There is no more crude Oil in “Eastern” Nigeria than the Oil in “Western” Nigeria. The bulk of the black gold, is in the Nigerian Niger River Delta region, called the South South states. More importantly however, please do a check listing of the developed countries of the world today and you will discover that even Japan, the world’s number one car maker, does not have any crude Oil deposit of substance. There is no crude Oil deposit anywhere in Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. Neither does India have any crude Oil. Even China is a net importer of crude Oil.
For all there is on ground in Nigeria today, the crude Oil of the Nigerian South South, may actually be more of a curse than a blessing to the majority of Nigerians, including even the sons and daughters of the Oily region. Our neglect of industrialisation and Agriculture, as well as virtual abandonment of functional education and learning, as everybody seeks to live on Commissions, has turned us in to a nation of traders and rent collectors. Let the truth be told, from now till eternity, traders and commissioned agents, will always be slaves of manufacturers and owners.
Crude Oil has turned the hitherto naturally hard-working, technically-minded people of the Nigerian South East into unskilled hustlers and mere sellers of fake and genuine manufactured goods from everywhere in the world. Their quest for money to “remain in business” has also unwittingly turned them into the largest group of dangerous drug peddlers in Africa. The South Easterners as a people have become a nation of anything goes, where just a few elders and a sprinkle of younger ones, know and preach what should be acceptable moral standards in every sphere of life. The contribution of most young people from that part of the country on public media space, today makes one wonder whether the great Zik and others like Prof. Ben Nwabueze and Chief Emeka Anyaoku, are from the same South Eastern lands.
The Yoruba‘s of the South West have literally abandoned the scholarly disposition which their fore-bearers were noted for, even more than a century ago. Today’s Yoruba descendants of Nigeria’s first Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants, brilliant Writers, Journalists, Historians and outstanding Public Administrators, now have only trickles to contribute to the world of Arts and Learning. The very poor in the very productive lands which nurtured virtually every thing “first in Africa”, now literally breeds more land rustlers, ruffians and bus park and market touts, than it breeds Cocoa.
The northern Nigerian lands which have the capacity to feed Africa’s 400 million people, is today unable to feed less than 100 million northern Nigerians, talk less of Nigeria’s 180 million people. The land of the awe-inspiring Groundnut Pyramids have become parched killing fields of terrorist-minded suicide bombers and terrified normally peace-loving citizens. There are today more northern youths on the streets, than on the farms. Yet the northern Nigerian farmlands are today even better nourished with fertiliser and water, than when their fore-bearers tilled the land with pride and produced enough to cause massive mountains of groundnuts and Beniseed waiting for trains to cart them to the Ports in Lagos for export. Today’s poor descendants of yesterday’s poor farmers in northern Nigeria, have become generally even poorer than their poor parents in all spheres. To worsen things, many there have embraced extreme religious and political ideologies that their fathers would never even discuss.
Yes thankfully, there are still flashes of gold in mud, that a handful of persons in politics and business from across all Nigerian tribes have become in today’s Nigeria. But misplaced arguments about political marginalization and disproportionate attention to the appropriation of local natural resources by the Nigerian federal government, has tended to blur the recognition of the bane of Nigeria’s economic development. This bane, I posit, is mindless greed, crass opportunism and thoughtless waste of opportunities, by supposed Nigerian leaders, across all ages and across all tribes. Between themselves, just like within groups of robbers and kidnappers, when Nigerian leaders are pillaging the country, they do not complain about marginalization.