Prince Justice J Faloye
Millions across Nigeria pray fervently every day for prosperity and against enemies, yet we remain the poverty capital of the world. Some say our brand of Abrahamic religions robs us of critical analysis. After a long sojourn abroad, coming home to be woken up everyday by fervent morning prayers, eventually made me accost one of the loudest voices, that of an househelp. I genuinely asked her what she really wanted from God, what was her vision and it’s obstacles, promising to help if possible. She opened her palms helplessly and responded, ‘he should just bless me oo’. What about the enemies? She didn’t know specifically but believed they were the ones hampering her visionless dreams?
This type of spiritual slavery is also prevalent in the collective, as Tinubu stated that it was the spirit of courage that took over him on the podium that made him announce the removal of all fuel subsidies at once, contrary to his manifesto with well laid plans of phased subsidy removal depending on Dangotes refinery production. Fela rightly linked the suffering and smiling in our religious personal lives to the collective suffering and smiling nationwide. Yet, nearly 50yrs later, we are being given baseless hope that the current hardship caused by Tinubus neo-liberal economic policies of fuel subsidy removal and devaluation would miraculously lead to economic prosperity. The how and when we don’t know?
With the Naira to devalued to the point that a Naira to a dollar is heading to over a N1000, Pounds Sterling nosing towards N1500, our imported petrol will pass N1000, grinding the economy to halt due to cost push inflation? How Tinubu’s planned 300% increase in taxation and removal of government subsidies spur economic growth, when the very sector, the private sector that needs money for investment is drained by a government that doesn’t do business. Who will create the jobs, or better still can government jobs distributed mainly through partisanship and nepotism provide more jobs than private investors and industrialization?
Tinubu raised tax revenue (IGR) by 500% in Lagos with no corresponding increase in social welfare or change in our colonial styled economy based on retailing of imports and light manufacturing and processing of foods, beverages and tobacco. The only change in the Lagos economy in the last decade is globally inspired digital economy, through the likes of Instagram and other global social media networks that spurred our digital retail marketing, as well as international ideas like Uber that brought about internet ordered transport and delivery services. With no government support, the youth that had relied on internet scams gradually moved into digital services also buoyed by Afrobeats and Nollywood. That the unemployed youth of Yaba became the silicon valley of Africa was out of necessity is the mother of invention mantra. Nevertheless, though the IT sector could increase income for a few, it often replaces jobs in the retail, transport and other industries.
In 24yrs of his Lagos hegemony, he never provided the key to industrialization, Railways, being the largest contraption of iron and petrochemicals, which could also resolve the traffic that costs Lagos 20% of it’s production, not to talk of pollution and quality of life. Instead all we got in Lagos was an agbero political economy. On a lower level, an agbero doesn’t care whether the car needs a new tire or repairs, his job is to collect money and distribute to the driver, unions, law enforcement etc. Tinubu’s Elite agbero Omo onile rent seeking governance perspective is not about increasing nor improving the scale of production but to share what’s on ground. Kilo wan le, e gbe kini yi wa, whats on ground, bring it let’s share it.
Like the Abrahamic Pastors and Imams that use religion to sell people visionless hope, Tinubu uses tribalism and personal greed, backed by political thugs, terrorists and now institutional violence. There are a few truly Eurocentric misguided proponents of Tinubu’s neo-liberal economic policies but they have no logical ground to stand. Those that propound theories backing removal of subsidies and devaluation can’t show us a single nation that became developed or industrialized by applying these measures anywhere in the Global South. The same IMF structural policies in the Eighties led to the destruction of 66 African and Black Caribbean economies, which were only revived by Chinese investment from 1999.
