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Nigeria: The Asian Surge And the Country's Dilemma

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Iwindi_Mbalizi, May 15, 2009.

  1. Iwindi_Mbalizi

    Iwindi_Mbalizi Member

    May 15, 2009
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Messages: 23
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    Hii ni Article ya Jamaa MNigeria mwenye uchungu na mwenendo wa nchi yake and the I think is the same case with our Country!Kila siku tunapiga kelele na Kuchekana kuwa wachina wanaleta vitu feki lakini hakuna hata juhudi yoyote tuliyo ionesha ya kwetu binafsi kutatua matatatizo yetu ili tuepukane na hivyo vitu feki,Matokeo yake ni kuwa siku si nyingi na hata
    Sasa China inategemewa na Dunia kutengeneza vitu kibao na vingine vyenye ubora wa hali ya juu!
    Kwa hiyo Tusipige Kelele bali tufanye juhudi za kuanza kutumia resourses zetu na Intellectuals wetu kama wenzetu.
    Hii habari ipo:
    Lagos - I grew up at time in Nigeria when anything European was treated like something from Heaven. If by chance a person went to England (the most favoured overseas destination for Nigerians in those days) and bought things as little as a shoe or shirt or even a handkerchief, such a person would be a sudden star in the vicinity. He would never fail to let any passerby know that this shirt he was wearing was bought from Europe.

    In the automobile sector 3 brands of cars reigned supreme in those days Mercedes Benz for the upper class, Peugeot and Volkswagen for the Middle Class. In the mid 70's the Asians began their slow but steady journey to conquer the world economy with their manufactured goods. Around this time the Asian cars began to arrive. The Asian deluge was spearheaded by Toyota from Japan and Hyundai from Korea. I remember quite well that a family friend bought a Hyundai Pony (which was the only Hyundai model available in the Nigerian market at that time) and he was the laughing stock of the neighborhood. Everyone thought he had gone mad. How can you go and buy all these sugar box like cars and ignore the almighty cars from Europe? Infact most people at this time felt it was better to buy a second hand European car than a brand new Asian car. A lot of people in the neighborhood swore that the car which our family friend bought would fall apart in less than a year. The Asian cars were derided and made the butt of Nigerian jokes.

    But thinking back now the car bought by our said friend - the Hyundai- lasted for years. It did not fall apart like the prophets of doom had predicted. And whilst we lazily lay making fun of the Asian cars the Asians took all the insults in their strides and slowly began to improve on their automobiles, soon the Asians perfected their models and they soon began to make the European models look so archaic. They were more fuel efficient and sleeker in design. And whilst we lay mocking the Asians we suddenly woke up to realize that the Asians had overtaken the Europeans not only in the automobile industry but in manufacturing generally.

    At this same period that we were romanticizing European goods and putting down Asian products we had also declared it a capital offence for anyone to even dream of using anything Nigerian. If any Nigerian tried to be inventive his efforts are buried in criticism from his fellow Nigerians. It become so bad that we import toothpaste from outside Nigeria, when there are many Nigerian companies making toothpaste? It was a taboo back then to wear anything made in Nigeria. Even those who engage in any form of manufacture here in Nigeria were wise enough to not to put made in Nigeria labels on their products. It was a kiss of death to put made in Nigeria on any product.

    There has been a slight shift towards using some Nigerian goods today but the truth is that Nigerian goods are still largely ignored by most Nigerians. The tragedy of today's Nigeria is that we are one big waste dump for all sorts of manufactured goods from all corners of the world. A few years ago the Chinese and the Indians joined the Japanese and the Koreans to scramble for our hard earned Naira. The Chinese have virtually swamped the whole world with their products so Nigeria was hardly going to be an exception but tragedy of the Nigerian situation is that whist in other countries they have a local manufacturing sector that could stand against the Chinese invasion, we do not have a local manufacturing sector to even put up a fight. The Chinese have also developed their automobile sector to a level where they are now flooding Nigeria with their products. Under very many labels - Changan trucks, Great Wall Jeeps, Geely cars, BYD Cars, Foton Busses and trucks, Hiase Mini Vans and busses, you just name it and they are on Nigerian roads. The Indians too have their Mahindra Jeeps and Cars and Tata trucks competing fiercely for a share of the Nigerian market. As usual as with the Japanese and Korean invasion, Nigerians first treated Chinese and Indian automobiles with disdain then all of a sudden we started to embrace them like a religion. Most transport companies theses days use the Hiase Chinese Minivans which are said cheaper than the pricy Japanese and Korean ones.

