“Sorry about your man”

“Thank you”

“You know I used to think that this COVID-19 thing is a kind of scientific joke, but now I am beginning to take it seriously.”

“How can you say that? It is people like you who mislead the public. I hope you have not been listening to those Pastors who tell people that COVID-19 is not real. I urge you not to commit suicide by exposing yourself unnecessarily. Are you aware that as at this moment the death toll worldwide is close to one million? And that over 21 million persons have been infected? You call that a joke?”

“But I hear it affects only some kind of people, the rich in particular. Big men.”

“No. You only get to hear about the death of big men. You know that Shakespearean quote: “When beggars die there are no comets seen;/The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes” . Thousands of poor people are probably dying every week in Nigeria as a result of COVID 19. But nobody knows. Nobody will report their death in the news because nobody knows them. In any case, the poor have their own explanation. They don’t quite believe that there is anything called COVID-19. Just like you. They often attribute every death to witches and wizards.”

“Are you saying witches and wizards cannot use COVID-19 as a weapon of destruction?”

“In your mind. I’d rather stay with science. Superstition and ignorance are the twin threats to the war against COVID-19 in Africa. While the rest of the world is mobilizing scientists, laboratories and resources to find a cure to the disease, Africans are talking about prayers and witchcraft.”

“But I hear that even scientists are saying that the virus doesn’t quite affect some people, due to previous exposure to a virus within the COVID family, or even common cold. Such persons develop natural antibodies in their T-Cells which protect them against the disease. I am actually quoting a report recently published in the Science Journal by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top expert on infectious diseases.”

“The truth about this disease is that nothing is certain yet. What I have heard is that the virus is constantly mutating and that a new strain has now been discovered in Asia which is likely to be more lethal than the current one. It is called G614.”

“I forbid that in Jesus name.”

“What are you forbidding? Just be careful.”

“By the way, what do you think of the latest development in Bayelsa State? The Governor’s election has been nullified by the Election Petition Tribunal. What do you think will happen?”

“Governor Douye Diri himself has indicated what will happen. He says his lawyers have been briefed to go to the Court of Appeal and that he is determined to go all the way to the Supreme Court. That is the best option available to him. A man who became Governor through the instrumentality of the law cannot be seen embracing any option other than the rule of law.”

“Poor fellow. It is as if some people just don’t want him in that position. Four different petitions were filed against him at the Tribunal by four political parties: the Alliance for Democracy (AD) the United People’s Congress (UPC), the Liberation Movement (LM) and the Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP). The petitions by the AD, UPC and LM were dismissed for lack of merit last weekend. But now a few days later, the ANDP petition has been upheld by the Tribunal. But should Douye Diri lose his seat because of a mistake that was committed by INEC? Diri was not the person who omitted the name and logo of the ANDP from the ballot box. INEC did that. Is it then right to cancel the election and order a re-run within 90 days on account of that?”

“Yes. Absolutely. The Tribunal is correct. The ruling draws attention to a fundamental point about the validity of the Gubernatorial election conducted in Bayelsa state on November 16, 2019. The exclusion of the ANDP raises issues of validity.”

“But do you think Diri will win at the Court of Appeal?”

“I don’t know. We should just wait and see.”

“So, if there is a re-run of the Gubernatorial election, will the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, David Lyon now be on the ballot too. After all, he won the election originally until his Deputy brought bad luck to the ticket and the Court nullified David Lyon’s victory.”

“No. The APC cannot participate in the re-run election. The Lyon-Degi-Eremienyo ticket was declared invalid by the court. It remains so. But I foresee a lot of re-alignments. Even without a candidate in the election, the APC is not likely to fold its hands. The party can align with one of the other political parties, put up a proxy candidate on that other platform and give the PDP a serious fight. The APC will certainly see this as an opportunity to take Bayelsa back. Once their proxy candidate wins, the deed is done. One or two months later, the new Governor will simply jump ship and join the APC. Simple.”

“It is that simple? I don’t think so”

“Not quite simple but it is all a matter of political strategy. Strategy matters.”

“Douye Diri will be foolish to allow the APC dislodge him with that kind of strategy. In fact, he should never have allowed the matter to get to this stage. He should have negotiated with the ANDP. Pay them off. In some states in the last election, there were some other political parties who were wrongfully excluded from the ballot sheet. The party that won at the end of the day negotiated with them and nobody went to court to challenge anything.”

“Where did that happen?”

“Ask me again. Is it me you want to put into trouble? Are you not aware that if you say anything these days, you could be invited for a chat with the Department of State Services (DSS)?”

“You just like to talk. You lack courage.”

“Thank you”

“Okay, just whisper it to me. I won’t tell anybody.”