Daddy’s money has dried up
If we are in trouble, it is trouble that we brought on ourselves. We are a people who have lived like there is no tomorrow. We are like the spoilt children of a wealthy man. We have never done an honest day’s job. Yet we have lived like princes and princesses. Daddy’s money was always there. And then one day we woke up to find out that nothing free lasts forever. Daddy’s money has dried up. No more free food, lavish parties and expensive whisky. It is the morning of stark harsh reality. We are broke. And it is all our fault. Worse still, we are all thumbs, knowing not what to do and simply refusing to do what we should do to get out of this mess. We are all wringing our hands and moaning. Maybe if we complain, moan, groan loud and long enough our troubles will go away. Did you just shake your head? Well, that’s where we are, in trouble.
However, that is not all my idea. I have received quite a pile of rejoinders since last week’s piece, ‘We are in trouble, aren’t we?’ Here are some, starting with Dr Deji Ekundayo’s verdict.
We have all sinned
I wish to respond to your write up. To a very large extent you raised two fundamental issues; food security and how our economy is affecting health care delivery system. Of great concern is the issue of loss of jobs too. Why are we hungry as a nation and as a people? Why are we still importing rice? I was raised in Ekiti state. My parents were primary school teachers. They earned poor salaries but an average teacher in Ekiti then was a good farmer. We planted all manners of food items, from corn (maize) alone, we generated 8 different types of food recipe. Maize can be pounded like pounded yam. It is called Iyan Gidi in my Usi Ekiti local dealer.
As from July in Ekiti back then, we entered a period of pounded yam everywhere. We had 5 different types of yam: white yam, yellow yam(ogangan), water yam, Esuru and coco yam(ikoko). A combination of yellow yam and cocoyam to make pounded yam is a fantastic combination. I have not mentioned cassava and other cash crops. We even had Igbemo rice. Do my people in Ekiti still go to the farm? Are they also not complaining about economic recession? God has been good to us.
Secondly, we have all sinned. What are we producing as a nation to match the way we spend money in this country? Banks that are sacking workers keep posting billions as profit. What do they do to earn these billions? What sector of the economy are they supporting? Oil and gas? We must act individually and collectively to bring our nation out of the woods. No government can do it alone. A man recently commissioned a tomato paste manufacturing company in Nigeria sourcing its materials locally. Can you imagine the multiplying effect? A man called Dr Yombo Awojobi established a hospital in Eruwa. He was manufacturing his drips himself, fabricating his medical equipment himself, making life more abundant for his patients. Who remembers him? He died unsung, uncelebrated. His younger brother, Professor Awojobi of UNILAG, what happened to the car he fabricated? Why are we still importing cars today in Nigeria? We have all sinned.
We need to do an audit of our past and make atonement. No nation in the world can compete with Nigerians in the way we spend and handle money. We even spray hard currencies at parties. Where in the whole wide world does that happen? We dance on top of dollars, can you beat that?
We can do a lot if we put on our thinking caps. The Facebook man was here recently. How old is he? He created a phenomenon.
What does our computer scientist in Nigeria need to create a brand or a local concept? Government support, bank loan.
Our young people now while away time on Facebook, twitter, whasapp etc. No value added. Chief Obafemi Awolowo said the problem of our youth is that they sleep too much. That was then. They no longer sleep. They spend their time chatting, useless and purposeless discussions. We have all sinned.
The people we call fashion designers today used to be called tailors. They started this revolution in the early 80s making use of our local fabrics to make fine designs. So many people are making a lot from this industry today. Nigeria is waiting for thinkers. We cannot continue to agonize over nothing forever. We must BOLDLY take our destiny in our hands.
God bless our Hausa farmers. If not for God and if not for them, hunger would have dealt with us. We need to study their way of life. An average Hausa man does not joke with farming. Even the rich, they also live a modest life except the ones corrupted by the southerners.
So so much to say my Sister.
In the last 15 years the only sector that has provided employment and still providing employment is the transport sector in form of Okada, tricycle etc. No government can ban Okada. The crisis that will follow it will be so huge. We missed it a long time ago.
Lest I forget, do you know that 80% of our drugs are from India? Yes India. My biology teacher at Doherty Memorial Grammar School, Ijero Ekiti was an Indian in 1985. Today India is head and shoulders above us in all areas. They became independent in 1948. What they did was pure economic domestication. Have you read this book-From Third World to First-Singapore Experience? Have you read the story of GTBank? The bank came in 1990 same with Diamond bank and Zenith, what was the nature of our economy then? Read about the story of Tuyil Pharmacy in Ilorin. The owner is not a PhD holder yet he is today a major player in our pharmaceutical industry. We can do a lot. Intellectual laziness is worse than pestilence.
During the civil war, the Igbos made a lot of ingenious innovations. They made salt from sand. What about the wonders of the Biafra’s Air Force? Where are we today? They now do importation, huge importation. An individual will order a bowl of point-and-kill fish, consume a whole length of catfish with about four bottles of beer. Can that person think straight after downing so much alcohol, except of course to think about women.
It is we, Nigerians that will do the work. If I decide to export Cassava today I will earn dollars and Buhari will not stop me. If we can develop our rice to meet international standard, we will export and earn dollars. If I export yam I will earn dollars. No magic will improve the value of the naira if trade balance is against us. It is simple secondary school economics. Awolowo was a success because the Yoruba farmers provided the funds. Some states cannot pay salaries again. We have reached the elastic limit. Our major earnings come from oil and ports. Can any nation prosper under that arrangement? Let us go and read Awolowo’s books.
-Dr Deji Ekundayo, +234 902 898 3793
Your piece about the economic situation in Nigeria was powerful and compelling. Well done. Sad thing is that we saw all this coming and we warned Nigerians that this ‘Chanji’ was fake. They didn’t listen and instead they just abused us. Now they are feeling it. Sadly, it will get far worse before it gets any better. May God intervene and just end this nightmare.
Yes, we are in trouble
Yes, we are really in trouble and yes we will get out of it. The main dilemma is when we are getting out of it. This year, next year or the next twenty years. We should shun the government and try to make life easier for ourselves by working together. Boycott any overly expensive good and buy only made in Nigeria goods at reasonable prices. This would encourage young companies and bring down the price to a reasonable point. If not, prices will keep rising and the economy will slip into a depression.
-Mrs Chika Maduka