‘One Nigeria’: To Be Or Not To Be? (3)

Let us continue our analysis from another angle. Supposing you are planning to form a company. You have at your disposal a very big plot of land, all the necessary equipments, adequate and well trained workers to run it and $1 trillion dollars in the bank. In other words, you have ‘everything’ necessary to run your company. Now the $1 trillion dollars question for you to answer. If you are approached by a stranger who has practically no money, equipments, but only very badly trained workers to form a joint venture with him, will you accept his offer? Again, if we assume that you are a smart business man, who is rational in his thinking and decision making, then you will definitely turn down his offer simply because you not only already have all the resources needed to run your business, but such a joint venture will definitely make your business unprofitable. The proposal will just not add any value to your business venture! But has it ever occured to you that the south, in actual fact, has been compelled to enter exactly into this kind of loss making joint venture with the north since 1914 by the British.

ABUJA: THE OPPORTUNITY COST OF ONE NIGERIA PROJECT.

As I have already written in one of my articles titled; “Abuja: Capital of Nigeria or Northern Nigeria? there is practically no need for a new capital. For a developing country like Nigeria, it would had been rational to get on with Lagos, and invest the oil revenues on infrastructures, education, health care service, agriculture, industries, etc. For a developing country like Nigeria, moreover, that has just got her independence, investing in a white elephant project like the construction of a new capital from ‘scratch’ is not only irrational, but tantamount to ‘economic suicide!’ You don’t really need to have a PhD in economics or be a professor in economics to understand these basic things. Nigeria‘s case as far as building a capital completely from scratch is concerned is UNPRECEDENTED in the modern world. To the best of my knowledge, Nigeria is the only country in the world, at least in the last 50 years, that has embarked on building a new capital completely from scratch while at least 90% of her citizens do not have regular access to basic amenities like water and electricity, even till the time of writing.

The north did not buy this common sense economic argument, they though differently. The fact that Lagos belongs to the Yorubas, one of the 3 major ethnic groups, made them feel vulnerable. Thus, Lagos became unacceptable and politically inappropriate as the future capital of a post independent Nigeria. As far as the north is concerned, this is more than enough argument to spend hundreds of billions of dollars of our money in building a new capital from scratch. They least concerned about the huge cost of Abuja to Nigeria, especially to the southerners. They were more concerned about their security and how to retain their monopoly on power which automatically opens the door to the enormous resources in the south.

The civil war not only confirmed the fear of the north but prompted them to accelerate the relocation of the capital to the north. With an overwhelming majority in the army, compared to southerners, moving of the capital from Lagos, in the south, to Abuja, in the north was one of the major and bold decisions or moves the north made in order to guarantee her grip on power. In any case, the north must be given credit for this smart move, which was most likely sold to them by the British. They understood that with political power firmly in their hands, and Nigeria‘s 419 Constitution in place to give it a strong backing, all the mineral resources in the south are theirs for grab. Unfortunately, this political decision has cost the south hundreds of billions of dollars. Abuja is one of the VERY COSTLY PRICES the south is paying for the One Nigeria project.

For a better understanding of this topic, let us assume for a moment that the north is a sovereign country – without the south. Would they have embarked on building a new capital which involves hundreds of billions of dollars from scratch? It is very unlikely. They won’t even dear it. And in case, they took the decision to implement such a white elephant project, where would they have got the money? Would they have used their own money – if at all they have it? That’s also very unlikely. Could they have borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars from IMF, World Bank and other international banks or lending organizations to finance Abuja? Definitely NO! No international bank or lending institution will EVER give out hundreds of billions of dollars in loan, moreover, to a developing country to finance the construction of a new capital from scratch even with a collateral, talk less of the fact that the north simply does not have a collateral to support a loan of such a huge amount. And if by any miraculous means they found an international bank that was ready to take the risk to lend them hundreds of billions of dollars without a collateral to build a new capital, they would have to pay back the loan with a very high interest since capital, as we have already learnt is not free but comes with a price. Where will they get hundreds of billions of dollars with interest to pay back the loan? Could they have got it from their groundnuts pyramids that have long disappeared? Or from their rams? I doubt it. But luckily for the north, they did not have to crack their brains about that as far as they were in power, and most importantly, the south, extremely rich in oil, gas and other mineral resources, is a member of the One Nigeria project. They just took hundreds of billions of dollars from the oil revenues of the Niger delta, which they have a free and unlimited access to, and built a ‘brand new’ capital for themselves. They don’t need to worry themselves about paying back the money with accrued interest. After all, according to a Yoruba proverb: “Nkan ta wa lo si Sokoto, o wa lapo sokoto!” Meaning; “Why take the trouble to go as far as Sokoto when what you need is right inside the pocket of your trouser (sokoto). In other words, why borrow hundreds of billions of dollars, which needs to be paid back with a very high interest, from international banks in order to build a brand new capital, when the money could as well be taken from the Niger delta for free?

