Nigerians rarely play their beliefs like cards close to the chest. They are politically impassioned and never miss a moment to voice their opinion, be it online, at a press conference, or at a gathering in the family home. However, despite unique agribusiness opportunity within the near-80% of arable land that comprises the nation, gains in foreign direct investment (FDI) and the development of a Sovereign Wealth Fund, political candor can sometimes echo a comfort in pessimism.
Certainly it is far easier to reverberate the negatives, it seems, than to highlight the prospects during this ascendancy to the aptly titled ‘MINT’ (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) echelon. It is simpler to lean on the age-old adages of the regional and religious fragmentation that has divided this West African juggernaut than to discuss the multifaceted intentions to bridge the voids that had at one point greatly diminished our purchasing power parity (PPP) potential.
And it is out of this complacency turned disillusionment and ahead of elections in 2015 that it is no coincidence that the Federal Government disclosed plans to use the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEF) in 2014 as a platform to drive greater FDI into Nigeria, precisely when it announced its intention (albeit met with a necessary degree of doubt domestically) to privatize the nation’s four refineries within the next four months.
The only question remaining is indeed why this liberalization has taken so long?
Nigerian citizens have framed our political leadership as not just accountable but as directly responsible for what they perceive to be a sorry state of affairs – widespread violence in the North, kidnapping and environmental degradation in the South, poverty at a near unfathomable scale, as most recently and certainly controversially suggested by the World Bank, which claimed that over 100 million are destitute in-country at present.