By Emmanuel Ita Akpaka

IF YOU HAVE WATCHED ‘SPECTRE’, the 24th iteration of the box-office-smashing James Bond 007 movie franchise starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, the super sleuth, you would most likely have a distinct feeling of deja vu in today’s corona-generated climate.


The opening sequence of the movie features a bizarre carnival in Mexico City where thousands of participants clad in frightening black ghostlike costumes complete with matching facemasks are celebrating the “ DAY OF THE DEAD”, an ancient traditional festival held in honour of the departed.

That eerie opening sequence ranks as one of the most bizarre movie opening sequence I have ever watched and I have watched some!


The CORVID 19 pandemic has recalibrated global lifestyles and today everywhere you turn, you are confronted with face mask-wearing commuters, neighbours, friends and strangers. Wearing face masks has become de rigeur, the new normal and in Nigeria, you run the risk of arrest by law enforcement officers in some states if you have the poor judgment of stepping out in public without one.


Daily, you are confronted with the spectacle of new masquerades everywhere you turn. The face masks come in different shapes and colours, not to talk of quality. Some are rather morbid-looking and are worthy of a place in a Dracula or an American Ninja movie props department.

Fact is, Nigerians are naturally very inventive not to talk of opportunistic and overnight, almost everyone has become tailors and designers, churning out trailer loads of face masks with near zero quality control. Do these myriad face masks protect? That may well be the million-naira question.


The corona pandemic has turned almost everyone into a walking biological weapon suspect and your friendly neighbour whom you were exchanging banter with and sharing a beer or two together just a few short months ago is now to be treated with caution for he could be unwittingly booby-trapped with the virus, a veritable walking time bomb!


Who knows when the Corona Virus would beat a retreat or turn tail and leave town, either when it decides it has taken enough prisoners of war or when a new drug comes along to whup its ass. I didn’t say vaccine because overnight vaccine development to combat the virus has become a hot potato. There are various threads of conspiracy theories that make the advent of a CORVID 19 vaccine even scarier and more sinister than the corona virus itself.

A dire global scenario such as this is a fertile ground for conspiracy theories. While there is no smoke without fire as the aphorism goes, the real conundrum will be to separate the wheat from the chaff.


Now back to the emergent face mask industry. Down the line, I see big players in the fashion industry like ‘Polo’ Ralph Lauren, Versace, Calvin Klein and even Giorgio Armani angling for a slice of the global face mask market.

The global face mask industry could well become a multi-billion dollar industry if this corona bogey tarries longer than 2020 if you get my drift.

Check out the numbers and then do the math. You could be looking at billions of dollars in global sales, considering there would be billions of face mask-wearing customers around the globe.

The face mask is definitely on its way to becoming a high fashion accessory, just like designer neckties and gold-plated wristwatches. And probably, by some time next year, you would be proud to announce to your friends or even perfect strangers that you were donning a Ralph Lauren ‘POLO’ face mask.


I also see some tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and even tech wizards like Elon Musk who wants to ferry tourists from planet earth to the moon on space shuttles ASAP, barging into the face mask trade.

Tech companies will compete to design face masks that will bleep and show a red danger signal when someone infected with the virus comes within a certain radius.


The way it stands, we are possibly leading for very interesting times in the coming months. Humorous too, for even now looking at some of the face masks people wear could get you cracking your ribs with laughter ; which is a good thing for laughter still remains the best medicine!

Of course all the above scenarios may only be tenable if the Corona bogey is not stopped in its tracks. Naturally, the universal prayer is that it be stopped pronto.

But who will bell the cat? Emmanuel Ita Akpaka is a novelist, film maker, publisher and the author of KALIMBO ISLAND, an adventure fantasy thriller. Reach him on matakapro@yahoo.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *