Russia’s choice of Nigeria as preferred destination for investment cheering ― Princewill
• Says Buhari's trip reaping benefits
Former governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Rivers State and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tonye Princewill has described as cheering the choice of Nigeria as the preferred destination for investment by Russia.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his recent trip to Sochi, Russia signed some trade agreement with his Russia counterpart, Vladimir Putin, aimed at promoting Russia investment in Nigeria oil and gas sector, the steel industry, amongst others.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Princewill in his appraisal of the trip declared that apart from the military assistance that would surmount the scourge of insurgency and banditry, trade agreement would ultimately stimulate economic growth by addressing the menace of unemployment.
He said: “We read your recent comments on the achievements of the President in Sochi, so in summary why should Nigerians be excited about what the President came back with?
“Because I’m an optimist with an umbrella. But even in my constructive scepticism, I know that the seeds sown are beginning to germinate. I see a few reasons Nigerians should celebrate. The first reason is the number of jobs that the 13 takeaways will bring.
“I don’t have the numbers of direct or indirect jobs that will be created, but even Stevie Wonder can see that the total number of jobs created will be significant. To me, the issue of jobs is the most important takeaway.
“Our country is heading to No 3 in the world in population rankings. We already have a major problem in terms of unemployment and underemployment as at today and it’s going to get a lot worse. Listen, in the North, the average house has 7 children. In the South, it’s three. A study shows that if one of the 7 children in the North gets to University, they are lucky.
“In the South, that number is 2 out of 3. I don’t want to talk about the standard of learning, that’s a whole different matter. What the statistics tell us is we are breeding a crisis. The next leaders will soon be chosen by very angry youths. So any news that addresses this should be given support by those who think beyond their nose.
“The second reason is the symbolism of it. For Russia to make this investment, it means we are now quite clearly a preferred destination for investment. I can go on and on about the infrastructure the Russia-Africa summit will bring to Nigeria.
“I can talk about the fact that every part of Nigeria will be affected by this, I can even go on to discuss the benefits to our security infrastructure, but they’re all a result of the investment. The symbolism itself will bring similar stories which will, in turn, bring more of the above, so to me the symbolism is the father of all the infrastructure, all the even development and all the improved security it will bring.”
While he admitted that the average Nigerian was at the receiving end of biting economic downturn, he pleaded for their understanding and patience, as he expressed confidence in the sincerity of the present administration to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians.
“Nigerians will always complain. It’s one of our national pastimes. If there was an event in the Olympics for complaining, we will win the gold back to back. But beyond that, they will not do anything. In fact, watch the same person later and they are somewhere laughing at a meme, a Nigerian skit or a homemade joke. This isn’t to downplay our reality, but not all complaints are skin deep. Yes, things are tough, but most reasonable Nigerians know that there is a fair price to pay for progress.
“The days of getting something for nothing are gone and rightly so. We have to be creative to survive. You cannot be where we were in 2015 at 171 in the rankings and take Nigeria to the next level unless you want to take us to the next level of despair and hopelessness. So when people complain about the absence of any impact, I sympathise with them, they are like commuters who grumble about road works designed to improve their travel times or hungry people who don’t want to hear about the inevitable delay that comes from preparing the food. Eventually, they will see the light. And move on to the next complaint.
“We have won the election, let the focus be on governance. Even if Nigerians are happy with you this year, next year they will still forget. Our focus should be on the long term.”