Last week, Abba Kyari tested positive for coronavirus, Jack Ma donated medical supplies, and Nigeria’s private sector rose to the occasion…
Last week, the coronavirus pandemic took on another dimension in Nigeria with a few notable personalities contracting the virus. Chief among them was President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari. The influential Kyari had been to Germany days earlier to help broker a power deal. Like many of Nigeria’s elite, he didn’t self-isolate when he got back, as he embarked on a round of meetings with governors, ministers and other people of influence.
This seemed to be the spark for those in government to sit up and give the pandemic the attention it deserves. Tests and self-isolation became the in-thing, and the subsequent sighs of relief with most results coming back negative.
Kyari wasn’t the only high-profile Nigerian that tested positive to the coronavirus. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar had earlier announced that his son contracted the virus. Not long after, Bauchi State governor, Bala Mohammed, who came in contact with Atiku’s son also tested positive.
It has been difficult keeping up with the steady rise in numbers of cases. Yesterday afternoon, it was 89. This has precipitated unprecedented reactions, with the airspace shut down, states curtailing movement and imposing curfews, approval for stadiums to be converted to isolation centres, markets, banks and non-essential businesses closed.
There was a clamour on social media for the President to address the nation and calm frayed nerves as the populace was told to stay at home, especially in Lagos and Abuja. With growing concern and insinuations regarding the whereabouts of President Buhari, images and a video of him receiving the health minister at the presidential villa yesterday were a little reassuring, even if it fell short of an address.
The narrative from the presidency is that the president is less of a talker and more of an action man who delegates responsibilities and ensures things are done right.
Talking about things being done right, it took Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’a donation of thousands of test kits and face masks to wake Nigeria’s private sector up and support government in containing the virus.
Thankfully, they have started to pitch in. From Abdul Samad Rabiu and Femi Otedola who both committed N1 billion each, to GTBank and Access Bank who are at the forefront of putting up infrastructure, many more hands are on deck to fight the battle.
Unfortunately, there are other things to contend with. It was reported that Boko Haram killed more than 50 soldiers in Borno State, a reminder that the devastation being wrought by the insurgents is far from over. Still on devastation, an explosion rocked Akure and its environs in the early hours of yesterday. According to official reports, it was caused by a faulty truck laden with explosives headed for a quarry.
The above news items weren’t enough to distract from reports that members of Nigeria’s House of Representatives are taking delivery of 2020 models of Toyota Camry cars.
There were accusations and counter accusations; a rep claimed it was stale news as questions were raised over the outlay and other uses this could be put to, like buying much-needed ventilators.
Despite the outcry over the cost of these expensive vehicles, a rep like Akin Alabi thinks the Camry is not good enough.
According to him, he’ll rather add money to buy a better car.