Figures released by the Nigeria bureau
of statistics (NBS) showed that the country’s GDP fell by
2.06% in the second quarter of 2016. This is a follow up to
a 0.4% in the first quarter of 2016. The 2 consecutive
declines in the first and second quarters of 2016 mean that
Nigeria’s economy is now officially in recession. The
current economic travails facing our dear country are the
aftermath and aggregate result of unscrupulous corruption
and official fraud perpetrated over several decades
particularly under the Jonathan administration. Indeed but
for divine intervention which brought President Muhammadu
Buhari into power on a mission to rescue Nigeria, our
country could well have been history at this time.
Nigeria’s economic challenges have less to do with the
economic problems into which our country finds itself today
but more to do with how we handle it. Global economic
recession is a problem in itself by all definitions but it
can be turned into the solution to Nigeria’s economic
The solution encapsulated in the current economic recession
is the opportunity it provides for our great country to
tarry awhile, retool and restrategise a new path to economic
The path to economic recovery lies in fashioning out a
strategic and comprehensive economic plan that will exploit
the abundant natural resources spread all across Nigeria.
However, in fashioning out this economic marshal plan,
Nigeria has to PRIORITISE on one commodity (with another as
Production is sine qua non to resuscitation of our ailing
national currency, the Naira and by extension, sustainable
economic development. The path to Nigeria’s economic
recovery lies in production to empower the real sector of
the economy and kick start a new boom in manufacturing and
exports. This will strengthen the national currency – the
Naira- against other currencies, create jobs and spread
economic opportunities to all.
The key to Nigeria’s economic recovery lies in AGRICULTURAL
REVOLUTION with special focus and master plan on mechanised
RICE production on the first line call and COTTON production
as a compliment.
In this regard, it will be worthwhile to invest the loot
recovered so far in President Buhari’s genuine
anti-corruption drive into mechanised RICE and COTTON
production. Building infrastructure is an excellent
initiative but the multiplier effect of mechanised rice
production is clearly more apparent.
It should be noted that the current peasant rice farming
will NOT drive the RICE REVOLUTION and translate to a solid
foundation towards Nigeria’s economic recovery. What will is
a comprehensive MECHANISED system of farming using modern
equipment. To this end, there is the need for the federal
government to enter into a joint venture and acquire the
farms in form of a lease hold with the farmers towards
maximum utilisation of the farmlands through a comprehensive
mechanised rice farming programme.
The lease hold of the farms should be entirely consensual
and is necessary especially when juxtaposed with the fact
that the peasant farmers lack modern equipment and the
technology to exploit these farms to maximum capacity
utilisation. The lease hold agreement between the federal
government and the farmers could include incentives such as
offer of 10% of rice produced in their farms including but
not limited to payment of rent to the farms by the
Under the proposed RICE REVOLUTION, Nigeria can set a target
to export rice in 3 years after satisfying domestic
consumption and demand. It is time to put a stop to
importation and consumption of Thailand rice.
For a successful implementation of the rice revolution
programme in Nigeria, there is the need for the government
to focus on the dams with potentials for irrigation and all
year round rice production. These dams include but not
limited to, the Goronyo dam in Sokoto state, the Bakolori
dam in Zamfara state, the River Niger Valley in Kebbi state
a.k.a the rice farmers haven and the Hadejia-Nguru wetland
in Jigawa state. These 4 dams put together, have the
potential to feed the whole of Africa with rice and even
exports beyond Africa.
It is imperative to create a RICE REVOLUTION COMMISSION
under the Presidency for the administration, monitoring and
evaluation of the programme. Instead of running a highly
bloated and bogus government, the size of government should
be drastically reduced and wastages plugged and invested
into the Rice revolution to kick start the journey towards
economic development and prosperity for all Nigerians.
For a successful mechanised RICE REVOLUTION, there is the
need for the government to equip two agricultural research
institutes to drive this policy. These are the national
agricultural extension research liaison services (NAERLS) at
the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and the
international institute for tropical agriculture (IITA)
Ibadan. These research institutes will serve as centres of
excellence and drivers for the needed technological
framework for a successful implementation of the rice
So much money is wasted through corruption and official
gangsterism such as the budget padding scandal involving
senators and members of the House of Representatives. How
great it will be to plug these wastages and invest in the
real sector of the economy to create jobs for Nigerian
It beggars belief that Nigeria with all its potentials for
rice production cannot satisfy its local demand for rice and
is happy to import rice from Thailand while watching its
dams lie fallow. For over 50 years now, Nigeria has been
importing rice from THAILAND. What a shame!
