Overcoming the fear to move from importation to production in Nigeria

share on:
move from importation to production

If Mercy Johnson visits Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, and she was served tasty eforiro soup which Omotola had prepared, will Mercy Johnson always go to collect from Omotola’s house when she and her family want to eat eforiro, or will she ask Omotola to teach her how to prepare the eforiro? Mercy Johnson would most probably ask Omotola to explain how to prepare the eforiro delicacy, so that she can learn. When Mercy Johnson gets home, she will try to prepare the eforiro using the explanation she received from Omotola. Mercy Johnson may not get the preparation perfectly during the first few attempts, but with patient and constant practice, she will improve. If Mercy Johnson is able to learn how to prepare the eforiro, she will overcome the fear to move from importation to production of eforiro in her house.

Many Nigerians have criticised the inability of Nigerians to produce commodities they need for developing their society. They have ridiculed the Nigerian engineers, who have failed to utilize local mineral resources to produce technological commodities for Nigerians. Despite the clamour for Nigerian productivity, many Nigerians eagerly choose foreign products and services over the very few ones produced in Nigeria.[1] A Nigerian professor noted that Nigerian products (Aba-made) and contracts lack integrity compared to their foreign counterparts. With this mentality, it becomes difficult to overcome the national fear and obstacles to move from importation to production in Nigeria.

The obstacles to industrial potency and productivity in Nigeria could be classified into political and attitudinal factors

Joint account - Nigerian representatives

On the POLITICAL FACTOR, Nigeria is a nation of survivors;[2] a jungle where everybody is struggling to survive, even at the expense of others. There has never been a sincere national agreement to live and collaborate for development, justice and peace.[3] Instead, using military force,[4] Nigerian government seized the resources which engineers are supposed to use for producing commodities in Nigeria.[5][6][7] The government auctions these resources to foreign companies,[8] only to import the finished goods from the companies at high prices.[9] Hence, some political officers, civil servants and businesspeople plot means to obtain resource-money or import profit: foreign coaches, contractors, goods and services.


Some political cum economic challenges in overcoming the fear of moving from importation to production will include:

  1. Difficulty in severing foreign Business interests 

Many people clamour for change, but are not truly ready for the change.[10] Many Nigerians have linked-up with foreign companies who either obtain crude resources from Nigeria, or supply finished goods to Nigeria. They have invested lots of time, goodwill and money in their relationship with foreign business partners. Thus, it will be very difficult for them to abandon their already-established source of wealth to support Nigerian productivity. Without proper management, these businesspeople can frustrate efforts to establish quality local production through political lobbying or other means.

  1. External competition

Many foreign companies have taken lion-shares in the Nigerian market and will resist the split of such shares with local producers. Hence, they will strive to sabotage the efforts of local producers in providing Nigerian made goods and services. So they will lobby the relevant lawmakers to see that the policies are skewed in favour of Nigerian dependence of importation.

ON THE ATTITUDINAL, some Nigerians have accepted the dependence on importation that they brag on use of imported items over locally-made. Some Nigerians actually brag about not using Nigerian products, which they tag as poor products for poor people. This mentality is a hangover of the colonial encounter that has been sustained by the imported style of education. “The educational system still trains people for a life style that is unavailable and unaffordable to most Nigerians… it alienates the Nigerian from his environment… in contrast to our pre-colonial education, which was tied to our ways of life.”[11]

  1. Inferiority complex

The African encounter with the colonial masters left damaging effects on Nigerian psychology. The European technical advancement from Industrial Revolution, which was shown in their machines and weapons intimidated the Africans to stupor. The Europeans played on the effect by insisting that technical knowledge was above the comprehension of African minds. “European oil-companies insisted that oil-industry technology was so complex that we would never ever in the next five hundred years be able to figure it out.”[12] Nigerians are now taught the importation skills of reading, writing and counting, instead of the skills for utilizing local resources for production.[13] Hence, there is still a psychological barrier in Nigerian attempts to move from importation to production.

