COVID-19 is a pandemic that has been a terror worldwide and the number of victims keeps increasing by the seconds. The adverse effect of COVID-19 on the world at large is one that has never been recorded as it harms every sphere of life. The scope of COVID-19 no doubt covers the political, economy, social-cultural, wellbeing, education to spiritual life and whatever you can think of. The emergence of COVID-19, the reactions, and way of responding to it has further established the fact that man is a social animal and can adapt and try to survive in any situation. COVID-19 has therefore and will continue to change both the human way of life and interactions with one another.
Our pattern of life in Africa and Nigeria, in particular, is one that encourages crowd and gathering of people in their number especially during remarkable social functions such as wedding ceremony, naming, the celebration of life, and others. But as the case is and with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our daily activities have been altered with the manifestation of various modifications and heavens did not fall. Amazingly, we now have emergent greetings methods to replace the traditional handshake, hugging and other forms of affinity as a way of responding to the dictates of the pandemic in the course of our day to day activities.
Widespread implications of this pandemic
It is on account of this that this write-up seeks to examine the wider implications of this pandemic in broader terms and to warn of the fact that the pandemic is an epoch that will bring unimaginable positive and negative implications in all sectors. For employees, it might be the end of their jobs while some will come into the limelight. It is interesting to note that as humans, we are known to always device coping strategies with life’s challenges. It is either move on as the rave of the moment or ultimately get swept away by the wave.
It is no longer news that COVID-19 Pandemic is ravaging every aspect of life. It is also a fact that before this time, we did not envisage COVID-19, and hence, we did not prepare for a prolonged stay at home as it is in our current dispensation. We all agreed that most, individuals, organizations and groups were caught in the web of the matters arising from COVID-19 with no known terminal date in mind.
Given the above scenario, no doubt, the news we are all waiting to hear is ‘COVID-19 is over, the pandemic is now over and we can now all return to our normal lives. Other are probably asking the question that with the current state of affairs and the negative effect of the pandemic, what will happen if this pandemic continues unabated, how will I survive? Others are already planning with the thoughts that at the end of this pandemic I will do this and do.
The fact remains that COVID-19 is a revolution. It is epochal. It is transformational. For those who will survive it, the situation of things will no longer be the same arising from the evident manifestation of the unimaginable.
Family Cohesion and Maladjustment
The COVID-19 has brought about family cohesion. According to some, there has never been a time in history the entire family was together if not for COVID-19 forced stay at home. The Family cohesion currently being enjoyed today has eluded most families on the excuses of work and economic related engagements. Notwithstanding the benefits of cohesion brought about by the pandemic, in some families, it has engendered maladjustment the excuse of going to fend for the family is no longer tenable and can no longer be used to evade responsibilities. Ultimately, conflicts are springing up here and there. At the end of the COVID-19, what will become of some families will depend on how well each family decides to resolve the emergent issues.
COVID-19 and Changes in thought patterns
COVID-19 has no doubt seriously impacted our thought pattern and the way we see life. We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that after COVID-19 certain cultural priorities will vanish because we would have graduated from COVID-19 training school. Before the advent of COVID-19, no one had ever imagined that weddings, worship services and all other forms of social activities can be low-keyed. Today we are better informed and priority has started changing.
Part of our new orientation is the sudden change of lifestyle of not taking things too seriously and this will continue after the COVID-19. Before now, we take offense that our friends did not visit us, but today we are glad that no one is calling so say, it’s been long I have seen you. “I will be coming to visit you with two of my children has disappeared from our communication pattern. Stay where you are. Our prayer now is the wellbeing and divine peace of well.
A knock on our gates now brings questions such as who is it for God’s sake? Are they not aware of the need to stay home and stay safe? In the past, the congregation complains that their Pastors did not visit them as part of follow-up. In the past, Pastors are happy at the rate brethren checked on them. Today, the shepherds and sheep are online and much more at peace without any visit. The much-cherished visits are now termed ‘unnecessary’. Are we going to maintain this new life after COVID-19? How are we going to perceive people’s actions after COVID-19 and many more questions are still begging for answers?
Before now, how do we feel when we go through our diary of events? To some busy executives, motivational speakers, clergies, etc, it is I have no space for you in my diary; I am fully booked for the next two years. To some, they have a series of must-attend events lined up for several months. What is, however, clear to us now is that we can only do that which the Lord grants us the grace. The lesson after COVID-19 should be, do your best and leave the rest. Any event we miss or could not attend should not bother us as it does not mean the end of life. To this end, we will need to spend some time to profer answer to the question “What is actually the most important thing in life? Are those things we spend most of our time on really very important? No doubt, several issues have to be redefined. The need to be at peace with all men, the need to have quality food to eat, the need for sound health and good shelter are some of the issues that require redefinition. For instance, I have two new clothes to collect from my Tailor, and I started asking myself the question. Is collecting the clothes of any importance at this COVID-19 era? Of what use are these clothes now? I am of the view that several of our priorities will change. All we pray for now is how to survive the pandemic.
