By Omoshola Deji
The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is ravaging the earth as economic and social restriction continues with no end in sight. As of April 14, COVID-19 has infected over 1.9 million persons and killed almost 200,000 globally. In Nigeria, the confirmed cases are still fairly low – but on the rise. 323 cases and 10 deaths have been reported as of the aforementioned date.
For one thing, COVID-19 has proven to us that the world is a global village and we are one single family. When Nigerians heard about a virus outbreak in China late last year, many never thought it would reach the country, not to speak of eliciting lockdown.
The grand upside and downside of life is its mystery; our inability to know what course our life will take. Some of those who died of COVID-19 never owned a passport. Many have never visited the airport. Others have been denied visas repeatedly. By implication, they never saw abroad but died of a foreign disease. Thus, one must be thankful for life and obey the COVID-19 preventive measures, particularly on social distancing and hygiene. After obedience comes survival.
Successive failed governments have groomed Nigerians to always endure difficulty, but the upshot of the COVID-19 lockdown is breaking the resilient masses. In truth, Nigerians must brace up for the tough days ahead as things will get much worse before it gets better. Here are tips on how to survive during the lockdown.
These are very abnormal times. Hence, some of our normal expenses are no longer normal, they are, in the meantime, a waste of resources. Don’t spend on direct calls when you can communicate via WhatsApp. It’s understandable if you detest WhatsApp because ‘reconnecting’ disrupts your conversation. But then, it is better than nothing or spending high on calls at this time. Manage WhatsApp calls, at least, for now. Those who eschew WhatsApp call out of pride must humble themselves before brokenness humbles them. People in advanced nations make WhatsApp calls without rating themselves poor – and people don’t consider them poor.
Cut your costs. Buy less fuel and go for cheaper digital satellite television subscription. It’s irrational to pay high for Supersport when all tournaments have been suspended. Don’t bother to renew your subscription, if you are broke and can’t provide yourself constant electricity. Feed yourself instead. You may rely on the internet for news and entertainment. Multi-using your data for calls, news reading and entertainment is wise. Avoiding watching long videos to make your data last. Entertain yourself with non-internet powered radio, if your phone has the function.
On food, plan your meal wisely and eat cautiously. Don’t fry eggs with sardine. Fry only egg and use the sardine for other meals. Don’t waste food. Put only what you can finish on the plate. Don’t take much, but eat some, and waste the rest. Refrigerate your leftover and consume it at the earliest possible time or give the needy. It is irresponsible to waste food, especially now that people are starving.
Avoid alcohol and smoking or reduce your intake. Smoking damages the lungs, which makes people die fast when they contract COVID-19.
Endeavour to Share
Don’t keep all you have to yourself and family, thinking the pandemic will last forever. No, it won’t. It’s unkind to hide bags of rice at home when other people are famishing. Don’t chop-belle-full while your neighbors sleep on an empty stomach. Share with them.
Share the kindness you receive from your superiors – to your inferiors. Let the largesse trickle-down. For instance, if someone gift you 20,000 Naira (N), don’t pocket the money and turn a blind eye to the penurious souls around you. Ensure you bless others too. Dash someone in need N2,000. Bless another person N1,000. Gift another poor individual N500. Let the money trickle-down. The N20,000 won’t be yours if your benefactor is also an ‘aka gum.’
Sharing of food and funds is basically for the poor. Exchange of knowledge and ideas is for the rich and average class. Now is the time to share your business, investment and project ideas with those who might help. Your target mentors and experts will almost certainly hear you out now. Book a voice or video call appointment. Ask them to share their knowledge and experience with you. This will save you from sinking before you fly. Don’t be unwelcoming if you are a success. Share knowledge and give out helpful contacts to the newbies and promising.
Don’t stay lacking without asking those who can help. Some well-off people will never help until you ask. Your friends and relations may not think about you, or rather conclude you’re doing fine if you don’t put forward a request. Some of them who wish to help may be held back by your likely rejection. Others may be scared of your offensive reaction, thinking you may conclude they offered to help because they rate you poor. Don’t be shy to ask, if you are in need. Everyone knows we are in a difficult time. People will honor your request, especially if you’ve not been milking them before now.
Ask out of need, not out of greed. It’s foolish to hide your food and go about exploiting others. It’s wicked to pocket your money and help others exhaust theirs. Ask only when you’re in need – for just what you need.
I have a friend who never gives. He will never help, even if you’re dying. Another is terrible on oversight and good at turning a blind eye. Conversely, he won’t let you rest when he has a problem. Am not alone. Everyone has such receive-and-never-give person(s) in their life. Disregard them this season. Focus on those who truly need your generosity to survive. Except you are one, ignore helping friends who spend most of their funds partying and womanizing. Allow them to suffer; that will transform them to start saving for the rainy days and live responsibly.
