Speaking to his influential audience in faraway Paris, France, President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, did not say anything but the truth about Nigeria and its potentials.
Talking with an air of confidence and, boastfully too, the President said that the outlook on the Nigerian economy had always been and remains bright.
And, now, with sustained investments in infrastructure, particularly ICT, that favour global businesses and a friendly regulatory environment that supports Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), the situation of the economy can only get better and attractive.
The occasion of the President’s speech was the Nigeria International Partnership Forum, which took place in France with focus on “Beyond the Pandemic.”
Why France? Historically, France has had strong political, economic and diplomatic ties with the African continent summed up within the context of ‘francafrique’, particularly within the francophone states.
Although Nigeria and France do not have any strong historical ties, their relationship has been cordial. Stronger ties between the two countries are mutually beneficial, both politically and economically.
Additionally, Nigeria, being geographically surrounded by the three Francophone countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, which have been affected by the crisis in the North-east, reinforces the need for stronger diplomatic links between the two countries.
The French White Paper on National Security and Defence (2013) also emphasises “the Sahel, from Mauritania to the Horn of Africa, together with part of sub-Saharan Africa, as regions of priority interest for France due to a common history, the presence of French nationals, the issues at stake and the threats confronting them.”
The White Paper also highlights the fact that instability in the region and, particularly Nigeria, creates potential risks for not only neighbouring countries but has consequences for Europe’s neighbourhood.
In 2016, Nigeria signed an agreement with France to strengthen military co-operation – including intelligence sharing – to reinforce the fight against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region. In addition, the two countries committed to reinforce their bilateral relationship to address security issues not only in the North-east but also maritime insecurity, especially piracy and oil theft.
The President said that the Nigerian economy is being re-engineered and re-positioned to be globally more competitive, favouring business and entrepreneurship to drive growth and development.
He said: “…Despite prevailing uncertainties, our equitable and sustainable reform initiatives resulted in substantial economic gains and steady recovery…I can assure you that our administration is on the right path to achieving multi-sectoral progress. We have revitalised the economy by increasing investments in capacity building, health, infrastructure, women’s empowerment, climatic change and food security.”
During the event, attended by French and Nigerian businessmen, the President said that the government recognises the nation’s risk profile and implements a multi-sectoral strategy that has proved effective in fighting insurgents and terrorists in the country.
Working closely with international partners, the President said that Nigeria is “addressing the root causes of crimes and taking measures to prevent and counter violent extremism.”
Of course, in a context of globalisation and further economic integration in recent decades, the relationship between the economy and national security has become increasingly interlinked. For Nigeria, these connections represent both opportunities and potential threats for the country’s national security.
The open and interconnected nature of the Nigerian economy creates vulnerabilities from potential internal and external threats. In recognition of this, economic security, under the Buhari-led administration, has emerged as an important strategic priority, with the connection between economic security and broader national security subject to particular emphasis in the National Security Strategy.
Yet, given the growing international interdependencies as well as concerns often raised by planned foreign investments into Nigeria strategic sectors, there is a recognised need for assessments of the potential risks to national security that may emerge as a result of such economic activities.
Given the importance of certain sectors to the effective functioning of the society, there is a need for a deeper conceptual understanding of the economy-related threats that may impact the Nigerian society.
Again, the relationship that exist between security and infrastructure, on the one hand, and economic growth, envisaged by the President, on the other can, of course, not be underestimated.
Infrastructure is basically the base in which economic growth is built upon. Roads, water systems, mass transportation, airports and utilities are all examples of infrastructure.
“So far,” the President said, his administration has “made significant investments in railways, seaports, roads, renewable energy, housing, and many other attractive to prospective investors.”
Infrastructure covers those supporting services that help the growth of directly productive activities like agriculture and industry. These services include a wide
starting from the provision of health services and education facilities to the supply of such need as power, irrigation, transport, communication, etc.
Infrastructure has a two-way relationship with economic growth. One, infrastructure promotes economic growth and, two, economic growth brings about changes in infrastructure.
Unfortunately, in Nigeria, despite the significance of infrastructure and security in the process of attracting investments, which the country had always crave, previous leaders and administrations, regrettably as results of corruption and some selfish reasons, have woefully failed to build infrastructure.
Regrettable, too, is the fact the shortcomings of the leaders, before the President came, for not making governments accountable to the people form an issue not only for Nigerians, but for the investors.
Nigeria’s population is projected to surpass that of the United States by 2050. It will be impossible to attract investors and meet strategic objectives of stability in Africa without a peaceful, democratic and economically thriving Nigeria.
It is, therefore, significant to appreciate the President’s efforts and initiatives aimed at securing Nigeria and attract investors. Hence, Nigerians—and international organisations trying to support the country’s development—need to support the President on getting governance right.
However, on the part of the government, that objective can be achieved through ensuring better mechanisms of accountability for top officials and reducing corruption and other abuses that fuel violence.
On his part, the President has assured investors of the country’s willingness to create a win-win at every point and, “ultimately eliminate obstacles to access and retention of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).”
Some business leaders from Nigeria at the event in Paris were the founder and Chairman of Oriental Energy Resources, Mr Mohammed Indimi; Founder/Chairman of BUA Group, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, who also heads France-Nigeria Business Council; Founder/Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia; Chairman of Heirs Holdings and UBA, Tony Elumelu; and the Chairman/Editor-In-Chief of ThisDay Group and Arise News Channel, Mr Nduka Obaigbena.
Alhaji Mamman Daura at 82
As Malam Mamman Daura, a gentleman, accomplished journalist and businessman, attained the age of 82, birthday messages, notably from prominent people, have continued to pour in.
Daura, a former newspaper man who has made his reputation as a disciplined person, humble and modest, even at 82, remains the same old, wonderful person he has always been.
Among the personalities who sent messages to Daura was President Muhammadu Buhari. Daura is an uncle to the president. In his message, the President congratulated Malam Mamman Daura for clocking 82 on November 10, 2021.
According to Buhari, a close associate of Daura, no one deserves a happier birthday than Malam Daura who, he describes “as a complete gentleman widely respected for his scholarly pursuits and rich intellect” and known for his “master strokes.”
Of course, it is needless to say that owing to his numerous accomplishments, for Buhari, like it is for many others, Daura’s birthday is not the only time to celebrate him. If there were to be a way, every day would be a celebration in his honour.
In fact, for representing many good things for different people, each of them, like it is in the case of his nephew, the president, prays that when Daura blows out the candles on his 82 birthday cake and open his huge number of birthday messages and gifts, he should keep in his mind that everybody thinks that he is a wonderful person.
As he clocks 82, we can only pray that Daura knows only the brightest of birthdays, this year, and an especially brighter years ahead.
Indeed, Daura is an incredible person to everyone. Now it’s time to bring him all the joy and kindness he brings everyone in all the years he has spent in the service of his country and humanity, in general.
In the words of the President: “May you (Daura) be blessed with good health and happiness and continue to serve the nation. Stay well and do the maximum for the country. God bless you with long and healthy life.”