Herbal Remedy to the Rescued
It is normal to have expected that the western world with better health care facilities, resources, and exposures to have come up with vaccines and cure for this pandemic early by now. However, their inability is a wakeup call message. The usual style has always been claims of efficacy of tradomedicine and counterclaims. We mostly do not believe in ourselves. We seem not to value our indigenous drugs or endowments on account of the inferiority complex. Someone raised the questions of whether the COVID-19 ravaging other advanced countries is different from the one in Nigeria. I have also been educated that there are edibles in Nigeria that build immunity systems and more or less offer some kind of prevention. Whatever is the argument, we need to do all in our best to keep safe and employ all preventive measures as the best therapy. One thing is certain, it’s time we all stand up for ourselves and go back to our roots as they appear to have stood the test of time and the solutions to our problem.
In a situation where even the foreign healthcare cannot be accessed and the existing scientific and clinical methods of healing and prevention are failing, we are left with no option other than to look inward and come back to our herbal remedy which normally is our last resort. The role of ethno-medicine in fighting epidemics in the past is underappreciated because unlike biomedicine, the experiences and knowledge are not written down but are passed by word of mouth from one generation to the other. Notwithstanding, today we hear of the efficacy of ginger, lemon, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, honey, neem tree (dongoyaro) and many others.
COVID-19 and Disruptive Technologies
Without doubts and further questioning, it is obvious that at a time like this, technology is playing a great role in salvaging the situation at least to some extent. Most of us have never thought about how easy it is to be in the comfort of our rooms and still communicate with some other person miles away through video calls and that’s fantastic as it makes communication seamlessly possible. Through ICT we have stayed connected with families, friends and business partners. Just as we know that anything with merits also has its demerits. Most activities are now being carried out seamlessly on mobile platforms and internet-enabled means of communication. The risk element in this may be widespread unemployment almost immediately after the pandemic; it is therefore the responsibility of all to join the technological train to be relevant in the emerging thin-workforce scenario that is to come. In our contemporary dispensation, a single ROBOT can now perform tasks hitherto performed by competent technologically skilled persons in split seconds. What then becomes the fate of the ICT illiterate staff? Take for example the introduction of bank Bots is an improved and efficient technology that makes bank deposits easier and even faster without errors. This technology has rendered those employed as Bank Tellers redundant and ultimately will lead to job loss. Is this a good omen or a bad one? This is a warning that some staff may resume after COVID-19 to discover that certain technologies have been deployed to perform their jobs. Can technology replace you or make you redundant?
This pandemic is a reminder to always prepare ahead for the worst-case scenario and as much as possible equip yourself with the appropriate skills adequate to cope with the realities of the post-COVID-19 workplace revolution.
One other major post-COVID-19 digital transformation to expect is business and activity relocation from the physical realm to the online realm. Arising from the need to continuously remain relevant in the scheme of things, organizations that were caught in the web of COVID-19 would not want to repeat the same mistake. What will happen is mass migration and automation. We are bound to witness individuals, business firms and companies duplicating or moving their businesses/activities into the cloud thereby embracing more of digital marketing. This may lead to job loss. For instance, UBA has recently deployed the use of a BOT known as Leo to manage complaints and transactions from customers. The BOT introduces itself to customers as Leo, your Virtual Banker, ….and can help to handle all banking services. Similarly, most customers related complaints and services are now handled on Twitter. The question some bankers will be asking now is whether it is time to leave the banking industry or get compliant or get relevant no matter the situation.
Lately, the knowledge of the 5G network is the current rave and there are a series of questions and ideas as to its use, relevance, importance, benefits and also its side effects. People have been relating the advent of the 5G network as having a hand in the increased number of killing around the world, the simple truth remains that there is and there will always be what is known as the truth and the assumed truth, the assumed truth is how individuals feel about a particular issue under review. In some cases, where two or more people share the same assumed truth, there are possibilities that the assumed truth becomes the truth in that kind of environment but that does not erase the fact that there is still an actual truth. Such is the case of the 5G network and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Discussions on them has been on for some time and the revolution these two technologies will bring is yet to be fully comprehended. One fact is certain, technology has come to stay and it will continue to revolutionalize our global system.
Contributions and point of view of a few persons
National Economic Diversification – by Olufunso Adedokun
As a country, this is the right time Nigeria stops paying lip service to diversification of the economy. We are hard hit economically because of our over-dependence on Petroleum. It is high time we went back to the farm. Our economic mainstay should go back to the good old days of Groundnut Pyramid in Kano, Cocoa, Kolanut, Rubber Plantations etc in the southwest. Now it is time we took it further into having value chains. We need to change from being a consumption nation to a producing one.
