From Grey Twilight to Bright Sunlight
By Damilola Shomoye
It’s the month of April again, and everyone, the world over is remembering the genocide that took place in Rwanda 20 years back which gulped about a million lives.
What happened in Rwanda back then will be a child’s play in comparison to what will happen in Nigeria if necessary action is not taken fast, because it seems its already happening but we all chose just not to bat an eyelid.
Today, we have insurgents taking over the northern states, kidnapping has become the order of the day in the Eastern part while ritualism and operation of baby factories is now becoming a booming business in the western states of this great nation.
This write up is not to castigate anyone, or point accusing fingers at any group, political party(s), public office (s) or government but a form of wake up call to everyone out there. We all have a role to play in the success and development of this noble country.
There is fire on the mountain but no one seems to be on the run. Nigeria is a time bomb waiting to explode, and if we all don’t arise from our slumber, I fear the worst may happen. Its not in the capacity of our leaders alone to detonate this bomb. It is time for us to take our destiny into our hands. Let’s stop folding our hands while watching our destinies crawl into darkness.
I will like you to join me as we take a critical evaluation of the challenges facing us as a nation.
According to recent statistics according to the world bank, Nigeria is said to be the highest growing economy in Africa with a GDP of about $500 billion as compared to South African’s GDP of $300 billion yet its doesn’t reflect on the lives of a common man on the streets. What is happening?
Nigeria, a land flowing with milk and honey, enriched with valuable natural resources yet majority lives below poverty level. We have promising, employable and vibrant youth yet they waste in their prime because there are no jobs and the few jobs available are being shared as slots among the powers that be.The first approach in creating a better Nigeria is to give the youths the opportunity to participate in decision making. The same sets of people ruling from the military junta back in the 70′s still holds power today even in the democratic dispensation.
A nation filled with vibrant youth, yet we have old men seated at the ongoing national conference deciding and planning the future they may not feature in. We need men who will be able and willing to take the bulls by the horns, men who will be able to think outside the box, not those who are too weak to think who end up sleeping off when national issues are been deliberated. Let’s engage men who will be able to think ahead of the problem not those that will engage in a fire brigade approach.
Japan and china are world powers today because they kept on improvising. We have so many unharnessed resources wasting in the depth of the land waiting to be discovered.
Another salient issue facing Nigeria as a nation is inadequate power supply. The power sector has drastically gone awry forcing many businesses to fold up and as well relocating so many foreign investors to another country and even increasing the rate of unemployment ravaging the nation. During the Obasanjo administration, the power sector upgraded from 1900 megawatts to 4000 megawatts. Why is it that eight years after, we still find it impossible to upgrade to the required 6000 megawatts? Gone are the days we supply power to Ghana, today we are thinking about importing power from Congo. I wonder how we were rated as the largest booming economy over South African’s.
The minister of the power sector advised the sale of the Power Holding Company for a more efficient result but about a year after the sale, it has gone from bad to worse. There are some issues we need the federal government such as
- What necessitated the sale of PHCN?
- Where has there not been improvement in the power sector?
- After the sale, Is it still the responsibility of the Federal Government to tackle the problems?
- Who is responsible for turning the dams around? The Federal Government or the new owners?
- Where is the money realized from the sale of PHCN?
- Was there any measure taken to ensure that the new owners will be financially capable of actualising the dream behind the sale?
These are salient areas Nigerians need the Federal Government to address.
Couples of years back, when the telecommunication sector was being privatized, there was an instant positive result which is evidenced for all to see in every nook and cranny of the nation. Why is it not so after the sale of PHCN? Furthermore, Nigeria has been rated one of the highest producers of petroleum products yet we still import refined fuel from neighbouring countries. These are areas that requires urgent attention . The very thing that never ceases to amaze me is why its so difficult to have effective working refineries in the country.
I believe the finance required to construct an effective home based working refinery should not pose a threat. We keep acquiring loan from the world but not being invested in the right projects. The only solution the minister of Petroleum resources could proper is to privatize NNPC. Did I hear you say AGAIN?
The truth is that we have no visionary leaders who can think outside the box to generate solutions. PHCN was sold with no visible change and improvement and now we are deliberating selling NNPC. What happens when every sector is being sold and no improvement? Will we resort to privatizing Nigeria as a nation?
Another major challenge facing the nation today is the neglect of Agriculture and industrialization which is crucial to any developing nation. As I noted earlier, Japan and China are world powers today not because of their population nor because of the colours of their skin but because they kept discovering new technologies. There is no market in the world today that China and Japan have not dominated.
We have neglected Agriculture which was our main focus of survival as a nation before the advent of crude oil which leaves me to wonder if the advent of crude oil was a blessing or a curse in disguise? Rice, which is a common food here is being imported yet we have vast lands wasting off.
Malaysia is the highest producers of palm oil in the world today yet we can’t emulate such. We can as well invest massively in Agriculture and even export it which is another source of income to the national purse as well as job creations to the citizens.
During the Obasanjo administration, cassava was discovered to being refined into baking flour, yet we aren’t harnessing that discovery. Two years back, the present administration invested the sum of 9 billion Naira into cassava plantation for this purpose and up till now, I have not seen cassava bread or any cassava flour product in the market.
I remember the good old days when Nigeria as a nation was flourishing solely on Agriculture. It is not too late for us as a nation to rebuild the Agricultural sector for a better Nigeria. Still on industrialization, when one goes through the streets where construction works are being carried out, you will discover that about 90% of these contracts are being awarded to foreign companies.
Is the government telling us that there are no capable and efficient Nigerian construction companies who can effectively carry out these projects or is it that they award this projects to these foreigners because of their selfish gains? You will agree with me that if these contracts are being awarded to home based Nigerian companies, it will go a lot in rebuilding industrialization in the nation but when being awarded to foreigners, they go back to invest the proceeds in their country thereby booming their nations economy. We need to stop helping these foreigners developing their nation while ours lies in ruins.
Many of these foreigners are not even as skilled as their Nigerian counterparts yet we see them as superior because of the colours of their skin. For crying out loud, BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL, BLACK CONNOTES SOPHISTICATION. We need to believe and start embracing ourselves. Remember the saying which says ” charity begins at home”. As we lay our bed, so shall we lie on it. Only NIGERIANS can develop NIGERIAN.
Another area I will like to draw our attention to is that the Federal government has being the only tier of government that is fighting unemployment. What are the states and local government doing? It shouldn’t be left for the federal government alone to tackle. The state and local government should generate jobs outside government parastatals.
They can as well invest in visible massive Agriculture, as well as empowering skilled graduates by funding research, and not just by giving out motorcycles and tricycles to graduates as we see every now and then. It is time to team up. Remember, the value of a broom is when tied together, it becomes useless when scattered and disorganized and can’t sweep anything.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation, but remember that population might is useless unless when the people decides to come together in unison to achieve stated goals. It’s time to stop casting or apportioning blames on each other be it PDP, APC, LP, APGA and the likes.
I’m using this medium to call out on every Nigerian youths out there, be it graduates or non graduates, skilled or unskilled, male and female, employed, underemployed and unemployed. It is time for us to contribute towards a sustainable national development by asking question if need be as well as participating in decision making.
We keep shouting PDP day in day, but nothing made PDP up than their volume. They faced the challenges and they conquered.
Let’s step out of the grey twilight into the bright sunlight before the fire rivers overflow, leaving us with nowhere to go and only wishing we had put out the fire earlier started in the nation. Let us join forces in proving to the rest of the world that indeed Nigeria has the highest growing economy not just by the GDP but by sighting an ordinary man on the streets.
TOGETHER, WE CAN.