The Pandemics of the Prodigal Generation – 4IR Economy or Politics

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By Oremade Oyedeji

In an article published by SBM Intelligence and titled Nigeria in a changing geopolitical context on Monday, August 26, 2019, the dangers facing Nigeria, if it does not align with the emerging new world order, were highlighted, with the pandemic reechoing the points raised.

In the past, Nigeria failed to take advantage of the post Second World War set-up to grow its economy. Missing that event in history is one of the major reasons Nigeria is a third world country today. Now is the opportunity to reset it.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed recently that the PTF will not shy away from the possibility of another lockdown.

In one of my previous articles before the pandemic titled The Nigerian Ecosystem of the fourth industrial revolution, I talked about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), combining technological and human capacities in an unprecedented way through self-learning algorithms, self-driving cars, human-machine interconnection, and big-data analytics.

All over the world, the current pandemic has had an unimaginable impact on people, communities, companies and economies and 2020 has been a very dramatic year for everyone.

The challenges lying ahead of us is still pretty much unpredictable as Nigerians because most the relevant information and data are not well discussed in the mainstream and most-watched media, maybe a few of our business role models in their capacity are championing relevant discussions for followers to learn.

Tony Elumelu, for example, caught my attention with his remark in one of the interviews he granted CNBC, saying ‘We will continue to have economic disruption. We’ll have security disruption; we’ll also have digital and technological disruptions. The point for every one of us is; how do we reset Africa so that when this disruption comes because they’ll definitely come, how are we able to withstand them? We need to reset and look at the issues fundamentally.’ Interesting, you will agree with me.

Politics on the other hand in Nigeria doesn’t seem to align with coming post-pandemic changes in world political thought and the balance of power yet. Trust me; it is no longer business as usual.

I am not very good at discussing the subject of politics. Just recently, I got caught up in one, in a very dramatic social debate about Bola Tinubu’s presidential ambition. I had tried to explain why I think I had better speak thoughtfully of former president Obasanjo instead before another elderly person talked about President Jonathan not being able to control his wife while in power, (insinuating Bola Tinubu will do that much better I guess)… Ok, I give up before I get accused of getting upset about what they said about Obasanjo or Jonathan. I am not a professional in this subject anyways.

A few days later, while passing by, I saw another gathering of people discussing Tinubu’s presidential ambition. Well, what can I say, any of 200 million Nigerians can choose to talk about anything they feel like. A few weeks after, there was this shouting headline again on SaharaReporters APC Leader, Bola Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition Crumbles, Unable To Visit Aso Villa As President Buhari Recognizes Victor Giadom As Party’s Acting National Chairman.

Another one said It’s over for Tinubu, Fani-Kayode says, after Buhari backed Giadom APC faction– Premium Times of June 25, 2020, and so many others. Hmm… can we ever separate politics from drama? I doubt it.

Even social media went agog with others. I have not even mentioned a trending video of Chief Gani Adams, Are Ona Kakanfo, and his proverbial comment about the deaf man in the marketplace who will not hear when calls to go home is made. I think you should go see it.

The truth is post-pandemic will have unimaginable impact on people, communities, companies and economies and most importantly and yet least talked about a dramatic change in the world’s political space (e-government and maybe e-politics).

It’s been basically referred to any new period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power. Politics, no doubt, will reset. It’s like when the player with a control pad is ending one game to start another one, your old point and superpower will not come with you, it is going to be a level playing ground, except God is on your side of course.

Let me end this article on a lighter note. Talking about the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I think he is better described as a typical Yoruba man.

I have been privileged to see him once and that was a very long time ago, after an attempt on the Joint JAMB Admission Matriculation Board examination at that time, somewhere around Isolo, Lagos. It was my first time of moving around Lagos in public transport by myself, and I had lost my transport fare, approaching the expressway helpless, not knowing what to do.

I saw this crowd approaching. He (Tinubu) was campaigning for re-election as Governor. Imagine the crowd that follows a man throwing naira note.

My first thought was to join them to catch one, but seeing the crowd, I couldn’t dare. In a rather quick event, he spotted me at distance, I guess he noticed my looks and quickly, he controlled the crowd by throwing a bunch, scattered to the other side of the road to his left as his vehicle approached closer, leaving me and few controllable crowds to the right where I was standing. Then again, he threw some notes, applying more throwing pressure to reach where I was. I still wasn’t quick enough to pick the notes but was rather in amazement of seeing Tinubu at the time.

Swiftly, a gentleman ran towards me and gave me a note, saying he aimed the notes at you. I was speechless, I looked at him as he whispered some words. (Go home I guess he said, reading his lips from a distance as his campaign car drove off). Have you ever lived in Lagos before, smiles…  if you know you know!!!

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