It is normal in the life cycle of human beings, families, communities, organisations and nations to be hit by storms. They may be varied, and may often hit longer than we expect.
Such tragedies may take a serious toll on tangible things like human lives and property. Sometimes too, it may seriously affect nebulous things like faiths and cultures.
Fortunately, what a storm or tragedy cannot kill is the individual and collective human spirit to move on in hope that beyond the ashes of seeming destruction can arise more durable fortune.
Only a weak mind can say that COVID-19 was a mere Harmattan or Alajo flood. For those who can read and write, and appreciate basic economics and development, they know the costs in loss of jobs, support to vulnerable groups, tracking, testing and tracing as well as research, vaccination and manufacture of drugs globally which have been in the trillions.
That is apart from the loss of productive man-hours, injection of funds to re-ignite key sectors of the economy, including sports and entertainment. For a section of our political class to overlook this gaping fact is to pretend that there is nothing called life or ‘seasons’ like the pandemic.
But, we may also be concerned that the leadership that we need to grasp the issues and deal with them does not appear to be forthcoming from the prominent arm of government that endorses frameworks for development and good, fluid governance. So, we are caught between a rock and hard place.
The matter becomes more worrying when we have a world superpower, who should be concerned about encouraging other stronger nations to support the weaker in developing economies, like what we have in this part of the world, invading another country.
Particularly for consuming nations such as ours, we may appreciate the ripples of having to shoulder the impact from basic import commodities like matches and pins or rice, wheat and maize, most of which come from nations directly or indirectly caught in the conflict as actors or firefighters. Again, that is aside of the fact that trade runs on ports – air and land.
More crucial is the fact that the world runs on one basic source of energy, which is oil, and whose prices are dictated by a host of forces that are beyond the power of puny, emerging economies like ours to influence. All of these factors undeniably would result in the turbulence that the illiterate politician would want, unfortunately, to equate with incompetence.
If at this juncture in our history the President gives assurance that the economy will see a rebound, we should encourage ourselves that our current challenges too “shall pass” for whatever they are.
Because God gave man power over creation, including terrorists, dictators and human monsters or pandemics, tragedies and storms, we may assure ourselves that God will provide the global leadership required to put the world back on track. This will be done through collaboration with all serious governments and nations that have shown courage and tenacity in the face of opposition, including the impact of the pandemic and raging conflict in North-eastern Europe.
According to the Information Minister, government has decided in a meeting at Cabinet level to be guided by data on the current impact of the pandemic and the raging Ukraine-Russia conflict to inform it on providing some reliefs. These, we are told, include re-opening of land borders to facilitate trade and a shoring up of the currency to enable it compete at sub-regional and international trade levels.
More importantly, government is expected to work out at the relevant level how to deal with the critical issue of fuel prices impinging precariously on the price of basic commodities so that ordinary citizens will have some respite.
We trust that the naysayer politician will admit that these interventions imply cost to government and a hole that we can only fill through responsible tax compliance – if we want to avoid debt-piling as a policy.