Our future lies in the hands of 36 state governors not in Aso Rock

By Ayo Akinfe 

(1) Next week, the PDP governors were shamelessly planning to hold a jamboree in Dubai. In what can only be described as total and spiteful disregard for the Nigerian hospitality industry, 15 of them were planning to go and hold a week-long “summit” in the United Arab Emirates, obviously at the expense of the Nigerian taxpayer 

(2) It is not as if we are short of convention resorts in Nigeria, as the Obudu Cattle Ranch and Tinapa Resorts in Cross River State, the Ibom Golf Resort in Akwa Ibom State, the Dorchester Events Centre in Lagos or the Abuja International Conference Centre could easily host such an event. They can provide all the required facilities for such a summit and also be used to showcase how Nigeria is open for business

(3) Fortunately, wise heads are prevailing as Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has distanced himself from this jamboree, calling it insensitive. He questioned governors going abroad on a jaunt when Nigerians are being killed in their hundreds on a daily basis by armed gangs and terrorists. Embarrassed by the heartlessness of its governors, the PDP chairman Uche Secondus has distanced the party secretariat from the jamboree too, saying he has nothing to do with it and will not attend 

(4) In response, the PDP Governors Forum has come up with the lame excuse that the jaunt was to meet with investors. They are so comical, they even said they chose Dubai because it was the only venue they could find where investors would be willing to come. Common sense should have told them that any investor not willing to come to Nigeria for a meeting will not be willing to invest in Nigeria. They should have found a more intellectually sound excuse 

(5) What the PDP governors have just done is typical of the Nigerian elite. The APC governors could easily have done likewise. They simply do not grasp or understand the fundamentals of attracting foreign direct investment, hence why our states struggle to attract the required capital to invest in infrastructural development. When a potential investor sees that you do not have any faith in your economy, he automatically loses interest. Basically, charity begins at home 

(6) Anyone who understands how investors operate just needs to study how Dubai has managed to attract virtually every retail chain out there. China too has attracted every European and American manufacturer into her economy. Only last week, about 200 American companies said they are looking to relocate to India because the country is in course to be the next big thing. This is the approach we should be adopting 

(7) If we had visionaries like this in our two main parties, their approach would be simple - Make Nigeria a favourite investment destination. To do that you only need to address matters like power supply, security and transportation. For instance it costs less to organise a week long jamboree in Dubai than to build a small solar-powered generating plant that can electrify a state and the cost of securing the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway is about a tenth of the cost of a week-long jaunt in Dubai 

(8) I find it perplexing that the PDP governors are not aware of the fact that investment is industry-specific. No investor wants to meet with 15 different governors, they would only want to sit down and talk with the governor of a state in which they are planning a major investment 

(9) In this picture for instance is a factory that manufactures conveyor belts. As we all know, modern production cannot survive without the conveyor belt. Everyone needs them, including mines, bottling plants, airports, automobile assembly factories, etc. Has any governor even thought of opening such a plant in his state? We have an abundance of the synthetic rubber used to manufacture conveyor belts as we have all the crude required but alas, our rulers simply cannot join the dots here. Imagine if one governor said he wants to build the world’s largest conveyor belt factory in his state. It is something easily doable

(10) I look forward to the day one of our governors will stand up and say full employment, growing the economy by double digit figures every year during my tenure and generating enough internal revenue to run the state are my goals. However you look at it, governors are the ones who will get Nigeria moving. Just imagine what would happen if you had 36 visionaries in state capitals rather than 30 percenters who are more concerned with creating emirates just to settle political scores