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The Need for National Resilience Policy and Standard

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A Conspiracy History: Unraveling The Puzzles In Nigeria’s Future

By

Tunji Olaopa

We live in a VUCA world—vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. And it takes little reflection for anyone to see how this is immediately so. While the idea of a VUCA world was introduced into the lexicon by reflection on strategy and leadership, the COVID-19 pandemic has added an aggravated dimension to how vulnerable, uncertain, complex and ambiguous the world is. Everything that constitutes axioms that define our normality has been upturned and shattered. Each region of the world is then left to come to terms with the uncertainty and to address it in its own way.

While wrapping my head again around the idea of VUCA, I could not but be drawn into the philosophical idea of existentialism, and the historical exigencies that brought it into existence. The Second World War contributed in no small measure into shaping the philosophical framework of existentialism. Contrary to the rationalist’s perception of the world as being grounded on the infallibility of reason, the existentialists learnt from historical circumstances to adumbrate a view of reality founded on instability. To borrow Heidegger’s graphic statement, we are “thrown into the world” where our fundamental freedom is curtailed by meaninglessness and uncertainty. Existence—in the throes of frustration, dread, anxiety, sickness, and finally death—therefore defeats our most optimistic human aspirations. COVID-19 could only happen in such a VUCA world the existentialists foresaw.

And nowhere is this VUCA reality more distinct and brutal than in the third world—Latin America, Asia, Africa. One of the fundamental ideas behind the concept of “development” and “underdevelopment” is the extent to which the developed countries, compared with the underdeveloped ones, have been able to reduce the VUCA reality in their institutional and governance dynamics. A country could be considered underdeveloped because it has no structural and procedural means by which it could preempt adverse circumstances and disasters, like the COVID-19. I can immediately anticipate the spate of objections that will point at the relative ease with which the pandemic undermined the stable institutions and developmental assurances of Europe and North America. This is a demonstrated fact. And I agree. But something is still off about underdevelopment.

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This is where I bring in the subject matter of this piece—the idea of resilience as a governance and development concept. This is a concept that has made its way from self-help discourse to national characterization. For instance, the resilience of Nigerians has been widely celebrated. In 2018, the World Happiness Report (WHR) ranked Nigeria as the 5th happiest country in Africa, and the 91st in the world. The 2020 Report drops Nigeria to 115th place in the world, and the 17th in Africa. Despite falling in the ranking, one still wonders what about Nigeria’s postcolonial and post-independence development predicament could make Nigerians one of the happiest people in the world. Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s famous song, “Shuffering and Shmiling,” best captures the situation in which Nigerians resiliently keep moving forward beyond every development obstacle that makes their lives a living hell.

But the plunge in the WHR tells more than a statistical story. It speaks to something more fundamental about our state of existence as a nation, as well as our governance dynamics, and its capacity to achieve well-being. The rate at which otherwise successful people have been committing suicide suggests that the famed resilience of Nigerians has been overstretched and their legendary coping mechanisms are beginning to wane. And this is precisely a tragic example that teaches a significant development lesson—the need for a national resilience benchmarking in Nigeria. One brutal fact of Nigeria’s underdevelopment is that it is missing out on many significant institutional correlates of development and good governance. For instance, there is no national integrity system, just as there is no national resilience policy and standard.

What is resilience, in developmental and governance terms? The Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters, in Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, defines resilience as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events. Enhanced resilience allows better anticipation of disasters and better planning to reduce disaster losses—rather than waiting for an event to occur and paying for it afterward.” This definition makes resilience the existentialist idea par excellence! Resilience enables a state to build into her development framework institutions, dynamics and structures that both anticipate and preempt disasters. And it is the presence of these resilience standards and systems that defines the difference, for instance, in the way the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled in, say, the United States and Nigeria.

In this context, it will be too trite to complacently point at how the pandemic has ravaged Europe and North America, or how Nigeria—as well as many other African countries—have been able to fare better than the so-called developed countries. First, no one has an explanation yet as to why the virus has not been as devastating as it was projected to be, given Nigeria’s poor healthcare and socioeconomic realities. But second, and more fundamentally, Europe and North America have in place anticipatory institutional and governance mechanisms that kicked in to alleviate even the enormous weight of the pandemic on their citizens. Long and short: Nigeria, like most other African countries, do not have systemic strategies in place to confront and alleviate the consequences of systemic threats.

