These are difficult times to live in anywhere in the world as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to kill thousands across the world and kept many nations on virtual lockdown. Nobody has the solution yet, perhaps, we need the wisdom of Issachar (1 Ch 12:32) to know what to do.
The lockdown has taken its toll on the economies of nations, including Nigeria’s; not even the partial opening of the economy here in this country has mitigated the unprecedented suffering of the people who have lost their jobs or daily incomes.
Predictably, the palliative measures government instituted to help the poorest demographics cope with the hard times are not far-reaching. They merely scratch the surface. Widespread poverty in Nigeria is the consequence of the stealing of our nation’s common patrimony by successive generations of the rogue regime of the army-led polity and their civilian cohorts across party lines. These corrupt leaders never bothered about the people or the so-called vulnerable demographic they now give one-meal packs, in the wake of COVID-19.
Who are the vulnerable demographics? They’re the poor retirees who live on meagre pensions that are never paid as at when due; or the senior citizens who have no pensions or any relatives to depend on for daily needs. Others are poor widows, orphans, the sick, hopeless old men and women; street urchins who live on alms, the homeless, jobless folks who have no skill, those who have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgents, or natural disasters, etc.
The economic planners in the advanced economies of the west are fully mindful of the fact that a good government should take care of everybody, including the vulnerable. So, they all have effective welfare systems that provide unemployment benefits for the jobless, medicare for the poor sick, money to fund hospices, orphanages and all care institutions.
Consequently, poor people in the developed economics do not feel oppressed by their governing elite to the extent that they’d be happy to take up arms against their leaders like we feel here, if the occasion arises.
What undergirds our own democracy is a sophisticated patronage system being run by the governing elite, which ensures a steady flow of government money to cronies, and powerful party faithful who control the machinery that keep politicians in power. That’s why 50 per cent of our resources goes to service the governing elite and their groups. That’s why we have no money to fund development- education, power, health care, roads, security, agriculture and all the key infrastructure.
So, folks, to survive the times under the ruling elites, you’d have to learn how to run your business online. We are now in a virtual economy. You have to adjust and change your mentality. Don’t expect government’s palliatives to reach you any time soon. When you see them distributing food packs on television, it’s mere tokenism. Nobody can live on that.
Take control of your life and don’t expect manna to fall from the sky. Of course, pray for divine revelation. Even the venerable Pastor E.A. Adeboye advised that we should use this COVID-19 period to think, plan and innovate to survive the post-lockdown economy. That’s truly a word in season from Daddy G.O. You have to reinvent yourself.
The COVID-19 has aborted dreams, shattered forecasts and damaged projections, expectations, and results. It has boxed many into a dead end. Therefore, do not give up or lie down and wait for your death. You can rebuild, revive, recalibrate and power back to contention. As you read, I am already planning to start a blog; an online publication, e-books, etc. I’m exploring new, internet-based frontiers. That’s the way to go for me.
Yours may be different. Water will always find its level. You don’t have to re-re-invent the wheel, find out how people you admire; role models you adore, survived hard times and use their stories as inspiration. You’d find great come back stories in the lives of extraordinary people, who made it by sheer dint of hardwork, even in very hostile circumstances. I write in unfavorable conditions, in the midst of distractions, noisy neighbours, disruptive calls and phone notifications. Yet I still write.
You, too, can perform even in this COVID-19 climate, regardless of how harsh it is; no matter how non-supportive your relatives or spouse is at the moment. Once people see you on the road to success, they’d cheer. COVID-19, like the Spanish flu, the Bubonic plague and previous scourges and wars, will pass away.
Great men use stumbling blocks as stepping stones. Like Pastor Adeboye said, after the lockdown is over, great successes are going to be recorded from all spheres of human endeavors as new inventions, breakthroughs emerge. So, use this lockdown to do something extraordinary that can change your narrative.
I also hope that the Nigerian ruling elites have seen how the COVID-19 emergency has exposed their gross incompetence and feckless leadership. This is the time for them to change, and turn a new leaf. They must be serious, patriotic, and willing to bring active purpose to governance. That’s why they were elected. COVID-19 is not an excuse for non-performance. Period!
Weekend Spice: Wisdom is essentially the same thing as common sense – Ben Carson
Ok folks, thanks for reading. Let’s do it again next Friday. Stay motivated.
•Ayodeji is an author, rights activist, pastor and life coach. He can be reached on [email protected] and 09059243004 (SMS only)