2021: Covid, Corruption, Expressway, Bridge

 

By Tony Marinho

COVID-19 second wave brings deaths approaching 1,850,000 deaths, 85,500,000 worldwide, Nigerian cases 90,000, and 1,310 deaths. Will Nigeria get the vaccine against Covid-2019 in 2020? Wear mask, wash hands, keep six feet apart to save a loved one being needlessly buried six feet under!

Apology:  last week’s article had ‘commonwealth’ instead of ‘common wealth’ as deliberately separate weighted words, but they were printed together. I apologise.

For 10 months of 2020, we have battled Covid-19 with a success that has surprised us and the international community. Of course, there have been many casualties and sad fatalities and much mourning. However, the actual levels remain inexplicably low despite inadequate attention to Nose and Mouth [not Mouth, Neck or/and Chin] Mask, Hand Washing, Social Distancing Regulations. Thankfully, morbidity did not explode under increased known health care lapses including corruption, few ordinary beds and fewer specialised dependent care personnel, equipment and scanty Intensive Care Units, ICUs. We must thank our Covid medical services and local and international donors and our parents giving us African DNA, the infections and infestations and injections from modern medical vaccination or from the thousand playtime mosquito and other mean vector bites provided by our particular health environment and a joint natural and acquired immunity. Then add the factor of the heat of the African sun burning the surfaces where a cold virus was roasted daily. With these and the new vaccines we should win the Covid War in the next 3-6months.

Thieves face jail time and opportunities for repentance and change. Not all benefit from such opportunity. Unfortunately, when so-called pen-thieving or agbada or babanriga or bowler hat or fine-suit political and contractor crime/corruption occurs, there is almost total consequent disappearance of most of the common people’s wealth. And there is resultant poor or even negative economic and ‘peace of mind’ growth when compared to other countries with the same resources with transparent fund management. With too little to show for the money available, the perpetrators escape by Houdini disappearing tricks popularised by the media -mainstream and social. So, they smilingly enjoy television time during court manipulation and disgusting delaying tactics for many years. They may be identified as they feign ignorance or make outright denials, present perhaps imaginary medical diseases mysteriously backed up by qualified doctors, demand foreign treatment and perform painfully theatrical and even comical scenes like feigned fainting to the left or right and backwards or forwards during public hearings and court cases while sometimes feigning innocence or planning to flee to foreign countries with money that would have boosted our economy, job opportunities and foreign reserves.

This corruption is similar to Covid. There is immunity to corruption among many millions of great and good, wonderful Nigerians. Are you one of them? Become one today. There are others, infected with corruption and thus falling with fake illnesses. We had thought that the ‘anti-corruption’ vaccination by local and intra-national organisations and NGOs, international press and incumbent government would cure ongoing corruption. But even after ENDSARS, corruption has infected the COVID Testing arena.

Is your Ministry, Agency, Department, corporation, private practice de-corrupted? Have your leadership and followership taken the National Oath from 1-1-2021 to be ‘FLH -Faithful, Loyal & Honest’ and change. Murderers can stop murdering. Politicians can stop corrupt practices, cut Salaries and Perks by 75%, and introduce True Federalism, higher Health and Education and Road Transport Budgets, Part-time Sitting Allowance, one House-Representatives, cancel Constituency Projects. If not, will Nigeria survive 2021?

Everyone ever stuck on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway knows the cost of corruption of policy and purpose on public confidence and the contribution of that corruption to failures personally, to family and friends, to business and time management. How can a 120km road be still under disruptive re-construction in 2021? We remember bitterly that the selfish NASS diverted most of a budgetary allocation of N150b in 2019 supposed to finish the road in 2020 after a 3-5 year delay. Instead, the money was mostly diverted to lesser value Constituency Projects.  The road work was paralysed while worldwide such roads were finished in months. Many other Nigerian roads also suffer. And in a terrible engineering mistake the 10km entrance into Lagos and the 5km entrance into Ibadan were left to last forcing thousands of vehicles into construction bottlenecks entering Lagos and to a lesser extent Ibadan. The Lagos entry 10km section should have been Phase 1. Since this mistake on Day One of the contract Nigerian road users paid the price as seen in tailbacks of 15 km to enter Lagos every Sunday afternoon and daily in the 6am dawn. Bottlenecks must be freed from the exit point first. It is Road Engineering Phases: Alleviate Suffering: Course 101’. We must heap the shame for our nationwide needless ‘Nigerian Traveller Pain’, in this case not on government but on NASS that could not see an urgent national project affecting the economy and Nigeria’s national image and pride.  The uncompleted road shames all Nigerians, except apparently NASS members. Will the excruciatingly painful Lagos-Ibadan road become an expressway again in 2021? Will the Second Niger Bridge be completed in 2021? Will the Abuja-Kaduna, Lokoja-Abuja, Maiduguri-Damataru, Ore-Benin Roads et cetera, be permanently cleared of terrorist killers and kidnappers for road users throughout 2021? Questions for a people’s NASS to ensure positive answers.

‘HNY2021. PRAY WE ARE INVISIBLE TO THE ENEMY’.

Stay safe- cover your nose and mouth!!

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