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Atiku Opens Up On Real Reason He Visited America

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Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has penned a long article on why he decided to visit the United States of America.

Atiku stated that he travelled to the US, because he has a mission to “create the right economic atmosphere for American investments to return to Nigeria”.

Full text below:

It has become pertinent for me to speak about my ongoing visit to the United States of America, where I have met and I am still meeting with the U.S. administration officials and business leaders.

I travelled to the United States of America because I have a mission, which is to create the right economic atmosphere for American investments to return to Nigeria at a rate and quantum that we had before the current Nigerian administration’s policies almost halted the flow of foreign direct investments to Nigeria.

I am in America because Atiku means jobs.

My reason for running for the office of president of Nigeria and even for going into public service in the first place, is because I believe that Nigeria has what it takes to be the beacon of hope for the black race and a leading nation of reckoning in the international community.

This has not materialised over the course of the last four years because, as Chinua Achebe prophetically said in his 1983 book, “the trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership.”

The current Nigerian administration has allowed our relationship with our long-standing friends and partners to deteriorate and this has had unfortunate consequences for our economy.

Foreign relations that had been meticulously and delicately built for decades were allowed to deteriorate because members of the incumbent administration mistook their personal interests as the interests of Nigeria and allowed short term goals to dominate their foreign policies.

New friendships should not be made at the cost of old friendships. It is not an either-or situation. Right from Independence, Nigeria has nurtured a policy of non-alignment. We borrowed from the Lincoln policy of malice toward none and charity for all. Sadly, that policy has suffered major setbacks in the last four years.

As a leader in business, I am cognisant of the fact that both Western and Oriental nations will be making the transition from fossil fuels to electric powered vehicles and other green energies over the course of the next two decades. This means that Nigeria’s oil has a limited shelf life.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed and we must, as a nation, begin to make the transition from an oil economy to a modern one based on manufacturing and value-added agricultural chain.

…my vision is for trade to go both ways. Nigeria has a lot to offer America via her creative industry (Nollywood is the world’s third largest movie industry) and rich mining sectors (Nigeria’s Kaduna State is rich in gold ore). I am also eager to find a market in the U.S. for some of the half a million shoes manufactured in Nigeria’s cities of Kano and Aba everyday.

The message I took to the United States business community is not a new message. In my opinion editorial in the British media (“Beyond Brexit – Nigeria wants a new trade deal with Britain”), I submitted that Brexit is an opportunity for Nigeria and the United Kingdom to have a Big Ambitious Free Trade Agreement.

It is only common sense.

In 2014, the African continent as a whole earned $2.4 billion from coffee grown in Africa and shipped mainly to Europe. That sounds impressive. However, one nation alone, Germany, made $3.8 billion from re-exporting Africa’s coffee in 2014.

As a businessman, I see this and I cannot allow it to continue. It is unconscionable, but situations like these will not stop unless Nigeria and Africa have leadership that thinks business, instead of aid, and capital instead of loans.

Nigeria has, perhaps, the highest populations of youth as a segment of the total population, in the world. Already, we have the unfortunate distinction of being the world headquarters of extreme poverty. We cannot afford business as usual. My single-minded focus is to change this dubious record by transforming Nigeria from a consumer nation to a prosumer nation (a nation that consumes what it produces).

For this to happen, we need U.S. firms who have divested from Nigeria, to return. We need Procter and Gamble to reopen its $300 million Nigerian plant, which it shut down last year. We need General Electric to reverse its $2.7 billion pull out of Nigeria.

And my vision is for trade to go both ways. Nigeria has a lot to offer America via her creative industry (Nollywood is the world’s third largest movie industry) and rich mining sectors (Nigeria’s Kaduna State is rich in gold ore). I am also eager to find a market in the U.S. for some of the half a million shoes manufactured in Nigeria’s cities of Kano and Aba everyday.

