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Opinions of Friday, 20 March 2020

Columnist: MyNigeria

Something to make you smile about COVID-19

"Mazda was there, e no bring virus, G-wagon no dey give persin virus, na corolla come dey infect persin."

Those were the words of my bus driver today who took me on the last trip to the office. His expression was not just funny but vague as I wondered whether he was referring to the virus or one of the editions of the Toyota car brand.

As I sat by him in the driver's seat while he constantly elbowed me and reached beneath my lower thighs with every gear change, I began to wonder if social distancing could actually work in Nigeria. All through this week, it was hard to move in my hood, or hop a fly-over without bumping into someone trying to caress my hand.

Some people just stand in the middle of the road, or block a very public entrance even with the knowledge that coronavirus confirmed cases are now 12 with predominant numbers recorded in Lagos, more especially.

Nobody cares or is practically concerned. My Canadian friend blames it on hope. Her argument is the can-DO spirit of Nigerians, the aspire-to-acquire-and-not-refire kinda motivations where people strongly believe in God to save them.

While I thought that line of thought was rather preposterous, she begged to differ. She argued that Nigerians' strong belief in the supernatural is what is stopping people from dying from high BP, panic buying or even lynching one another to survive because human nature is selfish.

And that selfishness shows up in times like these, where if you have the money to protect yourself to the detriment of others even as deep as killing people; you would go that far. I was in the pharmacy yesterday and this man was willing to buy face masks and hand sanitizers for every member of his family at all cost.

He was already scheming and plotting his family's protection. I am sure if there was chloroquine available, he would have bought some too.

I don't think social distancing can work in a closely-knitted society like Nigeria where belief and hypocrisy are paramount. While we believe strongly in God, we also flout his rules regarding our sexual habits. I am sure some vendors still drag men and women to their shops; same for conductors who drag people to their buses regardless of NCDC's numerous advisories.

I am also sure that young couples who like to get their freak on would not stop holding, touching or kissing each other regardless of their religious preferences or positions held in church. Reminds me of the couple who sat in the driver seat and were tensioning us with lots of PDA. In fact, the common Twitter narrative now is that you should do all those things you have put off doing since the world is near its end. "All those things" which means sex, saying "Yes" to the person shooting the shot, spending time with family and the kids and for others giving up your sinful ways.

It's fun but the truth is clear. Neither degrees, money, wealth, nor fame can survive a pandemic. Only love and warmth from your family in those last moments can. This doesn't matter whether it is a wretched one-room apartment with rats in it, a duplex, semi-detached house, a mansion or some Island.

While we believe Nigeria and the world would overcome this pandemic, just stay safe and keep washing your hands. does love you. Be calm wherever in the world you are- the world is not ending anytime soon. But Nigerians, they are so touchy ehen.

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