BREAKING AWAY FROM FOREIGN INFLUENCE: — PROMOTING NIGERIA MADE PRODUCTS & THE SPIRIT OF PATRIOTISM THE NEED FOR ATTITUDINAL CHANGES ON THE PART OF NIGERIA
By all measurable standards, Nigeria is a great country that is abundantly endowed with human and material resources that could sustain high and broad-based growth and development. The most populous black nation in the world is the biggest economy in Africa, whose economy constitutes 76 percent of the economy of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. Nigeria also holds 30 percent of the economy in sub-Saharan Africa, and 21 percent of the economy. As of 2014, it was ranked 26th in the world in terms of GDP, and aims to become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020. From all indications, Nigeria can be greater than it is at the moment with the cooperation of the government and the governed. Some of the ingredients required, apart from good governance are the can-do-it spirit, patriotism and a collective resolve to make Nigeria great by Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora.
The country boasts of the highest pool of highly educated and trained manpower in Africa, in addition to its large population which offers the largest market for investors in Africa. Poor management of the almost limitless and vast human and material resources available over the years has been identified as the bane of Nigeria since independence. From a steadily growing economy sustained by agriculture over four decades ago, the revenue accruing to the nation grew rather steeply, giving rise to the phenomenon of over-reliance on crude oil for economic development. It has been established that Development Plans have could fail if they have been drawn without reference to the target population; thus making it impossible for the citizenry to understand policies and programmes. This compilation invites attention pointedly to the fact that Nigeria can develop phenomenally, only if all Nigerians take proper steps to reposition the country for greatness. It is coming at a period when the Government is focusing intensely on the diversification of the economy and substantial gains have been recorded in the past few years.
PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION: In a proclamation entitled “Presidential Executive Order for Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts and Science, Engineering and Technology,’’ President Muhammadu Buhari, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the Constitution, signed on Friday, February 2, 2018 the Executive Order No. 5 (“EO5”) by which all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (“MDAs”) of government were directed to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design, and execution of national security projects and maximize in-country capacity in all contracts and transactions with science, engineering and technology components. The Executive Order took effect immediately.
This is a realistic and bold step may that would certainly protect and keep local industries running and improve the nation’s economy. It is also projected that the gesture will form the plank for generating thousands of jobs. The first step towards actualizing this encouraging objective actually commenced in 2016, with the inauguration of 283 locally made vehicles purchased by the Federal Road Safely Commission. The injection of 283 vehicles to the FRSC’s fleet was said to be the first time such a large number of operational vehicles would be introduced at a go in the 28 year history of the corps. Corps Marshall, Boboye Oyeyemi commented that said the approval for the vehicles’ purchase symbolized “the sustained intent of the Federal Government to raise the bar on road safety management”
MANUFACTURING: The Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association, speaking through Tokunbo Aromolaran, the Managing Director of Volkswagen Assembling plant had urged the National Assembly to tow the same line by patronizing locally made vehicles. He alleged that N3.9bn was spent on the purchase of 108 high-end Sport Utility Vehicles for each of its senators, at a unit cost of N36.5m. Aromolaran stated that NAMA also said the Senate could have saved about N1.47bn on the amount voted for the vehicles had it opted for Nigeria-assembled SUVs. Aromolaran had urged the federal government to work-out incentives and strategies to accelerate the successful take-off of the companies. The vehicle manufacturing plants in Nigeria include Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited, Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company Limited, Coscharis Motors, Nissan Nigeria, and Stallion Autos. It is possible that Mr. President might compel ministers, chief executive officers, directors and other top officials of the government to use only vehicles built in Nigeria as official cars.
“A viable manufacturing industry is capable of creating huge multiplier effects for the Nigerian economy and society as this gesture would give necessary support by introducing attractive incentives to woo major investors. It is apparently ‘’the way to reawaken our productive capacity and create a future for the children of the poor and downtrodden. Having been associated with encouraging the growth of the economy through utilization of local contents, TERRIFIC HEADLINES has at different times raised the consciousness of the citizenry, and particular Nigerians in the Diaspora to take advantage of these new measures by investing in Nigeria. There is nowhere like home.
