Nigeria: Making the best of a new opportunity

Posted on | augustus 3, 2011 | No Comments


The unnecessary anxiety raised before the April election by the international community has turned to become a blessing in disguise for Nigeria. At the moment, it appears as if the whole West is heading down here with the visit of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister, David Cameron and some officials from Canada and other countries. And from what I heard through diplomatic grapevine, many of them are still coming this way.

Maybe we can stand aloof, behave like an overshadowed beautiful bride flattered by many suitors and wait for our knight with a glamorous amour to appear or accept everybody as friends.

It seems to me that what we need at this point in time is nothing but a heuristic strategy and good enough, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ended a meeting last week and stated that attracting investment is the core principle of Nigeria’s foreign policy now.

For me, this pronouncement was not necessary because the investors seem ready to come despite security issues posed by Boko Haram or Niger Delta militants at home probably because businessmen are risk takers.

What they often desire is stable government and not a country jumping from civil into military rule or peace into crisis, a situation which often make them to lose all they have invested.

Now, on the strategy I stated earlier, it may be good to make possible investors shoulder some social responsibilities like helping in our rail transportation system which has been difficult to tackle for years. They can also help in building roads in areas where they’re located since their products must be transported through such routes.

But the most important strategy would be to make investors spend on areas that would increase our terms of trade and create employment or on the other hands help us develop such through their expertise.
However, this issue could be tackled better by our readiness to produce what they need and export such to the countries.

I confronted a certain top diplomat whose country is eager to invest in ours with the question of balance of trade and coincidentally he had called me on phone earlier requesting for phone number or contact of a company that produces palm oil.

He told me his reason for seeking for this contact was because the people of his country wanted to import palm oil from Nigeria but could not find any company which exports such.

Fired by the zeal to deliver, I chased after a top producer of the product only to be told that it cannot satisfy the internal market and have no capacity to export. And this is a vital area where the government or rather banks have to come in and finance certain companies.

The company told me that it would be ready to work with the country if there’re investors willing to come in and set up palm-produce companies.

Of course, this tells a lot about our lack of readiness to balance trade because other countries, while chasing after foreign investors, also engage in aggressive trade promotion through their chambers of commerce.

All told, my profession is not economics but common sense tells me that if we encourage many companies to produce what the intending suitors nay investors wish to import, it could be a win-win situation if we negotiate with them on the terms that they must import our products outside crude before we allow them in.

Let’s take heed of an early statement which appeared in Discourse of the Common Weal of this Realm of England, 1549: “We must always take heed that we buy no more from strangers than we sell them, for so should we impoverish ourselves and enrich them.”

An observer was telling me the other day that we should tell the leaders heading to Nigeria no to promise aids for fight against malaria or HIV/AIDS but to bring our concrete proposals for the economic advancement of the continent. Of course, the visitors already know what they want and have since refocused. Therefore we should also refocus and make the best use of this opportunity.

Inasmuch as we may need them to see us as partners in progress rather than aid seekers, we must also act in that line because whether the present circumstances make us to believe it or not, Nigeria nay Africa is a continent of the future because the resources here are enormous even though we’re still exploring.

AUTHOR: Paul Ohia
URL: and
E-MAIL: paulohia [at]


Leave a Reply

Page 1 of 11