The rice revolution has the potential of a multiplier effect
as an export commodity to earn foreign exchange and
drastically bring down the exchange rate of the Naira
against foreign currencies. It can also ensure in food
security in Nigeria as rice is a staple food in nearly all
homes in our dear country. It will also promote the creation
and sustenance of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs)
and other small businesses to create millions of jobs for
our teeming unemployed youths.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other small
businesses are the engine room of any economy as a result of
their potential to create jobs and spread opportunities
amongst our youths. The middle class is currently almost
non-existent in Nigeria. It is either you are extremely rich
OR overwhelmed by uncommon poverty. There is NOTHING in
between. The SMEs will promote the resuscitation of the
middle class in Nigeria.
To mitigate risk and serve as a compliment to the rice
revolution programme, the federal government should also
create a COTTON REVOLUTION programme. Mechanised cotton
production will effectively place Nigeria among the leading
industrialised nations through the resuscitation of our
ailing textile factories and creation of new ones. The
COTTON REVOLUTION just like rice, has the potential to
create millions of jobs through the promotion of SMEs and
There were cotton storage facilities in Nigeria several
decades ago such as the one in Mayanchi Zamfara state which
although still standing, looks every inch a dilapidated and
forgotten structure courtesy of the oil boom in the 70s.
There were also the groundnut pyramids in the North, the
palm kernel oil extraction in Eastern Nigeria, the cocoa
production in the west. All these treasures were abandoned
in a hurry when Nigeria discovered oil. Now that oil is no
longer fashionable and long gone as a reliable resource,
Nigeria has to go back to these traditional agricultural
With all the fruits and veg that abound within the Jos –
Nassarawa – Abuja axis, Nigeria cannot raise a standard
fruit processing factory. We are happy to import five alive
which we can produce and export. With all the tomatoes that
is produced in Northern Nigeria, our country still imports
tomato paste. That’s not the way to strengthen the Naira or
build an economy
Nigeria has no option today than to
redirect its economy away from oil and strategically towards
agriculture. Even the global economic super powers are
moving away from oil and shifting towards agriculture. The
global trend now is towards renewable and nonconventional
sources of energy such as solar energy, hydrogen energy,
wind energy, biomass, ocean energy and nuclear energy. These
green energy sources are environmentally friendly and
No country serious about economic development will trust oil
any longer. For once, oil is a finite commodity and will
certainly dry up at some point. Oil is energy of the past.
Already oil wells are drying up. Moreover, oil is an
environmental pollutant through carbon emission which causes
global warming and climate change. The almighty dependence
on oil has led to two critical problems facing the world
today: Energy insecurity and environmental pollution.
Any country that opts to be cavalier and stay out of the rat
race towards the exit door away from oil and towards
renewable energy will in a few decades find itself lagging
behind. Countries are now investing heavily in research into
nonoil sources of energy.
Nigeria has all that she needs to take its rightful place in
the comity of nations. Our country is hugely endowed with
both human and natural resources most of which lie fallow
and generally unexploited. The only missing link is the
proper MANAGEMENT of these resources. Based on the enormous
resources that abound in Nigeria, it is fair to say that no
Nigerian has any business with poverty. But here we are
today with a poverty index of 86% and rising. This means out
of every 10 Nigerians, 2 are poor and cannot afford 3 square
meals per day.
Another cog in the wheel of progress of Nigeria is the clear
division amongst its people. It is fair to say that Nigeria
is a hugely divided country and this unnecessary division
has not fared well for any of the tribes and ethnic groups.
It has only served to retard our progress. The igbo looks at
him/herself first as Igbo and reluctantly as a Nigerian,
same to the Hausa man, the Yorubaman and other ethnic
groups. That is NOT the way to build a prosperous nation.
We are all guilty of the unnecessary and pervasive division
that has only served to destroy our country. For us to move
forward as nation, we must think as NIGERIANS FIRST not as
members of a particular ethnic group.
For God’s sake, there is too much politics in this country
to the detriment of the economy. Almost everything is tied
to political office. To achieve genuine economic
development, create jobs and spread economic prosperity
amongst its citizens, our dear country must play down on
politics and prioritise economic development.
Where is the wisdom in maintaining 109 senators and 360
members of the House of Representatives with no defined
contribution to national development and spending over N1.5
trillion annually on their jumbo allowances while leaving
their constituents in abject poverty? The 439 members of the
national assembly have no clear role in nation building but
consume 25% of the national budget.
How fair is that to the average Nigerian currently living in
abject poverty and fighting the battle of his life under
excruciating poverty and economic recession to feed his
family even on 0-0-1, pay his children’s school fees and
face his landlord at the end of the month?
Nigeria is today the only unrecognised global super power.
Our country has all the potentials to be a world super power
but alas, we are still ranked a third world nation. The
super power status doesn’t just come as a gift. Nigeria has
to earn it. We have to take our chances to be recognised as
a global super power. Our chances lie in the enormous
natural and human resources in our country, arable land,
agriculture, solid minerals, etc.
Let’s start with mechanised RICE production
and build on it.