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THE FIGHT OF TWO WORLD POWERS AND COVID-19 AS A TOOL By HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON COVID-19 By Abdulsalam Abubakar

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As someone who has had a few years studying diplomacy with my little experience in this field, the covid-19 issue could be traced to being a diplomatic one.

We all know that for a long time now, there had been a race from china to catch up with the USA as the leading economy in the world with the USA always being a step ahead of them(china). We also know that there has been an unhealthy rivalry between the USA and china with the recent face-off between both countries on the Huawei secretary’s detention and trial in canada on corruption charges which was reportedly engineered by the USA.

However our aim here is not to discuss political matters here but to discuss how this covid-19 issue is being diplomatic.
First, lets take a look at the covid-19 statistics:

The virus reportedly started from a seafood market in Wuhan, Hebei province of china and spread rapidly and as at now, about 198 countries of the world are now fealing with the virus with italy being the worse hit with more than 10,000 casualties and spain’s getting close to 6000. The united states is also not left out with more than 2000 deaths recorded already. However, what i want you all to note is not about the deaths recorded so far but how could a disease that started in Wuhan, China evade other major cities in the country like Shangai or Beijing and make its ways overseas and into united states territory or don’t you all think this is another plot by the Chinese to your surprise the United states as the leading economy of the world(a feat they have not being able to achieve since after world war 2), with the release of this virus and the world serving as the sacrificial lamb of the chinese to attain top position in world economic affairs?
Only time will tell.

Abdulsalam Abubakar
[email protected]

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UNVEILING BIRTHDAY PROPOSAL by Lawal Divinefavour

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Custodian of Magic Pen; “`in honour of the woman that captured his heart. Recall that years back the legendary writer published a poem titled, “` Pains of falling in love .

Will you and will you be my only?
I would like to see you even in this pandemic where social distance is the only word.

And if I divulge my feelings to you,
Will you be gracious enough to open your heart to me?
I am not ready to be with anyone except you because

I want you to be the one who persecutes me and gives me optimism when I feel alone.
Please promise me it is going to be perfect.

I know when I read and read I don’t look the same but insane.
But can you tell me I’m pretty good and okay anyhow?
Can you just be my one?
You might be the one to hold me close,
In daytime and in the evening.
What is it that you say?
We should go to a spot I think you’ll like.
So, what do you think
If I’ll give you my heart
Will you marry me?

I just want you to be my heart, is it a problem?
You know we go together like Chocolate and milk?
And when I see you walking there is no need for a red carpet
You’re a shining star in my eyes
And all is better whenever you are around

There are many fish in the sea, but I am not fishing.
Jewel, they are trying to shadow, but I’m not gonna listen.
I just love watching everything you are doing, I am your no 1 fan. Give me your honeymoon. I want to be the keeper of your heart,
As I would like you to be the keeper of mine.

©Magicpen 2020
®All Rights Reserved

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Virulent Virus and Public Mistrust: The Nigerian State and the Management of COVID-19 Pandemic by Dr. Luqman Saka

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Introduction
Covid19 virus (SARS-CoV-2), a virulent variant of the SARS and MERS has shut down the world, impacting practically impacting every facets of human living experience. This particular virus with its high fatality compared to more recent pandemic arising from similar viruses has forced nation’s and their population to adopt drastic measures directed at curtailing it spread and managed its deadly mortality. While Covid19 had took on traits of a virus that is not only virulent but also actively mobile, it will not be the first of its kind to manifested as a global threat. Indeed, the 1918-1919 Spanish Influenza was a precursor of Covid19 in term of ease of human-to-human transmission, global spread and/or contagion and high fatality. Covid19 human to human transmission occurred via close contact and through the spread of droplets produced via coughing, sneezing and talking by infected persons. It most active contagious stage was in early days of onset of symptoms of those infected. It incubation period is between 1-14 days wherein someone exposed might developed symptoms, released anti-body to fight off the infection or the body system succumbed and the infected person need hospitalization and hospital treatment. The virus at advance stage attack the lung and other vital organs and can result into death.

