…Let’s Sell a Nigeria with a Hard Working Youthful Population, but also with some of the Smartest Working People on Earth. Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Atiku Abubakar who’s on a visit to the US, says his mission is to attract investments back to the country and create massive jobs for
…Let’s Sell a Nigeria with a Hard Working Youthful Population, but also with some of the Smartest Working People on Earth.
Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Atiku Abubakar who’s on a visit to the US, says his mission is to attract investments back to the country and create massive jobs for the hordes of unemployed youths, noting that “the current Nigerian administration has allowed our relationship with our long-standing friends and partners to deteriorate and this has had unfortunate consequences for our economy.”
“I travelled to the United States of America because I had a mission and my mission is to create the right economic atmosphere for American investments to return to Nigeria at a rate and quantum that we had before the current Nigerian administration’s policies almost halted the flow of Foreign Direct Investments to Nigeria,” he quips, saying.”I am in America because Atiku means jobs.”
“My reason for running for the office of President of Nigeria and even for going into public service in the first place, is because I believe that Nigeria has what it takes to be the beacon of hope for the Black Race and a leading nation of reckoning in the international community.”
This has not materialised over the course of the last four years because, as Chinua Achebe prophetically said in his 1983 book, “the trouble with Nigeria is the failure of Leadership,” Abubakar, a former Vice President argues.
“The current Nigerian administration has allowed our relationship with our long-standing friends and partners to deteriorate and this has had unfortunate consequences for our economy. Foreign relations that had been meticulously and delicately built for decades were allowed to deteriorate because the incumbent administration mistook their personal interests as the interest of Nigeria and allowed short term goals to dominate their foreign policies.”
Continuing further, he says that “New friendships should not be made at the cost of old friendships. It is not an either-or situation. Right from independence, Nigeria has nurtured a policy of non-alignment. We borrowed from the Lincoln policy of malice toward none and charity for all. Sadly, that policy has suffered major setbacks in the last four years.”
“As a leader in business, I am cognisant of the fact that both Western and Oriental nations will be making the transition from fossil fuels to electric powered vehicles and other green energies over the course of the next two decades. This means that Nigeria’s oil has a limited shelf life. To be forewarned is to be forearmed and we must, as a nation, begin to make the transition from an oil economy to a modern economy based on manufacturing and value-added agricultural chain.”
“The message I took to the United States business community is not a new message. In my opinion editorial in the British media (Beyond Brexit – Nigeria wants a new trade deal with Britain), I opined that Brexit is an opportunity for Nigeria and the United Kingdom to have a Big Ambitious Free Trade Agreement.”
“It is only common sense. In 2014, the African continent as a whole earned $2.4 billion from coffee grown in Africa and shipped mainly to Europe. That sounds impressive. However, one nation alone, Germany, made $3.8 billion from re-exporting Africa’s coffee in 2014.”
“As a businessman, I see this and I cannot allow it to continue. It is unconscionable, but situations like these will not stop unless Nigeria and Africa have leadership that thinks business instead of aid and capital instead of loans.”
“Nigeria has perhaps the highest populations of youths as a segment of the total population, in the world. Already, we have the unfortunate distinction of being the world headquarters for extreme poverty. We cannot afford business as usual. My single-minded focus is to change this dubious record by transforming Nigeria from a consumer nation to a producer nation (a nation that consumes what it produces).”
For this to happen, Atiku contends, “we need US firms who have divested from Nigeria, to return. We need Procter and Gamble to reopen their $300 million Nigerian plant which they shut down last year. We need General Electric to reverse their $2.7 billion pull out of Nigeria.”
“And my vision is for trade to go both ways. Nigeria has a lot to offer America via her creative industry (Nollywood is the world’s third largest movie industry) and rich mining sectors (Nigeria’s Kaduna state is rich with gold ore). I am also eager to find a market in the US for some of the half a million shoes manufactured in Nigeria’s cities of Kano and Aba everyday.”
