I woke up in Lagos today and pinched myself in disbelief because there are two distinct worlds out there on the globe; those who appear conscious of what the whole world is going through and those who appear oblivious of the current reality on the globe.
I am very worried that the bulk of the country appears to be going on with business as usual at a time when almost every serious country has embraced SOCIAL DISTANCING as a top priority. This is not a government responsibility alone. In most countries, there was an elite consensus that literally dragged their government in the desired direction. For instance, it was the Church of England that stopped people from coming in large groups to worship and it was Selfridges and Apple management teams that decided to close down their stores on the high streets even before any government made such things mandatory.
I am happy that our civil society organisations are finally doing something about joining the discourse on this coronavirus threat. We should all help our governments with their messaging and amplify their public enlightenment broadcasts.
Nigeria is uniquely vulnerable for 4 reasons:
1) Population density is high and so that makes social distancing very difficult in the best of times;
2) Our major income source is oil and gas which has already been hit very hard by the collapse of oil prices. So, at a time when we need to spend significantly more to fight a major threat, we have been hit by a severe income drop;
3) In the best of times, our healthcare infrastructure was fragile and inadequate and unable to cope with routine needs. Our doctor to population ratio was one of the worst on earth.
4) In our case, delays caused by the global supply chain disruptions will be exacerbated by the confusion and congestion that was already in and around our inefficient Lagos/Apapa Ports Complex.
Wearing my Anap Foundation hat, I used the Channels TV platform to plead for an elite consensus amongst all the major influencers in society, including religious leaders to embrace SOCIAL DISTANCING and speak up on same and help achieve a consensus of sorts to support our governments at federal, state & LGA levels through this emerging national crisis. The government cannot handle this crisis alone. Measures to be considered by the government must be holistic. Our revenues are shrinking further. What can we no longer afford? Are past subsidies still affordable? Which businesses need to close down and how can we assist them etc?
Time is not on our side. May God save us all.