The political decision taken by the north to spend hundreds of billions of dollars of the oil revenues on building a new capital from scratch in Abuja is a very good example to illustrate what is meant by selfish interest. Abuja is a project that is profitable; politically, militarily and economically for the north, but yielded the opposite result for the Niger deltans and the south in general. The north has used the resources of different ethnic groups in the south to defend her selfish political, military and economic interests, at the expense of the south. The north was not fazed with the fact that they are using the resources of other ethnic groups at will and for free, and without their permission.

ONE NIGERIA: NOTHING BUT ‘LEGALISED ROBBERY’ OF THE SOUTH.

In order to get the ‘full’ economic implication of what the south lost building Abuja. Try to imagine that the Niger delta is a Sovereign country. Try to imagine for minute that just a ‘quarter’ of the hundreds of billions of dollars that went into the construction of a new capital from scratch in Abuja, was instead invested in the Niger delta. What difference would this have made on the Niger delta and its inhabitants? Now, please try to imagine again that ALL, and not a quarter nor half, of the hundreds of billions of dollars that went into building roads, universities, schools, power stations, international airport, house of assembly, expensive mosques and churches, power stations, Senate house, Aso rock; providing and maintaining expensive cars and accommodation for ministers, senators, representatives, senior civil servants; paying of salaries of all civil servants, e.t.c went instead into the construction of roads, universities, international airports, schools, hospitals, rail networks, factories, water dams, power stations, infrastructures, e.t.c. What difference would that have made in the lives of the Niger deltans? Now, please try to imagine again just for a couple of minutes, that all the financial and human resources from the south that were squandered in the development of the north, including Abuja, were instead invested ‘completely’ in the south. What difference would that have made on the south and the lives of the southerners? What have the Niger delta and the south as a whole got in return for the hundreds of billions of dollars of their resources that were invested in Abuja and the north in general? NOTHING! The hundreds of billions of dollars belonging to the south that were invested in Abuja and the north have in no way improved neither the lives of the Niger deltans nor southerners as a whole. The south gave out hundreds of billions of dollars to the north for free but got ‘absolutely’ nothing in return! Don’t you think that we would have been much better off if we had invested hundreds of billions of dollars in our own territory? Don’t you think that it would have been much better if we had built Abuja for ourselves, and not for the north,? In that case, we don’t need to risk our lives travelling down to Abuja in order to enjoy all the facilities provided with our money because Abuja will be right in our backyard. Unfortunately, the north was smart enough to take hundreds of billions of dollars from us to build Abuja for themselves, free of charge! The north has Abuja to show for our money, but we have nothing to show for our resources. No Abuja, no better life! No regular supply of electricity, water, no infrastructures, no hospitals, no industries, no nothing. The north took from us hundreds of billions of dollars, that we could have invested on ourselves, absolutely for free. This is one of the very costly prices the south is paying for the fraudulent ‘One Nigeria’ project that is being sponsored by the north and the British respectively. Abuja is one of the opportunity costs of One Nigeria project that the British forced us into, and the north is desperate to keep us in it at any cost. The unavoidable question we need to ask ourselves now is: “Is the south obliged to continue squandering hundreds of billions of dollars in the north, whom we have absolutely nothing in common with, all in the name of building One Nigeria, and because the British decreed so in 1914?

The ONLY way to put a stop to this squandering of our resources is to break away from the north and concentrate all our resources exclusively on our own development. By doing so, we will be defending our economic interests with our ‘own’ resources, and not pursuing any selfish interest, as the north has been doing. This is not only the best option that will guarantee our rapid development, but as well ‘unavoidable’ for our survival as ethnic groups and nations respectively.

The south is endowed with large reserve of oil, gas and other mineral resources. However, as has already been mentioned, our most invaluable assets or resources are our highly skilled manpower. In terms of quantity and quality, the south surpasses the north by a significant ratio, except in the army where admission of southerners is purposely limited. The south is endowed with more than enough resources to build one of the strongest economies in the world. We couldn’t have asked God for more.

I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubts that if we, i.e. the south can harness or concentrate all our human and mineral resources on our own development, we will experience an ‘explosion’ in development that will accelerate the rate of our growth at least 10 times faster than the present rate. Breaking away from the north and concentrating our resources ‘exclusively’ on our own development is the optimal investment project that will maximise the value of our investment or resources. We need to understand that this is the only way to achieve project E with a return of 30% which was described above. We need to understand that any other option is a ‘compromise’ that not only deprives us the opportunity to get the maximum value for our resources, but is against our political, military and economic interests. Since 1914, through ‘hook and crook’ methods, we have been compelled to invest in the loss making project A called One Nigeria by the British and the north. There is no economic sense for the south to continue her unsubscribed membership in ‘One Nigeria.” One Nigeria is nothing but ‘legalised’ robbery of the south by the north, which was made possible by the British.

TO BE CONTINUED….

Written by
Bode Eluyera
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