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Friday, 8 February 2019

A Masterpiece - Why Nigeria May Never Be Developed: The Limits of Ridicule

Last night, on a TV program APC and Buhari campaign stalwart, Festus Keyamo,  referred to PDP's Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar's running mate,  as "that  China man from the East".
 A few days before that Oshiomohle had said Obi  was" half Chinese, half Indian".
Both statements were meant to be derogatory and to poke fun at Peter Obi for his constant references to developments  in the economies of  China and India as examples Nigeria should , and would,  emulate if the PDP is voted into power.
I fail to understand the basis for any Nigerian to deride the developmental strides China and India have made in the past thirty years.
 Currently, are we better than they are in any way?
In 1988, Nigeria was said to have more paved roads than China. Our GDP was higher and our living standards were better.
Thirty years later China is the second largest economy in the world and it's citizens among the richest.
 Their economic policies have made China the " factory to the World".
Thirty years later, where is Nigeria? Owing to poor leadership choices we have even fallen below where we were in 1988, on virtually all fronts.
Yet, some of us  have the temerity to deride the Chinese, instead of seeking to  learn from them.
 The story is the same with India. Today, India is on the verge of displacing Britain as the sixth largest economy in the world. It has vacated it's unenviable position as the country with the largest number of poor people for Nigeria. The import of this change in position can be better appreciated when you realize that Nigeria with an estimated population of 200 million people now has more individuals living in poverty than India which has a population of 1.2 Billion people. Six times the population of Nigeria.
Yet some of us are poking fun at Peter Obi for suggesting that we should adopt the sort of policies which enabled India to pull so many of it's citizens out of poverty and lift the country's economy in less than thirty years.
Rather,  they want us to continue with the sort of poor leadership and myopic policies that have made Nigeria the defacto poverty capital of the world.
This silly Nigerian habit of looking down at others did not begin today.
 In the fifties and early sixties, we looked down on the products of the American university system, especially those of them who went to  Black universities in the South of USA.
 Their graduates did not start on the same grade level as graduates of  British and Nigerian schools.
In those days the University of Ibadan was affiliated to a British university and it's products were deemed to be British educated.
This discrimination went on for a while.
In the Eighties we saw graduates of Indian universities belittled and discriminated against in the same manner. A degree from an Indian university was deemed to be the equivalent of a Higher School Certificate( HSC) and the graduate entered the civil service on Grade Level 06 while his Nigerian counterparts entered on GL 08.
Today, in terms of the quality of their graduates,  where are the universities in the USA and India and where are  Nigerian universities?
 Is there anywhere in the world where the product of a Nigerian university would be employed before a graduate from an Indian or American university?
 This same useless pride and arrogance also extended to manufactured goods. In the sixties we looked down on goods manufactured in Japan. According to my mother they were called " Fabrikwe" because of the inscription they usually carried denoting their origins- " Fabrique en Japan". Today where are Japanese goods and where are those made in Nigeria?
In the seventies cheap and poorly made goods were known as " Taiwan". Where is the  Taiwanese economy today and where are we? A few years ago, people who owned Made in China phones were objects of ridicule. Many owners of " "Chinko" phones were even ashamed to bring them out in public. Today what is the situation? Out of the top five phone makers in the world, three are  Chinese companies. One of the most adored of the phone makers, Apple, makes its phones in China.
Meanwhile I am not aware that any phone at all is made in Nigeria.
All we appear good for is to rest on our oars,  point fingers and laugh at others while they catch up with, and overtake us.
In the middle  of this regression, absence of a sense of purpose and a general lack of direction,  a Peter Obi comes up harping on the need for us to copy or emulate the  policies which the leaders of  China and India employed to change the fortunes of their countries in less than one generation, and some people are laughing at him,  calling him names.
Really, it is not the fault of those mocking him.
For them Nigeria is a paradise, the best country in the world, because they have access to the treasury and have helped themselves to enough loot to last their families for generations to come.
 They are too well fed to think or bother about the millions of their country men and women who need to experience the sort of economic miracles that happened in India and China, in order to say goodbye to poverty and improve their living standards.
Clearly, there is a lot more to life, governance and managing an economy than waging a war, real or imagined, against corruption which is this APC government's only claim to fame.
As for those who are laughing at Mr Peter Obi for suggesting we take a closer look at what is happening in both India and China, all I can tell them is that one does not ridicule people who are better than he is.
 As far as their economies and living standards are concerned,   both countries are so far ahead of us that only a Nigerian  who is truly ignorant would seek to ridicule them or anyone who seeks to emulate them.

George E. Emeghara

1 comment:

  1. What do expect from the likes of oshiomole and his likes. They have looted our treasury dry and are still looting. With the hapless man still in-charge things will never change.

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