A social media posting is more appropriate: “the corona virus is carefully picking its targets one by one in Nigeria. It’s like it is fighting corruption more than EFCC”. It is judgement day for the crop of rulers running the country, who denied tomorrow; who as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti put it, have sown, “sorrows, tears and blood” — “their regular trademark”.
The Lord has spoken. The fire is lit on the mountain and everyone is on the run. Those who bestrode the world yesterday like colossi are themselves seeking hiding places. Peter Tosh, one of the prophets of the Rastafarian sect, warned us in his “Downpressor Man” that there is nowhere to run on judgement day. If they run to the sea, the sea will be boiling; if they run to the rock, the rock will be melting. No hiding places for our oppressors. The rulers in our country, as Claude Ake once argued, have no development on the agenda. To them, governance is equal to looting of the commonwealth. Their egos, conceit and hubris have all been hobbled by the invisible debris known to science as ‘virus’ and famed by its atrocious conquest of humans as coronavirus disease discovered in 2019 (COVID-19).
The debris, which ails the world is somewhat of the famous origin of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) – from apes to man. The new coronavirus is a strain of the the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS COV-2), and according to experts, it jumped from animals to affect humans. The virus has the capacity to bifurcate its DNA into two RNAs and is therefore able to multiply by destroying human cells. As an envelope virus, it is able to hedge off human antibodies. Although no cure has been found for its infection, there are ongoing clinical trials of cocktails of drugs towards this end. The head of the Russian Federal Medical Biomedical Agency, Veronika Skvortsova announced the wonders of Mefloquine in treating COVID-19. Combined with antibiotics, it produces a maximum effect, allowing an increase in the concentration of antiviral agents in blood plasma and lungs. For the French, the remedy is Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin. Globally, the virus has affected circa 669,312 people and the mortality rate is put at 30,864. Unless toppled by human inventions and innovations, the number will soar. A vaccine takes months or a year at least to produce and given the multiple strains of the virus in existence, the only remedy lies in social distancing, continual testing and the unhindered supply of respirators. In our country, the present tally of the infection is 174 and we are still counting; with less than five testing centres, the future looks ill.
Earth men in their bid to unravel, in other words, to understand the dialectics of the virus, have resurrected the philosophical debate of idealism versus materialism. Idealism is the belief in the apriori existence of things, irrespective of their objective manifestation, while materialism espouses the primacy of nature, i.e., “objective reality given to us in sensation”. There is the interesting astrological interpretation of the pestilence by 14-year old Abighya Anand, who asserts that Mars will conjunct with Saturn and Jupiter (three powerful planets on the outer ring of the solar system and whose alignment bears on earth), while the Moon and Rahu (northern node) will also conjunct. The Moon is the “planet of watery spreading”, while Rahu is the “communicator planet”. The conjunction will lead to watery spreading, with a corresponding increase in coughing and sneezing. March 31 is the deal-day for the climax of the COVID-19. Thereafter, this planetary alignment will shift and become more favourable to cure.
Nigeria is part of the global party of sinners. Its sins are multitude. As observed elsewhere, the rulers have so devalued life that dead bodies are begging to be picked from the streets for burial… They loot public funds and invest these in the United Arab Emirate; they purchase golf courses in England and Island…
In a related analogy, Dr. Thomas Cowan in his, Virus et Electrification de la terre, argues that the cause of the virus is as a result of the quantum leap in the electrification of the earth, since humans are electrical beings, and chemicals are only the by-products of the electric impulses. This is plausible, with the earth clogged with radiation emitting satellites and electro-magnetic radio waves. However, some argue that these fall within the sphere of conspiracy theory. There is geopolitics to understanding what has hit the world. It is alleged that biological warfare is going on between the United States and China. In an article titled, “Promoting the National Interest”, Foreign Affairs of January 1, 2000, Condoleezza Rice stressed the need for the U.S. to ensure that China never rises to the super status and every step must be taken to bring China down. One narrative that sounds convincing is that the U.S. used the Wuhan military games to deliver the virus into China and the Chinese intelligence, uncovering what had happened, re-engineered the virus and delivered it to the U.S. and its allies in Europe. This has the trappings of conspiracy theory, as well as objectivity. There is yet the loud dominant idealistic voice that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, we should ask God for forgiveness. The way a small virus has driven every one into the inner recesses of their bedrooms should convince us that we are mere mortals watched over by a transcendental being, Osanobua; in another word, God. An unrelenting materialist perspective would argue that those things we call spirits are actually forms of existence of matter. The dialectical essence of things in nature is such that we reap what we sow and earth men are merely reaping the consequences of what they have sown by their unconscionable assault on nature.
Nigeria is part of the global party of sinners. Its sins are multitude. As observed elsewhere, the rulers have so devalued life that dead bodies are begging to be picked from the streets for burial. We kill human beings in rituals for money; we manufacture fake drugs for money; we kidnap for ransom. We sleep with people’s wives for fun. Those saddled with the running of the affairs of the state take the country as their colony. They loot public funds and invest these in the United Arab Emirate; they purchase golf courses in England and Island. British supermarkets have learnt, in some cases, to hire speakers of Nigerian languages to pander to the tastes of the looters of our national resources. They frolic in adultery. Twenty-two years after, the money one of them stole is still being recovered from foreign vaults. In its current complexion, this class minds the genocidal exploits of herdsmen who, between 2016 and 2018 alone, killed about 3600 innocent Nigerians. The killers are even being rewarded with payoffs.
Dr. Philip Idaewor who was working in the U.K. about the time I was a doctoral student at the University of London told me that the medical equipment in Nigeria at the turn of the century was exactly what the British transited from in the 1970s. Indeed, no one cares about tomorrow.
Also in league with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, Boko Haram is ravaging elements of the Nigerian Army in a war some have called the time of the ATM machine. For this set of rulers, self-interest takes precedence over public good. They do not care about the education of the people, neither do they care about the health sector or hospitals they once qualified as mere “consulting clinics”, which have now become full blown mortuaries. An octogenarian and past leader of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Edmundson Thompson Akpabio said recently, “The NMA under my leadership did everything possible to persuade the government to see the need to give a little more attention to improve the grossly inadequate Health Care System in Nigeria. All our pleas fell on deaf ears. In the argument that followed, NMA was proscribed, the entire leadership of the NMA, including yours truly, was hunted down even in the streets like rabbits, including our younger-than-teenage children, arrested and clamped into solitary detention under inhuman conditions with occasional torture for six months.”
Dr. Philip Idaewor who was working in the U.K. about the time I was a doctoral student at the University of London told me that the medical equipment in Nigeria at the turn of the century was exactly what the British transited from in the 1970s. Indeed, no one cares about tomorrow. If you quantify our sins as humans one would actually exclaim that God has been so merciful that He waited this long to exact His pound of flesh. Just a few days ago, the Nigeria Academy of Science (NAS) called for a national lockdown since “the disease has invaded the highest level of our government and is threatening our national security.” A social media posting is more appropriate: “the corona virus is carefully picking its targets one by one in Nigeria. It’s like it is fighting corruption more than EFCC”. It is judgement day for the crop of rulers running the country, who denied tomorrow; who as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti put it, have sown, “sorrows, tears and blood” — “their regular trademark”.
Sylvester Odion Akhaine is a professor of Political Science at the Lagos State University.