Saturday, August 12, 2017 11:19 am
By Akinyemi Onigbinde
Let me begin, as should be expected by the code of conduct amongst people of Yoruba extraction, a Nigeria ethnic-nationality group and say, e ku ile o, se daadaa ni mo ba yin. This salutation is for everybody here present, that has come in felicitation with our common host at this auspicious gathering.
Yet, I cannot proceed with my short commentary without due and specific commendation of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) who had considered me worthy of being accorded a space, as Guest Speaker, on the occasion of its first Annual Conference ‘which, also, coincides with the occasion for the election of a new executive to speak on critical national issues, ‘especially as they relate to online publishing and the social media.’
When my dear friend and brother, a compatriot and ready ally in my own convened interventionist group engagements on critical national issues, our own Gabriel Akinadewo, called on me about two weeks ago to offer me a privileged platform to be here, today, I was inclined to decline, albeit it for a clear and present reason. The reason being that I was already scheduled to depart the shores of the country, and was too immersed in the preparations for the very business of my engagement, as an academic, for which purpose I was due out of the country. Thus, the invitation to deliver an address to a forum for seasoned journalist-writers.was, for me, a challenge I considered too tasking, and definitely too risky to accept, ‘just like that’
However, on reflection, I saw in the invitation by GOCOP, through Gabriel, an opportunity to pluck a low-hanging apple, of a platform, from where I am able to discharge a truck load of gratitude to publishers of some of our nation’s on-line publications, who have been willing collaborators in my own-led New Independence Group (NIG) interrogations of the Nigeria nation space. And in this seemingly ‘subversive’ activities, Gabriel Akinadeyo’s freedom online publication has been most guilty of ‘treason’ for its unconditional obligation, always.
WHAT ECONOMY,DIVERSIFICATION OF WHAT AND FOM WHERE
I have elected to speak on my own adopted subject, titled:”Diversification of the Nigeria Economy, Restructuring As First Principle” in clear and apparent subversion of GOCOP ‘Command’ topic of ‘Sustaining Growth Through Diversification of the Economy. But I assure you, I am not just a rebel against the ‘constituted authority’ of this plank of the Fourth Estate of the realm, represented by the Guild of Editors. The point is, a proper deconstruction of my chosen title would reveal a mere varied version of GOPOC theme because, at the end of the day, it will be seen that your Guest Speaker has only insisted on the need for the resolution of the ‘first principle’ to enable the business of ‘diversification’ to proceed on an unclustered pathway to growth and development. And I can only hope that your group, made up of journalists, placed in a vantage position to constantly engage our nation’s unfolding history, will help to correctly articulate and ventilate this ‘first principle’ in our quest for nation-building. This, however, is on the assumption that GOCOP has not permitted itself to be sucked into ‘false consciousness’, to the extent of being unwittingly dragged into a revisionist theory on diversification of a so-called economy, outside of a holistic theory of political-economy that ensures growth and development. The point is ‘nothing can be built on nothing’, just as it is idle speech making to talk of bountiful harvest in the absence of crop-planting.
Let us put it like this: the issue of diversification is a recognition of a fact and a presumption that a mono-culture economic practice is bad, as it is susceptible to vicissitudes of market forces, to the extent that, if a product is no longer viable, or no more valuable to consolidated consumers, the single-product economy suffers. Thus, there is always the need for a society to ensure that it trades in many goods and services, believing that such a tactical approach is a guarantee that a society’s strategic objective is never at peril. I suspect that this elementary economic theory is in line with people’s native intelligence to wit, ‘do not put all of your eggs in one basket’
.Let me say this, and it is with all sense of responsibility, the proponents of this ‘diversification’ theory, with respect to the chronically ill Nigeria economy, are not being honest. Indeed, I dare say they are being mischievous, just as they insist on playing Nero as our Rome prepares to go up in flames. Truth is, for Nigeria, it may well be one-minute to midnight, if we continue to ignore the ‘first principle’ in nation-building.
Nigeria’s economy is in recession. Many reasons have been advanced for the perilous state of the nation. We have heard of ‘corruption’ as the cause, except that my ordinary level economics class taught me that recession is a factor of drop in productivity. professional economists call it Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is to say that an economy needs not go into recession simply because stealing is abroad, otherwise, all capitalist countries will be on permanent recession mode because ‘corruption’ is built into capitalist mode of production, or, as post-modernism will call it, ‘market-force driven economy’. So, what is responsible for Nigeria’s arrested development, to put it in a counter thesis to GOCOP’s request: Nigeria’s economy cannot enjoy a sustainable growth and neither can it be diversified because there is even no basis for economic growth.
