Saving the world, one discussion at a time. We are open to every narrative and believe every story is peculiar.

Category: Politics

Read political articles and stories happening in the country. Lulusarena offers opinions on political issues, trends, claims made by politicians, and partisans groups. This is not a political blog however, it is a source of understanding political happenings in the country. Expect objectivity and a bit of ranting here and there.

South Africa’s Ban on Tobacco Due to COVID-19 is Needless.

South Africa has entered a far too familiar terrain with its ban on tobacco. Unfortunately, this journey the government has embarked on is doomed. Placing a statewide prohibition on goods that are mutually exchanged often leaves sour marks on the economic, social, and health status of the people. With a product like tobacco, which still sells despite advertising its potential harm on every pack of cigarettes and tobacco, bans will only short the supply and make the commerce of the widely enjoyed substances go underground. The effects can only be told in the likeness of the Prohibition in America which ran unsuccessfully for 13 years.

South Africa’s tobacco ban

The motive for banning products has commonly been ethical. When done for economic reasons, often there are alternatives that may stem (sometimes unsuccessfully) the interest of people to deal in dark corners. The nature of the pandemic that caused the Cyril Ramaphosa administration to stop the distribution of tobacco is acknowledgedly respiratory. The World Health Organization (WHO) further affirms that, since COVID-19 tends to attack the lungs, smoking which weakens the lungs, is ill-advised. While the rationale behind the South African government’s rule is understandable, its sanction against tobacco wrestles itself against socioeconomic commonsense. 

South African armed forces are now also having to combine maintaining social distancing with hunting down illegal cigarette trade.

Along with the pandemic came a direct attack on the economies of many countries due to commercial activities being brought to a halt. South Africa’s economic strength had already been staggering for stability when the pandemic forced it to its knees. According to South African tax expert, Collen Lediga, the country has so far lost R1.5 billion (€79 million, $89 million) in tax revenues and employment losses. 

Getting law enforcement agencies to start cracking down on tobacco distribution will further strain the country’s purses, which could otherwise be employed in injecting more financial support for the nation’s economy or health needs. More critically, the government will pose itself between an item that is widely consumed and the general public. The result of this would simply be the smuggling of such items, underground sales networks, loss of jobs, and tons of money that could otherwise return to the government’s purse lining the pockets of organized crime members instead. 

South Africa

People who smoke cigarettes and find it an essential part of their daily consumption will find new ways to acquire these tobacco products and that might mean them jeopardizing their health especially in areas where interactions may not easily be documented. Before the pandemic, illicit trading of tobacco had gained 23 per cent of the tobacco market, costing South Africa more than R21 billion since 2010. An extended ban would easily move this market to 100 percent while growing the value of its market share. 

A CNN documentary revealed a now booming illegal trade of cigarettes. A smuggler interviewed by the global news network revealed that profits are now up as people would rather buy cigarettes illegally than stop smoking. The documentary also revealed that smokers were now paying four folds for cigarettes while the government gained nothing from this trade. South African armed forces are now also having to combine maintaining social distancing with hunting down illegal cigarette trade.

A study carried out by the University of Cape Town researchers Corne van Walbeek, Samantha Filby, and Kirsten van der Zee studied the cigarette sales ban. The study, titled ‘Lighting up the illicit market: Smokers’ responses to the cigarette sales ban in South Africa,’ is based on a survey among 16,000 respondents. The survey found that 90 percent of respondents had bought cigarettes during the lockdown. It also revealed a drop from 56 percent of 3 percent of respondents who purchase their tobacco products from formal retailers. While the survey tried to convince that cigarette revenue to the government was only 1 percent of the government’s revenue, it clearly showed that the major reason for the ban was failing to hold together since trade continued despite the ban. 

Instead of complete bans, the South African government may offer recommendations for engaging in the tobacco trade and use.

South Africa may take a cue from Nigeria’s handling of the pandemic. While Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases are still rising, the country has concentrated its resources on fighting the pandemic while also gradually staging the country for full commercial activities. Understanding that hunger, amidst other detrimental effects of poor economic status, can drive people to further violate guidelines to control the pandemic, the government of Nigeria took a mild approach to sanctions and even lockdowns.

After several weeks of completely shutting down activities, ease was introduced to get people to start going back to work and by June, most of the country’s commercial activities had resumed while some restrictions were placed on inter-city movement. All these were done without shutting down industries especially amidst a looming economic crisis. This approach was effective in reducing the panic about the pandemic while providing the sensitization needed to curb the spread of the virus.

The government had to come to terms with the situation and heavy sanctions, especially during a period where people battled with the psychological and physical damage that restrictions on activities caused, would only worsen the socioeconomic standings. 

Instead of complete bans, the South African government may offer recommendations for engaging in the tobacco trade and use. The Ramaphosa administration may also consider supporting activities that help people who are keen to wean off tobacco use, especially when presented with more health reasons to quit. 

 

Olumayowa Okediran is Managing Director at African Liberty and Member of the Council of the South African Institute of Race Relations. His recent book is Navigate: A Prospection of Nigeria’s Future to 2030.

