Bill and Melinda Gates gave a grim and dire prediction concerning Africa at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. They warned that Africa was the most vulnerable of all the continents and expressed fears that health officials might end up picking up dead bodies from the streets. I know a lot of Africans were not too happy with this prediction, but the truth is, this was based on the first-hand knowledge they had about our state of preparedness. If we want to be honest with ourselves, they were not uncovering what most of us didn’t know.
As Africans, we know how unprepared we are for any disease, let alone one that’s pandemic in nature. Statistically, we know our existing hospital-to-population ratio is nothing to write home about; so is our doctor to our population; the same goes for our size of the health budget to population ratio, and we also know how much of that paltry budget gets to critical areas and how much of it gets shared by our leaders, their cohorts and collaborators. Subsequently, when COVID-19 hit China, Europe and the U.S., and these highly advanced countries started running out of hospital space, it was assumed we were going to be in trouble – I mean “Real Trouble” because we had neither the facilities, nor the money, nor the discipline to combat such a deadly contagion. It seemed like the prediction of the Gates would come to pass, but for some strange reasons, most of us can’t explain, the mortality rate as well as the recovery rate from COVID in Africa, was far better than that of these advanced countries.
Apart from wearing the cap of being the publisher of Inside Watch Africa (IWA), I am also a public commentator, and public affairs analyst, thus I constantly interrogate local and global issues. Two major issues that I consider top on the minds of most people these days are climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Intriguingly, regarding these major issues, all eyes seem to be on Africa and there are clarion calls that it is the turn of Africa to provide a possible solution to the current global crises. There seems to be a global consensus that Africa holds the magic wand that can bring solutions to these intractable and nagging issues and help galvanize a lasting peace that the world currently desperately needs.
Our world as we know it runs sequentially in a way that tends to border on some rotational or alternate repetition principle that gives rise to a timetable of sorts, such that in climes around the world, times and seasons are firmly established much so that when the people are in a particular season, everyone knows for a fact what season it is, and what the next one will be. Likewise, everyone knows that after the morning comes noon, and after the noon comes the evening or night. In the same manner, I remember vividly when I was very young, we had a food timetable that we rigidly followed in the home as a family. We knew that breakfast on Sunday mornings was yam with either eggs or stew, while the afternoon lunch would be rice with chicken or beef stew. This was also the orderly pattern we adopted and applied in the way housekeeping assignments or chores were shared among my siblings and me. Everyone knew whose turn it was to wash the dishes at every point in time. This was borne out of a collective and mutual agreement which was clearly defined.
As a Yoruba man from the Western part of Nigeria, in a bid to drive home this point and be sure that we don’t only capture the essence of this message, but also fully understand it, I feel a need to translate the aforementioned clarion call, into my indigenous Yoruba phrase, which says;
Africa, ‘àwa lókan lati mu Alafia ba aiye’’, which simply means “Africa, it’s our turn to bring peace to the world”. It is however important to state the fact that those who wait patiently in the queue, eventually get “their turn” one way or the other, and that more critical than getting “that turn”, would be, what we do with “that turn” when we do get it. This essentially means that we must come to terms with the fact that bringing peace to the world will not be an easy task, not minding the fact that it's “our turn”. What this simply means is yes, it’s our turn, but we will have to take some tough decisions to be able to provide the food and gas that the rest of the world desperately needs now. We will have to sacrifice and heavily invest in infrastructural development and human capital. Concerning renewable energy, as Africans, it is entirely our decision to decide when to embrace it, and how far we want to go. This we must do carefully considering what would benefit us the most in Africa. This is the last edition of IWA for the year 2022, thus I consider it expedient to thank you all, our esteemed readers and extremely supportive clients the world over, for your unflinching support for IWA. It's because of you that IWA is still on the newsstands and that we have remained in business. It's with humility and gratitude to GOD that I assure you once again that you are in for an exciting and enthralling reading experience. Apart from the other insightful stories in this edition, the title of the cover story isWakanda forever’’, telling the African story in a grand style. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year (year of election and a redefining one for Nigeria) in advance.