As I had earlier suggested, what economy are we to diversify? And, as I had also insisted on, there can be no economy to be diversified, hence there will be no growth as to speak of ‘sustainable growth.’ If we recall, the idea of diversification of the economy, as a major policy option of the present administration, was first hinted at by the Acting President. To be clear, Professor Yemi Osinbajo’s thunder, like Zeus from Mount Olympus, was no more than political-gallery acting, as his widely reported statement was a deliberate subversion of strident calls, by different sections of the polity, for a review of terms of co-existence by Nigerians. Such agitations by different sections of the polity, including all critical stakeholders in Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt geopolitical zones, calling for the rebuilding of the Nigerian state, is contained in the code-name of ‘restructuring.’
Restructuring is a loaded issue, and we would not be delayed with its explification on this platform. But let us say that the Nigerian project will continue to subsist in a state of suspended animation, economically, so long as some sections of the nation space feel short-changed by the political economy, due, largely, to the operations of the present structure of the Nigerian state. I think it is too obvious to serious-minded minds, outside of the Nigerian prebendal politics, as to bother pontificating on the possible benefits that Nigeria waits to harvest if the over-extended central government will tinker with the ‘Exclusive’ list on the military imposed constitution of 1999, and devolve some of the functions to the federating units, where the dormant benefits of their intents can gain traction, and be beneficial to people for whom they were meant to serve. It is only in Nigeria, purporting to run a federal system of Administration that a serious business of policing is centralized, with a Zamfara-born and nurtured police officer expected to secure the safety of lives and property of residents of Iberekodo, Abeokuta in Ogun State. Yet, both the government and the governed live in mutual deceit when a Gbogan-Osun state indigene who has never gone beyond Idoani, Ondo State, as a youth corps member, is marched to Bauchi state as a police man, and both are expected to take instructions from their respective Commissioners of Police, who may be indigenes of Awka, in Anambra State or Calabar in Cross River. And the two Commissioners of Police receive their orders from the Inspector General, based in the Federal Capital of Abuja, several kilometers away from their different theatres of operations, and not from the sitting governors, so-called chief security officers of the states the aforementioned commissioners are meant to secure.And I do hope we have not induced ourselves to forget that all our policing personnels, ‘exhumed’ from their natural environments and accustomed domains, and hauled across culturally-alien boundaries,in language and religion, are thus expected to secure the confidence of the various peoples they are meant to secure.No, confidence, a psychological impetus to trust, is based on many natural and cultivated factors,and engendered by relationships built over time.In multi-ethnic society, like Nigeria,being pulled apart by centripetal and centripetal forces,’tribe and tongue’ play keep role in confidence-building.Yet,an Abdulahi Mohammed,as Divisional Police Officer, who do not attend the same church with the people of a community in Bayelsa state has lost out in the race between crime prevention and detention,as the criminals hold all the aces
Why is difficult for policy makers to appreciate the fact that policing, as subset of security matter, is a local affair?Truth is, so long as the centre holds a ‘veto power’ over the economic activities of Nigeria’s so-called federating units, Nigeria’s manifest destiny will remain dormant.
We speak, rather glibly and gleefully of ‘diversification’ of the economy. For clarity of understanding, ‘diversification’ may mean that federating states, and their subsuming local government areas should seek other areas of income (IGR), instead of depending on monthly allocations from federation account , which income has dwindled considerably in the last two years, due partly because less of our mono-cultural product is being demanded on the international market because alternatives to our (only) export is being daily patronized. Yet, even our quota cannot be met, on a regular basis, because those on whose geographical space the exportable crude oil reside makes smooth operation of the explorers difficult because they are not happy with the rest of the country on account of not being given their due ‘as the goose that lays the golden egg.
Again, let us agree that, even if there is peace in the Niger Delta, and we can meet our quota for export, we must also agree that oil is a vanishing and non-renewable product, hence the need for ‘diversification.’ Regrettably, ‘diversification’ can hardly proceed as a policy-option without the requisite infrastructure procurement. And infrastructure procurement is hinged on the constitutional resolution of the ‘First Principle’.