END SARS, Our New NATIONAL ANTHEM.

 

The Oppressed must not, cannot be neutral in the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor. -Kwame Nkrumah

The last couple of days has been characterized by an uproar in the Nigerian society. Many Nigerians including celebrities have now taken their demands from just the social media platforms available to them to the streets demanding that SARS be abolished. For those that do not know what SARS means, SARS is a branch of the Nigerian Police force. They are the special anti-robbery squad that specializes in the cubbing of robbery and theft. However, rather than help the citizens, they hassle innocent people by extorting money from them, they carry out illegal arrests, they almost rarely never properly identify themselves when dealing with members of the public and they have from one time to another wounded or killed members of the society.

end sars

I personally haven’t had a one on one experience with them or even had anyone close to me get harassed by the SARS squad but I have heard several stories. Those that should be our protectors are our torturers, those we should run to have become who we have to run from so that we don’t lose our lives. Several lives have been lost to the carefree attitude of these extremely dangerous agents without them being held accountable. I must say, that I’m impressed with the way people have begun to lend their voices to a cause that would make the society a better place. The most unique thing about this protest is the people’s emphasis on not wanting a reform because this has been promised over the years but the call for the absolute abolition of SARS .

The last time I think Nigerians ever came together to lend their voices for a cause was during President Goodluck Jonathan’s government in 2012. The major focus of the protest was to ask for the removal of the fuel subsidy. However, I believe that despite the good intention behind the protest, It was a protest that was indirectly orchestrated by the opposite political party to promote unrest and impunity in the Nigerian society at that time.

In our active participation in the #ENDSARS PROTEST WE SHOULD REMEMBER: 

  1. That we can use our voices to get the change that we so desperately crave from the government.
  2. That the government agencies are consciously aware, monitoring, and listening to us.
  3. That we claim democracy as our system of government but we only practice this democracy in Nigeria by mere words of mouth. This to say, we should all be careful so as not to give the government the ammunition to deal with us because freedom of expression is your right but your safety might not be guaranteed.
  4. That being careful is not fear but the adoption of the use of one’s initiative.
  5. That the #Endsars protest should not be used as an excuse to bring forth violence or promote violence.
  6. That at some point, most people would get tired, this may include important people in the society to which we look up to. Nevertheless, we as individuals shouldn’t use that as an excuse to stop clamoring for reforms.
  7. That we should not let ourselves be used as lab rats or pawns by any opposition party in the country as our utmost goal or outcry should be geared towards achieving a better Nigeria NOW NOT LATER.

It is important that I mention the fact that there are people who are concerned about the emergence of the #endsars movement. Their concern is embedded in the fact they believe the purpose of the creation of the SARS force is for the benefit of the people and if or when this agency is abolished, what then would be our substitute. These people with this school of thought emphasize that there should be a total reform in our police force and not just SARS. Why clamor to scrap off one particular sect when the same kind of people are indeed the ones that make up the entire police force? Why ask that the anti-robbery squad be scraped off when the government would eventually still need to create a similar agency tasked with more or less the same job description? The government might only end up changing the name and putting the same dangerous men of the forces in the line of duty.

There is indeed no better way to say this, we need reforms! we need reforms in every arm and parastatal of the Nigerian government. Government employees, our political leaders as well as every member of the civil service must be made to realize that any behavior or attitude that is not in line with laid down rules, guidelines, and policies would come with enormous repercussions. We need to normalize officials getting dismissed from service whenever their actions do not tally with the laid down code of conducts. We should not be too quick to forget that there are still the not-so-morally upright citizens amongst us who would take advantage of the abolition of the anti-robbery squad to perpetuate their evil agenda in the nation.

On the whole, my aim is not to sound like a pessimist or something along that line, but rather to help us understand the scope of the situation. when you carefully analyze the history of protests in the African continent, you discover that they do not necessarily bring about revolutionary changes with exceptions to the ones that helped in achieving colonial independence for several African states. However, this protest would not only help in decreasing oppression, expose the happenings in Nigeria to the global world, keep the Nigerian leaders accountable,  but will help in promoting and deepening the right type of democracy in the country.

 

You can let me know if you have had a close experience with the SARS squad or near experience. You can also drop your thoughts on the situation and share what you feel would be the perfect solution in handing this present situation.

 

 

Fascism: What the World Never Admits.

The democracy we say we practice today, is not at all different from yesterday’s Fascism because they both produce the same results in our present time with exception to war. _Oluwapelumi Okeh.

Fascism is a political philosophy and system of ruling that exalts the nation and often race, above the individuals. It is an autocratic system of government headed by a dictator.

