There is no need to antagonise Melinda Gates for expressing her views recently on CNN that (because of Coronavirus) ‘Africans may soon begin to pick dead bodies from the streets.’
Neither is there any need to be over anxious and distressed by IMF’s April 2020 report, which holds that the coming recession will be the worst in the last 30 years!
Of course, the ‘prophecies’ are worrisome and highly probable if all we do is huff and puff. Huffing and puffing have not served us well over the years so we cannot hope to disappoint these ‘prophecies’ by relying on them.
These ‘prophecies’ constitute part of the brighter side of the coronavirus experience because of how they have evoked the element of necessity towards the condition in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. Times of necessities are definitely times of opportunities!
Are these times of necessities? Yes, they are immense times of necessities. Which automatically translate into immense times of opportunities as well. Opportunities to change subsisting narratives. Opportunities to change subsisting systems. And opportunities to harvest different categories and levels of outcomes. The bit about perceptions may come later.
Those long-held perceptions about us may not change in step with the changing narratives and systems but they are sure to catch up as we demonstrate enough faith in our own new set of actions and approaches.
Speaking of new set of actions and approaches, I’m calling us to make friends afresh with our belts. See them as the symbols and motifs for a new order – the order of the belts. We many disappoint the ‘prophecies’ of Melinda Gates and the IMF if we used our belts! If our home-grown solutions to the unfolding scenario pass the belt-test, we are good to go.
There is a lot to unpack from using the belt as our global symbol of response to the unfolding new. By unfolding new, I mean all the what nots and what ifs about life after coronavirus. I’m going to suggest a few but I leave it to readers to draw their own patterns from looking at their own belts and what kinds of kicks they can get from the exercise.
What comes to your mind when you look more closely at your belt? Please don’t fall for the temptation of ‘designer’ or otherwise. I am referring strictly to functionality.
Below are 6 important symbols of the belt:
Firstly, a belt is a symbol of truth. It will effectively hold together whatever is being developed as response to the unfolding scenario before our eyes. Nigeria and Africa, may defeat the ‘prophecies’ when truth comes to replace the former order in relationships between leaders and the led. This is such a vast subject with unimaginable amount of significance across all spheres of society.
Secondly, belts come in different sizes. So Africa and Nigeria must not be fixated on a one-size-fit-all template. But must give room for adjustable systems that can effectively deliver the expected targets.
Thirdly, a belt is a symbol of connections. Solutions must strengthen rather than weaken bonds that have existed over generations.
Fourthly, a belt communicates something fit for purpose. Solutions must be specific. Targeted and particularised.
Fifthly, a belt communicates scaling. Solutions must be scalable. From small to big. And on and on.
Sixthly, a belt typically communicates simplicity. Staying at home has reaffirmed the fact that at its core, life is simple. We survive on the simple – family, food, clothing and shelter.