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Nigerians and the Afflictions of Foreign Products – Proper Colomentality!

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Colonial Mentality, a 1977 hit song by Afrobeat superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti, perfectly encapsulated the internalised attitude of ethnic and cultural inferiority that many Africans experience as a result of their exposure to western civilization under colonial control.

Colo-mentality: e be say you be colonial man, you don be slave man before.”  The renowned man that has death in his pouch, Abami Eda made reference to this quandary finishing the chorus with, “Dem don release you no, but you never release yourself.”

The cultural inferiority complex that drives many Africans to aspire to be like white people as evidence of their superiority was not the main subject of Fela’s song.

He scoffed at the unrestrained demand for foreign goods and services at the expense of locally produced things as “civilization.”

“De thing wey black no good, na foreign things dem dey like. No be so? E be so,” Fela furthered.

Unfortunately, 65 years after the end of colonialism and 45 years after Fela’s prophetic song, several Nigerians’ palates are still painfully affixed to imported goods and services.

Nigerians with money prefer foreign goods such as foreign cuisine, foreign footwear, foreign clothing, foreign household items, foreign medical care, etc.

Strong demand for foreign goods among the populace puts a great deal of pressure on the Naira, transforms Nigeria into a dumping ground, and exports jobs that ought to be done locally to other nations. As a result, many local factories have closed.

As the colo-mentality disease has been more deeply embedded in the nation’s population, the cost of imports has risen over time. Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that the country’s import bill more than doubled during a five-year period, rising from N8.73 trillion in 2016 to N20.84 trillion in 2021.

Despite the central bank’s assertion that imports increased from $16.65 billion in 1980 to $67.05 billion in 2014, which had a negative impact on the country’s exchange rate, the CBN data show that imports have been rising quickly since 1980.

Among other reasons, Nigeria’s fast expanding want for imported commodities generates a high demand for the US dollar while the supply is still meagre. The Naira’s ongoing depreciation against the dollar is caused by just one factor alone.

According to NBS DATA, Nigeria imported products worth N1.45 trillion in the first quarter of 2016, N2.06 trillion in the second, N2.41 trillion in the third, and N2.51 trillion in the fourth. Nigeria bought commodities worth N6.85 trillion in Q1, N6.95 trillion in Q2, N8.13 trillion in Q3, and N5.94 trillion in Q4 by the year 2021. Nigerians also spend a lot of money on sending their kids to study abroad and on medical tourism.

Nigeria cannot maintain its import-dependent lifestyle and love of all things foreign with its fast declining oil revenue. Nigerians must reduce their colo-mentality and strengthen their nation’s capacity for independence. The only way to preserve the Naira, expand the economy, and provide the nation’s teeming youths jobs is to do this.

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