By Olawale Rasheed
The belligerent spirit wrecking havoc worldwide without obeisance to power and riches is clearly vengeful and unrelenting. Across the four corners of the world, you strike the untouchables, the rulers of the world, the earthly powers for long repressing the weak. The spirit of affliction dares the mighty, crippling all arsenals of defence. You are indeed poking your tortuous fingers right into the hearts of the creme de la creme of the world.
What is it about you? What are you made of? What power is in you that so shut down the world? Why do you have no respect for the powerful elite? Or why does it appears you are simply targeting them? How come you trap the powerful, shutting them away from their yachts, grounding their private jets and cropping to the other world thousands of souls? Why are you this merciless as burial defies statistics in Spanish and Italian lands? What exactly do you want?
In your offensive against the world, you are invisible. You penetrate the most powerfully guarded palaces. Number 10, the centre of the world, you touched with your infectious winds. You render helpless the most powerful. You shame the arrogant. You deliver judgements many thought may only come on the day of judgements.
Are you on rampage to enforce justice? Are you truly a spirit of equity and accountability? Are you out to sanction the oppressors of the world? Many think you are not for those missions. They reasoned you had largely spared Africa where oppression has for long been institutionalised. If you are genuinely an agent of vengeance some think your target will not exclude Africa where man’s inhumanity to man is loudly reaching the seven heavens. In any case, Africans despite the oppression do not want you as such. The reason is your vengeance knows no boundary. You are audaciously incapable of shifting the poor from the rich.Or the just from the guilty. Is that verdict true of you? Are you indeed just or fair?
You landed in Africa slowly. But you are daily widening your net. You are crawling at first, now your wind of assault is accelerating. Africans dread your offensive. Will you be fair? Will you become a court of real justice? Are you capable of metting out justice to the oppressors? Are you giving the oppressors second chance? Is your rampaging hacking of leaders’ immunity a dire warning? Is this a message to the political leadership on the continent? If it is a message, it has not been widespread enough?
Many dictators remain unscarred? Many Africans are still under repressive regimes. But you target some oppressors and protect others? Your hot net strikes some and even empowers others. You are pounding Nigerian leaders but you leave untouched butchers of Conakry. So you are not fair in your vengeance. You are discriminatory. Permit me to note that your warnings are selective. Is it that we expect too much from you?
For Nigeria, your offensive touches the high and the mighty. The rulers are no longer in denial. The harsh reality has downed on everybody. Good governance is not only good for the poor. It is a collective advantage of the society. Because of your brutal strike, leaders must get sense by force. As testing positive is not a death sentence, many leadership lessons have popped. In fact, we may as well tagged it ‘Covid-19 Leadership Lessons’
One critical lesson which should never be unlearnt is that compliance with best practice is a must for all from the President to the cleaner. Procedural regulations when obeyed by all create an orderly governed society. Our neglect of rules and best practice is a major shortcoming. Best practice is a product of studied review and test. Ignoring such portends inept handling of national crisis.
The second lesson is the compulsory understanding that diversion of public fund is a terminal disease for any nation and her leaders. Funds appropriated for public social services should at all cost be deployed for that purpose. Super inflation of contract and non-implementation of same had crippled the health system and other critical sectors. The unseen spirit of Covid-19 discovers a nation without capacity, hence its crawling right into the heart of government and society. When Mallam Ibrahin Magu said Coronavirus is corruption, the nation and her leaders can now get the message better.
A key issue to note is that Covid-19 is warning that self enrichment by public officers spells doom not just for the nation but her leaders. The level of ignorance due to refusal to educate the citizenry provides fertile ground for radicalised uneducated poor to rise against the system. Imagine attacks on police and security services over enforcement of stay at home order. As the leadership fails to educate the masses, some non- state actors are filling the gap. Many leaders are at the mercy of street thugs and mob caucuses.
Last but not the least is the imperative of good governance. Leaders are obliged to deliver social services, pro-poor policies, anti-poverty regime, educated community, rule of law, secured society and enhanced opportunities for citizenry. It is not a favour; it is a mutually beneficial template. A society uncared for will consumed its elite and their children. The wealthy lives well in a community of balanced access to social services and opportunities. What Covid-19 may not achieve, the growing militancy on the streets from North to South, East to West, may forcefully achieve.
But back to the untameable angry spirit, your warning is well noted across corridors of powers, so strong it shattered the conclaves. The nations of the world will learn bitter lessons. Seats of government will consider environmental sustainability and strong care for the citizenry. A responsible and responsive government and political leadership may indeed flow from current affliction.
May Covid-19 enlighten leaders. May it enforce good governance. May it change hard hearts to soft ones. May it stop corruption in public procurement. May it stop self enrichment at the expense of the poor. May it heal the nation of bitter division. May it unite this afflicted political class.
May the nation be healed.
Olawale Rasheed, publisher of Sahel Standard writes from Abuja