The Nigerian Context: The New World Order & The Pandemic (Part II)

New World Order

By Oremade Oyedeji

As government gradually ease the lockdown, many people seem to desperately crave for life to return to normal, and post-COVID-19 definitely is a new world entirely that will change the way we live, work and play.

In my previous article, I talked about the New World Order to be gaining power and authority over the kings, presidents and nations of the world through taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The term new world order has been used to refer to any new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power. Indeed, the gods must be crazy.

Let me delve a little further with an illustration from a quirky, funny popular 1980 movie with this title The Gods Must Be Crazy, about a bushman who lived in the desert of Africa.

One day, he discovered a coke bottle that was accidentally dropped by a passing airplane. Knowing nothing of airplanes at the time, beyond their sound and vapor trails, and having never seen anything like this bottle of coke before at that time, he assumed it was a gift from the gods. So, he took it back to his tribe, they were all in amazement, creating all sorts of new uses for it.

Benefit of COVID-19

Like in the pandemics, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, with no doubt, had clear strategy right from the first day the Italian man brought Coronavirus into Lagos. Many economic analysts have challenged Northern states in Nigeria to take queue from him, and take advantage of pandemic in understanding and realigning its economy.

The good news is one Northern Governor seems to “hit the nail on the head” and does it without mincing words. The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, said that the Northern States Governors’ Forum is determined to end the Almajiri system of education in the north, amidst the spread of COVID-19 among the children.

Thanks to the gods, maybe they weren’t crazy after all.

So sad, many of the street kids searching for Islamic knowledge across the north have been infected by the deadly virus in recent days as Kaduna State government for example scrambles frantically to send them back to their respective states in the Northern part of Nigeria. El-Rufai said the COVID-19 pandemic provided the opportunity to determine the state of almajiri education.

Almajiri is ideally a system of Islamic education practiced in northern Nigeria, where young children leave their homes to live with Islamic scholars and learn about the religion. Almajiri was derived from an Arabic word, “al-Muhajirun,” meaning a person who leaves his home in search of Islamic knowledge.

In fact, I think the gods still weren’t crazy after all because it is time the kids must continue to stay at home and observe social distancing.

Almajiri has over the years been corrupted with thousands of such children roaming the streets of Northern Nigeria as beggars and without any form of education, contributing to the over 10 million out of school children in Northern Nigeria alone.

On the other hand, it seems the experience is different with the south. There is a popular joke about the 5D technology versus religion, myth of the end time. Did you hear or read about it? Maybe one of many other popular jokes trending recently was an innocent post “uncategorized.” I had joined others in picking it from another person WhatsApp status having a picture of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, with inscription, “I went to Lagos isolation centre, all I could see is happy people eating government money and immediately they cited me, they started shaving and coughing – Obasanjo.”

If that is true maybe, people don’t seem to want to go home after recovering from COVID-19. It didn’t end there for me after that post; a status viewer had insulted me afterwards for posting that about Baba.

Soji: (not real name): idiot!! Baba can never say that

(not really minding his Ibadan looking face)

Honestly, I didn’t say baba said that, I only posted what other people are posting, I replied.

Soji: fake news

Then was another response from unknown person

How dare you even think of Baba spoke that!!

Okay, I give up, let’s leave the argument for the gods, I immediately deleted my post.

Later in the day, my wife had returned and she asked me if I have seen the new isolation centre Governor Sanwo-Olu built at Gbagada. No, I haven’t. She said it is absolutely astonishing, state-of-the-art hospital; like she has no words to describe it. Really!! I said, then she concluded, it so modernized that you will wish you were sick to be admitted there. Me sick! Hmmmm…. That was not funny!!

“The gods must be crazy”

From the illustration introduced earlier in this article, on one hand, this bushman (he) in the movie and our present-day Nigeria (we) represent lifestyle extremes. Yet, both he and we want to survive and be safe. “Both” want to belong to a caring group and be respected for who they are. And both want to be free to be whatever they want to be and have capacity to do it.

For the bushman in the fiction, however, this last self-actualizing aspect of life is seriously constrained maybe with his level of know-how.

Well, the constraint emanates from the fact that civilization is a repeated technology after technologies. Seriously, Nigeria must fully harness the benefits of youthfully driven ministries and departments of governance. She must boost the country’s digital development. Therefore, a “Future Agenda” which promotes digital transformation in various institutions of government, and addresses necessary policies relating to relevant learning, entrepreneurship, agriculture, health and infrastructure etc and massive public private partnership (PPP) fusion.

According to PwC, global GDP could increase by 14% in 2030 as a result of Artificial Intelligence A.I & Robotics which is an additional $15.7 trillion. The post COVID forth Industrial Revolution is rapidly causing disruption by providing digital platforms for research, development, marketing, sales and distribution: all of which could drive efficiency and productivity while also reducing logistics and communication cost and creating new global supply chain channels. The good news is that post pandemics will create new jobs, some of which we can’t even imagine today.

In conclusion, humanity has always been in a race to survive. Technology has been our companion. We are easily distracted and often complacent. Technology always has an eye on the horizon and never wavers in its intensity. In helping the bushman, we help ourselves in this race. Who could have really imagined that “the gods must be crazy?”

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