For close to the three decades that I have lived on this planet earth, I have read so many things about my beloved country (Nigeria), I have equally studied about other neighboring African countries. However, if I am asked the question which country in Africa is progressing? I will not hesitate to say Nigeria is far from progress. There has been a progressive decline in all spheres of life; steady deceleration down the hill since God knows when.
In the 1960s, Nigeria used to be the world’s largest producer of groundnuts (averaging 712,600 tonnes a year); the second largest producer of cocoa (203,600 tonnes) after Ghana; the fourth largest producer of tin (13,264 tonnes) and the largest producer of columbite. Oil palm grew wild in plantations in the south, supplied half the world’s export of palm kernel (407,200 tonnes) and 70% of the world’s export of palm oil (152,700 tonnes).
Nigeria’s forest was some 310,800sqkm and produced timber for export as logs, sawn timber and plywood sheet were effortlessly produced and exported.
Rubber was grown by peasant farmers and increasingly in plantations and was particularly processed in the local factories. The ancient livestock industries of the north used to provide the neighboring countries with about 3,000,000 animals, mostly cattle, slaughtered annually. As a by-product of the livestock industries, there was an old valuable trade in hide and skin. As a matter of fact there was a particular type of skin that was incorrectly called ‘Moroccan leather’, which comes from Nigeria.
Hmmm, I don’t need to spend much time on the present because it will be a waste of precious time but for the sake of emphasis, let me point out a few points. Despite the fact that oil palm originated from West Africa (possibly Nigeria), Malaysia is today the largest producer of oil palm. Unconfirmed historical account has it that Malaysia picked their first palm kernel seed from Nigeria. As of today, Malaysia and Indonesia jointly produce about 80% of the world’s oil palm.
In 2009, Ivory Coast led the chart of the world’s producers of cocoa, supplying about 30% of the cocoa produced in the world. Cocoa is now the economic engine of Ivory Coast with a share of 40% of the world production.
As at 2010, China was known to be the leading world producer of cotton, wheat, gold, rice, tobacco, aluminium, steel and cement. India has taken over the market of groundnut as they have been the largest producer for years now. India is also taking the lead in cattle and milk production.
I have tried to console myself that we at least have crude oil, but when last I checked the rating, Nigeria was 15th on the list of crude oil producers in the world. I hope I won’t be wrong if I run a conclusion that Nigeria past leaders till date all of them put together are nothing but wasters, looters and planless leaders.
It has got no better with the present crop which leads or rules us, as the case may be. Under their watch, the debt profile of the country has again risen to a whooping 1.2 TRILLION NAIRA in just ONE YEAR!!!.
It has therefore become pertinent to re-evaluate and ask ourselves what the fate of generations yet unborn is. While I grew up, things rapidly went from bad to worse and we presently are on the way to experiencing the worst. How can we get out of this quagmire? I have asked and found very little answers.
The easiest way to get out of this mess and re-trace our step back to the path of greatness is to ensure that people with the power of love and not love for power are voted into elective positions in the three tiers of government.
Thinkers and not dullards. Clueless leaders that cannot differentiate their right hand from the left should be flushed out of our government and replaced with intelligent and selfless leaders, those that can stand head to head and shoulder to shoulder against corruption and corrupt practices. A set of breed without greed.
Agunbiade Olusegun Caleb
I have not reached my destination but truth is I am not where I used to be and I am proud to be a student of the department of continuous learning, faculty of never ending improvement, great citadel of success
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