expected to take the best decisions for us; and, it is incumbent on us to also play our parts to compliment their efforts in tackling this monster. Let us practice all health and safety precautions including personal hygiene and social distancing. We should also abstain from things that could aggravate the situations. Virtual mode of learning and information dissemination should be encouraged and sustained in the absence of large gatherings during this period. Journalists, analysts, commentators, bloggers and other broadcasting practitioners and social media users are advised not to sensationalize the issue by the use of sentimentally biased reportage and posts for personal and selfish gains/interests. Let us use all available platforms to propagating and educating the people on the need to practice personal hygiene and other steps necessary to keeping safe during this period.
Finally, governments across the world should continually review the situations in their respective locations at regular intervals to guide them in taking prompt and best decisions for the benefits of all.
May the Almighty God crown all our efforts towards fighting the pandemic with resounding success.
Raymond Oise-Oghaede writes from Suru-Lere, Lagos. He can be reached via email@example.com
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