Uzoma George-Nelson: Corona – Conspiracies, Contraries and Contradictions

The lethal pathogen – Covid-19 – and its apparent chaos round the world invites all for a critical reflection and been challenged by certain friends, I decided to lay bare my thoughts and feelings.

The panic around Nigeria, our dear Country, has humbled each person and reminded us of our mortality in the hardest possible way. Amidst these trying times and in our everyday sociopolitical rendezvous, critical questions are hoisted; this essay is simply a reflection on the many questions that has occupied my mind of recent.

The saddest part about the corona issue resides in the methodology derived by the hardworking Buhari administration to annihilate this pathagon. Indeed, politically mismanaged countries like China, Italy and USA have been unable to handle this issue because of the underperforming attitudes of their presidents and those in charge of their political affairs.

Countries like Nigeria who are well managed and are in competent hands initially needed not to worry because, if one can recall, the minister of health assured us earlier that the country is ready to combat the virus.

One may ask; how ready was our dear Country? Indeed, every Jack and Harry in Nigeria can easily agree with the minister of health that we were ready because we banned importation of rice and opened boarders for travellers. The Chief of Staff to the president travelled to Germany for an acclaimed meeting to resolve power issues in the country while other nations are preparing for this Pandemic.

The politicians and their sons continued to tour round the world to have the best of hedonistic preparation ahead of the upcoming lockdown; Little wonder one Governor was trapped in the USA only to come back and make declarations the next day. Indeed, in a non-paradoxical and non-ironical way, we were extremely prepared to combat this global pandemic.

Our preparation was later supported by the fact that the pandemic cannot survive in our hot environment. We were very much ready to attack it with salt and water the way we killed Ebola.

All the comedians in and around the country made numerous comedy skits to distract us from the pending dangers. The National Assembly concentrated more on the digitalization of NTA and the rebuilding of their complex coupled with the turbulent loan for acclaimed capital projects of which the SouthEast was allegedly excluded.

Our Pastors and men of God continued to assure us that Corona is a disease for the Egyptians. Opposition party bragged about how greatly they fought Ebola and prayed that this present government might fail in their pursuits against Corona Virus. What a way to Prepare!!!!

Amidst these confusions and Chaos, numerous conspiracies sprang up. Certain individual thought of this virus as the elites’ means of reducing the world’s population. On the other hand, many accused the Chinese of producing a bio-weapon to strangle the world’s economy especially, United state’s and European Economy.

It was termed a battle of Supremacy among the world powers as China made strategic plans to walk their way solely to the top. A famous Pastor in his quest to grab attention and remain relevant joined this conspiracy as he stressed that it is rather a chemical weapon and out of unexistential rivalry, accused the Pope of being at the head of this whole plan.

For him, Italy was sacrificed for the Pope’s selfish ambition and his bid to form “One World Religion”. One thing baffles me, does this pastor actually know the legal implications of indirectly calling the pope a murderer of over 80,000 deaths all over the world and of destabilizing the entire world? Sometimes, people who are thought to be learned speak from their anus.

Closer to this conspiracy, the idea of ” one world Religion” captured the interest of “End time Preachers” who lacked basic knowledge of ecumenism. They traced every other occurrence and disaster and tried their best to link them with the end time quoting the book of Revelation often and on and asserting Christ’s promise of hard times and wars during the end time.

These speakers sold their ideas to naive followers and added more panic to the lives of average Nigeria. One of their chief protagonist predicted that the world will end on April 12th at midnight; many are anxiously waiting to call him a false prophet by the dawn of 13th April.

Down to our Political Spheres, many conspiracies arose that the elites have been blessed with a new methodology of looting public funds and governments at all levels are given much reasons to justify inactivity and non-payment of salaries in few months to come.

Indeed, unmentionable amount of money has been invested to fight this global outbreak; how much of our common fund will be left afterwards? A popular Aba based Pastor went Viral with his video that “there’s no Corona Virus in Nigeria” while assuring his followers of “corrosive annoiting”. The notion got more interesting when politicians continued to announce they tested positive as if it is a competition for a gold.

