Tag Archives: industrialization

Tinubu’s Sufferhead Abrahamic Hope

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…

Political, cultural or economic restructuring, which comes first?

Prince Justice Faloye

Dr Roger Amos in his book, The Blueprint of Black Power made the statement that Culture, the way we do things, is tied to Politics, the way we organize to do things, and Economics, the means used to achieve things. So can we really have political restructuring that will empower Nigerians without tangible economic and cultural restructuring? Some political restructuring advocates will say let’s get the political restructuring that we have been on for decades first, then we would restructure the rest. Like Kwame Nkrumah landmark statement, “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all else will be added upon you”. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case with Ghana, Nigeria and 50 other political kingdoms since independence over 60yrs ago. Studies have shown that decolonization was the easier part, a political restructuring process, but coloniality of knowledge, power and ecology were much difficult to tackle as we remain unfulfilled.

The question arises whether or not Black Africans, especially Nigeria the leading African nation, really understood the chains used to arrest their political and economic development. The White colonists first went for cultural restructuring, committing epistemicide by misinterpreting and denigrating our traditional knowledge banks with 1861 Yoruba Bibles, the missionary schools and institutions. Mental and spiritual enslavement. Then, they undertook economic restructuring by changing the credit system with opening their first bank in 1894 and most important in 1896 set out to change the trade routes by building two North to South railways to empty our land of cash crops and dump their manufactured goods across the land. Economic enslavement. Only then did they take over Northern and Southern Protectorates from the Royal Niger Company in 1900, and amalgamated and created their political kingdom that they named Nigeria in 1914. So we appear to be taking the wrong structuralist route. .

Political restructuring/constitutional amendments have been the hottest political discourse since 1999 and eventually culminated in the 2014 Confab, which proposed about 600 resolutions/constitutional amendments , among which are state police, fiscal federalism, reduction of the items on the exclusive list that has resulted in a unitary overcentralized government. Following the Confab, the Late indefatigable Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere spokesman even increased the tempo of agitations further. To the casual observer, it should be a case of legislators discussing the issues, and for the president to push with executive powers.

However, there are different regional agendas jostling for beneficial terms specific to their region and most important there are two civilizational blocs in Nigeria – the Original African civilization of the South and Middlebelt whose groups share common genetic and cultural origins and linkages, as well as common aspirations cultural freedom, and the Northern Afroasiatic civilization that are products of different waves of Asiatic imperialism but unified with Islam. To get political restructuring through and meaningfully, especially to the South and Middlebelt aspirations, attention needs to be paid to power/political influence and economics.

To meet the democratic requirements of two-thirds quorum for constitutional change, the South and Middlebelt groups that account for 70% of the population of Nigeria must unite into a strong civilization bloc, but are currently disunited due to colonial inspired Pan Tribalistic perspectives that balkanized their Original African civilization. There must be cultural restructuring from Pan Tribalistic perspectives back to Original African civilizationism. Thankfully, this cultural restructuring is ongoing as the political restructuring and rotational presidency advocacy based on equity and justice has resulted in South and Middlebelt Leadership Forum, Ohanifere and various forms of sociopolitical cooperation. This civilizational unity would wax stronger into a civilization powerbase, once Yoruba and Igbo, the two largest Original African groups unite the rest of the Original African groups of South and Middlebelt, not only to achieve restructuring and rotational presidency to the Middlebelt, but act as the counterbalance to the Northern Afroasiatic civilizational hegemony.

However, without economic restructuring from the neocolonial economic structure, we would neither be able to achieve political restructuring, nor raise the majority out of poverty into being an industrialized economically advanced nation. As it is, the only economically viable states, Lagos and Rivers are viable largely due to their being the terminal ends of the colonial economic system structured with the North-South railway to link ports to trade routes. Regardless of the civilizational and political ties, some poor states won’t take what would be a suicidal vote for true federalism or affordable state police, while they in an economic colonial straitjacket that would further alienate them from the colonial economics. There can be no meaningful restructuring and economic empowerment without the immediate building of three West to East railway lines: Lagos to Calabar, Ilorin to Yola, Sokoto to Maiduguri. This will fundamentally change the colonial economic system to one where every state and city is linked to create our own economic linkages as an advancing nation.

While the North-South railways made us a successful colony, we have been blinded to the fact that railways between our productive centers is the means to industrialization. USA became industrialized by building 14,000 kms in 23yrs from 1827 to 1850, so did UK, Japan and every other industrialized nation. Unfortunately we Black Africans have been kept in the slave plantation economics model, believing that agriculture is our path to industrialization. We have spent billions on peasant farming, marketing boards, fertilizer distribution etc, as each successive regime comes with an agriculture revolution catchphrase – Operation Feed the Nation, Green Revolution etc. But nowhere in economic history has peasant agriculture ever uplifted the agricultural sector. The truth is agriculture is a big man business and it was robber barons that pumped billions to make USA, Brazil, Europe nations to become the world’s largest agricultural producers. The only exceptions are command economies, like Russia and China where the government took over land and production. It is the likes of Aliko Dangote that has the financial and logistics resources to manage huge mechanized farms. What is required is the encouragement of the super rich to invest in agriculture with tax incentives.

It should be obvious that if you invest in agriculture, what you get is low level processing industries. The vertical integration of a citrus industry is juice and beverages. This is why our largest manufacturing subsector by far is Food, Beverages and Tobacco with lower value added and low income and employment multiplier effects. The iron and chemical subsectors of the manufacturing sector contribute less than 5% each to the GDP. Only the development of a complete railway system, with iron embedded into every neighborhood, can spur growth in iron works and chemicals used for the train engines, body and interior, which would get us industrialized as subcontractors to the system grow laterally or vertically. For every job created in railways, 20 new jobs are created in related industries across the economy.

Unfortunately, our colonial masters and their Western partners want to keep us in colonial economics stage, producing raw materials, with only low level processing industries of food, beverages and tobacco, and not processing iron or our petrochemicals. Due to the Western model of industrialization that depends on a military industrial complex whereby arms production offsets industrial overheads and spurs growth during recession, they are scared of a repeat of the aftermath of industrializing Japan only for Japan to challenge the Western Powers in South East Asia region. The fear is if Nigeria industrializes, it would make weapons to protect itself and other Black nations from Western military imperialism.

The Goodluck Jonathan government signed the $12b Lagos-Calabar railway to be financed and built by China, but international geopolitics through Buhari sabotaged what was to be China’s single largest foreign investment. However, just like we damned all consequences to demand for political restructuring, knowing that economic restructuring is the key to our empowerment, industrialization and actualization of a fair political restructuring, requires that all groups must demand the immediate commencement of the west to east railways outlined above, either being built by our private sector, army or foreign partners. This is not only to be fought for by political agitators, but cultural and economic leadership. Afenifere led by our Babas and the rest of the SMBLF, Ooni of Ife and Obi of Onitsha since without the Lagos-Calabar railways, their towns will never become linked and industrialized. Every state and region will benefit from railways to it’s nooks and corners to transport it’s produce, and offer an opportunity for industrialization.

So instead of following Nkrumah’s: Seek ye first the political kingdom, I will go for Roger Amos Blueprint of Black Power to to empower through cultural restructuring from tribalism to civilizationism, economic restructuring through emergency East West rail network complex to spur industrialization, as well as politically restructure towards equity, justice economic and cultural self determination.