    I observe at the whole scenario in this country and I cant help but wonder what is wrong with us. Do our leaders ever sit down and think? Why is it that a country of Nigeria's endowment and human resources cannot have a thriving manufacturing sector? Why are we lazily sitting on our bums when the large African market which should have been under our command and control is now being shared amongst Chinese and Indians?? If we had serious leadership shouldn't we have been able to provide cheap and durable alternative manufactured goods that will knock out the Europeans and the Asians from the African market?

    It is a personal thing of shame for me (I don't know about the rest of you) that at a time when we should be consolidating our leadership of Africa Nigerians are busy romanticizing Ghana!! I have totally refused to be part of the new Nigerian religion called Ghana worship!! My stomach always turns with shame whenever I hear Nigerians gleefully eulogizing Ghana. Don't we have any shame? During the last General elections in Ghana there were over a thousand different election observer teams (invited and uninvited) from Nigeria. We all came home and told tall tales about how very free and fair the Ghanaian elections were, but the moment you suggest that we do some of the things that the Ghanaians and other civilized democracies the world over do, you begin to hear grumbles like " .taking the power to appoint INEC Chairman from the president is contrary to the principles of separation of power "

    Just as it is with our lack of will in political matters, so it is with our inability to forge a coherent national development blueprint! Do we have a blue print to make a Nigerian car? When are we going to have policies that make it possible for our manufacturing companies to do business without tears? When are we going to have policies that make it possible for a manufacturer in Nigeria, not only to be able to compete with foreign invasion of Nigeria by foreign goods, but also to be able to compete in the international market? Do we have a blue print in educational development that will produce the type of manpower needed to drive our developmental blue print??

    During the civil war Nigerians on the Biarfran side were cut off by a very strangulating embargo but some how they managed to survive. They developed improvised bombs and mines, made crude armored cars and even locally refined crude oil. A few years ago a Nigerian post graduate student studying in the USA, who graduated from a Nigerian university, had his car design chosen as the flag ship design for an America Car maker. All over Nigeria every day you see evidence of genius amongst many Nigerians yet we are not making any progress! So you ask what is the problem? The answer is simple !! Our governments over the years have never believed in the pursuit of the goal of national development. Over 90 of the people who have ever gotten into political office in Nigeria; either through the ballot or the bullet, have sought power only for one reason : to wipe away poverty from their personal lives and to secure the future of their children and generations yet unborn. That is the major reason why Nigeria has remained underdeveloped all these years. That is the reason why we sat on our fat consumer backsides all these years laughing at the Asians (instead of learning from their industry) until before our very eyes the progressed from economic minnows to economic titans!!

    The saddest part of the whole story is that there is nothing in the horizon; as far as leadership is concerned; which shows that someone somewhere has realized that we have lost so much time and that there is need for some fever pitched sense of urgency to catch up with the rest of the world which have since left us far behind. The only things we hear about are slogans like Vision 20-20-20; which at the end of the day are nothing but empty sloganeering bereft of any substance.

    Relevant Links
    West Africa
    Asia, Australia, and Africa
    Capital Flows
    Sustainable Development
    The story of Nigeria is like a person who needs to embark on a 1000 kilometer journey that would take about 6 hours by road with a given time limit within which he must reach his destination. He keeps telling people that he would make that journey right on time with the required 6 hour time and within the given time, yet he sits on his backside not making any move towards starting his journey. He does not have a car to embark on the journey. He has not acquired any bus or train ticket to make the journey. He does not even know where the bus or train terminals are ; nor does he realize that since he has lost time far into the 6 hours required for the journey he could actually make alternative arrangement for a faster means of transport like an aeroplane. Yet despite having lost over 3 hours of the required journey time , he keeps telling people he will be at the destination right on time! A mission which to most sane people is clearly impossible. Would anyone take such a fellow serious? That is exactly how the rest of the world regards our daily rants about being amongst the top 20 economies in the year 2020 just 11 short years away!!

    -Majebi wrote from Lagos