COVID-19 LOCKDOWN: WORLD WAR III UPON US – Kenneth Adejumoh
War times are associated with partial and total lockdown owing to government directives with curfew in place. This demand loved ones making efforts to check on each other to confirm status of safety and wellbeing. At such times, only warring troops are seen in the streets mitigating influx of the troops from opposing camp.
The year 2020 came with high hopes of great expectations. Economic forecast predicted a better year and even a decade of greater measures for businesses and individuals. While we jostled in hopes, little did we know that we know that we would face a global lockdown like a wartime.
As much as I like to shy away from the usage of the word ‘war’, it is the much I like to as well liken the situation to a third world war which was suspected in January when the US ordered a drone strike that killed top Iranian Army General, Qassem Soleimani. This generated tensions in what appeared as the outbreak of a war that might spread to become a global war as the two nations traded words of war. Alas!
We also resumed the new year with the continued economic conflict between the world’s two largest economies, the United States of America and China. While that was, on the one hand, there was the oil price war on the other between the US and OPEC kingpin, Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC leader, Russian.
May I not forget that the issue of global warming resulting in rising sea level, melting glaciers, dying cloud forests, scrambling wildlife among others. Australia wildfire caused stirs in my heart on survival if this befalls us. The fire reportedly ravaged over 18 million hectares of land area destroying over 5,900 buildings and over 2,800 homes. It caused human fatalities; millions of animals killed helplessly. Habitat and sources of food lose for surviving animals depicting that some may not live after a while. This was a clear and scary sign of the end time as the religious devout would say.
Coming back home, the internal wars on the nation from the Boko Haram Terrorist Group and the mayhem inflicted on farmers and locals by Herdsmen grew on daily basis. Thus, we dwell in a time that the people were gradually losing hope on the government to provide adequate security. The states/regions were beginning to adopt regional security outfits like the the ‘Amotekun’ by the Governors of the South-West. Other regions are bracing up to follow suit, Nigerians were beginning to embrace the principle of self-defense like people who live in a war zone. Not forgetting the growing cases of notorious teens/youths flying the colours of cultism on our streets resulting to high crime rates and insecurities for live and property across various residents.
While the global space was looking like warming up for World War III, internal speculations and indices were tilting to a Second Civil War or better still separation for regional autonomy. The times became a true reflection of the world and our nation seating on kegs of gun powder. Everyone treads with caution not to be the tool that will trigger the outburst.
While businesses and families recessed to the Christmas and new year breaks, a microbe erupted from a town called Wuhan in China. It was treated with kid gloves at first. Soon, it was beginning to spread like the speed of light in air. Italy and Spain in Europe would wish they could turn back the hand of time to early January when they had minimal cases. The US caught a share of it and began to combat the virus. The military ancillary could not save the situation. Ah! Iran also got the bug and the military valor also watched helplessly for this is not a war of the combatants but of science and medicine.
While the mighty were battling the virus with rising cases of infected persons, we reclined with meager preparedness but fully blown in the media space of our readiness to contain the virus. February 27, that faithful day we received the news of the first case of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) like a missile. Yes, because it is a global pandemic. The index case was taken and quarantined for intensive care.
Ordinarily, majority expected the Presidency to immediately declare a state of emergency to close the borders against in-flight and other entry points knowing the state of our health facility. But this was again treated with kid gloves like we did to Boko Haram in 2009 as well as the nefarious activities of the Herdsmen.
The reality is dawned on us that we are fighting for our survival. It is not a disease of the poor nor the affluent. COVID-19 like death is a respecter of no man. Infection is not in the physical appearance as a wound from a gunshot in the time of physical war. This is a ‘medical war’ that we must win by putting our differences aside, no blame games. In the words of President Trump, “It is a medical war. We have to win this war. It is very important”.
On the global scene, the trade war, the oil price war looks subtly because the bigger war of COVID-19 steers us all in the face. In our local stage, it is time to put tribalism and religious bias aside to win the medical war.
The efforts of the government through the Ministry of Health, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and state actors (Governors) are highly commendable. The partial lockdown and adherence by most private organisations are commendable. The growing campaign for personal hygiene, social distancing and the call to stay at home is all we need to reduce the spread of the virus. The key strategy to win this war is for us to remain at the united front to adhere to all instructions from relevant authorities/agencies.
On this note, I have come to terms with Albert Einstein, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” This is why I say we are fighting the World War III but it is not a war for the military, it is a war for the medical practitioners and all of us to fight gallantly and come out victorious.
Kenneth Adejumoh, An expert in corporate communications write from Lekki, Lagos. Tweet @kenadejumoh