The main features of fascism are:

  • There is a dictatorship system.
  • Absolution of power.
  • Total control of all the industries.
  • There is no room for opposition.
  • Aggressive nationalism which usually results in racism.
  • Adaptation of violence to ensure national growth.
Fascism is a political philosophy and system of ruling that exalts the nation and often race, above the individuals. It is an autocratic system of government headed by a dictator.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

Fascism originated in Mussolini, Italy in 1922. As at that time in world history, Benito Mussolini came into power with his Fascist party after defeating Rome. Fascism intended to promote national glory by war conquest, solve economic difficulties, promote autarky, increase the absolution of power. Although very similar, Italian fascism was slightly different from that of the Germans.

A fascist system of government is mainly successful in a racially unified system, as it brings about an increased sense of racial supremacy. The lists of countries that are racially unified in our present-day are mostly located in Northeast Asia and Europe. Most culturally diverse countries can not function on fascism. Examples of states that are most culturally diverse in Africa include Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Togo. In fact, almost all the African states are culturally and ethnically diverse and this emanates from colonial legacy. Canada is the only western country to rank on any diversity index because of its number of tribal groups and languages. Going forward, it is important to note that cultural diversity is different from ethnic diversity.

Some of the pros of fascism are that it brings national unity, strength, and solidarity. However, laws in these political conditions (In fascist states) are usually dictated by the leaders to control the lifestyle as well as the life choices of the people. They control the education, the news outlets, and the economy; feeding their political subjects with propaganda, deception, and lies.

 

Does Fascism Still exist?

Despite the popular opinion, I believe that fascism still exists in this present time. There have only been a few upgrades and adjustments here and there. The form with which it exists also varies. Many have gone ahead to adopt terms such as a conservative system of government and some others refer to themselves as progressive conservatives. Even the ones claiming to practice democracy are guilty of the same actions. For me, they should be considered as two sides of a coin.

When you carefully consider the features and characteristics of a fascist government, you will agree with me that fascism still very much exists. In Trump’s America fascism exists, in Buhari’s Nigeria fascism exist, in Abacha’s Nigeria, there was fascism, in Hun Sen’s Cambodia fascism was in existence, in Andrzej Duda’s Poland fascism exists, in Putin’s Russia as well, agents of fascism exist, amongst many others. Despite the existence of Fascism in Africa, it would always continue to produce inefficacious outcomes like disunity, underdevelopment, and identity confusion due to their colonial heritage. Many countries supposedly adopting democracy or its principles are still making use of fascism alongside their system of rule. The fear for many fascist leaders today, and why they keep hiding under the generally accepted system of government available in recent times, is that they do not want to be labeled as the Hitlers of the 21st century.

government lies and deception

The World, Fascism, and China’s Communism.

Is it not hypocritical and Ironical that China’s communism is constantly being criticized? In my opinion, the major differences between Fascism and communism are in the fact that one tends to gear towards morality, human dignity, and human value more than the other. One promotes extreme nationalism and cultural domination while the other promotes a classless society that advocates unity with the world. Logically, they are very similar and they do not only arrive at the same result but they also provide conditions that foster tyranny and personal interest.

The same way fascist government adopts propaganda to promote their ideology is the same way most states adopt propaganda and indoctrination in controlling what is taught in their educational system. They manipulate what is talked about in their media outlets as well as establish regulations, policies, and laws that do not favor the people. It is all the same with the democrats, the republicans, the conservatives, the communist, and progressives. The only difference Is that violence is propagated in secrecy and perpetuated by the help of the secret agencies such as the MSS, CIA, SVR, Mossad, and many others in modern times. The violence is further complimented with aggressive diplomatic measures by the countries.

Finally, the very sad reality is in the fact that people have accepted fascism without even realizing it. The term fascism is almost silent in the political sphere and discussions of our today world. However, its seeds have been planted beyond what most minds can conceive. The effects of this phenomenon have hereby become egregious than the way it was in the past, with only an exception to the issue of war and violence.

 

 

Amidst Covid-19: Nigeria Is Against Herself.

You are probably wondering the reason for this title or perhaps what I mean by a country being against itself. In explaining this, I would have to explain a medical condition. There is a medical phenomenon where cells in the body begin to attack itself (organs and tissues) causing the body to fall sick. This is how an autoimmune disease operates in the body. The immune system begins to lose its ability for it to detect a foreign virus or bacteria, making the body defenseless against strangers. Normally, the immune system should be able to ” tell ” the when there is a strange or foreign body and should, therefore, send an army of antibodies to protect the body from invaders. This is indeed the situation of Nigeria at this moment. The cells attacking each other describe the increased spike in robberies. That is to say, the virus or bacteria represents the present Covid-19 infection while the immune system should ordinarily be the police officers who swore an oath to protect lives and properties. It is the constant conflict of cells in the body that has now resulted in the body’s inability to fight the virus or bacteria.

The Armed Robbers And Their Mode Of Operation.

