Is Nigeria Worth Dying For


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Is Nigeria Worth Dying For?




Lambert  Ubochi





May 08, 2005




When you look at the situation of things in the country, especially when the person is not part of the current economic setup, or in another words is not benefiting anything economically from the country, the first thing that comes to ones mind is NO, it does not worth dying for Nigeria, but after long deliberation, one can understand it the other way round, because it’s not only a matter of today but for the future and the generations to come. And dying for ones country does not only mean physical death but as well as ones total commitment to contribute his/her best to improve the standard of living in the country, today, tomorrow and many years to come, thus helping the people and the country in general become more responsible.


I was still a kid when Sonny Okosun asked this question which till day remained unanswered: 'Which way Nigeria?' I want to start by analyzing the current situation of things in the country for you cannot talk of cure without first diagnosing the disease; economically Nigeria is almost in a critical and incomprehensive state, nothing is working, the govt. is here while the people are there, with little or no co-ordination, corruption, poverty, crime, and insecurity is the everyday anthem. People are tired and everybody is now on his/her own fighting hectically to survive, resulting to what some called the survival of the fittest and the die-hards. Solution: I believe the things that hits our country most is corruption with capital flight taking the lead, now the question remains why are the people so corrupt?, what l would like to state here is, if one does not know history then the person will find it very difficult predicting the future; the candid answer to this question is many civil servants including the police are not getting enough as salaries, and when they are not getting enough for themselves and their families, most of them resort to bribery, initially small amounts, and if uncaught continues to ask for more and more until it results to what one can now describe as a national disease, which l probably think requires a radical approach.


a. Vision for a mission!. The federal, states and local govts. should sit on the round table with the workers, NLC or whatever body representing workers to analyze the current economic situation , how much or what it take to survive, i.e. the minimum cost of basketful of food, transportation and other essential rents in the country.

b. The minimum wage and tax: by determining the minimum cost of basketful of food, and other essential rents like accommodation, transportation etc, we can now say how much it takes to maintain a family of 4 or 6, by defining the society govt. ought to give meaning to what is poverty, middle class and the rich, in which everybody will take part, the rich, the middle class, and the poor, pensioners, aged people, students, children and the disables, by my casual estimate it takes about two hundred thousand naira to maintain a family of 4 in Nigeria [#200.000]annually, i.e. husband, wife and two children. So if a family of 4 can not earn up to two hundred thousand naira [#200.000] a year, that family will be considered poor, for instance in a family where the husband works while the wife does not, and he earns about fifteen thousand naira [#15.000] monthly, amounting to one hundred and eighty thousand [#180.000] naira annually, as we can see this man cannot take care of his direct family judging by his salary alone, or where both the man and his wife works but still cannot earn enough to take care of their monthly or annual bills, by my economic calculation this family should not be taxed by either federal, state or local govt, instead his/her salary should be supplemented by twenty thousand [#20.000] naira and above from a special fund from the finance ministry to enable them pay for their essential monthly bills.


Government should start taxing where a family of 4 earns more than two hundred thousand [#200.000] naira and above, i.e. the man earns between seventeen to twenty thousand [#17.000-#20.000] naira and above monthly, or where the man and his wife in total earns enough to take care of their monthly or annual bills [accepted essential commodities], l suggest more research on these figures.


1. #15,000 - #200,000 to be considered poor.

2. #200,000 - #500,000 to be considered low middle class.

3. #500,000 - #10,000,000 to be considered upper middle class.

4. #10,000,000 - #25,000,000 to be considered rich.

5. # 25,000,000 - #70.000.000 to be considered comfortably rich.

6. #70,000,000 and above to be considered the super rich.


