Growing Nigeria’s economy beyond oil and gas

“…see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,

And Eternity in an hour.”

— William Blake


This stanza is such a timely call for us to wrest our destiny from chaos, and the corruption that breeds it, a call to seize the day and change our lives and our nation for the better, in other words to take our destinies into our own hands so that a future, brighter, ‘Naija’ may emerge out of the ashes of today. This is an imperative incumbent upon all of us; to quote President Muhammadu Buhari.’

“Change does not just happen. You and I and all of us must appreciate that we all have our part to play if we want to bring CHANGE about,” The President even goes further to emphasize this.

“We cannot build an economy where corruption is the working capital.

“To this end, we cannot over emphasize the importance of our fight against corruption. It is felt in some quarters that we may be sacrificing the economy while the fight rages. This is most emphatically not so because the fulcra of our economic policy namely: privatisation and liberalisation; both would gain very little traction if the general socio-economic landscape is not de-corrupted or sanitized. In effect, in an environment of the unbridled corruption that Nigeria had become, all policy implemention in attempts at growth and expansion would be tantamount to swimming against a powerful tide that invariably pushes us backwards even as we tread water more energetically; a sanitised Nigeria will have a quickening impact on FDI consequent upon a boosted investor confidence.

Are we in a technical recession? These are interesting times to borrow the Chinese philosophy.

We are  in a correctional interregnum owing to the monumental and far reaching restructuring this government has had the courage to embark upon.

Even more monumental is the hearts and minds war being waged against the background of the federal character of corruption. These are not times to discourage Nigerians and investors alike, these are interesting times, times of change and consequently the mother of all opportunities.



  • Fiscal discipline
  • Tight monetary controls
  • Fiscal sustainability plan (fsp)
  • Improved igr drive.
  • Court diaspora funds – The Marlon Jackson initiative in Badagry is the sort of tourism initiative we must replicate and multiply. Diaspora Nigerians should be our tourism ambassadors – collaborative efforts in this regard should be increased – again this imperative is incumbent on all of us. The 20 Billion USD remitted by them represents only a tip of the iceberg of the investable fund.

Domestic Tourism and the development of Nigeria tourist destinations – the Jackson Badagry Initiative remains a prime example and a template. Nigeria Tourism Developement Corporation (NTDC)has signed a number of MOUs that will impact directly on all sectors of the local economy.


Tourism value chain

Entertainment :

Nigerian Music  impactful worldwide.

Nollywood has spawned the third largest movie industry in the world.


Community empowerment

The Calabar Carnival is among the most sought after in Africa and is yet another success story that yields gains for Calabar and environs and is another template that other states should emulate. Argungu Fishing Festival is another but also investor capital and ingenuity to increase enhanced revenue streams.

Osun Osogbo, Sango, Eyo Festivals in the South West; Ofala and  New Yam Festivals in the South East; Durbars in Katsina and Kano, Mambilla Plateau in Taraba for the North, all have potential  multiplier effects on the local, state, and national economies.

To be sure, there are challenges in security, but this has long been a global challenge that has not hampered tourism.

We simply must resolve to be a forward looking people with a zest and passion for

Conciliation co-operation  and co- habitation

With such a large population of young Nigerians this should be the wish, desire, and prayer of every parent, indeed every adult Nigerian.

To this end, we shall champion programmes  that seek to advance and empower the youth, as this, time and again, has proven to  be the soundest  investment any people  can make on behalf of their beloved nation and its progeny and simultaneously the best hedge against  divisiveness, against secterianism,  tribalism, and against vacuous and gratuitous proto-religionism.

Regardless of whether our exchange rate is $1 to N1 or $1 to N400, the ingredients of success remain timeless and changeless and applicable in Nigeria today as it was in the Nigeria of our founding fathers.

“The virtues of hardwork, discipline and diligence will always stand one in good stead. Exchange rate is neither a deterrent to success and growth, nor a hindrance to creativity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship. Interestingly, every devaluation yields new and varied opportunities, hence the dictum “necessity is the mother of invention”.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the silk, I wish to remind you that the Mandarin word for crisis is a compound of two ideas: Danger and Opportunity. It is not so by mere happenstance that dire times bring forth heros and heroines, great men and women of historic relevance.

“It is therefore incumbent on all of us to help make Nigeria great by deploying our globally recognised creativity, intellectual prowess and entrepreneurship to solve our existential problems and create wealth for the benefit and happiness of all- these are the conditions under which tourism can flourish whilst also adding its quota.

“Nigeria, for instance, presently has 80 million phone users, this constitutes 80 million markets if explored or transactional platforms, with each unit potentially yielding streams of income. This is a huge market.

We need to empower our youth and the best way to do this is through the SMEs and guess what tourism operators are?

“95 per cent of tourism practitioners are SMEs.

“What our nation needs is to increase its production capacity by investing in  and encouraging sectors that are  labour intensive like agriculture,  manufacturing and tourism.

“Please, sit back therefore, and view our picture slides of the various tourism sites and assess, some of which are crying out for tourism entrepreneurs and developers who can tap into huge revenue streams awaiting the intrepid investor.

“Finally, let me end by imploring not only the business minded amongst you, but the Patriots also …(presumably everyone here!) to come and partner with the NTDC to create new revenue streams to enhance the development profile of our dear country.”

Being speech delivered by Dr Sally Uwechue-Mbanefo at the Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference held at Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.’’