The modus operandi of the armed robbers has been to attack in groups of 50’s, 100’s, and in some cases, as many as 200. They rob at any time of the day completely choosing to damn whatever consequence from the security agencies. They vary in age, with some being as young as 12 and others in their late 30’s. Their strength is in their crippling numbers making it difficult for them to be apprehended. At first, they identified themselves as the Awawa boys. The Awawa boys are a type of cult known for their domination of the Agege community in Lagos state. With the increase in police activities in the area, many of the Awawa boys migrated to Ogun state. This is perhaps the reason why the robbery incident began in Ogun state. Another group has followed in their footsteps and is known as “One million boys“. Their major autonomy is in the Ajegunle and Ikorodu parts of Lagos state. This has consequently resulted in a significant increase in their numbers as well as effectiveness in their operations.coronavirus robbers nigeria

In the past week, we got to see an increase in robbery cases in places like Ifo, Sango, Abule-Egba, Ayobo, Egbeda, Agege, Ogba, Alimosho and environs as well as several other places. In some areas like Ifo, because of the regularity of the robbery, people withdraw cash and make it available for the robbers because there is usually the utmost certainty that the robbers will come. Those unwilling to suffer the wrath of the robbers get money available for them while those that are unable to do so are left with the choice of being punished,beaten,raped or /and even killed. They carry POS machines with them and so when you are not able to give cash, you are able to pay with your A.T.M cards. In some areas in Agege, the robbers go as far as writing letters to residents informing them of their intended plans to come and rob as well as the importance of their cooperation. The people in Agege market and its environs have had their daily dose of being robbed. Immediately the robbers arrive, you instantly begin to hear shouts and scream,Won ti n bo!!!won ti n bo!!! (the are coming!they are coming!)  pandemonium ensues everywhere . The ones that are able to close their shops on time or quick enough to lock themselves up are usually the lucky ones.

The Response.

A lot of people have been left with the sad reality of fending for themselves. There are several instances where the police were called upon during an armed operation but the police never showed up. Infact , this has been the order of the day with the exception of a few cases where the police intervened and captured some of the robbers. Getting frustrated with the incessant robbery, people are left with no other option than to form vigilantes in order to protect themselves. In some places, they take turns; a selected few would keep watch,the next day another selected few would continue. In other places, the residents of the street organize some sort of bonfire night just so no one gets tired and sleeps off. Imagine having to make do with whatever weapon you have access to in order to ward off extremely dangerous criminals . This has been the sad reality for the past few days. Corona virus is waging war upon us, hunger and starvation are waging war upon us,armed robbers are waging war upon us and it does not seem like its coming to an end soon.

The irony of the whole situation is the fact that people who were asked to stay at home for their own protection are in fact not safe in their own homes.

The social distancing is somewhat barely existent in these communities as they have had to come together to find a solution for themselves. Sleepless nights, worry, anxiety, hunger has been the order of the day in most parts of Lagos as those that haven’t been hit by the robbers are also scared for their lives. The truth is, it’s only when you have a life you can practice social distancing.

It is only when there is life one can begin to look out for people sneezing close to them or whether anyone is coughing. Why have these boys picked such a volatile time to rob people? Surely, these sets of people would make claims that they do not have a choice and that they need to meet up with their needs. The question is, Why not take up your grievances with the government that promised to take care of you during this period? What happens when others decide the same thing? Why take it out on innocent residents who are going through the same as you are?coronavirus robbers nigeria

The Lockdown.

On the 13th of April, the Nigerian President gave a press briefing announcing that he had added two more weeks to the lockdown. He also used the opportunity to mention the implementations the federal government made in the health sector among other things. In the words of Reno Omokri,

it was a national waste of 20 minutes“.

One would have thought that the president would address the growing issue of insecurity in the country. People are hungry, worried, unsafe yet no mention of it. It is worthy to note that the relief funds that the government are claiming is being disbursed has only gotten to a few in Lagos and Ogun state. Even with the fact that Lagos has been the most affected with the Covid-19 pandemic. How do you put people in hunger with little to no provision and still allow them to be continuously harassed by miscreants?

Finally, with the above explanations, i hope the reasons for my assertion that “Nigeria is against herself” is justified. Nigerians have managed to replicate the way body cells attack one another not minding the effect it has on the country in the long run. In this case at hand, the immune system represents the different arms, levels, structures of the Nigerian government. The foreign bodies and bad cells represent the armed robbers, incompetent and corrupt leaders, and the autoimmune disease represents the outcome of an almost failing nation. The utmost hope is that the cancerous cells do not take rapid control of the whole system and this can majorly be done by implementing effective plans and structures that will survive this trying period.

 

Covid 19: China makes, we take

A lot of noise has arisen from the discussion as to whether China is responsible for the outbreak of the coronavirus or if they are at the winning side of this viral eruption. Looking back, we would see that China is not a newcomer when it comes to viruses. They have been majorly criticized for their media censorship and propaganda. Afore the COVID 19 virus, there was the SARS virus in which China was said to have repeated the same thing which is masking the truth from the whole world. The COVID 19 virus which began in Wuhan China started in November 2019 and was kept on the low for months. Beijing even went further to dish out punishments on anyone who spoke out.

