Nigeria: Rising From Ashes, New Saudi Partnership, And Renewed Hope

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By Richard Odusanya

What does not kill you makes you stronger, if you master it. The most horrendous times in my life have always had the final result of my becoming wiser, more patient, less frightened, and overall a better problem-solver. But then I have the irrational belief of an un-seen ‘helpers’. Yes, a psychologist with spirituality. Certainly better to trust my holy spirit than to trust drugs or alcohol or ‘white knights.’ I now always say ‘thanks’ for whatever trouble is sent my way as I know I will grow from the experience.

In the golden words of Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo, SAN, a Nigerian statesman who was a strong and influential advocate of independence, nationalism, and federalism. I want to recall an excerpt from one of his books. Awo profoundly posited: “Peter, not Peter the Apostle, but Peter the hero of Hugh Walpole’s novel entitled “Fortitude” said: “It isn’t life that matters but the courage you bring to it.”

Similarly, Cristen Rodgers, posited: “I’ve died a thousand deaths, each time reinventing myself brighter, stronger, and purer than before. From the midst of destruction, I became the creator of myself. From the midst of darkness, I became my own source of light.” Cristen Rodgers’ postulation is probably the closest to the popular phrase; “The good, the bad and the ugly.

History is important, present decisions can be concluded based on yesterday’s events. Just as a man values his memory, so the human race should value their history. As I was ruminating on how we got to an ugly situation as a nation. The thoughts of the Awo’s selfless leadership traits and commitment to industrialization particularly in the agricultural revolution filled my mind.

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The leadership qualities that typified the life of Obafemi Awolowo: Enigmatic, quintessential and populist in temperament, Chief Awolowo occupied—and still does—a most admirable dais in Nigeria’s history. Awolowo was a foremost nationalist and statesman. He deployed his intellect in the promotion of our country and the good of the people. Below are the questions agitating the mind:

  1. With Awo’s selfless leadership traits characterized by prudent application of resources; will Nigeria as a nation be indebted in trillions of naira to the industrialized world?
  2. Will our Refineries be operating at less than 20% optimal utilization?
  3. Will the Industrial hubs and critical infrastructure be in a total state of decay?
  4. Will the Healthcare and education sectors be in comatose or in dilapidated condition?
  5. Will japa syndromes ever stop resonating in the minds of our citizens? These and many more are the questions agitating the mind while ruminating on the way forward. Truth is, only Nigerians can save Nigeria and we have to be brutally honest to achieve it. Leadership is key to borrow the words of Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola: “The fish rots from the head down”

Nigeria needs to industrialize. Our country needs to move away from the realm of potentials. But Nigeria cannot hope to short-circuit industrialization. We cannot sidestep it. What Nigeria needs now is massive industrialization and a reorientation on the need to use made in Nigeria goods and services. That’s the only way to force the dollarization of our economy. We can’t be importing 90% of the items we use in the country and expect the FX to be in our favour. The country needs to wake up!!

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Thankfully, President Tinubu’s journey to Saudi Arabia for the Saudi/Africa summit signposts a new beginning and a glimmer of hope. I am aware, for example, that, the Government of Saudi Arabia has pledged to invest in the revamp of Nigeria’s refineries, as well as provide financial support to sustain the government’s foreign exchange reforms including the agricultural revolution.

Saudi Crown Prince, HRH Mohammed bin Salman made these pledges at a bilateral meeting with President Tinubu on the sidelines of the Saudi-Africa Summit in Riyadh. To support the Central Bank’s ongoing reforms of Nigeria’s foreign exchange regime, the Saudi Government will make available a substantial deposit of foreign exchange to boost Nigeria’s forex liquidity.

Furthermore, the Crown Prince hinted that the refinery investments in Nigeria will be led by the Saudi state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, with the revamp to be completed within a two- to three-year timeframe. The Crown Prince also expressed appreciation to Nigeria for its active participation in, and support for OPEC+.

Essentially, the Saudi investment intervention and many other windows of opportunity could be the much-expected revolution. Therefore, the need for proper evaluation and utilization of the opportunities arising from the summit.

Rewriting the pages of our beautifully imperfect life has become imperative. This is where “Rising From The Burning Ashes” sufficed. It is thus, imperative, that, as we move in equanimity, we need to remember the difference between the recklessness of some of our past leaders as exemplified by General Sani Abacha, from whom over $3.65billion, or approximately 4 trillion Naira has been recovered in the past 24 years. The difference between the likes of Abacha’s and the Awolowo’s is something to ponder about.

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In conclusion, it is important to note that MOUs are words written on paper and without implementation remain just words. So we can only rise from the ashes if Nigeria implements policies in Renewed Hope alongside other bail-outs from Saudi.

Richard Odusanya
odusanyagold@gmail.com

Richard Odusanya
@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism
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