THE NEED FOR ATTITUDINAL CHANGES ON THE PART OF NIGERIANS — CONSUME NIGERIA MADE PRODUCTS & PROMOTE THE WELL-BEING OF THE COUNTRY: Who says nothing good can come out of Nigeria? For those of us who believe stoutly in the Nigeria project, it is going to happen as promised by the Lord that other nations will soon start trooping to Nigeria to enjoy the good things of life. A few outstanding events obtruded themselves in the past few days that further bolster our hope in the future of this great leading African nation. They are news we should be spreading for all in the world to know the positive sides of the most populous black nation in the world. And coincidentally, the two personalities involved are members of the female gender these days when awareness about the positive potentials of women is being championed by the whole world.
TERRIFIC HEADLINES classifies these award winning personalities as MADE IN NIGERIA products, specially made by God in Nigeria to impact the whole world. Young 28-year-old Ayodeji Osowobi emerged the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year for her initiative titled: ‘’Stand to End Rape’’, the first Nigerian recipient of such prestigious honour. She won the award on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, and she was presented the gong by Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth secretary-general the Commonwealth Secretariat’s London headquarters. Osowobi defeated 15 other nominees to be picked as the winner. Interestingly, the award has a global relevance — According to The Cable, “The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work aim to raise the profile and highlight the contribution young people make to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
And in the United States where thousands of Nigerian professionals are making waves, Nigeria shone brilliantly as the country is wont to do in the Diaspora when Dehlia Umunna became the first Nigerian to be appointed a Professor in Harvard School of Law. Umuna, 43 years old was appointed Clinical Professor of Law.at the prestigious Harvard Law School. She reportedly started working at Harvard Law School in 2007 and she is also Deputy Director and Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) If the Western media fails to blow the trumpet loud enough for the whole world to see the positive sides of our dear country like they should, patriotism demands that we do so for the sake of posterity and as part of our social responsibility duty. The fact remains that Nigerians are indeed excellent people and Nigeria has the potential to be great and to become a First World nation before too long. TERRIFIC HEADLINES is happy about these developments because they tally with the social development campaign that we are spearheading – FAMILIES & PARENTS OF VIRTUES & VALUES.
NIGERIA MADE PRODUCTS & SERVICE: The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment is working strenuously to encourage the development of Nigerian Made products and services. There is an urgent need for all Nigerians at home and abroad to promote Nigeria’s points of view on development, and project our cultural legacies and success stories. Just as our products and service are being projected as some of the best, we need to repackage ourselves and our country for repositioning as an emerging economy. For several years monitoring a government’s investment promotion desk, I ran into very patriotic Nigerians abroad, brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. Many of them have already cultivated prospective investors they packaged for investment meetings with government officials visiting from home. On a few occasions while coordination a state government’s investment promotion desk, I met lots of Nigerians abroad who wanted to relocate home immediately. And many of these patriotic people are prepared to put their money into ventures that could improve our collective well-being. It never came as a surprise that many of them had foreign partners they were willing to convince to come and invest in Nigeria. I found some interested in ethanol-biomass projects, cassava products industries and even solid minerals.
ENCOURAGEMENT: RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL: Expectedly, they wanted assurances that their investments would be safe that was freely given. The thought struck me that ideally the best in our society should be reserved for Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. This is why Nigerians without valid employment authorization may not be found on the employment queue in the United Kingdom, or near Employment Authorization Agencies in the United States, except they are permitted by the laws of foreign nations. There are regimented rules in operation in those societies that reserve the best for their citizens. When President Muhammadu Buhari last year approved of the policy of RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL, I was extremely happy and I devoted ample space to treating this very important issue. Why? Apart from the fact that the decision has to be made fully popular at home through proper public enlightenment, our people abroad must also be assured that government recognises their worth and the importance of their collaborating with their brothers and sisters at home to boost our economy. As the sayong goes: ‘’East or West, Home is the best’’.
Happily, government is operating the policy of Nigerians first, which makes it possible for Nigerian investors and our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to be accorded the Right of First Refusal in participating in economic development of the nation. This is also applicable to contracts, employment and other spheres of endeavour. Where there are qualified and capable Nigerians available, the door is closed to foreign interests. I believe that Nigerians should willingly (they cannot be coerced) develop greater sense of patriotism by purchasing Made in Nigeria goods and services. Officials of the Commodities & Products Inspectorate Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment are working strenuously to meet the stipulated presidential mandate on home made products and services. Where there are Nigerian banks, use them. Where there are Nigerian dresses, wear them. This helps to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve with the attendant advantage of moving towards a self-dependent economy, increase employment opportunities, increase domestic production, and ultimately, the standard of living of all Nigerians. I will be asking for the permission of the officials to publish their contact details so that our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora could contact them directly and work things out. It is also important for all of us to become ambassadors of Nigeria anytime we travel out.
