With the death of Mallam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria has become the first country to provide evidence of the tight link between pandemics and national security. Pandemics such as HIV’AIDS, Ebola and now Coronavirus can disrupt governance by killing strategic individuals in power and throw a society into anarchy especially in countries where the protocol on succession is opaque.
The other fear in the literature is how a pandemic could render an army a shadow of itself, again, jeopardising national security. It is only with the coming of Coronavirus that HIV/AIDS as a campaign issue in most militaries might begin to lie dead. HIV’AIDS as well as obesity have been issues for advocacy in the US military, for instance.
In other words, the security dimension of pandemics is a key issue in national security thinking in a globalising world. This would be Nigeria’s first experience of it.
Beyond the security dimension is now the reality that has been feared all along. That is, that Coronavirus could be dangerous for national happiness should it spread to the communities. It remains to be seen whether the death of the Chief of Staff to the president will act as a game changer in managing the COVID-19 threat in Nigeria.