President Muhammadu Buhari’s weeklong trip to China has yielded bountiful baskets of fruit so far. For instance, China has made available $15 million for the establishment of 50 demonstration farms accross the country. Furhermore, the Middle Kingdom has increased the number of Nigerian students it takes for schorlaship from 100 to 700 every year.
It is also offering to give about 1000 Nigerians technical training every year. President Buhari has largely justified his trip. Even those who have accused the president of junketting around the globe will admit that this trip has been a success in terms of funds, projects and opportunities secured for Nigeria.
But concerning these China gains he has made, Buhari needs to be wary of 5 kinds of people who can destroy those gains one way or the other. If he is, he would have built a solid foundation for Nigeria’s diversifiation; if he isn’t, this bright China trip will end up being remembered as just a flash in the pan, a wasted oppportunity – and the opposition will have one more reason to lampoon him. Here are the 5 kinds of people the president must not allow to manage the various projects and funds generated from the China trip.
The Neocolonialist Critic-Advisers: In Western countries like The United States, and the EU countries, there are large parts of the ruling elite that believe that no African country should be allowed to become developed economically.
I am talking about the political descendants of those people that broke Africa into different colonies for greedy, selfish reasons. The neocolonialists are still out and about and surely do not like the news coming out of Nigeria’s parley with China.
They will seek out ways to frustrate and derail Buhari, and one of their favourite ways is brutal attacks in the mass media, coupled with ‘honest advice’ that if followed, will lead him away from the new relationship he has found with China.
Remember how they started attacking Goodluck Jonathan in their media after he got a multi-billion billion Dollar loan package from China. This is after they themselves refused to help Nigeria each time the government asked them for help even though they could.
Buhari should brace himself, because in coming, the media attacks and noncooperation will come. They will say so many things in the mass media to attack his policies and distract him from the China inspired projects. But he must not be distracted.
2. Tribalists And Ethnic Jingoists: These people will remind President Buhari that some sections of the country, the so-called 5% did not vote for him in 2015, and ask him to punish these people by not citing any China projects in ‘5% territory’ (South East and South South).
But, now more than ever is the time for President Buhari to make his presence felt all over the nation, not just in some sections of it, in order to win hearts and minds, as the father of the nation.
If the tribalists succeed in convincing Buhari to ignore the South East and South South that didn’t vote for him in the last elections , it will only cement the belief many in these regions have that Buhari hates them very deeply and create rancour.
President Buhari should not bend to any influence on him to divide his own people. He should show that he is for everyone by the way he handles the allocation of projects that come out of his China trip. The project allocations and scholarship selections should not be lopsided.
For instance, I want to see at least 8 each of the 50 Agricultural Demonstration Farms promised by China in the South East and the South South.
The Corrupt Officials: President Buhari has said there would be technical committees to midwife the Nigeria/China joint projects; and you and I know that corrupt politicians and civil servants are already planning how to divert funds gotten by Buhari from China to their own private pockets.
They are already perfecting strategies on how to get themselves or their nominees into the China committees, so that they can position themselves to go on a looting spree. Buhari needs to prevent these people from succeeding in their greedy scheme, because should they succeed, it is not them the masses will blame. It is Buhari himself – and 2019 is ‘just around the corner’.
4. The Incompetent Ones: These ones can best be described as square pegs in round holes – in other words, people who are not qualified or experienced to have a place in the Nigeria/China joint project committees.
Trust Nigerian politicians, at this moment, they are preparing list of family members, friends or political lieutenants that they would nominate to the committees – nominees whose only qualification would be their loyalty to their godfather.
It doesn’t matter that these would-be nominees lack the experience, exposure or integrity required for the projects at hand and would have nothing to bring to the table, and just warm chairs that experts should be sitting on.
Buhari is advised to quickly but thoroughly vet the people that would be nominated into the Nigeria/China committees, because at the end of the day, those people may come and go, but his record will remain with the Nigerian people. And that record may matter a lot in 2019.
The ‘Yes Men’: For this section of the article, I will address the president directly. Mr President, while these ‘yes men’ are the least dangerous, they can equally derail this good China thing you have gotten, by hiding problems from you, until they become too big or serious to hide. While they don’t wish to do you harm, they are too afraid of you to tell you the truth when problems inevitably arise.
If you allow these people into the preparation or implementation committees of your Nigeria/China joint projects, they will only inform you of problems when they have gotten serious, not when they are just beginning and still easy to solve.
One of the things that can kill off the success of a promising leader is when his lieutenants are too afraid to wake his him up from sleep if his country is on fire. Sir, you must convert any timid ‘Yes Men’ around you too courageous but respectful officials – for your own good.
Sir, you have expressed the confidence that the fruits of your China trip will lead to rapid industrialization and economic diversification for Nigeria. You can only succeed if you keep the above-mentioned groups from spoiling the project for you. Sir, I would be humbled if you use this article as a kind of guidance note as you move to diversify Nigeria’s economy. Thank you, Sir.
Note: Someone should please make sure the president gets to read this article. Thanks.