Covid19 and Global Transmission
Covid-19 index case and community transmission was first recorded in Wuhan, the largest cities in Hubei Province, China. It was identified on 1st December 2019 and its was believed to have been transmitted to human probably from bats and possibly via Pangolin (an exotic but endangered scaled mammal). Informed by its rapid human transmission and ease at which it crossed national borders especially in Asia in its early stage, the World Health Organization, WHO declared the virus a Public Health Emergency of International concern in January. The virus was subsequently declared a pandemic by the global health body in March, 2020, this was after the virus had spread to many countries, overwhelmed the best of public health care system, forced the shutdown of businesses and national economies thus sparking a global economic recession and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths across all continents. Currently the global statistics of Covid19 national spread, infections and mortality is monumental and seems to have surpassed most scientific projections. Its spread, contagion and fatality is so unpredictable forcing scientists, epidemiologists and data experts to continually modified their projections about the virus incidence and mortality. Presently, Covid19 incidence and community transmission has been recorded in; 187 countries and territories, confirmed cases stand at more than 4 million people, active cases around 2.5 million, people infected but have recovered is nearly 1.5 million, and deaths nearly 300 thousand worldwide.

While the virus epi-centre is and remains the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province, China, it mortality epi-centre or what can be referred to as ‘ground zero’ continued to shift from country to country. Through December 2019 and January-February 2020, Wuhan remains the virus epi-centre. By early March 2020, the WHO considered Europe and in particular Italy the new epi-centre of the virus transmission and mortality. Given its demography statistics and national response that can be characterized as slow with the benefit of hindsight, Italy emerged the most impacted countries in Europe, posting the highest numbers of infection, hospitalization and deaths. By late March 2020, the epi-centre has shifted once again to the United States and the state of New York emerged the virus new ‘ground zero’. The greater number of United States infections and fatality were recorded in New York state alone. While the statistics of infections, hospitalization and deaths in New York is one a gradual decline, yet the overall national statistics in the United States keeps rising even amidst attempt at easing national lockdown and restrictions rules. As at today, United State total national infections stands around 1.4 million and deaths had surpassed 80 thousand.

The spread of Covid19 as a global pandemic has also bring to the fore, the good, the bad and the worse as it relates to State management of the pandemic across the World. Indeed, the controversies, conspiracy theories, false news, information overload, ethno-national and religious phobia and overt nationalistic posture of many national leaders have compounded global management of the virus. For instance, there is the controversies surrounding the origin of the virus as it relates to whether it was natural (transmitted from animal to human in a natural process of contact) or manufactured/cultured in a lab in China. The controversies surrounding the virus origin has not been helped by the emerging antagonism and toxicity that characterized contemporary international relations, notably the relations between China and the United States. The idea that the virus was man-made has been leveled on China by the highest echelon of the United States government. There are also the conspiracy theories, notably the allegation that 5G network of which China’s Huawei telecom is a global leader cause the virus and its spread. There are also the conspiracy theories that revolve around the release of the virus as method for reducing global population. Bill Gates has been largely accused for pushing the agenda through his foundation heavy investment in vaccine discovery for the virus amongst other global health initiative of the foundation. There are also numerous fake and false narration about the virus. The peddling of fake news and spreading false information especially in relation to the fact that the severity of the virus was exaggerated had helped to worsen the rate of infections, hospitalization and mortality. The pushed to re-open the economy especially in the United States is a continuation of the attempt at pushing narration that questioned the veracity of information from medical experts. It represents the politics of the pandemic and the politicization of its management, a situation that is not limited to the United States.

Public Mistrust and the Management of Covid19 Pandemic in Nigeria
In Nigeria, the crisis of public mistrust of governmental actions, policies, programmes arising from years of lack of accountability and transparency in the governance process has clearly comes to the fore as it relates to the politics of Covid19 and its management in Nigeria. From the time, the country’s first index case (the Italian staff of Lafarge) was discovered in late February, up to when the government ordered the closure of Nigeria’s land borders, ceased access to the country through its territorial waters and ordered cessation of international flights into the country following the declaration of a national emergency, there has been more controversies dodging the management of the pandemic in Nigeria. While there is some glimmer of hope in relation to transparency and accountability in the governance and management of the pandemic, these has been few in between and largely restricted.