The Real Truth – by Claire Osanyem Anenih
In the words of Osanyem, the truth about life in a time like this shows that times and seasons are constant. All other things can, and indeed are changing. According to her, we as humans are full of various plans of what we want to do, plans of what we intend to acquire, the journey we intend to embark upon and ultimately, we seem to have planned all our lives out. At the workplace, employers of labor have plans of what to do for the employees, there are plans for monitoring late-coming, plans for monitoring absence from work etc but what happens when the unexpected happens now that both the employers and the employees are suddenly locked down? She also expressed her unhappiness with the perception of some Christians whose thought pattern is that attending a physical church building equates connecting to God. To her, the hearts of those who believed in visiting the physical church are far from God are mere hypocrites who just want to show off. She said that these sets of people completely forget that they are the Church themselves. On the lessons, COVID-19 has taught us, she said that we have learnt that we have no other option than to believe that it is only God that rules in the affairs of man. According to her, this is evident with the failure of human efforts in curtailing the pandemic ravaging the world at the moment. Apart from this, we have seen how human plans made several months or years back failed woefully and there is nothing we could do. She stated that it is good health and peace of mind that pave way for several other plans of what we want to do. Today, our major focus is our health and you even hear people saying this one that I am coughing, hope I don’t have ….. Who did I touch? Where did I go last? Today, no one is sure of the next five minutes, not to talk of planning a whole year or more. In her conclusion, she said that what we are experiencing now is an eye-opener and that the world will never be the same after the COVID-19.
Economic Recklessness – by Sarah Olatinuke Omotoso
Sarah Omotoso in her contribution said that before the emergence of COVID-19, people spend lavishly and carelessly but with the current situation in the country most people are now conscious of where they go, how to go and when to go. There is also a case of a lack of trust in the health status of the next person. In her words, COVID-19 has affected people’s ways of life. Those who ordinarily cannot stay at home for a while now have no other choice than to spend more time with their families. It is evident that after the whole COVID-19 it will restrict the movement of people and give them a new definition to life. Finally, she stated that henceforth, there will be a deep thought before any spending is embarked upon.
Moderation – by Oluwaseun Ayomide Omotoso
For Oluwaseun, before the emergence of the coronavirus, the rate at which people travel and move around is very high but now you can only see a few people in the street. He stated that people are now managing what they have, by controlling their spending while others are looking for how to generate money online. According to him, by the time this coronavirus will end, a lot of people would have learnt their lessons on how to manage things because of the fear of what may happen next. He concludes by saying that the pandemic will no doubt affect the world population.
Perceived Implications of COVID-19 – by Dr. Fortune Afatakpa
Dr. Afatakpa in his perception of the implications of COVID-19, Stated that the pandemic is an avenue for the politicians to siphon money to prosecute 2023 elections. Economically, he was of the view that the nation will not remain the same again because of the loss of revenue in all aspects of the economy. This, according to him will have a far-reaching effect on the Government’s ability to perform its national responsibilities and if this persists, workers may have to brace up for job cut under various guises and policies. In the context of social interaction, he stated that the COVID-19 has brought about some form of bonding especially in some dysfunctional families.
Technologically, Dr. Fortune Afatakpa stated that COVID-19 cannot stop the imparting of knowledge. According to him, the cyberspace offers immense opportunities in this context.
COVID-19: Divine Healing and Protection as the Ultimate
With the advent of COVID-19 and the seeming failure of our health system, our attention shifted drastically to divine protection when we see the mighty falling. Some people who never believed in the healing and protective power of God shifted focus. COVID-19 has no doubt changed some people’s perception and belief systems. The question is will the new belief in the efficacy of divine healing and protection continue or not after COVID-19? One thing is however certain; COVID-19 is changing the religious landscape and the end is not yet in sight. With the COVID-19 posing itself as strong enough to last a considerably long time and with the daily increase in the number of cases recorded, the need to reappraise our stand is inevitable. Everyone will have to truly spend time to reflect on who they are in Christ and what He stands for in your life. Today, we are confronted with several questions. COVID-19 has revolutionalized the Church system. Now that members could not go to Church, and need assistance for survival, members are wondering whether their church leadership is morally justified to ask them to continue to pay their tithe and offerings. Members believe that it is the Church that should instead cater for them at their moment of need. Several questions would be asked after the COVID-19 pandemic given the various disappointments and failure of religious leaders to live up to the expectation of their members.
In a way, COVID-19 serves as a check on our stand in our respective faith. Some are asking questions like “is God aware of all we are passing through at the moment?” “Could this be part of our test of faith?” etc. After and probably this phase gets behind us, Individuals are then left to the evaluation of who and what exactly they are and what role their religious body played in the period of lockdown, was it your faith that mattered or the place of worship? Questions such as “are the physical places of worships that important” “can some of the weekly activities remain online?” these and many more are just a few of the questions to be answered after the lockdown.
No matter how this pandemic turns out, it is obvious that its only God that is the Supreme Being. We have no other choice than to acknowledge the fact that we are nothing without Him and only in Him can our safety be guaranteed. He is the creator of the universe and the only one that would not fail even now that human intelligence, artificial intelligence, research, laboratory experiments and all manners of problem-solving approaches have failed. He remains supreme and the only one who does not change come what may.
Dr. Fortune Afatakpa, Olufunso Adedokun, Sarah Omotoso, Temitope Omotoso, Osanyem Anenih, Ifeoluwa Omotoso, Seun Omotoso and Goodness Emoefe