Nigeria @60: Reasons for Sober Reflection
By Aliyu Nuhu
AREWA AGENDA – Tomorrow Nigeria will be 60 years old. Here are reasons for sober reflection and adjustments by our leaders.
1. In 1960 Nigeria has only 2 universities. Today it has 40 federal universities, 40 state universities and 61 private universities. However its people have to run to Ghana, a country with only 9 universities to study. The reason is because the 141 universities in Nigeria are below international standard due to corruption, mismanagement and neglect. The country, according to UNICEF has 10.5 million children outside primary school. It means in 20 years, about 30% Nigerians will not be able to secure employment as security men, because the job will require basic literacy as qualification. This goes to say adding weight is not equal to good health.
2. Twenty years ago India has the largest number of pure scientists in the world but it was considered a poor country compared to China because those number of scientists did not transform India into net exporter of goods and services. It was until India changed its ways and started producing technicians like China that it began manufacturing goods and earned the respect of the world. Numbers matter but vision matters most. The Indians were not seeing the world as the Chinese. Like India and China, Nigeria has abundant human capital that has been wasted by neglect due to poor attention to education. And because of that our numbers produce nothing. In this age with our size we cannot produce needles,toys and bicycles. These are simple products that don’t require rocket science.
3. Today we have 193,600kms federal highway. Out of that length,only 28,200 kms are paved in the whole 60 years of the country’s existence. The paved highways are death traps killing hundreds of people daily. Meanwhile in 1960 Nigeria had 8,800km of paved federal highways in relatively good condition. The increase in the length without quality today does not translate to progress. Nigeria is considered the worst country among it’s neighbors in terms of road infrastructure. Quality matters more than numbers.
4. In 1960 Nigeria had 118 mission hospitals, and 101 government hospitals. Today it has 22 Federal Medical Centers, 23 giant teaching hospitals, about 46,000 state owned hospitals/health centers and hundreds of thousands private hospitals,clinics and dispensaries. But Nigerians run to Ghana to treat skin infection and UK to treat ear infections!
5. In 1841 Britain and Wales had a population of 15 million people. However Great Britain virtually held the entire world by the jugular,colonising all and every important nation and defining their destiny. Dynamites come in small sizes.
6. Today US has a population of 325 million people but controls and sets standards for the world with a population of 8 billion. By contrast Nigeria has a population of 182m and military of 400,000 strength but is overwhelmed by a rag tag Boko Haram with a strength of 16,000 followers.
7. Nigeria has 91 million hectares of arable land of which it is able to cultivate only 42% of it using crude and simple tools. Industrial scale holding is nonexistent in Nigeria. Despite being able to produce large quantities of beans, sesame , cashew,cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic , kolanut, maize (corn), melon , millet , palm kernels ,palm oil , plantains, rice , rubber , sorghum , soybeans ,
bananas and yam; Nigeria is not a net exporter of agricultural products and it imports food to feed its population. FOA report put Nigeria slightly ahead of Niger, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Burkina Fasso and Sierra Leone in food security.
It’s not how old you are but how well you are. It’s not your numbers that matter but the quality.
Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives