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The Malady of “Buy Me The Hollandia Type”


The Virus:
For the lovers of Peak evaporated milk, the cliché of choice is between the one with Hollandia written on the top and the one without. The above scenario is to depict our cravings for foreign goods; from edible goods to other non-edible stuff. Things have gone so bad that some not so tested schools in our ECOWAS region’s certificates are even valued more than those from our first generation ivory towers.

The medical tourism by the high and mighty whose actions have turned our health institutions status to almost a “state of nature” is a story for another day.

Then in school, when we use new stuff like clothes, shoes, and wrist watches, the local parlance for things sent to us from abroad is janded /won ju ni (it’s sent from abroad). While some aren’t janded as we claim, we sometimes are caught saying that they are, so as to give more value to ourselves and what we have adorned ourselves with. Naija, how low can we go?

We are quick to tag things made locally as “Aba made”; a phrase we have substituted for substandard goods instead of using the appellation to give the absolute location of the manufacturers. It is true that some of these locally made goods need to be improved upon but we must take it upon ourselves to make the rising sun of these producers flourish by consuming their products.

The Infection:
Our appetite for foreign goods has so much eaten deep into us that manufacturing industries which used to flourish in the past have been closed down due to not making the expected profit that will keep them afloat. They succumbed to the dominating power of foreign goods as the process they passed through for production was no more sustainable. Factors such as lack of stable and interrupted power supply, good transportation network, security and government policies many at times pose a big threat to their sustainability which culminated in the winding down of their manufacturing activities.

Here we are today, our locally acceptable legal tender is digging a bottomless pit against its other counterparts. Things have gone so bad that the value of our naira to a dollar counterpart at the time of writing this is ₦390 to $1.

Well, some may be saying that they don’t deal in dollars or any other internationally acceptable currencies but the truth of the matter is that it is just as communicable as contagious diseases. You shall know the truth when the resultant effects start biting hard on you through market inflation if eventually government bows to the pressure of devaluing the naira.

This is not a time to be looking for scapegoats as we have all contributed to this development through our actions or inactions. We are not to use this avenue to flex muscle point accusing finger to others while we proclaim ourselves as saints. As a citizen, it is a call of duty for us to use everything we have to avert this crisis in the way we can, no matter how little.

Let us remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and our little efforts can create a mighty ocean that can provide a good navigating route for our naira and by extension, our motherland, Nigeria.

The Diagnosis:
Just like the meteorologist will do in forecasting the future weather condition, those saddled with the responsibilities of managing our economy are good at pointing out what lies ahead. However, they have done little or nothing by investing in what will help us weather the storm of present day financial crisis. Facts have it that we started with the present day Asian tigers. Over the years, do we really spend the money the way scholars of conservation see it? The failure of those that have been privileged to be at the helms of affairs in this nation is what has been hitting us hard and is presently making us a joke of a nation.

The official rate for the Naira is still a little below ₦200 but the reverse is the case considering what obtains in the parallel market. Yes, some are benefitting heavily from this current situation of the Naira but can we really blame them? The aim of those in this is to make a profit but by profit-making without recourse, we put ourselves in the position of those at the receiving end and this makes little or no sense at all.

The Treatment:
We need to make sacrifices not by denial but by being patriotic to our motherland. Let us quench the lust for foreign goods by encouraging local industries and by proudly purchasing and consuming locally manufactured/ produced goods. Let us turn to distilling to our taste from companies in Sango Ota axis of Ogun state instead of craving for French wine.

The suppliers of ponmo (cow’s hide and skin) should look at the bigger picture of turning this sumptuous and mouth-watering delicacy to leather so as to aid our shoes and bag manufacturing industries.

Effort must be made by the government and influential individuals and corporate organizers to see to developing all other sectors of ours that will deliver us from our mono-economic status.

Of course, the duty of those charged with the responsibilities of enforcing quality cannot be overlooked. The Standard Organisation of Nigeria needs to be efficient and patriotic in their dealings with regards to this.

Furthermore, the improvement of power infrastructures to give uninterrupted supply as one of the factors that aids production must be given an overwhelming priority. This will negate the effects in which cost of production will have on the finished goods.

Saving the Naira by purchasing and consuming Made-in-Nigeria goods should not be in words alone but it action. Let “our Ogas at the top” not pose to the camera with proudly Nigerian products while they are heavy consumers of foreign made goods behind the camera when they have its locally produced equivalents. We need to see the sincerity of purpose of their actions by practicing what they preaching.

Arise of compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey, to make the necessary sacrifice and protect our dear nation from the social and financial crisis looming with the free fall of our Naira. It is time to preach, purchase and campaign for Made-in-Nigeria goods. Let us as citizens tell it the world over and publish it on the streets of Nigeria so we can all rejoice thereafter.

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Samuel Orija is a self-employed graduate of Geography and Planning from Lagos State University. He is passionate about the progressive development of Nigeria. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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