Lockdown: To obey is better than to sacrifice


IT took a personal but altogether avoidable tragedy for the Biblical King Saul to get it: to obey is better than to sacrifice!  Jehovah told him to war and utterly destroy.  But King Saul would rather preserve war spoils in defiant sacrifice.

It cost him his throne — and later his life.  But even while he lived in painful royal spasm, the throne ebbed, slowly and painfully, away; while Saul, equally painfully, tried to hold on to it. It was the ultimate lesson to heed instructions, simple or complex!

Which is why it is so distressing that many people still buck the instruction to lock down and stay home, to curb the spread of CoronaVirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), the pandemic laying much of the world to waste and producing a truly global health emergency.

A news report in The Nation of April 5, paints a rather disturbing picture: “Lockdown: Residents shun restrictions in Lagos, Abuja, Anambra”, with riders: “It’s total lockdown in Ogun”; “400 buses seized in Lagos”.

While the situation report in Ogun is encouraging (maybe because it was the first day of the lockdown in that state), the reports in some parts of Lagos is discouraging.

Everyone knows Lagos is the epicentre of COVID-19, not because Lagosians are worst sinners deserving any additional punishment but because Lagos is a major gateway into Nigeria, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, being the busiest in the country.

Since COVID-19 basically spreads from infected foreign travellers arriving the city, Lagos has borne the brunt of the spread, with confirmed cases in the state peaking at 109, as at April 4, out of a nationwide figure of 214.  That explains the lockdown, with Ogun also included, as some parts of Ogun State are basically no more than Greater Lagos, given the evolution of the settlements, of folks working in Lagos but living in its closest neighbouring state.

The Lagos government has risen splendidly to the challenge, in concert with the federal authorities, announcing one initiative after another; and accounting for 24, out of the 26 (as at April 5) so far nursed back to health from Coronavirus, nationwide.  It is therefore satisfying that for 24 hours between April 3 and April 4, there were no fresh infections in Lagos.  The airport closure to travellers would, therefore, appear working.

With all the government’s effort, Hardball would have thought citizens would do their civic part, to complement the government’s efforts to wrestle and defeat the virus.  That is why it is so shocking that as many as 400 buses have been impounded in Lagos — buses, ferrying who, going where?

Strangely, the “Truth-to-Power” ensemble, who always grate to point out mistakes in the public space, in eternal chores to call the government to account, appear less trenchant to “tell-truth-to-people” in these perilous times!

Let the people obey simple instructions: stay at home!  The Nation report also spoke of  some folks in Anambra State, who seem to take this Coronavirus avoidance business with rebukable levity.

Stay at home, the instruction is simple enough.  It’s only for a while.  Stay home to stay safe — and alive.

To obey is better than to sacrifice!

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