EXECUTIVE ORDER 5: Mr. President’s Executive Order 5 seeks the inclusion of Nigerians in the productive cycle. The policy is directed at improving local content in science, engineering and technology procurement. The minister expressed the need for local engineers to play a prominent role in all construction projects, stressing that they have the capacity to compete with expatriates. With the order, Nigerian engineers would be in charge of their home affairs and grow with time. The Presidency had in 2018 given vent to Executive Order 5 by a 16-page presidential order and decision taken in pursuit of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), meant to restore economic growth through diversification and macro-economic stability. This initiative would most certainly create jobs locally and stimulate productive activity that facilitates inclusion.
The focal point of Order 5 was a commitment to Made in Nigeria. We cannot grow economically if we continue with the pattern of preference for imported products. Nigerians must accept indigenous products for the benefit of all of us. The benefits of Executive Order 5 include science, technology and innovation (STI), increasing the quantum of value created in the Nigerian economy and promoting made in Nigeria campaign. Also, to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contract, support foreign companies who showed demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous capacity development and enable Nigerian companies to lead in any consultancy services, including joint venture relationships relating to law, engineering, ICT, architecture, procurement, and quantity surveying.
I know that there are highly committed and dedicated officials of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment who have worked diligently and with total dedication to bringing about attitudinal changes in the crusade to promote Nigeria Made products. They are usually very welcoming and most times in their offices, moving the campaign and policy implementation aspect to the next level. Other areas addressed are processing approvals for expatriate quota, entry permits, and visas into Nigeria and issuance of permits. Someone once alleged that it is possible to find expatriates on the streets who come in as experts only to be marketing video cassettes on the streets. It is glad to know that this policy tightens the possibility of making Nigerians vulnerable to foreign manpower and addressing unemployment since demand would boost production and create jobs.
THE RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL: The new policy also “prohibits the ministry of interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.” It’s not a blanket ban though. The executive order states that foreigners will be considered for jobs “where it is certified by the appropriate authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria.” The executive order also tells government agencies to “give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts. The government has come out to explain that all these policy initiatives are in line with Muhamadu Buhari’s vision of a “Nigeria that produces what it consumes, hence it aims at boosting local production and guaranteeing more patronage for local industries.
IMPLEMENTATION: Some issues arise. Nigerians are highly intelligent and imaginative people. It is sure that having heard the announcement of the new policy as released yesterday, Nigerians with business acumen would have started writing proposals about manufacturing and related matters. Two prominent issues work against the implementation of reforms in this part of the world. Reforms directed at the wrong audience would never work. And reforms that are not adequately publicized would never produce the desired effect. This is why we promised our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora that we would publish details of EXECUTIVE ORDER 5 as a matter of patriotism and because we wish them well. Having interacted with them for several years, I know the worth of these highly endowed Nigerians whose remittances annually are sufficient to fund a federal government’s annual budget. And of course, our loyal readers are provided the opportunity of going through the document as we make efforts to effectively build a greater Nigeria. God must help Nigeria. Please go on the link below to read Executive Order 5, as Proclaimed by Mr.President.
It is very important to devise a policy of visioning and long-range planning to implement this laudable project being pushed by Dr. Ehanire. A Nigerian expert in Mass Communications, late Prof. Alfred Opubor argued that: “Africa has been the victim of other peoples’ information domination. ‘’Historically, Africa’s image in the world has been largely managed by non-African interests and institutions. ‘’Those who had the means to create powerful channels to disseminate information widely, had pre-empted the definition of what was good, what was right, what was important, and what was civilized. In general, even the achievements in science, in art and culture that were African in origin or inspiration, were often attributed to others, because their provenance was obscured in Africa’s inability to proclaim its stake. ‘’Through literature, visual arts, the mass media, and popular culture, the agenda of world discourse has been hijacked by other cultures and peoples for a long time.’’
LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE:
Nigeria is abundantly endowed with human and material resources that could sustain high and broad-based growth and development. More importantly, Nigeria boasts of the highest pool of highly educated and trained manpower in Africa. This is in addition to our large population which offers the largest market for investors in Africa. These plans, no matter how beautiful they could be, would not materialize unless they are properly implemented in addition to conforming to the common aspirations of the citizenry. Governments need the citizenry; and vice-versa. Therefore, there is the need to sensitize Nigerians to support the Government and to inculcate in them the spirit of patriotism that would eventually lead to their embracing the right attitudes and approaches to development. But leaders must show the way for advancements to be recorded, in a transformational manner. Governments must lead the way and guide the citizenry to adopt the best global practices.