Without all these l can say we are only biting about the bush, as one of my economics lecturers once said that any business without profitability is completely none sense. So for now l can say we’re running a sort of inefficient and unprofitable fiscal and monetary policies. Though the new CBN Governor Professor Solodu can be said to be doing a good job by trying to reform the banking sector, but good is not enough when better is possible. A lot of things has been ignored in our economy and this is why things are not yet working out in the country. Common instances: what is the economic meaning of a cup of garri, or beans, rice etc, making it difficult to cross-check cheating, how does our govts. come up with this cups of a thing, even if it was accepted in the past, can’t we see that it's now outdated, all over the world people are selling in kg's, In Nigeria there is no way to determine the price of yam, plantain and many other goods of this nature, the sales men tell you prices by first looking at how you dress, shoes, trousers before deciding whether to sell to you [cheaper or little bit expensive, sometimes the prices can be so exaggerated that you endup nailing yourself by making any offer]. None sense, portraying the level of uncivilization in the society. Now the question: who is to change all these, and that reminds me of one of America’s old films ‘Eddy Murphy coming to America’ where the king after discovering that the prince has decided to marry the girl he found in America in favor of the local princess supported by the tradition, the king knowing that for the prince to marry the American lady, first the culture has to be changed and when he threw the question to the queen on who should change the culture?, in which the queen responded, l thought you are the king. What l'm trying to say here is for any thing to happen in our country our professionals should remember that education is not only about grammars, but about science, and science is about anything that’s imaginable and practicable, [strong ideology] this way we contribute professionally in developing our country, as the late chief Obafemi Awolowo said, ‘traveling is part of education’, and after all our studies we still let primitive things dominate most of our national affairs, there should be a difference between our cities and our villages, if we want the international community to take us serious, we need to make some changes to match the 21st century. As Chistie Essien Igbokwe has once called in vernacular for changes and awareness ‘teta nu n'urah’, and not quite long ago she again now in English called that we should 'wakeup from our slumbers’.


Back to my economic theory: the economy can be described as a motor engine, a new motor engine and old motor engine, it takes engine oil to run an engine as it take money to run the economy, for instance it takes approximately 5 litre’s of engine oil to gage a new engine depending on the size of the engine, whenever the engine is not steaming, the oil lay death at the bottom of the engine pot, and whenever the engine is working the oil will flow up to give moisture to the piston and rings to enable easy passage of the entire engine system, with the gasket in good condition the oil after its work will flow back to the bottom of the engine, the engine can work this way for months without shorting much of the oil, of course after long the oil may get short after which you must add few more oil to get the engine gaged and working. Now lets come to the old engine with cracked piston and rings and bad gasket, like the new engine the old engine as well requires the same starting 5 litres of engine oil to gage, but the difference is when it starts working, because of the cracked piston and rings or bad gasket, most of the oil may get licked, evaporated or things of the sort. The after effect of instead of the five litres of oil flowing back to the bottom of the engine, you could merely get 4 litres within a short period, so to get the engine working properly again you need to be adding daily litres of more engine oil to prevent the engine from knocking [additional money to the economy to prevent bankruptcy]. While over gaging the engine oil i.e. where the supposed oil gage is 5 litres and you pour in 5.5 or 6 litres, which could lead to another mechanical problems, such as plug inefficiency or things of the sort, in economic terms: printing of excess of money, which automatically leads to inflation, which by my calculation supposed not to be the problem in the poorer countries of the world at least for now, as they are yet to gage the engines [as they do not have enough money in their economies]. The only remedy to this problem is either one changes the cracked piston, rings and gaskets or get the whole engine system changed, making it more expensive to maintain. Like the engine, the economy requires a certain amount of money to get it running, one of the ways to find out how much required is:


{a} the population, {b} academic qualifications, {c} the employed, {d} the unemployed, {e} students, {f} pensioners, {g} disables, {h} children, and other international engagements.


By determining how much required to maintain at least a family of 4, help to the widows and families with many children, those whose incomes were not enough to take care of there essential needs, food, cloths and shelter, with this estimates we can approximately say how much the economy requires to be alive, the main point here is not only how to shear money, but how to manage the money, where to spend and how to spend the money. Now it requires a common sense to understand the secret, like this old story ‘there’s a cow and the road or the way forward, whatever, the fool was asked to choose, and he chose the cow, after he finished eating the cow where will he/she walk on. In our country we’ve chosen not to tax the essential commodities like food etc. although one can say there's approximately no well managed taxing system. This is the root of poverty and corruption in the country. lets see an economic explanation to a system where food as one of the essential commodities was chosen by the govt. not to be taxed, you get money or salary, you buy untaxed food from a retail shop, you go home cook and eat the food, tomorrow you may need to buy food again, that’s more money for the foods, but because you did bought untaxed food from an illegitimate food store, the money can be said to have gone underground. Like the old engine in which the oil kept licking and evaporating, here the economy like the old engine can be said its barely functioning by money going underground, that’s unaccounted for in the economy. There’re little or no system connecting the way people get and spent their money with the govt, with the money gone underground and the people needs more money to buy there essential needs, for this to happen govt. needs to provide the people with fresh money as well as to keep the financial system running. As experience has shown govt. cannot always provide this much needed money to the people, the results in which there’re no money, demotion, poverty, illiteracy, hunger and corruption. To effectively tackle this micro and macro-economic problems govt. have to before anything enlighten the people on how the economy works, reduce corruption to minimum to avoid the money being channeled to personal accounts and lastly reduce the level of illegitimate ventures, govt. can run an effective and profitable fiscal policy, the multiplier effect without which whatever we're doing today can be compared with fetching water from the stream with a basket or a licking bucket, pot, whatever, in the long run can be fruitless. This way the country could minimize the present unprofessional approach to past fiscal years.[hard work].


