Original Research - Special Collection: African Hermeneutics

Blame-game politics: Re-evaluating incongruent leprosy and COVID-19 policies in the Old Testament and Nigerian societies

Paulinus O. Agbo, Malachy Okwueze, Kingsley Okoye, Felicia O. Okwueze
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 42, No 1 | a2370 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v42i1.2370 | © 2021 Paulinus O. Agbo, Malachy Okwueze, Kingsley Okoye, Felicia O. Okwueze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2021 | Published: 11 November 2021

About the author(s)

Paulinus O. Agbo, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Humanities Unit, School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Malachy Okwueze, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Kingsley Okoye, Department of Political Science, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Felicia O. Okwueze, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; Department of Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

History is rife with political actors framing policies to absolve themselves from blame. Such policies seem integral to governance. Studies have shown how the outbreak of diseases triggers policy changes from different governments, especially during the present day coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The ‘Old Testament (OT) leprosy’, particularly as found in Leviticus 13 and 14, prompted incongruent policies that occasioned the victimisation and destruction of suspected lepers’ houses. Similarly, some who breached the COVID-19 lockdown protocols in Nigeria were tortured, victimised or killed. Investigations on these overbearing regulations are linked to ignorance and autocracy on the part of policy formulators and implementers. There has likely not yet been any study examining this phenomenon from the purview of blame-game politics resulting from poor leadership decisions. This work, therefore, reviewed the government’s policy response to leprosy in the OT and the Nigerian government’s response to COVID-19 lockdown regulations with the view to assess their suitability in their specific contexts. The texts of Leviticus 13 and 14 were examined through the analytical principles of hermeneutics. Documentary method of research was also used to interpret other secondary data to draw relations between the two governments’ shifting of responsibilities and victimisation of citizens, both in the OT and Nigerian societies.

Intradisciplinary and or interdisciplinary implications: This research drew on the theories in philosophy, ethics, political science, psychology and sociology. The findings indicated that policy formulators and or implementers employed blame-game constructs as response to leprosy and COVID-19 both in OT and contemporary Nigerian society, respectively.


Keywords

blame-game; politics; Old Testament; leprosy; COVID-19 policy; Nigeria

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