They can’t show us how these policies ever helped UK, USA, Korea, Japan and the rest of them. Or even one instance where IMF/World Bank advocated such destructive polices to any of the White nations when their economies are in trouble. Why are USA, UK and France fighting oil wars costing trillions in the Middle East, if not to keep the oil prices low for their economy and people, but $10b is too much a subsidy to spend for a $500b economy and 200m people? Why do all these advanced nations make welfare payments to the poor and unemployed? Why do they heavily subsidize agriculture and the millionaire farmers to the point that they subsidize each cow more than the cost price of one cow in Africa? The neo-liberal economists should take a running jump after the slave ships into the blue seas with these racist economic theories that prescribe agriculture as the means to industrialization, instead of the military industrial complex from railways!
Putting aside the lame propaganda of an additional 500,00 hectares to be committed to agriculture by Tinubu federal government that constitutionally doesn’t own land, it is mental slavery through coloniality of knowledge to continue pushing the rhetoric that increased Agriculture and agro-allied industries can bring about heavy industrialization needed to employ tens of millions of youth to wipe out poverty. If you plant yams, all you will develop are yams snacks and food processing, not electronic industries. If you plant oranges and other fruits, all you will get are soft drinks and beverages industries, not car factories. The only thing that can spur heavy industrialization is the iron and petrochenical production systems of railways whose byproducts and skills will spur the growth of related heavy industries.
Nigeria currently ranks fifth in the world and highest in Africa in value added agriculture indices. China – $1.23trillion, India – $487 billion, USA – $196 billion, Indonesia – $145 billion, Nigeria – $104 billion, Brazil – $85 billion followed by Pakistan, Russia, Japan etc. Nigeria ranks high in the world because we have more than averagely exploited all the multiplier effects tied to Agriculture, especially with Foods, Beverages and Tobacco manufacturing subsector that is the largest contributor to our manufacturing gross domestic production. However, the utilization of our Agriculture sector, it has not been able to provide the required employment for our huge population.
It is only heavy manufacturing that can provide jobs for the tens of millions unemployed, whereby a single company can provide a million jobs on its own, like railways, arms and aircraft industries sectors in USA and other advanced nations. The foundation for these type of industries is not mega agricultural farms that are often mechanized, but in the construction of an expansive railway system.
In Yoruba philosophy and spiritual sciences, common sense shows it entails laying Ogun rails to nearly every neighborhood for it to reproduce various steel and petrochemical industries. Ogun, iron is the blood that circulates every minerals in our body and made us function like humans. When we became a collective, it was iron tools used to develop agriculture that fed our civilization. Therefore, without the need of closing our eyes and praying to an Abrahamic God for what is in us, to facilitate our mega population collective transportation and economic development, it is only Ogun that can do.
For an industrial takeoff, Tinubu needs an accelerated building of three West to East lines – Lagos to Calabar, Ilorin to Yola and Sokoto to Maiduguri, which will spread organically to every nook and corner and reconnect our civilizational economics discarded for the North to South railways to coast colonial economics. While every job created in agriculture has a multiplier effect of creating about 2 other jobs in related industries, every job created in railways has a multiplier effect of creating 20 other jobs in other steel and petrochemical industries. But our politicians and academicians are stuck in the slave plantation economics mentality of providing raw materials to our Western Masters in the blind hope of heaven on Earth.
Felas Colomentality, academically known as Coloniality, affects every aspect of the Black Race. We have coloniality of knowledge sources, whereby our leadership models are dependent on Western approval and acknowledgement through their academic, business and media institutions. We have coloniality of power sources whereby we adopt governance models from the West, and fail to correct the maligned institutions left behind after decolonization like the army, Judiciary and neocolonial guards. We have coloniality of being due to our cultural derailment through colonial epistemicide that results in not knowing our true identity as a bonafide civilization and global relevance. We have coloniality of the ecosystem whereby we produce cash crops and raw materials just to fulfill the needs of the Western Powers and consume everything from the West as they dictate the fashion and trends.
Ultimately, Tinubu is a child of coloniality, and all he has to offer is Abrahamic heaven while he continues to make hell out of our current existence. Suffer suffer for world, enjoy for Heaven…