The nations that have natural resources in abundance but do not think and are languid and slothful will take them (natural resources) to the nations that do not have, but make use of their wits and creatively work-hard. In other words, the success of a nation and her people does not depend alone on the abundance of their natural resources provided they are not going to make a good use of their God-given brainpower.
Poring through many documents on Nigeria in the last twenty years, I have come to know that Nigerians have no reason under heaven to be poor. Nigeria is so rich in natural resources, but her people are daily winning and dinning with poverty, her political leaders are very rich, though. Take, for instance, Ekiti state. Ekiti folks are very poor, but Ekiti state is heavily rich in natural resources. Look at this, “Ekiti land is naturally endowed with numerous natural resources. The state is potentially rich in mineral deposits. These include granite, kaolinite, columbite, channockete, iron ore, baryte, aquamine, gemstone, phosphate, limestone, gold among others.” What Ekiti state lacks isn’t natural resources, what it lacks is visionary leadership. Ekiti people have no reason to be poor in money and what money can buy!
How about the people of Osun State? Osun people are so poor, but their political leaders are extremely rich. Look at this, “Osun State is blessed with vast mineral resources. These include gold, clay, limestone, kaolin and granite. It also has many agricultural resources.” On one hand, it is a lack of vision in leadership that makes followers experience lack in the midst of abundance. On the other hand, it is also the inability of those in leadership to think and creatively work-hard that makes what is supposed to be a blessing to become like a curse. Today, crude oil has become like a curse to our people.
What of Enugu State? Enugu State is blessed with Lateritic clay, Crude oil, Kaolinitic clay, Ball clay, Iron-ore, Glass Sand, Petroleum, Gypsum, Coal, Silica, Ceramic Clay…How about Oyo and Ebonyi States? Oyo State is rich in prominent minerals and endowed with a wide distribution of the sample but easy to utilize igneous and metamorphic groups of minerals, namely Iron ore, tantalite, columbite, casseterite, bismuth, gemstones, gold, marble, red clay, sand, gravel, granite, syenite, kaolin and talc. Also, Ebonyi State is blessed with Gold, Lead/Zinc and Salt, but what they lack is the kind of human brains that the Singaporeans, Belgians and Swiss are using to drive their varied nations out of poverty into prosperity.
Also, what of Edo and Adamawa States? Edo is blessed with Bitumen, Clay, Dolomite, Phosphate, Glass-sand, Gold, Gypsium, Iron-ore, Lignite, Limestone, Marble and Oil/Gas while Adamawa is blessed Bentonite, Gypsium, Kaolin and Magnesite Clay, Lead, Zinc, Lignite. The question is; why is it that our people are suffering lack in the midst of abundance? Nigeria is blessed with natural resources, what Nigeria is not blessed with—is visionary and thinking leadership. Those in leadership need to start utilizing their human brains, as they are using theirs in the nations that are creating happiness for their people.
In recent times, I read about eight (8) countries that are without natural resources but thrive to become world major exporters. Nature did not bless them much on lands, but gave them human brains instead, which they utilize to the fullest and become some of the world’s most successful nations. In this piece, I will talk about Singapore and Switzerland. In the days to come, I’d come back to talk about others.
Not all nations are created equal. In an ideal world, a country that has abundant natural resources does not need to import as many raw materials, and has opportunity to increase its economic strength through income gained from resources export. These materials are the primary factors of production and the availability of particular natural resources gives that country a comparative advantage in trade.
Singapore, with no natural resources and having the smallest population on this list, Singapore shows the world how a tiny Island can likewise become one of the world’s most prosperous and advanced economy. Singapore has to import everything it needs, including water. It has strong manufacturing industries of its own. The tiny island produces 10% of world’s semiconductor water. Major exports of Singapore include machinery and equipment, electronics, semiconductor, consumer goods, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals and refined oil.
Also, Switzerland’s Exports worth 322 billion dollars! Switzerland is sort of different from others in the list in that it is landlocked, but the country proved that such inconvenient is not a barrier to becoming one of the world’s leading exporters. Switzerland has virtually no natural resources, and its annual trade balance is usually in the red, owing to the economy’s reliance on large quantities of imported raw materials for industry. Surrounded by major industrial nations (i.e. Germany, France, Italy), Switzerland, like Belgium, has no chance of establishing a strong manufacturing base. It instead, focuses on niche industries, specifically light and agricultural industries. Switzerland has very strong food processing and confectionery industry, producing multinational food company such as Nestle. The Swiss are also excelling in luxurious watch-manufacturing, with well-known global brands such as Rolex and Swatch. Major exports of Switzerland include machinery, chemicals, metals, watched, agricultural products and foodstuffs and the country is the 19th largest economy in the world. What a country of thinkers!
Unlike Switzerland, Nigeria has natural resources, but instead of adding value to them within our borders, we feebly send them to countries that do not have natural resources (but are using their human brains productively ) to add value to them and import them back to our country and cost our citizens more money to buy them. It is a lack of vision that makes us create jobs for them in the nations where they do not have natural resources; while our own youths are roaming the streets—searching for jobs as a woman would search for a lost coin.
If God asks me today that I should choose for Nigeria between functional human brains and natural resources, I would tell God to take our natural resources and give us the kind of human brains that Singaporeans, Belgians and Swiss are using. My fellow citizen, 2019 elections should be about the crucial issue I am raising today and more. We need people whose brains are functioning. I am sick and tired of folks who promise every four years that they would construct roads and sink boreholes. Those are basic amenities! No one uses those things to campaign in the nations—where they are using their human brains. They only use all that to campaign in a nation that has refused to grow up like ours.