Africa CEO Forum: What does the election of Muhammadu Buhari mean for doing business in Nigeria?
Buhari`s victory will boost investors’ confidence in Nigeria. In the last 16 years, the Nigerian government has been ruled by highly corrupt people in office, but with the emergence of Buhari and his zero-tolerance for corruption, our institutions will be strengthened.
Because Buhari is assertive, strong-willed and above all, experienced, which is the mother of all lessons, there will be very minimal if any negative influence or any form of Godfatherism, which has been a bane in the Nigerian political circle.”
Glenn Davies, Singapore:
Mr. Buhari’s election is a game changer for Nigeria and for Africa as a whole. The very nature of how this election was won shines a positive light on Africa’s largest economy and sends a clear signal to the rest of the continent. Not only does the election mark the first time an incumbent president has lost a re-election in Nigeria, but it has done so without violence, although this still remains a high risk. This is a great start to what I believe will be Nigeria’s turning point moving forward.
Buhari stands for change and this is exactly what Nigeria needs. Nigeria’s growth has been impressive to watch and a prodigious place to do business over the past few years. More recently though, this growth has slowed and the country marred by harrowing violence and the rise of extremist insurgents. Mr Buhari will need some ‘quick wins’ to settle the country’s nerves and prove why he was elected. First priority on the cards will be to carefully and strategically choose his team – this will be key to his success. Then shortly after look to address the main issues headlining being Security and defeating Boko Haram, addressing falling Oil prices – countering this with new positive stimulating measures, and of course, commencing the arduous and incredibly challenging process of ridding the country of corruption. I feel Mr Buhari can then focus on some more positive key initiatives such as better infrastructure, industry diversification and creating new jobs and opportunities.
There’s no doubt that Mr Buhari’s success will have given Nigeria new credibility on the African and international stage. This will translate into heightened interest from neighbouring countries and international allies keen to work with Nigeria, and will be extremely positive for the economy overall.
But it won’t be an easy road – monumental challenges lie ahead. I don’t think Mr Buhari needs to overcomplicate things though to make a real difference in Nigeria. If he simply only focused on two issues – Security and Corruption – he will go down in the history books and Nigeria will overnight be a better place. Getting these two right will rev up the economy and let the world know Nigeria is open for business.
Glenn Davies is Group CEO of Inigmah
Leopold Ebegbuna: “I see Muhammadu Buhari struggling to redress Nigeria’s major challenges. The President-elect promised an end to the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed thousands of Nigerians and forced over a million to become Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs. He campaigned on a reputation as an anti-corruption crusader, and made populist pledges such as stipends for poor people and health care for all, etc.
The reality is that by the time Buhari takes office at the end of May, he’ll inherit a treasury depleted by the global drop in the price of oil, Nigeria’s biggest export, he will be left to figure out how to put an end to Boko Haram insurgency, the IDPs, fighting the entrenched corrupt practices which had flourished for years, etc.
Fulfilling his election promise of change will be herculean especially starting with those who sponsored and supported his election within his party. My concern is that his ability to deal with these individuals, who are perceived to be corrupt, will determine his success at the macro level.
Besides, at 72 years, largely not cerebral, and largely out of tune with the principles of modern day economic indices and technology, I see him struggling to redress Nigeria’s major challenges. He is likely to be overwhelmed by them leading to slowing down in the processes and in some circumstances, abdicating responsibilities. Yes, Buhari may be pious, it remains to be seen his capability for curing Nigeria’s challenges especially corruption and insecurity. He is not likely to have the resources to fully execute his campaign promises of universal health care, monthly $25 payments to vulnerable people and defeating Boko Haram, etc. With the oil accounting for over 70% of total revenue, now around $50 per barrel, he will battle with increasing tax, improving the currency, the external reserve, etc. The result is likely to be some form of austerity – big social spending programmes, such as universal health care, may have to wait, the task of rebuilding the northeast, crucial to putting an end to Boko Haram, may be difficult. If he can reduce the wage bill of politicians and civil servants, who alone account for the huge recurrent expenditure, he will remain very popular among the masses.
Leopold Ebegbuna is MD/CEO of Rising Light Global Company
Prince A. Olumuyiwa Latunde,
I campaigned and voted for
a candidate with a good pedigree in the person of Gen. Buhari. I’m glad this change has finally come and without sounding too spiritual, God has a purpose in this and it’s my prayer that we, as Nigerians will not miss it again. His election marks a new beginning and turning point for so many things, notably addressing the issue of stealing public funds with impunity and reducing waste across the board. This must stop.
Buhari is a true Nigerian, a leader of repute; leadership corrects many things because of its features such as prudence, integrity, boldness, calmness, good decision- making because of good listening, religious and most times, they don’t come with too many words but actions. Our new President is not lacking in any of these qualities. We have experienced him in “Khaki” and now “Babariga.” He should be a rallying point to unite Nigeria and get everyone committed. God bless the late Dora Akunyili, it’s time to have a genuine rebranding.
Once again, in the comity of African Nations, Nigeria will take her place and set a good example for others to follow; build infrastructure and genuine base that justifies the largest economy in Africa through aggressive production, mechanized farming and developing human capital like India that will measure up to any job in this global village instead of drugs and internet fraud.
Prince A. Olumuyiwa Latunde, President, Emilaug Energy
Andrew Diack, South Africa
It is saddening that we as
Africans celebrate a peaceful transition which in this day and age, should be the norm. In a positive light, great progress was made and hopefully indicates a brighter future. A major concern is Boko Haram and hopefully will be dealt with decisively.
I’m not that informed of the new incoming president (Muhammadu Buhari). What are his aspirations/goals for Nigeria and the region? Is he someone of honour/integrity who is committed to making the transition? What support does he have from his ministers and are they capable of delivering? These are all questions I currently don’t have a viewpoint on. As for me doing business in Nigeria, that is my goal. About time we started utilising our resources to make this continent the power house it should be.”
Andrew Diack, Founding Member, Cyber Logistics