NIGERIA’S SEARCH FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS
Only recently, the governor of Abia State, T.A. Orji, came back from a long vacation abroad and declared to the people of the state that he used his vacation to meet with investors in the United States and elsewhere.
He explained that one of them would be coming to build a dialysis centre in the state. He further disclosed that he had made contacts with investors in the oil and gas industry. Sadly, this declaration from the governor vividly illustrates a major sickness which seems to have possessed Nigeria's governing elite.
It is a sickness which I choose to describe as 'the investment paradox.' This refers to a condition in which Nigeria's political elite mismanage the affairs of statecraft, loot the treasury, and squander the enormous resources meant for developing their country.
They stash away their ill-gotten booty in foreign bank accounts, buy up exotic mansions and set up industries (such as refineries) outside the shores of Nigeria. In short, they 'invest' the proceeds of their corruption and criminal looting in the economies of foreign nations!
Having bastardized governance and created the objective conditions for Nigeria's approximation to 'a failed state,' they turn around and begin to make an elaborate show of 'seeking for foreign investors' to come in and invest in our ghastly, beggarly, cadaverous economy. Amazingly, Nigeria's ruling elite has made (and continues to make) an interesting religion out of their neurotic search for foreign investors. From the local government chairmen, to state governors, federal ministers, and worst, president, the mindsets remain tragically the same.
Under the guise of seeking and waiting for foreign investors, the country's elite has run the nation's healthcare system aground.. At the slightest suspicion of malaria, they jet out to foreign countries to give themselves - and their families - the best of hi-tech Medicare. While they are busy searching for foreign investors, they have deliberately and mindlessly supervised the virtual destruction of public educational system in the whole of the country.
True to their character, they have awarded to themselves and their cronies, the exclusive prerogative of running elitist private secondary and tertiary education to facilitate the inculcation of reactionary and conservative values in the minds of a marginalized generation of youths, while also ensuring that their drive for primitive accumulation through unscrupulous profiteering continues unhindered. It is in the sphere of manufacturing and industrialization that their ineptitude and visionlessness have had a most devastating impact.
By sabotaging (through corruption) the provision of steady power supply and other critical infrastructures (such as an efficient transportation system), coupled with the creation of an operating environment that is inhospitable and insupportable to private business, they have effectively driven a nail in the coffin of the nation's industrial sector, leaving an ever-diminishing number of surviving manufacturing concerns with the only option of relocating in droves to neighbouring countries.
In summary, it is a shocking commentary that those saddled with the task of developing the Nigerian society have, in their confusion, abandoned their historic responsibility for the socio-economic transformation of the country, and have shifted the burden to 'perennially elusive foreign investors.'
Ironically, while we are busy awaiting (in vain) for the messianic arrival of these saviours called 'foreign investors,' the home economies of these much-awaited investors continue to bubble with our looted funds
Ogubariri writes from Lagos.