By Bala Ibrahim
“Earlier this week, I submitted a sample for the COVID-19 test and the result came in this evening and I regret to say that it is positive. According to the protocols for managing COVID-19, I am in self-isolation as required by the case management guidelines of the NCDC for someone that is not showing symptoms. I wish to appeal to the people of Kaduna State, to continue to closely observe the preventive measures already announced. It is most important that everybody should do their utmost to stay safe, stay home and stay alive. The Deputy Governor is chairing our COVID-19 Taskforce and will continue to issue statements from time to time,”
That was how the indefatigable Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai announced his status, as one that has tested positive for the coronavirus. The message is emotionally touching, but the confidence of the Governor is extremely encouraging and reassuring, particularly his temerity to conquer.
Most people fail because of fear, fear of the unknown, and fear of the reaction of the public. To succeed, you need the confidence to face and overcome those fears. And certainly Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is a man that is full of self-confidence. He absolutely believes in himself, and his ability and capacity to defeat failure. This is one reason that makes him the pace setter in leadership, and one that is always keeping the bar of public perception of his performance very high.
The biggest bane to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is fear. If we can summon the courage to confront that fear, half of the problem would be solved, while the remaining half can be addressed medically. By admitting his status and having the courage to tell the public the truth, El-Rufai had defeated the fear and by the grace of God, medication would deal decisively and successfully with the second half.
Through the exhibition of confidence in announcing the measures put in place to confront the scourge, the Governor had shown the desired courage and the temerity that would conquer the virus, which has turned into a global pandemic.
Since the end of February this year, when Nigeria announced the first confirmed case of the Coronavirus, when an Italian citizen tested positive in Lagos, feelers were put out to check on the possibility of a pandemic.
By the beginning of March, a second case of the virus was reported in the neighboring state of Ogun, where a Nigerian citizen, who had contact with the Italian citizen, also tested positive. This automatically set the country into an involuntary panic mode.
Accordingly, the Federal Government assured citizens of the country of its readiness to strengthen surveillance at all the borders, particularly the major International Airports, with a view to preventing the spread of the disease.
Sequel to the announcement of the COVID-19 as a pandemic in China and other countries worldwide, the Nigerian government was compelled to set up a Coronavirus Preparedness Group, that was given the task of mitigating the impact of the virus. W.H.O. compounded the fear of the country, by listing Nigeria among other African countries identified as high-risk for the spread of the virus.
From then till now, like the rest of the world, Nigeria was turned into a big drama theatre, with unprecedented events unfolding uninterruptedly, one of which is the announcement today by Mallam El-Rufai, that he has tested positive for the virus. Virtually every section of the country is affected, as schools are closed, markets thinned out and major roads that were hitherto busy, are now eerily empty.
A new slogan, social distancing has been added to the national norm, in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. All the northern state Governors met and drew up a roadmap for confronting the disease, with the same Mallam Nasir El-Rufai as the chairman. Unfortunately, Corona refused to respect the chairman.
Despite the robust sensitization and the massive public campaign against the pandemic of fear, the phobia remains so high that no one coughs today, without the heart firing a stressful fear. Everyone is extremely apprehensive, to the level of unpleasant emotion, caused by the unusual unease of being a potential victim of the virus.
With the Governor of Bauchi, Mallam Bala Mohammed testing positive and now Governor El-Rufai following suit, the threat has become real, the danger has become real, the pain has become real, but we must not permit fear to kill our spirit, or bring any harm to the public.
If all leaders would be as courageous, determined and focused as El-Rufai, conquering the coronavirus is as good as fait accompli.
May Allah hasten the recovery of Mallam, and everyone that is afflicted with any kind of disease, ameen.
Mr. Ibrahim writes from Abuja