In this third and final part of the series I began three weeks ago, I will attempt to conclude by taking a look at what life must be like after this pandemic to prevent or, at least, delay a recurrence. One can always refresh the memory or familiarise oneself with my previous writings on this topic, which can be found on FADE’s website (www.fadeafrica.org). The United Nations has been largely effective in keeping away a Third World War. But this virus seems to have started one of its own, a World War against humanity.
To this date and the time of my writing, nobody is very sure where the COVID-19 is coming from, what the goal of the virus is, and why so much anger and venom in ravishing the human body, showing no respect to the mighty. The virus certainly is now everywhere and nowhere. And because of that we cannot call for a ceasefire so that we can start some kind of negotiation with it. We are even unable to take the matter to the United Nations to start preparing for condemnation over the way the virus is ravaging the entire global social and economic structures.
If and when we come out of this pandemic alive, there are a number of things we must begin to do very differently. The management of what we do not own and what we cannot see; the air that we breathe, being the most important component of life, must never again be abused and taken for granted.
Over the years, we have also mismanaged the land. We have taken so much without replenishment; the food that we eat and the water that we drink are all being taken from the land. Various lands have also yielded from their bosoms oil and gas to power our industries, transport systems, and our homes. The ornaments from these lands on Earth have adorned our bodies, homes, and institutions. Metallic and non-metallic raw materials from the Earth have built everything from toys to space crafts. What in return have we given back to the land? This is the same land that we all go back to for our final resting place when we die.
In the ancient times, the land was celebrated and worshiped by Africans, Native Americans and indigenous peoples of South America. Following abuse and degradation, the land, on a number of occasions, now more frequently, has fought back with flash floods, mudslides, erosion, and desertification. In some parts of the world, the fight-back has been a bit more severe with fracking-induced earthquakes, bushfires, hurricanes and tornadoes.
We have also mismanaged the human capital on the land and have been punished with huge mental crises leading to difficulties in finding true leadership.
I will continue to preach the need to give back to Mother Earth a bit of what we have damaged over the years. All the measures that are being undertaken to contain the fast-spreading pandemic were known to us many years ago and have been discussed here in some of my previous articles. However, the measures being taken at this time, the lockdowns, the ban on land and air travels, and social distancing measures must be reviewed from time to time, if and when we have some statistics.
From available information, over 70 per cent of Nigerian workers and small and medium-scale businesses are on daily paid structures. We need to protect these citizens at this time. But in truth, we lack the resources to do so effectively, as a result of gross mismanagement, ineptitude, and unbelievable ignorance.
We cannot continue to copy those practices that have been introduced by developed economies of the world because, in those countries they have the statistics of every living human, being employed and unemployed, taxpayers, and those on benefits. They have statistics and data on those coming into the country and those leaving. So also they do have about newborns and the dead. In Nigeria, we do not have the addresses of one-third of our population. We do not even know what our population is. This is no way to run a nation, please. Given such glaring lack of data, how can we start to distribute relief materials to those that we do not have information about? Any wonder why the whole thing is being politicised and shrouded in secrecy?
In a few short months, our world has again changed, this time in terms of how we associate with each other, how we do business, how we travel, and how we live at home. The learning curve is going to be steep and difficult. But we need to adjust and recalibrate, if we must survive as a species. For instance, all through this lockdown, I have been in my hometown in Delta State. Then, one late evening, I heard the sound of the town crier with his wonderful gong summoning the townspeople to a meeting the next day to receive their share of government relief materials for the town. The particular government was not stated but requesting the populace to assemble at the town square to partake in the distribution of the relief materials was against the social distancing directives in force. It took my personal intervention to change the method of distribution in order to maintain the social distancing at a time like we have today. Even at that, there were some problems because of proper statistics of who we are, what we do, how we live and also our status as stated earlier.
However, I must commend the government, whichever one, for remembering us during this period of crisis. I also commend some local benefactors and principal philanthropists for rising up to the occasion. It goes to show that sometimes we can copy rightly and do look after our neighbours. Again, I applaud the incredible Nigerian.
Do join me here once again next week Thursday as I discuss Nigeria’s undefeatable wars and our continuing underdevelopment. In the meantime, connect with me on Twitter at @fadeafrica or via email: [email protected]