A history in cover-up

It is important to note that China built an infectious disease reporting system after the SARS epidemic in 2002. This was to help them with future outbreaks of infectious diseases. However, it was said that at the initial stage of the COVID 19 virus outbreak in Wuhan there were failures in the reporting system which led to the omission of documenting of new cases (cover-up became the order of the day). The government was interested in their political outlook rather than the epidemic control. This is why eight(8) doctors were stamped on by the police and some others vanished mysteriously.

Why did people died and why have some disappeared?

China has a long history of cover-ups and this is evident in the lack of dispersal of information and transparency about the pandemic on the part of the Chinese authorities. Looking back, China covered up the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another type of coronavirus for over a month after it emerged in Guangdong Province in 2002, and held the doctor who blew the whistle in military custody for over 45 days. The disease affected over 8000 people in 26 countries. It’s been 17 years and China still had a fatal period of hesitation. Having the right information indeed helps people to get in front of this virus. This is why Thailand and South Korea took nothing to chance immediately after the outbreak of the COVID 19 learning from what happened 17 years ago.

Many journalists, doctors, and activists have disappeared and are nowhere to be found. They were determined to show the world the situation in China. Fang bin had been doing that online and even had quite a number of following. On the 9th of February after he posted a 13 seconds video with the words “ …hand the power of the government back to the people” his social media account went silent. Another video journalist Chen Qiushi’s social media account has been deleted. He told BBC News that he was unsure of how long he would be able to continue. On the 7th of February, on one of his social media accounts, his friend and mother said he had gone missing the day before. The Chinese government has been tight-lipped about this issue. Some of his videos and findings have led to the reports that bodies of people have been cremated in Wuhan without the death being recorded as a coronavirus fatality.

A medical doctor Li Wenliang, after raising the alarm of the virus in early December 2019 was warned not to spread false news. He later caught the virus and died. The Chinese reacted by censoring every critical comment about Dr. Li’s death. If you check the internet about Chen and Fang’s post, it seems like most of their work has been removed and the remaining ones are censored. A follower said “slowly, it would be like there was never someone called Chen Qiuishi.

A Chinese activist, Xu Zhiyong was also detained and the detention is likely to end in a jail sentence. That is if the government opens up about its involvement in his disappearance. He urged the Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down and resign. The president on the other hand has been criticized for silencing people who either exposes the government or enlightens the people. There are other cases of individuals such as that of Professor Xu Zhangun and military doctor Jiang Yan Yong.covid 19 coronavirus china missing

 

The Scuffle for Power & The catch

China is the dominant supplier of pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and medical supplies and even today about 80% of pharmaceuticals sold in the United States of America are produced in China. They are also the largest and sometimes only global supplier for active ingredients of some medical medications. Without any doubt, China has a choke-hold on drugs. This is why a country like the United States has emphasized and encouraged the production of drugs in the US in other to reduce its dependency.

The mode of operation of the United States as a great power has been based on wealth, Power, and Influence. In particular, it is the willingness to respond to crises both at home and abroad; somewhat like a mother hen figure. However, with the covid19 China has risen up to the occasion by filling United States shoes and sending relief to countries, donating supplies, and many more. A perfect example of this was when Italy cried out for supplies China took this as an opportunity. They have thereby supplied many European countries with supplies as well as 54 African countries (Nigeria included) while the United States on the other hand are struggling to fend for themselves not to talk of donating to others.

 

COVID 19 : IS NIGERIA NAKED ?

The COVID 19 virus (otherwise known as the Coronavirus) that originated in Wuhan, China is a pandemic that has disrupted the world at every level. It has brought fear, crisis, distress, anxiety, worry, complete shutdown of various industries and economy and even death. Just like the arrival of its cousin the “Spanish flu” in 1918. it is not something that has been prepared for and the survival rates seem to be dependent on factors such as the strength of one’s immune system, rapid response in treating the respiratory disease as well the health system in place.

The first we heard of coronavirus case in Nigeria was on the 28th of February 2020 a case belonging to the Italian man who visited Lagos from Milan and from there began contact tracing. So far , Nigeria has had coronavirus incident cases in Lagos state, Ogun state, Ekiti, Ibadan, Osun, Rivers, Bauchi, and Abuja. The Nigerian government as since then claimed to be strengthening its efforts to ensure that the outbreak is contained.coronavirus nigeria

 THE COUNTRY’S VULNERABILITY

Personally I am of the notion that Nigeria is very vulnerable to COVID 19 and you will be introduced to these reasons as you read further.To start with, Nigeria took its time before making a decision /announcement on the closure of its borders considering that the index case of the COVID 19 became known on the 28th of February 2020. There was a partial land border closure on the 23rd of March 2020 while the ban on international flights was to commence on the 26th of March 2020. Noting this, one would say that Nigeria to a large extent is vulnerable as the increase in case we have had so far has been traced to individuals coming from high risked counties.

There is also the case of the sheer ignorance of many Nigerians as many do not even believe that there is anything like COVID 19 . Do you really blame them? Even the president found it very difficult to pronounce the virus. I went grocery shopping some days ago and the Uber man that picked me up found it assuming that I had sought of geared up. He went further to say that there was nothing like covid 19 or coronavirus and it’s all propaganda by our leaders to divert funds. I then decided to explain how things had been going and so I showed him pictures and videos before he now quietly asked me how he could purchase a hand sanitizer. This begs the question as to what our public enlightenment agencies are really doing. If someone in Lagos (a metropolitan city can say this ) how much more those located in the rural areas of the country.