CARRYING NIGERIANS ALONG: It would certainly be beneficial if all Nigerians at home and abroad join to promote Nigeria’s points of view on development and project the nation’s success stories. Happily, the federal government has adopted the policy of THE RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL, which makes it possible for Nigerian investors and our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora to the accorded priority in participating in the economic development of the nation. Investing in Alternative/Complementary Medicine helps to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve with the attendant advantage of moving towards a self-dependent economy, increase employment opportunities and also increase domestic production, and ultimately, the standard of living of all Nigerians.
ALTERNATIVE/COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE— DEVELOPING ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL PRACTICE IN NIGERIA
Over two years ago, TERRIFIC HEADLINES commenced a weekly public enlightenment activity on ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE and NIGERIA MADE PRODUCTS & SERVICES given our belief in the potency of these two important issues to socio-economic development. Regrettably, only God knows the number of knowledgeable Nigerians who have been buried with their expertise in Alternative Medicine due to illiteracy, ignorance, and lack of an enabling environment to prove their knowledge.
Our patriotic instincts actually challenged our request for the kind permission of one of Nigeria’s great patriots, Rev. (Dr) Mike Oye, a specialist in Alternative Medicine who agreed to run a weekly column on our communication channels. Mike Oye, a Naturopath/Alternative Medicine practitioner points out that it is very possible to live healthily without drugs through good diets, discipline, and adequate appropriation of nature. He asserts that whatever is natural is always better for human consumption than synthetic alternatives. Most of the herbs could be prepared from plants that abound in our natural environment.
As an Independent Alternative Medicine Practitioner and an experienced Christian Minister for over five decades, Dr. Mike Oyeholds two Doctoral degrees in Agriculture and Naturopathy, and has a track record of effectively dealing with many chronic, physical, mental, and spiritual human disorders in a holistic way. His broad and comprehensive education and a deep interest in the well-being of humankind are the basis for his practice. There are several Nigerians in the same class with 80-year old Mike Oye, who is still very agile at that age. A combination of Nigerian Alternative/Complementary medical practitioners could change the landscape of the health sub-sector in Nigeria through a Strategic Action Plan that must involve huge public enlightenment. Dr. Mike Oye relocated to the United States a few years ago and he is in very high demand in that country and even some parts of Africa.
THE ‘’WITCHES & WIZARDS’’ OF TIANAMEN SQUARE, BEIJING
The interest of this writer was fired by what he experienced in the Peoples’ Republic of China when he had a first-class experience of how China had moved rapidly to develop its alternative medicine to the fancy of the world. In company with a few other Nigerians, we visited the popular TIANANMEN SQUARE IN BEIJING and subjected ourselves to diagnosis akin to general medical check-up by alternative medical practitioners, who with the ordinary specialized touch of each of the three vessels, through which blood runs through each wrist, diagnosed ailments perfectly. We were informed that each vein leads to, and services one organ each, in the human system. We were amazed by the accuracy of the diagnosis but decided to test the authenticity. The following day, two of us were told to repeat the visit for the same type of medical check-up at the same facility, for the purpose of ascertaining the genuineness of the results of our local Chinese medical examination. They met different medical practitioners who conducted tests and issued the same results! Some of us thought the physicians were probably
wizards and witches imbued with spiritual powers. But we were very wrong.
That Beijing visit proved revealing about advancements made in Alternative Medicine. It is incredible that alternative medical practice and Western medicine in China are at the same level of development, which is one of the reasons why those herbal products are available in large quantities in Nigeria and other parts of the world.. But lack of assurances of intellectual property rights has forced many to go to their graves with huge knowledge. This is one area that the Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has worked relentlessly to transform. As Minister of State for Health, Ehanire met with traditional medicine in Nigeria practitioners of the protection of their intellectual property rights for products that support government effort towards
universal health coverage.
At the 16th edition of the African Traditional Medicine Day that held in 2019, the Minister ‘’emphasized the need to promote and enhance local manufacturing of traditional medicines for better access to quality-assured medication’’ “Nigeria has over 8,000 plant species with potential benefits in ethnomedicine or Ethnopharmacol and that up to 70% of Nigerians use Traditional Medicine, either wholly, or in combined with modern drugs” The representative of traditional medicine practitioners in Nigeria revealed that there are a number of Nigerian traditional medicine products marketed and sold outside the country but are not in the database due to lack of specific regulation in practice.
