By Akinrinmade Bodunrin
It is no more news that Nigeria’s economy has depended largely on crude oil for over 3 decades. People have been clamouring for diversification of the economy but unfortunately little has been done by our political leaders and even us the masses. It was not a surprise to me that the economy is suffering as a result of this overdependence on crude oil in wake of the recent dwindling oil price. To make this matter worse the recent budget written by the present government depends largely on crude oil. It is obvious that, when the values of an asset (returns) increases, the risk goes higher and vice-versa. It is also glaring when the value of an asset increases, the potential appreciation goes down and vice-versa. Nigeria is a nation that has a lot of intellectuals that understands all these simple logics. Will I say it is our self-interest that made us not to do the right thing? Well, that’s not the major reason for writing this article.
The big question we need to ask ourselves is that; “how can we prick this oil bubble and get a better source of revenue in Nigeria?” The pressure is not only on the government to diversify the economy but the pressure is on all the citizens of Nigeria to stand up to their feet and think of better ways of getting out of this conundrum that occurred because of our colossal mistakes.
I am a person that firmly believes in human capital theory. This theory emphasizes how education increases the productivity and efficiency of workers by increasing the cognitive skills possessed by the work force and therefore increases their earning capacity. It suggested that the number of years in education is what matters, not the degree. Development of human capital in Nigeria is paramount. It would be a great idea if Nigeria emulates China by developing their Human capital. There is a need for the government and the masses to encourage the use of computers. How can we achieve this? The integration of computer studies into the curriculum at all levels of education is a tremendous idea. All students must learn how to operate computers from basic education level down to tertiary education level. It’s not a bad idea to make computer studies a compulsory subject or course for every field of education. Teachers should be encouraged to use computers for teaching and learning. In order to make these teachers have knowledge of how to operate computer gadgets, the government can collaborate with the private sectors to organize a programmme that would train teachers on how to use computer gadgets. It should be indicated inside the educational policy and criteria for selecting teachers that computer literacy is important. All these would ensure students and teachers use computers which will enhance their skills. In fact, I believe if a programme like “one teacher, one laptop” is organized then the use of technology is going to be promoted in Nigeria. It is a great idea to have Nigerians that would be able to learn new things and innovate new ways of doing things through the use of computer. Therefore, the training of teachers and students to use computer is a form of human capital investment that would promote the skills of Nigerians. I would suggest an idea whereby Nigeria would have skillful labour that would encourage foreign investors to establish good companies in Nigeria.
Agriculture is another way of generating revenue in Nigeria. Nigerians know that farming is a way to diversify the economy but we still focus on crude oil. Well, it is disheartening that Nigerians are too liable to fall into dogmatism. We have been telling ourselves a story that as returns or value of oil is getting higher, the risk is getting lower. We have forgotten that the assumption is not right. If we were conscious of the fact that as the returns or value of oil is getting higher, the risk is getting higher then Nigerian would have diversified the economy not through word of mouth but by putting stated plans into action. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for all the six geo-political zones to specialize in different agricultural activities. For example, if the south west zone focuses on production of cocoa it would be of great advantage to Nigeria. Cocoa is a farm product that every nation needs in the world. What makes this idea astonishing is that farming has been mechanized. I see people investing in agriculture and technology making a huge money very soon.
Israel and Dubai are countries that focus on tourism to get revenue. If Nigeria can give attention to tourism, then there should be diversification of the economy. We have great histories and traditional leaders that most nations would love to know about in Nigeria. I could remember when I saw the movie that talked about the existence of Oduduwa in Ile-Ife, I was really impressed. We have resources to build a mind-blowing Hotel on the sea like in Dubai. When I also saw a movie titled October 1, then I concluded that Nigeria has great culture and tourist centre that we can turn into source of revenue.
I would end this article with saying of a diminutive Greek philosopher; Socrates, who said true wisdom is knowing you are not wise and the greatest knowledge is knowing you don’t know. We should keep probing our belief and assumptions. We should keep asking questions when necessary. I believe if we put this Socratic impulses into our lives, we would not fall into the trap of narrative thinking or dogmatism.
Hence, I would expect people to probe into this article and look for better ways to savage our nation from this unwanted situation.
AkinrinmadeBodunrinIfeoluwa was born and brought up in Ondo town. He studied Educational Management at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko. He graduated as the second best student in his department. He’s a researcher on Afribary.com. He published articles and one full academic project on Afribary.com. He has a few online and professional qualifications. He writes and hopes to affect peoples’ life positively. He’s currently completing his master’s degree in University of Ibadan.