Make sure you check up on your family members regularly. Ask about their welfare. Don’t neglect them, even if you are in conflict. They need your support, especially if you are wealthy. Give them hope, if you have no money. Let them feel loved. Frustration is making many think suicide, but they’re keeping on because they don’t want to hurt their nearest and dearest.
Dine-in and Eat Healthy
Don’t eat out during this lockdown. It’s risky to patronize restaurants, sharing spoons and plates. Doing so increases your chance of contracting Coronavirus. It’s sensible to do takeaway, but advisable to save cost by cooking at home. I recall my grandma always preach home catering to save cost. She often condemns eating at a sitting with “owo ikoko obe” – meaning “money that can prepare a pot of soup.” Embrace her viewpoint: Don’t use the money that can prepare a pot of soup – which will feed you for days – to eat at a sitting during this lockdown.
Stay away from all outdoor foods, including snacks. Shun egg-roll, meat pie, suya, and other foods that suffer frequent touch. Avoid Agege bread for the industrial packed ones. Try to consume balanced diet and citrus fruits or vitamin C to boost your immune system.
Eat for survival, not pleasure. A lot of people eat anything; everything; anyhow; anytime. They lack food manners and discipline. Now is not the time for careless eating. Eat when necessary, and responsibly to avoid obesity.
Whether you’re a girlfriend, fiancée, wife, or side chick, do not bill men unreasonably this season. Don’t insist on having your hair done when there’s no occasion to rock. For the men, ensure your family needs are met before passing money to your side chicks. They are most likely not taxing you only, but many other men. They will be fine without you, but your mother may just not be. Remember her and those who stood by you during hard times. Man or woman, be considerate if you want your relationship and marriage to outlive the Coronavirus.
Employ Customer Loyalty Reward Tactics
Getting foodstuffs to buy despite holding cash has become difficult, but you have a lifeline. Call your patronages – the store owners, traders and market women you patronize regularly – to reserve foodstuffs for you. They will oblige because you are their loyal customer. It’s the likes of you that have kept them in business and they need your patronage to stay on after the pandemic. Making early request prevents you from lacking. Put those you’ve always patronized on duty and you’ll never run out of stock. Try it. It works.
Desist from Greed
Don’t buy all the goods because you have the funds to. Buy some and leave the rest for others. Don’t join the have-nots to fight for the despicable food government is sharing if you are better off. Think of the incredibly poor. Except you are at the bottom of the ladder, leave the food for those poorer than you.
Advocate for Government Support
Support the call on the government to provide better palliatives. Successive Nigerian governments don’t act till there’s public outcry and the Buhari administration is worse off. Don’t play ‘I don’t care’ because you’re comfortable. Those who need the palliatives need your voice. Moreover, everyone stands to benefit, if government award far-reaching palliatives such as free electricity, tax waiver, rent payment deferment, internet and satellite TV subscription price slash, etc.
Contribute Your Skills
Use your high in-demand skills to assist your community or make money. Start sowing face mask if you are a tailor. If you’ve switched to another enterprise, now is the time to dust your machine and start sewing. Distribute the face masks to the community or sell at a reasonable price. You will thank me after counting how much you’ve made when the pandemic is over.
Don’t just sit idle when your skill is in high demand. If you are a pharmaceutical scientist, produce large quantities of hand sanitizers for the community or teach people how to do so. Volunteer your service, if you are a retired nurse/doctor. Don’t turn a blind eye because of your unpaid pensions and gratuity. Don’t think about the leadership failures and how badly Nigeria has treated you. Think about humanity.
Listen to the news daily. Keep up with the most recent updates on COVID-19 preventive measures and healthy living. Be aware of the latest information. Use social media, but fact check every information before sharing. Don’t purvey fake news; it ruins faster than a virus.
You must take up the responsibility of personal and communal protection by being vigilant. Monitor your environment and promptly report any suspected cases of COVID-19 to avoid community spread. Reporting such cases doesn’t make you an intruder or bad blood. No one is at a loss if you err, but everyone stands to gain if you are right. In addition, set up a vigilante group or join existing ones to protect your community against attack and robbery.
Polish your skills and read informative papers. This will make you come out of the lockdown a better, well-informed person. Also, use the movement restriction opportunity to retrospect. Examine yourself critically; there’s always something to change, stop or improve on. The best time to figure out those things and create a better you is now. Seize the moment!
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”― Leon C. Megginson
*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org