By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
NO matter how long the Corona Virus lasts, it would have changed our lives in ways that we never imagined. They are just emerging and may be longer lasting than we can contemplate at the moment or ever. Corona Virus is already the issue of the year, only months into 2020.
Few issues have been more defining and global than a virus than when it started people thought it would be all about China. It has become about all of us.
Chinese city Wuhan rakes in millions of searches on Google. The Wuhan virus, as some would have wanted the virus to be known, has more than 25 million searches, almost double the 23 million for the city itself. Some would have wanted the fame, notoriety of Wuhan, to have been for something more ennobling.
Anyone younger than 35 is unlikely to remember the sit-at-homes that spanned from 1994 to the return of civilian administrations in 1999. Civil society groups (where are they these days?) ruled in those days. They called us out to jam the streets; and had us sit at home when protesters were being killed.
So much has changed since then that comparison with those days make no meaning. The current sit-at-home is forced, global, and while we looked forward to international community coming to our aid, in 1994, now everyone is imperiled.
We had no phones then. They came almost a decade after and they were not in the high numbers we know now, nor available, except to the privileged.
These are 22 ways that the virus has shaped our lives. There are more.
2023 Presidential Speculation Suspended
Has anyone talked about the 2023 presidential elections lately? I thought they said it was the most important thing for Nigerians. It was deemed so important that the attention was in the future, abolishing the present. All the challenges that faced us took a distant spot to the attention that the 2023 election, three years away, was getting. The present has suddenly become important.
Trite as it may seem, there are ways in which we conduct ourselves as if they are above all others. What we have seems to inform how we interact with others. Many would wish that they were more circumspect in their relations with people who they rate below them. Whether it is in our politics or individual relationships, the slogan is, all people are not equal.
How many have barbed their hair this week? Barbers shops are locked. Barbers are not considered essential service. Is barbing food?
We cannot drink. Okay, we can drink alone. Bars and the talks about nothingness are gone, rested, until we do not know when. All our natters and prattles have been suspended. How would we survive? Drinks never tasted worse.
Churches, Mosques Closed
The Almighty is everywhere. We so believe. What we do is different. We have to gather in great numbers at certain places and times to worship. We have that on hold too. Surely, it is time to go beyond belief and practise the omni-presence of the Almighty.
Crimes Rates Have Dropped
Corona Virus has either over-taken crimes or crimes have ceased. Are kidnappers managing their lives away from crime? Where are the rampaging herdsmen? News about their activities are rare, thankfully.
Everybody Is Important
Relationships are assuming new importance. How important are people to us? We would have to re-evaluate our relationships. What is certain is that we would relating with people we never considered important to our lives.
How Do I look?
The question is only important when asking if you were clad enough to look funny to both the virus and people. Masks of all types, sizes, shapes, and colours has surfaced. Everybody has come up with an outfit he thinks can keep the virus at bay. He wears it, not minding how he looks or what people say. Looks are for the living.
If Your Phone Spoils
Everything is not alright. The meaning of this will sink if your phone goes bad. Repair shops are shut. They are not among essential services. How would you keep in touch with others? Pray for your phone.
Just Sanitise It
Anything that could be wrong starts with low hygiene. In sanitation we believe, others must join us. Sanitisation is a word we would hear more often even in the post Corona Virus era. Sanitise it is the panacea to all Corona Virus symptoms.
Nigerians Need Hospitals In Nigeria
Our elite seems startled at the deficit of facilities, medical in this instance, that Nigerians battle with daily, forever. The global shutdown of travels, absence of vaccines and cures, have our leaders stranded. They never imagined a day when the stark reality of no hospitals would be before them. They are stuck with us.
How would those who lived off their bets survive? How would those who lived on high hopes of high wins from bets survive? Betting was an economic activity for many; others gainfully employed themselves on betting. A day without betting was not one they wanted to behold. How is that sector faring?
No English Premier League
We are at a point you are considered uncultured, unexposed, local, if you were not a known supporter of a team in the English Premier League and regurgitated football commentaries as if you lived on them. The season had been on suspension, and with other football leagues worldwide. Football, after all, was not what sustained us, or made us humans.
We took this social courtesy for granted. How many virus did we spread with it? Until Ebola’s brief harassment in 2014, it was an unthinkable level of mannerlessness not to shake hands. No handshake is good manners in 2020.
No Important Meetings
Folks used to brag about meetings they attended, personalities they met and who they knew. As the test results are tumbling in, closeness to the powerful is discussed in low tunes. Who knows who could have been infected by who he knew? Meetings are in abeyance too. We can meet when the virus is gone.
Olympic Games postponed
The three earlier instances that the Olympics were cancelled were because of wars – World War I and World War II between 1918 and 1945. The Tokyo Olympics that were to start on 24 July are off, not cancelled, until sometime in 2021.
Parties Are Over
Wherever you live in Nigeria, parties are normal and hardly a week would pass without a major one. Anniversaries, birthdays, burials, child dedications were all occasions that created great partying. The occasions were also economic activities that impacted musicians, comedians, event planners, ushers, dress makers, security, and other values the parties created.
Private Jets Parked
One of the ultimate signposts of exceptional status is the acquisition of a private jet. Private jet owners are grounded. The idea that with your jet you had some of the freedoms of the bird and the convenience of being wherever you wanted whenever you wanted no longer makes meaning. This could be the longest spell of the jets not being put into use. How do they feel with their prized machines at airports? When the virus is over, there will be bills to pay.
Parent out of work, stuffed into spaces that barely contained anyone, managing marital volcanoes, have extra burden of containing kids who are eating as if the world is ending. Everyone is home, working from home. It is a trying experience for all.
Washing Our Hands Without Water
Hypocrisy has not failed to be with us. The insistence is different this time. We must wash our hands. We could do with that though it is generally known that we do not have water to meet the new hygiene standards. Then we are told the washing of hand must be from running water. Short of some flouting the social distance prescription and pouring the water on our hands, where do we have running water in Nigeria for ordinary Nigerians? Are we not great people?
We Can Live Without Make Up
Unimaginable that demand for the expertise of this creative industry could fizzle. With the virus there are no gatherings where we show off how great we look, how different we have become since the last party, and why we are the ones with the groove.
Work From Home
How do we work from home? We had no time to answer the question before the jingo became a new way of life for Nigerians. Working from home is a new phase in labour practices. Nigerians are only discovering it. It may become part of us.
When these are all over, would these lessons change our society for better? Would greed drive us to more acquisitions in the false hope that what we have is what we are?
There may be reasons after all to thank the Corona Virus – the tragedies aside. It has reminded us about our humanity, globally, and that success of one part means nothing, if other parts are trapped in failure.
Hopefully, we would not forget these once the virus vanishes