By Sunday Oyinloye
Nigeria is one of the luckiest nations on the surface of the earth, a country blessed with the proverbial milk and honey, a nation immune to real natural disaster, a country with the largest black population in the world, a land that has produced many intellectuals who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers, a land where any seed that drops on the ground germinates without being tendered, a nation blessed with good weather, a country where tourism sites dot every state, a people who have helped to stop wars in many counties, a nation where someone can be a poor man today and be rich the next day without stealing, a nation very warm to foreigners ,unfortunately, a country acting as if it is under a spell because her people do not appreciate the gifts of nature.
The story of Dubai, United Arab Emirates now the “Mecca” of wealthy Christians and Muslims in Nigeria is an interesting one which should have been an eye opener to the people and government of Nigeria. History has it that in the 50s, Dubai as a creek began to silt and the late ruler, His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum decided to have the waterway dredged , a project that was considered by many as ambitious. Sheikh Rashid was well focused with the project as the volumes of cargo handling increased in Dubai.
Fortunately, oil was discovered in 1966 Sheikh Rashid was wise in utilizing the revenue from oil in infrastructure development. The money was invested on the construction of good roads, hospitals, schools, modern telecommunication network and others. The largest man-made harbor in the world was constructed in Jabel Ali and a free zone created around the port. The rest is history that could be seen and felt. Dubai has transformed from a fishing village to world’s most iconic metropolis and you begin to ask yourself about the number of creeks in the oil rich south-south region of Nigeria which over the years have turned to fertile ground for people involved in illegal bunkering, you begin to ask, how on earth can the people of the region have no access to clean water? You might also begin to ask, why the high level of poverty in the region and Nigeria in the midst of this great God’s given resource.?
While Dubai has continued to grow economically because of the vision of one man, Nigeria has virtually remained on the same level decades after oil was discovered because of lack of vision and greed of her leaders who plunder the common wealth of the people and use the blood money to buy properties and other investments in Dubai while majority of their people cannot boast of three meals a day. There are only a few Nigerians who have served the nation in high capacity who do not have one form of investment or the other in Dubai.
The heartless leaders neglect their creeks to face environmental degradation while they ferry their ill-gotten and questionable wealth to Dubai. Today, the once small fishing village has become the number one choice of looters in Nigeria who have turned their eyes away from developing fishing villages that are many in the South and the North. Billions of naira have been officially spent on the dredging of River Niger, yet most heavy goods pass through the land, same for railway and you begin to wonder what manner of leaders and followers.
Nigeria is blessed with many tourism sites, from the North to the South. The weather in Plateau State and the land scape is enough to attract tourists to Nigeria if there is peace there and other components of tourism are put in place. I have not stopped wondering why the looters have not developed Obudu and other places in the country but prefer unholy pilgrimage to Dubai which has turned to be the misfortune of Nigeria. Come to think of it, what is the real economic benefit of Dubai to Nigeria besides being a ‘’ save “ for Nigeria’s stolen wealth and a place where economic saboteurs do their shopping with their girlfriends, men friends and concubines.
Dubai is no doubt is a blessed city built with vision and wisdom, but Nigerian looters have polluted the city with blood money and the poor Nigerians are crying for help in the face of poverty, unemployment and gross decay in infrastructure.
There is no way the history of the plundering of Nigeria will be written without a mention of Dubai, though very innocent but has become the final destination of loots, and “booty” from a helpless nation. You want to ask me the choice of the word booty? Yes, the plunderers are at war with the ordinary Nigerians, they see the poor as their enemies and they have conquered the masses, taking the spoil and making them remain in captivity.