The Envy Of All Nations
he earth, as we all know, came to be simply in the form of a divine and, without mincing words, no scientific theory whatsoever can give any convincing explanation as to how her existence came to be. Be that as it may, the earth is filled with an abundance of resources that are natural by default. In other words, these are resources that exist in the absence of human intervention; and are the core components that make up for life as it is, giving it form, shape, and size; it comprises sources of value such as commercial and industrial utility, aesthetic value, scientific curiosity, and cultural value. It encompasses the sun, the atmosphere, water, land, all minerals, all plants, and all animal lives on Earth.
Natural resources that humans use on a daily basis abound on this planet earth. And, it is considered to be any valuable geologic material that can be extracted from the ground, such product qualifies as a resource.
Life would be impossible to imagine without mineral resources to manufacture the items we need, water resources to keep us alive, clean, and cook our meals, and energy resources to get around and power our homes.
There are two types of resources namely: Renewable and Nonrenewable. Renewable resources are those that are able to be replaced and utilized by nature. The phrase “nonrenewable” refers to natural resources that cannot be replaced. Renewable resources are replaced at a rate that is equivalent to or greater than the pace at which they are depleted by natural processes, hence depletion is rarely a concern (examples are freshwater, trees, soil, etc.). Nonrenewable resources are finite, and they are depleted at a faster pace than they are produced (examples include crude oil, coal, natural gas, precious stones, iron ore, etc.). Nonrenewable materials like these have a finite supply and can only be replaced over millions of years. They are gone for good once they are drained.
The usage of natural resources can also be categorized. There are mineral and agricultural resources, according to their classification.
Of course, every part of the world has and enjoys resources that are predominantly from mother nature – the sun shines everywhere in the day, and the moon can be seen ‘snoring’ up above as the night goes by; some land is filled with an abundance of green vegetations such as the tropic and the rain forest, others are simply caked-up with stones and mountain, a heap of sand in the desert, streams, river, and valleys, and so on. While all these and many more are resources that are predominantly visible in all parts of the world, it is imperative to note that the word natural resources in this context are the ones entrenched below (some on lands such as cash crops, economically viable plants, and trees, etc.) the Earth’s surface with a huge competitive commercial value. And as such, requires humans’ “working” in the form of exploration, extraction, excavation, and processing before making sense of it thereof.
According to Worldatlas.com (2021) and Investopedia.com (April 2021) data, China has the biggest natural resources, at an estimated $23 trillion. Coal and rare earth metals make up nearly all of China’s resources. Timber, on the other hand, is a valuable natural resource in China. Antimony, coal, gold, graphite, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, tin, tungsten, vanadium, and zinc are some of the other resources that China produces. Bauxite, cobalt, copper, manganese, and silver are all produced in great quantities in China. Chromium and a gem diamond are also present.
9th on the list is The Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC), the only African state on the top ten list. Mining is a major industry in the DRC and had over $24 million in mineral reserves in 2009, including the world’s largest coltan and massive cobalt resources.
According to the United States Geological Survey, the DRC possesses huge quantities of copper, diamonds, gold, tantalum, and tin, as well as over three million tons of lithium. In 2011, around 25 international mining companies were registered in the DRC, according to the most recent data.
Others include Saudi Arabia, 2nd (oil, copper, feldspar, phosphate, etc.); Canada, 3rd (oil, gypsum, limestone, etc.); India, 4th (coal, bauxite, diamonds, copper, gold, etc.); Russia, 5th (aluminum, cement, copper, nitrogen, etc.); Brazil, 6th (gold, oil, uranium, etc.); The U.S., 7th (coal, timber, copper, etc.); Venezuela, 8th (bauxite, coal, gold, oil, etc.); and Australia, 10th (coal, timber, copper, etc.) respectively.
Looking through the list of the natural resources labeled next to each country above, one would agree that Nigeria remains one of the few that is richly endowed and blessed with arguably all the natural resources (Renewable and Nonrenewable) that is known to mankind today.
But one begins to wonder why a country whose land is flowing with “milk and honey” is not atop the list let alone included. Is it because Nigeria is yet to find her bearings? Or because Nigerians are so ignorant to the fact that they are dwelling in a land of so much wealth yet seek a greener pasture in a less privileged (resources-wise) nation overseas? Probably, their government is aware of the rich state of the nation, and decides to exploit the land for selfish gains?
All these questions and many more beg for answers and for over six decades, the lot (standard of living) of average Nigerians keeps getting worse by the day despite the fact that they boast of having a little less or more of each and every natural resource one could ever think of.
The Envy Of All Nations (Contd.)
acktrack to 1956, the Nigerian government struck gold (crude oil) in Oloibiri (East of Port-Harcourt, then), now in Bayelsa State, the euphoria among Nigerians at home and in the diaspora was louder than an explosion from a minefield. And, the citizens thought that was the beginning of better days ahead for them and their posterity.
Little did they know that the greed in those they elected into power would turn a natural endowment to national enslavement of the masses by the ruling class who usurps what belongs to, meant for the people, for themselves only.
By so doing, the people become puppets in their hands and are used at will for political gains when the need arises. Their tactics in play are simple and it goes thus:
– Do not teach them how to fish rather, give them a taste every now and then so they can be enslaved for life without a mind of their own
– Do not provide the basic amenities for them. Make them work hard for it so that while they are busy trying to make a living, the masters are busy enriching themselves off the people.
– Throw religion at them and make them believe that politics is a dirty game and they cannot be righteous and still practise it.
– Again, paint a picture of trying to have a better life is vanity. by so doing, they would be less bothered about what the masters do at the top and focus on making eternity since a better life is vanity on earth.
The ruling class has mastered the act of deceit and lies to the point that they use every arsenal at their peril to keep the governed at bay. From using religion, with the help of the religious leaders, to using culture and traditions, also with the help of the traditional rulers, the masses are not spared. They are being brain-fingered to think and see the elite in a certain way like they were born great and destined to rule while others are destined to follow and obey.
The sheer use and/or misuse of resources that belong to all Nigerians, and the underutilization of the purported raw materials call for concern. If the above “Renewable and Nonrenewable resources” analysis is anything to go by, the Nigerian government must take a cue from Dubai, a desert turned paradise.
In 1966, oil was discovered in Dubai and it was estimated that the quantity of oil in the land would get exhausted in 2029. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (1912 – 1990), who is considered as the architect of modern Dubai, he drew up a masterplan of a ‘new city’ without walls, opened for all nationality with the best of hospitality and, put the oil-money to work. Eye-catchy constructions of buildings, malls, hotels, etc. started springing up and after his demise, Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum (1943 – 2006) was in sync with his predecessor’s vision and worked in line with the vision.
After all, said and done, after the oil would dry up, Dubai would still remain a wonder and one of tourist’s favourite spot because they had/have selfless visionary leaders who knew/know what it truly means to lead; and to lead is to serve the people selflessly, without fear or favor, without bias or prejudice, without nepotism. But serving wholeheartedly without seeking rewards in kind or cash.
Be that as it may, it is time for Nigeria and Africa to rise above the politics of what I call ‘hand-to-mouth’ polity and start seeing the position of authority as a place of humble service to the people, make policies and decisions that would drive the economy forward and put the nation among the committee of states in the first world.
The land is filled with endless resources that can change the fortunes of Nigeria and make life better for Nigerians but the bulk of the what, where, and how to go about turning that stone to gold, liquid to oil lies mostly in the hands of the ruling class and the decisions they make, which is pivotal to either propelling the nation forward or drooling the country backward.
So, to the ruling class, wake up, please! Make good decisions that can effect positive change in the society so we can all move forward to move the NATION UP.