Friday, December 28, 2018 5:14 pm
I am so depressed that I don’t know where to start. A few weeks ago my culinary love for pounded yam which has remained untamed thanks to my father Emmanuel Adesina Oyegbile, took me to Isolo in Lagos. My late father’s Sunday afternoon was incomplete with a bowl of pounded yam made by my lovely mother the late Maria Adekitan.
It is that Sunday tradition that I brought into my home when I got married to Oluwakemi Kehinde Oyegbile, no Sunday, no matter how expensive or out of season yam is, is complete without pounded yam. The so called pondo yam is not a menu in my home. I’ll rather eat amala.
However, this story is not about my food choices. A few weeks ago, I succumbed to the lure of buying a yam pounder instead of the age old mortar and pestle. The place to get this was somewhere in Isolo, Lagos. We got to the manufacturer’s factory and a depressing story was told to me. The machine was invented by a professor of engineering at the University of Ibadan. Addis Engineering decided to patent it and started manufacturing it here in full. However, due to unfriendly government policies some of the things manufactured here had to be contracted to a Chinese firm, a country that has no culture of pounded yam is now responsible for helping us to put finishing touches to what was invented here! How sad can thing get here?
According to the engineer who spoke to me, they had to pay for importing flat plates to manufacture some of the steel needed for the machine before paying their staff and payment of other charges by local government officials. So, in order to cut costs, they resorted to designing and importing already manufactured bowl that you see under this machine. Why? Government was not ready to protect the industry.
China is now profiting from Nigeria’s loss, they are keeping their citizens employed while we are closing down our own factories.
That is not all, the other picture you are looking at is called ijabe in Yoruba, it is a special broom for making ewedu, that famous vegetable for eating amala. China that has no tradition of ewedu is now exporting this ijabe to Nigeria and we are buying it. How long will this continue? All attention is now focused on 2019 elections and no one is talking or thinking about how to make the country better as long as they win elections. Is this how countries secure their future? I don’t think so.
Are we so cursed that we can’t do all these by ourselves?