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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Nigeria and the ‘melting oil’

By Busuyi Mekusi

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Common oils are as diverse as the ethnic and racial splits in human social-cultural engineering. However, out of the seventeen oil types that could be listed in a hurry, palm oil is the most used by people in Nigeria. Attempts have also been made in recent times to make a few other types popular for religious and health issues. The fact of the matter is that these oils share the commonality of melting potentials, with varying melting points. Melting point has been designated as the “temperature at which the solid and liquid forms of a pure substance can exist in equilibrium”. It is a given that the temperature of a solid element will increase when heat is applied, until the melting point is attained. The conclusion is that the solid would be converted into a liquid when more heat is applied, with no temperature change.
Conversely, whereas melting point is the temperature guaranteed by the conversion of solid to liquid, boiling point, as we have in water, is the temperature at which liquid change into a gas. Notwithstanding the characteristic uniqueness of oil, compared to water, both the metaphors of the ‘melting oil’ and ‘boiling water’ are suggestive of Nigeria socio-economic and political atmospheres. This is not to countenance the notion of ‘blood oil’ that has nightmarishly tainted the Niger Delta region. The once vociferous but now enhanced repentant militants in the region should be reminded that the ‘kidnapping’ that they used to negotiate for veritable politico-economic space has since been rebranded as the most ‘lucrative’ business in Nigeria, used by bandits and criminals to hunt, hurt, and hound innocent and vulnerable Nigerians. The ‘oils’ in Nigeria forests are melting, the ‘waters’ on the highways are boiling, and Nigerians are on the precarious brink.
Palm oil has always been a cash crop grown in the Nigerian rain forests, with the particularly aesthetic rhythmic plantations found mostly in States like Ondo and Edo. Palm oil is reputed for various tradio-religious cum culinary potentials and potencies, as its seasonal scarcity reminiscences a nation that is averse to planning, reliable storage and refinement, for better usability. The myth has refused to go away that Malaysia came to Nigeria to pick palm seedlings for agrarian regeneration sometime ago, and is now a leading exporter of palm oil globally.
Ironically, Nigeria is still struggling with sufficiency in domestic consumption, with the various critical bends of the value chain wasting away. Anyway, farting in the local mill when pressing/marching palm seeds calls for great caution! The past regime of Olusegun Mimiko in Ondo State was rumoured to have imported some palm seedlings from Malaysia, and one thinks they should have started fruiting by now, if it was not a fluke like the ‘technical team’ the regime similarly sent to Malaysia to understudy how to plant paddy-rice. Dr. Olusegun Agagu had, during his own tenure, also ‘cast’ some rice seeds on a space in the riverine area, but he did not get the rice back in due season, as assured by the Holy Bible. One wonders when Nigeria leaders would stop thinking with their legs and walking with their heads. As Nigeria economic oils continue to melt, Rotimi Amaechi leaves no one in doubt that Corporate Social Responsibility is fast becoming a liability, with his announcement that the Portuguese Company in charge of Kano-Maradi rail line would build a Multi-disciplinary University in River State, just like the Chinese Company donated the University of Transportation to Daura, the home town of PMB. May I plead that Amaechi should remember Ijare City, the cradle of yours truly, for consideration, since the establishment of universities is now tantamount to constituency projects.
As bandit-induced killing sprees negatively complement the toughness of the tracks, the desire of Nigerians to hear the President speak should not be despised by the presidency, as we need to reduce the existing volatile temperature of the polity, even as a ‘reserved’ Buhari would acknowledge that Nigeria needs a ‘talkative’ leader at a time like this. The galloping prices of crude oil that should be cheering news to Nigeria, because of additional foreign exchange earnings, is ironically a burden – crude oil rises above $61 – as speculations are rife about possible increase in the prices of fuel that now respond to market forces. This is more so as we cook our yam locally and pound it overseas, with the attendant continuous impoverishment of ordinary Nigerians. The fouling of the socio-political space by Gumi, with his new lexicons of terror and terrorism, as well as his admonition to negotiate with terrorists, both underplay the ‘melting oil’ and ‘boiling water’ presently roasting ordinary Nigerians. Cattle-rearing is a private business, and ranching must be adopted immediately, for us to end the robbing of Peter to pay Paul, as seen in percentage salary payment.
The recent bickering between Ondo State government and NCDC, in relation to the controversial figure of COVID-19 patients the latter credited to the State has once again exposed the charade behind the ‘game of pandemic’ going on in Nigeria. A report that I got about Ekiti State on how a testing centre returned a vindictive verdict about a family for refusing to pay the fifty thousand naira required because of the influence of the wife’s father. The centre had declared two members of the family negative and the other two positive, only for all four members of the family to get a clean bill of health when they went through the process in another neighbouring State. Curiously, the two positive ‘vindictive verdicts’ were fraudulently listed against Ekiti State for that day. Who is profiting from COVID-19? The undercover investigation on fake COVID-19 certificate done by Adeola Oladipupo clearly shows how Nigerians turn every ‘opportunity’ to a ‘gold-mine’. The issuance of ‘yellow cards’ by phony health workers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos has been an age-long assault on every Nigerian. We must end the greed in us, if we must have a better nation.
Wishes are now horses that Yahoo Boys protest against EFCC arrest in Osun State, with the wearing of hooded clothes and winter jacket by dislocated individuals in a hot afternoon becoming a metaphor for the misnomer that questions our humanity. We need to interrogate the Yahoo trade, in relation to what a hip-pop singer calls ‘ѐgύnje budget’ that is the order of the day in governance and governmental practices. The Nigeria news wave has been tested with hobnobbing of FFK and some APC leaders, particularly Yaya Bello who is not too young to rule, but to lead, and one is reminded of the laundromatic dispositions of certain personalities in different political dispensations, as 2023 beckons. The recruitments across the different divides are politically understandable, in order to checkmate certain ambitions. Little wonder, the critical appraisal of the APC revalidation/registration exercise by Baba Bisi Akande, the endorsement of his opinion by Bola Tinubu, and the scathing constitutional attack by Oshiomhole are a choreograph of a block within the fragmented womb of a ruling party.
Just as the melted oil guarantees easy and better usage, it should be noted that the lightness thereby precipitates some volatility and dryness. We may not be able to get the oil to solidify again, but maintaining a reasonable temperature is good for all. Existing continuously on the edge would not only increase victimhood but generate sufficient liabilities that would constantly challenge Nigeria nationhood. Healthy nationalities within the existing national enclave are a recipe for peaceful co-existence and sustainable development, even as a return to “indigenous knowledge forms”, as canvassed by Professor Benson Monehin Akinnawonu in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko 16th inaugural lecture is an assured panacea. Congratulations to the distinguished Professor for the inauguration of his Chair!

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