5G, COVID-19 and history without end
Just when a pall of death seems to be blanketing the world with New York, the financial hub of the global community locked in painful throes of survival, the President of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump still found the presence of mind to deliver one of the most aspirational speeches of his administration. The speech without equivocation outlined his administration’s plan for 5G deployment in the days ahead. That is leadership.
To stand in the nexus of disaster and still be able to give hope; carry the flame on behalf of the people for a glorious victory lap in the future. As it was in 1961……5G came into the story as being the cause of the dreaded COVID-19 which is harvesting deaths across the globe.
In the United Kingdom of all places 5G base stations were being burnt because the people sought to take physical action that could eliminate this painful reaper in an unripe field. In Nigeria, there was uproar. All of a sudden, sense and decency failed with some respected personalities even ready to swear on the grave of their ancestors that they met 5G on the way actually killing people. At this point nobody had remembered to consult the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to state its position on the matter.
In moments of panic ideas are as useless as sawdust and as cold as ash whose fire died over a decade ago. When the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, came on live programme on Channel TV network news in one of those evenings, he played for political correctness and further obfuscated issues. The people needed clear communications from the leadership and not equivocation and double speak.
In these dire times, Trump displaying his usual showmanship and the kind of swagger associated with American leaders, braved the mood of the times to communicate the US plan for 5G. There was no mistaking the fact that he was spoiling for a fight should the position of the US be challenged. In fact, there had been a subtle fight all along, quite subterranean and politically disguised. In a transcript released by the White House on April 12, 2020, titled: Remarks by President Trump on United States 5G Deployment, Trump who observed that 5G to him is the future, declared very confidently: “We cannot allow any other country to out-compete the United States in this powerful industry of the future. We are leading by so much in so many different industries of that type, and we just can’t let that happen. The race to 5G is a race America must win, and it’s a race, frankly, that our great companies are now involved in. We’ve given them the incentive they need. It’s a race that we will win.” It will interest you here to know what 5G means to him and the way he presented it to the US public. In his words: “Secure 5G networks will absolutely be a vital link to America’s prosperity and national security in the 21st century.
“5G will be as much as 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular networks. It will transform the way our citizens work, learn, communicate, and travel. It will make American farms more productive, American manufacturing more competitive, and American healthcare better and more accessible. Basically, it covers almost everything, when you get right down to it. Pretty amazing. “And just as 4G networks paved the way for smartphones and all of the exciting breakthroughs — they made possible so many things — this will be more secure and resilient. 5G networks will also create astonishing and really thrilling new opportunities for our people — opportunities that we’ve never even thought we had a possibility of looking at.” Watching Trump make this declaration were Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – just like the NCC in Nigeria – and some top members of his administration.
Trump never for once directed any of these officials to do something instead he challenged them to rise to the new thinking of the United States. Trump didn’t position his presidency to lead the deployment of the 5G technology instead he openly fanned out the responsibility to the FCC and the private sector, the latter he described as being able to do a better job than the government.
By Okoh Aihe