By O’seun Ogunseitan
Nigeria needs imports of more than $50 billion worth of paper, cards, and chipboards every year. It is worth some N35 trillion in local currency because forex for more than 60% of Nigeria’s paper needs are sourced from the black market. Local production of paper alone in Nigeria, will provide sustainable employment for up to 1.2 million Nigerians every year.
Less than 2,000 acres of forest with the giant Bamboo species pictured below, will provide enough paper pulp to meet the newsprint need of Nigeria’s largest-circulating newspaper in a year, without needing any additional paper imports. Southern parts of Borno State alone, has more than 100,000 acres of mostly uninhabited forests not in use today for anything, and until recently providing habitation to terrorists and bandits mostly disturbing the peace in northern Nigeria. One acre of Bamboo will yield up to 30 Tonnes of paper-pulpable Bamboo every year.
The late Chief M K.O. Abiola had planned a massive investment in Bamboo farming for the production of raw materials adequate to meet Nigeria’s entire need for non-specialised paper, card and chip boards. I was involved. He was Chairman of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria. Nigeria once had two newsprint paper manufacturing factories in Iwopin, near Epe, in Lagos State and Oku Iboku, in Cross River State. Both manufacturing companies died and were sold and scavenged for their valuable equipment under the PDP, in cheap sales supervised by former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, now the Presidential candidate of the PDP.
I know today’s Asiwaju Tinubu is a producer who has major interest in the newspaper industry and has deep, hands-on personal experience and knowledge of the needs of the Nigerian paper industry. Tinubu will necessarily lead the recreation of the Paper Manufacturing Industry in Nigeria. His Presidency will provide loans for as many local investors as are interested to team up with foreigners to recreate and expand the Nigerian paper manufacturing industry and its associated value chain, not just to create employment, but to meet local consumption and for export to earn forex too.
The above is one of 50 solid, nation-building reasons that are not selfish compelling me to choose to support Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. I have only logically chosen not to support a candidate whose very massive import-trading business, killed many of Nigeria’s industries and created massive unemployment and attendant insecurity nationwide in the first place. Mr Peter Obi has been in the import-trading business for some 40 years. He did not engage in any backward integration to start local production of any of what he had been importing for several decades.
Such backward integration is what Alh. Aliko Dangote did, under the same conditions Mr Obi has found impossible to overcome to go into even the local manufacture of even Toothpicks which his business imports to sell to Nigerians. Alh Dangote today produces virtually everything he was importing to sell and many more other things he was never even importing, but were being imported into Nigeria with billions of dollars worth of hard-to-earn forex. Alh Dangote has been an importer for less than Mr Obi. He merely chose to reinvest his profit in Nigeria, while Mr Obi chose instead to hide his profits as cash in tax havens, where he will not be paying any taxes on the humongous profits being made at the expense of the Nigerian economy.
I logically too, cannot choose to support another Presidential candidate who sold off for peanuts, virtually all of Nigeria’s national assets, including virtually all official government residential quarters and many other major legacy national assets. He has also promised to sell off whatever remains unsold of Nigeria’s assets today, including the newly acquired assets, even when he knows Nigeria is not going into receivership.
Watch out for Part 2 of this article on this platform