Editor's note: Recently, Governor Abdul'aziz Yari, while speaking about the meningitis disease that has killed hundreds of Nigerians blamed fornication and sins of humans as reasons why 'God decided to punish Nigerians with meningitis.'
In this opinion by Reno omokri, the formal media aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, he explains the ridiculousness of blaming a disease outbreak on religion, and compared it to how President Buhari's predecessor, Jonathan fought Ebola outbreak during his tenure.
THE WRATH OF GOD
Perhaps the most outlandish thing I have heard this year, other than the fact that one set of President Buhari's aides told us he was not sick while another set simultaneously asked us to pray for his recovery, is the claim by the All Progressive Congress governor of Zamfara state that the outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria is as a result of our sins.
His exact words were as follows:
“What we used to know as far as meningitis is concerned is the type A virus. The World Health Organization, WHO, has carried out vaccinations against this type A virus not just in Zamfara, but many other states. However, because people refused to stop their nefarious activities, God now decided to send Type C virus, which has no vaccination. People have turned away from God and he has promised that ‘if you do anyhow, you see anyhow’ that is just the cause of this outbreak as far as I am concerned. There is no way fornication will be so rampant and God will not send a disease that cannot be cured.”
The above quote from Governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari is not only silly and nonsensical, it is also blatantly untrue.
First of all, it is not true for that there is no vaccine against meningitis C. There is one and it has existed for almost two decades. In the year 1999 alone, 15 million children in the United Kingdom were vaccinated against meningitis C. Why a Governor of a state prone to meningitis does not know this beats my imagination. If he is ignorant of this, I wonder how many more things he will be ignorant of!
When the Ebola Virus struck in Nigeria in 2014, the Goodluck Jonathan administration wasted no time in mobilizing against the disease alongside the affected state governments. Preventive measures were put in our airports and those affected were quarantined. Those who escaped quarantine were traced, apprehended and sent back to quarantine. Nigeria made international headlines for all the right reasons, becoming one of the first nations in the world to defeat Ebola even before advanced nations like the United States and the United Kingdom.
IF MENINGITIS IS THE REWARD OF SIN
However, in 2017, when meningitis has reached epidemic proportions in Nigeria with 336 deaths and counting, the ever blame ready APC government blames our sins instead of attacking the scourge!
The annoying thing about Governor Yari's statement is that he said this immediately after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari. Who knows what the two of them must have discussed in secret that emboldened the Governor to say what he says right after the meeting.
The APC administration's response to the meningitis epidemic can be summarized thus: Repent of your sins and your meningitis will depart from you!
We never experienced these deaths from meningitis in the five years preceding this administration. One wonders if Nigerians were not committing sins during the years that Jonathan governed Nigeria.
NIGERIAN GOVERNORS SHOULD REMOVE YARI AS CHAIRMAN OF GOVERNORS' FORUM
If Nigerian Governors have any shame left, they will ask Governor Abdulaziz Yari to step down as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum. What type of leadership can he provide for the NGF? Over 200 people died from meningitis in his state and he is blaming the sin of fornication? This is a man who boasted of spending ₦1 billion in 2013 to host a Qur’anic Memorisation Competition, at that time equivalent to $7 million. If he had used that money to pay for meningitis C vaccines for the people of Zamfara, at least 200 of them would have still been alive to memorize the Qur'an today! That is the real sin that causes meningitis, not the sin of fornication.
But rather than dissociate from him, the equally shameless Governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai invited Governor Yari to have the seat of honour at the Kaduna Investment Summit which held on Thursday the 6th of April, 2017.
Seated at the seat of honoring at the summit tagged #KadInvest was El-Rufai, a Governor who admitted paying Fulani herdsmen not to kill his citizens (they took the money and the killings continued) and on the right was Abdul'aziz Yari, a Governor who believes the sin of fornication causes meningitis. It was definitely not a successful Summit! Google the pictures from the summit and you will notice the empty hall. It seems herdsmen killings and or death by meningitis affected attendance!
If, according to Governor Yari, illnesses are the result of sins, then pray, can he tell us what sin is responsible for President Muhammadu Buhari's ill health? And while he is at it perhaps he can tell us what sin is responsible for his own illness of diarrhea of the mouth?
MENINGITIS AS A RESULT OF LACK OF LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA
The fact remains that it is not sins, but lack of leadership that has caused the meningitis outbreak currently plaguing Nigeria. Our leaders have refused to spend the wealth of the Nigerian nation on the welfare and wellbeing of the Nigerian nation. More money is spent by states like Kano and Zamfara on sending their elites on pilgrimage to Mecca at public expense, or on organizing mass weddings for people that are ill prepared for marriage than is spent on defeating the meningitis scourge.
If at all sin caused this meningitis outbreak, then it is the sin that Nigeria has enough money to pay for President Muhammadu Buhari's London treatment but not enough money to give citizens in vulnerable areas the meningitis C vaccines!
Could this be the reason why the Presidency has refused to reveal how much of our money President Buhari spent on his medical tourism visit, also known as 'vacation', to London?
But the more I think of it, the more I am convinced that If at all sins cause diseases, it would not be the sins of Nigerians, it would be the sins of their leaders.
President Muhammadu Buhari alone has committed more than enough sins to saddle us with enough plagues.
Do we have to talk about the sin of his hypocritical letter to the Senate of the National Assembly in which he made excuses for his own Secretary to the Government of the Federation who had been caught, red handed, in a contract scam?
The President's actions were made even more hypocritical by the fact that he recently fired a Permanent Secretary for doing the exact thing that grass-cutter Babachir Lawal did.
By sacking the Permanent Secretary and retaining and defending Babachir, President Buhari proved the truism in George Orwell's words from his seminal work, Animal Farm, that 'all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'.
Going back to the President's sins that may have ignited the meningitis outbreak, could it have been his sin of failing to take any disciplinary actions against those involved in the killings of over three hundred Shiites in Zaria including defenseless babies, women and children?
Or perhaps it is failing to bring anyone to book for the bombing of hundreds of innocent Internally Displaced Persons and the medical officers who were helping them at the Rann IDP camp in Borno state?
It could even have been the fact that the President condemned Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for allowing the Naira lose value to the extent that it exchanged for 199 Naira to a dollar only to watch, almost helplessly, as it devalued to as high as 500 Naira to one dollar during his watch.
The fact remains that the President has committed enough sins, including relegating women to the 'other room' and calling Nigerians 'criminals' (to the Telegraph of London) that Nigerians do not have to have sinned to bring this plague on us. Our President has committed enough sins to pay the price of our plagues!