Last Monday, I did not tune in to the president’s address about the next direction the government was taking; as per the lockdown in certain states. I honestly took it for granted that we were going to see another two weeks locked down.
However, I was stunned to see that despite the rapidly climbing numbers of infected persons; the country was easing out of the lockdown. My mood immediately changed. How are we going to go out there with this thing seemingly lurking in every corner?
But I should have seen it coming.
The signs were all there.
People were tired of being kept at home. I saw many people saying they wanted to test their luck against the disease. They said: “Person wey go die go die.”
I guess like in anything that has to do with life; our perspective is mostly guided by where we find ourselves in our lives. My subsistence has sort of been maintained despite the lockdown. I feel no urgent need to trudge out there to continue the hustle.
But for many Nigerians, what they have is what they are able to go out and get daily.
The lockdown was hard.
The pressure to end it was crushing.
I felt that the government was making a big mistake reopening when the numbers are sprinting. But I have had a whole week to re-evaluate everything.
The federal government could not in good conscience insist that people remain in their houses for any period of time.
The reason is simple.
They cannot bear the burden of caring for us. They do not have palliatives to tide people through. In fact, they cannot consistently sustain people through this.
They do not have the data.
They do not have the resources.
Also, they do not have the wherewithal.
We are not an organized country. Nothing about us has prepared us for a time like this.
We operate in a sort of free fall. Anything goes till you hit rock bottom. There are no contingency plans. No one in our past government has thought ahead to a time like this.
Our healthcare was never robustly built to withstand anything half like this.
We do not have the infrastructure.
People live hand to mouth. Most people do not have savings.
We cannot sit down at home indefinitely.
Our government cannot afford to do this for us.
So what did they do?
Since they can’t ask us to remain at home, they threw our safety back to us.
Oya o, if you want to hustle, we will not stop you. Try and wear masks, okay? Come back home on time. Don’t roam around at night. Junior officers, stay at home. We know you will most likely move in public transportation if we ask you to come to work. Just sit where you are and let the ogas come to work…at least they have cars.
Some Nigerians are celebrating the end of this lockdown and are eager to return to their lives.
What they are not considering is that what is out there is not the same as it was before.
This disease in entrenched in our communities.
The likelihood of catching it is exponentially higher than when we entered the lockdown.
Nothing has changed to inform an easing of the lockdown.
The government has simply responded to pressure.
It will be you, your immunity, luck and your God.
I do have some advice.
Use face masks. Use sanitizers. Wash hands. Do not stand close to people.
But even above all this, the most important thing remains this.
If you can do your job from your house, continue to do so.
If you can afford to stay locked down, like a friend told me yesterday; this is a time to use your privilege card.
Keep locked down.
The fatality is steadily increasing. The unpredictable nature of COVID-19 is such that we cannot say absolutely that healthy people will not succumb to it.
For the sake of the vulnerable and the aged, keep locked down.
Private businesses need to work smartly.
If your organization cannot guarantee your safety and is requiring, you to interface with people without providing adequate protection; you need to speak to yourself.
Viola (fellow columnist here) said something that struck hard with me.
The next lockdown will be enforced by the community.
By the time the full brunt of this disease bears down and we see tens of thousands of people dying and an overwhelmed healthcare, no one will tell us to stay at home.
I do not pray for this to happen. In fact, I am praying vehemently against it.
But at the rate we are going especially with this premature easing of the lockdown; what lies in the horizon does not seem pleasant.
Our government cannot afford to keep us locked down.
Ironically, they will not be able to afford a full blown pandemic on their hands as well.
It is a lose/lose situation.
So as we start this week, stay safe my people.
Life above livelihood.