Over the weekend, Nigeria’s Covid-19 vaccine wahala showed its hands and elicited various reactions from many quarters. I thought my neighbour’s reaction was top notch because it contained some elements of hope. He had been depressed when news first broke that Nigeria was not going to be getting any vaccines from the World Health Organization soon because of lack of the right storage for the vaccines. There was a counter claim from the chief executive officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, and a follow-up response from the WHO that was different from its earlier position but my neighbour said none of the changing narratives lifted his mood significantly. He did not know when he began to hum to himself, ‘Abide with me,’ that timeless tune penned by Henry Francis Lyte
Suddenly, he found himself changing the lines of the song.
“Breathe on me
Fast falls the Covid tide. The darkness deepens Lord, please breathe on me
When all others helpers fail and comforts flee Help of the helpless
Lord, please breathe on me”
The more he sang his ‘version’ of the song, the better he felt. He began to have some confidence and assurance. Somehow, hope began to rise again. He told me later that he felt at one with the ‘Breathe on me’ line. If he sang in faith and sincerity; if he sang believing and God sent him His breathe, he would not be troubled by any contamination of breath by Covid-19.