Nigeria with a population of 200 million people, almost a million square kilometer of land, over 250 ethnic group, biggest economy in Africa and the fifth largest economy in the world after China, USA, Japan and Germany, and also the largest producer of oil and gas in the continent, is certainly the giant of Africa.
Lagos State is the third largest economy after Nigeria and South Africa while Kano State trails as the fifth largest economy in the continent after Nigeria, South Africa, Lagos and Egypt.
The feat was achieved through the combined commitment of leaders and the people over the last six decades since independence.
Nigeria is a mini-world with all the necessary endowments to succeed, ranging from committed and law abiding citizens to qualitative leadership and strategic policies.
Nigeria has the highest per capita income and GDP and ranks in the top ten of all positive indexes for development.
Education, and quality one at that, has been the secret of Nigeria’s success coupled with systematic implementation of economic policies administered by patriotic leadership.
The IBB University, the first privately funded university in the country has been our Harvard, churning out brilliant scholars and researchers that earned us the glorified position of having ten Nobel prize winners for their cutting edge research in science and Technology.
The wonder cancer drug was discovered by the duo of Nigerian scientist, collaborating from University of Maiduguri and Lagos.
The giant pharmaceutical company, Trado-Modern, has won acclaim across the world for its innovative researches in herbal and conventional medicine that saw the discovery of the cure of many tropical diseases and its stock listed on New York and London stock exchange.
Nigerian Doctors had joined their colleagues in the medical circle to make the first head transplant in the continent.
The shelter belt, created about two decades ago, from the extreme northeastern fringes of Borno state in Kukawa traversing 1500 kilometers down to the Nigeria-Benin border in Kebbi state had been the last defense of desert encroachment that halted the almost 1.2 kilometer yearly advance of desertification due to the construction of the green wall, a project that earned United nations award as “Climate change project of the century”.
A few decades ago with Nigeria as the largest importer of rice has turned the table through government intervention in the agricultural sector by providing subsidies and funding through the anchor borrower program that saw millions embraced farming and the creation of a marketing board that saw the creation of over 1000 silos for grains reserves scattered across the 36 states.
Nigeria is now enjoying the position of being the largest producer of rice in the continent and the fifth largest in the world.
Wheat farming had also enjoyed similar feat and the two leading grains, rice and wheat, including cocoa and rubber had overtaken oil as our largest export providing billions of dollars worth of revenue.
We were once importing billions of dollars worth of fish yearly, but with the refocusing on the “Operation food security” we are now one of the largest producers of fish and exporters in the world.
The rehabilitation of the Lake Chad has facilitates the resurgence of fish production in the region with hundreds of trucks daily being exported around the country.
The Argungu Fishing Festival, a truly international festival had brought so much foreign capital to the fish Industry with new technologies that saw the harness of fish production in all the dams scattered across the north.
The Sokoto River Basin, Kaduna River, Osun River, Challawa, Ibi, Benue and River Niger have all become hubs for fish farming, creating thousands of jobs and generating billions of dollars through export.
Train services, after partnership with China, had seen the construction of rail lines connecting all the 36 states and Abuja and also the Tran-Saharan rail that passes across the Sahara to terminate at the sea port town of Marrakesh in Morocco.
Alongside that rail on the right passes the Tran-Saharan Highway and on the left the Tran-Saharan gas pipeline, envisioned by the two late great leaders of Africa, Muammar Gaddafi and Sani Abacha.
The West African gas pipeline along with its highway and rail also run across the length of the region from Lagos to Dakar.
The Nigeria Airways, now connects to over 90 destination across the six continents conveying tens of millions of passengers yearly and making Murtala Muhammad and Malam Aminu Kano, the two busiest airports in Africa and among the top 20 in the world.
This remind me of the University ranking where two great Nigerian Universities, Ahmadu Bello University and University of Ibadan, breaking into the elite space to be in the top fifty in the world.
Ife, Nsukka, Buk and Maiduguri are now also in the top 100, making Nigeria with 6 Universities the top in Africa.
The Kainji, Shiroro and Mambila hydro electric power dams collectively provides the country with 50,000 megawatts of electricity as the windmills in Katsina, Plateau and Mambila mountains provides another 10,000 megawatts.
The solar panels along the Nigeria-Niger border in Sokoto, Yobe, Jigawa and Borno states compliment another 30,000 megawatts, while the nuclear reactor in Benue State generates 100,000 megawatts giving the country energy sector the capacity of 190,000 megawatts that powered the country and its neighbors, especially the industrial areas in Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and the Southeast.
In the Southeast, Nigeria’s China, industrial production in large scale employed millions of Nigerian in shoe, textile, automobile and industrial machines factories.
The dredging of River Niger has made Onitsha as one of its chief ports after Lokoja, as barges, berths and small cargo ships ply the route laden with all kinds of materials, those from import going upstream as those for export coming downstream towards the three deepwater ports in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Lagos.
The extractive industry is a huge sector generating billions of dollars revenue and one of the leading employers in the country.
Precious materials like gold are mined in industrial scales in Zamfara and Kano state, coal in Plateau, Nassarawa and Enugu, Bitumen in Sokoto and Gombe, Quartz in Edo and Niger states and several others.
In sports we are among the top ten on the all-time table of Olympics and World Athletic Championships, with all the football world cups in our pockets starting from Under-17 in 1985, Under 23 in 1987 in Chile, the Junior world Cup to the senior world Cup that we won in USA 1994, 2006 and 2014.
The Film Village in Kano has been rubbing shoulders with Morocco theater as the blockbuster movie “Game of thrones” many scenes were shot there.
Films from Kannywood and Nollywood for the first time were screened at the Oscars and won the coveted foreign film awards.
Our artist and crew are becoming the inspiration for other African Countries and being sought out to feature in films from China, India, Korea and Hollywood movies….
An uproar of a crowd noise coming from my TV screen forced me out my slumber to realize I am in my office with my laptop at my lap, obviously I had dozed off before I started writing my article about the 59th Independence celebration.
How I wish I wasn’t woken up from my reverie, how I wish it were real. Unfortunately for me and my generation it was a far-off dream, what they call building castle in the air, and my heart cried for the coming generation.
My pains were reinvigorated when I realize the scream and noises coming out of the TV screen were from the crowd of 15,000 Chinese soldiers celebrating their 70th Anniversary ironically on the same 1st October like Nigeria.
A country that is eleven years older than mine but a thousand times better and ahead of us in all ramifications. May God help this country…a fool of a country that should have been the real giant of, not only Africa, but the world.
Ali Abubakar Sadiq
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