I do not pray for predators. I pray for the victims and allow God to sort out their oppressors. How He does that is not my business.
While quarantined in our homes, we have been praying against the devastations of the COVID-19. But I have always been specific about who I pray for. I am not praying for Ruthless politicians or elected representatives who have consistently worked hard in ensuring a weak or nonexistent health system, thus making direct victims of their constituents now vulnerable to the latest health challenges.
However, I pray for these victims and allow God to sort out their predators. How He does that is not my business. Again, this issue about who prays for what came up after a recent incident that shook Aso Rock–the seat of Nigeria’s Government and brought the ethos of governance to its knees.
Surprisingly, one of the newest patients in a prevalent COVID-19 pandemic is no other person than the Chief of Staff to Nigeria’s president, Mr. Abba Kyari, who reportedly tested positive for the disease on Tuesday. Nigeria’s first coronavirus case was reported on February 27.
Kyari first visited Germany, and then Egypt afterward, for a meeting from where he is said to have contracted the virus, according to reports. In Germany, he and the Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, on March 9, met Siemens officials over the power deal signed with the company.
For those who do not know him, Mr. Kyari is the de facto President of Nigeria. Simply, he runs the country for his ethnic brother, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose current health condition leaves him with one foot on the ground and another closer to the grave. The duo has been leading a ruthless discriminatory nepotistic structure that only benefits their ethnic interests, leaving other regions scrambling for crumbs.
But Nigerians are divided about the controversy regarding his ordeal. Whereas his cohorts pray for his recovery, other Nigerians lampooned the aged COVID-19 victim on social media questioning his decision to leave the country at such a critical period. Yet I would agree with my social media family in questioning why any sensible government official would choose a business trip to COVID-19 impacted countries at a period when his government was fumbling with denial about a virus attack that is rapidly eating up the entire world.
In fact, at the time of Mr. Kyari’s mystery visit, the world was still on total lockdown. Major business activities had collapsed in the West, as various countries set up stringent procedures to curtail the coronavirus pandemic already spreading like wildfire. Life and Governance in Europe were worse as nations shut down offices, pubs, and restaurants to sustain the social-distancing strategy believed to suppress the speedy spread of this virus.
In Germany where Mr. Kyari visited, the PMI (purchasing managers’ index) for the services sector shrank by the hour as authorities grappled with more than 40,000 coronavirus cases. At this same period, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had warned that up to 70% of the country’s population – some 58 million people – could contract the coronavirus. Same time, Italy had entered its second day of a national lockdown, shutting down schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the country.
Even as Mr. Kyari, presumably the most influential figure in Buhari’s regime returned to his county, he did not follow any safety instructions promulgated to restrain the spread of this disease. He arrogantly proceeded with his regular business – some reckless actions that has now left Abuja (Nigeria’s capital and the seat of the Nigerian Government) and by extension, the whole nation into panic and apprehension. This is because many people he had direct contact with have now tested positive to this virus.
Mr. Kyari’s defiance of precautionary measures, including a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for those exposed to COVID-19 areas or regions was undeniably deliberate. He was simply exercising the above-the-law privilege available to the Country’s policy-making sacred cows.
For instance, Mr. Kyari came back from his trip and went on a trotting spree, attending social gatherings, and political party meetings where he met at least 16 governors. He also attended a wedding and had held private meetings with top politicians and businessmen including Kano State governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, and business tycoon, Aliko Dangote.
In a regime where a decent public health system does not exist, amidst the current global COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Kyari believes that absconding his country to seek power deals was more important than securing medical necessities to save lives of his citizens.
As Mr. Kyari was spreading his diseases, the Buhari’s regime which he represents and runs like his private business had no single plan at the time, or ideas about how to protect their constituent – an over 200 million inhabitants, from this pandemic. In a regime where a decent public health system does not exist, amidst the current global COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Kyari believes that absconding his country to seek power deals was more important than securing medical necessities to save lives.
Mr. Kyari’s case is not surprising but invokes dire repercussions of visionless leadership and drunkenness for power. A drunkard acts without a brain, so is a leader intoxicated by absolute power. It is also not a surprise that Mr. Kyari, a Chief of Staff to the president led an oversea trip for a deal on power without the substantive Minister. Rather he went with a minister very close to his administrative and ethnic clique. Sadly, they came back with excitement and to ironically share diseases with the conclave of desirous politicians in their administrative inner caucus.
Mr. Kyari’s case is not surprising but invokes dire repercussions of visionless leadership and drunkenness for power. A drunkard acts without a brain, so is a leader intoxicated by absolute power.
As they continually drop sick one-after-the-other, Nigerians must remain focused on adhering to the global social-distancing rules because this government neither has plans nor any visible intention to defend or protect their interests.
Currently, there is a rumor that President Buhari and Kyari, have been flown out of Nigeria for treatments but that might be irrelevant. For a government with long a history of lack of transparency, who cares whether they were flown out? I may sound vindictive, but prayers for dictators remains an irrefutable heresy.
And please do not get me wrong for I remain a child of the Almighty who believes in canonical affirmation of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, but I do not abuse that privilege. As I mentioned earlier in this article, I do not pray for (so called leaders) mindless, visionless predators. I pray for the victims and allow God to sort out their political marauders. How He does that is not my business.
♦ Professor Anthony Obi Ogbo, PhD is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News.
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