The world is currently at war, but not with terrorists, drug cartels or militia. This is an unconventional war that defies the doctrine of Sun Tzu. It doesn’t need Alpha Jets, F-7, Drones or Helicopter gunships because the enemy is invisible yet its catastrophe is felt globally. The enemy has no political or religious ideology neither does it has racial or social class predilection. It kills the white, blacks, rich, poor, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and even those without religion. It mounts thread to globalization and economic liberalism.
The enemy belongs to a strand of tiny invisible creatures called Coronavirus that causes Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19). This strand has never been identified before now therefore its diagnostic kids are not readily available. The enemy had succeeded in creating global confusion which had never been witnessed since World War II. It makes mighty nations calling for help and weak countries wallowing in distress. Iran acknowledges help from America, Cuban doctors helping Italy and Saudi Arabia closed the Holy Mosques.
In wild goose chase of the invisible masquerade, international airports, schools, markets and places of worship are closed and peoples quarantined. Covid-19 had challenged the popular cliché “those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder”. Family members, couples and parents are forced to implement social distancing. COVID-19 challenges our existence as humans. As of 22nd January, there were 17 deaths however by 22nd February the death had exponentially increased to 2460. The number had further multiplied in geometric progression to 14,600 as of today.
We were initially sympathizing with Chinese people over their presupposed predicament and even hailed them for miraculously erecting hospitals in no time to treat the victim of the disease. Later we started sending prayers to Europeans and Americans as the disease reached their enclave. As Africans are consoling themselves by conjuring hypothesis that our melanin content confers immunity to the virus and that the temperature in our zone is unbearable to the virus, the shrewd COVID-19 had sneaked into 43 countries in Africa.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation with a population of over 200 million. So far, we have 22 confirmed cases of the disease as of 21st March 2020. The country is in a state of pandemonium at the moment. COVID -19 is an enemy that not only destroys its victims but also consumes the victims’ economic fortune. Could you imagine the economic loss being incurred by the airlines, airport taxis, shop owners, banks and the hawkers in and around the closed airports? Price of commodities sooner or later will start to soar as we approach the lock down.
We don’t know much about the virus, but when it attacks its victim, the affected person experiences dry cough, sneezing, fever and later difficulty in breathing sets in. Respiratory distress is the commonest cause of death in patients infected. There is no COVID-related death in Nigeria yet, but it does happen elsewhere. When confronted with an enemy that attacks you without seeing him and moves with a speed of light, the best thing any sensible person would do is what Military called tactical withdrawal. We need to stay off the street, avoid the crowd and wash our hands regularly in case the virus wants to deceive us with friendly hand-shake. One can’t afford to be callous because he or she has money. This is a disease that can’t be treated abroad so prevention is always better.
John Maxwell, the author of several books on leadership, wrote in one of his books that in order to succeed we need to make a choice between “paying now to play later or play now to pay later”. Either way, we have to pay. In the context of the current war with the invisible foe, if we want to go back to our routine soonest, we need to pay the price by bearing the economic hardship and the inconvenience of the current measures adopted by both state and federal government in order to curtail further spread of the virus so that at the end of the day we celebrate the defeat of the invisible enemy. We can’t afford to play ostrich and maintain the status quo for certain we will be forced to pay for that.
Abdullahi Sadiq Mohammed wrote in from Kaduna