By Jubril Olalekan

Skepticism is a concept implying doubtfulness; the unwillingness to believe a particular thing, an event, or an idea; or the act of being critical of the possibility of something. The individuals who subscribe to this concept are those we call ‘sceptics. Or put differently in a more familiar parlance, the ‘doubting Thomas’.

Truth be told, skepticism is not a bad idiosyncrasy in itself. In fact, it is an intrinsic element every human possesses–even though it is utilized by only a few. As humans and as rational beings, we are not expected to buy every idea that comes our way and gulp them down our throats: hook, line, and sinker. Rather, we ought to criticize them in other to assert their validity through justifiable evidences that ratify their trueness. However, when we hold skepticism fanatically and are extreme in the way we employ it, the aftermath could be deleterious. In respect to this, we are thus faced with a big question, what do we exhibit when we have all the evidences and proofs of the existence of a particular thing but yet remain ‘sceptic’ about such a thing…In such a case are we truly being a ‘sceptic’ or are we just being ‘foolish’?

Covid-19 is a nightmare that struck the human race. And in its horrific splendour, it has ushered innumerable souls across the universe to the hereafter. Businesses have been on lockdown. Economies of the world have trembled in awe of its terror. Also, educational systems across the world are not exempted from the ferocious fury of the pandemic. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic some countries educational systems were ‘running’, but now they are ‘walking’; some used to walk but now they are ‘leaping’, and some used to leap but now they are ‘crawling’ – some have even been stagnated. The category that Nigeria’s education system now falls in is left to the reader to decide.

All institutions of learning have been severely hit by this virus and the University of Ibadan is not an exception. Although different preventive measures to curtail the spread of Covid-19 have been put in place by the University, like the using of nose-mask (which has now been made compulsory before you could take a cab or tricycle on campus), the provision of hand sanitizers and hand-washing  point at the entrance of every hall of residence; however, the level of compliance and adherence to these protocols remains relatively low despite the red-flags we are seeing around us–even within the university.

It is no breaking news that at least three reputable Professors from this university have lost their lives to this dreadful virus. It has also been rumoured that some students have contracted this virus and have been tested positive. Although, their names are being revealed and not many people are sure of how true the stories are, it cannot be dismissed as a mere rumour. A student from my department had Covid-19 test on the 24th of August and the result came out positive! He has the virus, he has Covid-19!!`The saddening and heartrending revelation about this however is that he confessed that ‘he never believed that Covid-19 existed’. But now, he has been unfortunately hit-hard by the reality he failed to believe. He was also a ‘Skeptic’ – he was also a ‘doubting Thomas’ like ‘YOU’ and ‘I’! Would you also wait for your case to be like his before you believe that Covid-19 is real? Would you also wait for reality to hit you hard?

Covid-19 is not a myth, it is a fact! The woe of this fact is unavoidably upon us as students of the University of Ibadan, and the earlier we realize this the better for us and the higher our chances of survival.  As for the religious ones amongst us; the Christians, Muslims and the traditional worshipers who believe they are protected by the God they serve and consequently see no reason why they should observe the Covid-19 protocols–peace be unto you. I am not disputing the efficacy of whatever power you believe in. However, for a reminder, I would like to inform you that the University of Ibadan is not a ‘religious ground’, it is rather a ‘ground for learning’. Thus, as much as you would like to exercise faith in your religions, there is a need for you to also consider the possible danger you could be subjecting the lives of thousands of other people to. Adherence to Covid-19 directives is an individual responsibility, we must not be oblivious to this fact. If possible, get vaccinated! Keep social distances, use you hand sanitizer and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water after any contact. Prevention — they say — is better than cure. Be safe!

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