I knew the Lockdown was going to happen even before it did.
I remember laughing at the comments of my colleagues who held on the Hope that we had just one case. The same hope every Nigerian has while re-voting in a government that has continued to fail them. But what was the possibility that more people wouldn’t get infected in Nigeria when the numbers of cases kept rising in other countries and the Nigerian border was left open till the last minute? I asked each time someone mentioned that word “Hope”.
Asides the Hope, there was Humor- Another coping mechanism for Nigerians. Even when the numbers started increasing and there was a temporary lockdown, I remember mentioning to someone how scared I was about how nonchalant we had all been in preventing the spread of the virus. We took all the COVID-19 Precautionary measures as a joke, “Don’t Hug me oh, shake me with your Legs, Oh, You Push the door open, Ah, did you use a sanitizer sha, Don’t move too close to me”.
The person responded saying I had such little faith in God. That response was funny because isn’t Faith supposed to be accompanied with Action -Hence Protecting oneself? Here was a person who as far as I knew still lived his life like everything was fine. “As long as it wasn’t affecting me directly then it’s not my business, then everything should be alright”- Another Nigerian Problem.
While I never shared in the false hope that the virus wasn’t going to spread to Nigeria, I share in the hope that all of these will die down soon, and we can all return to our normal lives. But returning takes a lot of effort from both the Government and we ourselves so despite the Hope I worry.
It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve been home, and I still worry. I worry about the Average Nigerian who before Quarantine struggled to put food on his table, how is he going to be able to now that he has no means of providing for his family? The Average Nigerian whose living condition isn’t one that made it easy to adopt social distancing. I worry that the Average Nigerian wouldn’t be able to cope and would have to figure out a way to survive despite the lockdown. To him, Dying of Hunger seems deadlier than getting infected with the virus.
I also worry about the Nigerian who can feed himself and has a roof over his head but still chooses to flout the lockdown rules just because he can. I am more angry than worried about this latter category. They know what’s at stake yet they choose to organize events with claims such as “Oh I’m only hanging out with people within my estate, oh they don’t have any travel history, oh they are not showing any symptoms” Even when the NCDC and WHO keep reiterating how Asymptomatic persons infected with the virus can be.
Finally, I worry about the efforts of the Government. What are their plans to provide for the less privileged this period, what security measures have they taken regarding the recent robberies? What are their efforts in making sure more people get tested? There’s probably still a lot of work for the Nigerian government to do when it comes to flattening the curve but I have so far been impressed by the number of patients that have been discharged and the measures being taken especially by the NCDC and Lagos state government to do surveillance, isolate, test and treat.
It’s easy to hide behind screens to criticize but I believe in the ability to encourage because when you encourage it pushes to want to do more (at least in most cases). So, like a typical Nigerian, I’m hopeful that the government would increase its efforts so we can all return to civilization.
Away from all of these though it’s been three weeks and I have learnt quite a few lessons from this lockdown one of which is the importance of enjoying the little things. It’s crazy how we now look forward to something as little as stepping out of the house to restock on groceries. This also goes hand in hand with taking action and not waiting for the right moment to do certain things because you just never know what my crop up.
I’ve also had a lot of time to myself the past couple of weeks. Doing things at my own time, reading a good book, taking an online course, Learning a new Language, and even Binge watching a good series are some of the luxuries I was looking forward to enjoying when my annual leave happens in May. (Side note: When this is over, are we still entitled to Annual leave? -Asking for a friend ).
I genuinely hope that all of these comes to an end sooner than we expect. I pray that God Almighty heals those have been infected with the virus, Protect front liners risking their health and lives to keep us all safe, and stop the spread of this virus so we can all return to our normal lives in good health.
I hope we are all staying safe. Are you as hopeful as I am that all of these would end soon? What’s one thing you plan to do when all of this ends?
Stay safe, Stay home and Stay Informed.