MORE SOLID GROUNDWORK TO BE DONE:
It is highly remarkable that the Federal Ministry of Health has taken steps further to get the federal government of nod by way of recognizing the importance of traditional medicine for the development of the health sector. Dr Ehanire most recently disclosed the government’s plans to integrate alternative/complementary studies into the curricula of health science students in the country and Africa. If that happens, Nigeria will be following suit with the Chinese model. For instance, the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine is a state-level key institution under the direct leadership of the State Education Commission. Dongzhimen hospital, an affiliate to Beijing University of Chinese Medicine has a clinical research base with a special focus on stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, nephropathy, and other illnesses.
Beijing Medicinal Botanic Garden is the Chinese herbal cultivation base of providing herbs for scientific research. There are over 600 kinds of medicinal plants in a 160- acre ground. The integration of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine is generally practiced in some Chinese hospitals. Besides prescribing western medicine, doctors also make very good use of modern medical equipment in the process of diagnosis. This is the result of the implementation of policies of visioning and long-range planning. We have highly qualified Nigerians here and abroad, who could perform a similar feat.
INTEGRATION & LEARNING FROM THE CHINESE EXAMPLE:
Speaking at a forum organized for alternative medicine practitioners, Director-General of the National Foods & Drugs Administration & Control, NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye listed some of the problems hindering the development of traditional herbal medicine in Nigeria. These, she said, include the lack of proper documentation, lack of clinical trials, standardization and validation among the custodians of the knowledge. She said the industry, if well researched, can serve as a means of income generation for the country and also compete with countries such as China and India “who have advanced in their traditional medicine practice. The country needs to focus on improving and developing its traditional herbal medicine as it can be a source of income for the country,” she said. “There is an inadequate level of research and low output of research herbal medicines.
There is problem of collaboration and cooperation of practitioners with scientists and researchers. What is the use of having good knowledge of traditional medicine if you are going to die with it? There is also a low level of understanding the protection of inventions, we develop something, we quickly start selling and we lost the protection of the product. There are often no patent and within a year of getting to the market if they don’t protect, it is free for all.
MEDICAL TOURISM & CAPITAL FLIGHT
If Nigeria could get it right, the future certainly holds bright prospects for the health sector. Official reports compiled as of 2014, indicated that 30,000 Nigerians spent $1 billion annually on medical tourism. The Report released by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority revealed that Nigeria would make huge gains if the affluent class had the will and determination to end the capital flight and invest the money back in the local economy. According to him, 60 percent of the said amount is spent in four major areas of healthcare, namely: cardiology, orthopedic, renal dialysis issues, and cancer, saying those entrepreneurial opportunities abound in the field only for those who could seize the opportunity by redirecting the cash flow into the comatose local health sector.
Methodically, Traditional Nigerian Medicine must be deeply rooted in the hearts of the Nigerians; a phenomenon that has enabled China to develop its alternative medicine to such an extent that the nation has produced numerous professors in Alternative Medicine. Apart from conserving foreign exchange that would have gone into medical tourism, China is flooding the whole world with herbal drugs made from farm products in that country. For instance, the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine is a state-level key institution under the direct leadership of the State Education Commission. Dongzhimen Hospital, an affiliate to Beijing University of Chinese Medicine has a clinical research base with a special focus on stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, nephropathy, and other illnesses. Beijing Medicinal Botanic Garden is the Chinese herbal cultivation base of providing herbs for scientific research. There are over 600 kinds of medicinal plants in a 160- acre ground.
PATRIOTISM:: We discovered that the integration of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine is generally practiced in some Chinese hospitals. Besides prescribing Western medicine, doctors also make very good use of modern medical equipment in the process of diagnosis. One of the hospitals works with Shanghai Medical University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in a joint Masters’ Degree programme. In Nigeria, the Medical & Dental Council of Nigeria regulates the practice of Alternative Medicine in Nigeria.
Practitioners must give satisfactory evidence of having received appropriate training in a recognized Alternative Medicine Training Institution for them to be licensed. Nigeria’s interest in exploring this area is evidenced by its participation in The World Health Organization Africa Region (WHO AFRO) officially designated date of August 31st of each year as Alternative Traditional Medicine Day. The WHO has campaigned to the world to recognize, respect, conduct research, and partner with the system of African traditional medicine and traditional knowledge. The Federal Minister of Science & Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu had two years ago pleaded for more funding for Nigeria
Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) Lagos, and the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and
Development (NIPRD) Abuja. Dr. Onu also revealed the intention of the government to develop Nigerian herbal medicines for export. Onu noted that a situation where traditional medicine from Asian countries flooded Nigerian markets called for serious
attention from the government.
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