My title appears to be from a pessimistic point of view. However, I am not writing this piece to inculcate any iota of fear or doubt in any human mind. It is just to ginger our minds as a country and get us prepared for the what I regard as an impending clash between the economically wise and unwise. Therefore, my title is speaking from an economical and financial perspective.
In the true sense of it, no one likes to talk about wars, battles or conflicts. This is as a result of its aftermath. Going down the history lane, Nigeria and the world in general has witnessed several wars. Some of these include: the first and second world wars (1914 to 1918 and 1939 to 1945), the Nigerian civil war (1967 – 1970).
In addition, there was the cold war which was believed to have span the 1947 Truman doctrine to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union. There were some other records of war which history might not been able to record categorically. Apart from the quantum loss of financial resources, several lives and properties were lost to these wars.
In the economic perspective, there have been records of several wars. This included the great depression that affected the United States of America. This lasted from the year 1929 to 1940. Nigeria too recently slided into an economic depression. This increased the rate of inflation and ultimately reduced the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
Currently, the world is fighting a war. This is occasioned by the discovery of the corona virus disease in several countries of the world. Surprisingly, the aftermath of the war will go a long way to determine a lot of things, policies and plans. Each country strives on its own to position itself strategically on a vantage point so as to be on top of the situation.
Since the discovery of the corona virus disease (COVID -19) in the central part of the People’s Republic of China, it is as though the consciousness of the whole world has suddenly been active. Several people who aforetime didn’t bother to be current are gradually finding their way to news websites and magazines stands. Several predictions and “prophecies” both spiritual, intellectual, medical and economical continue to emanate almost on a daily basis.
First of all, where do begin the journey from? Offices, business organizations, religious institutions, factories are forced to shut down. The few that are operating are operating on a remote basis or are not operating at all. This according to economic experts will increase the rate of unemployment. We have already been given our own share of the problem, only that it will be on a large scale. This is already been experienced in some parts of Lagos and Ogun States as robbers the previous week went from house to house dispossessing people of their monies and other valuables.
On a global scale, financial economists have envisioned the fact that the world market is going to be shaken terribly. This is as a result of demand and supply problems which has caused a delay in the sale of necessary household consumables. This will consequently affect local producers/farmers as well as small and medium scale enterprises.
Artisans and other petty traders who earn their living from daily survival and are unable to get out will be adversely affected. This in the long run would lead to a national economic catastrophe as people who survive the COVID -19 experience would be faced with the option of choosing between hunger/starvation or violent crimes such as prostitution, robbery, kidnapping.
While other countries of the world are busy making adequate preparations to survive the aftermath of the corona virus disease, Nigeria is focusing on issues that are of relative importance. In order to cushion the effects of the lockdown, several countries all over the globe have been dishing out packages for their citizens. These packages are meant to reduce the scourge of poverty which has increased arbitrarily. Nigeria as usual is found wanting in this regards. Citizens are unable to go out and hustle for their daily needs are left to fend for themselves.
As it stands today and talking from the perspective of a realist, the economic future of Nigeria and both the world in general is uncertain especially with the issue of lockdown which many states in Nigeria have promulgated to curtail the spread of the disease which for now has no medical cure. Hence, this is a time when Nigeria as a country needs to understand the fact that it’s over dependence on oil alone isn’t enough to feed a nation of above 160 million. We are at a high risk of been defeated if our main source of revenue comes from the sale of petroleum and other related products.
If in 2016, we experienced a relative recession and we are unable to learn from it, I do hope the looming war won’t meet us unprepared. Afterall, Winston Churchill has rightly divided the word of truth by saying that “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.
Though we have always been told that “Tough times never last”, however it is of relative importance if while we are waiting for the victory of the war we are also thinking pro-actively of the survival measures after it.
Let me conclude this piece by aligning myself with a Yoruba proverb that says “A forecasted war doesn’t destroy the cripple”. However, it has been modified as ” A forecasted war doesn’t kill a wise cripple”. It is best we as a country learn a parable from the ant and save for the rainy days. I hope Nigeria heeds the warning.