Just like every other country, we are blessed, I mean really blessed. Oh, Nigeria my country; from different interesting ethnic groups and tribes. Our strength is in our diversity, beliefs, and views.
Nigeria, blessed with brains and enough rains to grow our grains. Right from the civil war to the military rule.
Series of governance from heads of states to different Nigerian presidents, high prices of goods and services with no gratitude to elder inflation, diseases like Ebola, etc.
We deserve some accolades for the lot we have gone through and survived but really? Can we not do more than survive?
Ranked the largest oil-producing country in Africa, with various oil and gas companies, it is an understatement to say it is embarrassing that Nigeria is one of the leading poorest countries in the world.
Hmm, what a qualification!
How did we depreciate to this level? What happened to the ray of hope seen? Who reduced the flame combustion rate? Tell me, how did we get here?
It was narrated to have started in the year 1903 when intensive search for oil began in Nigeria. Unfortunately for Nigerian Bitumen Corporation, World War I drew lines and halted work.
By 1914, following amalgamation, the crown already had an interest in Nigerian oil; cunningly, they made it a legal property of the crown.
Back then, licenses were to be gotten before oil exploration could be done anywhere in Nigeria. Of course, Petroleum Profit Tax and other forms of taxes kicked in.
And so D’Arcy Exploration Company and Whitehall Petroleum got the permission to do an ultimate search for oil but they had to return the licenses as there was no forthcoming related success.
Shell D’arcy Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria was given a better license in 1937, a license that granted them access all over Nigeria.
To cut the long story short, contrary to the popular history, oil was discovered in Akata, near Eket although what was discovered was not commercially viable.
It was not until three years later, Shell BP found oil in commercial quantities at Oloibiri, Nigeria.
No time to waste time and so production began the following year, and in the year Nigeria got her independence she started selling oil to other countries.
The exportation business was booming and demand was high, so it was not surprising when foreign bodies came to my country to explore more oil.
Also Read: What is an oil rig and how is oil rigged?
Still a child country that did not really know what to do with the money after so many constraints, suffering, and hardships, we kept depleting what we got and bore more holes into the ground for treasures.
The Nigerian government itself has not been of much help till date as most Nigerian government officials are still the major shareholders in the oil profits.
Quite unfortunate that the masses that make up higher percentage of the country barely have a taste of the crumbs that falls to the floor.
The differences in ethnicity became obvious and it was not deniable anymore that although oil was found in the south east and its proceeds blessed the country.
The desert owning side were the ones given preference when it came to power…it was not a fair sharing and that was how the fight began and escalated to a civil war.
Following this war, the oil industry was the grass that suffered when the elephants fought, there was less crude production between the year 1966 – 1968; it was as though MMM crashed.
During Gowon military reign under given order, the 1969 petroleum decree was put in place and the equally shared oil revenues between federal and states were disrupted.
The federal government was favored more than others. The oil boom that lasted throughout the 1970s saw mismanagement or should I say bad management under the military rule and became tinted.
It was just oil as a pure source of revenue but a breeding place for corruption, a catalyst for prevalent shady dealings by those in power.
The oil revenue popularly called national cake is served to the exclusively invited.
By 1974, the government became more involved in the oil industry and the following year they took 80% of the oil profit.
Ranked as the largest oil producing country in Africa, it is an understatement to say it is embarrassing that it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
It is said that over 50 million Nigerians are living below a Nigerian prisoner’s meal daily. How did such a bright future have to end up like this with fragments of hope for a better tomorrow?
No one is perfect they say and it is also said you find strength in managing your weakness but alas! Nigeria realized things too late.
We relied heavily on oil, the oil industry has been our spinal cord for too long and still is with petroleum as our oxygen pipe so it was inevitable we landed on a wheelchair, searching for a solution with the corner of our eyes while still leaning on oil to wheel us around.
We became mono-cultured, relied heavily on petroleum, we failed to explored other opportunities like tourism, and haven’t invested in science and technology.
Nigerian became a downloading country and not an uploading one. We download/import already made items and fail to create products that solve real problems of the world.
How many inventors do we have in Nigeria? With our so called oil money how have we made Nigeria a better place?
The agricultural sector was neglected leading to rendering the rural population poor. The presence of the oil made Nigerians forget the works of her hands. Meanwhile, there are lots of agricultural business ideas to boost.
Destroying the soil, polluting the land, and degrading the environment; in search of one out of many treasures of the country.
The strength that could be used in productive ways is directed towards destructive militant measures.
This forgetfulness has brought appalling poverty level into our once blessed country and the hymn we sing now is titled the ‘oil boom that became our doom’.
The Way Forward?
I think you’re a great thinker, we all are, only if given the right resources, knowledge and exposure can we do what?
Could there be a turn around? What’s the way forward? Let’s have it from you, let’s rub minds in the comment box below