Nigerians were happy at the news of Abba Kyari’s positive test while some accused Buhari of being positive. Others joked that there’s nothing positive about his live. IPOB never failed to provide the news that he was smuggled out of the country at night to Cuba from where he addressed Nigerians two days ago.

El Rufia didn’t disappoint with his own news; Nigerians expected that from him. The only genuine affection came when David Adeleke, Davido, announced that his FiancĂ©e, Chioma, is also positive. Many notions surrounded our sociopolitical sphere; the Twitter battle between Buharists and “Imam of Peace” inclusive. Once may ask: is this the vision 2020, we bargained for?

Then came the news of donations from individuals to the government and many out there criticised the donors for being insensitive. Such monies would have been more beneficial if given to the poor, this group argued. Our Amiable banks, UBA, Zenith, Access, GTB joined the chronicles of donors while businessmen donated or rather planted economic seeds of which they will someday reap from, all in the name of donations.

The various state governments declared total lockdowns and blocked interstate boarders without considering the economic effects on poor masses who feed each day from the gains they make from their Hawkings and other micro businesses. The Contemporary Malthusians and economic prophets of doom have predicted serial hardship and increase in crime rate afterwards; it is simply a sorry state for all.

The skyrocketed prices of things ended up adding to people’s miseries. Many are even owed by the state governments and everyone seems to be mute about it. People are encouraged to stock-up and stay at home when “hunger virus” looms in the air more than the almighty “corona Virus”. Even while at home, there’s no light to preserve these food items and yet people are expected to feed well.

At times like this, we begin to question many things that we once held dogmatic. The Churches in Nigeria became the most attacked in this regard. Many social media activists attacked Prophets, Pastors and Christian Seers whose end of the year/new year prophecies failed to announce the upshot of this virus.

The apparent brainwashing activities of many pseudo-ministers came into light. Funny enough, the uncountable healing ministries went on break till the pandemic is over. There was a contrast between the Religious and Scientific Paradigms. People accused Religion as being the opium of the Masses.

One Sharibu Leah’s activist continued to write about the closure of Vatican (Headquarters of Catholicism) and Mecca (Headquarters of Islam) etc while One Fr. Ugwu Kelvin painstakingly ventured into exposing pseudo-ministers and encouraging people to understand the fact that the Church is not merely a building.

Religion was accused of having no cure for the world’s problems. Added to this, some pastors amidst the ban on public gatherings created short codes for offerings and tithes while some others littered their account numbers all over social media asking people to contribute for the growth of the Church.

This emphasis on money amidst this hard is borne out of hunger and the quest to maintain their luxurious lifestyles. A video went round on Sunday about a low-budget Pastor Chris that was arrested in Abuja for holding a service amidst governmental ban.

Most naive and unexposed Churchgoers saw this as an attack on the Church coupled with the brainwashing messages from their clerical extortionists whose lives are dependent on the offerings of these fellows. Atheists were eager to discredit the Church but the fact that even science has no answer to this kept them mute.

On the other hand, the courage of certain medical personnel and the heroic faith/charity of the 72 year old Italian Priest who gave his ventilator to a younger patient captured public attention.

This is because at a time when social distancing was invoked to make each person preserve his/her life, these people poured out their lives as libations for others. Indeed, they are the real winners and heroes at this time.

My conviction is that amidst these hard times, there’s a silver lining and a light at the end of our tunnels. This period should help us appreciate our frailty, mortality and dependence on God. It has already built and it continues to build solidarity, commonality among families and nations.

The artificial boundaries and walls of ethnicity, race, colour, gender etc has been dropped as we all march as one humanity. Family communion has been built. We have realized the great blessings which God give us each day by keeping us alive; other things, wealth, houses, businesses, jobs, are accidents. The threats of war and terrorism are minimized.

The depletion of the zone layer has almost been halted for some time. Nigerian Churchgoers are now conscious of evangelical extortion going on in their churches and we have also realized how much the Social media has succeeded in making our world a small village.

It is true that the ritual of social existence has been halted and things have fallen apart but if we hold on to God, we will come out victoriously. Do not forget to wash and pray.

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