By Golu Timothy |
One of the obvious indices of a developing nation and a developing leadership is the needless and unnecessary divisions on issues that should ordinarily enjoy common understanding and national acceptability. If its people or leadership are divided on such common matters, then the implementation of any policy covering it becomes equally difficult or is poorly done.
This conversation has in mind the contentious issue of the running covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged and is ravaging nations of the world. While developed nations took it with all the expertise seriousness that it deserves with concrete policies and sanctions put in place for implementation and violation respectively, developing countries chose to play politics with it and in some cases, use it as channels of misappropriating scarce state resources.
Many people have died across nations due to the emergence of the corona virus which took and shook the entire world by surprise including the so called world powers who always boast of being ready to confront any human challenge at any given time.
This one has dumbfounded the bigger nations with no explanation until the recent and hurried discovery of vaccines which are expected to prevent infection through immunization.
To this end, vaccines were discovered and certified through clinical trials and shipped to nations to curb the infection of the stubborn virus. Respective world leaders had to be immunized publicly before cameras for most of their subjects to believe that the vaccines are good and safe for the people.
The fear of the vaccines is mostly among the developing countries of Africa who believe strongly on the theory that the western world may be targeting the depopulation of the continent so as to take over the untapped wealth of the black people. Clips of nocturnal meetings of the white folks are everywhere in which they could be heard boldly talking about the need to drastically reduce the world population especially of those poor people living in poor countries of poor continents.
That’s why the arrival of the vaccines in Nigeria was greeted with suspicion. It took the public demonstration by President Muhammadu Buhari himself for many to believe that it was safe. Even with that, many doubting Thomases would say the one taken by the President may be the original or that it may have been anti-malarial vaccines.
Therefore, the authenticity, potency or otherwise of the covid-19 vaccines have become the main issue before us now. Many people are afraid of being vaccinated because of doubt and suspicion.
The debate on the outbreak of the pandemic itself came with serious politicization even among the political leadership of the country. Some governors came out publicly and challenged the existence of the disease and the federal government could not do much. For instance, up till this moment, the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello is not convinced about the pandemic. Bello refused officials of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC from accessing his state without a word from the federal government through the Federal Ministry of health.
The NCDC is a department of the federal ministry of health in charge of disease surveillance and control. Part of its responsibilities is to sensitize and raise public awareness about new diseases and in this case, COVID-19. While many state governors quickly keyed into the belief and enlightened their subjects, Bello refused to belief. He openly declared that it is not true and that it was a ploy by officials of government to achieve sundry objectives with it. I salute the courage of the Kogi governor because no official of the NCNC or the FMOH has come out publicly to respond to Bello’s challenge. They kept talking in hush tones though.
As at today, Yahaya Bello stood tall in demystifying the scourge in the minds of many because no one has come out to overcome his challenge. Even with the vaccines, he said it is a ploy to introduce the disease by way of vaccination and immunization, which no one again, has come out to challenge. Governor Bello is a politician and a political leader; his words have a strong influence not only on his supporters but fellows of politics regardless of political affiliation.
Recall the initial skepticism about the reality of covid-19. Many, including the writer, have raised a lot of issues concerning the matter because of the explanatory confusion and conflicting descriptions by those who should know. When it first broke out even the federal ministry of health and her experts had little or nothing to say. They were taken off-guard. Because of this, there were so many theories surrounding its understanding and misunderstanding.
Now, the major issue before the nation is the unwillingness of many people to accept the vaccines without believing any negative theory. But how can that be achieved when those who should lead the sensitization are divided and the federal government is not doing enough to create the needed awareness?
The presidential task force is an administrative structure that initiates and guides the implementation of protocols without delving into indebt discussions, analysis and sensitisation that touches the nooks and crannies of the 36 states of the federation and FCT and the 774 LGAs.
All ministers, Governors, heads of MDAs, Senators, House of Representative Members, State Assembly Legislators, LGA Chairmen and Councilors must all be involved. Political parties and NGOs/CSOs and faith base organisations, FBOs must all be awakened by the President to do this work otherwise, the monies and time spent on the vaccines will be a colossal waste. Many people are yet to believe that covid-19 is real and would not also believe in the vaccines. Part of the suspicion has to do with the accelerated development of vaccines for the pandemic within the shortest historic time when other underlying ailments such as HIV/AIDS, TB, Diabetics, etc are yet to have a cure.
To avoid any surprising situation in future and to avoid the semblance of the damage done by the Wild Polio Virus, WPV in the past when some persons refused to accept the Oral Polio vaccines, OPVs, governments at all levels, led by the FG, must move proactively and within time to sensitize and convince Nigerians on the reality of the virus, authenticity and safety of the vaccines for the smooth health growth and development of Nigerians.