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COVID-19 rumblings, honourable plagiarism and other stories

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My dear neighbour eku lockdown, we have not seen for a long while because of coronavirus pandemic. Thank God for the relaxed lockdown. A lot of things are running riot in my head to discuss with you. But, first, can you please lend me some money, I am dead broke”.

“Hmm, You had better not put your life in a naughty corner like some African leaders have done to their country.”

“What are you implying? So I am now worthless for asking for a ‘common’ loan”?

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“Please don’t take offence. I was only trying to let know about the heartbreaking report of one African country that has mortgaged its sovereignty as its creditor now run major infrastructure and has taken over its police department in the country”?

“Really! But why is it always Africa. Is Africa doomed not to produce leaders with sagacity? In the last thirty years, Africa has had to deal with the same ugly issues of poor leadership, arrested development and huge foreign debts. Yet, it watches as other continents move while remaining on the same spot despite its wealth in mineral resources? Indeed, most if not all the political leaders in Africa are a study in what leaders should not represent”.

“I think it is high time African leaders struck a balance and hit the ground running to catch up with the rest of the world”

“Hmm, good talk indeed! How will Africa achieve such progress when its leaders continue to inoculate the continent’s economy with loans that have toxic conditions and are therefore inimical to development”?

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“You should be optimistic at least for once. Why don’t you see anything good in African leaders”?

“You don’t get the point. There is a lot that African leaders can do other than seek ‘Greek loans’ abroad.

As we speak, West African leaders are earnestly looking for debt forgiveness from their creditors under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) umbrella because of coronavirus pandemic. Now tell me, is the COVID-19 ravaging only the ECOWAS countries or the entire world? The most annoying part is that President Muhammadu Leko Buhari happily accepted the extra burden to lead the region’s campaign for debt forgiveness, another blow you may say to poor governance”.

“I think the National Assembly needs to step-up on its oversight functions and question what these loans are spent on.”

“You talk as if you just arrived in the country from a foreign land. Is it not the same National Assembly the other day that took a sprint trying to jump the gun and pass a questionable Nigeria’s infectious disease bill within the shortest possible time in the history of bill passage? A Bill that would compel every Nigerian to have a dose of a vaccine that would earn you a certificate, failure to be certified as vaccinated means that Nigerian would not be allowed to purchase air tickets, board flights or move about in public places. If the bill scales through, it will open the door to a new set of the legal and constitutional quagmire. Much as it is almost entirely word for word plagiarism from Singapore infectious disease Act of 1977”.

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“Hmmm, wonders, they say, shall never end. Is this the sort of issue to raise and discuss on the floor of the House at a time Nigerians need palliative to survive covid-19 lockdown? Does it mean such a law will help the Nigerian economy to grow and make Nigerians prosper”?

“Obviously, I am more scared of our present-day political leaders than the coronavirus that is ravaging the world. The way they run the affairs of government is unimaginable. Political leaders seem to be doing Nigerians bojuboju and are therefore very economical with the truth about the situation of things”.

“You are beginning to drift towards hate speech. I forgot that I was warming my last supper. Let me come and be going before they arrest us for not keeping physical distancing”.

“Ehen, what do you think about the dilemma Nigerians are facing in China and the delayed evacuation of stranded Nigerians”?

“Please why are you bringing politics into this? Don’t you know China is a big brother to the ruling government”.

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“Who is talking about politics and what has big brother got to with injustice and maltreatment? I am saying Nigeria’s government should in strong terms condemn the deplorable treatment on Nigerians in China and find a way to evacuate its citizens there. I express a great disgust at the way Africans generally are being treated in China. Yet, they come here to milk the continent of its resources with government protection in the name of investors”.

“Okay, you may be right, but who are we to blame for the deplorable treatment Nigerians receive back here at home”?

“I have warned you: Don’t drag me into making political comments. I have to go at once”.

“Do you know that COVID-19 has brought about a new normal in the way we do things currently”?

“What are you trying to insinuate? What is normal under covid-19 lockdown?

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“You mean you aren’t seeing the way things are taking new shape? For instance, handshake, suspension of public gathering like Church and Mosque among others, even the Almajiri system, a way of life derived from the Arabic word ‘al-Muhajirun’ as controversial as it is has enjoyed popularity spanning centuries to see a person leave his home in search of Islamic knowledge. But, with the coronavirus pandemic, a unanimous decision seems to have been taken to ban Almajiri system in the North”.

“Hmm, another seven wonders of the world unfolding. Perhaps, the COVID-19 outbreak is a blessing in disguise as some young elements in the North overtime have been questioning the continued practice of the Almajiri system plus poor political leadership that has bedevilled the region even in the twenty-first Century”. More so, many of the Almjairi children are not well taken care of. Therefore, they derail from Islamic learning to other nefarious activities. No serious government would tolerate such a social challenge to befall it.

“You seem to be crying more than the bereaved”.

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“Why not? Nigeria would be better for it if its young population are better trained and managed. In that sense, the nation could be a hub for tech companies and high manufacturing. Of course, agriculture will have room to grow with the nation’s vast and fertile land”.

“I see patriotism written all over you. Have you forgotten that our politicians have achieved all these long-ago through rhetoric? Even with spotty electricity, glacial internet speed, pot-hole riddled highways are all achievements in the sight of government”.

“Iwo lo mo, I think the government is highly overwhelmed and devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. All their good intensions are darkened as the COVID-19 virus rages on. May God deliver us”.

“You speak as if the government’s palliatives have reached you”.

“Thank you jare for reminding me, let me go and begin my hustle for daily bread before the eased lockdown time expires for the day”.

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