By Ayo Akinfe
(1) Ajaokuta Steel Mill
No nation can industrialise without steel. Without it, you simply cannot go about manufacturing, so until we get that plant up and running, we are going nowhere. Come on now, we have been at this thing since 1979
(2) Jebba Paper Mill
When established, the Jebba Paper Mill was planned to be the largest such facility in West Africa. By now, it should have a virtual monopoly on the supply of newsprint across West Africa. It was recently taken over by an Indian businessman and began to function again. When set up in 1969, it was to have an annual output of 55,000 tonnes. I hope the new owners can get it back to full capacity
(3) Oluwa Glass Company Igbokoda
Founded by the former Ondo State governor Michael Ajasin, this factory was the only one of its kind on the African continent. It was designed to supply automobile windscreens, drinking glasses, and the construction industry with windows. Today, it is lying totally derelict
(4) Okposi Salt Industry
During the Nigerian Civil War, this plant provided Biafra with all its salt. Using very basic technology, women processed water from Okposi Salt Lake and turned it into table salt. Do you know that the facility is still standing there today?
(5) Arewa Textiles Kaduna
Arguably the jewel in the manufacturing crown of northern Nigeria, this was one of Ahmadu Bello’s pet projects. It started off in 1955, when northern Nigerian government officials, working together with the British textile firm, David Whitehead & Sons, successfully began arrangements to build the first large textile manufacturing mill in Nigeria, Kaduna. Today, nothing is happening there
(6) Ile-Oluji Cocoa Grinding Plant
Another initiative of Governor Michael Ajasin, this plant was started as part of the integrated chocolate production chain. Nigeria is the world’s sixth largest cocoa producer with an annual output of about 250,000 tonnes. Today, the global chocolate industry is worth about $105bn but I can tell you that Nigeria is not even getting $1bn from this. Economists say that a sum of $275m could easily be made if we add value to our cocoa exports
(7) Mokwa Cattle Ranch
This was another initiative introduced during the First Republic. Brought to Nigeria by the Germans, the Mokwa Cattle Ranch was actually designed to end the primitive practice of nomadism in Nigeria. The livestock at the plant were to be fed on special molasses diets. As of at 1973 when the Germans handed over the ranch to Nigeria, it still had 3,000 healthy cattle in it. Today, there is not one cow on the ranch
(8) Nigerian-Romanian Wood Industry Ondo
This is another major tragedy as this plant actually got up and running. It was a major supplier of furniture to the home furnishing industry and by now, would have been exporting finished products to the industrialised world had we kept it going. How we ruined it is beyond me
(9) Bacita Sugar Company Ilorin
Nigeria’s annual sugar consumption is about 2m tonnes but we only produce about 25,000 tonnes of this. I do not know of any sector where production lags so far behind consumption. Aliko Dangote’s Savannah Sugar Company in Adamawa State is trying to bridge the gap but alas, the gulf is massive
(10) Okitipupa Palm Oil Mill
Appearing to be making a comeback after an investor said it planned to pump $13m in the project, the Okitipupa Palm Oil Company began life in 1969 with the creation of plantations. In 1974, an oil processing mill was installed and in 1976, the firm was incorporated as a limited liability company. However, true to style, we let it fall into ruin, allowing Malaysia and Indonesia to overtake us as palm oil producers. Today, Nigeria consumes more palm oil than she produces
Just ask yourselves how many jobs reviving all these plants would create. Do we have a master plan to get them up and running?
Most of them are owned by state governments, so the initiative is down to the governors. If you ask me, the man to come up with the master plan is Kayode Fayemi, the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum.