Enugu braces up

Enugu braces up

Gabriel Amalu

The coronavirus pandemic, otherwise called Covid-19, has remained a source of trepidation, for the citizens of the world. Defying science, the virus is making a mincemeat of the advancement, by Homo sapiens. Until Covid-19, birthed in Wuhan China late last year, humans have lived the illusion that with the aid of science and technology, they have become their own god, and intrinsically a competitor in creation with God.




While using technology to tame the environment and make life easy, humans went as far as attempting to use science, to create man in its own image. Starting with the so-called test tube babies, scientists were feverishly working hard to prove that what ‘God’ can do, they too can do same. Those arguing that it was ethically repugnant to natural order, to manufacture humans, outside the biologically mandated and allowable procedures, were ignored.

Bust. The coronavirus pandemic birthed in Wuhan province in China, late last year, perhaps to draw the world’s attention to the underlying reality, that despite all the strides and huge fields covered, the fundamentals have never been conquered. To compound the ignorance of man, there is a raging debate whether what has turned the world upside down, is a virus or bacteria. The Igbo adage that says: “you must remember where the rain started beating you, in other to remember where it stopped” is applicable here.

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The world must first understand what beguiles it, to discover how to tame the monster. Mimicking popularity, in its duplicity, Covid-19, has turned itself into a world-trophy on a world tour. Starting in Asia, with China, as its epicentre, it wangled its way to Europe, barring its fingers in the city of the old saints, Italy, as the chosen epicentre. After awing European cities, it crossed over to shake hands with the United States of America.

Indeed, the hitherto all-knowing and all powerful, United States of America, is in the throes of strangulation by Covid-19, with her bumbling President Donald Trump, presently arguing dubiously that it is better not to know the extent of the ravaging impact of the virus, by reducing the number of those tested daily. This was after, he had argued that the Covid-19 was a fluke, engineered by the opposition Democratic Party and their foreign collaborators, to derail his second term election, which is due by September this year.

From initially denying the existence of the virus, Trump turned his twitter skills, like an enchanter, to boasting that the USA was by far, the country with the highest capacity to test more people than the whole of the world put together. When the use of ventilator appeared to be the containment for Covid-19, Trump, tuned his boast to the production of ventilators. He again boasted that the USA was producing more ventilators that the whole world put together.

From the North America, the pandemic veered to South America, with Brazil as the epicentre. With about 1.3 million confirmed cases, over 57,100 deaths, as I write this piece, there are demonstrations for and against the handling of the epidemic by President Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Some of his critics have argued that his handling of the virus has decimated the Brazilian economy. While he was initially dismissive of the virus and the measures advised by the World Health Organisation, the Brazilian economy is expected to contract by about 4.7 per cent this year.

So, Covid-19, has become a monstrous monster in the mould of the science fiction thriller: Godzilla versus Kong. Creatures so huge and destructive that it walks on skyscrapers, spewing fire that burns physical objects into ashes in its trail. Unfortunately, Covid-19 is a real and deadly deal. Interestingly, while Trump, is at the head of the bumbling team of leaders, in their handling of Covid-19 pandemic, there are leaders who have exhibited grip and dexterity in their dealing with the pandemic.

One of such leaders, the world looks upon, is the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Yes, the same leader that our dear President Muhammadu Buhari, joked to, about women’s place, being in the other room. While political commentators describe her as lame duck, considering that she may be near the end of her political career, she has been praised for her handling of the pandemic. From Europe to America, the praises have been high. According to The Atlantic: “For weeks now, Germany’s leader has deployed her characteristic sentimentality, to guide the country through what has thus far been a relatively successful battle against Covid-19.”

With the fear that Africa may become the next epicentre of the pandemic, states must brace up, to contain the feared implosion. From no testing centres, at the onset of the pandemic, in the entire old Northern Nigeria, and former Eastern Nigeria, many states now have two to three testing centres; Kaduna and Kano states for instance. Also, the PPE’s are being manufactured in thousands, while the reagents are more readily available, making more tests possible.

Of course, the numbers have begun to shoot up, with Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of the country and the nation’s epicentre of the Covid-19, having a lion share, as expected. The testing capacity of Lagos, is probably as much as the rest of the country put together, and it has built many isolation centres to fight the scourge. Enugu State, which has been relatively safe comparatively, even though some have argued that the testing capacity is lacking, has taken the bull by the horn, to wrestle the Covid-19 beast.

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, (Gburugburu) has assured stakeholders that he is up to the task. With the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital’s (UNTH) testing centre up and running, he has set up a highly technical Expert Medical Advisory Committee, led by Professor Emmanuel Ejim, a professor of medicine and a consultant cardiologist, to map out strategies and organize the state to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Of the world leaders mentioned in this piece, Ugwuanyi, approximates closest to Germany’s Angela Merkel, who does not play politics with every opportunity, unlike presidents Trump of USA and Bolsonaro of Brazil.

The governor, who is press shy and meek, no doubt, has an uncommon connection to the ordinary people in the state, and critics have interpreted that as a weakness. But despite initial criticisms on this page, he has successfully tamed the farmers/herders’ clashes in the state, without climbing the roof top to gloat about it. Going forward, Covid-19, is another governance challenge, he must ride to submission. The Prof Ejim led committee, with the like of Dr. Emeka Onoh, a public health physician, with United Kingdom qualifications, must help Governor Ugwuanyi, to contain the feared Covid-19 implosion in the state.



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