NIGERIA'S INDUSTRICIDE, AND THE ZEBRA CONFLICT
I happen to share offices in the same premises with one of the zonal offices of th Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). In the last 9 years they have not bought a newspaper or papers, nor journal, they do manage to have a few meetings and some form of activities happen there from time to time, other than that comatose describes the office and what they do. But really its not their fault, there are simply no industries, manufacturing is not taking place, so there can be no association.
Whose fault is it then? I dare say it is my fault, your fault--our collective fault that while some of the issues and problems we have pursued remains pertinent for us to grow, we have largely focused our energies on seeming minor ranting at the expense of the real matters--we have forgotten or seem to care-less that with the root of a tree dead it certainly spread to the leaves.
We are all part of the noise about deportation/repartee/repartors within a nation that prides itself as a federal state, while it is immoral and indefensible, but really is it a case of a yoruba Vs igbo war? I dare say no, it is rather a class war, a rich Vs poor, its about a government that has lost its compass and a people lost on direction.
Is it about under-age or girl-child marriage--or a citizenry that has remained silent in the face of a collapsing educational system where for 8years would be medical students remained in their 3rd year in an 'unaccreditated' program. Yet we are more concerned about Lagos as a no-man's land, or whose money developed the slum?
As I penned this admonition--the African Development Bank, AfDB, published its annual report and claimed the Federal Government’s effort to reduce poverty rate by 2015 seems weak as more Nigerians became poorer between 1996 and 2010, in the report titled African Economic Outlook, it said, “The proportion of people (Nigerians living below the national poverty line had worsened from 65.5 per cent in 1996 to 69.0 per cent in 2010.
It added that “Nigeria’s prospect of halving poverty by 2015 seems weak and poverty is higher in rural areas at 73.2 per cent than in urban area at 61.8 per cent,’’.
I am not an economist or financial analyst, I do not really know who to believe whether Madam Ngozi, Liebaran, Wogu and other government ilks, rating bodies, or banks, but I do know a thing or two about reality.
Reality is that, we are not a nation, and fact is we are not yet dividing, and more strangely we are sliding down the abyss with each of our actions and inactions.
As Paul Omoruyi puts it, "Nigerians have invested in destructive and unproductive arguments/debates about My Tribe Vs Your Tribe"...and I add my religion Vs yours.
While our industries are dead, MAN is dead, SMEDAN is dead, all those noise about small and medium scale industries remain what they are--NOISE!
Industries are dead in Kano, dead in Kaduna, there are none in Kebbi, none in Sokoto, Jigawa, Katsina, or Plateau, Benue etc.
The industries are dying in Onitsha, dying in Aba, dead in Owerri, non-existent in Yenogoa, except for activities of oil companies and allied companies, East of the Niger, no one industry employs 5000 workers.
And Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, yes, we do have a few biscuit/plastic companies run by Chinese/Lebanese but really its same difference--Industries are dying and are dead everywhere you go around Nigeria.
There are states that do not have one single manufacturing factory, yet we are fighting shadows... Strange "how the best and the brightest among us WASTE THEIR MINDS in unproductive things instead of applying it to design, build and produce new ideas.
Anybody asked how much money and unquantifiable domestic goes into raising a young man/woman for 22years through schools and home, whether half/quarter/semi or unbaked, fact is there are industries, they are dying and dead, we are killing them...and thus no jobs.
For all pseudo-intellectuals this nation has, we have and continued investing in debating ethno-religious affiliations while the elites sustain their 'parapoitic' existence, and the populace is left to bear the brunt of a self-inflicted class suicide.
While we waste our time here talking about my tribe is better than your tribe, my people are better than your people, our land belong to us and not you, Edos are from Yorubas, Yorubas are from Edos, Igbos own Ondo, Hausas are marginalized in Kabota, there are more Christians than Muslism in Kebbi, Kwara, there are more that than these, our Nigeria is on downward spiral with a myriad of issues to be addressed.
I have watched, studied and tried to understand the whole on-going reforms. With all the public spending in rail, roads, petroleum, power, agriculture, it has not geared up employment or solved the social or financial insecurity. You read XYZ bank records profit after tax of several billions in six months yet its workers are casual laborers and jobs are disappearing. Bulls on rampage says SEC, FG says it will earn several billions from cassava chips but truth is nothing is working.
We are mouthing hate and inconsequentials, very few young persons are self-employed, empowered or engaged in productive entrepreneurial ventures because of a harsh operational climate.
Everyone wants to now be in the army, police or civil defence, or civil service, its the only industry, so we engage in the other industry which is corruption--to get our kick.
Despite the best of intentions how many Nigerians does Dangote Cement or Sugar employ, other than ancillary service providers, how many people are employed in Globacom?
Let me end with the Zebra puzzle, I eavesdropped into some young men's discuss in my office, and though I did not catch the whole conversation, it was about the proverbial zebra and its stripe--the question is/was, is the zebra a white animal with black stripes or a black animal with stripes...are we a nation with problems, or one that has simply defied solutions, with over a 150million in population, and with goods and services in premium requests our industries are dying and suffering industricide--will we get a leadership that will jolt us back, from the current followership: only time will tell.
Written By Prince Charles Dickson