When a man lives a hand-to-mouth existence, time and again, he laments the fate that befalls him. But on the rare occasions when his hand makes its way to his mouth with a delectably peppered ‘ponmo’ in its grip, he never fails to thank Providence for the gift of life.
Should he have a cardiac arrest at such a pleasurable moment, he will arguably die a happy man! Such is the taste of the Nigerian Ponmo, a popular delicacy with a strange name. What exactly is a ponmo?
Cow skin, plain and simple. If the Southeast and Southwest were to be at loggerheads, Cowskin would be the unifier, due to the fact that this delicacy is enjoyed in both regions of Nigeria, known as ‘Ponmo’ in the Southwest and ‘Kanda’ in the Southeast. Surprisingly, the rest of the country is not left out of the Ponmo craze.
So, as the whole nation is united at the table of peppered ponmo, it’s natural for us to eat happily ever after, right? Wrong. Ponmo is about to be taken out of our mouths by the Federal Government of Nigeria. But with very good reason. So they said.
Federal Government’s Point of View
In the quest to diversify the economy, many options have been considered, and the leather industry option continues to rear its highly economic head.
According to data from the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) Policy Brief for October 2017, leather industry makes up about 24% of the agricultural sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP. Presently the second major cash cow where Nigeria’s economy is concerned, its potential for foreign exchange earnings is huge. Besides, reasoned Professor Muhammad Yakubu, Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Leather and Science Technology (NILEST) Zaria, the habit of eating cow skin, has no nutritional value. Therefore, banning this delicacy makes Nigerians healthier and revives the leather industry. Aren’t we blessed?
Yes, we are. But not for the reasons given above. Banning ponmo can be a win for Nigeria in that the leather industry may very well overtake the oil industry in terms of foreign exchange earnings, maybe even surpassing it. Our economy, which has not really smiled in a couple of years, can burst into a green-toothed grin. And as laughter is like a bush fire which spreads, the huge smile on the face of our economy can spill onto the rest of the African states, making Africa a better place economically. So what should the Federal Government do instead?
Because Ponmo is the joy of the common man all over the country, due to its affordability and surprising good taste, an outright ban is not really a good idea. It can be a win-win situation, for both the Federal Government and the common man. The Federal Government needs to put up policies that stimulate the leather industry while allowing Nigerians to continue to merry in the joy only peppered ponmo gives. Which they particularly deserve, given the not-so-good economy they’ve been saddled with by virtue of their citizenship. So that I can sing my love song any time the aroma of peppered ponmo hits my nostrils and the delicacy itself hits my taste buds!