New Telegraph

COVID-19: Why Nigeria must prepare for the next pandemic, Reps minority leader

The Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu has said the COVID-19 pandemic presents Nigeria with an opportunity to break the jinx of fire brigade and lottery syndromes by putting the nation on the path of development and preparing her for the next pandemic.

Okechukwu stated this in a keynote address themed, “Governance and Development in the COVID-19 Era: Strategies for Breaking the Jinx”, which he presented at an international conference organised by the Department of Public Administration, Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka on Wednesday.

In the address, the lawmaker noted that Nigeria’s inability to cope with the economic, health, and social consequences of the pandemic underscored a perennial state of unpreparedness marked by the absence of good governance and institutions that should support development and buffer the country in moments of crisis.

“One of the fallouts of the pandemic is that it further exposed our vulnerabilities to external shocks such as the fall in crude oil prices. The last time we witnessed a sharp decline in crude oil prices in 2016, our economy slipped into a recession.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria is plagued by the ‘Dutch Disease’ or what Prof. Charles Soludo calls the ‘Lottery Syndrome’ whereby a nation spends in the spirit of the boom of today without planning for tomorrow.”

Drawing the nexus of governance and development, Okechukwu decried the continued decline of Nigeria’s ranking on the Ibrahim Index for African Governance (IIAG).

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