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COVID-19: What hope has the common man?


Sir: Without doubt, the coronavirus since its outbreak in China and subsequent spread to other part of the world especially the big names, the world has witnessed confusion, not knowing which way next to go. China, Trump’s U.S., UK, Hassan Rouhani’s Iran, Putin’s Russia, Sisi’s Egypt, Korea and whole lot of other self-acclaimed world powers have their names topped the list of cases recorded in the world. Though, while some are already getting free from the shackles of the virus, the geometric progression at some other places is alarming. The continuous spread of the virus to the African countries is the latest as top African countries such as South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and of course the Giant of Africa and economic capital of the continent, Nigeria are now caught in the web of the disease. 

When countries regarded as world powers are kept on their toes running and working for hours without rest and some in the case of Italy have lost hope completely thereby relying on help from heaven, the big question that flips through one’s mind is ‘‘What is the hope of the common man?’’ What is the hope for the common man such as an underdeveloped nation which relies largely on its colonial masters for survival and sluggish advancement? The Yoruba proverb which reads “bi Ina na jo ni, to jo omo eni, tara eni lan koko pa” (if one is caught in fire with one’s child, you quench the fire on you before thinking of the child) comes to play. How would a household be safe when the father is caught up in trouble? Obviously, without mincing words, the chances are slim when the children still independently depend on him. 

Fast forwarded to the invasion in Africa, the big names recorded as victims around us keeps the heart trembling in fear and little or no hope. Burkina Faso’s number two citizens, British Minister for Health, Iranian Prime Minister and the most recent of them; Nigerian president’s Chief of Staff would make the body sweat profusely. If this caliber of people coupled with their wide access to medical and health facilities almost at the expense of the state, mighty and hefty security, all basic resources could be faced with this sought and even some lost their lives, it could be deduced the ordinary man walking on the streets with little access to quality health, security, high risk of mingling, roaming round the community, struggling to make ends meet, working round the clock to have the basic needs of man has no hope. If the world powers could be on their knees calling for help, who would the common man beckon on and put his hope? No other would be able to as the Yorubas will say “temi tomi leru” (mine is enough load for me).
Shotonwa Waheed wrote from Benin City.


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