Panel Discussion: Constructing our Collective Memories of the Pandemic
IFRA-Nigeria, Alliance Française Lagos and Institut Français du Nigeria organised a panel discussion on the theme: "Constructing our Collective Memories of the Pandemic".This event was part of the conferences cycle "The World Afterwards" currated by Institut Français du Nigeria. This panel discussion took place at Alliance Française de Lagos / Mike Adenuga Centre on Saturday 23rd October at 7pm.
Since the beginning of 2020, scientists as well as scholars trained in Humanities have tried to understand the Covid19 pandemic. Historians have for example tried to examine past pandemics to deal with Covid19. Sociologists have also addressed the sciocultural impact of Covid19 in Nigeria. Many questions remain unanswered. How can explain the focus on Covid19 when other diseases such as malaria are more lethal in Subsaharan Africa? Coud we argue that Western pandemic measures are actually counter-productive in Nigeria?
- Prof. Olutayo Adesina (HoD History Department, University of Ibadan)
- Dr Adebowale Ayobade (Sociology Department, UNILAG).
- Prof. Toby Green (King's College London) who joined us online.
Moderator: Dr Vincent Hiribarren (Director, IFRA-Nigeria)
This event was an opportunity to assess the importance of social sciences and humanities for our current and future understanding of pandemics in Nigeria and beyond. Prof Olutayo Adesina underlined how History allows a comparison with past pandemics. However, he argued that the main specificity of this pandemic, was the political answer to it which imposed worldwide a lockdown and social distances measures. Dr Adebowale Ayobade insisted on how the crisis was adressed through a western vision of diseases and how the measures were not adapted to the nigerian (and more generally african) context. Prof. Toby Green showed that the western-imposed measures taken globally at the beginning of the crisis (lockdowan, face masks) were "not recommended in any circumstances" few months before by the World Health Organization (statement retrieved from a WHO-report published in december 2019). He stated that the governance of the first months of the crisis created a breakdown of trust because of the unrealistic measures taken. Both Prof. Olutayo Adesina and Dr Adebowale Ayobade agreed with this assesment and vouched for a better inclusion of trado medicine in public health policies and a better comprehension of living conditions of the population by the Government.
Prof. Toby Green joined us online from London (UK).
Mrs, Laurence Monmayrant, th Consul General of France in Lagos (Nigeria) attended the event.
Final picture of the panelists (from left to right): Dr Vincent Hirbarren, Prof. Olutayo Adesina and Dr Adebowale Ayobade.