Before we talk about our present financial crisis in Nigeria let us first of all ask ourselves how did we get to this mess?
To me Nigeria is poor because of the following reasons:
1. LACK OF VISION: I believe this is the number one reason why we are where we are today. Nigeria is not supposed to be poor at all only if we had good leaders with vision. With all the hundreds of billions we made from crude oil & gas export over the years our leaders refused to diversify the economy, we still relied heavily on crude oil as our major Forex earner. Since I was a kid our leaders have all been talking about diversifying the economy but till date nothing has happened, everything in Nigeria is imported, including toothpick and handkerchief. If we had vision we were supposed to diversify, we were supposed to be making billions of dollars yearly from tourism, agriculture and finished goods. But sadly we claim to be the giant of Africa and yet we cant feed our selves. Its shameful we import almost everything from countries we were supposed to be feeding in the first place. Can someone tell me why we import rice from Vietnam and Thailand?……. . What happened to the Nigeria that had groundnut pyramids and made millions from palm oil export? Today we import pail oil from same countries we thought how to plant palm trees??? Sometimes it feels like the black race is cursed or destined to fail by default?
2. LACK OF PLANNING: Let me use my friends that work in oil companies as an example. Oil companies were paying well, some people used their fat salaries to intimidate people and live flamboyant lifestyles, they never believed things will be bad in the oil industry. The wise ones invested their money wisely in real estate, supermarket, restaurants, shopping plazas etc coz they knew nothing lasts forever. Today oil price is very low, many of these guys has been sacked, those who divested as still living well but those that didn’t plan well are all crying and begging for money to pay their children school fees. I have many of them as friends/customers so I know. And the sad part is, most Nigerians believe in juju so much that when they fail they blame witchcraft or enemies in the village.
We were supposed to plan and save enough for tough times like this. I have heard people use Venezuela as an excuse that most oil exporting countries are either in recession or facing financial crisis. But what about Canada, Norway, UK and the rest that are not facing any financial crisis.
Let us use Dubai and Malaysia as an example. Malaysia does not have natural resources like us, but their leaders managed to develop their country with agriculture and tourism. Today they have added technology as one of their top forex earner. Almost every major technology company has a plant or factory in Malaysia. United Arab Emirates is another fantastic example. Their leaders knew that oil and gas won’t last forever so they decided to make Dubai the worlds number one tourist destination and they are not even stopping at that, presently Dubai is planning to break several of the world records they already have. The worlds tallest buildings are in Dubai but they are currently building new sky scrapers that will break world records. Why can’t we have leaders with brains???
3. CORRUPTION: Yes Nigeria is a poor country, we all know that. But the little money we make from oil & gas export is enough to turn things around for good. The sad reality is that the small money we make from oil end up in private pockets of the same people we elected to rule us. Its very shameful and painful. For example I came to Nigeria to vote for my present state governor during his first tenure, but after touring my state since the last two months I wont say I am happy to have voted him in the first place. The sad part is that I wasted my time and energy convincing so many of my friends and families to vote for him, thinking he will be different. But right now I have learnt never to trust any politician again. I don’t want this to sound personal or political, I just wish our leaders will promise few things they can deliver instead of deceiving us with fake promises.
4. TRIBALISM: This is a serious issue we need to get rid of otherwise we cannot develop as a nation. I would like to see a Nigeria where people will get appointments and positions based on merit and qualification and not based on their tribe and connections. This is what killed Nigeria Airways, NNPC etc. Once you are made a director or manager of these institutions you automatically bring your people, friends, cousins, tribes men without minding whether they qualify for the job or not. Take a look at our beloved NNPC that is supposed to be a major money spinner for us, the establishment has refused to live up to its potentials because of the people managing it. If you go to Malaysia and see what they have been able to achieve with their PETRONAS you will cry for Nigeria. I have not even mentioned PETROBRAS of Brazil. These are their own versions of NNPC, Petronass towers in Malaysia used to be the worlds tallest building for many years. Do some research and see how much money Petrobas and Petronas makes for Brazil and Malaysia respectively. But in Nigeria instead of NNPC making profits, every year Nigeria continues to give money to that visionless entity, to me its like putting money in a bottomless pit or black hole.
I know there are many other reasons but these are the main reasons why we are poor. Feel free to add yours.