100 days of coronavirus: Jollof rice to the rescue

100 days of coronavirus: Jollof rice to the rescue

Saturday, April 11, 2020 7:03 pm


Jollof rice

By Taiwo Oluboyede

Many things are happening differently in 2020 which made it a peculiar year, but most significant event is the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that is ravaging all nations of the earth. The years started with many promises and expectations. The last thing anyone expected was a spoiler.

Its 100 days now that the world was first alerted to the outbreak of a strain of coronavirus that bring death and mayhem, starting from the Chinese city of Wuhan. It’s today a 100 days into the year 2020 and it appears the year has live beyond its expectations already.

There is not a doubt that COVID-19 has created a permanent effect and changes in our lifestyles.

At the dawning of the New Year 2020, like every others in past, certain events and happenings or expectations were projected to shape it. Some of which are:

• The 2020 summer Olympics, called Tokyo 2020, schedule to run between July and August of this year- now postponed

• It is the united State election year, where the Democratic Party and many liberals want anything but Donald Trump.

• Nigeria’s independence Diamond Jubilee. We had something like this 10 years ago.

• The much anticipated Guinness World Record for the Largest Serve of Jollof rice, where 60 top Nigerian Chefs will be cooking 6 tons of rice in a single pot, feeding over 10,000 people. Where Jollof becomes Nigeria’s brand collateral as chicken is to Kentucky, attracting global attention to opportunities and possibilities in our Tourism and rice value-chain using this world platform and the accompanied media as we become the Jollof rice authority. The Jollof rice Festival, tagged Jollof + Music and scheduled to hold on the world Jollof rice day is planned to be one of the most engaging events in West Africa for the year, considering the multinational competitive dimension Jollof has assumed in recent times and its close to 500 million consumers.

Regardless of what is happening, man must eat to live at the barest minimum. Food, water, shelter are the 3 essential human necessity. Not even war nor epidemic will make man abandon food, which come in varieties and fashion, determine by culture, taste, status, but mostly availability.

The whole world is facing an unprecedented pandemic that is touching on the entire human race. Communication and exchange of goods, services and talents – essential part of civilisation is now threatened as even friendly nations are forced to close borders against their allies. In many cities of the world, including our dear Lagos, people are forced to remain indoor to curtail the spread of this evil flu called coronavirus.

At the moment, the global economy is said to have even enter into a recession according to the IMF. Jobs are lost already and many more in the coming weeks, because there are little or no exchange of goods and services which results in income and wealth creation.

This has also affected basic human necessity, particularly in the informal sector where income and means of livelihood depends on the day’s income. For example, there are close to 2 million public transporters and allied workers in Lagos alone. That is, the drivers, the conductors, the ‘Agberos’ and those depending on commuters within the city for their daily income. There are also the market men/woman, the artisans etc, many of whom might not be able to sustain themselves more than a few days without the next income.

The almost 2 weeks of lockdown has been particularly difficult for most Nigerians, a nation where it is said that over 65% of the populace are poor. Poverty level according to the World Bank is when income is below $1.9 per day.

Back to the point – man can do without big mansions, beautiful apparels, fine cars, but man can’t do without food. Even Jesus was recorded to be hungry at some points while on earth.

Blessed be the day Jollof Rice was invented. Blessed be the man or woman that invented it.

Jollof is a simple spicy rice dish that is cooked in one pot, a tasty bowl of it can evoke strong emotion.

It is a great favorite in homes, and at celebrations all over West Africa. A party without jollof is described as like Suya that is not marinated with spices and grounded peanut.

The past days has been Jollof rice glorious days, coming handy to the rescue of many homes and families in this lockdown, where there are no opportunity for many options and frivolities.

The good thing is, Jollof is not discriminatory, regardless of your income or kitchen size. For the sophistical upper class, the very lowest end of the market and the growing middle class, Jollof can always be dressed to your size. It’s even more interesting now that various seasoning makers seems to be thinking like us with portable Jollof mix, comprising of pepper, seasoning, salt etc as a combo.

Thanks to Jollof for saving the day for many since this lock down. We pray and hope that this doesn’t get worse, but Jollof will always be there come rain, come shine.

Well, there are still many positive and landmark events coming up in the year, including the world record. Let’s stay on the positive side of life as they say, ‘tough time never last, but tough people do’

-Taiwo Oluboyede is the Project Director of #IAMBRANDNIGERIA, organisers of the Jollof + Music Guinness World Record.

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