Someone somewhere said Nigeria’s youth are lazy. I am one of the single largest employers of Nigeria’s youth and I know that assertion is false. My travels in Europe and America is to sell the Nigeria that I know to the world that does not yet know her. A Nigeria with not just a hardworking youthful population, but a nation with some of the smartest working people on earth. A nation that is open for business and a Nigeria that is much more than oil.

And I am certain that if I am successful in selling this Nigeria to the world, the world will come to Nigeria for business. That is why I am in America. Because I believe in JOBS – Jobs, Opportunity, Being United and Security and it is time Nigeria and all Nigerians finally have the opportunity to realise their true potentials.

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Ramaphosa re-elected as South Africa’s president after coalition deal

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South Africa’s parliament has re-elected Cyril Ramaphosa as the country’s president following a historic coalition deal between the governing African National Congress (ANC) and opposition parties.

The new government comprises Ramaphosa’s ANC, the Democratic Alliance (DA), which is the main opposition, and smaller parties.

The ANC lost its controlling majority in last month’s election after ruling for 30 years since the end of apartheid.

Out of 400 seats in the national assembly, the ruling party was only able to secure 159, the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) said.

The DA had 87 seats, while the uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, backed by former President Jacob Zuma, won 58.

After the election, Ramaphosa said it was clear that citizens expect their leaders to “work together” to meet their needs.

Following two weeks of intensive talks with opposition parties, the decision to re-elect Ramaphosa was reached on Friday.

In his victory speech, the president hailed the new coalition and urged the party members to prioritise South Africans.

John Steenhuisen, leader of the DA, said he was looking forward to working on “serving the people of the country and building a better future”.

“I think we get an opportunity today to write a new chapter for South Africa and that chapter I think we can make the best chapter ever. No party has got a majority. We are required to work together and we are re going to do it,” he added.

Ramaphosa is expected to include members of the other parties in his cabinet.

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‘My membership has been rendered useless’, says Salihu Lukman as he resigns from APC

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Salihu Lukman, a former vice-chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the north-west, has resigned as a member of the ruling party.

Last year, Lukman resigned from his position as a member of the national working committee (NWC) of the APC.

He said, “the party is completely at variance with the founding vision of forming a progressive party”.

Before this, he had also resigned as the director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) in 2022.

In a statement on Wednesday, Lukman said his membership in the APC has been rendered useless.

He noted that his decision was based on the lack of internal democracy and the inability of the leadership of the APC to allow reforms within the party.

“Given all this, it is possible to remain in APC if, at all, President Tinubu will allow internal reform in the party to return it to its founding vision, which, as it is, is very remote. But my reality now in the party is that my membership has been rendered useless, and there is no need for me to continue to impose myself,” the statement reads.

“I have therefore gone back to the trenches and will try to work with all committed Nigerians who agree and subscribe to the goal of actively campaigning for the survival and development of democracy in Nigeria.

“We must grow our democracy to the point whereby elected representatives at all levels are accountable to the party, and it is possible for Nigerians represented by various interests to develop strong relationships with political parties and elected governments based on which policies of governments can be made to reflect the wider interests of Nigerians.

“I am confident that a strong democracy with functional political parties is possible in Nigeria. I am also confident that, in our lifetime, we can produce governments that are truly capable of making the lives of Nigerians better. I don’t expect party leaders will agree with my decision. I believe that eventually, we will be united will all party leaders and other Nigerians who are committed to developing Nigerian democracy.”

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35 reps propose six-year single term for president, zonal rotation

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A group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives are seeking alterations to the 1999 Constitution to pave the way for the rotation of the Presidency among the six geo-political zones of the country.

They also want an amendment to the Constitution to provide for “A single tenure of six years for the President and Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking on behalf of the group on Monday in Abuja, the member representing Ideato South/Ideato North Federal Constituency, Imo State, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said, “The reduction in government spending and wastage, efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and Governors,” will go a long way in cost-cutting measures.”

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