It’s no more news that the Ogun State government has extended the lockdown restrictions on Saturday and Sundays aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic for another two weeks while the five working days in the week are open practically for all for business.
Since President Buhari declared a lockdown of Lagos, Abuja and Ogun during his first address on the pandemic on March 29 to enable the country tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Ogun is the only state in Nigeria that hasn’t scrap the daytime restrictions totally.
As activities in some sectors have now been up and running to save the ailing state of our economy, the enforced weekend lockdown in the state is taking its toll on what was supposed to be the start of the busy season for event vendors — a time to freshen floral bouquets, ask guests to take their seats and wrangle wayward bridesmaids into picture-perfect arrangements.
Instead these florists, event planners, photographers and officiants are staying home. So are the DJs, MCs, caterers and, most critically, the brides and grooms.
It’s been about four month since the coronavirus was declared a worldwide pandemic and celebrants throughout Nigeria began postponing their spring ceremonies en masse.
Corporate events (seminars, conferences, workshops, galas, etc.) organizers, though, are eloping, hosting events virtually on Social media, Zoom or hosting small, socially distant ceremonies in their backyards and front porches.
News reports have only focused on how celebrants can recoup costs for canceled or postponed events, but what’s been missing from the headlines is the economic toll on the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that support the event industry worldwide. Many of them are mom-and-pop organizations that are left scrambling as people are now forced to postpone, cancel, or put a halt to planning. Their livelihoods depend on event happening as scheduled, there is no Plan B.
The multi-billion naira event industry has been upended by Covid-19, with hundreds of thousands of businesses jerking to a halt. Event vendors now spend their weekends navigating the mechanics of a postponement. They’re playing complicated guessing games about safe rescheduling dates; calculating how long they can last without their typical revenue stream; applying for financial assistance that they worry will never come; and thinking about how this pandemic may change events for years to come.
This prompted an open letter to Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun GCFR by Ariyibi Samuel Opeoluwa, the CEO of ARISAM EXOTIC CREATIONS, an event management organisation. He has a message. Personally, I will hope the Governor listens to men like ARISAM, and makes his societal resolutions to reflect honorable character.
Asides being an event decorator and manager that uses his creativity to bring smile to the faces of people with exquisite touch of professionalism at their event, ARIYIBI SAMUEL OPEOLUWA is also an activist who is willing to go extra length to bring justice to those who deserves it. He is an undergraduate and a young philanthropist giving back to the society in his own little way.
In his bid to get involved and play active role in the development of his immediate environment, he belongs to so many youth movements like Yoruba Youth Council of Nigeria (YYCN), Ogun Youth Alliance (OYA), Progressive Youth Movements (PYM), Associate For Grassroots Sports (AFGRAS), among others.
9th July, 2020.
Prince Dapo Abiodun,
Ogun state Governor,
COVID-19: HELP, EVENT VENDORS ARE SUFFERING!!!
it has become expedient that I write you this letter.
I shall be brief and straight to the point.
I would like to commend the efforts and measures your office has put in place to curb the menace of the deadly Corona Virus, which has become such an unwanted visitor that we can’t ask to leave our home.
Ogun state has become one of the most affected states because of our proximity with Lagos state; the most affected state in Nigeria. With all efforts and measures put in place, we have found out that this virus is going to be around for a while. We are now mandated to conform with the trend and move on with life.
Sir! I’m sure you know that since the lockdown has begun, roughly on the 21st of March 2020, event vendors have been at home with nothing to feed on Sir.
Some event vendors are students, who are asked to go into entrepreneurship in order to fend for themselves and not lobby for a white colar Job that is never available. We have waited patiently for the past four months for you to consider us so we can also go back to our source of livelihood but it is not forthcoming.
Most of us are living in debt already. We have not been able to feed our Family and it’s really taking it toll on our wellbeing. Sir, it is understandable that the pandemic spreads rapidly, so, adequate measures need to be put in place. But Sir, the number of people we have in the markets, which you have allowed its operation, is much more than those who attend events.
We all know that the pandemic is not going to leave anytime soon, so, does that mean event vendors won’t eat for as long as the pandemic thrives? With due respect, sir, i would say that if the markets can be opened to people to buy and sell, Sir, we should also be able to have events and ask hall managers to put adequate measures in place.
Event stakeholders have come together and held a virtual meeting to discuss possible ways to reduce the spread of the pandemic:
-Adequate provisions of health and security personnel to enforce the use of the safety measures
-Having a crowd of at most 70% of our hall capacity
-Provision of hand sanitizers
-Adequate register of all attendees in case there is a breakout after all our precautionary measures
-Refusal of entry into the event venue without the use of nose mask
-Adequate register of all attendees, in case there is a break out after all our precautionary measures
-Creation of parking spaces and restriction of movements into the event venue.
This and many more are the proposed measures put in place by the Event stakeholders.
We are suffering sir, and it is high time you came to our aid. We can’t continue living as if we were in oblivion. We are a large part of the citizenry and we need to be equally considered, Sir.
A concerned Vendor
Ariyibi Samuel Opeoluwa
Cc: Event decorators