Nigeria Could Go Bankrupt Because of Reliance on Fossil Fuels
As other nations that sell oil globally build a green infrastructure, address poverty and the public good Nigeria missed the memo and still lets foreign countries direct their perspectives, ideology, and investments! With Climate change affects looming and little faith in their leaderships colonized minds, are Nigerians allowing the isolated elite to set themselves up for big trouble in the future?
Nigeria has overcome many economic challenges as it has a plethora of resources that it utilizes effectively despite the constant foreign intervention to derail their progress. The former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a fish farmer, lamented the price of diesel fuel which could have a detrimental effect on the industry as a whole. Like many African nations Nigeria the source of the oil does not offer a discount price to its citizens on a product they supply to the world. The reason is insane, because there are not enough state-run refineries, Nigeria imports its fuel needs that it supplies to other nations those nations sell it back to them at a premium even though Nigeria is the source of the crude oil! This has led to shortages at gas stations. And those with supplies are charging more than double the regulated pump price.
This is par for the course for many African nations. Just recently Ghana’s President made good on his promise that was echoed by the leadership of the Ivory Coast to start getting value for the resources their nations supply to the world. Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana vowed to charge a premium of $400 per ton on all raw cocoa sales! Ghana's first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, attempted to regulate the cocoa market by building storage facilities to process and store cocoa beans if he had succeeded Ghana would be one of the world’s leading powers today. Many believe this was one of the reasons for Nkrumah's assassination.
Today even though 60% of Ghana's agriculture revenue is from cocoa the average farmer makes less than 1000 US a year from his/her crops. Estimates show that if Ghana’s chocolate had a mere four percent access to European markets, Ghana would earn more than US $25 billion dollars annually. Already there are four chocolate companies that sell globally in Ghana that, if supported by the government, have a potential to create tens of thousands of jobs and radically change the economic future of the whole nation.
Nigeria has many wealthy people but its policies don't enrich the nation as a whole and like the adage a chain is only as strong as its weakest links Nigeria leaves itself open to be exploited and discounted in the sphere of business. Greed makes an easy target for exploitation. Children in Nigeria suffer malnutrition and child labor, while many families lack electricity and running water. Despite Nigeria's rich oil resource, most people do not benefit from it, causing 70% of the population to be below the poverty line. This is a recipe for disaster that could be remedied simply and with little cost to the government but great potential for profit for a leader who actually cares about the people of his nation.
The lack of job opportunities is at the core of the high poverty levels, regional inequality, and social and political unrest. Nigeria could easily set up a national lottery where students could test to get free education in skills the nation needs as long as they agree to a 5 year contract to return to Nigeria and work for government agencies that build the infrastructure Nigeria needs. Disciplines in telecommunications, medical, agriculture, international finance, engineering, food processing, transportation, renewable energy, and manufacturing. High inflation has also taken a toll on household's welfare and high prices in 2020-2022 are likely to have pushed an additional 8 million Nigerians into poverty.
Corruption is an anti-social attitude awarding improper privileges contrary to legal and moral norms and impairs the authorities' capacity to secure the welfare of all citizens. Corruption in Nigeria is a constant phenomenon because there are no repercussions of tribalism and what the west calls cronyism is the actual law of the land. This makes the Nigerian populace seem weak in the eyes of the world as they routinely see their leadership flaunt wealth in the face of their impoverished citizens. The number of Nigerians living in poverty rose by 35 million in 2022. The country's inflation rate increased to 21% in 2022, compared with an average of 10.6% for emerging and developing economies and 8.8% for the world. This level of economic hardship could present further risks to Nigeria's security. What is telling is that most Nigerians are hoping that when their leaders die they will then have the opportunity to change things. The country has the largest population of youth in the world, with a median age of 18.1 years. About 70% of the population are under 30, and 42% are under the age of 15. The size and youthfulness of the population offer great potential to expand Nigeria's capacity as the regional economic hub of Africa and globally. Many of Nigeria's youth were actually hopeful the pandemic would get rid of the literally old and greedy leadership that only cares for itself.
This unprecedented global pandemic brought many disenfranchised comforts. Covid hinted at the possibility that the political elite, most of whom are octogenarian power brokers, could be more at risk than the ordinary man on the street. And few would be sad if they dropped dead. The pandemic forced Nigerians to look at its infrastructure for the average citizen especially its health care system that was woefully inept during the covid pandemic. Author, Architect Blogger
Osundolire Oladapo Ifelanwa had the following to say about Nigeria’s leadership:
“The Nigerian political elite have always been the runaway type. They run away to Europe for healthcare; run away to America for the education of their children; run away to the Maldives to ease off the stress of being Nigerian. Their runaway antics are even more ironic, knowing that the stress they face while they are here is a highly watered down version of the stresses faced by ordinary Nigerians. When these “special” Nigerians need in-country healthcare, they don’t have to go to Public Healthcare Centres or wait in line at government-run hospitals. Yet, even with the many shock absorbers afforded them by their status, they still run away from time to time, because no matter how cocooned you are from the stressors, Nigeria will still get to you.”
Editors Note: On 1 October 2020, Nigeria celebrated 60 years as a sovereign nation. Within this period, the country has had Thirteen leaders, all of whom were men. Only three (27.3%) were civilians, while eight (72.7%) were army generals. Of the eleven leaders prior to 2005, four (36.4%) had died before Nigeria reached its 45th birthday and all of these four (100%) died while still in office. Three of the dead leaders (75%) were assassinated, while one (25%) died suddenly in mysterious circumstances, believed to be the result of poisoning by unknown external powerful interest groups. Three of the deaths (75%) occurred during violent periods of Nigeria's checkered history (1966-1970 and 1993-1999), showing that periods of national and international strife appeared to be the weakest link in chains of events that led to their death while in office. Autopsies were neither requested nor performed on any of the dead leaders, no valid tenable death certificate has ever been issued. In other words, no attempt has been made to determine the cause of death of four of the nation's former leaders. Only hurried national burials were accorded two (50%) of them while the other two (50%), who died in the coup and revenge coup of 1966, were completely neglected, and not even given a decent national burial.