By Richard Peters

From Europe to America, from Asia to Australia, in Africa and all over the world, these are difficult times. People have taken tougher decisions, and nations have taken stricter measures to stop the spread of the world’s most stubborn virus at the moment. Every nation is on its toes, and lives and the economy have been battered. But then, emergency decisions demand emergency response and decision.

In the recent state broadcast by Akwa Ibom State governor, Gov. Udom Emmanuel over the decision of the state to order a total lockdown as it is adopted in other climes, he didn’t mince words in expressing his feelings and concerns about the sacrifice the people would have to make for the state.

“I know that this is a difficult period for all of us as a State. The cessation of movement is for me a very difficult but very necessary decision. I solicit the cooperation and understanding of all of us as we make this sacrifice.”

These lines from the state governor suggest that he is aware of what we are into. Before this, he gave enough windows for people to prepare. It wasn’t a total lockdown from the beginning as adopted by other states. Those trading on food items and medicine were exempted from it, but the recent confirmed cases necessitated the action, which to many, is the best measure to stall the spread of coronavirus.

Moreover, no one actually prepared for this. It took the world by surprise. Everyone is trying to find a perfect footing to see how the pain can be ameliorated.

A typical Akwa Ibom person is known for hard work. They don’t depend on others for survival. Every man strives to provide for his own. Like this farming season, you see people spending time in the farm with his family, planting all kinds of crops. This is what an Akwa Ibom person is known for. But this crises has affected farming at the moment, pending when the lockdown would be relaxed. This is the sacrifice that many have made.

A greater percentage of people have closed their shops and business centers. Economic activities of government have been stalled. Everybody: The rich and the poor, is affected. This is the sacrifice we all have to pay. No one had prayed for this to happen. But we have to live first, before we make money or go out in search of food. That is why we have been asked to stay at home. The ideology is that if we don’t move, the virus will not spread. It is not the making of the governor. It is the measure adopted everywhere. The governor should not be blamed for this.

This is the time that everyone should put into practice the scriptural admonition that we should be our brother’s keeper. This is the time to show love and not trade blame. Blame game has never benefitted anyone, and this time is very wrong for that.

I have read arguments that the governor should provide food for the people throughout this period. It sounds good to the ears, but it is not that easy as we think. Many are of the opinion that we are the highest producer of crude oil in Nigeria and many other similar arguments, but there is more to governance than stating figures. Sometimes, government deliberately ignore to explain some things to the people because there are operations of government that will never be understood by people who are not in the “system”.

Be that as it may, our cry and prayer should equally be channeled to God almighty whom both the government and the governed look up to.

Beyond looking at what should come out from the government to the people apart from the provision of medical equipment and kits, we can engage in meaningful activities and thoughts.

The stay-at-home order is for us to have a rethink on our lifestyle. That is a sober reflection or a review of most of our activities and actions. You know that when things were very normal, we got busy, we forgot about the major and basic things of our lives, but this time that those things are limited, we will be able to take stock of where we got it right and where we got it wrong. It’s the time for us to have a rethink.

This is a moment for family reunion and strength. Some families have challenges and problems that were stacked up in the wardrobes  of busy lifestyle. So, this could be the best time for families to come together, reconcile and seek the face of God.

Our focus should be on God. The Psalmist states clearly” I will look up to the hills from whence cometh my help; my help comes from the Lord”. People should not cry like those without hope. We have a capable father in heaven. This is the time to call on him. Instead of blaming the governor, the president or anyone in position of authority, we need to cry to God.

While we must adhere to strict personal hygiene and social distancing, we strongly believe that our God will show us mercy and heal our land. This is our humble prayer. Keep faith and know that this too, shall pass away.

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