Have you heard Nigerian leaders comparing themselves to Nelson Mandela or Barack Obama. Well that is the media fallacy our leaders live in.
Instead of comparing themselves to a former “African achiever” like Robert Mugabe, they look at world success stories like Barack Obama and Lee Kuan Yeu for comparison.
Robert Mugabe, while celebrating his 90th birthday once admonished his people to desist from actions that will make Zimbabwe look like Nigeria. He was referring to high level corruption that continued to hold Nigeria down.
However, Mugabe might be right to reject Nigeria on what he referred as ” potentially great nation” whose leaders refused to allow it to work.
During his time,despite international sanctions and uncertainty surrounding world metal prices and slow recovery of agricultural sector, Zimbabwe’s economy grew by 4.2 % against government’s projected growth of 6.4%.
But in 2015, Reckitt Benckiser,an Aglo-Dutch multinational,maker of Dettol and Nugget polish left Zimbabwe despite its presence in 60 countries around the world as a result of serial and repeated losses because of Mugabe’s bad leadership, more like Nigerian self praising leaders.
In Nigeria electricity is the pick of the bunch that makes it tough for companies to operate at a profit.
From September 2012 to March 2017, about 200 companies left Nigeria. World Bank ranked Nigeria 133rd out of 138 countries as friendly place for investors.
This is an issue of grave concern. However, Richard Montgomery of British Department of international Development said there was hope for Nigeria if it could improve on its electricity generation, check corruption and introduce a number of good reforms and return to sound business practices.
How right was Mugabe about Nigeria seeing that British government was just echoing same concerns?
Nigeria could improve up to 72nd position out of the 183 nations ranked according to Richard Montgomery, if it could reform the public sector and enforce its laws.
However, the truth is that if Zimbabwe were an oil producing nation, the western hypocrisy would never have imposed sanctions on it, and with Mugabe’s firm hands, the country would have done far better than Nigeria.
But for his sit-tight policy, former President Robert Mugabe was far better and more patriotic leader than most Nigerian leaders.
The story of Dunlop Nig Ltd, a company that closed shop in 2008 after 45 years operation in Nigeria and moved its N8 billion investments to Ghana is instructive to our leaders.
Persistent power cuts and refusal of NEPA to allow Dunlop generate its own electricity ensured that cost of production diminished the company’s ability to make profits for 5 years running. About 36,000 Nigerians and millions affiliated to Dunlop’s business chain lost their means of livelihood.
Nigeria is blessed with huge domestic market, mineral and natural resources, but also burdened with huge leadership and institutional deficits.
Yes, we have an abundance of successful entrepreneurs who amassed wealth out of nothing. Someone will like to know how they mastered the economic and political landscape of Nigeria that led them to arrive where they are today.
Playing by the rule is the only option open to foreign investors in Nigeria, but it seemed that alone will not yield a success story for a true ethical company to operate in Nigeria.
The Dangotes, Cletus, Ibeto, Otedolas and Adenugas have some lessons to teach us.
Our leaders should stop comparing themselves with past and present leaders of other countries who through sacrifice and hard work had catapulted their civilisations far ahead of ours.
By Aliyu Nuhu