Lessons from Covid-19
The world is gradually turning into a nightmare of some sort. Recent happenings tend to suggest that the earth may soon be winding to a close. All of a sudden, the earth throws up a dastardly virus and every nation is completely castrated and rendered immobile. Can such things be, that intrudes and upsets the scheme of things without a warning, catching almost everyone unawares, putting the world economy at a very big risk and humanity itself in a frenzied edge? Alas every governmental developmental agenda as it has now shown can easily come to nought and every economic plans totally dislodged and made completely inconsequential. What started like a rumour soon landed with a bang seizing almost everyone by the jugular and the next new slogans entering the human lexicon became:, social distancing, staying safe and staying at home among others.
Amidst the fears attending the nagging confrontation of a fast-spreading scourge is the reality of the nation’s ill-preparedness catching up with everybody and then the next prayers were geared against it becoming too contagious. Ironically at a time when fervent prayers are mostly needed, even prayer warriors are discouraged and prevented from any large gathering since self isolation is now the norm as one of the precautionary measures to check the continuous spread of the deadly virus. But for a people who live on daily basis, a new lifestyle of staying indoors may take a while to register.
For Africans as a whole and Nigerians in particular, waking up daily is always an opportunity to forge ahead with the battle of survival. Lack of basic infrastructure coupled with acute unemployment or under-employment has made living more than a taste of hell. However the never-say-die spirit in almost all Africans ensures that each day is approached and greeted with much optimism.
But now that world is almost grinding to a halt, what lessons are to be learnt if not to appeal to all those in the corridor of power and position of authority to always put the citizens first in all their activities and agendas by providing all necessary basic amenities that can make life easier. The greatest calamity that has befallen Africa is that of public officers who work more for their own pockets than for the state, and that explains why almost all basic infrastructure are comatose, and all those who can afford it continue to abandon the land to places where good governance are evident.
Public offices should now see the futility of stealing public funds and keeping them abroad. By now everyone ought to have realized that no place on earth is safe any longer and the more African leaders focus all their attention on the continent and dissipate all their energies towards building their nations in all ramifications, the better for everyone. Most of the donations now flying in from every angle is something that should have taken place longest time ago which should have been channeled towards making all roads and drainages top-notch, hospitals more spread and well-equipped to cope with the nation’s large population and all schools with the best of facilities obtainable anywhere in the world.
Another urgent lesson of the current times is that more attention and focus should be given to digital education and learning. This appears the best time to put technology to work by exploring avenues that can make it possible for teaching and learning to be done online. Since there may be need for people to stay at home for a long while, there should be a device to ensure that work continues even from the comfort of the home.
The method adopted by the National Open University may now need to be applied to all sections of the education sector so that while at home, primary assignment can continue unabated. This is very important and necessary so that the academic calendar will not be unduly affected and so that people’s minds will not turn devil’s workshops. Part of what this may entail is provision of laptops and modems to both learners and their teachers to facilitate the process.
Though this idea may prove to be capital intensive, it’s however something no nation will be able to do without as time goes on considering the current state of things worldwide. In all, Africans must learn to invest massively in their own continent. What is happening globally has once again shown clearly that Africa is among the best places to be on planet earth. All that is left is for African leaders to understand this point and then work assiduously to make the African dream realizable.
Oyewusi, an educationist, wrote from Lagos.
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