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Coro: No to premature celebrations! PMBs June 12 speech: A front-page analysis

Two weeks ago, I anticipatorily celebrated the resumption of public worship scheduled for 21/6/20, bade bye to my Holy Cross online Parish and Parishioners and   we (my family) started preparing for a return to our Parish (OLSOW, Okota, Lagos). But it was not to be and as such, on 21/6/20, I was still at my online parish and TV mass. That Sunday, the “popular side” at a whole Holy cross cathedral consisted of just 3 Revered Sisters! Archbishop Martins saw the  continued suspension of public worship as unfortunate and sad but reminded us that “All things work for good…(Romans, 8:28), that  we should give thanks in all things we should give thanks( 1 Thess,5:18) and to the 3m Catholics in Lagos and indeed to all Nigerians, he said DO NOT BE Afraid (Mt 10).

This suspension of public worship is because Lagos State and a few other sub-national governments treated all religious organisations as the same, ignoring the differences in structure and modus operandi. This approach will continue to elicit resentment, particularly from those who are willing and capable of resuming public worship. However, life goes on

We experienced  an unprecedented open heavens in Lagos for three days (18-20 June) and it appeared that we were in for another  “Noah scenario” except that God had promised never to flood the world out of existence again (Genesis 9:11) But that Sunday (21/6/20) the weather was mercifully dry and so, I went out for my usual circa 3km daily walk (at an elders  pace). I was alarmed to notice that 98 percent of the people I met along the road had no face masks while 95 percent had no regard for physical distancing. This is despite the declaration by one Wilfred Okiche that the face mask had become the new condom while the saying, ‘united we stand’ has been transformed to “separated we survive”.

On 16/6/20, somebody sent me a message titled “a gentle reminder”, showing the CORO numbers for the 16th of April, May and June. It was alarming. However, I decided to extend it from the 23rd of February to the 23rd of June and got the following figures February,0; March, 36; April 873; May,7526 and June, 2019!!! Note the frightening galloping from April and May and then from May to June. On 18/6, we had the highest daily record (745 new cases) while on 21/6/20, the world had the highest global record (183,000/day). Africa now has more than 300000 cases while Brazil has exceeded 1m cases with 50,000 deaths.

This is a bombshell! What was his motive? To show that NCDC/FMH do not know what they are doing? To show that Kano was doing it better than NCDC? To prove that he was not clueless in the war against coro? What did he achieve by this world news conference?

These figures “no de smile at all”; they indicate that “agwo no na akirika” (there is a snake atop the thatched roof). It appears that our people have forgotten that the easing up (both here and elsewhere) is not because “agha-ebigo” (the war is over); it is because of “how-for-do” (we don’t have much option!) and thus they ignore the recent warning of WHO that CORO is still accelerating! The DG, of National Orientation Agency, while presenting the 2nd report of the agency’s sensitisation activities,   stated that disbelief on the impact and danger of coro still persists with statements like ‘there is no coro in Nigeria, our religious leaders say that coro is not real’; high incidence of non-compliance with distancing, face mask and stay at home and that in the cities where there was initial high compliance, people are letting down their guards  and most of those who wear facemasks do so to avoid harassment by policemen (Guardian, 20/2/20) This is sad and saddening.

These figures and other Coro-related reports show that we have to gird our loins.  Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is on treatment, 13 Imo lawmakers just tested positive; 20 LGS in Nigeria account for 60 percent of the cases (with the top 4 from Lagos, 3 and Kano, 1) 80 percent of these infected with Coro are not in Isolation centres,  in Ogun, state, 104 cases were traced to one company while in Kaduna a private school was conducting entrance exams under this lockdown. We need to be more careful

 The DG of WHO also said that “The politicisation of the pandemic has exacerbated it. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. However, it appears that across the globe in Nigeria, politicisation of coro goes unabated. Last week, we examined the political dynamics of Coro in Kano State. That same last week, Governor Ganduje of Kano state called a World Press Conference to present ‘a well-researched and a well assembled and concluded report’ which showed that only15.9percent of Kano Mysterious deaths were coro related. He then declared that “The report by the Technical Committee from the Federal Ministry of Health indicating that it was 60 percent, certainly lacked correlation; their data cannot pass the test of time, reliability and validity… you can as well, throw away that investigation into an ocean, because it  signified nothing, reported nothing and misled almost everybody.

This is a bombshell! What was his motive? To show that NCDC/FMH do not know what they are doing? To show that Kano was doing it better than NCDC? To prove that he was not clueless in the war against coro? What did he achieve by this world news conference? What is the impact of that on the public perception, especially in kano, about the war against coro? And he wants or expects the FG and NCDC to collaborate with Kano in this war? The politics of coro is still raging.

