[OPINION] Nigeria The Thirsty Fish

There’s a Yoruba riddle that goes thus ; “what lives in water and still stays thirsty”?. The answer is tongue. Similar to this riddle is a Yoruba proverb that says,”a fish cannot die of thirst in the river”.
Nigeria in this case is a tongue,living in a pool of water and slowly dying of thirst. As a country,Nigeria, has suffered for all the natural mineral resources given to her by God. Corruption has turned the king of Africa into a wandering refugee,traveling across Africa and the world to put food on their tables,in countries that survives on Nigeria’s natural mineral resources. Nigeria’s the highest producer of Oil in Africa,18th largest producer in the world,and has the 10th largest proven reserves in the world. Oil amounts to 80% of government earnings.
Nigeria produces 2.53million bpd (250,000bpd) of petroleum products, and imports 70% of refined petrol sold to citizens. Corruption has crippled our oil refining sector,we are now at the mercy of those we sell petroleum products to. Incessant fuel shortages plague us like a barren land, despite our high deposit of crude oil. The pump price of refined petrol keeps skyrocketing and affecting prices of food items. It’s a shock to see motorist sleeping in gas stations due to fuel shortages in a country,a country that is Americas highest supplier of petroleum products.
In addition to oil,Nigeria has the largest natural gas reserves in Africa, but have limited infrastructure in place to develop the sector. Natural gas that is related with oil production is mostly flared.
The inability to develop the natural gas sector had a downward effect on our economy. This affected the domestic usage and power generation use of natural gas,the price of a 12kg domestic cooking gas is around N3,000. Power outages are always blamed on shortage of gas supply in power generation stations. The government recently announced that they will create 40 gigawatts of capacity by 2020,achieving this goal will depend on the ability of the government to utilize current flared natural gas. It’s currently estimated that 76million Nigerians don’t have access to electricity. IEA data in 2009 indicate that electrification rate for Nigeria were 50% for the country as a whole. Constant power supply is still a mirage, and gas flaring is ongoing across the oil rigs scattered on our waters.
At a time,Nigeria,was the worlds largest exporter of groundnuts,cocoa and palm oil,significant producers of maize, sugar-cane, yams and citrus fruits. All of this products now comes in finished imported products,they’re now only found on shop racks,no more on our farms. Isn’t it amazing that we import canned corns,packed cocoa products and palm oil based products ?.We lack amidst plenty .

Limestone is another natural mineral resource we have in abundant,it is mined in various part of the the country in abundant capacity. Yearly,demand for cement is estimated around 17million metric tonnes,and the price keeps skyrocketing daily despite the large volume mined and produced in Nigeria. Cement production from Dangote cement factories and other cement factories in  Nigeria is well over 26million MT. Dangote groups combined factory produces 20million metric tones yearly,that is 17,000MT daily.

A bag of cement is sold at N1,800, making it one of the most expensive in Africa,despite been mined and produced on our own soil. Dangote cement is the largest cement production company in Africa,with market capitalization of almost $14billion on the Nigeria stock exchange market. Dangote groups most especially, and other cement production factory has made cement importation a thing of the past. But the irony of the issue is that,imported cements are cheaper than those produced locally. Same goes for other products. Another example is the locally grown Ofada and Ilesha rice,they cost thrice the price of imported rice.

This is happening despite the vast majority of land at our disposal to plant this local rice to meet our consumption demands and cut money and manpower wasted on rice importation. Products extracted from our soils are now beyond or reach,we’re only capable of consuming imported goods with no proven origin and suspicious quality standard. We are now the  dump site of western experiments.
With all these resources at our disposal, we still lack amidst plenty,all the avenues to develop various sectors that will manage these resources has been crippled by corruption. We are already importing house hold goods from Ghana,a country that once depended on our economy to survive,now turned to our biggest market. Our fish is gradually swimming ashore to seek water,it’s immediate environment has been outsourced of useful and life supporting contents . A few set of people selfishly destroyed our working mechanism just to enrich themselves . We don’t have working refineries, good power generating sector,we even seek medical treatments in 3rd world countries and run a crippling education sector. Nigeria defied all the ideology of a fish not dying of thirst,our own fish fish might die of heat deep down the sea.

Oludayo Folarin


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