• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Introducing… Muoigbo dictionary of Coro

Coro had come like a ‘thief in the night’ (1Thes,5.2), to pluck up, to break and throwdown to destroy and to afflict; (Jere,31:28). However, as it was mauling and remoulding us, life was also going on and one of the outcomes was the expanded vocabulary around this mean, unseen, unknown vicious scourge. Actually, I have been involved in the word-manufacturing business. In my secondary school days (Awka-Etiti High School, 1970-75), I was the self-appointed but generally recognized Commissioner for Vocabularies. I was designing, constructing and distributing all sorts of words and phrases. My only saviour was that I separated the words I created from the official, classroom, English, words and that was why I made a good grades in English Language and Literature ( O’Levels) and Literature ( A’Levels). The problem with the word-manufacturers of today is that they cannot separate their self-made words and terms from the official words and so, they include terms like ‘tinz’ ‘tkns’ ‘llnp’, LOL and kk’ in their exam and official communication and we all know the outcomes. I also went on to become an elected Commissioner for Information and Propaganda at Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall, University of Ibadan, 1978/1979. That is why it is easy to for me to understand this propaganda-based governance model we are running now!

This ‘thing’ started as coronavirus before being baptized as COVID-19 but the new-normal term is ‘Coro’ and when we want to give it due respect, it becomes ‘Oga-Coro’

Anyway, whenever any society experiences socio-economic turmoil, there are always new words and phrases consciously or unconsciously generated to help people face the reality of their situations. During the Biafran war of independence, for instance, several words and phrases were manufactured to suit that horrible period, though most of them have now gone into oblivion. Thus we had ‘ahia-attack’( risky commerce behind enemy lines, mostly undertaken by ladies) ‘awoo’ ( Away Without Official leave), shelling-shock (soldiers whose hearing was impaired by the impact of armoured guns; most of them were pretending). Others were; ‘ogbunigwe’ ( our famed home-made mass-killer); ‘relief’ (just like the palliatives of today), ‘win-the-war’( all efforts to survive the war, especially the hunger of that era), Di gbakwaa oku ( let marriage go to hell; what is the use of a husband; the mindset of young ladies who used what they had to get what they want and believed that marriage was an unnecessary burden). There was also; Kwashiorkor (the ailment caused by protein deficiency; the greatest sickness among children of those days); Ego-Mmege (the crispy and beautiful later-day Biafran currency); ‘ichu-amy ‘(raid; forceful conscription); Biafulu( come and see; you have come to see: consolidated suffering in Biafra) derived from Biafra, when things had become really tough.

So when this stubborn and powerful virus invaded the world in late 2019 and landed in our own shores through the ‘index case’ in February 2020, the usual word-manufacturing business boomed as usual. Some are fresh, some are old but became revived, some are manufactured by the son of man and some are manufactured by others. However, these new words showcased here are as they are used in Nigeria. This ‘thing’ started as coronavirus before being baptized as COVID-19 but the new-normal term is ‘Coro’ and when we want to give it due respect, it becomes ‘Oga-Coro’. Somebody who tests positive is either ‘coronised’ (suffering from ‘coronisation’) or ‘covided’ and the degree of resulting sickness is either ‘coroness’ or ‘coviodity’ while ‘covidious’ is something related to ‘coro’ (eg, a covidius apparel). An environment may also be ‘coronal’ or ‘coviding’( favourable to Coro and one may behave coronally ( like coughing wickedly) while the person who refuses to fear coro is ‘covidiot’ and those who fear coro the most call it ‘gorilla-virus’

When Coro got out of hand ,we had ‘lockup’, and ‘lockdown’(and later there was ‘opening-up’) while those who are already ‘coronised’ are subjected to ‘lock-in’ at the ‘isolation-centres’ where ‘active cases’ are treated, while others regressed to the ‘ICUs’, especially those with ‘underlining illnesses’, where ‘ventilators’ became sure-bankers. Our ‘confirmed’ cases kept rising but the ‘fatalities’ are low though the ‘positivity’ rate is higher but we still have more ‘negative’ than ‘positive’ results while we mistakenly thought we had ‘flattened the curve’. The thing ‘spiked’, when we ‘ramped’ up the tests, it got to the ‘peak’ of 1964 on 21/1/21 Most of the patients are ‘asymptomatic’ even though we have moved from ‘epidemic’ to ‘pandemic’ to ‘pandemonium’ (we pray it does not become an ‘endemic’) especially in the developed world while some saw it as ‘PLANdemic’ (stage-managed). Journalists are clamouring to be recognized as ‘frontline workers’, (after all, Nigeria was a member of the frontline states during the liberation struggle) for whom scarcity of ‘PPE’ is a key challenge.

Former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa

We are threatened by Oga-Coro, which spreads through tiny but powerful ‘droplets’ but former Sokoto State Governor, Atahiru Bafarawa believes that ‘bandit-virus’ is more potent while the poor ( about 60% of Nigerians) are more afraid of the ‘hunger virus’. In the forefront of the WAC( War Against Coro) are the Boss of the PTF( the last PTF was bossed by PMB), the gentleman, Oyibo DG of NCDC and the various ‘incident commanders’ but Lagos has been the unchangeable ‘epicenter’ while the ‘Coro-exit strategy’ is being designed at Abuja. As we were getting used to the various types of ‘facemasks’ ( medical, cloth and N97), ‘anti-maskers’ emerged while ‘jaw-masks’ became more fashionable as ‘sanitizers’ became the new gold while people perfected the art of ‘criminal entrepreneurship’ by hoarding, diverting or overpricing the palliatives donated by CACOVID ( Coalition against COVID and ICRFG,( Igbo-Ukwu Coronavirus Relief Group, amongst others. This led to the ‘weaponisation’ of coro (coro as a weapon of enrichment). But there was reverse-palliatives as the people started palliativising the government through higher VAT, electricity and fuel prices, sundry levies and lower Interest Rate! We then introduced ‘protocols’ and ‘advisories’ for everything(burial, treatment, work, travel, transport and socials) while ‘Coro-Pass’ differentiated essential and non-essential travels and duties, especially during the ‘coffee’ (curfew) era. Before long the cure for the novel virus was restricted to the avoidance of MEN (mouth, eyes and nose) while Kano State resurrected ‘verbal autopsy’ because normal autopsy is against their culture but that was after they had termed it ‘mysterious illness’ and at times, lockdowns were ‘restarted’ and re-stopped.

However, the first attempt to organize ‘pandelympics’ ( Olympics during pandemics) did not work out but there are several ‘Rapid Response Teams’ involved in ‘surveillance’, ‘contact tracing’, ‘containment’, ‘case management’ or ‘enforcement’. ‘Elite irresponsibility’ has been our main undoing while illiteracy is a major factor as ‘Isolation-Center Graduates’, and even those being managed under the ‘home-care’ model are ‘stigmatized’ while Coro is seen as the sickness for the ‘big, white and the evil men’ and new-normal greetings became ‘stay safe, stay home, take responsibility and have a covid-free day or weekend’. However, all efforts now are focused on ‘jabbing’ and some countries are buying, others( including Nigeria) are begging while ‘NMNE’ (no mask no entry) policies are common and we, the ordinary folks, are finding it difficult to differentiate isolation from quarantine!
I have started an online campaign to ensure that the 2021 update of OED ( Oxford English Dictionary) includes at least 38 of these terms, representing 36 states and Abuja and one for me, the chronicler. Have a COVID-Free weekend