One of the first controversies relating to the management of Covid19 pandemic in Nigeria relates to position pushed by people offline and online that the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari was lethargic and slow in response to the crisis in the early stage of its spread in Nigeria. Of significance was the argument the had the Federal Government earlier ordered the closure of Nigeria’s airspace to foreign flights the country might have been spared the harrowing experience of mass introduction of the virus into the country from abroad through returning citizens and foreigners like the country’s first index. Pushing this narration further, critics have argued that if pro-active containment measures especially; temperature gauging, isolation and testing of returnees had been taking as priority, the country might have been able to stem the spread of the virus. It is important to stated that Nigeria recorded it first case on 27th February, 2020 and up till March 17th the country recorded just 3 cases. At this early stages, Nigerians especially those active on social media platforms were all out calling for strict measures including the closing of the nation’s airspace to international flights and aggressive measures at monitoring the land and sea borders. Unfortunately, the Federal Government and most states governments (with the exception of Lagos State) took the relax mode, nothing that the country is in control of the situation. All through the month of March, Nigeria’s nouve rich and those in government were all over the world attending to their businesses (important and mundane) inclusive of attending parties in countries that are already getting overwhelmed with the virus (Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom). Even when the nation’s airspace was closed to international flights on the 30th of March and Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, Abuja were placed on total lockdown by the Federal government through executive order, few big men and women (entrepreneurs, showbiz personalities and government officials) were still sauntering into the country coming via chartered flights.

The lethargy that characterized the early stage of the medical management of the virus continued after the order directing the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States and the Abuja was issued. Though, the Presidential Taskforce headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation has been empowered, yet the nation’s lack of preparedness manifest in poor coordination between the federal government, the leadership of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and officials at the sub-national levels especially Lagos that was at the frontline. The crisis of preparedness also manifests in lethargy at contact tracing, poor record of public testing to stem the tide of community transmission and lack of data base on national health care facilities. While lethargy and lack of pro-active preparation characterized overall national response, Lagos State government pro-active response in all facets of the pandemic policy planning and management response was the bright spot in Nigeria’s state management of the pandemic and Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu becomes the country’s ‘star-boy’ of what state official preparedness and response management ought to look like. The Lagos state was apt in the provision of isolation centres, procurement of protective personal equipment, expanding hospital beds dedicated to management of patient hospitalization and in communication to the citizen of the State and Nigeria at large. Indeed, the paced consistent public briefings by Lagos state Governor and Health Commissioner (Prof Akin Abayomi) becomes the most authoritative information sources amid complete information blackout as the President failed to address the nation until 30th March more than a month after Nigeria recorded its first case. Also critical as source of information especially data on infection and health information on the virus was the leadership of the National Centre for Disease Control. The PTF national briefings started much later. While Nigeria’s overall infection continues to rise, economic considerations seems to have forced the Federal Government to announced easing of the total lockdown imposed on Lagos, Ogun and the FCT. At present, Nigeria statistics of infection, recovery and death stand at 4,641 for infections, 902 for recovery and 151 deaths. While Lagos state leads in all the statistics, it however, has the best policy and planning on management especially on the provision of health care facilities, little wonder it posted more than half of the national recovery figure.

Another major issue that have dodged the management of the virus especially at the level of the Federal government has been the lack of accountability and transparency in relations to the management of national fund that have been earmarked for the management of the pandemic. There has been reports of billions of naira been released by the federal government but there has been little information on how the resources has been expended and on what it was used on. In clear categorical term, the crisis of accountability and transparency that has been the hallmark of governance in Nigeria has manifest in the management of the pandemic in Nigeria. There are increasing concerns that the pandemic has become another avenue for corrupt enrichment in Nigeria. The continued insistency by the Federal Minister for Disaster Management that they will continued the ‘School Feeding Programme’, even when schools are closed nation-wide strengthen the position and argument of those that have insist that the management of Covid19 has become the latest national avenue for corrupt official enrichment in Nigeria. The question been asked is how would the Federal Government continue this programme when there are no school children, the stubborn and foolish insistency without explanation of how to proceed on the policy by the Minister was nothing but appalling.

Aside, fund earmarked by the federal and state governments, the organize private sector in Nigeria and the country’s big industrialists (Dangote, Abdul Samad Bua group, Otedola, Adenuga) and such other big names have also contributed billions of naira to the national resource pool dedicated to the management of the pandemic. As typical of Nigeria, people only hear of these fund but there have been no attempts at giving account on how they are being expended and neither is the process of expending the resource seen as transparent by the populace. Indeed, Nigerians are now talking about these money as ‘audio money’ to explains fund that you hear about but knows next to nothing on how it is expended.

