Atiku, in a statement on Thursday, titled: “How to Pull Nigeria From The Brink”, said Nigeria and her contemporaries had to “cure their addiction to sweet crude.”
For far too long we have grown high on our own supply, to the extent that we have neglected almost every other sector of our economy.
We need to diversify our economy, and yes, it is easier said than done, but that does not mean it is an impossible task.
Prior to Nigeria’s October 1, 1960 independence from Great Britain, not only were we a nation self reliant in food production, but we also exported food to other countries, earning precious foreign exchange in the process.
Who can forget the great groundnut pyramids in Northern Nigeria?
For example, in 1957, agriculture formed a whopping 86% of our export revenue.
By 1977, agricultural exports had dwindled to 6%, and today, the figure is less than 3%.
How did our country go from being a net exporter of agricultural products to a net importer of food products?
How did we go from a country that could feed itself to one that desperately depends on foreign imports for survival?
The answer to these questions is leadership focus.
Despite being a young nation, the leadership of the UAE has managed to diversify the economy of this country from an almost complete reliance on oil in the 1970s, to a country where 72% of the GDP comes from the non oil sectors of the economy such as aviation, tourism and services sectors.
In Nigeria, our diversification should embrace agriculture as the primary sector earmarked for development, because agriculture is a low hanging fruit, is key to ensuring food subsistence, and with the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AFCTA), which favors Nigeria’s economy greatly, Nigeria can take advantage of this to become an agricultural powerhouse in Africa.
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