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What our leaders sow, they reap

By Martins Oloja
29 March 2020   |   4:11 am
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap; For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption; But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

President Buhari

‘Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap; For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption; But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good: for in due season we will reap, if we do not lose heart’. (Gal.6: 7-9).

‘Since we cannot fly them out to the U.K, my opinion is that every Nigerian politician who has tested positive to COVID-19 should be transferred to any well equipped world-class hospital in his ward or local government of origin’ (Dr. Penking@drpenking).

DR. Penking’s short comment summarises the significance of the ancient word above, which reminds us of what I have been harping on here: that indeed we are in a period of consequences – for our actions. Specifically, Dr. Penking’s satirical Tweet should be cast on a marble.

This is indeed a moment of truth; I once noted here we can’t hide in a grave anymore. It is a period of consequences for our leaders at all levels. It is still incredible that some of the visible, influential, powerful ones in office and power here have tested positive to COVID-19. It is interesting that these our big men need authentic test kits. We need continued diagnosis. It means we need more good medical laboratories. We need more ventilators. We don’t have enough test kits. We don’t make vaccines. We don’t have good hospitals.

We have good medical scientists who need modern equipment to function. Our medical experts have become permanent protesters for good healthcare. They have become trade unionists. We don’t have modern hospitals in 36 states and 774 local governments where our leaders hail from. They always fly over all these challenges in the health sector. They have always flown and fled to the U.K., U.S, U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, South Africa, Sudan, etc. Most of our best medical scientists have become brain gain to the West. They treat their leaders (from home) wherever they work as expatriate doctors.

So many social media commentators have been making jest of the leaders. One of their daughters even said, no tears for them including his father on this leveller called coronavirus. She says, ‘…the earth is cleansing itself”. Her mother is said to have quipped: ‘I told you so… The hospitals that they refused to fix are now fixing them…” There is this comic relief that is so apt: from inside life: Hahaha, Governors are waiting for results they cannot rig…’

This is not a time to mock those in distress. This is a time to show our humanity. The sick need our sympathy and our prayers. But it is a time to remind those in authority too as I often do here that ‘you can keep truth in a grave but it wont stay there’. A time of distress and adversity is a time leaders are made and marred. It is therefore a time to face consequences of actions and inactions. Our leaders at all levels are adjudged to have failed us. They have never represented us. They have accepted to be called scoundrels. They need to be told some inconvenient truths at this time. The message here, therefore, is that they can all see that now that they badly need the health sector they have all failed to develop. From Calabar through Abuja to Maiduguri, it is a reproach, our reproach!

Suddenly, international engagement rules have been suspended. The new deal is: stay where you are. Stay in your house, in your country for now – even if you are healthy and wealthy. Suddenly, our mighty ones have to visit the health centres they built for the poor. They didn’t build any for themselves, anyway. Suddenly, they need isolation centres in their states of residence or origin. Even the capital of the federation and its neighbouring states can’t boast of ideal Centres of Diseases Control (CDC). While the powerful leveller was aboard from China, they all dozed off. As another anonymous commentator wrote at the weekend, ‘…suddenly, wealth no longer counts. Their private jets are useless. You are confined to just one room in your mansion. You can no longer drive freely with your convoy. Nowhere to lavish your money. No parties to attend. All of a sudden, the only thing that matters is just to breathe. This is nature and reality check on all of us, one more time. This is God reminding us that that the most precious gift in life is the air we breathe. Could this be a time for sober reflecion? Life is telling us the world that the Supreme God still watches, and has the universe in His hands…’

Before we continue with reflection on other data and consequences, let’s remind our leaders who have failed us especially since 1999 that what we are reaping now is what we have all sown. Some of our leaders have eaten sour grapes (since 1999) and the citizens’ teeth are today set on edge. It is not about the current administration and state governors alone. Those who will bear this guilt and examine their conscience are in the two dominant political parties. They have all been around since 1999. They killed all our federal and state Teaching Hospitals. They killed even the University College Hospital, Ibadan, once one of the best four in the Commonwealth.

All of them have seen that when we sow wind, we will reap whirlwind. All of our duty bearers have seen the power of responsibility. They have seen the power of focusing on internal dynamics in one’s country first before talking and dreaming of permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council? What is the worth of permanent membership of the UN Security Council if we cannot have more than five functional test centres for more than 200 million people at such a time like this? This is a time to tell our leaders who don’t understand that ‘welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’ to conquer themselves through this COVID-19 huge challenge.

They should now note that our country should come first, not Dubai, not London, not New York City, when they want to invest, when they want to keep their loot. Our leaders who have invested in hospitals in South Africa, Ghana, Benin Republic, Zimbabwe should now bear in mind that it may come to pass that they cannot access their hospitals in other countries. Did they envisage at all that a small weapon of mass destruction can emerge like a thief in the night to the extent that they can’t fly over such weapons to another country for safety? The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire have been hit by this deadly weapon. They will be treated in Canada. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne have tested positive too.

They will be treated in the U.K. There so many world leaders who have tested positive to the made-in-China virus but there have been no speculations about where they are being treated. One of Nigeria’s most powerful figures, Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, for instance, is said to have tested positive. No official statement, no denial. But no one is aware of where he is being treated even as there are unconfirmed reports that he has been receiving treatment in the U.K. There were video reports last night that our leader, Muhammadu Buhari had emerged from some curious self-isolation. The Vice President too Professor Yemi Osinbajo has been on self-isolation as widely reported. The National Assembly, where the third and forth citizens emerge according to our Order of National Precedence for Public Officers too have been on strange recess at a time like this. The Supreme Court with the 5th citizen (CJN) has been on some partial shutdown. So the Three-Arms Zone in Abuja has been partially locked down.

By the way, wherever our leader has emerged from, he needs to know that we have missed his sense of direction, his leadership at this time. But he needs to reflect too on the fact that this is not a time that silence is golden. He needs to know that his long silence at a time like this has produced some sounds of speculations about the state of the presidency. But the report some of us have chosen to believe from the sound of silence is that it is well with Nigeria’s presidency as the president yesterday reportedly received briefs from the Health Minister on COVID-19.

But then we need to know the whereabouts of the Chief of Staff who doesn’t have a Deputy. If there is no briefing about the state of the presidency in time, there are bound to be innuendoes nurtured by speculations about the implications of his absence at these critical times. Some professional speculators may cite authorities that there is a correlation between the long silence of the president and curious disappearance of his powerful Chief of Staff. This is a time for strategic management of perception about our presidency. There is a time for everything as I often quote here.

Lest we forget, our leader should use this opportunity to reflect on the ancient statement that ‘what we sow is what we will reap’. It is now clear that democratically governments in the country have since 1999 failed to invest robustly on the health sector we need at this time. It is not about the leaders treatment at this time. It is about the people who have not seen any glimmer of hope. Lagos State, for instance may face 39, 000 cases sooner than later from projections from contact tracing last night.

Can we survive that as they reported last night that Nigeria is already going the way of Italy and Spain? As the nation is grateful to the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19, (CACOVID TEAM), there should be a concomitant committee to look into our Budget for Health, and indeed our hospitals. If the State House Clinic, Abuja can get more allocations than all the federal Teaching Hospitals in the country, we should know where the rains actually began to beat us, in this regard. Therefore, there is this urgent need to sow today unto the health sector so that we can reap good life, lest we will blame our leaders including President Buhari for failing Nigeria, the hope of the back race.