• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Re: Stakeholders to revive Kaduna textile mills – and other matters

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There is this report by Ife Adedapo in The Punch newspapers of September 14, 2014, headlined “Stakeholders to revive Kaduna textile mills.” Which stakeholders, I ask.

According to the news report, “Mr Wordam Simdik, the Chairman, Coalition of Closed Unpaid Textiles Workers Association, said, “The Board of Directors of Kaduna Textiles Limited has met and they have taken a decision to see how they can SELL (emphasis mine) some of their landed properties to pay the workers’ entitlements.

The Kaduna Textile Limited, owned by the 19 northern states, had been shut for production since December 2002 while Arewa Textiles closed shop in December 2004.

The textile factories in the northern part of the country were renowned for the production of an array of traditional designs, but were faced with many challenges, including MISMANAGEMENT, thus restricting the contribution of the sector to the economy.”

My observation is that we are routinely confronted here by a very strange paradox. Failed governance, endemic unemployment, a collapsed economic system overpopulated with heroes!

How many in the list of awardees of National Honours and honorary doctorate degrees over the past 13years included in their illustrious “service” to the nation, their stint in the Boards and Management of the Arewa and Kaduna textile mills among other failed government enterprises? Yet they strive to bestride the political firmament like Colossus, more often than not making a nuisance of themselves.

It is worthwhile to note that at this stage, the companies under consideration have been long dead. Meanwhile there continues to be a mad scramble to participate in the activities leading to the final interment. Is it a surprise then that assets are earmarked to be sold to finance the payment of idled workers? The situation looks very similar to the PHCN debacle. 

Stakeholders my foot. Anyone who has never put his money where his mouth is, (like I have), by PERSONALLY investing in the sort of risky ventures, without which Nigeria can never move forward, has no business claiming to be a stakeholder. I have written elsewhere that Nigeria can never make both technological and economic progress by doing ONLY THE EASY THINGS. I still stand by that position. 

We currently have a surfeit of freeloaders and opportunists. Despite the ability to successfully balance their chequebooks, they otherwise do not have the foggiest idea how the world actually works.

Other commentators have harped on the need to entrench a robust R&D culture backed by serious funding of research activities. That dream, akin to wishful thinking, has been brought to the fore by the nation’s apparent helplessness in the face of the Ebola scourge. Meanwhile the under-reported but unparalleled success of our medical teams and administrators in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and elsewhere, is actually in spite of our lack of preparedness. I have consistently taken the liberty to point out this very bright spot to our brothers in the Diaspora involved in the medical sciences.

Stakeholders, anyone?

ODUCHE AZIH