Author:Alozie Praise Tobechukwu.
The Nigerian economy has gone through ups and downs. There had been very good days and there had been several histories of gloomy days. The economy had experienced its best in the past and it had also experienced the worst one can ever imagine.
The History of Nigeria’s economy dated back to before independence on October 1960. Truth is colonialism plays a big role in the history of Nigeria’s economy.There were very promising signs about Nigeria’s economy after the country gained independence from Britain. As at then, Nigeria had 25% of all the population of Africa. Nigeria was viewed then by many across the world as an emerging economy. It is however unfortunate that Nigerian never became the emerging economy many people thought it would turn out to be.
Despite the challenges facing Nigerians economy today, the country is still among the countries producing fossil fuel, which makes Nigeria a prominent country in determination of world economy.
“Before the discovery of fossil fuel, Nigerian economy had its basis on tax generated from companies established by Europeans along the Nigerian coasts. These companies were established as trading posts by the Europeans, including the British. This was
during the period slave trade was
flourishing. Aside slave trade, agriculture equally contributed a great deal to Nigerians economy. Virtually all Nigerians were farmers long before the British came to conquer the land. Farming continued incessantly and soon, Nigeria started venturing into production of cash crops. These cash crops were used locally, but most of them were exported aboard. This brought in more foreign exchange and shot
Nigeria’s economy to the limelight.
Consequently, Nigeria was not just the country with the largest number of black people on earth; Nigeria was also giant of Africa in terms of economic growth. Most of the economic activities going on in Nigeria before independence were concentrated in Lagos and the Niger delta areas.”
After the discovery of oil between the 1970s and 1980s, Nigerian economy received even bigger boost. Dependence on agriculture shot Nigerian high among the comity of nations, but discovery and exportation of oil pushed the country even further to the limelight. Nigeria became so blessed economically to the extent that one of the former military presidents declared that the problem of Nigeria was not money, but how to spend the money. Nigeria Discovery and exportation of oil made Nigeria to build a number of refineries. As time went on, Nigeria started forgetting about agriculture and were depending on oil alone. The north was not producing groundnut anymore and the southwest was not producing cocoa anymore. This was the exact foundation of the present day economic misfortune that is befalling Nigeria.
To further compound the problem, the military rulers of those days converted Nigeria from regional system of government, where every region could develop at its own pace, to the federal system of government, where everyone has to depend on federal government for sustenance. Fall in price of crude oil exposed the decay in the Nigerian economy. Dependence on oil has turned Nigeria to a mono-economic nation and the fall in crude oil price is causing dent in virtually every aspect of life in Nigeria.
As at today, the Nigerian economy is nothing to write home about. In recent times, there has been a renewed agitation for the Republic of Biafra by members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra(MASSOB) and Indigenous People Of Biafra(IPOB). Nearly 50 years after the Biafran War which almost destroyed the unity of Nigeria, its agitators have refused to give up the struggle. This struggle has been aroused by the flagrant refusal of present and past administrations to fully implement the 3Rs of Reconstruction, Reconciliation and Rehabilitation of the Igbos into the mainstream of the Nigerian political affairs.
These until justitiably addressed will continue to pose a threat on the unity and continuity of this country Nigeria, as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign entity as provided by section 2(1) of The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended, 2011.
I urge the government to explore all sorts of peaceful dialogue to resolve the problem posed by this threat rather than resort to the barrels of gun. Nigeria will survive the seige, restiveness and the high rate of unemployment caused by actions and inactions of past and present administration of things.
However as we mark our Independence on this day, 1st October this year marks 57 years of Nigeria being a free nation. It is a day to remember those who fought for and gave up their lives to free Nigeria from British rule. Nigeria’s freedom struggle was a hard-fought one and Independence Day is the day to pledge and to protect the unity and integrity of our country. Independence Day is a national holiday and Nigerians celebrate the day by hoisting the Nigerian bicolour. Many also fly kites, pigeons and sing patriotic songs. On the eve of Independence day, the President addresses the nation in a televised speech.
On Independence Day, the Vice President greets the nation from the ramparts of Aso Rock in FCT, Abuja. Independence Day is also a day to reflect on our nation’s achievements over the past 57 years. It is day to pay salute to all those who became the reason of this land the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Engr. Harbert McCauley, Obafemi Awolowo, His Eminence, Sir. Ahmadu Bello, Ernest Ikoli, Chief Vaugan, Chike Obi, S.L Akintola, Dr. Michael Opara, and Tafawa Balewa of blessed memory who by one way or the other gave their time and resources to the actualisation of the liberty we all enjoy this day.
Happy Independence to all lovers of peace!!
©Alozie Praise Tobechukwu