The Strongest Economy in Africa

by ahjotnaija

Mr Abiola Oladimeji is a scholar resident in Germany and guest-blogs for

Mr Abiola Oladimeji is a scholar resident in Germany and guest-blogs for

The Federal Government and some Nigerians, who regard any critic of President Goodluck Jonathan’s (GEJ) administration as being sponsored by the opposition, argue that the announcement of Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa is something to celebrate. I, like tens of millions of Nigerians refuse to be fooled with these new figures. The masses did not and will not benefit anything from this abracadabra economics!

However, some blind optimists describe those who refused to be fooled as pessimists and instrument of the opposition. They did not stop there: they refer to us as tribalists among other derogartory names to bring home their point. I do not take such people serious, because they always leave the substance and chase shadows. In fact, I see them as the tribalists and instruments of the ruling party, because they always emphasise that the President is from a particular ethnic group and defend the policies of GEJ, as if they were cabinet ministers. I care less where a president or a political/public office holder comes from, so far (s)he does the job very well.

These blind optimists keep repeating a sentence like a litany, namely this: “the new figures will attract foreign investors to Nigeria!” I laugh at them. I ponder on what the problem is: is it that these people are (1) so gullible, (2) cannot think or (3) do they even believe that prayers without work and saying nice things about Nigeria is the panacea to our problems? Beyond this litany, they put forward other arguments.

Firstly, the foreign-investor-attraction-argument is lame. Nigeria has crude oil and these foreign investors do not have oil in their countries. Let me ask this very rudely, probably that will awaken these optimists from their slumber: what the hell can the foreign investors do, that we cannot do for ourselves? Foreign investors are not philanthropists! They will not solve a percentage of our problems, it is our duty. If someone has the temerity to put up such arguments and many people truly believe that crap, then we should declare a state of emergency!

I am happy to present to the Jonathanians (die-hard supporters of President Jonathan), that Tobias Zick wrote a commentary on this same topic in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Thursday/Friday 17./18. April 2014 Nr. 90 page 4. Sueddeutsche Zeitung is the largest German subscription daily newspaper and has a relatively high circulation outside Germany. We should remember that Germany has the strongest economy in Europe and fourth in the world, thus German investors are also expected to rush down to Nigeria and start investing. I will quote and translate some lines from his article, in which he presents the growth of the Nigerian economy to German audience as well as Western readers. Whether the view of Tobias Zick is right or wrong is not my preoccupation. What he presented is my key/singular interest.

I will start with this: ‘’…man habe Südafrika als stärkste Volkswirtschaft des Kontinents überholt…’’. Tobias uses the reported speech in that sentence with his choice of the verb form ,,habe‘‘. This is what that is meant to pass across: he does not want to state if he believes in those figures or not! He continues: ‘’…doch die Kontraste zwischen den Jubel- und Schreckensmeldungen der vergangenen Tage deuten, dass etwas tief im Inneren des Systems faul ist…’’. Tobias reported earlier about the Nyanya bombing and he compares the celebration of the new figures with that suicide attack. He submits that something is wrong with the Nigerian system. He goes further‚ ‘‘…ein starkes Wirtschaftswachstum mit Zahlen, von denen Europa kaum mehr zu träumen wagt…’’. Tobias describes the whole declaration as an economic growth based on figures. Europe would hardly dare to believe such anymore.

My emphasis goes on two words here: Europe and anymore. The thesis statement goes thus: o ye gullible Nigerians and blind optimists, Europe does not believe those cool stories anymore. I have left the government officials out, because they should know better, that the world does not believe them!

He ends his commentary with a note of warning to investors: ,,wem Afrika am Herzen liegt, für den sind die reinen Wachstumszahlen nur ein bestenfalls sehr oberflächlicher Indikator‘‘. He states that the statistical economical growth can best be described as superficial indicators. Now that we have felt the pulse of one of the opinion leaders from the West, I expect the die-hards and the sycophants to bring other arguments.

One does not even need any foreign comment in order to know that the pronouncement of Nigeria as the biggest economy in Nigeria is meant to serve as propaganda rather than portraying the true situation of Nigeria. I chose to use Tobias’s commentary, because it is targeted at the foreign investor that President Jonathan ostensibly intends to lure to Nigeria. Germany has the strongest economy in Europe and the German government does not need to broadcast these figures, once you find yourself in Germany, you will know that Germany has the strongest economy in Europe.

Let me end this piece with a comic relief. I swear Tobias Zick was sponsored by the opposition party, that is APC to damage the image of President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan! That would be a likely statement from the boot licking sycophants of Mr. President.