These are horrible times. These are horrid times. These are horrific times. And in these horrible, horrid and horrific times in our land nothing is delicately delicate in any positive usage or application of the term. We are all horror-struck, horror-stricken. Anything that is anything, any something that is something, is not anything or something any longer in our land. In this our dear, very dear land we don’t discern anything or something hortatory from what we see or perceive or inhale or hear or feel or smell. And this year shall go down before our very eyes as our great annus mirabilis, our great year of wonders, our great year of catastrophes. And all our writers and preachers of homiletics in our respective places, sanctuaries, churches and mosques and temples on this score will suffer sooner or later from different kinds of delirium tremens unknown to them and us all. And our annus mirabilis will turn into our annus horribilis that will stupefy them and us all as we enter a state of horrification. As a matter of fact, we are very near this state now.
As for our president, 2020 will enter our history books as his anno regni, the year of disaster or misfortune, that is, the annus horribilis of his reign as king-president of our country. Or so it seems.
Or is anybody contesting this in this horrifying year of coronavirus that General Muhammadu Buhari, our GMB, cannot wipe out of our terrain as a war general? What a really disastrous war that our great general and president, cannot outwit and decimate despite the arsenal at his beck-and-call and disposal? Or is he not giving the correct orders to his commanders in the battle fields in our respective states? The secretary to the government of the federation, the central minister of health, the director-general of the NCDC (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) and other members of the respective companies, platoons and rescue brigades, what are they really up to? Are they merely interested in the billions upon billions that many prominent philanthropists have contributed and donated to the central army to send permanently coronavirus to bed in the deadly and dreadful disease’s permanent abode beyond and outside our realm of life and existence? This disease that has killed GMB’s chief-of-staff, this disease that has killed a former governor of Oyo State, this disease that has killed traditional rulers and sundry prominent personages in Kano State, this disease that has killed many citizens, prominent and not so prominent persons, elsewhere in our land, this disease that has kept several governors of our respective states in the coolers of self-isolation, is not a disease to be treated any longer with kid gloves.
GMB’s rescue brigades should finish it off completely and selflessly now. We must succeed in doing this without paying heed to what is going on elsewhere in these horrible times harder than the “hard times” of Charles (John Huffam) Dickens (1812-1870), English famed novelist and social critic, who penned the great novel bearing the well known universally popular title of his book of fictional realism in the Victorian period (28 June 1873-22 January, 1901). We are Nigerians who must not hold our horses in the war against the horrid pandemic, this horrifying disease that has closed our schools and that is preventing us from re-opening them.
As I am writing this, the debate is on and raging regarding whether our schools should re-open now or not. Some short-sighted governors whose sense of our civil war history is jaundiced are keen on re-opening the schools in their states. They are supported it seems by some selfish, greedy bunch of school proprietors whose purposes are absolutely anti-the pupils and the concerned and patriotic teachers in their schools and colleges. We will and shall lose nothing absolutely if our schools and colleges don’t reopen now. It is those who live and are alive who should inhabit our schools and colleges.
Let our schools remain the desolate sterility they are now until GMB’s brigades of expert compel coronavirus to no more have real contact with and between our people – pupils, students and their parents and teachers and their immediate families. In our 1967-1970 civil war all schools and colleges as well as the University of Nigeria in “Biafra” were on lock-down. Even in some places in Eastern and Mid-Western Nigeria schools and colleges were closed for a pretty long spell.
After the war when things returned to normal or near normal those who survived returned to revive the drab and dead schools. Pupils and students returned to their respective schools to re-start and to do their external examinations ably supported by the respective governments – federal and state. Graduating students and non-graduating students started a-new. They paid the tough price they had to pay even though they were not the architects of the aforesaid war. Now we are facing a war worse than our 1967 -1970 civil war. And this coronavirus war is also worse and more dreadful than a guerilla war-fare. Maybe I am saying what I am saying too simplistically. But there is absolute truth which underlines my concern for the humanity of our fellow compatriots and people in these horrible times.
On the 11th, 13th, 16th, 27th and 29th of June and on the 3rd and 6th of July, 2020 this paper published several reports and stories of depth relating to why schools and colleges should not re-open now or in the foreseeable future regardless of whatever guidelines the central government is issuing forth. I align myself with all concerned parents and our patriotic unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and others who say a capital NO to the obsessions of those who want to make a living – and who, as a point of fact, have been making a living – out of our vulnerable compatriots and people in these horrible times.
If and when the horrifying Coronavirus disease spikes here, sooner or later, do we as at now have a well prepared army that can from time to time manage to rescue a pupil, a young girl or woman, or an adolescent or an elderly elder from the massacre of the devil, this devil, of a pandemic? And those who have lost their jobs and means of livelihood, who are without fuss waiting to die without wishing to commit suicide who is he who has or who are they who have taken a stance to counter their condition? Where are the rich and dense palliatives from the central and states’ governments to stop them from departing from us before their destined appointed times of leaping into the darkness of the other divide?
As an artist, I am searching for what I cannot immediately see to save us from our horrible times. Until our scientists and medical doctors discover what we cannot discover our present circumstances may not, will not urgently and immediately change. And our annus horribilis will remain our annus horribilis in our wearisome wasteland. May we not die in a bad mood in these horrid times of horrid times we must disallow from sinking us all and our country that is our country that we must rise up to defend in unison. GMB cannot and must not allow who he is to be betrayed further by the haunting air about him and us now. This is the only country we have, and he must play well his part before he leaves his ROCK and leaps from his throne that coronavirus must not wrench him from. He must not be a casualty of the war of these horrible times. He should annihilate this deadly and deadly enemy now!
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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