With extra time to spare, I am writing again, a hobby I have had little time to indulge until now. This is not my usual tales of shapeshifters, unfortunately. It’s my observation with the current covid-19 pandemic.
Are you worried as I am about the deadly virus? You should be. But should we be rational in our fight against the virus, again I think we should. To eliminate rationality is to end up adopting measures counterproductive and disproportional to the threat we face?
Consider recent developments around the world:
In Israel, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency is now authorized to use personal cellphone data to monitor corona virus victims and all their contacts. Some western European countries are also following Israel’s footsteps in digital monitoring.
In china, drones hover around towns seeking out people not wearing mask, culprits are scolded and warned of further consequences. In South Korea the government is sending out public text messages identifying individuals and those they had contacted.
In Japan, the government is on the cusp of declaring a state of emergency, the hastily passed law allows the government to seize properties, force companies to ramp up production of required items, and not the least, but to also force testing and isolation of suspected individuals.
In the US, a state of emergency has been declared that gives president Trump similar authority as those in Japan’s emergency bill. Trump has already invoked the law to force auto companies to shift their production towards the fight against corona.
Absolute power is a by-product of Covid-19 that few people talk about, yet for despots it’s a dream in the making. Are we unwitting ushering in technocratic authoritarianism? History bears witness that governments don’t usually relinquish powers accumulated in times of crisis, are we ready for a permanent police state?
Since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999, successive presidents have attempted twisting the constitution to strengthen their hold on power. With this level of fear, and in the name of fighting Covid-19, nothing can stand in the way of a president determined to mess with the constitution, directly or indirectly.
No one predicted this level obstruction on global supply chain, business, school and everyday life. Unless the trend of shutting everything down is not reversed, I foresee harder times ahead. Already food prices are up 500%, police are harassing innocent folks, extorting money, and this is just the beginning.
Nigerians need to be honest to themselves. Is Covid-19 more deadly than Ebola, poverty, corruption, kidnapping, herdsmen killing, boko-haram terrorist group? The answer is no. We still use lantern but want to fight corona with nuclear powered nations.
I leave you with a quote by Thomas Jefferson; “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”?