Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is currently in Davos for the World Economic Forum meeting. The forum hosts political and economic leaders from all over the world and is an avenue for world economic leaders both in the public and private sector to discuss economic policies.
In a stage that included the President of Rwanda, Paul Kegame and the Executive Chairman of MTN, Phuthuma Nhleko, Professor Osinbajo was provided with an opportunity to sell Nigeria at the world stage and to our surprise he bungled it.
First question (around the 19.3 minute) was, what political will do we have to unlock West Africa as a region?
The Vice president responded by going in circles.
First he said the “political will” is expressed in the “CET arrangements” and “other economic arrangements”. He also cited other Boko Haram insurgency as a an area of cooperation between West African leaders. He went on to say that a lot of Trade is going on in the region and that as a matter of fact a lot of interaction is going on between Nigeria and all of its neighbors and there is a lot of “back and forth trade going on”…and then he went on “there is in my view complete clarity as to how this should be done and by and large you find that many times so long as the policies are right….so long as there is an enabling environment….trade functions quite effectively between countries…and I think that there is a will between Ecowas leaders to ensure there is a fair amount of trade and that has been demonstrated time and time again and I think that is happening quite well already”
Not sure what we can make of those comments but we are pretty sure it provides no clear response.
The response to the next question was the worst
There are a lot of investors who are interested in Nigeria, given the fact that you are the largest exporter of oil in the continent and until recently you were the largest economy on the African continent. Now obviously you are experiencing a technical recession, inflation is running at very high levels and you’ve seen enormous devaluation of your currency, the naira. Talk to me about the responsible leadership which is another thing that we are investigating here at the World Economic Forum, that Nigeria is embarking on to see a turnaround in your economy…so people can get the fact about Nigeria again.
Rather than take this as an opportunity to seek the government’s economic policies (which we actually know doesn’t quite exist but we were hoping anyway) he went round in circles, this time failing to land a single point about leadership and its role in shaping economic policies. His response, unfortunately, further exposes the lack of economic leadership in the country, of which the Vice President heads the economic team.
Click on the video and go to 21.57 minutes to get his horrible response;