New Telegraph

Samuel Ogbuku: Driving Development in Niger Delta

The belief being held by Nigerian rulers (there are no leaders in the country) that foreign investors will develop the nation is nothing but mere daydreaming and also erroneous if Nigerians must be honest with themselves. Every elected president of Nigeria since the return to the current quasi and mock democracy in 1999, has always engaged in globetrotting, singing the same old slogan, sound bite or mantra of looking for foreign investors It is paramount to state it clearly here that every foreign investor was once a local investor. In the history of the world, there is no foreign investor that didn’t start from his country of origin.

Thus, all multinational industries started from their countries of origin. Thus, for any industry to begin operation at home, stabilise and think of expanding to other countries, the government of that country might have put in place the necessary infrastructures that have assisted such an industry to stabilise and grow. Notably, infrastructures such as electricity, public transportation, telecommunications, good road networks, schools and water supplies are factors essential for industrial growth and development.

Lately, provision of security, though not a tangible factor, has become part of infrastructures because without security of lives and property no investment can take place. Nevertheless, for investments to take place, the above mentioned infrastructures must be provided by the government of the country that is in search of local or foreign investors. The reason is because the capital outlay to provide the above infrastructures can’t be borne by any investor.

To this end, if these infrastructures are absent in a country, there is no amount of money spent on traveling across the world by any president in the guise of seeking foreign investors, that will yield any positive results. Without doubt, the reason industries are thriving in other countries is because the governments of those countries have invested massively in infrastructures. Certainly, all over the world, serious governments provide adequate electricity, education, health, good road networks, shelter etc. and also subsidise them in order to make them affordable.

The immutable reason serious governments provide electricity and also subsidise the same is to ensure productivity. This is to enable industries to remain in business, be productive and provide employment for the citizens. The fact remains that if governments fail to provide electricity and also subsidise it, no industry will be able to bear the high cost of electricity which will lead to closure of industries – this will in turn lead to increase in unemployment. And when the citizens are not employed, they easily resort to crimes and criminalities. With a gargantuan population estimated to be over 200 million people, electricity supply in Nigeria is a mere 3,500 megawatts.

How can 3,500 megawatts of electricity encourage investments and industrialisation? How? Presently, industries are exiting Nigeria in their numbers. But instead of President Bola Tinubu and his ministers to address the cause of industries exiting the country, he is busy wasting tax payers’ money on foreign trips under the guise of seeking foreign investors. In the last count, Procter and Gamble Nigeria Limited, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Nigeria PLC, Unilever, Sanofi, Bolt Food etc., have announced their exits from the country.

Before these ones, Dunlop and Michelin, two foremost tyre manufacturing industries had left the country some years back. The pertinent questions are: how can foreign investors come and invest in the country when the existing ones are running away from the country? How can investors invest in Nigeria when there is erratic power supply? How can investors invest in Nigeria when there are multiple taxations that are killing businesses?

How can investors invest in Nigeria when the judiciary has integrity questions? How can investors invest in Nigeria when there is a high level of kidnappings, killings and general insecurity across the country? How? There is poor electricity supply in Nigeria yet the alternative means of generating electricity by individuals and industries is generators and diesel, unfortunately, a litre of diesel now costs as much as N1,500! How many litres of diesel will an industry buy in order to remain in business and be productive? Again, if the governments of those countries President Bola Tinubu wanted their investors to invest in Nigeria didn’t provide the enabling environment for them to thrive, would such investors and their industries be able to stabilise and think of expanding to Nigeria?

The answer to this question is a capital NO! The world is now a global village where whatever happens in one part of the world is seen across the entire world through the media, information and communications technology. In this regard, no investor expects any president to visit their country and beg them before they can invest in such a country if the requisite infrastructures are on ground. If my memory serves me right, I don’t think the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has ever visited Nigeria to seek investors before Nigerians are trooping into that country for investment purposes.

However, instead of President Bola Tinubu and his team wasting tax payers’ money gallivanting all over the globe in search for illusive foreign investors, he should rather put on his thinking cap and make the country conducive for indigenous investors to thrive. This is so because there is no country that has been developed by foreigners or foreign investors but the citizens of the country. All Nigerian investors need for their industries to thrive is regular electricity supply and security of lives and property

Upon assuming leadership at the NDDC, Ogbuku’s immediate focus was on addressing long-standing infrastructural deficits

Healthcare, a critical concern in the Niger Delta, has seen significant improvements under Dr. Ogbuku’s stewardship. The NDDC has constructed 142 health centers equipped with modern facilities and resumed a free healthcare programme that has provided 20,000 surgeries, attended to 45,000 patients, and distributed essential medical supplies.

This initiative underscores Dr. Ogbuku’s commitment to enhancing healthcare access for rural communities. Education and youth empowerment are pivotal to Ogbuku’s vision for the Niger Delta. The NDDC’s Foreign Post-Graduate Scholarship Programme has benefited 2,323 students, while numerous schools have been rehabilitated and educational materials distributed to foster learning. These efforts aim to nurture a generation equipped with the skills and knowledge to drive the region’s future. Ogbuku’s tenure has also been marked by a robust approach to conflict resolution and community engagement.

The NDDC’s Department of Dispute and Conflict Resolution works tirelessly to maintain peaceful relations with communities, ensuring that development projects proceed smoothly. Regular training sessions for staff on peace-building and conflict management have proven effective in resolving issues that previously stalled progress. In alignment with President Tinubu’s ‘Renewed Hope Agenda,’ Dr. Ogbuku’s leadership at the NDDC has brought tangible improvements to the lives of Niger Deltans.

From infrastructure and healthcare to education and community development, his efforts are fostering a new era of prosperity in the region. His work is a beacon of hope, demonstrating that with visionary leadership and unwavering commitment, the Niger Delta can overcome its challenges and thrive. Dr. Samuel Ogbuku’s impact on the Niger Delta is profound and far-reaching. As he continues to guide the NDDC, the region looks forward to sustained development and a brighter future for its people. His tenure is a testament to what dedicated and visionary leadership can achieve, bringing hope and progress to a region long in need of both.

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