In the abundance of water, the fool goes thirsty (Bob Marley)
Spread the table and contention will cease. (English Proverb)
How chronic is the unconcern of men and women of the world! (Mary Elizabeth Braddon)
igerian successive rulers have been inept and clueless; that’s why none of them has been able to solve any of the problems besetting the country. This writer wonders why Nigerian leaders are not having sleepless nights due to the problems of the country; it surpasses all understanding why Nigeria leaders don’t take time to reflect on the country’s problems, and to engage in deep thinking on how to solve them. The president, ministers, governors, commissioners, local government chairmen and all those occupying authority positions are supposed to be thinking on how to do something different and better than their predecessors, and also, on how to leave a better lasting legacy thereafter than their predecessors. All the occupiers of the offices mentioned above are supposed to be pre-occupied with how to succeed where their predecessors failed, or, how to excel the more where their predecessors tried their best. But, these are not the case, as the successors tend to be worse than their predecessors. Instead of Nigerian leaders to establish Think Tanks to brainstorm strategies and conceptualize solutions for the country’s numerous problems, they engage only in frivolities.
Nigerian leaders have been misruling the country by perpetrating injustice, lies, deceits, corruption, incompetence and over indulgence. The Nigerian political class throws the country into political turmoil from time to time in their intra class struggle, just as William Marcy (1786 –1857) wrote that “When they are contending for victory, they avow their intention of enjoying the fruits of it. ... They see nothing wrong in the rule that to the victor belongs the spoils". Too much could have been achieved in Nigeria, but, the leaders don’t give a hoot about the suffering majority. Nigeria is so blessed that any leader, who knows his onions and wants to be successful, will not find it so hard to put policies in place that will create jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians. Government doesn’t necessarily create jobs, but, it should create policies which will enable the private sector to create jobs. About 40 million Nigerians have no job. The leadership of this country has failed to fulfil its constitutional role of improving and securing the lives and property of its citizens. Today, our police have become more inept than they were few years back in terms of their readiness to combat crime, and that explains why gunmen masquerading as kidnappers and armed robbers have practically brought the country to its knees, destroying lives and property from one end of the country to the other, and leaving the authorities seeking for endless solution to the anomaly. The Anglican Archbishop of the Niger Delta North, Rev. Ignatius Kattey, just said the police lied by claiming they rescued him from his kidnappers. One thing is clear: The high crime wave is a spin-off from the lack of leadership and good governance in Nigeria. Rev. Kattey, the second in hierarchy in the Anglican Church of Nigeria, who was kidnapped and later released after nine days in captivity, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently review the security situation in the country with a view to taking practical steps to curb criminal activities, adding that the political leadership in the country must begin to be sensitive to the plights of the governed by carrying out the basic responsibilities of government to its citizens. The Reverend then said “some of the persons involved in kidnapping are adequately educated but lacked the enabling environment to positively express themselves. But regrettably, they have yielded themselves to evil to cause Nigeria and her dwellers pain."
Nigeria has arable lands which can employ thousands if things are well organized, but, no leader gives that a thought. That’s why despite the lands and all the mineral resources, Nigeria remains beset by widespread poverty and unemployment. With the exploration and export of oil, everybody became lazy, and we abandoned things which served us well previously. Now, Nigeria and its citizens are paying dearly for that blunder. Today, the importance of the then western and eastern Nigerian farm settlements, in the 1960s, cannot be over-emphasised.
