President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the Ghanaian parliament during his visit to the country and said that the existing system in Ghana is not sustainable in economic and political terms with its current state and institutions. He stressed that the system cannot survive by generating income inequality and it is unacceptable that resources and wealth are dominated by a small minority. Let us note that Erdoğan, as he does on all occasions, reiterated that the structure of the United Nations must be changed. Following the Ivory Coast and Ghana, Erdoğan visited Nigeria as a part of his West Africa tour. When we arrived in Nigeria, I observed how Erdoğan's remarks at the Ghanaian parliament were true.
Indeed, Nigeria is a country that tells Africa's reality with its past and present situation in the strictest sense. Nigeria holds a mirror to the current situation in the entirety of Africa and the world with its rich natural resources, ethnic and religious diversity and a population of more than 180 million. I think it will be good to start with the most topical debate in Nigeria these days in order to speak about the country. As a country that has one of the world's largest oil and natural gas fields, Nigeria produces more than two million barrels of oil on a daily basis. However, it has been suffering from the shortage of refined fuel for a long time, so much so that air carriers canceled flights and filling stations are being closed, as they cannot find fuel. Although it produces more than 2 million barrels of oil a day, it has become a net energy importer due to the lack of refineries to process crude oil.
The Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the country's national energy body, made a statement on Tuesday and called on giant players in the energy market to put an end to the fuel shortage. It is not hard to guess how the cruelest and most opportunist structures of the system will response to such calls. They will do the opposite; thinking that the government has gone into panic, they will further reduce deliveries and push fuel prices to the peak to double their profits by creating a black market.
Imagine that you are the eighth largest oil exporter in the world and your proven oil reserves are also among the top 10. However, you suffer from the shortage of oil products and your public is overcome by poverty and unemployment. You provide 11 percent of the U.S.'s oil imports; oil revenues constitute 40 percent of your national income and your economy grows around 8 percent annually. However, these revenues and growth are not reflected in your public. Furthermore, the economy comes to a standstill, as you cannot process your oil.
We cannot explain the situation by pointing at the incompetency of the Nigerian authorities. On the contrary, the Nigerian state is aware of the situation unlike those in the past and fights the problem as far as it can. However, it is not easy to get rid of this monopolist network, which has fleeced the country for many years, in a short time and it will take a long time to overcome. This is because the slave trade in Nigeria lasted 350 years; European colonialists entered the country in the 15th century and it became a British colony in the early 19th century. With the U.S.'s influence and seizure of oil fields through giant companies, poverty, as well as the concomitant uprisings and civil wars prevailed in the country after World War II and during the Cold War period. More than 1 million people died in the civil war between 1967 and 1970 - which went down in history as the bloodiest civil war in Africa.
Throughout this process, Nigeria's oil resources were transferred abroad by U.S. and U.K-based companies. Nigeria always existed as a new colony that sustained and enlarged the U.S.'s oil and arms industry. The "independence" that was achieved in 1950 did not make a big difference.
Just like Russia, Nigeria is troubled with the plummeting oil prices and makes attempts to avoid further decline. Indeed, its main problem is not about falling oil prices, but the demand for refined fuel that rises in parallel with the increasing population and industrialization. Let us suppose that oil prices have risen to $150 per barrel. This will not lead to a change for the Nigerian people in the present situation of the country, as the surplus revenues obtained from oil exports will not remain inside of the country. Companies that produce oil and the bureaucracy that supports them will prosper further; however, the public will be doomed to poverty - which will eventually escalate instability and terror. As the Nigerian administration is now trying to change the situation, Erdoğan's visit to the country is of great importance for them. This is because for a long time in Turkey Erdoğan has been striving to do what they want to do now. The Nigerian people know that the country is going through a vicious circle at the moment.
Well, will this years-long vicious cycle go on like this in Africa and many developing countries? What I observed in Africa is that all political leaders and structures on the continent know that current borders and division is an imposition of colonialism. So, the idea of a unified Africa is alive as a political dream that will certainly come true one day. Politicians and the public are aware of what is going on and that they cannot achieve stability and welfare without eliminating this historic injustice. In this regard, Turkey and Erdoğan offer a success story for them.
Erdoğan argues for a new way out for Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. This path is a much more comprehensive and realistic political paradigm than the Non-Aligned Movement that emerged in the Cold War period, as it offers a solution not only for the crisis of developing countries in the eastern and southern parts of the world, but also for the greatest crisis of the West. Let us note that the West's crisis cannot end and the system cannot survive with the tricks of several oil and arms companies, media trusts and global financial oligarchy, unless countries such as Africa's Nigeria, Asia and Europe's Turkey achieve democracy and welfare. Developed countries must see this reality and support governments that boost welfare and end terrorism in all developing countries from Nigeria to Turkey. Today, Nigeria's shortage of fuel has the same root as the Syrian refugee crisis. So, the root cause of the terror in the Middle East and Nigeria is the same and the supporters of terrorism in these territories have a common purpose. We know this reality and exclaim it to the whole world.