According to Rev. Mike Ojoh, who pastored me a few years back, “pregnancy is not an emergency; the baby gave you a nine-month notice”. He also said in one of his messages, “Don’t let your irresponsibility create an emergency for me”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the level of preparedness of many nations and people to handle emergencies.
The blessings of pain are usually the lessons learnt. The lessons from pain lead to planning and preparation for the future.
Because of previous epidemics like SARS, Ebola, Influenza, and lessons learnt, the US government set up a body to handle pandemic and emergencies like this, but the next government of Donald Trump disbanded it. America was caught flat-footed. However, they quickly mobilised their resources to ameliorate the consequences of the delayed response. They mobilised two hospital ships with 1000-bed capacity each. They mobilised their Army Corp of Engineers, who set up hospitals in parks, stadiums, and conference centers within days and weeks.
I want to appreciate the Nigerian Air Force that have started producing oxygen for hospitals. They are also producing personal protective equipment including face-masks.
Lesson 1 – A Dynamic Decade.
Lesson 2 – The Death of Abba Kyari—Nigerians Hardly Learn.
Lesson 3 – Captain Tom Moore—The Elasticity Of Humanity.
Lesson 4 – The Nigerian Army, Police Force, And Citizenry.
Lesson 7 – The Tragedy Of Life And Living.
Pain helps you plan for the future; it helps you to prepare for the future to prevent a recurrence of catastrophe. Pain and planning helps you to develop capacity to respond to emergencies.
The lockdown must teach us to have financial reserves as a family and individuals. We must develop alternative and multiple streams of income.
You can see the pictures of our school. This whole investment is locked down now; it is not yielding any revenue; now I’m thinking of how I will pay salaries. The small poultry, we opened, is what is sustaining us now. I sold broilers online and it enabled us to buy feed for the layers. In fact, we are expanding the poultry.
I bought the land I reside in now, while I was trekking, because of the pain of my father not buying any land at Warri when it was still made up of small towns joined together by narrow streets. My mother-in-law passed one of the major streets in Warri when Warri/ Sapele road was untarred; it was an earthen road. Imagine if my father and mother-in-law had owned properties then.
My pastor friend told me how a rich man, whose car his father serviced, forced his father to buy a piece of land for 3,000 Naira some years back. In fact, I entered that car sometime between 1976 to 1978. That land of 3,000 Naira then is now worth 30 Million Naira. The rich man wanted to force his father to buy two plots for 6,000 Naira that he was owing the mechanic. The mechanic refused, so the rich man gave him 3,000 Naira cash. Imagine if he had seen the future the rich man saw, he would have owned a property worth 60 Million in Warri City.
Lord Lugard wrote in his book, “The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa” that we, from Southern Nigeria, like fashion and pleasure unlike the Fulanis.
Let me ask you a simple question. Who cultivated all the yams, beans, and rice that are being distributed in the southern states of Nigeria? Who reared all the cows slaughtered and shared by politicians?
I hear people complaining about closed churches. Let me ask a sincere question that might be offensive to some. Who produces all the millions of cartons of noodles distributed during this lockdown? Indians and Muslims like Dangote!
Most of the money spent during this recession will go back to the rich. Most times, every pain of the poor makes the rich richer. Do you know how much China has made during this lockdown?
How many churches have productive capacities this period in Nigeria? As I always have said, many of the hospital beds occupied currently in Germany are run by the Roman Catholic church. Many of the old people’s homes, globally, are run by the Roman Catholic Church.
Those who don’t learn from pain, never plan, and never develop capacity for the future. They will usually experience the painful experience again.
Do you know why the colonial quarters were separated from the residential areas by some distance and open spaces? Check the houses in the old Government Reserved Areas, they were about at least 150 feet apart. It was a malaria prevention technique because of the painful deaths the white colonial masters experienced in Africa. When a female anopheles mosquito sucks blood, there is a limited distance it can fly before dying. So they created space between their buildings, and created open spaces like public fields and golf courses between hospitals and their residences. But they made sure the churches were close to the poor black people. Just take time to reflect on what you have just read. Look at Aba, Port-Harcourt. Warri, Sapele, Benin, Enugu, Ibadan, and Lagos.
All the planned cities in developed societies, with their rules and regulations, are from painful experiences from disasters and catastrophic situations like epidemics, war, fire, earthquakes, and floods.
When God is too good to a people, they don’t plan. That is the problem with Africa.
It is only a fool that will not learn from this lockdown.
I have not bought fuel for a generator for many months now. I just bought 10 litres a few days back, to top up, and have as reserve. I have 24/7 supply of electricity. It was usually very frustrating for me to return from preaching or from work and start struggling with generators. I had about three at one time. If it manages to cough, sneeze, and start like a COVID-19 patient, the public power supply will suddenly come back, when I’m in the bathroom. I will hurriedly finish my bath and run down to turn off the generator. Just before I go back upstairs, the public supply will go off. I have to go downstairs again to start the generator. By this time, it would need a ventilator. When you call the mechanic to repair it, his phone will be switched off. Even if it starts and works fine, I will need to go downstairs by 12 midnight to put it off. Then my wife will fan herself till morning. I did not mention the noise.
I was under enormous pressure. My lawyer and one of my children were worried to death for my sake and my age. He introduced me to solar energy. I paid gradually for months since Mid-2019. The system was finally installed in December. Imagine what I would have been going through now with the lockdown.
Pressure should make you act. It is pressure that makes car tyres run well. Flat tyres reduce dynamism. Low tyre pressure increases fuel consumption. It is pressure that makes balloons soar. It is pressure that expresses the contents and sweetness of an orange.
Government palliatives cannot sustain you for long. Putting politicians to donate food with borrowed or stolen money will only lead to more corruption after the lockdown. They must refill their financial tanks, because they live very expensive lifestyles. They must travel overseas with their families or side chicks to ‘groove’. All the big ceremonies will resume. Election campaigns must start because the rich plan early.
After the lockdown, the poor and foolish will return to more intense enjoyment and pleasure too. Many will soon forget the pain. The wise will say, “Never again!”. Some Nations will say, “Never again!”.
But mark what I’m saying now, the Nigerian health sector will return to its rotten state again, if we continue electing the same set of people. The ventilators and donated materials will be stolen, and end up in private hospitals. The isolation centers will be occupied by reptiles. Doctors and nurses will still be underpaid, and they will still use rechargeable lamps to do surgeries.
If the oil prices go up again, we will not build storage capacities to have strategic crude oil reserve. Imagine how much oil America has in reserve. The so-called food banks will be empty. Our markets will remain congested and dirty.
Our churches will open again, and we will go back to our religious frenzy, corrosive services, endless fasting, and fundraising. We will start our trade on vegetable oil we call anointing oil again. We will prophesy using numbers and sounds again: “March, your month of marching forward”, “December to remember”, “Cross over to take over”, “Let’s go back to your village”, and all kinds of delusional programs… like a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (William Shakespeare).
The Church must do a sober reflection this period.
Nigerian university lecturers went on strike, when their mates in other countries were doing research on COVID-19. Academicians were doing research on various topics, but our lecturers were on strike. When they resume, some will start their extortion and sexual harassment again. The federal government will also not live up to expectations to fund our universities well.
Most times, we never learn from pain.
God Bless You.
Read the next lesson: Religion, Routine, Reality, and Responsibility.