Trends On Why Nigeria May Not Be Developing Anytime Soon – Basic Needs Connection; Written By Tunde Oluomo in Dublin, Ireland.
In a simple term, basic need means things that are necessary to sustain life, emphasis on sustain – so not exactly to provide comfort but necessary to live.
To make this piece short, I will limit basic needs to water, electricity, roads, access to basic education, food, shelter, security of lives and properties. In addition to this, every society requires adequate identification process and database to plan, forecast, provide and maintain law and order.
Where any of the above is a struggle to attain then the people are not living a worthy life but living in abject poverty. Poverty is not a exactly a bad thing in itself but other factors connected to the lack of basic amenities, poverty is everywhere – including the super power countries such as the US, UK and China etc.
Now, let’s see the connection of these basic needs to some sectors of the economy that are important in building a Nation;
Agriculture & Food Processing
Social Security Service/Social Protection
Law and Justice
Children and Youth Affairs
Rural & Community Development
Transport, Tourism and Sport
Agriculture & Food Processing– Without good roads to move agricultural products from the farm to the market or end users, without electricity to power modern machines and equipment to preserve or aid farming tasks, how much success can be recorded in this sector?
Our current approach to farming is archaic and limiting farmers’ productivity as a result of these challenges. This in turn having a direct impact on food production to the general populace.
Healthcare – For healthcare to flourish and be maintained, electricity is required to run hospitals round the clock and save lives, without power it’s practically impossible to put humans on life support machines or perform surgeries.
This sector is heavily dependent on not just constant and stable power but adequate roads for ambulances and private cars to ferry patients on emergency to the hospitals and health centres, pipe borne water can’t be left out either. Without electricity, good roads and pipe borne water – we really can’t have reliable service within the healthcare sector.
Manufacturing – power, water, security, transport and good roads are factors here. Any manufacturing company would be impacted directly without all these basic amenities in place, they would have to have these services in place and unfortunately pass on the costs on their finished products prices – an item that ought to cost 500Naira would be trading at 2000Naira and that could have been avoided and with less hardship on the people.
An average manufacturer can share their experience on this better, they go through hell to remain in business, this by extension is discouraging potential manufacturers from establishing and providing jobs.
Telecommunication – How exactly can this sector function without stable electricity? This is a sector that’s technology-driven and when we talk about technology, we are talking about regular power.
Every other sector is relying on this sector to enhance productivity and increase services, the healthcare sector, banking, agriculture etc. all require telecom services. The cost of Internet and mobile communication in Nigeria is one of the most expensive on this planet, makes you wonder why?
Education – Without reliable transportation system, robust telecommunication, adequate identification system and database, electricity and access to affordable education – this sector is as good as dead, the sector is the bedrock of the nation and responsible for building not just future leaders but productive workforce to build the economy.
Social Security Service/Social Protection – I have seen all efforts and several policies being introduced by the federal and state governments across the nation to provide support for the people. But no matter what they do or how much they do, there is rarely any impact or success recorded, the problem is the fact that cash and items are being distributed to unknown people and no way to track deliveries or disbursements.
Adequate identification system is required, a country that can’t tell who is who and what they are doing or where they are lacks control of provision of services – this leaves room for fraudulent activities by default. A Minister could say “I have distributed 1Billion naira to the people” and get away with it as usual simply because there is no way to prove otherwise.
Defence Security – A nation without electricity, good roads, a reliable telecommunication system or adequate identification process will always have security issues. Nigeria is currently sitting on a time bomb within this sector. The rate of insecurity across the country is alarming and calls for urgent solution.
Law and Justice – How exactly can justice be delivered for all and law respected and applicable to all in a country with no identification system? People change their names at will! Criminals being elected into powerful positions with practically no checks! This is a major challenge that has no solution in sight and connected to all other sectors by default.
Children and Youth Affairs – It’s not a rocket science that lack of access to basic education has destroyed this sector and destroying further, this sector is having a direct impact on employment and leadership. Critical thinking people are required to man all other sectors of the economy and this is the sector that’s responsible for building and producing them.
The mess we have across all other sectors can be attributed to this sector, we are producing half-baked products and majority do not have the access to ordinary ability to read and write and those who have the ability are lacking thinking skill.
