A former HOD of the Department and a Former Asst. Director of the LASU External System at Anthony Campus, He is presently an Associate Professor in the Dept. Of Political Science, LASU.
IDYIM: How will you describe the present state of our nation during this pandemic called Covid-19?
Mr. Surajudeen: For a discerning scholar, the present state of the Nigerian state will not be anything surprising. This is because the condition of the Nigerian State presently is not in anyway different from what it used to be except that the present situation has come to expose us more than some people outside the country know us.
Principally, the present situation will not leave us in a jiffy. It is going to be with us for a long time to come as our socio-political, economic and psychological life will not remain the same after the pandemic. I also need to let us realise the fact that the present situation will change a lot about our socio-economic, political and psychological mentality if only we will make effective use of the lesson to be learnt from it.
IDYIM: The Covid 19 pandemic is currently world’s greatest mystery. Steathily, the virus evolved and hijacked the control of world activities. There are predictions that the virus will leave the world more devastated. What are the lessons to take from this experience?
Mr. Surajudeen: Already, the world is suffering from the debilitating effect of the COVID-19 and it is obvious that the world will not remain the same again after the pandemic.
This is obviously indisputable. The fall in the price of oil is particularly a blow below the belt for Nigeria and other oil producing nations of the World. One will not be surprised that countries like UAE saw this coming hence the need to quickly use the proceed from oil to develop Dubai as a tourist centre of the world and that is where the fortune of the country is today. I will not be surprised if a country like Saudi Arabia decides to rebrand their tourist environment for increasing revenue as there will not be so much to be earned from oil again after the pandemic.
What should be paramount for the Nigeria government now is to be focus and restrategise immediately. It is obviously that we will need to restart the Nigerian economy albeit other economies of the world after the pandemic. The benefit will be there for any country that is able to swiftly take advantage of the situation and invest enormously in agriculture and the proceed therein invested in building other sectors such as health, education, transportation and o host of other sectors for the benefit of the people.
IDYIM: Can our government take the effect of this pandemic an opportunity to properly reshape our economy in other in no distance time?
Mr. Surajudeen: I am afraid the present crop of leaders in this country lack the wherewithal to take the advantage of the situation to redefine and restrategise and reposition the country for future benefit. Our parochial nature will not allow us. However, it is obvious that the effect will not be for the poor alone. The rich will also share in the negative effects of the situation as we are currently witnessing where the rich with the wealth cannot travel out of the country for medical treatment. Everybody is dependent on what our nation is able to provide as food and that is to let us understand that we should nurture our agriculture more.
Another important thing that should worry us is the rate at which countries of the west have been donating to our countries and other developing countries. Does it not sound suspicious to you that those countries are also in this pandemic with us. Why are they fast in donating money and equipment to us in this period of global pandemic?
One other lesson we should take home from the situation in the globe is the demystification of the Western countries. Who would believe that a particular virus or pandemic can overwhelm the health sector of a country like the USA, Canada, UK and the entire European Union?
Lagos State should invest in the health sector and enhance its educational/vocational training for its citizens. It is a know fact that the service sector is there to nourish Lagos State, but there is the need for the state to develop properly other mentioned sectors including transportation for it to continue to be relevant and retain its status as the commercial nerve center of the country.
And what gives us the impression that Lagos State cannot enlarge its coast of partnership with other states of the federation in the area of agriculture?
IDYIM: It’s quite suspicious but how do we prevent our country from this improvised indirect modern day slavery from the West?
Mr. Surajudeen: The whole idea is to continue to keep us under the apron strings of the develop countries. A good way to go is to abandon the so called grant and see ourselves the way we are. Part of the negativity of the grant to Africa and other developing countries is the idea that remedy for the Coronavirus cannot come from a developing country hence the rejection of the therapy or remedy from Madagascar.
No sooner than the Madagascar therapy was announced that America came out with the so called Ramdevisir vaccine for COVID-19. Where was that before the Madagascar therapy? But Madagascar has continued to prove stubborn with the therapy and with the success story of the country without any casualty, the WHO is forced to consider the therapy for clinical trials. One will not be surprised if at the end of the day, Madagascar is coerced into accepting that the therapy does not work as espoused and a developed country is made to turn it around in another way as vaccine for Coronavirus.
For sometime to come, the rate will continue to rise as the grants from abroad continue to flood our country. No wonder that our NCDC is being sponsored and financed by Bill and Melinda Gates. You will begin to wonder what is the interest of Bill and Melinda Gates in the activities of Nigeria’s NCDC.
