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Why Buhari Should Focus On Improved International Relations During His 2nd Civilian Administration (2019-2023)

By Rotimi Fabiyi

President Buhari should focus most on improved international relations during his 2nd civilian administration which will start on 29th May, 2019. Advising Buhari to focus more on improved international relations in his next civilian administration should not be construed to mean that he was deficient in the area of international relations during his 1st civilian administration from 2015 to 2019 because the records are available apropos the fact that he (Buhari) was officially invited to the USA by US President Donald Trump for a state visit which speedily led to the US government accepting to sell high grade weapons to Nigeria to tackle its insurgency problem in sharp contrast to what obtained during the administration of Buhari’s immediate predecessor.In his next civilian administration (2019 to 2023),Buhari should make improved international relations his top priority because it is from this direction he can solve many a Nigerian problem through bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements, public private partnerships (PPP) at the international level, sourcing for technical assistance at the international level, and securing international financial and material aids.

The first and most paramount problem Nigeria presently has is insecurity. Boko Haram terrorist group has been thoroughly decimated by Buhari’s administration but has not been successfully obliterated on Nigeria’s northeast; cattle rustlers still intermittently clash with farmers with resultant dozens of casualties in Nigeria’s middle belt; murderous heavily-armed bandits still intermittently wreak havoc on some communities on the country’s northwest; secessionist agitation is still extant on the country’s southeast; while pipeline vandalism, oil bunkering, kidnapping for ransom, crude oil theft, etc by heavily-armed gangs is still very rampant on the country’s south-south geographical area. To tackle these security problems, Nigeria needs to equip its own security forces with modern equipment on the one hand and regular training and retraining on the other hand by more experienced security forces of other countries, particularly countries that have had or are still having similar security challenges. South Africa manufactures its own weapons and successfully battled the insurgency of African National Congress, ANC in the past; Belgium manufactures its own guns, and successfully battled insurgencies in Congo and elsewhere; USA manufactures its own weapons including high-tech military drones, and has constantly battled insurgencies and insecurity all over the world, etc so in his next civilian administration, Buhari should improve international relations with these countries and others by signing bilateral and multilateral agreements with these countries to be able to equip Nigeria’s security agents with modern equipment and also to retrain Nigerian security agents in modern methods of tackling insurgencies because peace and security is the most important entity that must be gotten right in any country because without peace and security, the socioeconomic and sociopolitical scenes of that country will speedily head for moribundity.

Inadequate electricity generation and inadequate electricity power distribution are both other major problems for Nigeria and are only solvable by improved international relations with countries that have systematically solved (to at least a greater extent) their own power problem. Despite Nigeria’s attempt to deregulate its power sector by partially privatising its power generating companies (GENCOs) and also partially privatising its power distribution companies (DISCOs), electricity is far from being constantly generated in Nigeria and the distribution of the selfsame electricity is still far from being constant. This means that Nigeria clearly needs technical assistance at the international level to rejig its power generation capacity, needs the securing of financial aid and material aid to normalise its power distribution capacity, and unarguably needs high-level public private partnership (PPP) at the international level to be able to thoroughly overhaul the Nigerian power sector so as to optimise Nigeria’s economic efforts. All these (technical assistance at the international level, securing of financial aid and material aid, etc) are only achievable with improved international relations which is the reason why it is suggested that improved international relations should be rightly embraced by Buhari in his next civilian administration (2019 to 2023).

If insecurity is kept at the barest minimum in Nigeria and electricity generation and electricity distribution is optimised in the selfsame country, job creation becomes the next most important thing Buhari should focus on in his next civilian administration, and this is only achievable on a large-scale strictly through improved international relations in the form of wooing more foreign investors into Nigeria to start businesses and create jobs through multiplier effect. Julius Berger, Arab Contractors, Shell, Chevron, Totalfinaelf, Coca Cola, Guinness, etcare all companies that are presently operating in Nigeria and employing tens of thousands of Nigerians (including other companies owned by Nigerians) despite being owned by non-Nigerians. Wooing foreign investors into Nigeria will require a lot of diplomatic moves including sending several trade missions to several world countries, signing bilateral and multilateral economic agreements with many countries, and diplomatically choosing which country to reduce tariff for and which country not to reduce tariff for.

Job creation goes in 2 marked directions viz manufacture of goods and provision of services. Provision of services has not really been affected by the menace of smuggling in Nigeria but manufacture of goods has for decades been a victim of the massive smuggling that goes on on Nigeria’s land borders and sea borders so much so that many companies in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy (including the textile sector) are at the brink of collapse and bankruptcy, all because these companies (especially textile companies) can not in any way compete favourably with far cheaper and far qualitative goods easily smuggled into Nigeria through its land borders. This therefore means that Buhari should thoroughly tackle smuggling on Nigeria’s land borders and sea borders in his next civilian administration (2019 to 2023) for the sake of keeping many Nigerian manufacturing companies in business though it is an undisputable fact that tackling and reducing smuggling on Nigeria’s borders (or on the borders of any country at all) will involve a lot of high-level diplomacy and international relations because smuggling of goods from one country to another involves at least 2 sovereign countries. Nigeria has 4 countries on its land borders viz Republic of Benin, Niger Republic, Chad, and Cameroon so any attempt to tackle smuggling on Nigerian land borders must involve the international cooperation of the aforementioned countries on its land borders hence the need for Buhari to improve his international relations skills during his next civilian administration (2019 to 2023).

If Buhari’s second civilian administration can keep insecurity to the barest minimum, keep electricity generation at the optimum, woo foreign investors into Nigeria to invest billions of dollars in Nigerian economy and thereby create jobs, and reduce smuggling on its land and sea borders to the barest minimum (as earlier explained, all these are achievable through improved high level international relations), Nigerian economy will record a sharp and speedy upturn and the government itself will conveniently have enough funds to pour into infrastructural development, education, health, research, etc because the government itself will easily carry out its government business (exploration and exploitation of the country’s natural resources, generation of massive revenue from taxes, etc), hence the reason it was suggested from the onset that Buhari should improve on his international relations skills to be able to solve Nigeria’s multiple national problems

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Rotimi Fabiyi and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."