Nigeria’s story is not one of doom and gloom but of hope and potential , by Ade Omole

Nigeria’s journey, while marked by challenges, is one of resilience, reform, and renewal. The narrative portrayed in the recent Financial Times editorial overlooks the strides made and the hopeful trajectory set forth by the current administration.

Contrasting the erroneous portrayal of Nigeria as a “failing state” in the Financial Times article dated March 13th, 2024, the country is experiencing a pivotal economic and social reform period. These reforms tackle deep-rooted challenges and establish a foundation for lasting prosperity. While the administration recognises the issues outlined, including security and economic difficulties, it’s essential to highlight the nation’s positive momentum. The federal government is deploying extensive and strategic measures to directly address and overcome these challenges, illustrating a commitment to steering the country towards a brighter, more stable future.

Security, a paramount national concern, is being improved through significant reforms and investments. The administration is presently strengthening the capacity of our security forces and actively addressing the root causes of insecurity, including unemployment and social inequality. Ongoing efforts to reform the federal police force and explore establishing state-level police forces underscore a deep commitment to enhancing law enforcement effectiveness and community relations. This comprehensive kinetic and non-kinetic approach to security reform has assisted in rescuing a few abductees and mobilised the entire security infrastructure, ensuring a coordinated and vigilant effort across the board to guarantee the safe recovery of remaining abducted citizens.

Economically, the narrative of “economic self-harm” fails to capture the bold steps being taken to stabilise and grow Nigeria’s economy. The recent policy shifts, including adjusting foreign exchange rates and removing fuel subsidies, are part of a broader strategy to create a more sustainable and inclusive economic environment. These measures, though challenging, are essential steps towards rectifying structural imbalances and building a diversified economy less dependent on oil. Recent positive outcomes justify the economic reforms. Unilever Ghana is relocating its tea production to Nigeria. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revised Nigeria’s 2024 economic growth forecast figures from 2.2 per cent to 2.5 per cent on the back of the country’s rising crude oil output. Bloomberg reported on March 14th 2024, that official and parallel market exchanges for the naira have primarily converged, while Goldman Sachs has predicted a positive and strengthening naira.

Moreover, the administration is actively attracting foreign investment and strengthening international partnerships. Nigeria is laying the foundation for a more attractive investment landscape by tackling issues such as oil theft and improving regulatory frameworks. Under the leadership of President Tinubu, the Federal Government successfully secured an investment of $27.29 billion from Hong Kong-based EDIB International Limited. This substantial financial commitment is earmarked for the ambitious development of the Escravos Seaport Industrial Complex (ESIC) project, heralding a significant leap forward in the nation’s infrastructure and economic growth. The vision is clear: to transform Nigeria into a hub of innovation, manufacturing, and trade that leverages its strategic position and human capital.

Education and healthcare are also at the forefront of the government’s agenda. Several initiatives, including the recently signed Students Loan programme, are underway to increase access to quality education, particularly in underserved regions, and improve healthcare infrastructure and services. These efforts are crucial for building a knowledgeable, healthy, and productive workforce capable of driving Nigeria’s development.

This administration does not minimise or overlook Nigeria’s challenges. Instead, they are the catalysts for the ambitious reforms and initiatives currently being pursued. The path to prosperity is a collective journey requiring all Nigerians’ dedication, resilience, and contribution.

Nigeria’s story is not one of doom and gloom but of hope and potential. The current government is dedicated to using this critical moment to transform Nigeria into a stronger, more united, and wealthier nation, aiming to secure a positive future for both current and future generations by embracing the nation’s rich diversity as a source of strength. This government rejects the reductionist view of being ‘jammed together’ as the Financial Times editorial suggested. Instead, it celebrates the vibrant mosaic of cultures, languages, and traditions as the bedrock for a unified and prosperous Nigeria.

The focus on technology and innovation is another cornerstone of Nigeria’s strategy to leapfrog traditional development pathways and create a knowledge-based economy. Recognising the vast potential of Nigeria’s youth, investments in tech hubs, startup ecosystems, and digital education are being prioritised to harness the creative energies of our young population. These initiatives are about creating economic growth and a culture of innovation and problem-solving that will drive and accelerate Nigeria’s progress in the 21st century.

Infrastructure development is also receiving unprecedented attention, with the understanding that robust infrastructure is the backbone of economic prosperity. Projects spanning transportation, energy, and digital connectivity are underway to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas, facilitate trade, and improve access to essential services. These infrastructural endeavours are crucial for enhancing all Nigerians’ quality of life and laying the physical foundations of a dynamic and interconnected economy.

In a significant push towards enhancing national infrastructure, the Federal Minister of Works, Engr. Dave Umahi has verified that the Ministry of Works is actively managing 2,097 road construction initiatives, among other developmental projects. Concurrently, Dr Bosun Tijani, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, spearheads the ambitious Project 774 LG Connectivity initiative. This groundbreaking project is set to revolutionise connectivity by linking all 774 local government secretariats across Nigeria to the internet, alongside other pivotal objectives. With an investment of $2 billion, this expansive connectivity programme is poised to broaden digital access across the nation and stimulate economic growth by generating hundreds of jobs, both directly and indirectly.

On the international stage, as evidenced by the high-profile team attendance at several international summits led by the President, Nigeria actively engages with global partners to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties, advocate for fair trade practices, and attract sustainable investments. The administration is committed to positioning Nigeria as a critical player in the global economy, one that contributes to and benefits from exchanging ideas, goods, and services on the international market. Through these concerted efforts, Nigeria aims to address its internal challenges and contribute positively to regional stability and global prosperity.

Conclusively, the narrative of Nigeria’s journey is one of strength and aspiration. Amidst the challenges, there is a profound sense of hope and a determined effort to chart a new course towards a brighter future. As we move forward, the unity, strength, and spirit of the Nigerian people, guided by the visionary leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, will transform today’s challenges into tomorrow’s successes.

Prince Ade Omole is the Diaspora Directorate Director.

This is a reply to Financial Times’ article

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