Can we redirect all that energy? Can we redirect all that ingenuity? Can we change the narrative to something more in line with our once cherished values? Something more in line with the dignity of labour and the virtue of delayed gratification?
For those who do not know, Yahoo-Yahoo is the name of one of the dominant evils of our time. It is the phenomenon in which foreign nationals are deprived of their financial resources through fraud, perpetrated by persons who have employed the services of charmers to cast spell on the would-be victims to make them part with their money. It began as the popular advanced fee fraud but has since morphed into the disturbing phenomenon. We would never fully know the extent to which individuals and corporates have suffered on account of the backlash-by-association, which the phenomenon has caused.
But we can change this disturbing narrative if only we can Yahoo-Yahoo our cockroaches that abound in virtually every part of Nigeria. Recently, a friend of mine sent me this short video clip, a production of CNN, which featured a cockroach farm in China. It was a fascinating piece and one which got me thinking immediately of the possibilities. If only we can Yahoo-Yahoo our cockroaches, in which we clearly have a comparative advantage with the rest of the world. Haven’t economists long impressed on the world the need for every country to capitalize on its areas of comparative advantages? Virtually every street in Lagos can have a thriving cockroach farm that can be commercialized! Many unemployed youths can make a living working in these farms.
If we channelled a fraction of the energy used in the other Yahoo-Yahoo, the collaboration and team spirit, the ingenuity, the restlessness and confidence, into growing cockroaches, first for pharmaceutical purposes, locally and for export, and then for consumption (Did you just say, Yuck? Remember that everything that we eat or do not eat is based on learned behaviour. Besides, those who fry and throw bits of the creature into their mouths with relish are not known to have suffered any harmful effects. On the contrary, cockroaches have been included in cures for stomach, liver and heart ailments. That’s how valuable they are!
Agriculture remains the biggest hope for employment for the teeming population we are raising today. Back in the days, before the discovery of oil in commercial quantities made us set sail towards Affluenza (read the post here) agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria. It employed the bulk of Nigerians, produced most of what we consumed locally, and ensured there was food sufficiency for everyone.
If we returned to agriculture, cultivating our cockroaches and other gifts of nature commercially, there will be economic prosperity with all the attendant advantages, not to mention the fact that we would have a more robust pharmaceutical system, which we need to factor into the effective management of our expanding population now and in the future.
Will cockroaches make a square meal for Nigerians? About time we started the investigation.