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NIGERIA : STATE OF THE NATION – JUNE, 2017

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What a Wonderful Nigeria – at One Minute to Midnight

By

Babatunde Faniyan

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Nigeria – over 350, 000 square miles of very rich land space. On the surface, the top soil is rich and conducive for an amazing variety of agricultural products to grow and flourish. Above, the weather is near perfect all year round.

I see large cultivated Agricultural plantations – hundreds of acres of them situated across the country. Similar to the great plantations of Western European countries; the phenomenal Maize Belts, Wheat Belts, Cotton Belts of Mid-west USA; the great agricultural fields with which China feeds her monstrous population…With Nigeria’s expansive land space, conducive climate and adequate manpower, she qualifies to be a major world exporter of Cassava, yam, Rice, Cocoa, rubber, Kola nuts, Cotton, groundnuts… and that list remains very conservative

Under the soil, God has also stored an amazing array of mineral resources in abundant quantities.

There are 65 sites in Nigeria where gold has been located. By mid-1999, field appraisals had recommended nine as being ready for exploitation; independent estimates place iron ore reserves at 800 million tonnes, averaging 37 % metal content; Nigeria used to be one of the largest producers of tin in the world, with production based around the highland district of Jos; Nigeria ranks as the sixth largest producer of premium quality Petroleum in the world and by far the largest in Africa; Proven and probable reserves of Natural gas stood at 3.5 trillion cu metres (124 trillion cu feet) at end-1998making Nigeria’s deposit one of the largest in the world; Nigeria is estimated to have the second largest deposit of Bitumen in the world (second only to Canada); deposits of uranium, lead, zinc, tungsten and gold are not yet exploited; Nigeria could be the largest producer of palm produce in the world (That honour today belongs to Malaysia which picked her first palm oil seeds from Nigeria in the 1960s!)

And there are choice Tourist attraction Centres that could earn tremendous income too.

I see an assemblage of people of a variety of exciting exotic cultures, tribes, languages and dialects -believed to be in the region of 300 different ethnic/tribes.

Dynamic people, inherently industrious, hardworking, vibrant – and happy with it. Nigerians are among the best brains all over the world. The most educated group of peoples in the USA has officially been declared to be Nigerians. Nigerian doctors feature in world-class hospitals in the USA, Dubai and all over the world. Back home, Nigerians are not lazy either.

From the 1960’s they struck prosperity from the cultivation and propagation of cocoa, palm produce, groundnuts, rubber, cotton etc.

They had built the Cocoa House, the tallest edifice in West Africa. They had built ground nut pyramids that threatened to touch the sky. They had built the first Television station in Africa. They built the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University where even expatriates came to imbibe quality education comparable to any in the world.

And now, I see a once robust, proud flourishing Household begin to degenerate. The peoples have not changed. They remain hardworking and determined to succeed as ever. But somehow, and tragically, the leaders they choose get to the exalted seats – and they change! They sinisterly arrogate total power to themselves through a cock-eyed “constitution”, subjugating the circa 170 Million citizens, rendering them powerless, prostrate, voiceless and helpless.

I see a Household now being rocked by agitations, rebellious activities and “Let My people go” cries, as the very foundations of the House become shaky. Most facilities in the House are archaic and non functional. The roofs are leaking; windows, doors unhinged; 90% of the time they are in darkness; they are hungry, insecure and being pushed to the wall. Yet the rulers still refuse to agree to heed their cry for the “Repairs” to be carried out on the crumbling House.

For how long can a father continue to threaten his grown up children who are hungry, sickly, unsecured and neglected NOT to complain? For how long can you use dictatorial state powers to “beat” a child and bully him NOT to cry? The people gathered together in 2014 and came up with a document containing cogent conditions under which they would all be able to live together in peace to engender sustainable development. But the rulers dumped the document in the Waste Basket! The agitations are reaching a crescendo with Death and War threats strident in the air. And it is universally acknowledged that no nation can survive TWO civil wars. Yet the rulers continue with the sing-song: “the Unity of the country is not negotiable” etc.

I see apprehension in the minds of discerning Nigerians. The threat of the “Northern youths” for Igbos to quit the North by October 1st should not be taken lightly or treated with sweet, stale, sing-songs.

The rulers’ sing-song may sound good in the ears of the governors and the minority Nigerian elites, most of whom benefit from the status quo. But, mark my words: for each governor, for each elite, educated moderate Northerner, there are thousands of wild, jobless Northern youths out there – waiting for the word from their leaders/sponsors to burst out and unleash mayhem – as it was in 1966. When, God forbid, this mayhem begins, the governors and elite Nigerians would be nowhere to be found. The government must take the concrete action of either implementing the dictates of the 2014 National Conference or take the more superfluous and expensive path of organizing another conference to negotiate Co-existence with all the Nationalities.

If this is not done, I see Nigeria to-day with the National Clock reading One minute to Midnight. 

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