A delegate at the ongoing National Conference and the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr Barkindo Aliyu Mustapha, has said that the North can survive economically without depending on proceeds from petroleum resources.
The controversial monarch noted that but for the laziness on the part of the people of the region, the proceeds from agricultural produce would have made the region less dependent on oil.
It would be recalled that prior to Nigeria’s discovery of oil in commercial quantity, the North was solely dependent on agriculture with groundnuts and cotton from the region being a major source of income.
The economic potential of agriculture was highlighted when the traditional ruler noted that while a litre of palm oil is sold for N300, petrol of the same measurement is sold for N97.
He said if the North could harness its natural resources (agriculture), the region would have survived oil (petroleum), which had turned people of the North to parasites in the eyes of those from the oil-producing states.
Mustapha, who spoke on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, monitored in Kaduna weekend, also noted with sadness, how those from the oil producing states speak with impunity. He called on the people of the region to shake off their laziness and return to agriculture.
He explained that some notable countries of the world, such as Japan and Germany, had no oil (petrol) but they were able to harness their God-given resources to make their nations great.
He said, “Just as I have said earlier, these people who come from oil producing states are looking at us (northerners) as if we are beggars and gold diggers, who have nothing to do.
“That is why I said the non-oil producing states are not cowards. They don’t fear anybody. Everybody is contributing his quota to make Nigeria great. But these people from oil producing states think that if what they want is not given to them, they have been wronged and they would even prefer to stay out of Nigeria.
“Japan and Germany have no oil. But we have lazy people here (in the North). These advanced countries utilised what they were naturally endowed with to develop; they don’t envy each other, they don’t have such thing. Whatever you want in this world, you get it in these countries.
“A litre of palm oil is sold for N300, while one litre of petrol is sold for N97. If not because we are a lazy people and we hold on to agriculture, who knows the quantity of groundnuts and cotton that we can produce in the North?
“I am saying this so that our people could wake up from their slumber: they should stand up”.
He also stressed the need for delegates to discuss frankly on the challenges confronting the country, rather than politicising issues.
“Since they brought me here (to the confab), I will tell the truth. I will say the fact anywhere and in front of anybody. It is sad that the people of Nigeria don’t like the truth: once you are saying the truth, they brand you in English ‘controversial’. Okay, we must say the truth. They brought me here and I will talk because of my people, to protect their integrity and make sure that they get what they are supposed to get”.