What is the way forward for Nigeria, post-COVID-19 – Part I ?
The need to unlearn old mindsets, relearn new ones and learn the value of a Nigerian life beyond money!
For the first time in recent history, with the exception of the 1918 Spanish flu, COVID-19 has shutdown global economy. Literally all nation of the world, developed and developing, have locked down their countries to manage the spread. This unprecedented global event is the first of its kind in the 21st century. It is obvious that the global economy including how we live, work and even study will never remain the same. But in the context of this reality we are faced with even as some of the major states in Nigeria have been locked down as well, what lessons can we take out of this reality going forward? In other words, how do we use the current situation to reinvent our nation and on the basis of it thrive going forward, post-COVID-19? In answering this question, this article is the first in this series titled, ‘What is the way forward for Nigeria, post-COVID-19’? The series will be based on data and evidence-based reflections of the writers.
The intentions of the writers are to ‘serve regular food for thought’ that should provoke readers who could involve business and thought leaders, and different stakeholders in the private and public sector in Nigeria.
As the writers, we shall strive to be apolitical with the intentions to see our nation grow and thrive in the comity of nations. We encourage you to sit back and travel this journey with us. We promise to stimulate you thinking and challenge your imaginations for the nation of our dreams, a new Nigeria that our children can boast about as adults.
The current global pandemic has become the new denominator that all human beings irrespective of race, nationality and special and economic status are the same. The same invisible pandemic afflicts the rich and poor, literate and illiterate, and we are all at the mercy of this ‘invisible enemy’ called COVID-19 coronavirus. Global flights have a shutdown. Many developed countries have been adversely affected by the pandemic. The global economy has also gone into recession. The constellation of these events has proven that put the health systems of many nations affected by the pandemic under strain and exposed the weaknesses in many of these health systems. In all of these, how should we as Nigerians engage with the current situation? What should we be doing differently now and post-COVID-19? Can it be business as usual? Or should we just take this as an ‘event of GOD’ since we are a very religious nation without rethinking our ways?
We postulate the need for you as the reader to think about the dignity and value of human life in Nigeria beyond just money that we all seem to be valued in our nation. The Nigerian life matters and we all cannot continue in this apathy of taking for granted the evil that has pervaded our society. While money is good and the hustling after it has become our daily lifestyle in Nigeria, we have to understand that a nation cannot thrive beyond those values of the society and the patriotism of every citizen. Irrespective of who you are, this is the time to engage our inner persons and re-engage with the soul of our nation?
This is the time to have a ‘mindset purge’ of the old ways we have been doing things. We need to UNLEARN our old bad ways pre-COVID-19 as a nation, LEARN national building values and RELEARN those good values of old that helped us thrive as a nation at the early years of our independence as a nation. This is the time we have to engage with what defines us as Nigerians and come to the table with a fresh mindset to understand that it cannot be business as usual. This is an opportunity for us to rethink our personal and national values. This is the time we have to ask deep, personal questions about how the global pandemic has reduced us all to a ‘potential victim’ except we align with the government directive of lockdown. We have seen the people of high respect in our nation tested positive to COVID-19. Others without such social and economic network have been afflicted by this pandemic as well. Yet, we are all locked in Nigeria without access to global travels unlike before. Either you have money or not isn’t a prerequisite for the virus to afflict you. We have all been reduced to an average Nigerian citizen who must access the existent (or non-existent) healthcare facility accessible in our nation. This has become a level playing field for all of us to rethink the definition of ‘six feet under’.
This is a clarion call for us to re-engage our personal self and the soul of our nation. We have to return to winning ways where the life of average Nigerian matters. We must all take responsibility and understand that our nation thrives only if we play our part in it positively. This is a clarion call to ask yourself, ‘what am I going to do going forward to positively contribute to Nigeria irrespective of what role I play in the nation?’ You don’t need to be in a prominent position before you add value to the nation. You and I have a role to play to make this nation great. Making money isn’t the end in itself. Money is only a tool if you know what to do with it, which does not include flaunting it. This is the time we must have a rethink of who you are as an individual and who we are as a nation. Nigeria can be great again if we individually choose to make our positive contributions.
*Emmanuel Ojo (@Emmanuel_Ojo)
Gbenga Falana (@Falana_Gbenga)
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