Pandemic is always a test of leadership. Every global crisis is a compulsory leadership test meant to certify those who are truly qualified leaders and those, who through election rigging forced themselves on the people. None should expect a global pandemic to just show its face and disappear suddenly like lightning.
From history, it has been proven that it often runs its course on all, humbling proud leaders of nations who believe they have all power and might, and exposing all fake leaders who are mere party drop-outs. Every leader will be tested by same pandemic.
Recently, I read of a Group seeking China’s consent to trace the origin of the virus to its lab, and I say that they are missing the point. Humans like blames. They like seeking supporting crutches for lame blames. When humans fall they often pick an excuse.
It started in Eden. Adam blamed Eve who then blamed the serpent and they lost the garden. What a distraction during emergency! As long as leaders keep serving blames at the executive table, they will never discover the potent medicine that brings the cure. And what is the use of a potent drug after death? Whether the virus was manufactured in the lab or not, and whether China exported low quality virus to Africa and sent high quality one to Europe or not, is not a topic of debate now. I will say that if it had not come from China, it could have come from somewhere else. If it had not been imported to Africa by the elites that travelled abroad, it would still have come through our morbid lust for foreign brands, especially, Nigeria’s love for okirika or second hand things. As long as we don’t value our own things, we will always contract the foreign diseases.
I grew up listening to the saying that when America sneezes, the world catches cold. That is, whatever happens in America, whether good or bad, affects the whole world. But now that China had sneezed, the whole is catching cold. The virus that escaped from Wuhan City of China is spreading like wild fire to the rest of the whole world. Whether this is a signal that China will soon become the world power or not, whether this is a pointer to China seeking global attention or not, the fact remains that China has set the test for all leaders of nations and they must sit down to find the correct answers. This is the time to know leaders who rigged themselves into office and the ones who triumphantly walked the podium. This is the time to know leaders who are truly visionary and the ones that are not. This is the time to know leaders who value education and the ones who are not.
This is the time to know leaders who really care about its citizens and the ones who are egocentric. What distinguishes a visionary leader is how sharp, fast and accurate he can respond to emergency without fidgeting, and how stable he is to channel the economy of her country to meet the needs of its citizenry during the pandemic. In Africa, masses don’t trust their leaders who can hardly pass the test of truth in the school of politics and life. In fact, the viruses that Africans know are their politicians who feed fat on the blood and sweat of the masses. All viruses are opportunists, which once they get into their host, live wild to die.
The same for all opportunists who live fat on their host and watch them die. Those who live that the earth may die, are they not the real virus? Those who rigged election, how will they rig a cure? How can one trust a student that cheated in an exam to find solution to real question? The nation that puts its education on hold, how will it research a vaccine for cure? The nation that is waiting for imported vaccines after muzzling the mouthpiece of its education system with hunger. How will such a nation, having starved its own education system, the backbone of research, now want a miraculous cure? As it is now, Nigerian universities teaching staff are at home hungry. Their families are hungry. This is pathetic.
With IMF saying that recession looms at the end of the pandemic, coupled with the fall in the price of oil in the global market, the oily buttock of Nigeria, which just rose from the sickbed of recession, sits on the keg of a gunpowder. If this pandemic were to last four months, what would be the fate of salary earners in public and private organizations. What would be the hope of pensioners in States where many governors see payment of salary as an achievement? Won’t they see this opportunity as a stone cast at a bird that is about to fly?
With the virus moving faster than WHO, and outsmarting the symptomatic treatment in all affected countries, the alarming statistics of deaths recorded from nations of the world have shown that the world is not fully prepared for emergency, not fully vigilant, and is yet to learn from history. The race to flatten the curve has not shown any positive result, as the number of deaths keeps climbing lately just as China, the country with index cases is convalescing.
This is nonetheless to say that the medical personnel at the frontline of this pandemic are not giving their best, and with deepest condolences to the families of those who had lost their lives to keep the rest of us safe, this great loss in every nation could have been avoided, if proper measures were put in place. I hope to see light at the end of this tunnel, as tough times never last, but tough people do.
This pandemic has come to effect a change and to awaken all leaders to their responsibilities, and I hope that at the end of this storm, every leader will sit down and think of how to navigate its economic tools to set a new course of sail.