By Charles Apoki
In the first lesson of COVID-19, we considered the prediction of a dynamic decade between 2020 and 2030 where many events will take place, and nobody will be certain of what to do. It will be overwhelming for several nations and people, because they have not prepared for or anticipated such events in such magnitude.
Abba Kyari was the Chief of Staff to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was one of the politicians that we mentioned in the first post.
From information gleaned from online, he was a Sociologist, Lawyer, Journalist, Banker, and an administrator. He schooled in some of the best universities overseas from Warwick, Cambridge, to Harvard University. Most times, however, western education and certificates hardly change the Nigerian mindset. If foreign education, certificates, and courses can translate to development, Nigeria would have been one of the most developed nations in the world.
At one time, he was called the de facto president of Nigeria. The wife of the President had several running battles with Abba Kyari and his household. Some of the battles even came to the public domain.
A few weeks back, he tested positive for the dreaded COVID-19 virus on a return trip from Germany and Egypt. He was subsequently flown to an undisclosed private hospital in Lagos for some weeks now before the announcement of his death on Friday, 17th April, 2020. I decided to make this case the subject of our second post.
1. We always want to politicize every problem
He was reported to have gone to Germany to discuss with a company on improving electricity supply in Nigeria. For how long will we be making electricity supply a campaign issue. If the electricity supply issue in Nigeria was properly handled when Buhari was a military Head of State years back, or during his first tenure as a civilian president, he would not have needed to go to Germany at the time coronavirus was spreading in Europe.
I might sound naïve, but we keep leaving problems unsolved till they become emergencies. How much effort and money have we wasted in the false campaign of improving electricity supply since the days of Obasanjo.
2. Nigerians Never Get Tired of Public Office
Abba Kyari is not a young man, he should be in the upper echelons of my age bracket in his late 60’s. We have been recycling the same old people in public office in Nigeria. Abba Kyari had occupied several prominent offices both in the public and private sectors. He must have made a lot of money in life. He was known to have difficulty in breathing and was said to be diabetic. Why couldn’t he sit at home and enjoy his retirement?
What does he know about electricity? Is he the minister in charge of power?
Many nations of the world have young people as their leaders, even conservative UK. If countries like the United States of America keeps recycling old politicians like Donald Trump, they will soon lose their relevance in the global arena.
A nation like Nigeria ruled by retired people will have a population tired of their leaders.
3. A problem you don’t solve now might haunt you in the future
Nigeria has some of the best medical doctors in the world, but some of the most terrible hospitals in the world. A 42-year-old billionaire died a few days back from a liposuction surgery because of power failure. The public power supply failed and the hospital generator couldn’t get started. He was a former governorship candidate in Bayelsa State in the recent elections.
Millions were budgeted for the clinic in the presidential villa, but the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari said there was no paracetamol in the clinic.
The medical records of Abba Kyari were rumoured to be in the hospital in the UK were he usually goes for treatment. Tragically, no nation was ready to accept him. The doors of the nations where they keep their money, where they buy mansions, and where they go to do parties and rest were shut against him.
If there was a good hospital in the northern part of Nigeria, including Abuja, he would not have been flown to Lagos. Imagine the extra cost, stress, and risk of exposure to the virus, in the airport and the private hospital.
Let me quickly say that the Nasarawa State Government recently bought brand new cars worth 500 million Naira. I don’t think they have up to 10 ventilators in that state.
4. Died Alone, Painfully, and Buried Ordinarily
I was watching the video of his burial recorded by AIT. It looked very ordinary, despite all the wealth, all the power, and all the manipulation usually associated with politics in Nigeria.
When he returned to Nigeria, like the typical Nigerian big man, he refused to self-isolate. All the political sycophants and parasites were crowding around him to shake him. They did not know he came with the “touch-and-follow” disease.
It was risky to touch his corpse during the burial; the handlers had to wear protective gears. This was somebody people struggled to embrace a few weeks back.
5. Vanity Upon Vanity
Where are all the cars? Where are the very expensive wristwatches? People will be afraid to even wear them.
What of the accounts in different denominations? We might never know where they are. His family might not have access to them. I love Muslim burials; they are very simple and humbling. If not for COVID-19, Abuja would have been shut down; but he was buried like any other person, in a public cemetery, in a shallow grave.
He missed an opportunity, like most Nigerian political elite, to write his name in gold.
6. Most Nigerian Politicians Are Globally Irrelevant
Despite the so-called power Abba Kyari wielded in Nigeria, at the time of writing, no international news media gave it as a breaking news. I only saw it on a Nigerian news channel. As far as the global news channels are concerned, he is an insignificant person.
If you can’t make your nation great, and make great contributions to humanity and your race, with all your wealth and influence, you are still treated like trash globally.
7. There Is No Discrimination in Times of Desperation
He was from the North, but he died in the south. Most probably, those who treated him were predominantly Christians. Religion and region did not matter. The poor have recovered very well from the public isolation centres in Abuja and Lagos. However, private hospital treatment did not make any difference. Who knows his last minutes and his last thoughts?
Hopefully, our religious brothers and sisters and Muslims will learn to take this unseen enemy seriously. It is not a scam. It has no respect for race, religion, regionalism, relationship, or office.
Ironically, Nigerians hardly learn.
There are claims that there was no social distancing during his burial, and there was at least one man without protective gear. One of those who buried him was video-recorded disposing his protective gear somewhere just beside his car in the open. He subsequently opened an SUV and drove off. A poor man will pick it and go home to infect his family and friends. Nigerians don’t take things seriously especially religious folks and the political class. From the size and model of the SUV and his beards, the fellow looks like an Imam. He could not be a poor man for his stature and his car. If, unfortunately, I am right, imagine how the infection will spread. Such burials have been a great source of spread of COVID-19 in the USA.
Even in the distribution of relief materials to the poor and the less-privileged, people will still embezzle money and ‘corner’ coronavirus relief materials.
Stay at home and stay safe.
God bless you.
Dr Charles Apoki is a public speaker writes from Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria