For most of the year, the world had to battle with the emergence of a new virus. While there were universal guidelines that were adopted globally, each region had its own way of observing and enforcing these rules. For Nigeria, it was an ironic mix of ignorance (mostly inadequate information) and paranoia, with some believing that the virus isn’t real. And, people that believed concocted all sorts of theories as to what the disease is and how it can be combated.
It took an aggressive intervention from the government, private firms and individuals across board to control the narrative surrounding the disease, and by extension forcing people to just follow the simple guidelines.
While this is admirable, it also created a culture of complacency, one that would have Africans unprepared for a second wave if it should eventually hit – we all know the story now.
In Nigeria, especially Lagos, the perceived ‘death’ of the coronavirus was just another misconception. This new spike which has led experts to determine that this could be the much-dreaded second wave that has been predicted has caused the government to respond.
Following this new development, the Lagos government re-introduced the Covid-19 guidelines it had relaxed. So, in an effort not to undo the progress made in Lagos, in curbing the spread of the coronavirus while also trying not to halt economic activities in the state, the government implemented some partially lenient protocols, one of which limits the number of people allowed to gather in a place at the same time.
The problem herein lies in the fact that the government has gone as far as shutting down a few establishments and events completely to the detriment of those who make a living from such activities, but, on its part has failed to follow its own rules.
While discouraging people from gathering in crowds, the Nigerian government in the same breath is still pushing for paper registration of SIM cards in National Identity Management commission offices.
This is inevitably causing crowds to gather at these offices as seen today in the NIMC office Alausa Lagos, as the government has also given a deadline of two weeks for every sim to be registered unless it is blocked.
This sort of irresponsible and selfish decision is commonplace with the Nigerian government. During the initial stages of the first lockdown, the government sent security officials to apprehend anyone caught flouting Covid-19 lockdown protocols, yet they held political rallies in Edo, hosted a crowded wedding, and also had a heavily attended burial, among other things. It is just a charade of lawlessness – one that surprises even the government itself.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.