Friday, September 18, 2020 2:42 pm
By Timi Orokoya Telemi
Where did we get it wrong? Could it be we are harvesting the tares among the wheat the enemies planted in our fathers’ farms? Could it be we the children have completely gone wayward? Or our own prodigal son never repented or returned? Where exactly did we miss it.?
Sixty years of Nigeria my country, a land that was then flowing with milk and honey. A land where 75% of the total population was then engaged in agriculture, according to my commerce and economics textbooks, but now, she could no long boast of 10% of 200 million people participating in this very lucrative economy and life booster. Who scammed my country or who is playing games on her destiny?
My country has now become a nation that refuses to grow, a nation that distroys her people, a nation that makes life difficult for the masses, whose leaders are selfish and lack foresight. This is a nation that spends trillions of Naira on ELECTIONS but can’t feed her citizens. If half of the money spent on ELECTIONS in Nigeria is diverted into agriculture, this country will feed the whole world forever.
Nigeria at 60, six decades of corruptions, 60 years of killings, terrorism, kidnapping, confusions, trial by error, experiments and wasteful adventures. We have spent 60 years of acting and casting, featuring criminals and questionable characters in power. Robbery and all manners of crimes are now legalized by the help of the judiciary and law enforcement agents. I wrote a song 26 years ago for King Sunny Ade in the album titled The Way Forward, “Nigeria yi ti gbogbo was ni” meaning this Nigeria is for all of us, this is mere acting, I couldn’t see the reality of that statement in this country. Nigeria has now become the property of a selected few.
I once heard President Mohammed Buhari saying the Nigerian youths are lazy, I disagree with this claim Your Excellency. If the resources wasted to grab power by the politicians are spent to empower the youths, they will power the nation. If the government can set up a team to identify what every state can produce, based on their geographical locations and other favorable factors and the government mandates every state to produce any agricultural produce annually. If the government can provide basic infrastructure like electricity, water transportation and communication systems, plus a substantial loan facility, the results will be huge. You can’t send someone who has spent his or her entire life in the cities to a very rural or remote area where he or she cannot access basic infrastructures. Unless the government can do all of these, arresting Yahoo boys and other criminals becomes an error. You cannot overpower (control) someone you cannot empower. The youths are watching the way you are looting and living recklessly in power, since they don’t have access to loot the treasury, they are looting the masses and forcefully depriving them of their hard earned money.
Nigerians are not lazy but the system has rendered most people idle, an idle mind they say is the playground of the devil. Criminals are products of unemployment, bad leadership and lack of realizable structures for the people. When the government cannot employ the people and couldn’t provide basic infrastructures that could make them self employed, what do you expect? Chairman Mao Zedong, when he was the leader of the People’s Republic of China for 27 years, every student was empowered and equipped with a bike immediately he/she passed out of school to help in farming. With the population of China that is well over one billions, so many nations in the world today visit and rely on China to boost their economies. Let’s examine the country called Israel, a country of about eight million people compared to our country of almost 200 million, yet nations in the world including Nigeria travel to Israel to acquire training in agriculture. You need to see their products in terms of crops and livestocks. Something has gone wrong somewhere.
Another explosive has scattered the nation now, electricity tariffs have gone up, fuel prices have been increased, transportation made difficult and so are the prices of other essential commodities. We are in for this, I don’t know any magic, this country has no future unless we go back farm. We have had very laudable ideas and programs in the past but very poor executions. We once had Operation Feed the Nation during the General Olusegun Obasanjo military administration and Green Revolution during Alhaji Sheu Shagari’s time. What became their ends? Every eye was then on crude oil but now oil no longer booms, can’t we move on with something more realistic and genuine? Agriculture is the most authentic and sure economy booster all over the world. Anywhere grass can grow rice can grow. God has blessed the ground for us in Psalm 67: 5and 6, who Himself was and still a farmer, He appointed Adam, the first Minister of Agriculture according to Genesis 2:8 and 15. “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 15. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
I grew up in Ekiti state, one of the states in Nigeria that could have boosted our economy if adequate attention had been on agriculture. Apart from being a trader called “Osomaalo”, my father was a great farmer. As far as I knew it was only salt we bought from the market, we produced other crops including live stocks and bush meats to sell and to eat. How come those things disappeared as if God has wiped off all the animals and the ground couldn’t yield its increase again?
O Lord God of Creation, in your infinite mercy, deliver our country Nigeria, from CORRUPTION, a virus deadlier than COVID 19, Ebola and other pandemics and epidemics which doctors could not diagnose. Deliver us from all known and unknown curses.
-Timi Orokoya Telemi, a Gospel musician (he wrote and produced the album, The Way Forward, “Nigeria yi ti gbogbo was ni” for Sunny Ade), motivational speaker and a public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos