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February 15

February 15 LETTERS PAGE 59 The end of oil and Nigeria’s future The latest downward lurch in the price of crude oil is generating great…

February 15

LETTERS PAGE 59

The end of oil and Nigeria’s future

The latest downward lurch in the price of crude oil is generating great anxieties among countries that Thomas J. Friedman of New York Times dubbed

“petrolist States.” Its lessons are clear: Nothing is permanent in this world; in boom days prepare for doom days.

The Saudi’s oil minister as quoted above was explicit on his country’s disinclination in shouldering the burdens of stabilizing the oil price. The implication of this is that oil will still fall below thirty dollars as it is today.

Countries like Nigeria where oil contributes up to the ninety percent of the revenue (and about 95% of foreign exchange) is at the threshold of doom. Why Nigeria’s case is worse is that her leaders never prepared for the doom.

The anxieties following this sharp fall in oil price call to question what our leaders had planned. But from all indication nothing was planned save the sermon of diversification that we hear year-in-year-out.

So how will Nigeria fare? How can we surmount this situation? Nigeria has no power to change the oil price but it leaders through good policies can reroute the country from oil. So which route will the country take now?

Surprisingly, this gloomy backdrop seldom shakes the administration of president Buhari that was voted for change. Instead, they placed undue emphasis on Nnanna Kanu and Dasukigate.

Fighting corruption is good for our nascent democracy but the country as a matter of emergency needs economic adjustment and redirections.

What everyone is shouting is: Diversification! The word “diversification” has been the most promiscuous word in Nigerian politics – its gospel is usually pontificated by every administration but just like the biblical Pharisees, Nigerian leaders preached what they don’t practice.

Just a walk down the memory lane will tell you how Nigeria fared in 60’s.

Who’s still talking about Cocoa today? Oil palm or groundnut? They have all gone day we first had oil money in our coffers.

I was told by my teacher that Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello appointed Balewa to be the prime minister in his stead not because he didn’t like power and its accompanying appurtenances but because regions are more powerful and attractive at that time.

The powers of regions came from their economy: Northern region had groundnut, Eastern region took pride in palm oil whereas cocoa is the economic forte of the Western region.

Oil destroyed these regional economies and transformed Nigeria into a mono economy, and thus made Nigeria a renter state. At every month end, our politicians gather in Abuja to share the oil rent.

The discovery of oil instead of helping this country killed it. Countries like United Arab Emirates were transformed to tourists’ sites through oil money. Can you say the same about Nigeria?

Nigerian politicians armed with a parasitic straw stuck the country’s commonwealth dry. Money that would have been use for national development was shared by selfish politicians we call leaders.

Today, oil is on verge of becoming uneconomic and from all indication

Nigerian leaders are yet to come to grips with this fact. They’re waiting for the day oil will be sold at five dollars (a barrel) before they can do something.

That said, let’s look at Nigeria’s possible alternatives: Agriculture and solid minerals. Can they be our rock of refuge? Can they generate enough foreign exchange?

Today, Ghana and Ivory Coast produce more than half of the world’s cocoa, with 1.23 and 0.73 million tonnes respectively. Malaysia which I was told that got palm seedlings from Nigeria is today the world’s largest exporter of palm oil. Do you want to hear about groundnut? It’s now under spheres of China and India.

So what can Nigeria do in the light of these statistics? Can Buhari-led government take the Bull by the horn in putting Nigeria back to its place in the strata of agricultural products exporting countries?

For us to achieve a comeback, a pragmatic agricultural policy is needed.

Emphasis should be placed on cassava and palm oil – at least this is where we have some comparative advantage.

Whenever solid minerals are mentioned everybody’s mind goes to Ajaokuta’s steel and coals in Enugu, telling you that we know our problems but lack the will to root them. President Buhari must do something in this area.

With the macabre dance of oil in the world market going uninterrupted and

US becoming satisfied with their shale oil, Buhari led government should know that Nigeria’s economy is at a crossroad where it is either diversified or devastated!

Asikason Jonathan, a political scientist, wrote in from Enugwu-Ukwu,

Anambra State. He can be reached at [email protected]

El-Rufa’i, please do something

A lot of civil servants in Kaduna State are in pain because no salary for several months. Applicants are roaming about on daily basis searching for job. Kaduna governor, please do something about this.

Mubarak, Giwa, 07014618993

Nigerians should be patient with Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration might be slow and the much anticipated progress of change which Nigerians anxiously crave for might also take a long time to manifest but how can a farmer cultivate on a land that has been dissipated by weeds and all its nutrient sucked out. Give Baba time to fertilize Nigeria once again.

Veronica Joseph, Lapai, 08144263736

Re: CCT: Saraki won’t resign until proven guilty – Ndume

The argument proffered by the Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, is a breach of the conscience of a discerning mind. The integrity of the institution of the senate should be protected and not an individual’s personality because to do so will tantamount to compromising the ethics that are supposed to be protected in any given situation. It is on record that the plenary sessions used to be stopped once the senate president is to attend to hearing at the Tribunal and thus effecting unnecessary stop gaps in running government affairs particularly law making activities which always amounts to man hour loses that could have been avoided in the first instance.

Abdulkadir Mamman, 08035890245

Re: NBA condemns critics of judiciary

It is a laughable comment. In a football game the positions of five and six rarely disagree with one another.

Y.I. Sa’eed, Zaria, 08034307274

Wake up FERMA

Please let me remind FERMA on the need to rehabilitate Maje-Suleja township road as it is becoming unmotorable. The foot hole is causing accidents everyday.

Alh S. Yahya, 08034096715

Still on electricity tariff

I strongly call on power minister to shed more light on the role of Dìscos. Since there taking over, I am yet to see any meaningful development brought by the discos except prompt estimated billing which becomes frequent. Please provide transformers where needed, call regular meetings with consumers on light use.

Umar S. Kankiya, 08037023125

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