John Egbeazien Oshodi
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control continues to recommend that Nigerians avoid large events and gatherings. This is due to the dangerous transmissibility of the Delta and Omicron variants of the coronavirus disease 2019. Globally, many Nigerians find themselves in an environment marked with widespread denial of the existence of COVID-19, so it is not surprising that all 36 state governors who should be continuously raising public awareness about the pandemic, are planning to physically gather, thereby behaviorally negating all essential rules of COVID-19, including restrictions on public gatherings and closures. Good God, who does that?
The World Health Organisation and NCDC continue to insist that despite one taking the COVID-19 vaccines, precautionary behaviours like restricting social, religious, and official gatherings, need to be observed in order to reduce the risk of infecting one another, getting sick, becoming hospitalized or dying.
We know that the disease spreads from person to person through infected air droplets that are projected through sneezing or coughing. It can also be transmitted when individuals have contact with hands or surfaces that contain the virus and touch their eyes, nose, or mouth with tainted hands. Black Africans, by their nature are ‘touchy-touchy’ people. In other words, we are known for our social and interpersonal feelings.
The media reports that the 36 state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum will on Wednesday night, January 19, 2022, leave their various stations, and come together at the NGF Secretariat in Abuja for “a very crucial meeting where pressing national concerns will be discussed”. Why at night?
What ought to be more crucial is saving their own lives and those they will meet during the physical gathering and thereafter. As such, they need to rethink and hold the meeting in a telephonic manner or via videoconferencing. This way is still in-person meeting that gathers all the 36 governors and others, except it is by way of remote or digital meeting. An approach that will not only prevent the spread of the virus, but it will also cut costs especially in times like this.
Given our natural intractability and hardiness as Black Africans, I will not be shocked if the governors insist on a physical indoor meeting. In that case, it is critical that they practise good judgment by washing their hands constantly, as we are known for shaking and holding hands. They must wear their facemasks constantly and maintain some degree of social distance. And of course, those with symptoms like sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, nausea, or diarrhoea must stay away from the meeting physically, and participate electronically. No, Sir, do not send anyone to represent you physically. Again, vaccinated or not, make this meeting virtual! As it will be safer, better, or a faster way to defeat this virus and revitalise our society.