January 8, 2021
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THE year 2020 was a complex and difficult one not only for Nigeria but the whole world. Apart from peculiar challenges associated to each nation, the entire world was a victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

In Nigeria, the first encounter was through an Italian man who brought COVID-19 to Lagos on February 27 and it spread via his subsequent movement to Ogun State. Since then, it was an unpalatable development that affected the whole country. Despite concerted efforts by the government to stop the spread, it became a monster that consumed many notable personalities in Nigeria and the whole world. In addition, economic and social functions and all aspects of human activities nosedived to an unimaginable extent.

As painful as the events of 2020 were, we should note that they had come and gone and we must move forward. The Qur’an says: “…When (will come) the help of Allah? Behold, the help of Allah is near” (al-Baqarah, 214). There is light at the end of the tunnel.

We must put the turbulence of 2020 behind us and be optimistic that in 2021, we will receive Allah’s help to be able to take the necessary actions to overcome the global calamity of the COVID-19 pandemic. The veracity of coronavirus cannot be overemphasised because of its exponential nature. It is an existential threat to the whole world. Humanity is endangered. With over 83 million affected and over 1.8 million fatalities globally and with mutated strain in the second wave, the numbers are going up. COVID-19 has changed the world as we knew it and its existentialism requires concerted efforts from all nations. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to take us out of the wood.

Although some effective vaccines for COVID-19 have been produced, the focus has been on developed nations because of their high level of actualities. However, distribution and access should be expanded to the Sub-Saharan Africa and developing nations otherwise there will be more instances of mutated strains. There is the need for concerted efforts, global cooperation and solidarity. It is imperative to note that, for the stimulation of our recovery from the health and economic chaos of COVID-19, in 2021, there is the need for fervent prayers for divine intervention. It must be noted that despite the application of vaccines, the usual COVID-19 protocols should still be applied so as to curb continued spread and vulnerability. We must be proactive, honest and pragmatic in our approach to tackle COVID-19 and other diseases that are pandemic in nature.

The bottom line is that 2021 should be prosperous for all to enable us to recover from the predicaments of coronavirus and ‘hungervirus’ of 2020. We should prepare our minds for any eventuality that may push the reversal of our situation to 2022. We are in it together; one planet, one God.

Sheikh Nojimudeen, an author, is the Chief Imam of Challenge Central Mosque, Ibadan.

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