- Boost the economy
- Correct imbalance in the economy
- Source of encouragement for producers of locally made items
- Encourage State and local governments to join the campaign
- Evidently, there is a great need for governments at all levels to show serious commitment to providing the necessary and required enabling environment for the full exploitation of the potentials of the various sub-sectors of the national economy.
SIGNIFICANCE: Sometimes, one wonders if we all really know the importance of our dear country in global economy and politics. Nigeria is the largest black nation in the world, harbouring over twenty percent of the population of Africa. The strategic position and influence of Nigeria in Africa, over the decades, place great demands, burden and strains on the country as a model for several other African nations. Nigeria is widely regarded as the engine of the economy of West-Africa, a motivator of the African Union, and the catalyst of African renaissance. Such is the importance of Nigeria in global politics that it is believed that whatever happens in Nigeria has the possibility of reverberating to other nations in the continent. Nigeria is abundantly endowed with human and material resources that could sustain a broad-based growth and development. Nigeria’s economy constitutes 76 per cent of the economy of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. Nigeria also holds 30 per cent of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa, and 21 per cent of Africa’s economy.
AN INFLUENTIAL NATION: The country boasts of the highest pool of highly educated and trained manpower in Africa, in addition to its large population which offers the largest market for investors in Africa. Poor management of the almost limitless and vast human and material resources available over the years has been identified as the bane of Nigeria since independence. From a steadily growing economy sustained by agriculture over four decades ago, the revenue accruing to the nation grew rather steeply, giving rise to the phenomenon of over-reliance on crude oil for economic development. It has been established that Development Plans have could fail if they have been drawn without reference to the target population; thus making it impossible for the citizenry to understand policies and programmes. This compilation invites attention pointedly to the fact that Nigeria can develop phenomenally, only if all Nigerians take proper steps to reposition the country for greatness. It is coming at a period when Government is focusing intensely on the diversification of the economy and substantial gains have been recorded in the past few years.
THE POLICY OF RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL & WHY WE MUST EMBRACE NIGERIA MADE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES: From all indications, Nigeria can be greater that it is at the moment with the cooperation of the government and the governed. Some of the ingredients required, apart from good governance are the can-do-spirit, patriotism and a collective resolve to make Nigeria great by Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora. If we must go for foreign consultants, lobbyists, first let first us go for other Nigerians in the Diaspora who prefer to will reinvest a substantial part of their profits in Nigeria’s economy. Instead of CNN, let’s look in the direction of our local cable networks that could be grown into voices of African nations. We will report ourselves better than how other nations report activities and people of Nigeria. For soft magazines, let’s look at what Dele Momodu’s Ovation has to offer, and for news, Folu Olamiti’s online publication and others, such that all foreign advertisements would have to be planted in Nigerian local media by foreigners for them to have any effect and reach the target audience in Africa. When we require expert counsel on the aviation industry, let us fish out people in the mould of Dr. Harold Demuren, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye and Mr. Chris Aligbe and other knowledgeable experts for preliminary consultations. Our professionals abroad could be engaged in consultancy services that require employing foreign experts and be made to reinvest at least 50 percent of profits in Nigeria. That would reduce capital flight and contribute to the growth of our economy. When we find no local expert that is competent, them we invite foreigners.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF POLICY OF MADE IN NIGERIA PRODUCTS & SERVICES The standard of living will improve drastically; reduce dependence on oil revenue for survival, Encourage production of cash crops that yield huge foreign exchange as palm oil, cashew, cocoa, soya beans, rubber, rice, petrochemical, leather, ginger, cotton, and Shea butter, bring buyers and sellers together; increase awareness, and creation of jobs and employment opportunities
NIGERIA’S TREASURES: We must sell Nigeria as the foremost investment destination in Africa. We must also sell our professionals as some of the best in the world; and indeed, they are. Our country boasts of the highest pool of highly educated and trained manpower in Africa. This is in addition to our large population which offers the largest market for investors in Africa. This makes it possible for a serious discussion with airline operators coming into Africa to use Nigeria as their base. Some experts in the Aviation sector who are very professional and patriotic are out there and could even bring up Policy Papers on its practicability. I am talking about people like Dr. Harold Demuren, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye and Mr. Chris Aligbe. But we must be prepared to do away with State of origin and adopt the cosmopolitan approach and jettison other mundane considerations that create bureaucratic bottlenecks. Would it be right for instance to utilize the Ibadan Airport for trips to the West African sub-region; utilize Abuja for trips to other African nations and Lagos for trips to the West. This will radically decongest the Murtala Muhammed and Nnamdi Azikiwe Airports considerably. These are simple thoughts of a layman. Please pardon me if it is unworkable or illogical in the thoughts of experts.
