There is a popular saying among the Igbo of South east Nigeria that, “the circumstances surrounding the birth of a child is immaterial. The child is here. He must survive. The same thing can be said about the COVID organic, which Madagascar, the supposed tiny African country developed from its natural resources in response to the rampaging coronavirus that has already claimed hundreds of lives with millions more infected. All it is asking for is a chance to prove its worth.
That country is so proud of the efficacy of the substance that her President was seen in the media gulping it down just to prove that something good can indeed “come out of Nazareth”. Madagascar is recommending it to other African countries as a cure for the virus attack.
We are glad that some African countries are listening. Nigeria, for one, has already taken delivery of a consignment of the drug. But we are worried that the government is pussy footing on the use of the drug because of concerns by “Big Pharma” in Europe and America in cahoots with their lackeys in the country, especially the orthodox medical practitioners, who are insisting on a bogus scientific verification.
Since the outbreak of the disease, Madagascar has relied on that substance with convincing results based on the low infections and even lower death figures among its people. One may be tempted to ask, what other verification does anyone need to authenticate the efficacy of the African brew? Madagascans dared to use themselves as guinea pigs. That, in our view, is assurance enough for anyone to ignore the biases of the western world who see nothing of benefit coming out of what in their racist propensities is “the Dark Continent”. But we recall the “Africa has come of age” speech of the late General Murtala Mohammed and urge the continent to forge ahead with the actualisation of its vision and mission for its people of which the good news from Madagascar is part.
Nigeria must not forget that dry gin produced in Sapele was once branded illicit gin by the colonialists just because they needed to discredit it as a way of preserving the market for whiskey from Europe. We appreciate the concerns of the World Health Organization (WHO) in its assessment of the miracle drug from Africa. However, we also admonish it not to forget that it owes itself a duty to be sensitive to the sensibilities of the African continent, with countries that are due-paying members of the body and who had suffered enough racist slur.
We give WHO the right to put its views in the public space just for the records but it must learn to do so in a manner that will not, in the end, shake the confidence Africa has in it as a world body. For its own credibility, it must be open-minded in its utterances.
Truth be told, if that COVID organic had been developed in laboratories in New York, Paris or London, by now the whole world will be queuing to have a go at it. The Nobel Committee would be considering a scientific prize for those who developed it. They are embarrassed that an African country that is not even among the big league players in the continent is making serious waves claiming to have produced a substance that can be the saving grace for the world against the deadly monster called Covid-19. The claim is serious enough to challenge the scientific ingenuity of the western world almost decimated by the virus.
In our opinion, it demands to be noted that, the Wisdom of Solomon has nothing to do with the age of Methuselah. Madagascar was confronted with a challenge. That country refused to be limited by its size and perceived “backwardness”. The people looked inwards for a solution and they found one. What they deserve is commendation for not making any excuses.
If the world can be fair to Africa for once, the COVID organic from Madagascar ought to be a take off point for further studies into what can be done to tame the coronavirus beast. The ongoing argument is, in our considered opinion, a waste of time. As we say in Nigeria, it is akin to chasing rats while the house is on fire.
While Nigeria is on the matter of finding a remedy for Covid-19, we posit, as a newspaper, that the Madagascar initiative ought to be an encouragement to the country’s scientists who are begging for a recognition of their efforts. They insist that they have produced substances that can help in bringing under effective control Covid-19. All they need is the benefit of doubt.