Coming back to the new engine in which everything works perfectly, the people gets their salaries, use the money to buy food from legitimate food stores, and the managements of this legitimate stores returning part of this money to govt. as tax, with money coming in as well as from private enterprises and the rest of the economy, with the money coming in as experience has shown between three to four folds, that’s the multiplier effects, govt. can afford to pay workers salaries year-in year-out. With a system like this govt can choose to expand the economy by providing more to the people through remunerations and other welfare packages.


Like the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair said during one of his campaigns in April 2005 that before in Britain politicians were been chosen based on their academic back grounds, but now politicians are been chosen based on their talents, ability to manage and to perform their duties in office. Today if you look at what is happening in this country you can see we’re just repeating the same mistake the British made many years ago by paying more attention to peoples academic qualification than their ability to work. There should be wise and prudent constitution in our country, constitution that can help educate our people, change us from these unwise acts of politics, such as the incessant court cases, acrimonies and politics of bitterness. Instead the politicians should borrow a leaf from the so called civilized world who had long learned to call to congratulate their political opponents, promise their loyalties, always ready to contribute their best and to support whatever program as a sign of maturity and sophistication, then we can move from court cases to phone calls congratulating our opponents, from disunity to unity of purpose, cordiality and cohesion. "As you can see, there can be collaboration and co-operation. with less distraction, for when you quarrel you are distracted, nothing can be more difficult than working under such condition. Then understanding, love and respect for one another and the society in general, all the time being spent on court cases and confrontations could be channeled to other matters of importance.


Mind is such a wonderful thing to waste: All the grammars we have been hearing from different scholars of different back grounds can be said to be rubbish as long as it’s doing little or nothing to alleviate the suffering of common man in the country, what good we have done to ourselves when we continue to live in mighty mansions when our neighbors cannot afford a bag of cement, and with all our expertise we’re helping them in no way to defeat hunger and poverty, we should be ashamed of ourselves for all the injustice and lack of direction, ‘we must calculate’. There’re no signs of professionalism in what we’re doing, the reason l’m lamenting on these points is l really think its the right time we should stop all this incomprehensive approach to politic and instead concentrate more on hard work, when l say hardwork I do not mean physically but working with our brains and minds, in this 21st century time has passed when people are working in darkness or by their physical strengths alone, we must find modern ways of translating all what we’ve seen and learned into real life, not only grammars on papers but we should strive to make all these a reality, from budget planning to meaningful fiscal and monetary policies, only this way we can succeed in changing the faces of things in this country, grammars, expensive cloths, big offices, big cars, mighty mansions are rubbish as long as our people continues to live in poverty, hopelessness with no clear imagination of the future.


The secret of good political and economic management are in the constitution and in the laws of the country, we need a change and we should do it now as procrastination can be dangerous, yes we have passed through many vicissitudes but as l’ve always told my friends, it doesn’t matter what happened but what you learned from what happened. If someone says your face shines, it doesn’t matter until it shines, there’s always solution to all problem, the difficulties in our country are solvable, from lack of money to pay workers salaries to all sorts of budget deficits, enough is a enough, lets crack our brains a bit so we in our life time can help alleviate these burdens in our land.


When Nigerians starts having money to spend, everybody, as the old saying goes 'what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander'. With more money in the hands of the people there will be strong demand and purchasing power, then the effect of a population of more than 130 million people will be seen and investors knowing that the demands are there will not be afraid to invest their money. 'Many years after independence we still find it hard to stand, which way Nigeria?, so Nigeria will stand'. All eyes are on us as we remain the most populous black nation on earth, blessed with all sorts of natural resources from God, with abundant human resources. Fellow Nigerians, l think the ball is now on our court, we should all wake up from our slumbers, so together we shall sail to victory as no condition is permanent.




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