Opinion: Perhaps Nature Should Not Have Blessed Nigeria – By Azuka Onwuka
If countries could be categorised as “blessed” or “cursed” by nature, which countries should be put in the two categories? Using temperatures and climates, countries with extreme temperatures of cold or hot should be categorised as cursed. A country where temperatures can drop to as low as 10°C should be in that category as junior members, while those with temperatures as low as 0°C to as low as -20°C should be senior members of that group. How can human beings live inside a deep freeze and feel that it is normal? Countries with temperatures as high as 36°C and above should also be part of that group.
The countries with very low temperatures experience extreme cold, while the countries with very high temperatures usually have arid terrain. Rainfall is rare in countries with high temperatures. Drought is common. The land is not good for planting, making food production hard. These countries should also be categorised as cursed by nature.
There are also countries that experience natural annual disasters that cannot be prevented. These include tropical storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, flooding, mudslides, etc. Dozens or even hundreds of thousands of people are lost to these disasters, depending on their magnitude. These countries also should be categorised as countries cursed by nature.
In terms of natural resources, there are countries that do not have any. Some just have a few – mainly not those rated as money-spinners like crude oil, gold, etc. These countries without natural resources may also be categorised as cursed or disadvantaged.
However, the irony of it all is that most of those countries that are seemingly cursed by nature are the ones that have turned out as rich, developed and powerful, while most of the countries that are seemingly blessed by nature have turned out to be poor, undeveloped and weak. It simply aligns with the saying: “Necessity is the mother of invention”.
The countries that are seemingly blessed by nature with good weather and natural resources do not see any need to do anything extra to survive. Their temperature is usually around 30 degrees Celsius all year round. People can move around with only one shirt on their bodies all through the year. At some periods, it may be slightly cold or warm but nothing harsh for a human being to endure. If there is no electricity, one can open the windows and sleep well. Cars and buses do not necessarily need to have any heating or cooling device. The windows of the vehicles can be wound down and passengers in them will enjoy their ride.
In addition, such countries do not need to think of manufacturing anything to make money. They make a lot of money from crude oil sale or gold sale. All that is needed is to share the money to the states or provinces and life goes on. And because there is too much money from the sale of their natural resources, they have too much money with which to buy food and other finished products they need. Therefore, there is no need to stress themselves in agriculture. Even when they engage in agriculture, they do it on a low scale and do not think there is any need to mechanise it or think of ways to create more yield.
Conversely, those who live in very cold or very hot climates know they have to industrialise or die. First is that they must think of how to ensure the availability of enough electricity for every home. Then, they have to create a heating device or a cooling device that can be used by every home because extreme cold or extreme heat will cause the deaths of many citizens. Such extreme temperatures will also negatively affect productivity and the economy of the country.
In addition, because of the nature of the soil and the harshness of the weather, such countries know that they have to create mechanisms that will circumvent the vagaries of nature and ensure higher food production. And because they have engaged in mechanisation, they also device means to turn their produce into brands that are put in packs, cans, and bottles and exported to other countries, especially those that do not have the compelling need to manufacture or produce anything. Consequently, they make more money and become richer than those countries that are supposedly blessed. Ironically, most of the products they process and repackage are imported as raw materials from those countries that have not seen the need to industrialise.
Also, these countries know they constantly face the threat of being devastated by nature through tropical storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, flooding, mudslides, etc. Therefore, they seek scientific ways of reducing the impact of such disasters and avoiding or reducing human casualties. This pushes them more into advancement in science and technology.
Over the years, these supposedly cursed or disadvantaged countries become richer and create better facilities and systems to make their countries better. The supposedly blessed countries continue to get poorer and dependent on the supposedly cursed countries because virtually all they use are imported from the supposedly cursed countries. Because of the non-availability of systems and facilities in the supposedly blessed countries from years of having a consumptive mindset rather than a productive one, there is constant instability and scrambling for resources in the supposedly blessed countries, thereby prompting their citizens to flee from such countries to the supposedly cursed countries.
A similar scenario plays out among individuals. The children of the poor and the lower middle class see that they have nothing and nobody to fall back on. Therefore, they exert themselves in education and business and rise to the top as leaders. They then have children who are trained in an environment of plenty. Everything they need is provided for them from their cradle to the time of their marriage. They understand how to consume without knowing how to produce. They see no need to exert themselves beyond the usual. Consequently, they grow up not knowing as much as their counterparts from poorer homes. They fritter away the wealth and name their parents made. They are known for expressions like: “Do you know my father? By the way, who is your father? My father was the first person to ride a Rolls Royce in my state. We used to fly overseas for lunch.” In a country where corruption is rife and cronyism is common, most of such children of former political and business leaders are usually resuscitated through political appointments by their friends or friends of their parents.
In Nigeria’s pidgin English parlance, “I get am before no be property.” Any individual or country whose best is always in the past is regressing. It is even shameful when such a person or country wallows in nostalgic chest-thumping instead of facing the reality that all is not well and try to see how to salvage a bad situation.
In conclusion, nobody should boast about Nigeria being blessed. The key reason why Nigeria is on its knees is because of the supposed blessing bestowed on it by nature. That blessing has shackled and blinded it and prevented it from thinking.