We have left the young to cater for themselves, kids are on the streets rather than in schools, we are producing touts, fraudsters, killers and prostitutes instead of scientists, lawyers, doctors, engineers and nurses etc. A large percentage of the children and youths future has been mortgaged as a result of greed and lack of vision by our supposed leaders
Environment – We talk so much and do so little, without good road network, adequate town planning, standard drainage system, water and security – how to have a safe environment with presentable landscaping? All these are connected and interwoven. This sector requires a lot of modern machines for maintenance but where is the power to operate these machines? Where is the manpower? Education is saying something here.
Employment Affairs – Where the standard of Education is failing, where those who are in schools are not getting the right support? Where those who have 1st class are being denied opportunities over quota system and favouritism? Where students are offering cash and sex for scores? Where degrees are up for sale?.
All these unfortunate factors are having a direct impact on employment, many graduates are not employable and those who are – are not being considered as a result of unfair system and corruption.
Housing Planning – Even in the jungle, animals build their shelters and care for one another. It’s a basic right to be housed but the current ways of living across the country is worrisome, people are without adequate accommodation and for the last 6 decades – the governments, both at federal and states have been building houses but yet no houses.
The inadequacy to have identification process and database is having an impact here, they have zero clue on who got what for how long. You really can’t provide services where you have no clue how much is required by whom and till when.
When people live together like ants or sleep on the street, then the people would start getting sick one way or the other which would in turn have a massive stress on hospitals and by extension crime would rise.
Rural and Community Development – as I have said above, lack of accurate data has robbed us of the development we deserve. Ordinary “How many Nurses are in this community” cannot be extracted. Therefore, we can’t plan for nurses or seek their service either.
Without having identification system along with other basic amenities, how exactly are we planning on developing our shanties we call communities? It’s 2020 and majority of our people are still living like 1860! It’s shameful to say the least.
Transport, Tourism and Sport – Transportation has gone beyond just taxis, buses or locomotive trains, this area is lacking heavily despite all the funds invested with nothing to show for it. If only we have electricity, other areas of transport will open up, if only the roads are in a better shape – a lot work hours would be saved, people would be more productive and more relaxed to add value and live better.
With better roads and transport system, there would be development of the tourism sector and sport won’t be left out either.
Nigeria currently have no business in building elephant projects and developing world-class cities to rival cities like New York or London, what we need to build first are basic needs such as water, roads, electricity, food, security, basic education etc.
So many billions are being distributed to the people or spent on one policy or the other with little or no impact.
There is an urgent need to go back to the drawing board and start afresh. Governors are building International airports without good roads or electricity, we are building Universities all over but our primary schools, secondary schools and technical colleges are being neglected. Government workers are being owed 30months salaries but we are building International stadiums?
We do not have ordinary water in our towns but Governors are competing with bridges where they are not required? We have no roads but state of the art cars are being bought and distributed to royal fathers?
Without addressing all these small factors, we really can’t be embracing bigger projects.
A country with no drinking water for all can’t really be talking about going into space!
A country with no electricity can’t be talking about starting a National Airline!
A country which records killings of innocent people in hundreds weekly can’t really be giving aid to other countries!
A country with no roads has no business in maintaining such an expensive democracy with unimaginable duplication of roles and offices!
A country with so much money and yet in the dark!
As Nigerians we deserve better and can do better. It’s safe to say an average 30yr old Nigerian has never tasted a real life! Millions do not know that most of what we pray for are actually what should be provided as standard by the government with no strings.
When we start addressing all these issues of basic needs one after the other, we will realise that majority of our challenges will start vaporising, fix electricity today and it would have a direct impact on unemployment which is currently at an alarming rate as many companies would spring up and it would aid the SMEs to develop in no small measure.
Young men and women would start thinking outside the box to establish businesses.
Fix water and it’s the same effect, fix the roads and businesses would start booming across the nation, fix the security issue and watch how much people will be trooping to trade across the states.
In all these, it’s a win-win for the people and the governments – state and federal in terms of taxes.
Whenever Nigerians are ready to build and develop Nigeria, Nigeria is waiting. We however need to start from the scratch and not from the top. The current approach is a dream and not working.
Wherever the people are hungry, without education, houses, healthcare and unsafe – chaos is imminent, it’s only a matter of time.