By Jude Fejokwu
Everyone, including Nigerians home and abroad, wants a piece of Nigeria while no one wants the WHOLE country and everything that comes with it: perennial problems outweigh wholesome potential.
This continues to persist with no end in sight and no sincere interest for an end. Why? People just want a piece of Nigeria and not the whole.
In simpler terms, people are drawn to make enormous wealth from Nigeria and Nigerians without one iota of concern about what tomorrow holds for the country as a whole and its burgeoning people.
How do I succeed within the midst of chaos and rancour without addressing/ignoring the perpetual chaos and rancour that pervades the society at large around me?
Twitter was interested in hiring a Nigerian in 2019 that created a way to search for tweets related to a specific topic/discussion by collating threads. An example of taking a piece of Nigeria.
The same Twitter a year later decided to choose Ghana as its African Headquarters.
The West African Gas Pipeline was commissioned in 2006 that transmits gas to Ghana to power its generating plans from the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.
Approximately 25% of Ghana’s electricity generation comes from this source. Ghana is even able to export power to neighbouring Togo and Burkina Faso. The source country of this gas continues to wallow in abject power display as generator manufacturers continue to make billions of dollars annually from Nigeria due to lack of adequate and efficient power supply.
While Central Banks across the world are pumping money into their economies to suppress yields while lowering interest rates to never before seen rates, Nigerian Central Bank is doing the opposite seeking to borrow money from home and abroad in a frenzied fashion while yields continue to rise and the monetary policy rate has dropped just by 100 basis points to 11.5% despite the pre and post COVID ravaged economy.
The payback for these loans will be borne by future generations through revenue generation yet unclear. Monetary policy rates of this nature allow banks to remain highly profitable while stifling economic growth under the guise of hindering inflation. Nigeria’s inflation rate has continued to rise as cost-push inflation cannot be stopped through this approach and currently sits at a whopping 17.33%. Nigeria’s inflation rate was 8.2% in January 2015. Buhari came into power four months later and the rest is history…
Digest this: When a government, rather than acting as a neutral force protecting property rights and enforcing contracts, attempts to favour some (Hausa/Fulani) at the expense of others, counterproductive activities (herdsmen killings, robberies and kidnappings) will expand while positive-sum productive activities will shrink. People will spend more time organising and lobbying politicians and less time producing goods and services.
Since fewer resources will be utilized to create wealth and more utilized in rent-seeking activities: selfish interest, economic progress will be retarded (Nigeria has gone through two recessions in the past six years). This is exactly what is happening today in Nigeria with no end in sight. This is why politicians see elections as a do-or-die affair (where the ballot box is just a box rather than a ballot) and a direct opportunity to enrich their pockets.
Everyone is seeking their individual success while rooting for the failure of the country simultaneously by action or inaction.
1. A Nigerian is murdered on an almost daily basis by commercial trailers of the Dangote Group with no worthwhile recompense to the survivors and the families of the dead. No one is taking action as they all seek business and/or personal relationships from Aliko Dangote and that is more important than speaking up against injustice. One of his henchmen (non-Nigerian) once chased me around on Linkedin and threatened me for calling out this situation.
2. Nigeria is now the kidnapping capital of the world as Nigerians have found another way to take a piece of Nigeria for their personal aggrandizement while killing and maiming their fellow citizens with the connivance in some cases of law enforcement. No one that runs a business or has a nice Linkedin job title is speaking up publicly as the quest for personal success and connections supercedes everything else.
3. While other countries were making payments to their citizens to empower them during the pandemic, the Nigerian government decided to target its citizens to generate more revenue through electricity hikes, petrol hikes, mobile data hikes, tax hikes, stamp duty and many others.
4. In 2016 at an “Africa Rising” conference hosted in New York City, I asked the question to hedge fund managers and private equity investors: “Why do you push for policies that benefit your businesses but are detrimental to the African countries in question?” The loquacious panel suddenly fell silent; one panelist acknowledged the validity of my concern and that was that.
A woman on her death bed was asked if she had any regrets. She answered Yes, that she never got married. “Everyone wanted to milk the cow; no one wanted to buy it.” Everyone wanted a piece of her and not the totality of her person for the long-term.
Nigeria is being milked by friends and foes, locals and foreigners, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary with no outward concern and tangible actions by others who should be.
More is leaving Nigeria than is coming in and a major chunk of what is coming in, is in the form of consumption, not investment. When something continues to be nibbled at, it will eventually be consumed and cease to exist. This is very gnawing.
Nigeria’s official diaspora remittances were $17.5B in 2019 (despite the inability to receive dollars at the time and not factoring in cash brought in through personal travel.) This is 5.3X Nigeria’s total Foreign Direct Investment of $3.3B in 2019.
Speaking from an analyst mindset, Nigeria’s net investment is negative and has been so for awhile. Majority of Nigeria’s assets/funds are being used for personal benefit and little is being invested into the overall growth and well-being of the Nigerian economy and its people. Scenarios of this nature enever have a happy ending if not curtailed and reversed aggressively.
If people continue to LOVE themselves (personal business/career success) and their pockets (personal bank accounts) while propagating the chaos within Nigeria through actions and inactions buoyed by selfish interests, Nigeria will cease to exist as we know it. The car mechanics at Ladipo Market in Lagos, Nigeria will tell you that when you sell the pieces of a car, once you are done, the car no longer exist. Nigeria, it is time to take a cue from the words of Joe Biden: Build Back Better!
In 2015, I wrote an article about investors wanting a piece of Nigeria without being bothered about Nigeria. This puts Nigeria and Kenya in focus.
Kenya has been named the best African emerging economy to invest in due to accelerated infrastructure development and a stable political and macroeconomic environment; according to the Eurasia group, Kenya has a diminished threat of political and economic turmoil unlike Nigeria.
Nairobi was recently named as the most “tech” savvy city in Africa and its success in mobile banking through MPesa has fascinated people across the continent all the way to Silicon Valley in California. BitPesa is now in the mix…
The following multinationals have chosen to locate their African Headquarters in Kenya. SSA stands for Sub-Saharan Africa. This list is not exhaustive and excluded companies that chose Kenya as their East African headquarters only.
1. General Electric
5. Mitsubishi Motors
6. Nokia Research Hub
7. Qualcomm (SSA)
8. Rockefeller Foundation
9. Standard Chartered Bank (also listed on the Nairobi and Ghana Stock Exchange)
11. Visa Inc. (SSA)
12. World Bank
13. Motorola Solutions (SSA)
15. GSM Association
17. Coca Cola
19. BASF (SSA)
*Jude Fejokwu originally published this article on his blog