What Happened To Nigeria?

What Happened To Nigeria?

By Prince Charles Dickson

"Going down memory lane, I began my civil service career on July 26, 1977 after the completion of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme in Makurdi, Benue State. The day after, I resumed work at the Bauchi State Ministry of Finance where a letter had been waiting for me for six months. Immediately I reported for duty, an official car was attached to me as well as an official residence. Three months after, I had my own personal car. The question we must ask is: what has happened to the country?"

The above quotation is from former SGF, Alhaji Ahmed Yayale, he made this 'confession' at a send forth organised for him...I decided to titled this essay, what happened to Nigeria, but the honest truth is that I cannot claim to have answers, but some of the things I know happened is what we will briefly discuss.

Since 1977, it has got progressively worse, now you have to even bribe to get a service station, and then you could even get killed and a governor will justify it as Allah's wish. In the years gone by, the question, what happened to Nigeria, is even more instructive, when we look at where we are today.

We have become a nation that exists just for reasons of foreign direct and indirect investment. We have become a nation that imports toothpick. We have a government which has the FDI program as a key agenda. But the truth is that with our recent rating as the 101st best county to do business in the world. This being a significant drop from the 87th position it occupied last year 2010. One wonders really not only what happened to Nigeria, but what is happening to Nigeria?

During his recent visit to Kigali of all places I shuddered when my president had this to say, on FDI, "Asked if Nigeria was safe for foreign investors, Jonathan replied in the affirmative, referring to the recent visit to the country by Bill Gates, one of the richest persons in the world". What line of thought, what manner of response, what happened to us?

I asked what happened to Nigeria as my president announced that Nigeria and Rwanda were working on sharing experiences in public health, space technology and entering into a Bilateral Air Services Agreement to ease procurement of visas by potential investors.

I am not an economic expert but I know that all is not well with the white man's economy as they prepare for their economic winter. However I am beginning to lose count of the number of Ministers, and government officials junketing Europe and the US for FDI, last week three Ministers, Prof. Barth Nnaji (Power), Dr. Olusegun Aganga (Trade and Investment) and Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina (Agriculture and Rural Development) were in US 'to intensify' Federal Government's foreign investment drive.

The three ministers spoke at the 2011 US-Africa Business Summit which had about 1,500 participants drawn from private and public sectors of virtually every country in Africa and throughout US. They did not tell the participants about the Nigeria of yester-years, rather they formed part of an Africa that today is begging for everything, really what happened to Nigeria?

Nigerian Ambassador to US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, had been quoted in local media "The fact that President Goodluck Jonathan released three ministers to travel to US at the same time is a clear testimony of the kind of seriousness this administration attaches to foreign investment drive." How did we get to this point, where ministers have become so jobless?

Just back from US, Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha was preaching his commitment to attract investment and create job opportunities for Imo people. Speaking from the United States of America (U.S.A) where he participated in a conference on the development of business in Nigeria as organized by Woodrow Wilson Int'l Centre for Scholars Washington DC., Governor Okorocha asked international investors to take advantage of the enormous natural and human resources in Imo State to set up companies that will provide jobs and further boost the economic transformation of the State.

He pledged the commitment of his administration to put in place policies that will encourage economic growth which will include tax-break, provision of land and guarantee on security. How did this endowed nation get to this point, tax-break indeed?

He said, "Imo is the China of Africa… we have high literacy level and very sound people who can do anything required of them to help any company to grow". Most we be the china of anywhere, why can't we be we, full of pride, like once upon a time. While Rochas described Imo as a potential giant, I concluded that, potential was part of the problem, potential great state in a potentially great nation, yet perennial underperforming states in an underperforming nation.

We remain where we are unable to say how we got here, living on the edge of potentials...

In the last few days, the EFCC has brought another instalment of its dance without beat drama with the arrest of three governors who while looting billions of state funds just months back were described with terms such as innovative and pragmatic in their style of governance, infact Danjuma Goje one of the accused is a serving senator. What did this nation do, to deserve this lot of leaders?

Some three years ago, on one of those self-serving trips to Malaysia, a member of the National Assembly told us of how the palm wine he drank in that country was sweeter that the one in his native Anambra, he shamelessly forgot himself the source of the palm trees that produced the wine. How did we get here?

We may argue, debate, disagree about what happened to us...how the current crop is working through its very docile arms at ensuring the creative potentials and ability of citizenry, but is there any hope that resonates as impact-on gestures other than the too many controversies.

The fact still remains that we do not possess a "how to" instrumentality that measures tangible success or performance in various spheres, too much knowledge, very little practical solutions, so we keep taking few steps forward and plenty backwards.

What happened, all the economic theorizing, only recently it was Soludo, now it is Sanusi, sovereign fund, excess crude account, all mouthables, a nation under a great burden of expectation yet losing steam each time hope rises and fatigue sets in and the circle repetitive as usual.

