How Can Nigerians Stay At Home When They Have No Home?

By Ikenga Chronicles March 29, 2020

How Can Nigerians Stay At Home When They Have No Home?

— Dr. Vitus Ozoke

I’m amused each time I hear Nigerian public officials urge Nigerians to stay at home. Well, stay at home is a common and universal anti-pandemic mantra; but, as universal as it may seem, that mantra must allow for contextual exception.

When nations of Europe, America, Asia, and many African states urge their citizens to stay at home, it makes sense. It makes sense because there’s a home to stay. When citizens of those countries stay at home, they are not just staying at home, they are at home. They are at home with uninterrupted electricity.

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With electricity comes regulatable room temperature, ability to preserve perishable foods, ability to remain digitally and virtually active, ability to keep children engaged with electronic distractions, and so on. Nations that have uninterrupted power system are able to carry on with many critical aspects of life, albeit virtually and remotely.

Educational instructional delivery has continued in Europe, America, and Asia. Students and their teachers have made a fast and near seamless transition to distance learning, utilizing the facilities of the internet, electricity, computers and smart devices. For these societies, life goes on and students will still graduate when they are scheduled to graduate. Now the reason these countries are able to function from home is because their citizens live in homes. That’s not quite the case for Nigeria and Nigerians.

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Most Nigerians live in houses, not homes. The rich live in mansions, but not homes. When you order or urge Nigerians to stay at home, you are commanding the impossible. For most Nigerians, the only reason they return to their abode at the end of each day is because it is a point of reunion for the family. A family that endures the heat of summer night together, sticks together.

So, maybe we need to start urging Nigerians to stay in their houses, but not stay at home. Nigerians don’t have homes, they have houses. But if Nigerians must endure the hardship of coronavirus, they must endure it equally. If electricity is allowed for the same politicians who have squandered collective patrimony, while the poor are locked in the dark in these hard times, let the masses rise – stay at home or not. We must all go through this time equally.