FROM THE GIANT OF AFRICA TO A BAD EXAMPLE FOR AFRICA II

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

South-Africa, the rainbow nation, went through apartheid for a long period of time before becoming an independent state in 1994. A country with a population of over 50 million people, i.e one-third of Nigeria’s population, south-Africa has made  remarkable achievements in the past 18years as an independent country, the biggest was hosting the 2010 world cup. She was the first country in Africa to host the world class sporting event . Rapid industrialization and fast growing economy are the twin set of reasons that made south Africa capable of hosting the grand event. In spite of the high rate of crime and the wide spread prevalence of  HIV/AIDS and the wide gap between the haves and the-have-nots, south-Africa is the most pronounced country on the continent of Africa in terms of infrastructure, uninterruptible power and good transport network.

South Africa’s diversified economy has put her ahead of most African countries especially in areas of manufacturing and booming businesses. MTN Group and Multichoice, owners and operators of DSTV (DESTINY TV inc), are two multi-national companies owned by south africa with some powerful Nigerians as shareholders. These two companies have dominated the broadcast and telecomms business in Nigeria, they have made and are still making stupendous amount of profits from the unreliable services they render in Nigeria, profits no Nigerian telecomms and broadcast firm has made.

Just like the railway transport system, Nigeria is the first country to start TV broadcasting on the continent of Africa, followed by Egypt. The first TV station in Nigeria was commissioned in Ibadan in 1959 with a slogan first in Africa. In 1977 the federal government created the Nigerian Television Authority under a military decree as a behemoth of broadcasting with a ridiculous slogan, you cant beat the reach. In 1986, twenty seven years after Nigeria started broadcasting, multichoice was incorporated in south Africa and started operations in Nigeria in 1995 three years after the federal government deregulated broadcasting.

Multichoice has approximately 5.6 million subscribers in Nigeria and enjoys a monopoly in programming no one does in broadcasting. Supersports is one of the channels available on DSTV, the only channel that has the license to transmit the widely watched, champions league and premier league, with more than 50 million viewers from Nigeria.

MTN, the giant mobile phone operator is towing the same line with multichoice in operations and ripping benefits from Nigeria. The 2010 financial records of MTN showed that the company’s revenue globally stood at N2.57 trillion while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization stood at N1.67 trillion, with 71% of those revenues coming from Nigeria. MTN is the second mobile network operator to start operations in Nigeria in 2001 after the flash in the pan  Zimbabwean company, ECONET. The wavering competition in telecoms business operations in Nigeria has given MTN a head start over other mobile network operators including the indigenous Globacom. MTN has progressively dominated the business of mobile telecommunications with 45 million subscribers, making Nigeria the company’s biggest cash cow. The daily profits made by these south African multinationals is more than the daily internally generated revenues of some states.

These profits and dividends are made at a time when Nigerians are having a fading  memory of what NITEL used to be. NITEL is Nigeria’s telecoms back bone with assets worth billions of naira, it was killed and buried under the guise of privatisation.  With MTN and multi choice, South-Africa has defeated Nigeria in the war of economic greatness, home and away, just like the football fans call it. This was proven in march this year when south africa deported some nigerians for arriving at johannesburg without their yellow cards.

Nigeria’s  abrasive style of leadership and pervasive corruption have turned out to be an advantage for African countries. Rich Nigerians improve the economy of other African countries mostly by travelling out for medical attention, university education and tourism while rich people and companies from other African countries visit Nigeria in droves to explore the huge investment opportunities and exploit and extort the large population.

Ghana’s disappointing economy made ghanians saw Nigeria as a safe heaven in the seventies, Ghanians migrated massively to Nigeria for greener pastures, they reinvented their lives by picking up the menial jobs they were lucky to have, mostly teaching, nursing and street hawking. The prospects and opportunities at  that time caused an immigration problem for Nigeria and compelled the federal government under the leadership of Shehu Shagari to embark on mass deportation and repatriation of undocumented foreigners, an exercise Nigerians nick-named Ghana must go because most of the deportees were ghanians. 30 years afterward, Nigerians travel to Ghana for excursions, university education and honey moon.

If a visit by the united states president is a mark of achievement for an African country, then Ghana has made it. The US president, Mr. Barrack Obama visited Accra in June 2009. Mr Obama gave a speech that inspired and motivated Ghanians. He said, “the 21st century will be shaped by not what just happened in Rome or Washington, but by what happens in Accra”. Those words sank deep into the heads of Ghanians and made them felt like the true giants of Africa.

Mr. Obamas visit to Ghana put Nigeria in contrast, some saw the visit as grounds for juxtaposing Ghana and Nigeria. The legitimacy of Umaru Yaradua’s presidency, the fraudulent elections of 2007, the massacre in Jos, the militancy and kidnappings in the Niger-delta and the moribund economy all came under a spot light. Two years after Mr. Obama’s visit to Accra, Nigeria witnessed another round of elections that was worse than the one that produced Umaru Yaradua. The 2011 elections was marred not only with irregularities but with backlash, violence and massive bloodshed. It marked the beginning of Bombings and continued  killing of innocent  people, the massacre in Jos continues unabated, the economy continues to dwindle, the central government continues to weaken, the mentality of the people gets cheapened and demeaned by the day. These are the symptoms analyst saw and drew line of comparisons between Nigeria and Somalia.

The discovery of oil in Ghana and Angola has ranked Nigeria low as an oil producing nation. Ghana is a stable country with lots of experience and rich human capital. Angola is a land locked country in central Africa with fresh memories of civil war and a neophyte in oil exportation and has a promising relationship with china.  The world is waiting to see and asking if the duo will emulate or learn from Nigeria’s experience as an oil exporting nation. will they use their petrodollars to build infrastructure and improve their economy like other oil rich nations? Will it be a blessing or a curse on them?.

 Oil is what defines the Angola-China relationship. The Chinese, in their bid to be the world biggest economy have found angola’s oil as one of the last pieces of the puzzle. China is investing her time and resources in exploring angola’s oil, building massive infrastructure and a modern railway system in a quid pro quo relationship. With oil in Angola, Luanda, the country’s capital would continue to look more like Shanghai and Beijing, making Angola a mini-super power in Africa, unless if she chooses to emulate Nigeria.

Nigeria’s oil has brought revenue  as much as it has brought crisis, disasters and scandals. The development in Nigeria has not justified the revenues realised from petrodollars. Massive corruption has stood in the ways of development and revenue generation (Farookgate and the subsidy cabals). Oil exploration and refining in Nigeria are characterised by Illegal oil bunkering, militancy, and kidnapping. 

Nigeria is blessed with mineral and natural resources as much as rich people. Forbes magazine mentioned Alhaji Aliko Dangote as the richest man in Africa. Dangote, a business man from Kano has been the leading manufacturer and importer of domestic consumables. His romance with politicians, especially the ruling peoples democratic party has given him an edge over other business men. Rich Business men and corporations are the sponsors of politics and politicians all over the globe, they teleguide politicians on what policies to formulate. A combination of unpatriotic policy makers and selfish business men is the most dangerous team a society can ever get. In Nigeria, the combination of politicians and business men is the cabal.

Policies made in Nigeria have only favoured the rich business class by killing the economy, those policies have made Nigeria a consumer nation, Nigeria now imports oil from Niger republic. Business men use their companies to import products and commodities that are ought to be produced locally. The cosy relationship between rich men and politicians is what brought Nigeria to where she is today, it is a horrible thing to happen in a country with tremendous potentials, a country that’s supposed to be a beacon of hope for Africa is now a warning and a bad example for countries 

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