Two Fridays ago, I narrated here what I felt about the interview Professor Banji Akintoye, the retired Professor of History and currently a top Yoruba leader, granted Channels Television. Mr. Ladi Akeredolu Ale, the anchor man of the Channels programme did a splendid, a very splendid job, to elicit from Professor Akintoye the special attention he gave to the subject of our falling and fallen education standard and glory. Even though he tried to be economical with words and emotion, Professor Akintoye’s florid sadness and pain could not be concealed, and his deliberate non-indulgence in prolixity made what he said particularly and peculiarly and powerfully moving. I shed tears. You better believe me. There was no irritating veneer in the historian’s thoughts. And I wondered if the man Akeredolu Ale interviewed or was interviewing then was the top historian we have heard so much about. But he was; if not he would not have succeeded in moving me to tears, visible tears, the way he did.
Today, I have been moved to tears again. Not by the positively agonized thoughts and words of one, an octogenarian, tortured and tormented by the poor state of our tertiary education especially, but by another ailment that is agonizing us and the rest of the world. This terrible disease that is even more terrible than other terrible diseases known to mankind is coronavirus. This terrible disease that was first cultivated in China of ancient masters and mystics is now raging in other parts of the world stretching from America thence to Europe and thence further to other Asian countries such as the two Koreas and Tibet also of ancient mystics and masters and further down to Africa and other places and other places.
Indeed, there are coronavirus fears and tears everywhere today. And tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow the fears and tears will persist. As Africans and as Nigerians in particular we must be worried and more than worried and be forced to further fears and tears. This paper’s editorial of Monday, March 23, 2020 said so much that elicited from me feverish fears and tears and, far more important, feverish contempt for our president, president’s men and women and presidencynologists and political leaders in general.
It beats me hollow why our central government did not respond breathlessly to the breathless disorder choking and killing lives everywhere it has entered silently and breathlessly. Many commentators have expressed this concern. Apart from our political leaders’ outdated ways of responding to serious issues and tragic events with outdated ideas and outdated instruments, I think that they were carried away by the success that attended their response to the Ebola monster when it reared its monstrous head in our country. They never for once gave thought to the idea that Ebola and coronavirus were not and are not two of a kind. In any case, they were carried away by the praise(s) of our Western Masters who said that our country has the capacity to contain and outwit the novel disease that is really dreadful in all ramifications. But we know better now. Coronavirus has a voluminous personality that will put us in dreadful un-ease for quite some time.
The central government must respond very proactively now. If there is any time to make our doctors wanted and loved as never before it is now. All doctors and health workers who are owed whatever sums of money must be paid now in full. The argument that they were trained to save lives (the late Dr .Stella Adedavoh did without recognition when Ebola was here) as good as it sounds is not good and eloquently persuasive enough on this occasion at least. Our doctors and other health workers who are going to put their lives and those of their families on the line to protect and save the lives of the rest of us must be adequately and monetarily encouraged and rewarded to do their duty for our country people, for humanity and mankind. The Abacha loot and other loots that have been discovered must be released now to deal decisively with coronavirus. Human beings deserve the money far, far more than roads and bridges that must wait for living Nigerians that will cross or travel on them. And living Nigerians are witnessing really perilous times of coronavirus, the true novel monster of our perilous times. Closing schools, colleges and universities is good despite the illegality involved in the closing of universities that their respective councils should have closed in the first place in the beautiful and correct name of university autonomy. In any case, unless the right sums of money are doled out to combat coronavirus that is causing the whole world real tears, what our central and states’ governments are doing and have done so far will amount to nothing tangible in the end. What they are doing or have done so far may end up as exhibitionism, an incomparable exhibitionism par excellence.
By the way, the twenty naira reduction of fuel price is nothing but sheer tokenism. What has the reduction done for us so far? And how many petrol stations have started to sell petrol at the reduced price? If the government had hiked the price of petrol, all the pumps in the petrol stations would have been adjusted with alacrity. What a country! Meanwhile, we are dripping coronavirus tears from our eyes and every part of our bodies. Soon more and more Nigerians will be anchorites on account of this dreadful monster that cannot and will not be covered or veiled by those who want to cover or veil it.
But we are sending our case and plight to the Living Spiritual Masters and the Nine Lords of Karma. Next Friday I shall dwell on what they are doing to minimize the pains and suffocations of our times that we cannot escape. Karma is karma.
By Tony Afejuku