We are so dependent on oil export that if another country discovers its own oil, Nigeria catches cold. Imagine that NNPC frets over the discovery of shale oil in the United States. We read the discovery of shale oil by the United States to meet its domestic crude oil needs may adversely affect Nigeria's revenue. As a result, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has expressed fears, saying the US might go into territories currently being served by Nigeria's oil, after satisfying its local crude oil needs. NNPC’s Dr. Omar Farouk said "We (Nigeria) risk a situation where they (US) can even go into territories that we are currently supplying. And the fear exists that if America is going to offer to sell oil to some countries, even at a marginally higher price, the countries are likely to accept it more than Nigeria. We risk a situation where, in the first place, we will lose our market in America. But beyond that, we also risk a situation where America, having satisfied itself with what it has, will also want to find a market outside. And that market may also be a market that Nigeria is selling to" (Punch 24.06.13)
What a shame that inspite of all the other resources Nigeria can boast of, oil has made everybody lazy as all the governors and local government chairmen are just sitting and waiting for the monthly allocations from the Federation Account, instead of looking for other means or sources to generate income for their respective states or local governments. Only Governor Amaechi of Rivers States seems to be getting it, despite the political persecution he’s facing and the politics of intimidation beamed on him from Abuja. Ironically, Rivers State is one of the richest states in Nigeria due to the amount of oil pumped out of its soil everyday, but, the state, despite receiving the highest amount of money from the Federation Account , is also diversifying its economic base, while the poor states, especially those in the north, are folding their arms and keep on waiting for the monthly allocation, without thinking about how to diversify their economic bases through other means such as growing and exporting ground nuts, cotton, wheat, millet, yam, hides and skin etc. We read how Rivers State seeks alternative to oil through the building of an alternative economy that will compete with the oil and gas sector, because, the State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, believes that the best way to sustainable development will be through the diversification of the economy. The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, said "Oil has been good to Nigeria and the Rivers people but Governor Chibuike Amaechi believes that the best way to sustain the development of Rivers State is to develop an economy that is independent of oil. That is why we, the Rivers State government, has invested heavily on manufacturing, farming, education, health and energy. We are already seeing results, as youth unemployment is reducing".
Prof Osundare told the Tribune that “Very soon, the world will tell Nigeria to drink its crude oil”. In his words:
“Armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism are siblings of the same parents. Most of these crimes are committed by young people whose hands are idle. Nigeria doesn't take care of its educational system and Nigeria has not provided jobs for those who have passed through that system. This is another instance of our tragic contradiction. This is happening at a time when the number of universities in Nigeria is increasing at an alarming rate.
Our rulers are like those proverbial thoughtless people who merely watch the cutting edge of the axe when it is trying to fell a tree. Visionary leaders look out for where the tree is likely to fall. Before you start establishing universities all over the place, you have to have a plan because those you are putting in the universities will need to have jobs when they finish, not just to satisfy themselves but to build society. But how can you contribute to the building of your society if you have no job? An unemployed graduate is worse than an uneducated person. You put somebody through the rigours of college only for them to be idle and 'useless' after graduation. At the end you begin to preach to them that "you have to be good citizens. Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country", and suchlike vapid, hypocritical effusions. How can I do something for my country when my country has not empowered me to do something for it?
It is a tragically untenable logic that the best way to cure unemployment is to create more unemployment. As I said in an old poem of mine, "The IMF is a doctor/ Who heals the patient/ By killing him first". Remember the Awolowo legacies-the housing corporations, the industrial estates, the village farms which engaged youths and people all over the place. All those things have closed down. What does Nigeria produce today? Nothing. All the things we need either come from India, China, Europe or America. How I wish oil had not been discovered in this country! Oil money comes too easy, too suffocatingly plenty. It gushes too indulgently, too indolently in the Niger Delta. Oil money has ruined this country, corrupted our values, and valorised the mentality of Ise kekere/ Owo nla nla (Little work; big big money), and that is why we are the way we are. I don't know which will collapse first-the political system or the economic system.
Our mouths have been opened wide, our appetites rendered insatiable by the gushing insanity of oil wealth. Look at the satanic wages, salaries and emoluments that our rulers are earning. Consider the proliferation of universities in the country. All this is fuelled on easy oil money. When oil is kicked into second or third place by alternative energy sources, what is Nigeria going to do? A time is coming when the world is going to tell Nigeria "soak garri in your sweet crude and drink it." Our rulers don't have any sense or vision. They don't foresee that oil will not always ride the waves. The oil-rich Arab countries know this which is why Saudi Arabia, Dubai, the Arab Emirate and so on are setting up structures with their oil money. We don't even have our own oil refineries. Many of the graduates we produce are unemployable. Those that are employable do not have anybody to employ them. Again, I ask: What will Nigeria do when oil has passed out of favour? What shall we hold up as lasting gains from many decades of oil wealth?”
To be continued!
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!