The alarming flight of industrialization in Nigeria may be correctly traced to the decrepit Power infrastructure and apathy of relevant authorities to proffering evidently plausible ways to providing a utility as common as electricity for purposes and intent of reviving the Nigeria state. In the wake of the grounding of not a few manufacturing concerns, (with reference to The Michelins,
P.A.N, Abosedehyde’s, Bata’s, et al) sited in our government reserved industrial layouts, what subsists on these copious estates today, is the abundance of Churches of a varying ilk.
The Ilupeju industrial Estates; the Ilasamaja and Apapa-Oshodi express-way industrial layouts are testaments to this allusion of areas in Lagos, that have been usurped by fast growing Churches. However, whilst the Church cannot be held responsible for the dearth of industrialization in Nigeria, one is tempted to direct a subtle challenge at that body going-by her antecedents particularly with regards to her evolvement with the boom in the education sector evidenced by various Christian mission schools and administration of tertiary institutions of learning across the breadth of the country.
When one also considers the enormity of the pool of resources at the disposal of the Church – in terms of her colossal real estates, coupled with her yet to be quantified staggering amount of free funds; the government of the day will not be in the wrong, to entreat the leadership of the Organized Church – into aligning with government workable blue-print towards her formal incursion into the development of the real-sector and thereby, establishing the much needed ‘private-sector’ jump-start of our ailing industrial economy.
Various administrations since inception of modern-day Nigeria, had considered albeit unsuccessfully; levying the Church owing to reasons not unconnected to the foregoing with a view to the extraction of value-add to the GDP – all for developmental purposes. Where this gimmick had failed altogether, it should not be out of place for successive administrations to change tactic and partner instead with the Church by way of instituting concessions that should go a long way to attracting her involvement in category’s of industrial initiatives.
As at April 2011, the contribution of the current Nigerian industrial sector to the GDP was reported at an abysmal less than 5% which in itself tells it all. Whilst it seems that agriculture’s contribution of between 8 – 10% was not bad, government’s contribution however to the growth of that sector remains unacceptably low coupled with an inflationary rate of about 13.2% and an equally frightening unemployment rate of double digit-21.2% thus compounding the entire disequilibrium. The simple panacea to correcting the imbalance that is the lot of the Nigerian state is to embrace productivity in whatever guise and by any means possible, if we were to generate employment opportunities and get us right back on track.
How can this be achieved one might ask? Aggressive industrial revolution! Can this be achieved without adequate infrastructure in terms of adequacy of Power? Not quite! Various PPE syndications have been set up by successive governments even in conjunction with the Manufacturers association of Nigeria; and about all have come up short! Other steps taken by governments have been in the areas of entreating foreign direct investments via the injection of funds to the economy in high interest bearing loans – at great cost to the country.
Having said that, the Jonathan administration, might begin to consider partnering with the Church – which has proved competent in the successful administration of our education systems (at all levels) in addition to real estate development even where the State had failed! Take for instance, the feat of The Living Faith Chapel aka – Winners Chapel; with what it has been able to achieve with her Covenant & Landmark Universities or The Redeemers Universities etc. If these religious organizations can be driven to harnessing the human and sundry capacity at its disposal, one can only imagine what these bodies can achieve if charged with express mandates to spare head & set up automobile assemblies for instance or the much needed agricultural Plantations in favorable locations across the land. Government only need provide the enabling infrastructure to aiding the take off of such initiatives.
As it were, various Churches already have in their possession ample grounds in place, for utilization. The Redemption-camp grounds situated on km. 46 on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, which accommodates a whopping 700,000 – 750,000 strong membership (ditto for Canaan land, Deeper, Apostolic Faiths etc) of an array of resourceful/skilled membership base, which if challenged, can be counted upon to driving germane industrial projects
In the final analysis though, much as it is not in the Church’s business to venture into expressly commercial ventures, it is the desire of the writer, that the gains the Church has been able to foster on the nation as whole in the education sector particularly, could also be replicated in other critical industrial sectors such as agriculture, automobile manufacturing and health to mention but a few if properly supported by government.
Written By Bola Aderogba