President Muhammadu Buhari
It is becoming worrisome that every Nigerian leader immediately after assuming office would travel all over the world in search for foreign investors for the Nigerian economy. This illusion and self-deception began with the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo that assumed office on May 29, 1999 when the country returned to democracy after many years of military rule. The eight-year administration of Obasanjo witnessed massive travels which took him to many countries.Then Vice President, Atiku Abubakar emulated his boss. So also did the members of the National Assembly, ministers, governors and their deputies, commissioners and members of the State Assemblies. Huge sums of money were allegedly expended on such trips. Late former President Umaru Yar’Adua also engaged on globetrotting also to seek foreign investors and medications because of his health challenges. Former President Goodluck Jonathan also treaded the path of his predecessors as he also gallivanted around the world in search for foreign investors. It is instructive to note that at the end of those travels by our leaders in the past 16 years no evident investments were attracted to the country!
It is however incommodious that President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) that were so critical of previous administrations especially that of Goodluck Jonathan whom they labelled “clueless” and “kindergarten president,” are replicating the mistakes of previous administrations by also engaging in frivolous foreign trips under the facade of seeking foreign investors. For the APC that condemned past administrations for such travels and promised Nigerians change during the electioneering to be redoing the blunders committed by past administrations is indeed the greatest misfortune that has ever befallen this nation! With the inauguration of the APC led government, Nigerians expected a paradigm shift from the abnormal ways things were done in the past but nay it remains business as usual. By November 2015 when this administration was just 181 days old, President Buhari had traveled to 12 countries under the delusion of seeking foreign investors. By March 2016, Buhari had visited about 20 countries under one year in office! With the scenarios painted above one can imagine the number of countries he would visit at the end of his four year tenure in office. Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State alleged that each foreign trip of Buhari costs $1m which might gulp 20 percent of the Federal Government budget!
The travels of Buhari are uneconomical because the price of crude oil which is the major revenue earner for the country has fallen abysmally yet Buhari is wasting the little funds in the national treasury on frivolous trips. But why do Nigerian leaders think foreigners are the ones to develop their country for them? Is there any country that has been developed by foreigners? When has the development of a country become foreigners’ affair? Was it foreigners that developed China, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, Singapore, Malaysia or South Africa? But why do Nigerian leaders think foreign investors will invest in the Nigerian economy when there are no infrastructures? In today’s technology-driving world-a global village in which whatever happens in one part of the world is seen all over the world, Nigerian leaders do not need to spend huge sums of money on foreign trips to woo foreign investors. Once there are infrastructures and the country is made conducive for investment, foreign investors will come in unhindered. With the aid of information technology, investors can ascertain in the comfort of their offices and homes, those countries that are conducive for investments. So, they don’t need anyone to beg them to come and invest.
But why do Nigerian leaders have the penchant for travelling out in search for foreign investors? The way Nigerian leaders are globetrotting in search for foreign investors, is that how other African leaders travel out of their countries the same purpose? How many times have Presidents Jacob Zuma and John Mahama traveled out of their countries in search for foreign investors?
President Buhari should stop wasting the nation’s hard earned resources on foreign trips in search for foreign investors. He should provide infrastructures and make the country conducive for investments. Technology has made the world a global village where investors can get information about countries that are investment friendly.