Sequel to the ravaging coronavirus scourge, government at various levels has adopted as one of her strategies, the lockdown approach to contain the pandemic from spreading uncontrollably. This means restriction of movement for a period pending the fizzling of the crisis.
While some see this development as having multiple downside and negative effects on our lives, I’m inclined to say that I see some upsides.
The upside effects are twofold: on the part of government and on the part of the citizens. Firstly, I believe this incident should challenge our government to identify its role in facilitating developments in key areas of health, education/literacy level, poverty alleviation and research.
Most administrations seem to be confused about what should be their roles in addressing the inherent challenges in these key developmental variables. Lack of a strong ethical stance and corporate governance culture on the part of our leaders are responsible for our poor infrastructure and weak institutions and by extension our underdevelopment.
Under the current situation our substandard health facilities and inadequate and poorly motivated health personnel come to mind.
We have these problems because several administrations over the years have failed to appreciate their roles in implementing people-oriented agenda for social impact.
This is simply why the vulnerable groups in our society are not willing to stay at home because majority of them live from hand to mouth. This takes us to the issue of a social security system which is non-existent in Nigeria. Here, everyone fends for himself or herself, as there are no safety nets. Interestingly our governments cater for government officials and the elite and not for the people.
I strongly believe that this pandemic offers our leaders a breath of fresh opportunities to reassess themselves, reset their goals and priorities their roles in national development.
The second upside benefit is for individuals. This period of hibernation avails us the opportunity to reflect deeply about our life, our purpose, family and core values, our duties and obligations to our country and by extension our role in national development.
Overall, I feel the current lockdown offers us a new beginning to unlock our potential as individuals as well a nation.
Abiola is an economist and a chartered banker who lives in Lagos.