There’s no ‘us’ versus ‘them’

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As the shutdown enters the third week, we are now faced with the incidents of robbery and vandalism in a few parts of the country. Most of these coming from young men and women who were holding on to charred threads of hope before the directive to stay indoors began. While a conjecture, it is reasonable to deduce that the shortage of food and sustenance without their daily wages has contributed to this rise in violence.

This isn’t to excuse the activities of offenders or downplay the severity of what some Nigerians are going through right now. It is a call to each one of us to rise to the occasion of being our brother’s keepers.

We have organizations and individuals churning out initiatives to assist the government to feed those who are vulnerable among us. But the immensity of the challenge is beyond what a few people can do. This requires a joint action from all citizens to combat a virus that is more potent than the COVID19 – a self-preservation mentality.

At first glance, this sounds utopian and idealistic. However, we should begin to learn that most complex problems are best approached with simple solutions.

What if we all banded together to meet the needs of the general populace? Let’s begin with the collaboration of the many initiatives already working to make food and other supplies available. Using the biblical quote that “One will chase a thousand and two, ten thousand”, we could be missing an opportunity to make an exponential impact in the lives of people by working in silos. Creating a system that allows and regulates collaboration, with proper mapping of the State is definitely required if not on the part of the government, then on the part of the private entities themselves. With the end goal of feeding our neighbours at the back of our minds, working together should be a welcome development.

Initiatives like Project Ark, Citizen for Citizen, the REACH initiative and a sleuth of others are also encouraging communal efforts towards getting this job done. Project Ark, for example, has created a system that allows individuals within communities to get involved in the process, either by giving or by volunteering their services to distribute or cook the meals for those who may be homeless or without an opportunity to cook their meals

For areas like Lekki, Ikeja, and other parts of Lagos that have the wealthy and the less-privileged sandwiched in the same geographical space, most estates are worried about their safety and tightening security measures. We may, instead, need to consider feeding the “area boys” and street kids we believe are responsible for the unrest. They in turn, can be a part of the distribution process or even ensure the security of the areas they benefit from.

Hunger and prolonged scarcity are ingredients for disaster, especially in a situation like the COVID19 lockdown. And while everyone has the responsibility to prepare for it, we cannot deny the reality of our economy. We can for a moment, switch from a mindset of just staying safe to making sure everyone around us is safe. With regards to flattening the curve, staying home won’t be effective if we have almost half the population of the State disobeying the orders because hunger is a bigger dread to them than a virus. In this situation, there’s no ‘us’ versus ‘them’. We all need to work together for the common good.

Join the train that’s providing palliative measures for this clear and present danger we face, while we double down on creating a sustainable structure that addresses social welfare for everyone.

As the shutdown enters the third week, we are now faced with the incidents of robbery and vandalism in a few parts of the country. Most of these coming from young men and women who were holding on to charred threads of hope before the directive to stay indoors began. While a conjecture, it is reasonable to deduce that the shortage of food and sustenance without their daily wages has contributed to this rise in violence.

This isn’t to excuse the activities of offenders or downplay the severity of what some Nigerians are going through right now. It is a call to each one of us to rise to the occasion of being our brother’s keepers.

We have organizations and individuals churning out initiatives to assist the government to feed those who are vulnerable among us. But the immensity of the challenge is beyond what a few people can do. This requires a joint action from all citizens to combat a virus that is more potent than the COVID19 – a self-preservation mentality.

At first glance, this sounds utopian and idealistic. However, we should begin to learn that most complex problems are best approached with simple solutions.

What if we all banded together to meet the needs of the general populace? Let’s begin with the collaboration of the many initiatives already working to make food and other supplies available. Using the biblical quote that “One will chase a thousand and two, ten thousand”, we could be missing an opportunity to make an exponential impact in the lives of people by working in silos. Creating a system that allows and regulates collaboration, with proper mapping of the State is definitely required if not on the part of the government, then on the part of the private entities themselves. With the end goal of feeding our neighbours at the back of our minds, working together should be a welcome development.

Initiatives like Project Ark, Citizen for Citizen, the REACH initiative and a sleuth of others are also encouraging communal efforts towards getting this job done. Project Ark, for example, has created a system that allows individuals within communities to get involved in the process, either by giving or by volunteering their services to distribute or cook the meals for those who may be homeless or without an opportunity to cook their meals

For areas like Lekki, Ikeja, and other parts of Lagos that have the wealthy and the less-privileged sandwiched in the same geographical space, most estates are worried about their safety and tightening security measures. We may, instead, need to consider feeding the “area boys” and street kids we believe are responsible for the unrest. They in turn, can be a part of the distribution process or even ensure the security of the areas they benefit from.

Hunger and prolonged scarcity are ingredients for disaster, especially in a situation like the COVID19 lockdown. And while everyone has the responsibility to prepare for it, we cannot deny the reality of our economy. We can for a moment, switch from a mindset of just staying safe to making sure everyone around us is safe. With regards to flattening the curve, staying home won’t be effective if we have almost half the population of the State disobeying the orders because hunger is a bigger dread to them than a virus. In this situation, there’s no ‘us’ versus ‘them’. We all need to work together for the common good.

Join the train that’s providing palliative measures for this clear and present danger we face, while we double down on creating a sustainable structure that addresses social welfare for everyone.

 

By: Adedoyin Jaiyesimi

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