Permit me to point out what I regard as a fundamental failure of leadership in government which is most critically prevalent at state and federal levels for decades.
When environmental issues took the centre stage across the world, it was decided to prioritise Environmental Impact Assessment in approval considerations for various major government and private projects.
Over the years, it has become obvious that governments pay little or no attention to the more important issue of Human Impact Assessment on which I have editorialized in the past.
In Kaduna, we can see this failure in the ongoing urban upgrade projects which put the focus on infrastructure at the expense of survival of people impacted adversely by the projects.
Now, in the efforts to check the spread of the coronavirus, we are seeing drastic lockdown and stay at home regulations which practically deny the majority of people a means of daily livelihood on which they depend but make no reference or effort to acknowledge and redress this.
Yet, the leaders luxuriate on the “mandate” of the people with impunity. The commoners even celebrate the fact that coronavirus has equalised the health inequities by foreclosing foreign medical treatment and forcing the top shots to survive or perish in makeshift isolation sites, sharing the appalling lack of basic facilities with our notorious “consulting clinics.”
Can government not even consider commissioning bakeries to produce and distribute bread in the ghettos? Can governors not show concern by giving their locked down citizens the IDP humanitarian reliefs?
When we clear our cities of the struggling roadside traders, can they not be absorbed into the labour force of the contractors or otherwise deployed to earn something to subsidize the suffering?
When government callously scoops pension funds to beef up its budget, is it unaware of hundreds of unpaid pensioners waiting in vain for verification?
How does it feel to consciously prevent people from seeking daily bread and caring less about their survival?
Death by starvation cannot be a humane substitute for death by coronavirus unless it is part of the evil scheme to rid the world of the poor so that the rich can thrive!
God dey, na poor man prayer.
Leaders need to put humanity above authority or they will continue to pay the price that the Altimate Authority imposes to equalize inequities, created by heartless leaders.
Human Impact Assessment is non-negotiable.
Babatunde, one time chairman of the Editorial Board of defunct New Nigerian Newspapers, wrote from Kaduna.