It would be sightless of me not to mention the phenomenon that occurred on Sunday the 23rd of March 2020 after the government had put a ban on the gathering (of any kind) that constituted more than 50 people. A handful of religious ministries with thousands of congregations didn’t adhere to this putting thousands of lives in jeopardy. This begs the question as to what the priority of some of our religious leaders truly are ( don’t get me started on this today ).

Yet another problem that is noteworthy has been the dispersal of fake news which in turn has led to fear and anxiety. I can boldly say that half of the Nigerian population suspect themselves of having the COVID 19 viruses and this is not the kind of panic we need. A perfect example is a sudden increase in the consumption of chloroquine which was rumored to be very effective in treating the virus. This led to a spike in price as well as drug poisoning in the country. A number of people have also been reported to have called the NCDC response line hereby making it difficult for those who really need help to get help. Nevertheless, there are some with the school of thought that only fear can curb the nonchalant behavior of many Nigerians. It’s not surprising that the Nigerian singer Simi shared that we need “fear” as a weapon for Nigerians to take this pandemic seriously.

 

THE DISADVANTAGED

Who are the people bearing the brunt of the virus right now? They are those who depend on wages as their source of livelihood. Those that cannot afford to take a break from work because that means hunger for them. The disadvantaged are the ones that are trying to protect themselves by buying the necessary things they need not because they have the money but because they have to (yet end up being extorted). Nigerians are used to taking advantage of themselves yet they cry “why” when their leaders do the same to them. Is it not ironical that the prices of various health supplies have just miraculously skyrocketed. Items such as thermometer, hand gloves, face mask as well hand sanitizers are either unavailable because some people decided to hoard them for themselves or because they are being sold at unreasonable prices.

The disadvantaged are the homeless. The government keeps asking them to self-isolate or avoid social distancing but they don’t even have a home. The disadvantaged are the salary earners that are collecting next to nothing as their take-home but now have to stock their homes with the little they have . Some have even been refused salaries and these salaries might not even be given to them until April. The commoner is disadvantaged, an average Nigerian is at a disadvantaged point. The ones that have failing health which could have been prevented by having good medical treatment available to them are disadvantaged. There are so many other diseases that kill people every day yet none of our leaders focus on them even many of our philanthropists ignore situations like this.coronavirus nigeria

CONFIDENCE LEVEL OF NIGERIANS RIGHT NOW.

The confidence level of Nigerians towards the tackling of this pandemic is no doubt low spirited. If you ask an average Nigerian if he would like to get tested for the COVID 19, their reply would probably be yes but they would rather not go have that test. A country where people are scared of getting tested because of the thought of getting infected at the Point of examination or even fear of being given the wrong result. There are others that feel that they would definitely have a better chance at surviving in their homes by self-medicating and even with the use of local herbs ( which I strongly advise against). The question many Nigerians are asking is “what would be their fate if this pandemic continues? Would they be fed? Would they be given shelter or food or medical supplies? Would there be any law out there to ensure that their jobs are safe? Or even to ensure that their employers pay them? Would the Nigerian government just like the United States of America, Canada, or even Dubai provide for them or formulate a plan/law that will ensure that they are being taken care of? Would Nigeria adopt the responses of other countries in tackling this pandemic? Will the government be transparent with we the citizens?

As at the time of writing this article the world health organization (WHO) report indicated that as of March 22, 2020, Nigeria has only tested 152 people with a record of 40 persons being positive which represents 26% while South Africa has only tested 15,000 with about 702 positive cases representing about 5%. With these figures, it is left to us to try and protect ourselves, stay safe, and adhere to strict precautions. As of today 26th of March 2020, there are 51 cases (2recovered and 1 death) and only 178 people have been tested out of 200 million. There is no doubt that the Nigerian government has a lot to do in these trying times.

 

Covid 19 : Where is our President?

Where is our President?

This has been the question in the mouths and hearts of thousands of Nigerians since the outbreak of the COVID 19 outbreak in Nigeria. Unlike other countries such as Canada, China, the United States of America Japan, France, the United States, and others in Africa such as Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Liberia whose President has publicly addressed them from time to time. It’s been a different ball game in Nigeria as President Muhammad Buhari has only addressed the nation on the viral outbreak once which was on the 22nd of March 2020 through a 23 seconds video. ( Yes. That same one where he pronounced it as covik 1-9 ).president muhammadu buhari covik 19

The number of confirmed cases in Nigeria has risen to 81 as there are 11 cases,8 of which were discovered in Lagos while two were discovered in Enugu and one in Edo state while 3 have been discharged.

