Why do government officials find it hard to follow the same rules and guidelines they set for the general populace?
This is happening every day and the outbreak of the Coronavirus has only made it more apparent.
Is lawlessness a Nigerian thing?
Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Catherine Calderwood had a responsibility to advise the government on how to best manage public health crises.
At the least, she was in a position where she had to set an example for the rest of the population on the need to abide by guideline put in place to contain the spread of the Coronavirus in Scotland.
Part of those guidelines were restrictions on travel unless it was absolutely necessary.
Then photos of her visiting a second home emerged.
She was called a hypocrite for not following her own advice, particularly because millions endured hardship just to abide by those rules.
The criticism forced her to resign.
She wasn’t the only one.
With a lockdown in place, Prof. Neil Ferguson and a group of other scientists made projections that convinced the government in the United Kingdom to impose strict social distancing measures to contain the spread of the virus.
While the stay at home order was in place and most people could not visit family members living in separate homes, he had his girlfriend cross from one end of the city of London to visit him.
Ferguson was also forced to resign from his position on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
There will be no resigning in Nigeria even though it is emerging that several people right in the heart of the government are continuously flouting the ban on inter-state travel.
Several names have emerged, including those of ranking members of government.
An important question, however, is how she found herself in such a difficult situation where she had to personally enforce standard health emergency protocols in highest office in the land
Since last week, Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf, nephew and Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, has been in the eye of the storm over concerns that a recent trip to Lagos may have exposed him to infection from the Coronavirus.
The death of Buhari’s former Chief of Staff, Malam Abba Kyari, appears to have left a power vacuum in the presidential villa and there is obviously a scramble to fill the space, even as the new Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, tries to settle down.
The report last week of a shooting in the precincts of the Presidential Villa that led to the arrest of Usman Shugaba, the Aide De Camp to the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, and the events that led to it are a matter for concern.
While the matter is being investigated, it’s clear that the feud in the First Family has once again spilled onto the streets.
First Lady Aisha Buhari has been criticised for over-reacting and trying to take the law into her own hands.
An important question, however, is how she found herself in such a difficult situation where she had to personally enforce standard health emergency protocols in highest office in the land.
There have also been concerns about whether or not the Inspector General of Police was pressured to authorise the arrest of the ADC of the First Lady.
In truth, the full story of all that transpired may never be known to the majority of Nigerians, not even after the reported investigation ordered by the President has been concluded.
With or without an investigation into the security breach, the fact that the First Lady’s ADC along with several other security aides have been placed under arrest suggests how serious the matter is.
Some have accused Aisha Buhari of overreacting.
I don’t think so.
It is scandalous that even though the government preaches to the country every day about the need for citizens to remain safe, avoid inter-state travels and abstain from any measures that may compromise public health and safety, the preachers think that they are above the law
What was she supposed to do when basic health and safety protocols put in place by the NCDC are not being observed by those who are supposed to enforce them?
She shouldn’t have to be the one policing the presidential villa to ensure that the virus doesn’t infect her home; but sadly, that is what it has come to.
It is scandalous that even though the government preaches to the country every day about the need for citizens to remain safe, avoid inter-state travels and abstain from any measures that may compromise public health and safety, the preachers think that they are above the law.
The unfortunate death of Abba Kyari; the recent death of Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza; the near-miss of British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson – all linked to Coronavirus – should have been a wake up call to the government and the political elite that the virus is not a respecter of persons.
It is possible that government officials believe that the threat posed by the pandemic has subsided or that they are all immune to the virus.
That could prove to be a deadly mindset as can be seen in Brazil, whose president Jair Bolsonaro has long dismissed the seriousness of the coronavirus.
Now, Brazil has the second highest number of recorded deaths from COVID-19, 43,000 after the United States of America, which has 118,000.
I hope the investigation by the Presidency would not be a whitewash.
It should not only unravel the circumstances that led to the shooting in the precincts of the Villa, the report should also find out what kind of checks, if any, exist to keep presidential aides and political appointees in compliance with health and safety rules and how the Inspector General of Police got involved in this instant case.