(Cont’d from last Monday)
Determine to be a better person. Whether as leader or follower, family or opposition, friend or enemy, rich or poor, man or woman, boy or girl, black or white, Christian or yes, whatever or whoever you are, reach out to someone today. Reach out to everyone: a friend, a foe and their half-brother/-sister called frenemy. Love, reconcile, share and laugh with, and pray for everyone.
That’s about the only way to reduce or stop the social horror and sadness waiting to raise its ugly head in the aftermath of COVID-19. Reach out to someone and everyone today. Forgive everyone unforgivable. Forget everything unforgettable. And, forgive yourself too. Purge yourself. Let everything go. Laugh at yourself, anytime the devil taunts you -and watch how you and others heal beyond imagination.
Laugh with others. Laugh away or over mental echoes of hurt you swore to never forgive. Create space in your heart for oxygen. Make sure to not in any way, shape or form provide the fuel the fire that COVID-19 aftermath needs to burn on.
In every way possible and impossible, surprise yourself and that demon that always wants you to prove a point. COVID-19 has shown clean and clear that there’s nothing left for you or any human being for that matter to prove. Listen, you are nothing; you have nothing. Not just you, everyone with blood running in their veins and oxygen flowing into, and carbon dioxide oozing out of, their nostrils, mouth and anus.
The most powerful among us know that even that power has been redefined, restructured and retaken for eternity. Humility is now in pole position, with power wallowing in a distant second. Those who don’t learn to apply power with graceful humility hereafter shall be forlorn history. That’s the vow made by the merciless teacher, coronavirus.
Humanity should learn from what has been done to the hand. Coronavirus has made the latter to atone for its backlog of misdeeds by washing and washing and washing with soap and running water in addition to using sanitiser per time whereas the new hand, elbow, now in charge of greeting, coughing and sneezing duties, is not expected at all to sanitise let alone wash. Humanity has no choice but to change and adapt or perish. We cannot afford to pay a higher price, post-coronavirus.
Talking about price, the economy is another area of great concern. I have heard some analysts accuse the authorities of proving why the rest of us should worry to power two. They aver that by panicking as can be seen in some hasty decisions and policy somersaults here and there, some governments have sent out wrong signals. Being a layman myself in everything economics and mathematics, I have been ruminating on the coronavirus-induced craze of slashing budgets, downing pay packets and tinkering with the idea of cutting workforce.
Certainly, the President, governors and local government chairmen know better, being the wearers of the shoe. However, these approaches speak to a subsistent economy and a leadership in dire need of some visionariness. On these, some of the aforementioned leaders can be said to be on top of their game, judging by the monumental caution and foresight displayed. Still, there’s so much more to be done.
For instance, apart from ensuring that nothing untoward happens to the jobs and conditions of service of public and civil servants, so as not to worsen our horrendous employment situation, government across all tiers must necessarily and immediately intervene with private sector employers. Already, some of these men and women have either mass-sacked or arbitrarily cut salaries. None of these is the answer. If anything, both are salt to injury.
Mass sack and pay cut will lead to upsurge in crime and criminality, health crises and even deaths. Although this is Nigeria where nothing matters, it will be atypical at this time for government to do nothing about this. Private companies should be offered tax relief or tax holiday or soft loan, or all in exchange for maintaining both their workforce and wage bill. More citizens should also be encouraged and empowered to get involved in self-employment especially in agro-allied, security, health, media, entertainment and ‘wears’ sectors.
Perhaps, now is also the time to recalibrate our curriculum. Government should introduce entrepreneurship into all schools (primary, secondary, tertiary) and all courses of study. This will make our children, on graduation, independent, employable, and more business-conscious. Let government and individuals who can afford it announce and institute scholarships, awards and such other incentives to provoke interest.
Enough of educating a population we cannot employ. Enough of raising a literate generation who are useless to society and themselves. Enough of wishing that these chronic impediments to the Nigeria of our dream shall go away on their own. And -enough of something else: corruption.
Embezzling or misappropriating our commonwealth should stop. It is a massive roadblock to nation-building. Without the official humongous daylight robberies that happen per second in this country, the citizenry would have enough to go round. Let us see the window that coronavirus shall leave behind as a wakeup call.
Finally, every hand should be to the pump since government cannot alone give us that ideal post-coronavirus Nigeria. We, the people, must play our part not only in supporting government programmes and policies but also in seeking positive self-help ways to add value to our lives and others’. Incumbents and former office holders should give back to society by creating meaningful jobs within their jurisdiction. Without a doubt, implementing these frameworks plus a mindset and lifestyle change shall expedite action on Eldorado Nigeria, post-COVID-19.
God bless Nigeria!