Obviously, many Nigerians are yet to escape the inferiority complex acquired by the alien design of Nigerian education and society for unproductivity. Nigerian students now hope to graduate and work with multinational companies, instead of learning to produce items from local resources in Nigeria. Nigerian engineering and pharmacy graduates besiege banking and auditing firms where they count and report imported goods and ideas.


  1. Inter-tribal disharmony and distrust

The invasion of the colonial masters had a more damaging effect on the foundational social structure of African communities. Africa’s nation states were formed by foreigners, lines drawn by Europeans on maps of places they had often never been to. They carved out territories, cut up kingdoms and societies of which they had little idea… They (African countries) lack a common conception of nationhood.”[14] Like some African countries, Nigeria is a British-formed country of different ethnic communities who were clashingly joined under an alien political structure. They were joined in order to ease the colonialists’ stress of exploiting mineral resources from different ethnic communities.

Restartnaija History of Nigeria

Like beasts in a single cage, different ethnic communities endlessly fight in their attempt to resolve the problem of resources ownership. The fight for resources is temporarily appeased by sharing allocations from the cheap-sale of mineral resources to former colonialists. Hence, while ethnic communities are distracted in struggling positions for sharing allocations, foreign companies export the mineral resources. This is “the problem of social control, which concerns the issue of the development and maintenance of viable social orders, within which individuals can exercise their rights, perform their obligation and realize their genuine human potentials.”[15]



We identified political and attitudinal factors hindering the move from importation to production. Olusegun Oladipo insists that the most fundamental factor for acquisition and utilization of resources in production is social control. “If we are unable to solve the problem of social control, we are unlikely to be in a position to secure our cultural autonomy …and to use scientific knowledge to promote human wellbeing.”[16] Hence, Nigerian ethnic communities must discuss terms and conditions of their partnership for peace and productivity. Different sections will align to own and manage their resources, because the nation cannot work without proper distinction of rights and obligations.

workable social structure
Arrangement for workable social structure
  • After retrieving access to their local resources, the different sections of the country will then reform their engineering departments to practice production of goods using accessible local resources within their sections.
  • These reformed sections will invite industrious Nigerians in diaspora to collaborate with locally-trained engineers on processes of modern productivity.
  • The businesspeople who had allied with foreign companies will be offered privileges to invest in, or establish local industries in Nigeria for production with sufficient access to local resources.
  • Foreign companies who are willing to collaborate will eventually be allowed to create other products in order to check indigenous laxity.


The local products may not match standards within the first few months or years in the move from importation to production. However, like Mercy Johnson’s patient and consistent success, they will improve and produce better items. Modern Chinese boom began with Chinese patience and consistence in copying what other countries made, now they produce almost everything. In the same vein, a Nigeria whose sections have been reorganized according to their adequate potentials will patiently improve themselves. They will overcome extreme dependence and move from importation to production.


[1] Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN) reported by Udeme Clement on January 12, 2014 https://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/01/foreigners-taken-economy-man/ retrieved 17 September 2017

[2] Cf. Chukwunwike Enekwechi, Nigerians are not DNA corrupt, http://restartnaija.com/2017/06/01/nigerians-are-not-dna-corrupt/ retrieved 17 September 2017

[3] cf. Richard Dowden, Africa altered states, ordinary miracles. New York: Public Affairs, 2010. p.445

[4] 29th March 1978, Land use act. P7

[5] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2

[6] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[7] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[8] Cf. Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3

[9] Manufacturer’s Association of Nigeria, op cit

[10] Cf. Robert Greene, 48 Laws of Power, (London, Profile Books, 2002). p392

[11] Ogban Ogban-Iyam, Re-Inventing Nigeria through Pre-colonial Traditions In Issues in contemporary political economy of Nigeria.edited by Hassan A. Saliu. (Ilorin: T.A. Olayeri press, 1999). P73

[12] Chinua Achebe, There was a country, (USA: Penguin Press, 2012). P157

[13] Cf. Prof. Malomo Ade, Bioethics lecture at the Department of Surgery, University College Hospital, University of Ibadan. 21/03/2017

[14] Richard Dowden, op. Cit. p3

[15] Olusegun Oladipo, The idea of African philosophy, third edition (Ibadan: Hope Publications, 2014). p114

[16] Ibid p114