At a time like this, few things are required of the government of the day to keep citizens hopeful, law abiding, renewed and charged to confront the days ahead. Amongst these are;
1. Sincerity of purpose: The government and drivers of politics and policies are required to come out as plain as possible in defining the strategy to face the days ahead without allowing the citizenry to speculate or map out independent plans for survival. The robbery case in Lagos is a good example of this truth. The Federal government should emulate the activities of its counterparts in other countries. For instance, the United States President, Donald Trump approved the disbursement of stimulus cheques of $1200 dollars for adults and $500 for children as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 positive end.
2. Pragmatic Approach: The procedures to be followed in combating the COVID-19 disease must be pragmatic, such that the activities of governments at all levels can be seen as indeed tailored towards tackling the pandemic in the best way possible. Policies must be pro-citizen and unambiguous. Residents in remote communities that might not have access to the media to receive updates regarding government activities should be able to see first-hand, proactive measures being put in place to tackle the pandemic in their communities.
3. Speed and adequate Response: I understand that at a time like this, citizens, particularly those at the bottom rung of social and economic ladder are bound to clamour for certain needs, desires, wants and protection. Government, through its appropriate ministries, departments and agencies must rise to the task and respond as fast and as adequate as possible in order to restore confidence and harmony in these trying times.
4. Update and Development: The authorities responsible for combating the virus must constantly provide vital updates and further details regarding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic across the nation. These updates and additional information must be genuine, authentic and reliable. The clarity of these updates and new developments would keep citizens well-informed, reestablish their trust in the ability of governments and other stakeholders to tackle this pandemic and consequently maintain calm in the society.
5. Hope and confidence restoration: The government and relevant agencies must constantly reassure citizens that though the days are hard and tough times confront us ahead, its preparedness and plans to ensure everyone is protected and provided for is on top gear. This would reassure citizens of government’s ability to keep the situation under control as opposed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) churning out loans for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at this lockdown period where business and other commercial activities have been crippled.
Finally, God is still on the throne, regardless of many predictions, we have always overcome and we shall overcome this as well. Hoping to see you stronger on the other side of this pandemic.
Johnson Omede Esq is the Managing Partner of Vasanta Legal,