Its 2014 in Brazil and 1965 in Nigeria By Rabiu Usman
Nigeria is Africa. Africa is Nigeria. Both of them are intricately intertwined. For Africa to be stable, there must be a revolution in Nigeria. The growth of any nation is tied to its population strength, no nation would be formidable with its mineral indices solely without bringing about its human strength into play.
The vast population and economy has placed Nigeria at the front burner of African affair, as such it is termed as the giant of the black continent.
The secessionists can have their way out of the marriage, they tend to fair better in governance afterwards because of the low resource ratio to an individual, but they will inadvertently remain a flash in the pan when it extend to global stage of economy. In other words its a local champion affair all the way it would be for them.
After the election held in 1965 that brought the emergence of Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) into power, Nigeria was noted to be among the golden generation along-side Brazil, China, Jamaica et al. Expected to be a force to reckon with, and to pose a challenge the long dominance of G-7 nation in global developmental contributions.
Today in 2014, one of our peer group nation is hosting the biggest stage of football fiesta, the FIFA World cup. The world attention is on Brasillia, the nation’s host city. The clock has since been ticking clockwise in Brazil. Thanks to their visionary stewardship. Conversely, the clock in our clime is ticking counter-clockwise due to our neglect and gross incompetence. They (Brazil) are the definition of the term “development” in all facet of life. Of course Brazil is the ideal nation to compare our growth with, taking into cognisance the similarities we share in terms of population, diverse resources and even the brotherhood of having some kits and kins in their midst known as the Brazillian Yorubas.
The colourful event taking centre stage in Brazil brings back the hands of time when Nigeria and Brazil were rated at par. The developmental contrast between both nation at the moment is similar to comparing the pace of Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt to that of the overall champion in a secondary school 200m relay. Clear contrast. No basis for comparison. They move at the speed of light, while we jostle for swiftness with a snail sluggishly.
Arguably Nigeria has overtaken South Africa, a member of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) as the largest economy in Africa, thanks to Rebasing permutation and combination. Projection on the future power of BRIC (with the exception of South Africa) vary widely, some suggest they might over-take G7 by 2027. More modestly, Goldman Sachs has argued that although the four BRIC countries are developing rapidly, it was only by 2050 their combined economy will eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries of the world.
Brazil as a member of BRIC are aspiring to be world’s top-notch economy, conversely, Nigeria a member of N-11 group recently, has shifted goal post severally in its bid to be among top 20 economy in the world. The vision 20:20:20 mantra led by visionless leaders that sees corruption as “common stealing”.
Although development cannot occur haphazardly, Nigeria has also witness tremendous progress in few sectors.
Brazil is the seventh wealthiest economy with a GDP of US$ 2.685trillion in 2014. Brazil’s strong domestic market is less vulnerable to external crisis. Thereby benefiting from stable economic growth, relative low inflation rates and improvement in social well-being.
Conversely, over the years, Nigeria has become a dumping ground for all sort of products. Ranging from ‘tokumbo’ fairly used cloths, shoes, cars, bags, electronics, furnitures and foods. One of the most bizarre and weird products I’ve seen is the importation of tooth-pick at Tin-can Island port, Lagos.
There are made in Brazil manufactured and coupled cars. I rather find it fraudulent to celebrate the first made in Nigeria coupled Nissan car with a non-functional Ajaokuta Steel Company in Kogi state. The world had expected Nigeria to advance a step from coupling to manufacture since we are synonymous to assembling in the past.
It will be fair if we’d decipher between development and resuscitation and also fix them in their ideal standing. A lost but found item cannot be termed as development. Putting in place what scarcely exist it.
Brazil is the fourth nation in terms of road network and third in terms renewable energy strength in the world. These feat placed them as one of the leading nation on climate negotiations. Brazil has committed voluntarily to reducing its greenhouse gas emission by between 36.1% and 38.9% until 2020. The delegate from Nigeria can attest to the admirably blue skies of Rio de Jenieiro, Manaus, Brasillia et al. The power supply is more than enough for the huge population of Brazil with the aid of a fully explored alternative source of energy.
Conversely, Major roads in Nigeria has witnessed neglect from successive government, with Goodluck Ebele Jonathan given a facelift to some at the moment. Our power supply is more than epileptic, the tariff is closer to a blackout bill than light. But the minister of information, Labaran Maku said there is enormous progress that many Nigerians enjoy at least 18hours of electricity. That can only occur when you are using “Maku-metre” and not “watt-metre” certainly.
While we’d attribute the level of insecurity to corruption, we can similarly say unstable power supply is the bane of our under-development. Developed and developing nation generates 12% of their electricity from hydro source, a large percentage is coming from renewable sources cos of its abundant nature and can be replenished. The former minister of power prof. Chinedu Nebo has taken a step towards revolutionising the sector, but was overpowered by the cabals in government. They rather favour few cronies at the expense of 170million Nigerians.
The surge from Cameroon dams that resulted in over-flow and the subsequent flood that caused many fatality to lives and properties should in some parts of Nigeria should be an eye opener on the urgent need for diversification of the power sector. The issue of black-out won’t be a top agenda in a serious Nigeria. South Africa’s ratio is 40, 000MW to 45million population. Nigeria is 3, 800MW to 175million population.
Developmental tales are emerging on the successes of renewable energy across the globe. Tanzanian farmers are relying on solar energy to store perishable goods. Australia has built the first solar incorporated roof-building. Nigeria cannot be an exception. The resources are abound across our terrain. It will mitigate the menace of poor electricity and create jobs if fully explored.
Its truly 2014 in Dilma Rousseff’s country and 1965 in Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s!
Rabiu Usman is a freelance writer/teacher based in Lagos.
On Twitter: @rabiusm
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