NIGERIAN INVENTORS: Let us first discuss the potentials of Nigeria, starting with notable inventors. Late Prof. Ayodele Awojobi, a genius in the field of Mechanical Engineering invented a motor vehicle that had steering wheels at both the front and back and could be controlled at both ends. Philip Emeagwali lives in the United States and is recognized worldwide and has been voted “Father of Supercomputing” and nicknamed Nigeria’s Bill Gates” According to reports, he is ranked No:1 in computing, and graded first by Google for “contribution to the development of the computer.” Bart Nnaji, a professor and former Minister of the Federal Republic holds a Doctorate in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the United States. He is reputed to be one of the innovators of the ‘’E-design concept.’’ Mohamed Bah Abba developed the Pot-in-Pot Preservation Cooling System in the 1990s. He received the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2001, and used his US$75,000 award to make the invention available throughout Nigeria. I am yet to sight any of the products that could be used in the rural areas in any of our stores.
Rtd Brig-Gen Oviemo Ovadje OVIEMO OVADJE, as medical doctor and a soldier, was declared the Best African Scientist in 1995 before African Heads of States, when he won the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Gold Medal for scientific work designed to save women who usually die from abnormal pregnancy called Ectopic Gestation. Prof. Gabriel Oyibo sponsored research and made several contributions in aircraft design, aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, mathematics and taught several courses in the United States. Saheed Adepoju is the Co-founder of Encipher Limited, a Nigerian-based technology company that introduced the first android-powered tablet into Nigeria. Seyi Oyesola, a medical doctor is credited with co-invention of Compact or the “Hospital in a Box”, a solar-powered life-saving operating room which can be transported to remote areas of Africa and set up within minutes. Jelani Aliyu did wonders for General Motors’ leading auto brand, Chevrolet Volt. He soon got a placement at General Motors, the second largest vehicle manufacturer in the world. He claims that the company did not request for his credentials before allowing him to work for them. He is credited as the team lead for the exterior design of the Pontiac G6 and worked on the Astra.
INVENTIONS GALORE: Another United States based Nigerian, Cyprian Emeka Uzoh holds more than 126 United States issued patents and over 160 patents worldwide in semi-conductor technology including U.S. Patent No. 6709562, “method of making electroplated inter-connection structures on integrated circuit chips”, which earned him the inventor of the year award in 2006 from the New York Intellectual Property Association. Shehu Saleh Balami is the designer of a solid-fuel rocket. And he has been able to build his first rocket which he later modified in 2011. The solid-fuel rocket was produced under the auspices of the Movement for the Propagation of Science and Technology in Nigeria. Yemi Adesokan, a Nigerian born and United States-based founder of Pathogenica Inc. Medical experts; are of the view that his innovation may bring an end to the problem of drug resistance in the world, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Aloysius Anaebonam, a Georgia States based scientist holds about 12 United States patents in pharmacy. Brino Gilbert is the inventor of the Counter Collision Gadget (CCG), a device that has the capacity to prevent accidents on the road, air, sea and rail. He spent 10 years seeking government attention for his research and approached several groups and individuals for sponsorship. His vision is to make CCG exportable to many countries of the world. If only these patents were made in Nigeria and for Nigeria by these great Nigerians, we would be better economically today.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: A few years ago, this writer had a first-class experience of how the Peoples’Republic of China had moved rapidly to develop its alternative medicine to the fancy of the world. In company with a few other Nigerians, we visited the popular TIANANMEN SQUARE IN BEIJING, and subjected ourselves to diagnosis akin to general medical check-up by alternative medical practitioners, who with the ordinary specialized touch of each of the three vessels, through which blood runs through each wrist, diagnosed ailments perfectly. We were informed that each vein leads to, and services one organ each, in the human system. We were amazed by the accuracy of the diagnosis but decided to test the authenticity. The following day, two of us were told to repeat the visit for the same type of medical check-up at the same facility, for the purpose of ascertaining the genuineness of the results of our local Chinese medical examination. They met different medical practitioners who conducted tests and issued the same results! Some of us thought the physicians were probably wizards and witches imbued with spiritual powers. But we were very wrong.
NIGERIA’S DRY BONES SHALL RISE AGAIN. God spoke a few decades ago through Rev SG Elton, a missionary who lived and died for Nigeria that “Nigeria will suffer, afterwards, however, Nigeria will overcome the predicaments and all countries of the world will defer to it for its success and righteousness. ”The tide will turn and Nigeria will also be known for righteousness worldwide.” If God said it, HE cannot lie. But we must not fold our arms because God promised. We must be prepared to work harder to move Nigeria into her destiny.
Please spread the news about the good policy of RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL to Nigerians at home and all over the world, and also patronising NIGERIA MADE PRODUCTS and SERVICES. Let us all join hands to take Nigeria to the highest heights possible. It will happen if we work harder for us to move Nigeria into her destiny.
(TO BE CONTINUED)