What happened, how did we get here, a situation where we eat rice that has served out 15 years in Silos in Asia, how do the kids on the power bloc realise that we have resources that are unlimited, untapped, and thus create a semblance of a system that mirrors a model or formula that ensures not only fair generation but distribution and allocation of resources.

While one weeps, one can still see. However accommodating one is, one should never take leave of one's good judgement. I am personally accommodating of the present crop of leaders, but I do not see where they are bringing cure from, they still can't seem to figure out what happened to Nigeria, thus making the same mistake of the past.



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Re: What Happened To Nigeria?
Eire posted on 10-13-2011, 12:25:47 PM
My brother, look inside yourself and think perhaps you are also part of the problem, being naive and ignorant to the core issues affecting the country is itself an affliction. Many civilized countries will think things like revolution, mass consensus of citizens, elected credible leaders and not allowing votes to be rigged as source of solution...you on the other hand continues to sing the same dated song...OUR "present crop of leaders"

Did you elect any crop of leaders worthy of the type of governance you expect?
Re: What Happened To Nigeria?
Obugi posted on 10-13-2011, 13:04:04 PM
eire,

Not only that, the story at the beginning is a big explanation about what happened.

What kind of job do Nigerians want? Govt jobs.

What does a govt official produce? NOTHING.

If everyone is competing for govt or govt linked or regulated jobs, there will be very little production going on.

Also the population of people who know about and therefore seek govt subsidized employment is much larger....no, not what you think, Nigeria could sustain a population of 1 billion if they were productive.

Simple explanation really.

!Get Yours!
Obugi.
Re: What Happened To Nigeria?
Enyi posted on 10-14-2011, 05:53:03 AM
QUOTE:
eire,

Not only that, the story at the beginning is a big explanation about what happened.

What kind of job do Nigerians want? Govt jobs.

What does a govt official produce? NOTHING.

If everyone is competing for govt or govt linked or regulated jobs, there will be very little production going on.

Also the population of people who know about and therefore seek govt subsidized employment is much larger....no, not what you think, Nigeria could sustain a population of 1 billion if they were productive.

Simple explanation really.

!Get Yours!
Obugi.


I think you are partially right. There are many Nigerians who actually desire to be self-employed. The problems are that the odds are heavily stacked against them. First of all to get finance is a major problem. The banks will find all sorts of reasons to refuse. If one is lucky to get a loan, the interests are exorbitant. Then one has to deal with the problem of infra-structure and security. To cut a long story short, Nigeria has a hostile climate for investors. The officials who are junketing around the world are only enjoying their estacodes. It will be interesting to kinow how many in their audience truly believe them. Until the government seriously tackle the decay in infrastructure and security the drive for investors is putting the cart before the horse. BTW, how many of these looters have invested part of their loot in creating meaningful jobs for Nigerians? By jobs, I am not refering to prostitution, marrying new wives, sponsoring thuggery,taking chieftancy titles and similar foolishness.
Re: What Happened To Nigeria?
Eire posted on 10-14-2011, 12:35:08 PM
Enyi and Obugi,

Nigerians must not expect any dividends of leadership until they actually elect persons of value. It is foolish to allow devious humans to come into office (+ stay there) and task them with holy actions.
That is my point, and Nigerians continue to make that mistake. The Egyptians and Libyans (for example) knows what they had to do is remove that which blocks their progress but Nigerians whine about it and wait to see if these criminals will convert to becoming decent humans! It does not work that way
Re: What Happened To Nigeria?
Enyi posted on 10-14-2011, 14:46:37 PM
QUOTE:
Enyi and Obugi,

Nigerians must not expect any dividends of leadership until they actually elect persons of value. It is foolish to allow devious humans to come into office (+ stay there) and task them with holy actions.
That is my point, and Nigerians continue to make that mistake. The Egyptians and Libyans (for example) knows what they had to do is remove that which blocks their progress but Nigerians whine about it and wait to see if these criminals will convert to becoming decent humans! It does not work that way


Sorry, I should have mentioned this in my earlier post- I agree with you in toto. Progress can only be made when we have leaders who are accountable to the masses. This implies that we must get the government back into our hands.
Re: What Happened To Nigeria?
Emj posted on 10-14-2011, 22:31:08 PM
QUOTE:
Nigerian Ambassador to US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, had been quoted in local media \"The fact that President Goodluck Jonathan released three ministers to travel to US at the same time is a clear testimony of the kind of seriousness this administration attaches to foreign investment drive.\" How did we get to this point, where ministers have become so jobless?



Here goes some explanation....in no particular order...
When sh1t started happening and not even the officials believed in their country and the so called investment initiative other than what's in every deal for them.
When the Groundnut Pyramids started disappearing.
When Cocoa farmers could no longer do their thing
When the various Silos started disappearing.
When areas noted as the food baskets of Nigeria became deserts.
When the eyes of some opened to real round-tripping and easy money.
When certain musical chairs were set in motion.
When the NRC was handed over to Indians and other sangbetos.
When those with slit eyes but different came and saw and knew........ahaa.
When, oh when some knew that you can take and not be queried.......
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