Nigeria’s “Oil Curse”: ‘Paradox of Plenty’ or ‘Poverty of Paradox’?

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Nigerian Child, Doyin Ajala plays inside a Total oil drum at the waterfront in Lagos, Nigeria Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 Photo by AP Photo/Sunday Alamba /Source — Signal NG/ Ventura
Nigerian Child, Doyin Ajala plays inside a Total oil drum at the waterfront in Lagos, Nigeria Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 Photo by AP Photo/Sunday Alamba /Source — Signal NG/ Ventura
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By Richard Odusanya

Nigeria is blessed with vast natural resources and rich environments. It is generously endowed with productive land and valuable natural resources, which include renewable resources (such as water, forestry, and fisheries) and non-renewable resources (minerals, coal, gas, and oil). Natural resources dominate many national economies and are central to the livelihoods of the poor rural majority. These resources are the basis of income and subsistence for large segments of Nigeria’s population and constitute a principal source of public revenue and national wealth.

Nigeria’s “Oil Curse” is a phenomenon called the ‘Resource Curse’. This is sometimes rendered as ‘The Paradox of Plenty’ or ‘The Poverty Paradox’. It’s factual, and perhaps, Nigeria —and her developmental inertia —seems to be the most plagued, in the whole Godless world, by this curse. Resource Curse is the phenomenon of countries with abundant natural resources having less economic growth, less democracy, or worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.

Whereas, this contribution argues that current approaches to conflict resources uphold a specific conceptualization of the relationship between natural resources, war, and peace, which is premised on the so-called ‘resource curse’ theory. This theory expounds a ‘paradox of plenty’ whereby states rich with natural resources experience poor economic growth and an increased likelihood of violent conflict. Within this context, natural resources (oil, minerals, diamonds, timber) are defined in terms of their role in increasing the risk of conflict or acting as an obstacle to peace.

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Thus, for example, viewing history through an evolutionary lens and perspective: Yes, it is important to report what is happening in our beloved country Nigeria, and be outraged by Insecurities, Pain, Misconduct, Outright Unprofessional and ‘Gross Mismanagement’ at the Central Bank. Uncharacteristically, given that, the struggle by the government to woo investors is more or less like a mirage because of some of the factors that affect efficiency and time consciousness….we need to pray for our leaders to be conscious of their responsibilities and not be carried away by the perks of office. However, as a country, It’s not all doom and gloom.

On the flip side, amid the economic challenges in Nigeria, with $1 presently exchanging below ₦1,300.00 (one thousand and three hundred naira), yet basic goods are unaffordable, hope wanes. Since the inception of the Muhammadu Buhari government in 2015, a change initiative led to a decline, marked by economic turmoil and illegality. The Apex Bank (CBN), tasked with financial stability, contributed to the economic downturn through embezzlement and outright Profligacy. It is important to emphasize hope, restoration, and positive change for the well-being of Nigerians who have endured the consequences of a faltering economy and questionable governance.

Of course. As long as there is breath there is hope. For one reason or another, Nigeria is considered the giant in Africa. However, Nigeria as a country is presently beset with many problems including institutionalized corruption, poor social infrastructure, struggling educational systems and facilities, epileptic power supply, youth unemployment, etc. Yet, we still have not given up. It underscores the essence of ‘Leadership – which is undoubtedly what we need as a nation. What else has God not provided to make Nigeria a great nation? Natural/human resources; Arable land/good weather?

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I think it is important to remember that the story isn’t complete until you’ve won! Things may not be going the way you expect at the moment, but don’t despair. Keep affirming your trust and confidence in the Lord by praising Him for perfecting all that concerns you. Refuse to give up, and rejoice in Him for being your deliverer and rescuer. Consider for a moment the inspiring story of Paul and Silas. Things couldn’t have looked more hopeless for them as they huddled in chains in the dark dungeon of a Roman prison. Instead of cringing in fear and hopelessness, they praised God all night and experienced a mighty deliverance (Acts 16:23-36).

As a strong advocate of good governance and fair society, I want to conclude this article focusing on the ‘Paradox of Plenty’ or ‘Poverty of Paradox’ with revolutionary and resurrection messages. For me, the Easter period this year is quite distinct. It’s time to RENEW-HOPE in our beloved country Nigeria. As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we must remember we have a hope greater than anything in this world. We are Resurrection people.

Finally, permit me to share the RESURRECTION message from Floyd Williams Tomkins Jr. An American Episcopal Priest, and Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia, USA. Floyd solemnly posited: “Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.”

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Richard Odusanya

Richard Odusanya
@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism
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