8th April, 2014
By Joe Igbokwe
Afraid of the impending defeat in the forthcoming elections, the ruling party PDP has imported economic magicians from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, to wet the ground for them in preparation for the 2015 Presidential elections. In the next few months experts in opinion polls from the Nigerian media industry will follow suit in this game of adding two and two to get 10 not 4. As it were, the ruling party is not thinking of how to win elections but how to remain in power at all costs no matter whose ox is gored.
Front page reports in almost all Nigerian newspapers on Monday, 7 April, 2014, told us that Nigeria’s economy has overtaken that of South Africa. The reports say “Nigeria has moved to be the largest economy by GDP size in Africa and has moved to be the 26th largest economy in the World….” The NBS report says GDP hit $510b in 2013 and pushed South Africa to second position at $370b under the same period.
Now, no one can stop National Bureau of Statistics from celebrating their bloated and useless figures. Infinite capacity to manufacture lies and deceive Nigerians has been the hallmark of the ruling party and its janjaweed agents and spin doctors.
In 2012 Nigeria’s GDP – per capita (PDP) was $2800 while South Africa’s GDP – per capita (PPP) stood at $11600. An article written by Aminu Mohammed titled ‘Southern African Invasion in Nigeria’ listed South African companies operating in Nigeria as follows: MTN, Power Giant, Eskom Nigeria, South African Airways, Stanbic Merchant Bank of Nigeria, Multichoice, Umgeni Water, Refresh Products, PEP Retail Stores, Shoprite, LTA Construction, Protea Hotels, Critical Rescue International, South African-Nigeria Communications, Global Outdoor Semces, Oracle, Airtime, just to mention a few of them. About 14 Southern African companies have been contracted to collect revenues for PHCN.
Many Nigerians are hooked to DSTV than our own local TV stations to watch various football programmes and other sports, CNN, Aljezeera, Sky News, VCC etc. Nigeria has only local branch of Union Bank, First Bank, Philips Construction, News Media and one or two others. South Africa Wine Makers have seized nearly 50% of the Nigerian Wire Market and hospitality business. South Africa exports technology, they build heavy industries, build cars and trucks. You need to see the infrastructure in South Africa from Johannesburg to Pretoria and to Durban. You need to see their international airports, the road networks and the industries left and right as you move from Oliver Tambo International Airport to Pretoria.
Nigeria now generates less than 1000 MW of electricity while South Africa has 45,700 MW. South Africa is a superpower, Nigeria is not. Nigeria produces nothing for export except crude oil and imports everything. What it took to reveal the level of unemployment in Nigeria is the recent NIS tragic recruitment exercise where Millions turned up for jus 3000 jobs. 17 Nigerians died as a result of the stampedes at the various centres the recruitment exercise took place across the country. Insecurity is threatening Nigeria since the past six years without any solution to the problem. It is taking Nigeria 50 years to start building the second Nigeria Bridge. The existing bridge was commissioned in 1965. It is taking Nigeria 40 years to start rebuilding the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Nigeria has more than 100 universities but how many of them can compete with world class universities?
Nigeria has many Teaching Hospitals but how many of them are Centres of Excellence? Nigeria is running a Nollywood economy and to compare Nigeria and South Africa is making an apple and orange comparison. There is nothing to compare. South Africa is far ahead of Nigeria in terms of everything. The National Bureau of Statistics are very funny people who want to ridicule Nigeria in the comity of nations. The world and those who know better will be mocking Nigeria now with this 21st Century fraud.
Very soon the fraudsters at NBS will attempt to replace South Africa with Nigeria in BRICS, to read BRICN. Ndiala (mad people). Experts have been putting a lie to their concoctions. They called it vanity upon vanity. These baseless statistics have not put infrastructure in place in Nigeria, they have not created jobs, they have not increased PPP, they have not put food on the table, they have not put more money in our pockets, they have not improved our schools hospitals, our flawed security systems, our dying power sector, our fraud-ridden energy sector, they have not reduced the deadly corruption virus that is progressively eating away our nation, etc. It is a sick joke on a country where the World Bank reports more than 100 million of its purported 140 million people live below two United States dollars a day.
If the NBS statistics is in a book form, please call it a Book of Nothingness. A school of thought says “Nobody enjoys a song without melody. Nobody enjoys a dance without motion. A book in which nothing is written is not different. Nobody enjoys a book that says nothing”. Nigerian Leaders have been deceiving Nigerians for a longtime now but they cannot deceive the world. South Africa is far ahead of Nigeria, all things considered.
•Igbokwe wrote from Lagos