“Someone somewhere said Nigeria’s youth are lazy. I am one of the single largest employers of Nigeria’s youth and I know that that assertion is false. My travels in Europe and America is to sell the Nigeria that I know to the world that does not yet know her. A Nigeria with not just a hardworking youthful population, but a nation with some of the smartest working people on earth. A nation that is open for business and a Nigeria that is much more than oil.”
“And I am certain that if I am successful in selling this Nigeria to the world, the world will come to Nigeria for business. That is why I am in America. Because I believe in JOBS – Jobs, Opportunity, Being United and Security and it is time Nigeria and all Nigerians finally have the opportunity to realize their true potential,” he says.
Mr Abubakar, who’s accompanied by Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, former Minister of Aviation, Dr Osita Chidoka amongst many party officials, is slated to hold talks in the US with that country’s government officials, the business community and the Nigerian community, according to a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr Paul Ibe.
“Atiku Abubakar will in the course of his trip hold meetings with the U.S. government officials, the business community and the Nigerian community,” the statement read in part. Ibeh said the PDP presidential candidate was expected to return to the country on Saturday, January 19.”
Mr Peter Obi, his running mate in the forthcoming 2019 General Elections, has described Atiku’s trip to the USA as necessary and not undertaken to prove any point. Obi was reacting to the question by the media at the Domestic Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport yesterday on his way to the East.
Obi, who expressed surprise at the dust generated by trip, said that he did not see anything unusual with the trip, except that Atiku opted to travel when it was necessary.
On what prompted the trip to the USA, Obi said that everything Atiku did today was prompted by his desire to see a new Nigeria after the next month’s elections. In his words: “Though he does over 90 percent of his consultations at home and among Nigerians, but now and then, he has to travel to meet different groups, especially those that will be of assistance in the new Nigerian project.”
Obi said that Atiku was preoccupied with how to create jobs, reduce unemployment in Nigeria, abolish poverty and re-create the Nigerian economy in order to make Nigeria to start working again. “His trip is about engaging partners because he wants to hit the ground running without wasting unnecessary time.”
Perhaps unsettled by the US trip, the Federal Government says Mr Abubakar has questions to answer over slush funds that led to the collapse of former Bank PHB.
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who briefed State House correspondents on Friday in Abuja, said Abubakar would offer explanations to Nigerians once he returned from his trip.
Mohammed recalled that he advised the U.S. government against issuing visa to Abubakar. However, he said it remains the prerogative of the U.S. government to issue visa to anyone it deems fit.
“Let me say right away we are not perturbed one bit that Alhaji Atiku Abukakar was able to secure visa to the US; as a matter of fact, he can go ahead and get the US Green Card. That will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election.”
“I want to remind Abubakar that the elections will be right here in Nigeria and not in the US.
In any event, any time Abubakar returns home, he has questions to answer following the fresh evidence that we have that he benefitted from slush funds that led to the collapse of the former Bank PHB. The document we have shows that he benefitted to the tune of N156 million from that slush fund.”
Mohammed said that the paper which is in his possession started from an internal memo on January 13, 2009, which reads, “please refer for discussion your requested overdraft in favour of Atiku Abubakar for N156 million and deliver same to me.”
“Please note that it must be delivered today (January 13). On the same date, another memo was generated to confirm—please confirm that the amount stated below be issued from Claremont Management Services account.”
He said there was clear evidence of the account mandate in the name of Atiku Abubakar.
“We also have a copy of the Cheque in which the sum of N156 million was issued to Atiku Abubakar dated January 13, 2009 and, of course, we also have statement of account within that period that confirms that this sum was actually paid into his account,’’ he said.
According to him, there is fresh evidence as to Abubakar’s involvement in the collapse of Bank PHB, which he owes the electorate and Nigerians explanation
Abubakar recently alleged President Muhammadu Buhari’s family members co-own Etisalat Nigeria, Keystone Bank formerly Bank PHB.