Is oil a curse to Nigeria?
Is Oil a Curse or a Blessing?
So many Nigerians get so emotional when the issue of oil comes to the table. So many argue that the discovery of oil in Nigeria is the worst thing that ever happened to her, they even go further to exalt the economy of countries like Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, who have little or no oil in their soil. While others stand on the fact that oil has brought numerous development and foreign recognition to the country and as such, is the best thing that has happened to the country.
The Genesis of Nigeria's Problems
Now, I will like to say that the problem of Nigeria started right after independence. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe backs me up on this when in his words said; “Nigeria was given freedom at a platter of gold, we should have known that freedom should be won, not given on a plate like the head of john the Baptist. This gift to Nigeria proved most unlucky.”
Before eyes starts rolling and lips starts cursing, I am not a fan of foreign dominance, but we must come to terms with the truth that Nigeria was not ready to rule herself as at independence. She was like a half-baked moi-moi served for dinner. There were lots of problems like ethnic tension, religious crises, political and democracy ignorance, which were callously overlooked. As if those were not enough, Nigeria could now control this mouth-watering product called oil, which could fetch her tremendous amount of money with little or no work, so like a spoilt child, she gradually until finally, ignored elements like agriculture, trading, etc. which before 1956 were the bedrock of her economy.
Possible Solutions to Nigeria's Problems
I cannot say that oil or the discovery of oil is a curse to Nigeria, but I must say that the manner at which we have made oil our god is the ‘curse’. We have become too lazy and shortsighted, and have chosen to see any career that does not fall in the line of oil as mundane and mediocre.
I cannot also say that the time has come for Nigerians to solve this problem, because the time has been elapsed, and we are in rush hour! We engross ourselves so much in theories, that practicality has become myth to us. There is an English word, which may soon become the slogan of Nigeria. This word is diversification. Ever since I was born, I have always heard of diversification that it has become so trite. We hear in seminars, on radio stations, speeches about enchanting ways to solve the problems of the country, to diversify the country’s source of revenue, and it has always been just that, speech. Perhaps, it would become a fairy tale that we will have to tell our children, and the next generation. We should put a STOP to the habit of romanticizing and politicizing situations, we have created a perfect solution for the perfect nation in our heads, but we cannot afford to live in our heads forever. We have to man up! Stop the blame game, no longer every man for himself, but everyman for nation building. It has come to a point where every family should have at least a garden at the backyard. Let us start with that, then we can talk diversification.