There is also the politics of number of infection as another issue dodging Nigeria’s management of the pandemic. Critical on the politics of number of infection are number of issues. The first is people perception that the official statistics been given out by the NCDC is grossly underestimated. This is given credence given the abysmal national recorded keeping and poor data management. For instance, there is no affirmative official data on numbers of births, deaths, marriage and other socio-economics statistics. Nothing showing the poor state of national statistics and data management in Nigeria than the fact that there is no categorical office population figure for Nigeria, what we have and that the nation’s based her national planning on was projection and estimated figures. Critics have argued that for a nation of nearly 200 million that has unfortunately entered the stage of community transmission and with one of the lowest testing per capital to be posting figure of four thousand plus after more than a month of her exposure to Covid19 cannot be said to have accurate infections and death statistics. Another dimension, albeit ridiculous to say the least is the allegation by Governor Yahya Bello of Kogi State, that the NCDC and PTF were trying to force the state to announce covid19 infections where there is none. This allegation was explained at part of the ploy to justify resource utilization. Kogi and Cross Rivers are the only two out of Nigeria’s 36 states that have no officially record of infection. While those that support the Governor’s position were lampooning the NCDC and PTF those against are of the position that Kogi Governor was just playing to the gallery and that the Governor was suppressing medical personnel from calling for testing of those that have come down with symptoms of the virus in the state. This represents one of the bizarre story of Covid19 politics and information management in Nigeria.

Other controversies that have dodged the national effort at managing the pandemic and create avenue for distrust includes the poor management of public communication by the federal government, the issue of 5G and spread of the virus peddled by influential Christian pastors and controversial political figures, the lack of robust education, enlightenment and public awareness on the nature of the virus, its transmission process, how to prevent transmission and personal hygiene and protection. The lack of education and public enlightenment becomes glaring especially in Northern Nigeria when the pandemic outbreak comes to town in Kano state, the main political and commercial heartland of Northern Nigeria. The rate of infection among the Almajirai (street children) in Kano, the repatriation of these street kids all across Northern States better highlighted the lack of coherent national approach on planning for the virus and its management in Nigeria.

Conclusion
Politics and governance in Nigeria’s under democratic rule has been noted to be enmeshed in cesspool of corruption associated with lack of transparency and accountability in the management of the commonwealth. Nigeria’s media landscape is dotted with daily reports of corruption, corrupt acts and mismanagement of public fund. Attempts at reforms has in turned been caught in the web of official corruption in Nigeria. For instance, the much touted Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System IPPIS (platform for managing federal employees’ payroll data) been the most sophisticated of the attempts in recent time at curtailing graft in payroll data management is now under scrutiny given incidences of sharp practices that federal employees are reporting on the payment of their salary. Like all things Nigeria, public perception on the management of Covid19 by the Nigeria state is poor. Many are of the opinion that the management of resource devoted to the management of the pandemic is opaque with little or no attempt at been accountable by those in charge of resource management and lack of transparency on how the fund are been expended. Nigerians are increasingly holding the view that the management of the pandemic has become another avenue for corrupt enrichment by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats at both the federal and constituent units of government in Nigeria.

Luqman SAKA Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.

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HOW TO SPOT A BAD CLIENT

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MON, 12 MAY, 2020

Sometimes you can spot a bad client during your first meeting, and sometimes it takes a little longer to realize you’re not a good fit.

Whether their budget is too small or they’re indecisive, you don’t have to put up with it.

It might seem hard to turn a client down, but it also feels empowering to say “no” to a client that doesn’t respect you or your work.

When was the last time you said “NO” to a client?

These words and advice are from our interview with Mr. OladoyinBrutally Honest“, he told us how emotions and what people will say affected him as an entrepreneur. He grew out of that attitude and made a promise to himself to tell at least one client “NO” per year because it feels great!
If you haven’t already, follow our social media platforms to learn from our nuggets.

He said “JUST SAY NO” is another topic he will love to share, always stay tuned.

For more information:
07051472130, 08027512820
[email protected]

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