Nigerians are divided over a statement made by the founder of NairaBet, Akin Alabi, which queried Nigerians in diaspora for leaving the ‘countries that work’ only to come to Nigeria to invest, then complain when their businesses fail.

Alabi, who is also a member of the House of Representatives, said he struggled to understand the motivation that would spur the Nigerians in Diaspora to establish a company in Nigeria. He questioned why they didn’t stay back to set up their businesses in a foreign country instead of investing in Nigeria where the system is not as dependable as the foreign countries.

The ease of doing business in Nigeria has been heavily criticised. Apart from government regulations and policies that are viewed as harsh, the country lacks infrastructure and stable power supply. These negative factors affect the operating costs of companies and individuals who spend about $12 billion yearly to fuel generators. Also, in Nigeria, 80% of small and medium businesses fail in their first five years.

So, knowing how hostile the business environment is in Nigeria, someone like Akin Alabi cannot but ponder on the factor that drives Nigerians in Diaspora to make such business decision.

Akin Alabi’s statement was trailed by various reactions from Nigerians. While his statement drew backlash from some Nigerians, others explained the motivating factors, narrowing it down to patriotism and better value.

Backlash from some Nigerians 

Alabi was condemned by some Nigerians for making such a statement. They said as a lawmaker, he was supposed to be apologetic that Nigeria does not have a conducive environment for businesses to thrive, not to be questioning the motive behind the decision of Nigerians abroad to invest in the country.

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Some Nigerians explained that patriotism and opportunity drove them to invest in their country rather than invest in the ‘countries that work’.


For Joseph, it is cheaper workforce and poor regulation in Nigeria that made Nigerians in the diaspora invest in the country.

Meanwhile, Adebanji Ademola said the longing for home is the motivating factor.

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