COVID-19: WORLD WAR III UPON US

War times are associated with partial and total lockdown owing to government directives
with a curfew in place. This demand loved ones making efforts to check on each other to
confirm the status of safety and wellbeing. At such times, only warring troops are seen in the
streets mitigating influx of the troops from opposing camp.
The year 2020 came with high hopes of great expectations. The economic forecast predicted a
better year and even a decade of greater measures for businesses and individuals. While we
jostled in hopes, little did we know we would face a global lockdown like
wartime.
As much as I like to shy away from the usage of the word ‘war’, it is the much I like to as well
liken the situation to a third world war which was suspected in January when the US
ordered a drone strike that killed top Iranian Army General, Qassem Soleimani. This
generated tensions in what appeared as the outbreak of a war that might spread to become
a global war as the two nations traded words of war. Alas!
We also resumed the new year with the continued economic conflict between the world’s
two largest economies, the United States of America and China. While that was, on the one
hand, there was the oil price war on the other between the US and OPEC kingpin, Saudi
Arabia and non-OPEC leader, Russian.
May I, not forget that the issue of global warming resulting in rising sea level, melting
glaciers, dying cloud forests, scrambling wildlife among others. Australia wildfire caused
stair in my heart on survival if this befalls us. The fire reportedly ravaged over 18 million
hectares of land area destroying over 5,900 buildings and over 2,800 homes. It caused
human fatalities; millions of animals killed helplessly. Habitat and sources of food lose for
surviving animals depicting that some may not live after a while. This was a clear and scary
sign of the end time as the religious devout would say.
Coming back home, the internal wars on the nation from the Boko Haram Terrorist Group
and the mayhem inflicted on farmers and locals by Herdsmen grew on a daily basis. Thus, we
dwell in a time that the people were gradually losing hope on the government to provide
adequate security. The states/regions were beginning to adopt regional security outfits like
the the ‘Amotekun’ by the Governors of the South-West. Other regions are bracing up to
follow suit, Nigerians were beginning to embrace the principle of self-defence like people
who live in a war zone. Not forgetting the growing cases of notorious teens/youths flying
the colours of cultism on our streets resulting in high crime rates and insecurities for living
and property across various residents.
While the global space was looking like warming up for World War III, internal speculations
and indices were tilting to a Second Civil War or better still separation for regional
autonomy. The times became a true reflection of the world and our nation seating on kegs
of gun powder. Everyone treads with caution not to be the tool that will trigger the
outburst.

While businesses and families recessed to the Christmas and new year breaks, a microbe
erupted from a town called Wuhan in China. It was treated with kid gloves at first. Soon, it
was beginning to spread like the speed of light in air. Italy and Spain in Europe would wish
they could turn back the hand of time to early January when they had minimal cases. The US
caught a share of it and began to combat the virus. The military ancillary could not save the
situation. Ah! Iran also got the bug and the military valour also watched helplessly for this is
not a war of the combatants but of science and medicine.
While the mighty were battling the virus with rising cases of infected persons, we reclined
with meagre preparedness but fully blown in the media space of our readiness to contain
the virus. February 27, that faithful day we received the news of the first case of the Corona
Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) like a missile. Yes, because it is a global pandemic. The index
case was taken and quarantined for intensive care.
Ordinarily, the majority expected the Presidency to immediately declare a state of emergency to
close the borders against in-flight and other entry points knowing the state of our health
facility. But this was again treated with kid gloves like we did to Boko Haram in 2009 as well
as the nefarious activities of the Herdsmen.
The reality is dawned on us that we are fighting for our survival. It is not a disease of the
poor nor the affluent. COVID-19 like death is a respecter of no man. Infection is not in the
physical appearance as a wound from a gunshot in the time of physical war. This is a
‘medical war’ that we must win by putting our differences aside, no blame games. In the
words of President Trump, “It is a medical war. We have to win this war. It is very
important”.
On the global scene, the trade war, the oil price war looks subtly because of the bigger war of
COVID-19 steers us all in the face. In our local stage, it is time to put tribalism and religious
bias aside to win the medical war.
The efforts of the government through the Ministry of Health, the National Centre for
Disease Control (NCDC) and state actors (Governors) is highly commendable. The partial
lockdown and adherence by most private organisations are commendable. The growing
campaign for personal hygiene, social distancing and the call to stay at home is all we need
to reduce the spread of the virus. The key strategy to win this war is for us to remain at the
united front to adhere to all instructions from relevant authorities/agencies.
On this note, I have come to terms with Albert Einstein, “I do not know with what weapons
World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” This is
why I say we are fighting the World War III but it is not a war for the military, it is a war for
the medical practitioners and all of us to fight gallantly and come out victorious.

Kenneth Adejumoh
Tweet @kenadejumoh
An expert in Corporate Communications writes from Lekki, Lagos.

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