BY USMAN BAFFA NASEER.
Abuja is probabaly the worst-hit of Nigerian cities by this recession. It is only understandable: Abuja works at nothing but revels in wanton opulence, fed strictly from pens adding zeroes behind a whole number. It’s buildings are populated with straw companies gliding on patronage and privilege, not rights, merit and productivity. Most of its inhabitants are currently in what seems a state of disbelief, if not shock.
My son and I walked lazily to Sheraton two Saturdays ago and from the gate you got a surprise: no line of traffic! The lounge was empty as the car park was vacant. We sat in surprise at the little corners of decay creeping on the lounge, part of which was even poorly lit. Of course, even Maitama and Asokoro are wrapped in thick darkness these days at 8pm if grid power fails.
I was surprised at the black silence I met in these desolate palaces. Everywhere signs hang on homes and high-rise office buildings begging for tenants. I called a number on one and the voice that answered said it was for sale: 3.6billion, seven-story building with a footprint of about 250sqm. “I see”.
There is good hiding in evil and sometimes you don’t even have to look too deeply to see it. Too many wealth in Nigeria is strictly in figures without any underlying source or feeder spring. If you got your money through work and creativity; if they put you in a desert, you will still replicate the feat.
What is called a recession in regular economics is but a dethronement of false money, the overthrow of pretenders and wealth built with the tip of a pen so that reality and productivity can take over. It is an inevitable passage if nature is correctly programmed.
In a hilarious circle I was told about a typical Abuja moneybag whose fortune has now turned around. He was in money – and you know what I mean. In height of his affluence he collected two more wives to make a total of three. But the noose had been getting tighter and, all streams gone dry, he applied for a loan from a bank. Not so well exposed to the hazard of seeking credit from Nigerian banks, he was exceedingly positive he will soon be credited and so went with gusto to the manager’s office on an appointed day to get the final answer on his application.
When he was told that he had been turned down, he lost control of himself so completely that he pooped on himself right there in the bank. He was helped into the bathroom and offered a ton of tissues and when he had become manageable, they led him into a taxi and gave him a thousand Naira to the bank’s happy ending of the personal tragedy.
The story teaches us that wealth without foundation will end in sudden failure. It is not only Abuja or the typical, overweight Nigerian big man, Nigeria itself is a victim of lazy wealth: oil is not a result of hard work or creativity. We don’t even as much as have local capacity to drill the oil! If we don’t build our economy by adding value through processing and developing our human resources, we won’t end up much better than that poor individual you just laughed at.”
It is time to start building real and sustainable wealth, enough of what used to be…The difference between the poor and rich nations is not the age of the Nation. This can be demonstrated by countries like India and Egypt, which are more than 2000 years old and are still poor countries.
On the other hand, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which 150 years back were insignificant, today are developed and rich countries.
The difference between the poor and rich nation does not also depend on the available natural resources.
Japan has limited territory, 80% mountainous, unsuitable for agriculture or farming, but is the second in worlds economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw material from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.
Second example is Switzerland, it does not grow cocoa but produces the best chocolates in the world. In her small territory she rears animals and cultivates the land only for four month in a year, nevertheless manufactures the best milk products. A small country which is an image of security which has made it the strongest world bank.
Executives from rich countries who interact with their counterparts from poor countries show no significant intellectual differences.
The racial or colour factors also do not evince importance: migrants heavy in laziness in their country of origin are forcefully productive in rich European countries.
What then is the difference?
The difference is the attitude of the people, moulded for many years by education and culture.
When we analyse the conduct of the people from the rich and developed countries, it is observed that a majority abide by the following principles of life:
1. Ethics, as basic principles.
4. The respect for Laws and Regulations.
5. The respect from majority of citizens by right.
6. The love for work.
7. The effort to save and invest.
8. The will to be productive.
In the poor countries a small minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.
We are not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel towards us.
We are poor because we lack attitude. We lack the will to follow and teach these principles of working of rich and developed societies.
WE ARE IN THIS STATE BECAUSE WE WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OVER EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE.
WE ARE IN THIS STATE BECAUSE WE SEE SOMETHING DONE WRONG AND SAY – “LET IT BE”
WE SHOULD HAVE A SPIRITED MEMORY AND ATTITUDE…
ONLY THEN WILL WE BE ABLE TO CHANGE OUR PRESENT STATE.
If you do not share this message, nothing is going to happen to you. Your prized animal is not going to die, you wont be sacked from your job, you wont be having bad luck for seven years, nor are you going to get sick.
But, if you love your COUNTRY, try and circulate this message so that as many people may read and see what our problems are and hopefully move to change themselves to change the country.