By Ebele Orakpo
Indeed God has blessed Nigeria but apparently threw a spanner in the works so that even with all our wealth, we are still not to be reckoned with,” said Obi this Thursday morning as the commuter bus wove its way through the early morning traffic.
“He gave the Western world nothing but the wisdom to make something out of nothing,” continued Obi.
“There is no doubt that we are blessed in every way; so the fault is not from God but from us,” said Funmi.
“We have natural and human resources in abundance, yet we have not been able to make any headway,” noted Obi. “Even a blind man can see that. How do you explain a situation where local people are refining crude oil? Where did they acquire the technology?
Yet, our government cannot give us one functional refinery. We keep importing petroleum products, spending millions of scarce foreign exchange that could have been put into generating employment for our teeming youths and reducing crime in the process. Does it make sense?” asked Obi.
Retorted Ngozi: “Of course it makes a lot of sense to the perpetrators. You want to kill their importation business?”
“But why destroy those refineries and waste the refined products? It is a case of throwing away the baby with the bath water,” noted Nike, to which Moses retorted angrily: “Yes, because it is illegal!”
“I hear you,” said Yetunde sarcastically. “Illegal indeed! Even if it is illegal, the more sensible thing to do would have been to get those people together, train them, and tap into their skills for God’s sake! That is what a country like the US will do.”
“Sure,” agreed Obi. “I heard of a Nigerian guy in the US who was able to steal tons of dollars from someone’s account and when the owner discovered it, he went to the bank and complained.
The bank tried all they could to find out how the guy was able to beat all the security in place and withdrew so much money without detection. The perpetrator was arrested all right. But you know what the authorities did?”
“Na jail straight,” said Funmi.
“Far from it! They saw beyond the stealing and saw an intelligent man who could be a great asset and they decided to tap into his wealth of knowledge,” stated Obi.
“Otio! Knowledge of how to break into people’s accounts and steal without detection?” asked Funmi.
“Yeah, they needed to know how he was able to beat all the security checks put in place. That was the wise thing to do,” stated Obi.
“Ok, so what happened?” asked Yetunde.
Continued Obi: “You won’t believe it, but he refused to tell them anything, preferring to go to jail instead.”
“I no blame him. Na better jail. I sure say if na Nigerian prison, he for tell them the secret and save himself from going to hell on earth,” said Nike.
“Think of a situation where government encourages multitudes of these refineries to spring up, think of the effect on the availability and price of products, the effect on the economy in terms of employment generation and utilisation of local resources. The multiplier effect is huge,” said Obi.