Reflection on the impact of Coronavirus in Nigeria, By Comr. Asoro - THE NEW DAWN ONLINE


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Reflection on the impact of Coronavirus in Nigeria, By Comr. Asoro

By: Asoro Abubakri Olatunji

Since the inception of Nigeria’s share of the COVID-19 pandemic experience through its index case, a lot of issues have transpired. Some either exposed government’s inefficiency, societal decadence or imminent behavioural change and, sometimes, established incompetence in some quarters.

For example, many people have continued to blame the government’s lack of proactive measures for the situation the country currently finds itself. While nations were taking drastic actions such as banning flight from areas tagged as red zone of the COVID 19 pandemic, the Nigerian government was busy making empty promises that it was ready to curtail the spread of the pandemic. Little after a few numbers of cases erupted, the government start exposing its incapability. First, by publicly begging for ventilators and, secondly, its lack of strength in testing capacity. The lockdown and government’s incapability to provide for the need of its citizens will remain an indelible memory, including corruption which might have bedevilled distribution of the palliative measures.

The failure of the lockdown will greatly be credited to government's inability to provide sufficient palliatives.

Our societal decadence was exposed when a few days into the lockdown, the One Million Boys, aged about seventeen, started wreaking havoc on innocent citizens of Ogun and Lagos states and its environs, whose only sin is the obedience to government order even in the face of the threat of hunger and an alien virus. To this end, if it is on the shoulder of these young blood the future of our country rest, then the future is bleak; the days ahead may not be anything different from today.
Again, the lockdown was met with a lot of sabotage, which accounted for the continuous arithmetical rise in cases even while the lockdown lasted. Law enforcement agencies have not ceased to be a collaborator in unsolicited acts that enrich their pocket while the fight against COVID-19 bleeds profusely, coupled with the ignorance of some citizens who could not place the genuineness of anything close to perfect reasoning.

This continues to challenge the government to review its Public Service Announcement (PSA) strategy and, possibly, include traditional rulers, religious leaders and critical stakeholders. Our society’s bias to the messenger rather than the message should be inculcated.

While novel online shopping sites recover quickly from the daze of the pandemic, many critical sectors of the economy, especially education, continue to bleed profusely. All recorded success on child education and literacy became eroded because our system relied mostly on soon to be “primitive” physical learning method. Tertiary institutions remain closed except for the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).

The lockdown has not only exposed the beauty of NOUN as an institution that is a step into the future, it has also exposed obsoleteness of the conventional system of education. While the Council of Legal Education deserves some standing ovation for immediately adjusting structure to suit the moment, it is sacrosanct that stakeholders now realise that the law students of NOUN has been unjustly punished for being the oil in the vessel of the future, and that its ground for discrimination no longer holds water. Just like Nelson Mandela's cry for the freedom of the black South Africans, the purpose of liberation will continue to be defeated when equal citizens get different bread and trousers and this period has challenged our double standards.

The judiciary’s proactive action of introducing virtual court proceedings are trite and thus while this does not diminish the quality of judgment even as electronic evidence have been recognised by the Evidence Act 2011, the court and body of benchers must take judicial notice that the open (e-learning) system of NOUN does not render the intellectual capability of its law students diminished.

It is time to reflect that our future relies on technology and freedom going forwards relies on its basics. An e-learning system like NOUN allows the student to work thereby taking care of the financial implications of their academics. Technology, being a friendly tool in the fight against corruption, will end all long age corruptions such as bribery, female student molestation, cheating and so on. Where there are leakages, the bolt and nuts only require further adjustments.

It's sacrosanct to reflect also that the next generation of jobs will be technologically based. While the future holds a lot of employment opportunities, only few with required technology dexterity will be in those jobs. Robots will compete for jobs, but if you can make robots, you don't have to compete with what you create. It's often said that you cannot feature in a future you cannot picture.
Some years back, all we heard was vision 20:20, we knew it is going to be a year of turn-around, but little did we know or anticipate that our lesson will come in a hard way.

Perhaps, the vision was not clear and indeed it was not and coronavirus came visiting like a burglar.

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