By John Mayaki
IT is without a doubt that Nigeria’s primary resource of revenue, oil, has dipped in the international market due to global politics and increased production of hitherto oil-buying nations. This decline, made worse by the failure of the previous administrations to save for the rainy day, has impacted negatively on the nation’s balance sheet and financial strength.
Identifying this problem, the All Progressives Congress, under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, proposed important, albeit difficult, reforms to the people on ways to achieve self-sustenance and boost the revenue generated from sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing for economic growth, protection of sovereignty and eradication of poverty.
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Nigerians, old and young, using their votes, gave the party the express approval to proceed with the Next Level agenda, and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, with full support of the party, has remained faithful to this promise, beginning with the border closures meant to restore order in the areas of import and export, and prevent smugglers and other economic saboteurs from crippling local production and growth.
During a recent visit by a delegation from the Vietnam government led by its deputy prime minister, the partly said the new policies of President Buhari were aimed at structuring trade negotiations and cutting beneficial deals for Nigerians and Nigerian businesses. Comrade Oshiomhole reechoed the party’s commitment to this plan and their focus on readying Nigeria for a potential future where reliance on oil is reduced to insulate the country from what has now become a seasonal economic shock.
“The All Progressives Congress stands firm in backing the government policy,” Comrade Oshiomhole emphasized, hinting once again at the smooth ideological blend between the ruling party and government for a cohesive and effective national approach to important issues bordering on trade, economy, security and welfare of the people.
Whilst the party and government have hitherto been seen as different entities, Oshiomhole, through credible leadership, has bridged the divide, using tact and diplomacy to ensure that elected officials on the platform of the APC remain true to the party’s promises and guiding principles.
To drive his point home on the importance of achieving a diversified economy and weaning the nation off its reliance on oil, Comrade Oshiomhole shifted focus to the future and drew the attention of journalists present to the warnings of experts, predicting more economic turbulence for oil-producing countries without a diversified economy.
“If you imagine the oil drying up tomorrow, with what will you pay for your imported rice or smuggled rice?” Oshiomhole asked. “And all those economic saboteurs, foreigners, of which there are Nigerian collaborators, who are using foreign and neighbouring ports to compromise the economy, of Nigeria, they are enemy of this country, we cannot weep for them.
“So the All Progressives Congress stands firm, in backing the government policy – the borders will remain closed, even if it remains closed for the next couple of years, till our neighbours begin to respect the rules of fair trade,” he said.
Evidently, the APC is guided by an ideological spine, consistency and commitment to the realisation of such ideals that are premised on the eradication of poverty, infrastructure development, ending endemic corruption and upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria through the neutralisation of all security and economic threats.
Oshiomhole’s envisioning of a future without oil and the education he provided on why Nigeria must urgently address issues hindering growth in other sectors and promoting overreliance on a single source, serve as an abiding faith of the party’s promise to present an alternative to snail-paced development, lack of accountability and a painful lack of sense of direction witnessed in the previous administration before it was ushered in to power in 2015.
The APC promised an overhauling change in all the diverse retrogressive characters of the country’s governance. One of those was the extreme concentration on one resource and revenue source – oil – and an import intensive economy.
To materialise this promise to improve and change the condition of things in Nigeria, the current administration, through the party’s ideological framework, has applied divergent measures to ignite an independent and export-inclined economy. One of these many measures is the latest policy to close all Nigerian land borders, hence drastically decreasing the nation’s dependence on foreign importation of goods that can easily be produced in the country. By extension, this border-shutting policy will encourage and shock-start the dormant local production sector of the economy.
Particular remarks have been made concerning the most widely consumed grain in Nigeria, rice. Emotionally laden arguments have been made against shutting the land borders, pointing towards hardship and daily struggles of Nigerians.
Valid and touching as these opinions may be, logic and stronger permutations suggest that closing the border is a wise initiative, especially in consideration of the not-too-distant benefits that will accrue from the policy.
It is quite a common knowledge that severity, sometimes, is the price to pay for greatness. Such philosophy applies to this same situation currently trending in Nigeria, but solace is to be taken from the benefits obtainable from export capable economy and a country that can feed itself without necessarily shipping away its wealth to Asian nations like Thailand, Vietnam, etc., just to import a commodity that can be produced and processed in the country’s vast wealth of arable lands.
The policy will also boost the agricultural sector, finally giving life to the old and recurring campaign promise of diversifying Nigeria’s economy. Prior to the discovery of a commercial quantity of oil in Nigeria, the country was widely recognised and famed for her large scale exportation of cash and food crops and all other agricultural products.
Finally, materialising this ambition, history will remember that under the party leadership of Comrade Oshiomhole, and the committed presidency of Muhammadu Buhari, much verbal promise was, finally, put into fruitful action.