Nigeria the economic power house of West Africa sub-region was invited to the G-8 and G-20 combined summit that took place in the Western hemisphere nation of Canada. Nigeria is not an official member of either G8 or G20 but an invitation to the summit was given to her along with other important emerging markets of Southern hemisphere. South Africa was also at the meeting as an official member of G20. Nigeria and South Africa are largest economies in Africa. While South Africa is a member of G-20, Nigeria is not. Nigeria‘s GDP is bulging and her economy is growing at the rate of 7.23 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compares to the expected global rate of about 3.9 percent.
This is not the first time Nigeria has been invited to G-8 meeting. She has been coming to these meetings for a while including those held during the era of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George Bush. As a guest and as an observer to the summit, Nigeria cannot not fully and thorough participate in depth or take the advantage of a membership holder. The exclusive privileges given to the members of the group eluded of the country, particularly on the fiscal matters.
Why is Nigeria invited to these summits? Well, one can give an intelligent and reasonable answer without much guessing. Yes! Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the natural leader of the continent. Nigeria is a sleeping giant of Africa that has been in dormancy for a long time. Nigeria is rich in both human and natural resources but paucity of strategic managers to manage her efficiently has delayed her rise as a developed economic power in the continent. She has been invited to the summits because she has something to offer to the global village. For Nigeria as an economic unit can contribute to stabilization of the world economy by her active and comprehensive participation in the world economic system.
Nigeria could not make it as an official member of G-20 nations because during the formation of the group the country was both political and economic unstable. For a long time Nigeria was under ruler ship of a dictatorial authority and her economy were in miserable hands without adequate productivity and planning. The country‘s economy was fundamentally and structurally imbalanced. The economy operated in the cloak of opaqueness without transparency and probity. But the story is changing and Nigeria is singing a new tune. Democratic capitalism is gradually but steadily taking root in the country.
Now with emergence of democracy and steadily economic progress, Nigeria is ready to become a fully and active member of G-20. The fledging democratic dispensation needs to be nurtured and supported; therefore the best way of encouraging Nigeria is to be accepted into this August body. Nigeria is changing and changing for the best with enduring political sensibility. The change was buttressed during the recent transfer of power which was smooth without hiccups. When the late President Umaru Yar’dua passed away, the vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was swiftly sworn-in without much ado.
His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan represented Nigeria at the summit in Canada. Since he took the helms of power he has demonstrated his capacity to lead his fellow country men and women in accordance to democratic principle. President Jonathan has been working speedily to resolve the issue of Niger Delta and has been making the requisite arrangements and plans to solve the problem of electric power shortage. Nigerians on the street are beginning to say good things about the new leader. The world leaders are receiving the Nigerian leader with open hands and respect as he moved forward in restoring the dignity of our country. All these developments can help to make Nigeria become an official member of G-20.
Nigeria has continued to be a stabilizing force in Africa and beyond. Nigeria with its strategic role in African Union is moving Africa forward with its leadership. When Liberia and Sierra Leone were raging with civil wars and uprising, Nigerian military contingency was a peace keeping force that restored stability in the troubled land. All over the world, Nigerian peace keepers can be found in troubled places of the world, propelling and protecting peace. Nigeria needs to be part of the G-20 in order to fully represent African financial and economic interest. Resources-rich Africa with a population of almost one billion has not been fully represented in the G-8 or G-20 of the world. Nigeria together with South Africa can best represent the interest of Africa. Therefore let‘s make it official and admit Nigeria to G-20.
Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.
The government and people of Federal Republic of Nigeria have lost a great leader, a man of peace and a champion of peace, the late President Umaru Yar’adua. During his brief but committed presidency he set an agenda of reform and renewal for Nigeria. But illness could not allow him to implement and actively participate in carrying out his planned policy.
President Umaru Yar'adua tackled the issue of Niger Delta head on by granting amnesty to the dissidents, simultaneously he set up the Ministry of Niger Delta to ease tension and to bring a new beginning to the troubled region. At the dawn of his presidency he also came up with the popular Seven-Point agenda for economic revitalization of Nigeria and provision of a durable infrastructure. The seven-point agenda could become the catalyst for the realization of the 2020 vision plan. He put a great emphasis on the prudent management of his country’s increasing foreign reserve. All these policies and ideas were at the infant stage before he fell to illness.
Mr. Vincent Ogboi, Senior Fellow, economic and financial analyst on African affairs at Afripol organization, emphasized the late president’s legacy: “Nigeria's loss of President Umaru Yar'adua, although sad, has left a lasting legacy of conflict resolution by finally putting a handle on the Niger Delta militant unrest after many years of unsuccessful attempts by leaders before him. This sad loss has ushered in Dr. Jonathan Goodluck a fresh mind with ideas that may end Nigeria's checkered political history of uncertainty, corruption, poor governance and a never ending cycle of strife and poverty in the land of enormous oil wealth and rich human resources. Dr Goodluck first attempt to tackle head-on the electoral reform Act which has made Nigerian’s young democracy the laughing stock of other democracies because of the massive rigging at all levels of elective positions is a breadth of fresh air. Elections are widely rigged, votes are hardly ever counted. Politicians are known to be selected by god fatherism instead of being elected by the electorate, thus leaving Nigeria and her people with less than credible electoral results.”
Mr. Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol during the monthly round table conference extended condolence to the family of the late president and Nigeria: “Nigeria has lost a great man, a gentleman and a genuine man of peace. The late President Umaru Yar'adua was a patriot who understood the problems facing his country and never shrinks to tackling of the country’s mounting problems. The problems ranging from poverty, inadequate infrastructure and Niger Delta beg for a leadership in Nigeria. The late president has set an example and a legacy worth emulating and implementing. The new President Goodluck Jonathan will continue to build on the legacy and may God Almighty guide him as he does well for his country.”
With the mantle of leadership and presidency transferred to His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan the continuation of the pragmatic policies of the administration will have new life with productive outcome. Poverty, Social Security, Niger Delta and paucity of social infrastructures especially reliable supply of electricity will continue to be the priorities of the new administration. President Goodluck Jonathan is efficiently capable of stirring the giant of Africa to affirmative direction with great achievements. Therefore Nigeria is possibly in good hands with the new president; and our great country will be a beckon of peace, hope and justice.
Afripol is committed to democracy, freedom and liberty in Nigeria and Africa.