Saturday 25 April 2020

Covid-19: The Equal Opportunity Heart Breaker

I was thinking this morning..... about discrimination. I have been following the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme embarked upon by the Federal Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and have had good reason to question the criteria being used. I have also listened carefully to complaints from some governors, North and South of the Niger river about how their States were left out of the palliative rain. CACOL (The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership) had lamented that “Whereas, other states of the federation, especially in the northern part, received significant financial assistance and feeding materials like rice, beans, flour, etc., people in Lagos and many other states of the federation in the south remarkably, were left in the lurch by governments in most instances.” All in all, the dominant smell of the whole exercise to me is one of discrimination, which some may prefer to call bias or favoritism.

I am able to ignore when people discriminate or openly show bias during steady state operation in Nigeria, but wonder if the administrators are human when they do so at a time when Covid-19 is killing people without discrimination. While this thought was brewing within me, I read the pop-up notice by Gayle King about her upcoming programme on BET titled 'Black America's Fight.' She had this catchphrase for the programme that gave me mixed emotions. It says 'Coronavirus is an equal opportunity heartbreaker.' Hmm!!!

Truly, Coronavirus is an equal opportunity heartbreaker. Think about it. More than 150 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, most U.S. adults, according to Pew Research Centre, say the legacy of slavery continues to have an impact on the position of black people in American society today. Hence, most Blacks, Hispanics and Asians in America feel they always get the short end of the stick in almost every opportunity that presents itself. They have prayed and looked forward to that opportunity that will not discriminate based on ethnicity or the colour of their skin. That opportunity came, Coronavirus, but not to bless them but to break their hearts. When it comes to Coronavirus, there is no inequality. It embraces as many that welcomes it by their lifestyles, black or white. Coronavirus is an equal opportunity heartbreaker.

There are many young people that believe the Coronavirus discriminates against the old and therefore tend to be less cautious. Well, while the statistics say one thing, the individual cases say another. 5-year old Skylar Herbert from Michigan loved to dance and dreamed of being a pediatric dentist one day. She contracted Covid-19 and died on Sunday 5th April. She was just a child. And then I remembered the 106 year old Great-grandmother Connie Titchen of Birmingham, UK, who has lived through two world wars. She was diagnosed with Covid-19 but recovered and has since been discharged from the hospital. If you consider both cases, you will agree that truly Coronavirus is an equal opportunity heartbreaker, your age notwithstanding.

The coronavirus deals out death and despair equally, whether male or female, North or South, PDP or APC, Fulani or Igbo, christian or muslim. It is an equal opportunity heartbreaker. The only time it discriminates is in how profoundly those infected are affected, as it seems to kill those with underlying conditions more. But thank God our case is different (Gen 47:15-27). In the next few days the difficult decision will be made on whether the lockdown should be extended. Whatever the decision, never forget that the equal opportunity heartbreaker is real and does not discriminate. Therefore the distribution of the Federal government palliative should have no ethnic, regional or religious colouration, otherwise 'yawa go gas o.' 

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 

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