Other matters: Buhari’s June 12 Speech: A front-page analysis

Front-Page Analysis (FPA) is a method of socio-economic research that I discovered and embraced two years ago.  Research works usually start with vast, deep and wide literature review, paying homage to those who have made significant inputs into the subject matter. The more the citations the better and at times, these citations and references obfuscate the issue at stake. I am involved. However, about two years ago, I designed the FPA (still being finetuned), which involves simply analysing an issue by examining current and relevant media reports on the matter, rather than lengthy citations. So, anyone who wants to research on (in) security in Nigeria, will just read related media reports of the past, say, 30 days and the matter would have settled itself. So, my analysis of PMBs June 12 speech is based on modified FPA technique because I will just look at one news medium report on a day

Presidential speech was a BIG thing in those days. People usually closed from offices and shops, rushed home and went to the neighbouring bigman’s abode to watch and listen via his Black & White TV, and they did so with rapt attention. And by the time the speech was over, a lot of hope-building quotable-quotes would have been extracted. Gradually, the gap between the rulers and the ruled widened; the speeches became more exclusive and about self-adulation, warnings and threats and most often, there were no more quotable quotes. So, these presidential speeches lost relevance. Since the “I belong to nobody” declaration, I had never sat down to listen to PMBs speech. Even before then, I no longer bothered about presidential speeches. On 12/6/20, however, I decided to listen and I just don’t know why. My wife actually wondered why I should put on the tuke-tuke generator” in this covidious hard times for that purpose.  But I did and when it was over, she asked: how did it go? I responded: ‘the same thing; he said everything was OK. I left it at that.

A few days later, (17/6/20) I decided to revisit the June 12 Speech. I assume most of my readers had read the speech, which showed that we are making serious efforts and achieving significant improvements in all areas of our socio-economic life. The president commended the dedication of our frontline workers, gleefully announced that  “We have recorded notable achievements in the course of implementing our nine priority objectives and are establishing a solid foundation for future success”; that we have, achieved 11 quarters of consecutive GDP growth, with enviable improvements in external reserves, agriculture non-oil exports,  Ease of Doing Business , the power sector(11,000 Megawatts by 2023).

He also announced that we were growing the stock and quality of our road, rail, air and water transport infrastructure, restored peace in the Niger Delta Region and maintained our oil production levels, remained committed to expanding access to quality education, boosted affordable housing , ensured stainable access to safe and sufficient water, prioritised the end of  insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality across the nation, reduced social and economic inequality through targeted social investment programmes, created  774, 000 jobs, strengthened auditing and accountability mechanisms and recorded excellent performance by Anti-Corruption Agencies. He also assured that Nigeria would always be governed by the Rule of Law and expressed deep appreciation to NASS for their invaluable support at all times as well as the press

 As I summarised about 8 am on 12/6/20, the president in effect said that all was well. That was in line with the views of his various oti-nkpu’s (praise-singers). I wondered whether I was/am a part of Nigeria where everything was(is) going up-up!

Beyond sundry online and social media sources (which usually force themselves on me) my core news sources are BusinessDay (daily), Guardian (Saturdays and Sundays) and Channels TV 10pm news (Daily) Later that day (17/6/20) I listened to Channels 10pm news and here were the news highlights. Obaseki and deputy dump APC (under which they captured power); Appeal Court sacks Oshiomhole as APC Chairman; demonstration in Katsina State( Buhari’s backyard) over insecurity, meeting between the Federal Government and Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors deadlocked NNPC says it can’t meet the oil production quota while NASS noted that NNPC violated the  provision in some financial decisions. Other headlines included that Nigeria would spend 18percent of its GDP on infrastructure, Lagos postponed the resumption of public worship, electricity tariff hike to take off in July, African Oil Producers relocate their HQ from Nigeria to Congo and Debt service consumed 100percent of our revenue in the first quarter of 2020.

Just compare these news headlines with the presidential speech of a few days earlier. This is a modified FPA because I just took one news bulletin from one medium in just one day. If I had done that for 30 days and from various media or even for 1 week, the outcome would have been “horriterrible”

 Just the other day, somebody reminded me of my HSC European History Class when he or she stated that King louis14 of France: FAR removed from the sufferings and yearnings of his people while Nosa Igiebor on 1/6/20) had lamented that it was

MOURNING in Nigeria because “The Buhari administration in a parallel world where alternative facts rule and reality is totally distorted…. their narrative, despite the clearly incontrovertible evidence, collides violently with our own reality.

I did not say any of these things and I believe that the PMB government is far removed from we, the people and that their own reality collides violently with our own.

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