But times have changed and today, with the world on lockdown from Minna to Minneapolis and Lagos to Lisbon, the word de jour is Covid-19, a disease caused by the novel Coronavirus.
Total global infections now stand at over 2.8m with a total fatality rate of almost 200,000 which is well over 5%. Of the global number of infections, 808,024 people have recovered. Figures are based on statistics available on April 25, 2020.
Nigeria with 1,095 confirmed cases and 32 deaths is fast closing the gap against Ghana which has 1,279 confirmed cases and 10 fatalities as well as South Africa which has reported 4,220 cases with 79 fatalities.
Prognostications from the Nigeria Center of Disease Control (NCDC) are dire with the figures expected to rise further in the coming days as more tests are carried out.
The global pandemic has impacted the world in horrible ways. The global economy is in tatters, the airline and travel industry may never recover, the Olympics has been cancelled, football leagues abandoned, blockbuster movie releases pushed back, terminal examinations postponed indefinitely while oil prices are in negative territory, having dropped below $1. Medical facilities and personnel are stretched thin even in highly developed countries like Germany, France, Canada and Japan.
While a few countries like Sweden, Czech and Georgia seem to have seen the worst of it, most of the world has been impacted so negatively it will take decades for a full recovery to occur.
The Covid-19 pandemic can only be likened to a sneak guerilla attack with no warning and scant preparation. The world was left flat-footed as can be seen from the debacle unfolding daily.
Wrong advice and faux pas have become the order of the day as we see world leaders, who, overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and drowning in the muck are reaching for any strand of hope to cling to.
The innate ability to keep your head in moments of the crisis has long been recognized as a defining attribute of leadership and the Covid-19 pandemic is showing up leaders across.