MUCH has been made of the invitation G7 extended to President Muhammadu Buhari. There are high expectations of new waves of relationships from the meeting.
Nigeria appears to be the West’s poster boy for democracy after the peaceful transition from a party in power to the opposition. It was a more unprecedented feat in Africa as the defeated president congratulated the winner, before announcement of the official result.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan and his successor, President Buhari, have subsequently enjoyed applause of world leaders, who have flung their doors open to Nigeria for business.
Buhari’s attendance of the G7 summit (USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan, France and Canada) in Germany on 7 and 8 June is an obvious side of the gesture. British Prime Minister, David Cameron, had told Buhari to come with his “shopping list”, a sign that G7 was prepared to engage Nigeria in a broad spectrum of areas. The President had a fruitful outing on the sidelines of the summit, where he met representatives of countries eager to partner with Nigeria in tackling our more pressing challenges.
As we wait dividends of Buhari’s G7 outing, our immediate needs are in tackling security challenges, especially Boko Haram and myriads of communal attacks that have left tears, sorrows and blood around the Middle Belt and linked to alleged Fulani herdsmen. We urgently require equipment and technical advice to improve our intelligence gathering and evolve pre-emptive measures to keep our people safer.
After the near-collapse of global oil prices, Nigeria should make more decisive moves to exit from the trap of a mono-economy that depends on oil. We require expertise and technical partnership of G7 and other developed countries to broaden the base of our economy, drawing from our boundless potentials. Agriculture and solid mineral mining are of paramount importance because of their capacities to create multiple opportunities.
Government can leverage recent progress in these areas. The follow up areas include intensification of the fight against corruption and improvement of our business legal framework.
As we open our doors to foreign partners, we must remain determined to reject some of the objectionable conditions the West often throws in, including pressure on us to abrogate our anti-gay practice law and adopt their “human rights” prescriptions that create confusion among our people.
We also urge the Buhari administration to encourage domestic entrepreneurs through provision of infrastructure, particularly electricity. There are more Nigerians with resources to invest in our economy who are overlooked as we search for investments from abroad. Whatever assistance comes from G7, and in whatever area, cannot succeed without local buy-in.