“Hide nothing from the masses of our people . Tell no lies , expose lies whenever they are told . Mask no difficulties, mistakes , failures and claim no easy victory …” – Amilcar Cabral

An uproar of the whole situation became pronounced with the announcement of his chief-of-staff Abba Kyari having tested positive to coronavirus. This has led so many Nigerians to believe that the president has either been infected or has gone into hiding at this very crucial period. Leaving his aides to address the nation in his absence. Some are of the view that the president is totally oblivious to the happenings in the country during this very volatile period. Amidst this, has been the rumor that the president and his chief of staff are presently not in the country as they had sneaked into the United Kingdom for standard health care treatment.( nothing has been said about this, we are patiently waiting for them to either admit or refute this).

president muhammadu buhari

Social media uprising.

On the media front,  have been the voicing of dissatisfaction as well as an annoyance in various social media medium. Focusing on Twitter, the most blaring has been from a user with the username “ Imam of peace “ whose tweets seemed to trend worldwide as he popularized the hashtag #BuhariResign that ended up being on number 1 on the Nigerian trends as at 27th of March 2020. In his series of tweets, Imam of peace claimed that Buhari has and this cult were the ones responsible for fabricating and photoshopping information. He further asserted that he use to be an extremist therefore it was easy to recognize one. Accusing President Buhari of being an enabler of terrorism, a dictator as being incompetent, and by that means making a fool of Nigerians. It was indeed a battle in the kingdom of Twitter amid the iman of peace and Buhari and his cohorts.

He additionally accused the Nigerian government of controlling the media house when he asserted “ Nigeria TV channels want to interview me. I agreed on the condition that they interview me LIVE. They all said no. They want to pre-record it. This means 2 things They have a dirty agenda or that Buhari is a dictator OR both …”

The response

One would have thought that there would be a large set of people who would oppose him but the opposite was the case. As he not only won the hearts of many people by saying things many were too afraid to say but his numbers of followers skyrocketed. One funny reality is that Nigerians find it very hard to believe their government. Unlike many other countries, Nigerians have at so many times highlighted from the vehicle of transparency and this is why many other individuals, as well as agencies, have found it easy to peddle face news as well as manipulate a sizable number of the population.

Mohammed Jammal addressed Reno Omokri through a tweet on the 28 of March 2020 “ you are my elder and I respect you . Don’t let a foreigner interfere with your country’s politics. You can say what you want as a Nigerian but don’t let someone from another country … talk about your President” Reno who identifies himself as “Buhari’sTormentor” and worked under the previous Nigerian President GEJ tweeted and replied “people like you celebrated when General Buhari hired John Campbell to publicly humiliate the then President Good Jonathan …You are a hypocrite!”

president muhammadu buhari covik 19

One very important question in the hearts of Nigerians during this period is “Did our president truly test negative for the covid 19 ?”. If yes, they would like to hear him address or talk to them, and if no, then what will be the fate of Nigerians. It is humorous how many Nigerians are emphasizing on how difficult it is to believe that President Buhari tested negative to the Covid-19 when members of his cabinet have already begun to test positive. This might be because many country leaders have continued to be seen on TV tending to the worries and concerns of the people.

Everything considered, the hopes of the Nigerian people is that this “vacuum” will be filled and that the leadership of this country Nigeria would rise up and fulfill its promises which were made to them. I would, therefore, like to stress that Dictatorship is not leadership, leadership is leadership … and that In the days to come the efforts put in place will be sufficient enough to keep the population safe considering that we are to a large extent still in the containment stage.

 

The Nucleus Between Religion and Regression in Nigeria.

When I decided to write on this issue, I was not sure about the direction I wanted to go with this piece. At first, I thought about religion and then I thought about its impact on society and from there I started to link one or two in my head. I’m sure there have been several articles on the effect of religion and its impact on society so I won’t bore you with any of that. Some go as far as giving conceptual clarifications between “spirituality” and “religion”. Religion has been a bone of contention for so many years in various countries. In a period, where things seem chaotic around the world many have found solace in their faith. Either Christianity, Islam, traditional or custom practices. This essay will be focusing on relationships, linkages, and connections of the church as well as the political system in Nigeria.

Many have argued that that religion has brought better results than ills to the world and has helped in uniting the people from different spheres. The question now should be “To what extent has religion united the people? Also, what measuring parameters were used to come about such assertions. Historically speaking, it has been argued that we cannot separate “The church” and “The state”. Others have also argued that these two bodies are two sides of a coin. In other words, they are imperious to one another. I believe that these 2 entities are problems to one another and for each of them to perform their functions they have to be separated.

Religion is not politics …. politics is not religion. There is a certain large congregation that receives presidential aspirants every four years in this country. The irony is that we are usually made aware of this very pubic visit during these periods. It begs the question, what the aim truly is. There is also another big church in Lagos Nigeria that gets visitors from various leaders mostly in West Africa whenever it’s time for the election in those regions. It is important to note that many third world countries are guilty of regarding the two as the same directly or indirectly. The phenomenon of spiritual leaders getting involved in politics has been the order of the day despite these spiritual leaders alleged “neutrality” the effect of their indirect /direct participation comes to play in the decisions as well as the resolve of the congregations.

