Leadership Communication Skills in Crisis: A Matter of Life and Death. Lessons of COVID-19 
I must strongly apologise for one of the videos you will see in this post. It’s already online, and I am not the original author; it’s purpose, however, is to pass a strong language to political and religious leaders globally. COVID-I9 infection is real, and we are at war. It respects nobody, and we must be careful what we say.
I have been a medical doctor for 35 years and my son is a practicing medical doctor in Germany. I am a preacher of the Word of God and I have seen great miracles. My wife is AS genotype, and just before we got married, I did my haemoglobin genotype, and I was told I was AS. We had children from 1986 to 1996, and we don’t have any sickle-cell disease children. In fact, the last one just turned out to be AA.
One of the things I noticed about many leaders in this pandemic is the fear of losing relevance. This fear of losing relevance has led several leaders to play to the gallery and appease either their political base or religious camps. In the midst of this crisis, I found out that because there is a lot of tension in the atmosphere, and because very few people living today have ever experienced anything close to what we are experiencing today, a lot of people respond to issues impulsively and defensively. I found out that people are looking for who to blame for their inadequacies.
There are some things we must understand about the novel coronavirus and this pandemic.
- It is an infectious disease.
- It affects aged people and those with underlying diseases more than young active people.
- There are people who are infected but are asymptomatic.
That is they have the infection, but they are not bedridden, and they are the super transmitters of the disease, because they can infect others without being sick.
Richard Quest of CNN has tested positive for COVID-19, but he is still very active broadcasting from home.
- Malaria coexists with several diseases in Nigeria because it is endemic; so malaria can coexist with COVID-19.
That someone took hydroxychloroquine treatment for malaria or was treated for malaria, does not mean he/she does not have COVID-19, especially if he/she tests positive for COVID-19.
Several of the patients in some treatment centres are being treated with antiviral drugs for HIV and other drugs; it does not mean they don’t have HIV.
- In several viral infections, people can recover spontaneously if they have strong immunity. After all, I am still waiting for a lunatic with malaria or COVID-19.
- That someone recovered spontaneously or did not have complications after a period of stay in an isolation centre, does not mean that he/she did not have COVID-19.
- There is also the possibility of false negatives and false positive diagnosis.
The issue of comparing patients in European hospitals with those in Nigerian hospitals is based on ignorance. Many of the first cases in Italy were in a particular northern region of Lombardy, where they had very many very old people, mostly above 80 years old. The deaths in the United States of America were also initially from old people’s homes, and these homes are usually very congested. You don’t expect old people to be as agile as young people.
Leaders Must Show Restraint
It is being rumoured that an ex-president of a country went to a treatment centre in Africa and he saw people jumping up and down. I was admitted into hospital with chicken pox in 1974; I was 15 years old then. We turned the baby cots to train coaches; we would link them up and roll them like a train; but we had chicken pox. We nearly turned that ward upside down. He was reported to have said that the people immediately pretended to be sick immediately they saw him. If our principal, then, had come to that ward, we all would have taken cover.
I saw a post of the rich meal a patient in Nigeria was eating in a treatment centre. Yes, they are well fed to boost their immunity. If they are not well-fed, people will also complain. It is the same meals served to the elites in the treatment centre that is also served to those street boys.
The owner of a popular TV station was discharged from a treatment centre in Abuja and he said that he was given malaria treatment, and he was wondering if COVID-19 is the same thing with malaria.
That was a very misleading statement from an elder statesman, whose personal assistant was said to have died from COVID-19; that’s why they went for treatment. That God spared his life, does not give him the right to make such an irresponsible statement. He later told his TV station to stop airing that video clip.
A lot is expected from leaders in a crisis situation.
Several supposedly-educated pastors have been peddling unsubstantiated statements about Bill Gates, vaccines, and the Antichrist agenda.
I took smallpox immunisation, BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin) immunisation, and several other vaccinations long before Bill Gates became a philanthropist. Many of those talking about vaccines have yellow cards that show they had been vaccinated against yellow fever. The modern cards are computer-readable; they are digitised. Their children are also most likely immunized. In fact, immunisation teams come to schools and churches to immunize children against polio regularly.
A lot of ignorant young pastors who do not know their right from their left just join this scandalous display of obscurantism and accuse Bill Gates of being an Antichrist. Who told them that the Antichrist will be made manifest while the church is still here on earth? It is very irritating.
I detest the blind emotionalism and sensationalism of Pentecostal pastors about subject matters they know nothing about or to deliberately lead people astray.
A prominent religious leader jumped on the bandwagon of saying the 5G was associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic (which is more fatal than COVID-19) killed millions of people; there was no ‘-1G’ network then.
There are remote communities in the Amazon that are being ravaged by COVID-19, and there is no 5G network there. The pastor’s broadcasting network has been sanctioned in the UK for spreading false and potentially inflammatory statements during the pandemic. Imagine the cost of several 5G masts that were set on fire in some nations.
Donald Trump just finished a cabinet meeting today, 19/5/2020, where he said that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine as prophylactic to prevent COVID-19 infection; he did not tell anyone the dosage.
Imagine how many people that will start taking hydroxychloroquine tablets in the US and other nations to prevent COVID-19 and the consequences.
The last time he suggested ingesting disinfectants to kill COVID-19; the number of those who were reporting with disinfectant toxicity increased.
A very prominent pastor was shown on TV saying that there was no COVID-19 in Nigeria and was making mockery of the efforts to mitigate the spread such as restrictions on movement.
The laughter was very irritating and disrespectful to the leadership of the state and the country. And to insinuate that people are just quoting figures to steal money is a libelous statement and unexpected. Some members and those watching him globally, will just run away with such unfounded allegations.
When religious leaders send wrong signals of rebellion against government orders to prevent the disease, it portrays religious organisations as reckless and irresponsible.
The pastor that was laying hands on people with COVID-19 in Douala, Cameroon, died of the infection. He died a painful death. He had laid hands on several people. The police had to send his members praying for his resurrection away, before they could bury him. This is more tragic because he was a presidential candidate in their last election.
Imagine the agony of that woman crying as her husband was carried into the coffin that looked like a shoe-case. She was calling on the name of Jesus to have mercy. Imagine those young children. What if the wife has been infected? What if the children have been infected. Lord please have mercy so that a whole family is not wiped away.
The cases are rising in Nigeria and Africa.
Please let’s display responsible leadership by being truthful to those who look up to us.
Tame the tongue, avoid the shame.