LAST week, Mr. Adio submitted thus: “Our leaders can either choose to look in the mirror and take full responsibility or look out of the window and continue with the blame game. As I have argued all year long, our problem isn’t just corruption, it is mental. We are led by a group of people who can’t see beyond their nose”. Here’s his conclusion on the subject.
Permit me to unequivocally state that without rents from crude oil Nigeria will automatically cease to exist. Why? Because very little thinking has been invested in liberating our economy from the total dependence on oil. As such, what we are left with is an economy that makes glacial progress when there is an international surge in oil prices, accompanied by a complementary rise in our domestic production. However, when global oil prices come crashing, our economy tumbles along, and everything other thing is left in the hands of God.
While we outsourced our brains, we have been in a production battle with Angola to retain our title as the largest producer of oil in Africa, by 2018. UK plans to produce 1.8 million barrels of oil per day while the United States of America projects a domestic production of 10 million barrels of oil per day by December 2018. Imagine the cataclysmic impact this would have on global oil prices and consequently our economy. But then, no one appears to be thinking.
Governance is hard work, requiring deep thought and sound judgment, the capacity to imagine the future and the courage to create it. It is the absence of sound reasoning and critical thinking that has produced far more poor masses or “talakawa” today than the late Aminu Kano would have imagined. It is that poor thinking that has provided no answer to the series of, if not constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen which has claimed thousands of lives, rendered many more homeless and threatens food security.
This lazy thinking is why certain governors, ministers and senior government officials, talk about transforming their state or region into a Dubai. How comical!!! We have a National Arts Theatre barely limping on a toe, a National Museum at a sorry state, two world Heritage sites craving for attention and airports that are glorified motor parks with runways. At about the time Alhaji Lai Mohammed released the score card of his ministry (Tourism, Culture and Information) only a little over 600 million naira was realised whereas his counterpart in Uganda declared 1.5billion dollars as revenue generated from tourism. Yet, we want to be Dubai. We demolish the 160 year old Olaiya house, demolish the prison where Chief Obafemi Awolowo was held but pay to visit Robben Island in South Africa where Mandela was held. Yet, we want to be Dubai.
In any case , Dubai is not a product of a lazy idea or simplistic thinking, it is also not just about Tourism. Dubai’s central geographical location gives it a comparative advantage which it translated into a strategic competitive advantage. As such it invested heavily in world class infrastructure, state of the art airports, cargo hubs, model seaport facilities and policies that enabled it become a regional hub for international trade. Dubai can be reached by flight in three hours from Mumbai, four hours from Nairobi and eight hours from Hong Kong. Am sure now you get the point.
Behind the fancy shopping malls and cosy hotels is a sound thinking that has positioned Dubai for a life beyond oil. Two questions, what are we strategically positioning ourselves for and who is doing the thinking?