No doubt we cannot rule out politics in this whole thing, both at National and international levels.
What I think should be paramount to us as individuals is how to forge ahead as paid job will no longer be fashionable after the pandemic. We should try as much as possible to form partnership and raise fund to venture into agriculture in our own little way.
IDYIM: What is your take on the proposed vaccination bill sponsored by the speaker, Honorable femi Gbajabiamila?
Mr. Surajudeen: It is quite unfortunate that the Speaker decides to bring forward such a bill at this material time. The question is why now? Why not at a time when we had SARS, Ebola and others? So, it is not impossible that it is part of the larger politics of Bill and Melinda Gates interest or certain other interests that are yet to manifest.
IDYIM: Talking of job losses. There are predictions that unemployment rate raise to above 30%, youth unemployment is expected to be higher. What advise do you have for the youths at this trying times?
Mr. Surajudeen: The case if the youth should be seen as the case of someone who is down already, she/he needs no fear to fall. There is high unemployment of the youth already but the current situation should engender the youth to venture into Agriculture and work on their representatives to make government to assist them with graduate farming programmes/schemes with loans and grants to support them. This is very important to keep the aggregate youth busy before there will be serious crisis in this country. Already, the current situation is enough to tell anybody that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Once this explodes, it may be calamitous.
IDYIM: What other skills aside agriculture?
Mr. Surajudeen: We should venture into vocational training and professional education. The service sector is filled already. We should venture more into science and technology as against service oriented endeavours.
IDYIM: If you are to advice Madagascar with the present happenings revolving around their cure to Corona virus, what will you advice them to do to outsmart the developed countries?
Mr. Surajudeen: It is difficult for Madagascar to do it all alone. I have been expecting AU to make statement on this. Apart from this, one would have expected other African countries to have ordered for this therapy from Madagascar and begin to showcase it but the dependency nature and grant ridden status of these countries will not allow.
For Madagascar, they have no problem. As we speak, all is well with their people and the economy is on the go unlike their other African counterparts.
IDYIM: What lessons can Nigeria derive from this?
Mr. Surajudeen: Nigeria should learn to live without these Grant’s and aids. This will make us to be able to stand with our heads up. It is not as if we cannot do what Madagascar did, but the fact that our country is tied to the apron strings of the developed world, we cannot promote what we have except what is recommended to us.
With all the condemnation of the Madagascar therapy, the PM has refused to listen to the voice of WHO or any other voice outside the country. The PM ensure that everybody in the country have access to the medicine and it is affordable.
IDYIM: How will you rate our essential workers, Especially medical doctors around this turbulent times?
Mr. Surajudeen: Indeed they have tried and one should commend their efforts. But the question is, should they be made to work under that condition if the country has been proactive in the health sector? Don’t forget that the Resident Doctors had to quickly suspend their strike action to take part in the rescue mission. But in all, they have put in their best and proved their patriotism.
IDYIM: It is believed that this pandemic might bring about a new world order with expectation of cold war. What would be the fate of African countries in forming alliance considering the proliferated grants from Western countries?
Mr. Surajudeen: The new world order this will promote is nothing other than China supremacy. Of course, it is not going to be easy. There will definitely be Cold War and this is expected. Don’t forget that we have been told about a decade ago that come 2020, China will rule the world and that is what is manifesting today. Well, it depends on how swift African countries are but the truth of the matter is that there is no place for Africa in the new World Order other than to continue to cowtoe except where they are able to reposition the continent for better.
IDYIM: Do you think locking down the country will be the only solution to what Nigeria is facing now?
Mr. Surajudeen: This pandemic calls for every country to consider the reality of her own environment to know what measure is desirable to mitigate the effect of the pandemic. Lockdown is not advisable for a country like Nigeria but serious advocacy, enlightenment and education on what people should do at every point in time.
IDYIM: What role can our lawmakers play at this time, because we have our Member from house of Rep in our midst?
Mr. Surajudeen: The entire political class should be involved as much as the followers too. The task of advocacy, enlightenment and Education, particularly of the people in the rural areas should be borne by the political class in all its ramifications.
IDYIM: What will you advise the Lagos State Government, especially the ministry of Agric because the special Adviser to the Govt on Agriculture is here with us.
Mr. Surajudeen: The Ministry of Agriculture should embark on massive recruitment of people for graduate farming and make funds available to encourage the youth into farming.
The Ministry should create Market Board to buy the proceed of the farming. This will encourage the youth to go into farming and be assured that their products will have ready made market from government.