For decades, thousands of Edo people have emigrated. These migrants and their descendants are the Edos in Diaspora. Your purpose of emigration has not only been because of the search for greener pastures for yourselves but also for the sake of your families and communities. As patriots, you have positively contributed to the land that has welcomed you, while also adding value to our country Nigeria and quite specifically our beloved Edo state. Many of you are responsible for the payment of school fees, medical bills, building of houses for yourselves and families back home amongst others. I sincerely salute your commitment.We truly cannot ignore the fact that Nigerians in the Diaspora contribute largely to the economy with $12bn remitted by them in 2012 *(World Bank)*.
if all was well in Nigeria, many of you would not subject yourselves to harsh weather conditions that greet your daily struggles to make ends meet and the often long separation from loved ones.However, part of the reality of life is hardship. These past three months have been evidential of this. Your visions have been threatened by the Coronavirus pandemic. In Edo state, the first index case has been recorded with no knowledge of how bad the situation might actually be. The entire world has since joined together in collective shock, disbelief, hopelessness and fear.
You that we used to look up to has become the most devastated. The virus appears to be rampaging everywhere resulting in mass infection, untimely death and job loss.At this instance in man’s existence, the present is difficult to discern and the future is terrifying to envision. Yet, we must find ways to remain hopeful and remember what makes our world good. At this point, faith is essential.Events unfolding in Italy, where Edos are in large numbers and the entire nation is on lockdown with reports indicating that hospital beds are in short supply is nothing short of horrifying. Tensions are consistently being raised as our phones bing and buzz with updates, however true or untrue. The cases in the USA, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and many other countries have left much to be desired.In this period of uncertainty, never feel like you are alone. It is a statement of fact that we share in your pain and dilemma. There might not be any hurricanes, bush fires, earthquakes and tsunamis anytime soon but we are certainly feeling on edge. The feeling is one of impending doom. This sentiment is universal.*COVID-19* sent us no warning, no window to cushion for its effect and as such we are all faced with novel challenges. As a family, our hard times and good times must be shared together as a unit. In any case, we must learn to live with certain expectations. The expectation that life will be difficult makes hard times easier to deal with.Before us, people are getting sick and quarantined. We can see how bad the effect of this virus can be and how few hospital beds are available. We are already getting to see how many people are going to depart. We can only hope that the people we love will be spared.If the virus has taught us anything, it is that we cannot exist and thrive individually without considering our common humanity. It is that fundamental belief; I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper. Suddenly we have all realized the importance of God, we have found reasons to reunite with family, authorities now look at its prisons and prisoners in different light and we are now living simple lives.In the light of the above, you must all remember, that feeling low is normal. But no matter how lowly you may feel, don’t despair.With common sense precautions, continue to protect yourselves and your community from the virus. Wash your hands regularly, maintain social distance, stay at home when sick and listen to local health authorities.My fellow Edos, as we pray for God’s mercy upon our state and country, and patiently await the recovery of those infected, let us be magnanimous enough to include our friends and families outside the shores of our nation in our prayers. We must pray for the strength to endure these difficult times.As *Psalm 34:19* did say;*“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth him from them all”.*May the good Lord continue to protect us. Amen._
*Pst. Osagie Ize-Iyamu Esq.*