BY SALAUDEEN LUKMAN
The obvious lips service paid to the practical diversification of Nigeria oil economy by successive Governments from 70s till date Under President Muhammadu Buhari is about to consume the giant of Africa in the face of crude oil all time price major fall.
The Benchmark US oil price headed to negative territory after crashing to one cent a barrel as the collapse in demand caused by The (COVID-19) Coronavirus Pandemic leaves the world awash, *with oil and no enough storage Capacity debacle;* Meaning producers may soon be paying for buyers to take it off their hands.
Oloibiri Oilfield was discovered on Sunday 15 January 1956 by Shell Darcy, which was first commercial oil discovery in Nigeria shore; ending 50 years of unsuccessful oil exploration in the Country by various international oil companies and launched Nigeria into the limelight of the Petro-State.
Before complete switch of Nigeria Economy solely to (Mono) oil base, the country enjoy tremendous prosperity in Agriculture and Solid Minerals, the Western Region made furtunes from Cocoa, Rubber, Timber and Kolanut production, the Northern Region are largely known with Cotton, Groundnut and other Cereals Crops all at large scale where the popular *Groundnut Pyramid* was coined. While Eastern Region dwell more on Palm produce (Oil and Kernel) and the middle belt largely survive with Solid Minerals (Iron Ore in at itakpe, Tin, Lead and Zinc in Jos, Plateau and Taraba, among other valuable Mineral deposits within the belt, this informed the situation of National Iron Ore Mining Company of Nigeria at Itakpe thus making Nigeria a major exporter in the above respects.
Crude Oil became a disaster immediately Nigeria Government shifted attention from commercial farming and industrial Mining of these cash crops and solid Minerals to face crude oil as major revenue at international trade table.
This unthought decision resulted to the death of all our major indusries including Textile Companies in the North, Steel Mills is the South and other Mining Industries and Agricultural Product Processing Firms accross the country including National Iron Ore Mining Company of Nigeria itakpe till date. It cripple many other industries that largely depend on their products as secondary raw materials which contributed to high rate of unemployment in Nigeria.
The over dependent on oil also influenced the call for succession by Igbos (Biafra) as they felt cheated after assuming the sole Treasure and Hope for our National Survival as the host of the oil field upon which the entire nation economy relies with little or nothing to show for it. This relevancy accorded to the region (Niger Delta) in the face of Mono Economy System (Oil Economy) It brought about 13% derivative of oil revenues going back to the region and later to complete resource control before the Agitation for suceesion at full glare.
The viable Solid Mineral Deposits in Nigeria included Over 40 million tonnes deposits of talc identified in Niger, Osun, Kogi, Ogun and Kaduna states, Gypsum, an important input for the production of cement which is globally demanded at high rate, Iron Ore, Tin, Lead, Zinc, Gold, Coal, Bitumen, Bentonite and Baryte all an industrial mineral and precious metals respectively among other beneath Nigeria shore.
The arable land in Nigeria, as at 1990, was estimated to be 82 million hectares out of total land area of about 91 million hectares. But only 42 percent of the cultivable area was farmed mostly for subsistence farming.
This led to importation of virtually everything ranging from foods, Construction raw materials, Machinery etc from abroad which crown Nigeria as Highest Importer And Lowest Exporter Aside Oil in the World (Consumer Of All And Producer of None).
National Agricultural Plan/Policy from 1st Republic includes *National Accelerated Food Production Programme (NAFPP)*
1972 during General Yakubu Gowon’s regime
*Operation Feed the Nation (OFN)* 1976 launched on 21st May 1976 under the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo and remains one of the most widely-publicized agricultural programmes.
*Green Revolution (GRP)* inaugurated by Shehu Shagari in April 1980 to increase production of food and raw materials in order to ensure food security and self-sufficiency in basic staples.
*Agricultural Development Projects (ADP)* earlier established in 1974 in the Northern states as pilot schemes.
*River Basin-Development Authorities (RBDAs)* (1976) The scheme introduced to ameliorate persistent short rainy seasons in many parts of the country which has continued to restrict cultivation to single cropping pattern in the year round. However, the establishment of various large-scale irrigation facilities the country witnessed unprecedented multiple cropping patterns.
There are Agency-Based Intervention Programmes such as
*_Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI)_* 1986,
*_Better Life Programme (BLP) For Rural Women*_ 1987,
*_National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA)_* 1992,
*_Family Support Programme (FSP)/ Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP)*_ 1994 and 1996 respectively by late Gen Sani Abacha and His Wife Maryam Abacha.
President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 initiated _*National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS)*_,
*_National, Special Programme on Food Security (NSPFS)_* launched in January 2002 in all the thirty six states of the federation and
_*Root And Tuber Expansion Programme (RTEP)*_
RTEP on 16th April 2003.
President GoodLuck Jonathan introduced _*Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA)*_ Under former president Jonathan administration transformation period, 2011-2015,
*“The Green Alternative”* is an Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016-2020) of President Muhammadu with a vision to revive agric sector to boost food production, serve as the new fulcrum for Economic Diversification inclusive growth and sustainable development in the sector. The policy target is to allow farmers to access land, soil fertility, information and knowledge, input, production management, storage etc as well
*The Anchor Borrowers Programme* launched in November 2016 and *Farmer Moni* under Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme GEEP of Social Investment Scheme
Its sound so unfortunate that despite these numerous initiatives, programs and policies, Nigeria have only achieved Food Security while her Economy still survived on oil hence all are termed theoretical and paper Diversification.
The inconsistent and unconsolidated effort of suceessive government to holistically divert the economy to solid Minerals and Agriculture is about to crash the Nigeria economy at glance of global oil price fall.
One will expect Nigeria government who have done so much on paper diversification to back her talk with productive actions by encouraging Farming and Mining in large scale at all level, the bandit and terrorist hideout today could have being a Farm Land or Mine Site where economy activities will be going on instead of being abattoir and criminal den.
One still wonder while thick forest still exist along Nigeria Highways instead of plantations as obtainable in other serious nations.
Farm Machineries and tools such as Tractors, Fertiliser, Insecticide, Herbicide, Improved Seeds, Aminal breeds and soft loan facilities must be available at all levels to promote comercial farming while Government at all Level establish and Manages Farms as well serves as offtaker for exportation to realise multi-Economy System as against the Dieing Mono Economy at hand.
Individual private farm output can not sustain industrial needs therefore Federal, state and local government must join force to drive the agricultural revolution.
The Mining Sector need practical revival and sincere approach, government must be seen owning, Controling and Managing Precious Metal and Industrial Minerals Extraction , Refining, Pricing and Marketing Company just like we have in oil and gas and Agricultural Sector.
Kaduna, Zamfara, Ilesha *Gold*, Jos, Plateau *Casiterite (Tin),* Taraba *Zinc* , Niger *Lead* & *Gupsium* , Bauchi, Ajaokuta *Iron* *ore* , Obi, Enugu, Ankpa, Benue *Coal* and other solid Minerals spread accross Nigeria can sure revamp our economy in the face of unhealthy and epileptic oil economy.
We mustn’t fall as a Nation with crude oil Global fall.
Engr. (Comr) Salahudeen A Lukman #AIG
Good Governance Initiatives On Extractive Industry And Development G-Giend