It is a good thing that we have Nigerian leaders who see the need to survive during this pandemic the world is faced with and have come up with a means of palliative or the other. Here in the west, Lagos was the first state to announce her intention to give food items as a relief package to 200,000 families followed by Ogun state with the intention to reach 500,000 households. Good enough, but till this moment, all I see on social media is not what was portrayed by news on traditional media. I was not as disappointed in Lagos as much as I am in Ogun state, these two States are from the west, also referred to as the Yorubaland in Nigeria, yet Ogun fell at the same spot Lagos fell, and our people say “esin iwaju ni teyin nwo are”; the horse behind looks up to the one in front to run (maybe not absolutely correct, but the point is, why did Ogun not change sharing strategy knowing fully well that the strategy didn’t work in Lagos and will definitely not work in Ogun State.
The failure of this good intention is not far fetched, it all boils down on the strategy employed in the palliative sharing process. Although, the strategy seems to be the correct step to be taken, we don’t have to be told that at times, things should be done in a new way to achieve the intended result. All this has left me wondering, are two heads no longer better than one?, why is it only two things that go round in Nigeria; Utility bill and election polls?, why are there so many people in government when they cannot map out new and easy ways to reach the grassroots?, etc.
This is what I think they should have done; thank God there is a lockdown, it would have been easy to get relief packages delivered to people’s doorstep. All that was needed was a few volunteers or even corp members, of course, they must have been trained on safety measures. This would have at least made it crystal clear to the world that “although we couldn’t go round but we reached a reasonable end”, rather than leave good intentions in the hand of saboteurs who give a pack to an entire community to share. This will have been better than hand over relief packages to chairmen, who in turn hands it over to political party executives who will give it to political party loyalists as if they are the only one the society is made of and for.
We definitely do not pray for a repeat of this time and season, but it will be the joy of a society to know fully well that they have leaders that can think out of the box, this right here is a clear exposition of our leaders’ level of thinking. Next time, it won’t be a bad idea to get volunteers who can strategize and map out means to an end.
Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, states, and societies, it’s the norm.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
However, it is amazing how people easily point fingers and cast stones forgetting that ye who must come to equity must come with clean hands.
In the last few days, I have read quite a lot of criticism on social media, calling what I read critic is even nothing other than sugar quoting of bitter pills. I have watched both the rich and poor call out the government like they are the cause of the whole predicament in the first place. This has left me wondering, which did we lose, moral training or religious training?. It’s no longer news that our government have failed us beyond reasonable doubts, structures have falling so badly the middle would not hold again, it amuses me that despite the writing on the wall, an average Nigerian still looks onto government for what it can offer, instead of what can I offer myself, my family and my immediate environment.
One moral I am certain 90% of Nigerian families teach is the act of saving. I remembered how my mum had inculcated the act and art of saving in me while growing up, that gave me a sense of security when I heard of the lockdown, definitely I won’t be stranded. This has left me wondering, is it so bad in Nigeria that 40% of the population doesn’t have a form of saving or the other to fall back on in this trying time, (don’t stone me yet, I am still driving at a point).
On the other hand, I know virtually the three major religions in Nigeria teach the act and art of giving and the blessings that come with it, then is it too much for an average Nigerian to think of reaching out to at least a family that you know in all ramifications you are better off.
It saddens my heart when arguments about when, how and how much the government palliative will be wakes me up from my siesta, that is what people in my community now gather to do. Talk and talk of how the government has failed us, as if I have not read enough about this same issue on social media. At a point, I was forced to face a woman in my neighborhood during one of those passionate talks and ask her, “please MA, since you have been at home, expecting this relief package, have your family begged to eat?, she did answer with a “ NO”, I went further to ask, knowing she is comfortable, “if they bring the pack, can you out of your Christian mind tell them you are okay, they should look out for a poor family to give it to?” Of course, she took the hint and answered ‘why not”.
It even saddens my heart more to read about youths who go on twitter to beg celebrities to do giveaway, some of the celebrity will do the give away o, only to be insulted that what they gave is too small, I am forced to conclude that this whole thing is showing us our true colour in Nigeria.
While I sincerely appreciate the thoughtfulness of all that donated in one way or the other towards the fight against Covid-19, I think and know that enough is enough of criticizing and problem scouting, it’s time to draw and act on a solution, that solution is in your answer to the big question, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO OFFER?.
© Olamide Onabanjo