Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Truth About Cocoa And Groundnuts Earnings



 Over the years, falsehoods have been bandied across the country that there was a time when only the money derived from cocoa in the west and groundnuts in the north were employed to run the country. It must hereby be stated in clear terms that there has never be any time in the annals of this country where only the money received from cocoa and groundnuts was used to run the entire country. This is so because the three regions: North, West and East created in 1954 and lately Midwest in 1963, all contributed their resources to the running of the country.
The North produced groundnuts and cotton, the West produced cocoa, the Midwest produced palm oil and rubber while the East produced palm oil and coal. From the aforementioned, all the defunct regions contributed their quotas to the running of the country. That was before the discovering of crude oil in Oloibiri village in 1956. Thereafter, the production of crude oil in commercial quantities in 1958 led to the abandonment of cocoa, palm oil, rubber and groundnuts. Since the commencement of the sale of crude oil in commercial quantities, other states outside the oil producing region have remained unproductive and rely solely on the revenues emanating from the Niger Delta region.
Retrospectively, the Colony of Lagos and the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria were amalgamated in 1906 while the Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated in 1914 by Lord Luggard, the then Governor-General of Nigeria. Thus, before the unification of the Colony of Lagos and the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906, Lagos was under the direct leadership of Britain while the Southern and Northern Protectorates were under the protection of Britain. From 1914 to 1954, the country was in an amorphous state as there was no centralized government. It was after the division of the country into three regions: North, West and East that the semblance of government began to unfold. Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, were appointed premiers for North, West and East respectively. Hitherto, from 1906 to 1954, the major concern of Lord Luggard and his home government was to siphon the wealth of the country through their deceitful and imbalanced trades. Obviously, the regions engaged predominantly in farming and sold their produces to the colonial leaders at low-priced and also pay taxes to same. It was the taxes paid by the regions the colonial administrators deployed to run their quasi-government.  
Meanwhile, it was just two years after the creation of the regions that crude oil was discovered in Oloibiri in 1956. In 1958 the production of crude oil in commercial quantity commenced. The sale of crude oil in commercial quantity also marked the beginning in the fall in agriculture and agricultural produces. But revenue allocation was on the basis of derivation which was 50 percent.     
Amazingly, with the emergence of Col. Yakubu Gowon as the new head of state owing to the countercoup of July 29, 1966 and the subsequent civil war that erupted, abolished revenue allocation based on the principle of derivation and controlled all revenues generated under the guise of prosecuting the civil war. This practice was never reversed even after the civil war. That was the genesis of unitary system of government in the country. As a result, from 1966 till 1999, resources were shared based on the numbers of local government areas each state has and not on the basis of derivation hence the proliferation of local government areas in some privileged part of the country. Presently, the 36 states except those in the Niger Delta region receive revenue from the federal government without contributing anything to the national treasury. This unitary system has rendered the states inviable as they go to Abuja every month to collect the crumbs that fall from the table of the federal government.
From the aforesaid, at what point in the history of this country was the money derived from only cocoa and groundnuts was used to run the entire country? It is imperative to correct this misinformation that has almost become truth in this country. For, a piece of lie told repeatedly, will in no time be taken for a truth.

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