It is very normal that laudable and enviable feats go almost unreported by the eagle-eyed Nigerian media – the universally acclaimed watchdog of the Nigerian society. Nigerians know that the watchdog’s eyes are only fixed on the camp of a political rival, watching out for the shortcomings of the rival in order to score a political point to the advantage of the political juggernaut(s) financing the watching media house.
The lack of attention given by the media is more when you come from a highly remarkable, distinguished and uniquely-progressive place like Taraba. A state that has chosen to remain as it was yesterday, today, and determined to remain so forever, while its neighbours are glamming upandan, right, left, and centre.
With the aforesaid in mind, it is no surprise that the incredibly strong compliance with the measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has gone unnoticed, unpublicised and, as expected, un-lauded. It is my intention to cast light on same and to perhaps inspire other states to follow suit in what will most likely go on to be dubbed the “Taraba Example”.
In Taraba, there are many who believe that the coronavirus pandemic is a hoax. Not minding the fact that it is a global problem, they see it as a ploy by Nigerian government officials to enrich their already overflowing pockets. While I may not fault their thought entirely, I am moved to rejoice. By the time the doubting Dabangs realise that the threat is real, contagious and fatal, it will shock them like barbed wire. That time, I will sit somewhere and watch the 5D streaming of their struggle for life using my 5G network – Deathflix at its best! To be forewarned?
There are those who believe the threat is real but also believe they are God’s favourite and a sanctified sub-species of the human race. This group feels there is no need to comply with the measures put in place by the government to curb the spread of the disease.
It is their pious hope that when the spirit of corona approaches them, they have the blood of Jesus to serve as their hand-sanitizers and nose-masks; those who are Moslems among them feel they can dispel the virus with Quranic recitations. It is true that this people have intensified their attendance in churches and mosques against the directive of a government that allows people to go to market twice in a week but not an hour to go to church or mosque.
The lockdown order seems to be only for those in the capital. Inhabitants of communities outside the capital regard themselves as living in a world of their own. To them, corona or no-corona, life goes on as usual.
The public and civil servants amongst us see the stay-home directive as one big holiday of a lifetime for them. Thus, they are now regulars at pubs and burkutu joints, making merry to stupor. What do you expect from them when you get paid regularly without having to work for it? They reckoned that the frugal regime of Gen. Mu-Bu (Rtd) and the third-term deserving administration of Double-Dee Eye have never been this generous to the hardworking servants of both the country and the state.
The best thing to have emerged from the countless rendezvous at the pubs and joints is the discovery that alcohol intake fights the coronavirus far better than the immune system.
Since club football went on a corona-induced sabbatical, Taraba’s vibrant youth decided to fill the void. They have transformed themselves, overnight, from football fans to footballers. If you want to catch up on any league, the place to be is Taraba. In my neighbourhood, Arsenal FC, after years of trying and coming short, finally won the Jalingo-UEFA Champions League. The winning goal was scored by their Brazilian import, Dabang, with the assist from influential playmaker, Lakunju. Arsenal will go on to play at the Jalingo-FIFA Club World Cup that is scheduled to take place at the magnificent Afolahan Square.
The security personnel manning our borders are the best in the country. Describing them as diligent, dedicated, relentless and brimming with integrity is to do them a disservice. They are incorruptible! Bribe them with a loaf of bread to pass; they would frown at that conduct. Give them the usual N100 or N200; they will punish you for it. But if you give them a thousand naira; they will manage it and grant you a passage to and fro.
This complete work would be incomplete if I fail to most gratefully acknowledge NCDC and the Taraba Task Force on COVID-19 for the outstanding job they are doing. They are too diligent, too diligent that a patient slipped off their radar without them knowing. That was not enough; they took the sample of persons suspected of having the virus and allowed them to go into the state to preach that corona is real. The thunder that wants to strike them is only waiting for them to strike the perfect pose.
The elders in their wisdom believe that the stubborn housefly will follow the corpse to the grave. They also have it that the death of a clown has never been a funny event. Playing the fool in this perilous time amounts to the housefly fighting for the ownership of the casket with the corpse. Taraba is God’s gift to the nation, may our folly not make us COVID-19’s gift to an insatiable grave.
Can your state’s level of compliance compare to ours?