Power and influence are significant concepts here; That which the spiritual leaders yield over the people under his guidance. Acting as a life-coach, adviser, counselor and other times mentor as well as sermonizing of the promise of a better eternity. On another hand also is the power in which the political leaders will to either positively or negatively impact the future of the people with the promise of a better life on earth.

Setting politics aside, there are other ways in which religion has had its impact that leaves one to begin to question if it’s worth it to be religious. Many pastors are guilty of selling grace and favor. This phenomenon plays out in various ways. A pastor after ministering could call out people who are to drop a certain amount (usually a huge sum) and says he would pray for them in return with a promise of a turnaround in their lives. I have been to a church (name withheld) where the guest pastor started calling people out to donate thousands of dollars, he started from about 5000 dollars to the least denomination in Naira which was about 5 Naira. I for one see this practice as demonic and fraudulent. It is a different thing if you decide to ask the congregation to contribute towards a particular project for the church. Also, whatever proceeds gotten should be made transparent to the people since they were the ones that made the contributions. How do you explain to a poor man who is seeking healing that his inability to give a particular sum of money is the reason why he hasn’t been healed? How do you assure a rich man on the other hand that his big donations will turn his life around once he believes (hereby claiming it’s in his hand but still end up collecting the money in exchange for the prayer? How?

the nucleus between religion and regression in nigeria

There is no doubt that amidst the cunning character of these spiritual leaders/mentors they are not to be completely blamed. Every adult should be held responsible for his or her actions. Many of these people were not forced to do these things. They are merely ignorant. Indeed, ignorance is the root and stem of all evil. I have seen families that have lost all they have to maintain their pastor’s lifestyle. I have seen families that used their children’s school fees for the pastor, not for the church or the needy. I have seen families lose all they have as well sometime ultimately losing their faith along the line. People need to be enlightened about the differences between irrationality, brainwashing, faith, belief, and outright stupidity and this is where the help of the Holy Spirit is very important. The Holy Spirit plays many roles in the life of a believer. The Holy Spirit is a counselor, the fruit of the spirits includes peace, kindness, faithfulness “self-control” and which ultimately helps Christians obey God’s words.

You begin to wonder why so many Christians are committing suicide today. Some will say they were targeted by the enemy but many have refused to see that “neglect” has been one of the major factors. How many Christians can boldly say I know 10 people very well in my church? I go to visit them or reach out to them when I don’t hear from them? Many go to churches to share their problems among the congregation but sometimes they feel the church is failing them. I do not feel that there’s anyone that would just open up or share whatever challenges they are experiencing just for the sake of sharing. Depression doesn’t just start, there is usually an underlying factor. How has the church been able to tackle the issue of depression and frustration among the youths? Is the church aware of some of these struggles? Have they been able to develop committees to tackle these problems or they are only concerned about the size of offering or tithes given by these people?

Love is the greatest gift of all. Jesus Christ preached love, God is love. How has the church been able to emphasize the importance of love beyond preaching on the pulpit? Do they ignore or support the poor, the lonely, the naked, the depressed, the afflicted, the sick, and the weaklings? How have they been able to impact their lives or are they only focusing on those with heavy checks and donations. Why does it seem like Christianity is for the rich in Nigeria? Who remembers the early church in the Bible? And the apostles? The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ must be preached with love having in mind the sufferings of the multitude. Some churches have indeed been able to deal with some of these issues even beyond their members. However, most churches have disregarded this very pressing issue in society as well as among their members. Some are claiming that they give but when you look at how much they make as inflow it leaves a very gigantic margin. What good is your gigantic or mega-church when most of your members are homeless? It’s not good enough to say we have put some measures in place what’s important is how effective those measures are. In many developed countries, churches are required to pay taxes on every asset they acquire or get, as well as on any donations and this leads to accountability. However, in a country like Nigeria where the declaration of asset is a caricature churches are not held accountable to their members not to mention the government. The enforcement of payment of taxes on churches will in no small way help in generating funds or revenues for the government which could help in improving the lives of the people in the county if used as designated.

When I say we Nigerians are givers at heart that’s nothing short of the truth. We give wholeheartedly accompanied by showmanship especially to something we believe in and that could include the minister or to the ministry. Some denominations believe prayer is the way to everything. I don’t doubt the efficacy of prayers in tackling issues but some issues require actions or a new course of action rather than prayer. I believe the church has a job that cuts across and beyond praying and fasting but doing the needful for humanity to prepare the rightful environment for one to aim towards making heaven. Although the church is not the only entity with the responsibility to help people, the political bodies and government owe it to its people to alleviate hardship whether socially or economically. Give respect and honor to whom it’s due but Don’t worship men of God, worship God.

Finally, it would be great to someday see change but until then let’s remember that the next evolutionary step for humankind is to stand up for others having in mind that we can only rise above our confines by focusing on a broader part which is humanity.

 

 

© 2021 LulusArena

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

error: Alert: Content is protected !!