Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday shut the doors of a church in the faces of his associates and aides during the funeral of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Florence Adenekan, who died on April 17, 2020, Punch reports. He took this action in compliance with social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines.
With this singular action, Obasanjo gave exemplary leadership. He had not allowed the fact that he is a respected public figure becloud his judgment of what was meant to be done. This is the most unlikely of actions to be taken by an important figure in Nigeria.
Source: CKN Nigeria
Since COVID-19 made inroads to Nigeria, we’ve seen politicians and “big people” violate social distancing and other public gathering guidelines. Given that in Nigeria, politicians and their cronies go about with a very vaunted opinion about themselves, they assume that certain laws do not apply to them. They believe they are above the law.
A case in point was during the burial of the late Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari. We saw pictures of how his funeral was populated with people which included presidential aides, and other politicians. They all violated social distancing just because Abba Kyari was an important figure.
The burial of Obasanjo’s mother-in-law serves as opposite to Abba Kyari’s. On the one hand, obedience to the laws of the land was observed. On the other hand, in the case of Abba Kyari’s funeral, disobedience was observed. These are very saddening times for us in Nigeria and as a world at large.
It’s totally unwise for any politician or a big man to think that laid down laws and guidelines on social distancing do not apply to them. We can learn a lot from the case of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro who had repeatedly trivialised the seriousness of Coronavirus. Now he has contracted it.
Our politicians and their cronies need to learn a lot from Obasanjo. He acted as the elder statesman he is on Friday and should be applauded for it.