Covid-19 is the global pandemic is killing the entire nation and the future is looking blur to finding its cure. Research is ongoing and several countries of the world such as Cuba, the United States of America, Germany, and China. As of today, these nations have come up with different solutions to cure this pandemic that is taken the world power away from the West and shifting it to Asia.
In Africa, several countries have been hit by the virus and Nigeria is not an exception in the pandemic crises. Nigeria’s challenge began with an Italian businessman who came back from his home country and brought the virus into the country.
According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O), Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
Coronavirus is a disease from Asia that spread into the west and traveled down to Africa. It is not airborne and this is the only reason why the whole continent has not been infected. Though it is an airborne disease, it is transmitted through a human via droplet from an infected person to an uninfected person.
Border closure, Stay-at-home order and lockdown have been adopted by the States and Federal Government of Nigeria to contain the pandemic spread. Although there had been a series of calls from the citizens and stakeholders seeking lockdown from January 2020 which later take effect towards the tail end of March 2020 after the country has recorded her index case.
It is no gainsaying that countries are supporting her citizens as a result of the pandemic. Nigeria is not an exception as relief materials are been given to the most vulnerable in society. This is done in good faith but it has caused more harm than good. Millions spent by the government across the board are not visible because some handlers compromised the distribution channel.
The Executive Governor of Lagos State; Mr. Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu catered for 200,000 households in the state. In Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA) still in Lagos State, Hon. Hammed Idowu D. Tijani gave out stimulus packages to over 5000 households to complement the efforts of the state government while the councilors in the LCDA also dole out relief materials to constituent members in their wards too.
Another bigger giver in Ifako-Ijaiye / Ojokoro in Lagos Hon. Benjamin Adeyemi Olabinjo (BAO) gave out garri and rice without branding it unlike other givers. BAO, a former council chairman, and former Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor dole out over 1200 paint buckets of garri and 2800 derrica of rice to the vulnerable households in the local government.
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In Ogun State, the first batch of Governor Dapo Abiodun’s dole out catered for 100,000 households as relief food items go to people in the state. Truth be told, all these cannot go round the people because the population is more than 10million people for Lagos alone because of the influx of the people into the African trade center. How much more Ogun State.
Some portion of the 200,000 relief package for the vulnerable according to feelers did not get to them. Some of the very few vulnerable that eventually get hold of the relief items never gets the full package.
For the handlers in Lagos, it is quite understandable that the portion gotten by some CDAs is less than 10packs and you want to do it right. Doing it right is not sharing a pack for 5 to 6 people, “NO”. What you are to do is to get the most vulnerable and give to them while the less vulnerable are at the mercy of fate pending the time another dole outcomes.
WHY THE STIMULUS DOLE-OUT FAILED
Some States, Local Government Area (LGA) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) who gave out stimulus packages to the constituents has recorded several setbacks on the implementation of the dole out and the reason is not far fetched.
Why the state recorded setbacks is inadequate or no orientation to the handlers at the local level and the grassroots. LGA and or LCDA in Lagos, the Community Development Association (CDA) is the distribution channel and because everyone is a political animal, the CDA is further strata to Ward Levels.
At the Ward Levels, there are several Community Development Committees (CDC) Executives who receive these items and share to the lowest of the low. However, not all the lowest of the low get these things because some of the executives of these CDAs and CDCs see these relief packages as their potion of national cake meanwhile it is not for them alone.
I do not believe that the executives of these groups are not entitled to the stimulus package. It should only go to the most vulnerable among them.
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This is where the people created more problems for fellow humans even at the place of the coronavirus pandemic. In some LGAs and LCDAs, the Executive Chairman of the council entrusted the distribution into the hands of the councilors and CDA to ensure it gets to the people. Remember, these councilors are the closest to the people.
What is observed is that some of these councilors use these relief packages to curry favor from their political leaders, political caucus, associations and groups in their locality. This is possible because many do not even know the councilor representing them. If they have known him/her, they will be able to question them and ask questions.
This is why many citizens may not constantly get government interventions because people do not know the right channel to get their goodies and interventions in times like this.
On the part of Lagosians and Nigerians, they refuse to attend CDA meeting or other meetings that boils down on the community and or development. They say it is the landlord affairs and that is why residents never benefit anything since they are far from the seat of power. Everybody needs to get involved. This is not the time to say election year will soon come. It is time to get things done in the right way.
All hands must be on deck for progress to come our way. The relief materials from the government which is being distributed through the CDCs and CDAs are shared among the executives of these associations in some cases but not all. Where the stimulus packages go down the drain, the people are mechanical to this because they are never interested in things that have to do with them. The COVID19 stay at home holiday has shown the true picture of the people.
This is the time to show some love to ourselves and the people around us. Not a time to play the blame game but a time to tell ourselves that blank truth and nothing but the truth.
The Community Development Association meeting is meant for residents in the community and not the Landlord Association meeting. This will enable everybody to know and benefit from what is happening in their vicinity. Any landlord who feels a tenant should not be part of development meetings is only doing himself a disservice. Whenever such tenants relocate, they will never go with any development they have contributed to putting in place for the community or on the street.
On the part of the government, she has made provisions for the people in this trying time. It is evident that the provision made is not going to be sufficient for the vulnerable. Truth be told, many who are never in the category of vulnerable has switched to the vulnerable flank of the society. This is a result of the stay-at-home or the federal and state government.
On a final note, this is the time to serve ourselves. Everybody needs to come out now and support the masses. The government can not do it all alone; thus many wells to do Nigerians need to support the people in their little way. Four Derrica of Rice or Garri will go along the way this time and most especially for people that are into daily paid jobs. They need support as this lockdown has turned the majority of them to vulnerable.
Government relief packages should only be for those who are truly in need and the vulnerable. The government should also know that many people who were not captured in the scheme as vulnerable should also be considered as the COVID-19 precautionary law has shifted the curve.