Today, as we speak here, in this august gathering of the nation’s information purveyors, I know of no geo-political zone of six zonal structure, into which Nigeria’s pseudo-federalism is subdivided, that is not endowed with extractive mineral resources, literally begging for exploration, and made marketable for the much-needed foreign exchange earnings to boost Internally Generated Revenue, one way by which states of the Federation can be freed from feeding bottle of the Nigerian government over extended state. Here, we are not even talking of agriculture, a productive sector of which no state is impoverished. Let us look at the mineral resources endowments:
ABUJA: Marbel, clay, Tentalite, Cassiterite, Gold (Partially investigated), Lead/Zink (Traces), Dolomite
ABA:Gold, Salt, Limestone, Lead/Zink, Crude Oil
ADAMAWA: Kaolin, Bentonite, Gypsium, Magnesite
AKWA IBOM:Lead/Zink, Clay, Uranium (Traced), Salt, Lignite (Traced)
ANAMBRA: Lead/Zink, Clay, Limestone, Iron Ore, Lignite (Partially investigated), Salt, glass, Sand, Phosphate, Gypsium, Crude Oil
BAYELSA: Clay, Limestone, Gypsium (Partially investigated), Uranium (Partially investigated), Manganese, Lignite, Lead/Zink (Traces)
BAUCHI: Amethst (violet), Gypisum, Lead/Zink (Traces), Cranium (Partially investigated)
BENUE: Lead/Zink, Limestone, Iron-Ore, Coal, Clay, Marble, Sekt, Berytes (traces), Gem stones, Gypsium
BORNO: Diatomite, Clay, Limestone, Hydro-carbon, oil and gas (partially investigated), Gypsium, Kaoline, Bentonite
CROSS RIVER: Limestone, Uranium Manganese, Lignite, Lead/Zink, Salt, Crude Oil
DELTA: Marble, Glass sand, Gypsium, Lignite, Iron-Ore, Kaoline
EBONYI: Lead, gold shocked, salt
EDO: Marble, Lignite, Clay, Limestone, Iron-Ore, Gypsium, Glass Sand, Gold, Dolomite-phosphate, Bitumen, Crude oil
EKITI: Kaoline, Feldsper, Tatium, Granite, Synite
ENUGU:Coal, Limestone, Lead/Zink
GOMBE: Gemstone, Gypsium
IMO: Lead/Zink, Limestone, Lignite, Phosphate, Gypsium, Salt, Crude Oil
KADUNA: Sapphire, Kaoline, Gold, Clay Supenitinite, Asbestos, Amethyst, Kayginte, Graphite (partially investigated), Silhnite, Mica (Traces), Aqua Marine, Ruby, Rock Crystal, Topaz, Flosper, Tourmaline, Gemstone, Tantalime
KANO: Prrochinre, Lassiterite, Copper, Glass sand, Gemstone, Lead/Zink, Tatalite
KATSINA: Kaoline, Marbel, Salt
KOGI: Iron-Ore, Kaoline, Gypsium, Fieldsper, Coal, Marble, Iron-Ore, Cassiterite, Colubite, tantalite, Fieldspar (Traces) Mica (Traces)
LAGOS: Glass sand, Clay, Bitumen, crude Oil
NASSARAWA: Bery (emerald), Asquamite and Haliodor), Dolomite/Marbel, Sappire, Tourmaline, Quartz-Amethyst (Topaz gamet), Zireon, tantalite, cassterite, columbite, Limenite, Galena, Iron-Ore, Barytes, Falspar, Limestone, Mica, Cooking Coal, Talco Clay, Salt, Chalcopyrite
NiIGER: gold, Talc, Lead/Zink
OGUN: Phosphate, Clay, Fieldspar (traces), Kaoline, Limestone, Gemstone, Bitumen Crude Oil
ONDO: Bitumen, Kaoline, Gemstone, Fieldspar, Granite, Clay, Glass sand, Coal, Crude Oil
OSUN: Gold, Talc, Tourmaline, Columbite, Granite, Marble, Clay
OYO: Kaoline, Marble, Clay, Sillimote, Talc, Tale, Gold, Cassiterite, Dolomite, Gemstone
PLATEU: Emrald, Tin, Marble, Granite, Tantalite/Columbite, Lead/zink, Barytes, Iron-Ore, Kaoline, Beronite, Cassitenite, Plurochlore, Clay, Coal, wolifam, Salt, Bismuth, Fluoride, Molybdonite, Fluoride, Molybelemine, Gemstone, Dioxide.
RIVER: Glass sand, Clay, Marble, Lignite (Traces), Crude Oil
SOKOTO: Kaolin, Gold, Limestone, Phosphate Gysium, Silicon-sand, Clay, Laterite, Potash, Flakes, Gold, Salt
TARABA: Kaoline, Soda Ash (Partially investigated)
ZAMFARA:Coal, Cotton, Gold