In the United Kingdom, the National Resilience Standards for Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) was crafted in consonance with the Civil Contingencies Act to achieve a high level of success in “emergency preparedness, response and recovery,” as well as establish the capacity readiness of the LRFs to preempt and handle such extreme contingencies. The UK National Resilience Standards has fifteen items: (i) LRF Governance and Support Arrangements, (ii) Local Risk Assessment, (iii) communicating risks to the public, (iv) emergency planning, (v) community resilience development, (vi) interoperability, (vii) training, (viii) exercising, (ix) business continuity management, (x) business continuity promotion, (xi) strategic coordination centre (SCC): preparation and operation, (xii) strategic coordination groups (SCG): preparation and activation, (xiii) local recovery management, (xiv) cyber incident preparedness, and (xv) pandemic influenza preparedness.

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Establishing a national resilience system in Nigeria is a singular development imperative that must be facilitated if the development vision and strategies of the Nigerian state would no longer be subject to occasional and regular disasters over which we have no immunity. However, the emergence of such a resilience system will be conditional on so many other variables defined by Nigeria’s national integration dynamics. In other words, to be able to achieve resilience as a state, we need to first learn, unlearn and relearn so many other things that will enable us to live and develop together. In my little book, The Joy of Learning (2009), I outlined a learning imperative that I consider to be critical to both a national value reorientation and cultural adjustment programme that will assist Nigerians in coming to terms with our plural situation, and learn from it. One critical pillar in learning throughout life is what has been called “learning to live together.” This requires not only developing an understanding of other people and their differences, but also coming to deep knowledge and appreciation of how these different people are also so much like us, and how we can only function by being interdependent. Thus, to be able to stand together in the face of disaster and other systemic threats to our development, we need to first stand together and appreciate our plural relationship.

This is where the Nigerian educational system becomes a critical component in the need for a national value reorientation and cultural adjustment programmes, two fundamental prerequisites to achieving the institution of a national resilience system. Nigeria’s educational system must be capable of generating curricula, syllabuses and other orientation schemes that will not only educate on the imperative of the reevaluation of values that have weakened our unity and those that can sustain it. They also can be imbued with contents that speak to resilience as an alternative philosophical and methodological framework that can complement conventional risk assessment methodologies to enable us to develop an adaptive mentality and systems that can combat systemic threats. And one will be surprised at some of the academic texts that can generate insights about resilience.

An instance will suffice. As a literature student in those days, reading Jane Austen’s novels, and especially the most famous one, Pride and Prejudice, was no joy for me. And that could have been because her context did not resonate so much as, say, Things Fall Apart. But I have come to realize what I had missed in not taking the time to be patient with Jane Austen. Her novels offer precious insights on resilience. In Jane Austen’s novels, her life trajectory blurs into those of her heroines as a study in perseverance and resilience against the instability of a society that hardly thinks the woman is human. And yet she survived and became sturdy. Reading any of Jane Austen’s novels, together with, say Chinua Achebe’s or Wole Soyinka, could serve a syllabus meant to transform our mentality about resilience and its fundamental role in injecting strength into Nigeria’s governance and developmental framework and dynamics.

Prof. Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary & Directing Staff, National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos .
tolaopa2003@gmail.com

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We Did Our Best To Save Mailafia – Hospital

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We Did Our Best To Save Mailafia - Hospital

Worried about the allegation of complicity, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) has said that it did its best to save the life of former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Dr Obadiah Mailafia.

The hospital said those accusing it of having a hand in the death of the foremost activist were not sincere.

The acting Public Relations Officer of UATH, Michael Atiga, speaking on Mallafia’s death and allegations that trailed it, wondered how the hospital could be blamed for being responsible when its medical personnel did everything necessary to revive him.

According to him, the exceptional performances of medical personnel in Mailafia’s case earned them verbal accolade from the wife of the deceased, who he noted, was around the husband.

He explained:”The patient came in on Saturday, September 18,2021, around 2pm to 3pm in the afternoon. He was well received because the doctors even had pre-information that he was coming, so he was well received.

“And considering the nature of his illness because from what I gathered from the doctor, as he was rushed to this place, his oxygen saturation was like 60 percent, so there was a problem already. He was in a bad condition so they had to commence treatment immediately.”

According to him, the doctors ”placed him on a free-flow oxygen in order to increase his oxygen saturation and they started this medication immediately without asking for any money.

“The saturation which was 60 percent at the time they came to this place, at a point, went to like 90 percent. So they continued the treatment till like 10 clock at night.

“Since they discovered that his condition demanded utmost care, they called a nurse who was even off duty to be stationed with the patient throughout the night. The nurse was off duty but they called him to come and stay with the patient.

READ ALSO: ‘How Doctors Shabbily Treated Mailafia While Dying’

“So, the doctors did all they could to salvage the situation but you know that in health, doctors can only treat, it’s God that saves lives.”

” Even the wife, in the morning of that day around 8, o’clock when they passed the news of the husband’s death to her, appreciated the doctors that this is the first time she was seeing very dedicated health workers, whose priority is to save lives,” he added.

