Ghanaians want Nigerians to go. South Africans say Nigerians must go. Libyans had since kicked many Nigerians out of their country. Unfortunately, even Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, also asked his countrymen who want to go to go.
In 1983, under President Shehu Shagari, Nigerians felt that Ghanaians were bugs in their bed. They asked them to go. The refrain then was “Ghana must go.”
Today, the reverse is the case. The Ghanaian Parliament has reportedly passed a legislation to make the business environment hostile to foreigners. Hence, the Nigerian business community in Ghana lives in a state of fear, uncertainty and insecurity. Part of the problem is an eviction order dated July 27, 2018, which demanded that Nigerians must have a minimum of $1 million as foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.
Many Nigerians who have not been able to do that have reportedly been shut out of their business premises. This affected over 400 of them and sparked protests by the owners of those businesses.
In many other countries, Nigerians are being hunted, hounded and, sometimes, killed. The other day in South Africa, our countrymen lost more than nine shops to arsonists in Hillbrow, Central Johannesburg. The adherents of xenophobia looted the shops before setting them ablaze. Since 1998, our people have suffered different attacks in South Africa. Between 2016 and 2018, over 184 Nigerians reportedly lost their lives to such attacks.
In situations like this, citizens expect their leaders to fight for them, to inspire them with soothing words. You dare not touch an American citizen or interests without facing unpleasant consequences. Currently, the United States and China are entangled in a trade war. Both countries want comparative advantage over the other. And they don’t want to compromise on that. While President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, the Chinese government retaliated with new taxes on $60 billion of American imports.
Conversely, Nigerian leaders usually feel unperturbed whenever Nigerians face hostile environment both at home and abroad. This is partly what drives the agitation in some quarters for an independent state. To many people, Nigeria is just a geographical expression. There is no strong patriotic attachment to her.
But rather than restructure the country and make it attractive to the citizens, successive leaders worsen the situation with bad policies and selfish inclinations. The incumbent government of President Buhari promised change. But Nigerians are still waiting for that change. Frustrated and sad, many of them try to migrate to other countries through legal and illegal means.
Our President is unhappy about this situation. In August this year, for instance, he met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Abuja. At a joint press conference, Buhari warned that Nigerians who migrated to other countries through illegal routes were on their own and that they made such trips at their own risk.
To some extent, I agree with the President. Many of those who defy the desert and the Mediterranean die along the way. Though a toad does not run in the daytime for nothing, such risky trips are unnecessary.
But this does not in any way justify our President publicly denouncing his citizens before foreigners or making certain statements, which depict him as uncaring and insensitive. Recently in London, he said Nigerian youths were lazy.
Last week, Buhari addressed a delegation of Kwara State APC members who visited him in Abuja. He repeated what he had said in 1984, that those who felt they had another country outside Nigeria might choose to go.
Go where, Mr. President? Two years ago, you made a similar statement while addressing a delegation from the Niger Delta at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. You also noted that peace, security, investment and prosperity were linked together, adding that “if we give peace a chance, investors will come here and invest. Nobody will invest in an insecure environment.”
This is the point, Mr President. Just the other day, many portfolio investors pulled out of Nigeria as the 2019 election approaches. They pulled out because of insecurity and uncertainty of tomorrow. Many Nigerians have pulled out and many others wish to pull out because of insecurity, hardship and uncertainty of the future.
When you came on board in 2015, you promised to salvage Nigeria. Over three years down the line, there is no glimmer of hope. Instead, things have worsened. So what do you expect Nigerians to do?
Survival is the first instinct of nature. Any man threatened by either insecurity or hunger will not wait to die like a chicken. He will make moves to find solutions to his problems.
Also remember, Mr President, that a father does not throw away his baby with the bath water. You are the father of every Nigerian. You do not tell your sons and daughters who are aggrieved over certain hostile conditions in the house to go to hell. You call them privately, upbraid them and tell them to sin no more. You also make conscious efforts to address their legitimate concerns.
When the Niger Delta militants waged war against Nigeria over perceived marginalisation, the late Umaru Yar’Adua government did not ask them to go. It instituted the amnesty programme and rehabilitated most of the militants. That action calmed the nerves in the Niger Delta.
If successive leaders in Nigeria had played their part well, Nigerians would not agitate to leave their country. What I expect the President to do is to institute policies that will make Nigeria attractive and irresistible. To do this effectively, he must shun nepotism and other negative sentiments hindering the progress of the country.
As he seeks to return for a second term, he should tell Nigerians what concrete things he will do to salvage this drifting nation. Above all, if other countries are asking Nigerians to go, our President should not also join the queue.
Toast to Winco Foam chairman and Engineer Chike Madueke
Penultimate Saturday in Accra, Ghana, the European American University conferred an honorary doctorate degree of science in business management and corporate governance on the chairman and group managing director of Winco Group of Companies, Chief Godwin Okafor.
In a citation read at the conferment, Okafor was described as a consummate industrialist and philanthropist. Born at Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Okafor, also known as Anyanwu Ora, had a humble beginning. As a young man, he grew up learning the tenets of humility, hard work, perseverance and honesty.
He commenced foam business in the 1970s on a small scale. Endowed with organisational and administrative abilities, Okafor steered his company to a first-class mattress manufacturing company, which now ranks among the top five foam manufacturing industries in Nigeria. About 1,000 people are under his employ.
He is a philanthropist of no mean repute and a recipient of numerous awards at local, national and international levels.
Also, last Saturday in Uturu, Abia State, Gregory University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Engineer Chike Madueke at the third convocation of the institution. Madueke, who is also known as Agbalanze, is a native of Inyi in Enugu State.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan and master’s in metallurgy from the University of Manchester and was trained in production engineering at SMC, Hammamatsu, Japan. He also did postgraduate studies in strategic management at the University of Lagos. He was also at Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, for doctoral studies in leadership.
Engr. Madueke, who has been the chief executive of Indev Group, is well known for his contributions to the development of industries, enterprise and technology. He has a merit award from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the National Productivity Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He headed the National Integrated Power Project Monitoring Unit in the Presidency. He is a member of the board of directors of up to 10 organisations and sits on the governing board of two universities in Nigeria.
All I can say to these two illustrious sons of Nigeria is, congratulations.
Re: Whither art thou David Umahi?
It’s unfortunate that a David that should be relied upon against the APC Goliath has only a nuisance value. On the other hand, this particular fake David should know that God still has men. Jesus is Lord.
– Bassey Akang, Calabar, +2348108532520
Gov. Umahi’s reaction to the appointment of Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate is just a tip of his devilish, selfish, narrow-minded nature. I am an Ebonyian and if we tell how much we have suffered under him because of his parochial reasoning, his selfish disposition to governance and his wicked state policies, you will understand that Ebonyi residents have been in bondage since May 2015. I am happy that, in spite of his hypocritical pretences, the general public has started to see the real devil behind the mask. Your write-up on him is rather a kind assessment of the juggernaut.
– Steve, Ebonyi State, +2347030269130
Dear Igbokwe, please ask David Umahi and Co. the state Obasanjo, Shonekon, Osinbajo and Oladipo Diya come from. Did other Yorubas fight each other because they were from one state? Raise up your hand for Atikulate/Obility.
-Japh de Wazobia, 08036228542
Atiku/Peter Obi ticket is the best thing that has happened to this country. Both have made history in their fields of engagement and same will be re-enacted in our economy.
-Chief Afam Ibekwe
- First published in The Sun of Monday October 29, 2018.