September 24, (THEWILL) – In the intricate world of international diplomacy and economic policy, where the interplay of global forces can shape the destiny of nations, visionary leadership emerges as the irreplaceable linchpin for fostering progress, prosperity and transformative change.
At the helm of Nigeria’s intricate journey through the complexities of the modern world stands President Bola Tinubu, a formidable business-minded persona whose tenure has so far been marked by an unyielding commitment to bold economic decisions, though implementation has been greeted by some challenges that should have been factored prior to deployment.
In his post-100 days in office, President Tinubu, who assumed office on May 29, 2023, has orchestrated a symphony of audacious initiatives that have not only garnered global attention but also ignited intense debates, scrutiny and controversy.
The administration’s nascent tenure is underpinned by an ambitious economic vision, characterised by resolute and daring measures designed to breathe new life into Nigeria’s troubled economic landscape. Foremost among these transformative decisions is the bold elimination of crude oil subsidies, an emblematic move that serves as a testament to Tinubu’s unwavering dedication to ushering in profound change. This policy however appears to have encountered a hitch and is technically suspended with the government blocking fresh increase in price of fuel as crude pushed towards $100bpd and the naira tanking to almost N1000 – $1.
Although it is a popular decision, which has the support of several top economists, the IMF & World bank, the private sector, media and interestingly the two main opposition parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), this audacious decision has ignited fervent discussions and impassioned debates centred around the mode of implementation.
Clearly, the scrapping of the subsidy regime heralds the liberation of vital financial resources, affording both the federal and state governments the much-needed flexibility to redirect funds towards sectors clamouring for investment. The Bola Tinubu Administration recognises that this subsidy elimination is an indispensable stride in the journey to properly diversify Nigeria’s economy. By removing the artificial cushion on petroleum prices, it incentivises domestic refineries to ramp up their production, thereby significantly diminishing the nation’s reliance on imported fuel. This strategic manoeuvre not only bolsters Nigeria’s economic resilience against the capricious fluctuations of global oil markets but also paves the way for a more stable and self-sufficient economic foundation while eliminating a fraudulent regime that has haemorrhaged the country’s treasury for so long.
Tinubu must also pay attention to crude production, which is still about 500, 000 barrels below the about 1.8mbpd OPEC approved production for the country. The president must also focus on security for the country’s residents. No investor will put money where lives and businesses are not safe.
Beyond economic fortification, this move carries the potential to become a catalyst for job creation on a substantial scale. With the newfound financial resources, President Tinubu’s government will be well-positioned to embark on labour-intensive public infrastructure projects, offering gainful employment opportunities to a multitude of Nigerians. This not only addresses the acute issue of unemployment but also contributes to the overarching welfare and prosperity of the nation’s citizens, ultimately fostering a more vibrant and inclusive society.
I must admit that I am impressed with President Tinubu’s messaging and hands-on approach to attracting foreign investments, underscoring his exceptional diplomatic finesse. A compelling illustration of his diplomatic chops can be seen in his trips to New Delhi, his economic negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and his recent trip to the 78thUnited Nations General Assembly in New York where he pitched investment opportunities in Nigeria with assurances of removing bureaucratic bottlenecks at business events on the sidelines.
Unlike the past presidential efforts to lure foreign capital into the country by a president, Tinubu being a businessman, appears to be the perfect salesman to market the huge investment potentials that the country offers.
The influx of capital resulting from such efforts serves to rejuvenate sectors that have long grappled with chronic underinvestment. For example, in the realm of defence, augmented funding can bolster national security, ultimately fostering a more secure environment conducive to sustained economic growth. Investments can also go into building important roads, bridges and good hospitals.
In the agriculture sector, the infusion of capital can usher in modernised farming practices, significantly enhancing food security—a critical concern for Nigeria’s prosperity and the well-being of its citizens. President Tinubu’s diplomacy and ability to secure big deals will mark a defining moment in Nigeria’s journey towards economic and social progress.
Tinubu’s administration, in addition to its economic sustainability drive, can stand as a shining example of unwavering commitment to secure Nigeria’s economic future. His resolute determination to explore alternative funding sources, particularly from non-traditional Western allies, underscores his forward-thinking and innovative approach.
What is however unclear is how much foreign direct investments the President’s outreach and sojourn abroad will bring. This is the million-dollar question. His spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale has not helped us gauge the success of Tinubu’s investment drive properly because some of his press statements have turned out to contain misstatements and exaggerations. Because of these inconsistencies, I am unable to expressly cite the numbers which he said the president got as commitments from investors in India during his trip.
Nonetheless, President Tinubu’s leadership provides an inspiring example of how visionary thinking and effective diplomacy can reshape a nation’s trajectory. State Governors across the country can borrow a leaf from the president’s book. They must begin to see themselves as the Chief Executive Officers of their domains as they truly are. They must begin to think as business leaders, with a vision and a mission to meet and deliver. What resources exist within their domains that can be exploited for the purposes of revenue generation, job creation and financial growth? How can they create a more conducive economic climate to drive business growth? How can they industrialise to come into the 21st century and make themselves not just consumers of Nigeria’s oil wealth but contributors to Nigeria’s drive to diversity? That is the lesson from President Tinubu’s shuttle diplomacy and one that not just they must learn from.
Still, the path forward requires not only a continuation of these strategies but also a nuanced approach to address the complex challenges that come hand in hand with transformative change.
In conclusion, President Tinubu’s aggressive approach in seeking foreign investments into Nigeria serves as a compelling model for our other leaders. It is a win for all when it translates to real term investments and jobs for our teeming young population.