Making the COVID-19 cataclysm the revolutionary storm to transform Nigeria

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The novel coronavirus disease otherwise known as COVID-19, which outbreak was first recorded in Wuhan, China has tasked governments across the globe to their limits and is generally a great strain on the citizens of the world. In an astronomical pace, it is altering the pattern of living and inflicting, inevitably, profound economic damages on the world. A robust economy is the critical engine that drives countries and their interconnectedness, this is being destroyed. The pandemic has caused the death of over 150,000 people around the world with Nigeria having its own share of mortalities. The “China virus” as President Donald Trump of the United States of America would love to call it to discredit China, has lay prostrate countries that are regarded as superpowers, the hitherto “untouchables.” Only in the imagination can one think that the mighty America and its allies in Europe will be powerless in this manner in the face of an invisible enemy. Prices of crude oil have tumbled to below US $10 per barrel, trillions of dollars have been lost in businesses, jobs are being lost across the world, in the US alone more than 20 million jobs have been lost, the much vaunted globalization has collapsed with countries hurriedly shutting their borders. In Nigeria, according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the capital market lost N1.71 trillion or 12.54 percent, as market capitalization fell from N13.657 trillion on February 28 to N11.945 trillion as at close of trading on April 20, because foreign investors are exiting the country in the wake of crash in the global oil price. Donald Trump, early in the week announced he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend all immigrations to the US. Another trend is the excruciating export ban on various goods, by several countries. According to a report recently by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR) about 37 countries have imposed export restrictions to protect their own citizens. COVID-19 has undeniably changed the pattern and outlook of the world; many sectors have been impacted, from healthcare, education, agriculture, football, transportation and what love you.
Meanwhile, not a few including this medium, believes that only a people’s revolution can spark a rebuild of this country to attaining its potential. In the face of this perilous pandemic, the country is caught napping, and is unveiled embarrassingly as it is. No national data base, collapsed healthcare systems, comatose educational system, self-sufficiency in food production pretentions and more importantly, lack of organizational structure and ability. The glaring uncoordinated manner various agencies of governments prosecute the COVID-19 battle, simply incoherently; it has exposed the rot and malaise in our system, as a country inherently flawed. Consequently, the storm that is COVID-19 should magnanimously be allowed to be the revolutionary spark to devise a transformational process that will birth a new order in the country. The pandemic has claimed its casualties in the country. The powerful Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari is among the blood that has been shed to the rage of COVID-19 and should be allowed to water the revolution that will ignite a rebuild of the country. Billions of naira is voted to Aso Rock Villa clinic every year, but when calamity knocked, the Chief of Staff could not stay behind for medical care, he had to be flown to a private hospital in Lagos, where he eventually gave up the ghost from coronavirus complications. Let us assume the globalization process is halted with borders of nations perpetually closed against future medical tourism, food and other goods of importation and exportation, how will Nigeria survive? It remains a sad episode that Malaysia and Indonesia which were no way near Nigeria in the production and export of palm oil in the past are now leading exporters of this product with supply of over 90 per cent of global demand. Indonesia earned 18.4 billion US dollars from palm oil in 2017, more than what it realized from oil and gas, whereas Nigeria, from where the two countries obtained oil palm seedlings in the sixties now imports 600, 000 metric tonnes of palm oil to meet domestic needs, according to a Central Bank of Nigeria report. Nigeria earns next to nothing from crude oil now since the outbreak of the “China virus.” Where do we go from here if it persists.
In effect, Nigeria must begin to look inwards for solution to its problems, for its domestic needs -ranging from food items and industrial goods to improved healthcare system, educational sector, security architecture etc, it is time we reengineered our system to be working and be seen to be working, enough of all this despicable lip service. Strong institutions, restructuring of our flawed federal system and all that will hasten the achievements of the positives derivable from a successful revolution, are what we need to strengthen. We charge our leaders at this time to embrace the spirit of good governance jettisoning inclination towards pro-ethnic and pro-parochial interests and begin to seek common good capable of bringing us the country of our dream. Public interest must be promoted in place of primordial and self-interests. People must become the centre of national plans and an environment that will spark personal growth and development unleashed, where citizens can realize their potentials. We must reengineer our nation for productiveness. Only in this way will the lessons of COVID-19 catastrophe not go to waste.

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