THE President has by all accounts made a good impression on his host, the government of Saudi Arabia as well potential investors during his recent trip to the Kingdom. This is commendable, nevertheless the devil is in the details.
Underpinning any investment decision is risk analysis. To be positive, the outcome of the risk analysis must indicate that the investing environment has solid independent institutions with which to guide and protect the interest of the investor. We are far behind on this track and we must now work on it if we are going to transmit dreams and good intentions into reality.
Nigeria must rebuild its institutions as a marketing tool to announce that it is ready for business.
It will be a long hard slog. We should learn from the events which took place in the UK, the former colonial overlord this week.
In the first instance, the UK’s most senior police officer, Sir Michael Crawford, head of the Metropolitan police made it clear that he would not tolerate dictation from politicians and government ministers as to how to do his job. He made it clear that the police will keep operational control over decisions as to who to grant permits to hold demonstatiibs.
The government minister who had tried to stop the police from granting permits to pro-Palestine demonstrators was sacked. This is what is to be expected in democracy. Politicians must not be allowed to dictate the terms of engagement to the policing system. To do so will imperil the basis of democracy.
In this same week, just two days ago, the UK government acted with alacrity to obey the judgement of the country’s Supreme Court stopping force deportations of illegal immigrants to Rwanda. In Nigeria, we can cite dozens of examples of contemptuous disregard for court orders. This cannot be the way to reassure potential investors.
To attract long-term “ patient” investors as opposed to fly by night operators and vulture capitalists, we must demonstrate that we have strong institutions, otherwise all the foreign trips undertaken will not have the desired effect.