Different Shades Of COVID-19 Lessons

If COVID-19, a microscopic virus, could strike in this manner, then believe me when I say that anything can happen because whether or not we know it, we human beings are not as powerful and invincible as many of us had always believed.

Nigeria has lost 85 persons to the pandemic / Photo credit: NCDC
Nigeria has lost 85 persons to the pandemic / Photo credit: NCDC

Before the COVID-19 pandemic only very few people in Abuja knew where the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Test Laboratory is located in city.

Tucked in somewhere inside Gaduwa, you won’t blame Abuja residents for being oblivious of its existence.

The reason is simple: the road to the facility was non-existent. It was that kind of road that would always remind you of how Nigeria delights in mistreating its own.

During the dry season, it’s usually a harvest of dust and every other vermin in between as vehicles that try to use the road wallop from one hole to the next.

It gets worse during the rainy reason.

Then, the entire stretch becomes a muddy pool with an almost collapsed bridge as a bonus!

You really had to have no regard for your safety and health or no choice to ply that road. But we all used the road any way. What choice did we have?

Then enters ‘Uncle Corona’ and the NCDC laboratory became an inevitable destination for many of our ‘big men’ (hitherto known as elites) and politicians.

Ladies and gentleman, do you know that the road has now been constructed, just within two months?

The NCDC director general, Dr. Chikwe Iheakwazu, took to twitter recently to thank the government for doing what they should have done eons ago.

Then someone commented in the thread that something good had come out this pandemic and everyone applauded.

Several ‘similar good things’ may yet come out of this COVID-19’s unusual visit but those are not the reason it’s here.

Those are rather what we can call the side attraction gains, probably unintended but desirable all the same.

Or you think it’s all about our leaders and what they have left undone over decades?

Certainly not!

The real lessons of COVID-19 are just as personal as they are collective.

We are all involved and they are abound for us all to see and also learn.

While everyone and their cat is reminding you how a fisherman should repair his fishing net during off season, they’re also not telling you that they don’t even know what this season really is or what will follow

But do we even look like a people willing to learn?

Our utterances, actions and even body language show that we are just bidding our time, waiting for it all to go away so we can jump back to the status quo.

That also explains the reason everyone is shouting about learning this or that income generating skill while waiting out the pandemic.

It’s almost like we have the blueprint of a post COVID-19 world, but that isn’t true.

While everyone and their cat is reminding you how a fisherman should repair his fishing net during off season, they’re also not telling you that they don’t even know what this season really is or what will follow.

What happens after repairing the net and the ocean is no longer there?

What happens after repairing net and the fishes have moved away or the people no longer eat fish?

If COVID-19, a microscopic virus, could strike in this manner, then believe me when I say that anything can happen because whether or not we know it, we human beings are not as powerful and invincible as many of us had always believed.

Many of us are still as delusional as ever.

We have so much trust in our intellect and its prowess.

We are doing all we can to remain on top of the game post-COVID-19.

But nobody is making effort to know what the game will be.

You already see what is going on with the schools.

Both schools’ managements and parents can’t wait for the classrooms to open once more.

While the proprietors are worried about dwindling revenue, the parents are frantic about their wards losing academic grounds.

They have to finish secondary school at 10, start university at 14 and get a PhD at 24.

So, what do we do?

Could we have put this COVID-19 induced lockdown period to another use that didn’t involve tasking the children’s brains in the same way we have always done?

Everyone jumps onto the e-learning train. Everyone, except the public schools and their pupils.

But we don’t even care that they might be left behind and further widen the current digital gap.

An expression of that same selfishness that brought all of us to this present bus stop.

But that’s a story for another day.

My point is this: what will happen if every Nigerian school child loses one term or even an entire school year?

Yes, what will happen? People will die or the planet will lose its round shape?

Could we have put this COVID-19 induced lockdown period to another use that didn’t involve tasking the children’s brains in the same way we have always done?

But I guess, we may never know now, seeing how we quickly jumped on the next available bandwagon of online classes.

We didn’t take out this time to pause and reexamine, rather we are just changing the forms while the core remains the same.

Yes, we are making changes but what manner of changes?

What I am seeing so far are just aesthetics. The core remains same.

Yes, many of us will become technological savvy.

With all the online classes going on everywhere you turn this becomes inevitable, but should that be the goal?

Is that one of the reasons COVID-19 came at this time, to turn us all into technology and Internet wizards?

Definitely not.

The lessons are much deeper and personal and every one of us must discover for themselves what they are.

And the answers won’t come from jumping from one webinar to the other.

And that has been my greatest fear with this pandemic.

That we will all go through this experience, make all the cosmetic changes for the world to see, wear different colours of facemasks, wash our hands countless number of times but still remain the same people.

A people comfortable in a world where impunity, injustice, selfishness and mindless materialism reign.

Written by Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe

Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe is the Editor of The Interview Abuja, has worked as a journalist in Punch Nigeria Nigeria Limited and also LEADERSHIP Newspapers where she rose to become the Editorial Director.

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