Asked if he had the appreciation from the deceased wife on record, he said, “I don’t have it on record but this was what I gathered from the doctor on duty.”

While admitting that a foreign doctor who was contacted abroad following the development, reached out to the hospital’s doctors handling Mailafia’s case, he said,” As at the time the foreign doctor was calling, the man had passed.”

“The foreign doctor was calling from abroad through the son of the deceased instructing the doctor who had certified the man dead to go and start pressing the chest again, who now told him that “Oga, I have been into this practice for over 20 years, the man is dead, if I like, I can press his chest from now till tomorrow, that would not bring him back to life. That was what happened,” he explained.

When told there was an allegation that the hospital asked for N600,000 before administering certain medication, he responded, “No, no, no.”

“That is why I’m telling you a clear record of what transpired in this hospital. If you like, you can meet with the wife of the deceased to hear her side. Nobody asked for money,” he explained.

When equally told that the Middle Belt Forum quoted the wife as saying this, Atiga said:”That means the woman is not sincere, she is not sincere, because when he was certified death and the doctors passed his condolences to her, she appreciated them according to what I learnt.”

He explained further:”The man was admitted into the VIP wing of the infectious disease centre which attracted more attention. Nobody said they should deposit before they commence treatment.

“It was after his death, and they said no problem, that the CBN was going to foot the bill. So, we are suprised that all these things started coming up.

READ ALSO: Obadiah Mailafia: The Grip Of Grief

“Before his death, he was even talking to them. At a point when they were trying to improve the oxygen saturation, according to what I gathered, all their efforts connecting the cylinder was going down. They tried all they could but it was going down and that was when the man passed away.

“The doctors said at the point he was requesting for ventilator, if they do that, it would even fast- track his death, they are practitioners.

“That was what happened because I went there and interviewed the doctor as a public relations officer and he briefed me on all that happened.”

 

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Anti-open Grazing Laws In Southern States Unrealistic – El-Rufai

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Anti-open Grazing Laws In Southern States Unrealistic - El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday described the anti-grazing laws being signed by some of his colleagues as unrealistic.

According to him, while ranching is the ideal solution to the problem, it cannot be done overnight.

El-Rufai also said Kaduna State would require at least N114 billion to put together 14 ranches to fully settle herders and their families.

The governor said this while speaking to newsmen during a visit to the National Secretariat of the All progressives Congress, in Abuja.
He said : “The northern state governors’ forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching.

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“But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to have a plan; we have to have resources and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution. We have taken a position as northern state governors and we are implementing that.

“And in my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralize the herders. And that is the solution, a long time. But can it be done overnight? No.”

“This project we are doing will cost us about 10 billion naira. The CBN is supporting us with about 7.5 billion. And it will take about two years to do.

“We will be settling Fulani herd families. And I hope that they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle going to people’s farms to cause all kinds of problems. We want to solve the problem.

“It is unhelpful to politicize the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement. So, we have taken a position and we are working round the clock to implement that position.

“These herders emanate from the north and we are going to centralize them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is causing 10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna state and I would like to convince them into ranching. Do I have 14 times 10 billion naira? I don’t have.

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“If the federal government will give me a hundred and fourteen billion, I will convert the other thirteen into ranches and make sure that nobody comes out with a cow or sheep in Kaduna state because I will have enough ranches to take care of everybody. That is the solution. You can legislate but let us wait and see. And I wish them the best of luck.”

 

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Sunny Ade’s Wife Dies

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Sunny Ade's Wife Dies

Risikat Ajoke Adegeye, a wife of Juju maestro, King Sunny Ade, is dead. She was a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

A media aide to the son of the deceased , Daniel Fayemi, and sources in the Lagos State House of Assembly confirmed Adegeye’s demise.

Fayemi said : “The philanthropic politician passed on in the early hours of Tuesday. Her remains have since been deposited at the TOS funeral homes, Lagos.

“She is survived by her grieving husband and son, Mr. George Folarin. Funeral arrangements would be communicated accordingly.”

Her son, Folarin, also confirmed the death on behalf of the family in a statement on Tuesday.

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He said the ex-lawmaker died after a brief illness.

The statement read in part: “We wish to formally inform friends, well-wishers, political associates, and the general public that Hon Risikat Ajoke Adegeye passed on after a brief illness during the early hours of Tuesday, 21st September 2021.

“Hon Risikat Ajoke Adegeye was a Honourable Member in the 6th Assembly of the Lagos State House of Assembly.

“She will be greatly missed not only by her immediate family but also by her political associates and followers. Further information in respect to her burial ceremony will be announced later after extensive consultations with the family.

“Thank you as we pray that she continues to rest peacefully and eternally with the Almighty God.”

 

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