The Oasis Reporters
December 5, 2018
Problems never simply disappear without us standing up to and confronting them with a view and determination to overcoming them. It is a settled fact too that necessity is the mother of invention. Whenever humanity was confronted with a challenge which appears as a threat to our very existence, there is usually a call for group and of course individual efforts where necessary to tackling the problem.
The disease of Smallpox has been eradicated even as attention has now shifted to fighting HIV and the Ebola virus. If humanity had sat back and did nothing, the adversities of life would have overwhelmed us.
In the animal kingdom, paleontologist have proven conclusively that the dinosaurs became extinct on account of their lack of capacity to source their food in a changing environment. The dodo too native to Madagascar became extinct for related reasons.
Worried as to what fate may have befallen the vulture, I had to go to an abattoir, the most likely place where vultures could be seen to put out a few questions with regard to the disappearance of the vulture at least from much of the north of our country. The butcher I enquired from told me that the last time they saw a vulture in the abattoir was almost 12 years ago. Some other people usually would say that the vulture was simply hunted out for food but nothing could be farther from the truth for we all know that the vulture is just bones, tendons and feathers which is why, it only dries up instead of decaying/decomposing. If the dinosaurs and dodos and perhaps the vulture in our own local environment were capable of doing something about the adversities they were faced with, they will probably still be existing today.
Mankind is different from all the other animals in so many ways which is why we are still tenants in this world. When a change is noticed in our environment, steps are usually taken to tackle such. Evacuations are usually embarked on in a flood situation, earthquake, landslides or even extreme weather conditions. Let us agree too that humanity has almost perfected the art of fighting back for survival, a capacity which the now extinct species did not have.
Back in 1990- 1992, I had the privilege of serving as part of the Nigerian contingent of the Economic Community of West Africa Monitoring Group in Liberia and at that time, only the skeleton held in position by tendons was all that was left of that country. All that was visible for the eyes to see were long and forlorned faces almost without hope. In the course of interacting with the population, reference was always made of “Old Times”, which was the period of normalcy when peace reigned until it was shattered by Liberians themselves.
During the old times Liberians nostalgically referred to, rice, the main food of the population was available and cheap but most of it was imported. Since Liberians could not grow their capacity to produce this crop locally to satisfy the demand, when the conflict started, there were distortions in the supply and prices naturally jumped. For a fact, old times are gone and will never come back again. The only rational thing to do is to face up to the realities of the current times and to think out the remedies. Sulking will only exacerbate problems without presenting a way out.
In Nigeria, things are not working too well for the nation and its population, now understandably so because the nation is paying the price for the lack of planning by the leaders as well as the profligate lifestyle we have been living. Nigeria has been a very lucky country by its geography as well as the resources the nation is endowed with. The wealth which accrues to this country year in, year out have been systematically looted by the same characters passing as out leaders.
Sadly and pathetically, the looted funds are spirited away to develop other foreign economies. The 16 years of the locusts laid the foundation for the slide in this country. It was quickly followed by the current lean years and almost everyone is blaming the government when as a matter of fact, we should be blaming ourselves for not thinking correctly. If there are many out there sulking and blaming everyone else but themselves, as in the case of Liberia discussed above, the old times are gone for good. How for instance must we sit back and complain that rice which used to be around N 8,000 only when the current government came to power and is now N 17,000 ? The rice we are talking about is mostly imported from South East Asia when we can grow this crop for our local consumption as well as for the export market. I am so happy that our local rice farmers are smiling their way to the banks because they are now adequately being compensated for their labour. There can be no justification for complaining over the price of rice or any other food crop when many of us can grow these same crops even in our backyard gardens. If we can cultivate the culture of planting something in the empty spaces around us, the frequency at which we have to go to the market will reduce and we will live better lives.
For a beginning, I uprooted all the flowers I had in the flower bed in my house and planted a variety of vegetables which I take delight in tending almost every day, the results of which is fantastic. If many more people created little vegetables gardens around their homes, their quality of life will certainly improve. Folding our hands and sulking will not take any of us anywhere. The adversities of our times are only a challenge that we can find solutions to.
Stand up and do something about your own challenges and farming is one sure area where you can find satisfaction. Your farm does not have to be large, start small and ensure you apply yourself well to it. For those not ready to do anything with the free spaces around them, the markets are there for you. Do not complain because you can do something about that problem except that you have chosen to fold your arms and sulk.
Written by Col. Gora Dauda (rtd).
He writes from Kaduna, North West Nigeria.