Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the emir of Kano, has expressed displeasure with the absence of government officials at a meeting with investors in Washington DC.
Speaking to journalists at an investment programme organised by the Nigerian embassy, Sanusi said Nigeria might lose investors because of tardiness and lackadaisical attitude.
The ministers who did not attend the event were Audu Ogbeh (agriculture), Ogbonnaya Onu (science and technology), Lai Mohammed (information) Babatunde Fashola (power), Ibe Kachikwu (state for petroleum resources), Kemi Adeosun (finance) and Kayode Fayemi (solid minerals).
They all had sessions at the IMF meeting. Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yewande Sadiku, executive secretary of Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and the expected governors were also absent.
“For the person sitting in London and who has a billion dollars to invest, he’s got Nigeria, he’s got Ghana, he’s got Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, you may be the biggest economy, but he may decide that rather than go through the hassle of investing $500 million in Nigeria, why not put $100 million in Ghana, $100 million in Rwanda, $100 million in Cote d’Ivore, just to have diversification benefit and the benefit of reaching out,” the monarch said.
“We had a meeting today with investors, we were supposed to start by 9am we started at 10. When I came in, they took me to the ambassador’s office to sit down, when investors were waiting down there. We had a list of people who were to be here, vice president, ministers, some of them are in town, but they haven’t come up.
“You invite top investors, your ministers are in Washington and they do not come to talk to the investors about Nigeria. That is not how you attract investors. If you have this forum in the Rwandan embassy, I assure you President Kagame himself would be there telling people to come to Rwanda.”
According to the emir, there was no reason for the absence of the officials and the challenges faced at the beginning of the event.
He said: “Sometimes it is about how we market ourselves, how we package ourselves. There is absolutely no reason for the Nigerian embassy to arrange a Nigeria is open for business forum with ministers in town, with governors in town and not have the coordination that they are actually here to meet with these investors.
“There is no reason why we should start one hour late, and there is no reason why the public address system should not work. Because at the end of the day, this is the first point of the country, he hasn’t even come to Nigeria so what will be his experience in Abuja and he is saying if I am having this experience in Washington, what will happen when I go to Abuja, when I go to Kano, how do I get to see the governor will it take me 10 hours?”
Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, was the only minister at the event.