American has an abundance of capital; Nigeria has an abundance of human and natural resources. According to a statement by President Felipe of Mexico, “you need labor and capital to generate economic activity”

Therefore it makes sense for America to extend its huge capital to the people of Nigeria, because Nigeria’s 1 million barrels of oil sent to the U.S. daily helps create an economic engine that generates American capital. With American capital and knowhow, Nigeria can become a developed country and therefore will be able to afford more American made goods just like the people of South Korea and Western Europe.

However, when Obama became the president of the U.S., his first snob was to the people of Nigeria. The Nigerian 2007 election was believed to have been rigged by the Yar’Adua administration, so Obama decided to visit Ghana as his first outing to Africa.

Most Nigerians were conflicted about the snub. On the one hand, Nigerians, especially Nigerian Americans that voted overwhelmingly for Obama felt that it was embarrassing that the president picked Ghana over Nigeria, after all, Nigeria is often referred to as the giant of Africa. So how can you ignore the giant and be paying attention to the midget.

The Obama administration finally realized its folly, when they needed Nigeria’s help in securing their much sought after U.N. sanctions against Iran’s nuclear ambition.

So the U.S. moved to take advantage of late President Yar’Adua sickness to invite the acting president Goodluck Jonathan to the White house, and eventually create the so called Bi-national commission between the two countries.

The objectives  of this commission includes helping Nigeria to conduct credible elections, stamp out corruption in Nigeria, develop adequate energy sources for Nigeria, and provide help with solving the Niger Delta problems.

However, despite all these good intentions, it can seem to an outside observer that U.S.’s actions are mainly paying lip service to providing assistance to Nigeria in these areas.

For example, the U.S. meetings with Nigeria on energy seems to be placing emphasis on pushing Nigeria towards concentrating on developing only clean energy to power Nigeria’s economic activities. Even the U.S. with all its vast resources cannot afford or plan to depend on so called clean energy. More than half of U.S. power plants burn coal to generate power.  Nigeria has vast deposits of coal that we can tap cheaply to produce energy. We don’t have the technology or resources to devote to clean energy at the present time.

Also, the U.S. seems to have forgotten that our leaders signed away Nigeria’s gas fortunes with the Oil majors, (mostly U.S. owned) years ago.

Rather than develop Nigeria’s gas for domestic consumption, our gas is exported, and what cannot be exported is burned off because there is no incentive for the multinational oil companies to develop them for domestic, use.

At the conclusion of the U.S. Bi-national meeting on Energy in May 2010, the U. S. Dept of energy donated around $300,000 to Nigeria’s Regulatory commission’s  Power Holding Company of Nigeria, to help the commission develop policies that will accelerate Nigeria’s effort to generate electricity for its people. “$300,000” for a country of 150 million people who are staunchly pro American in everything they do?  In Addition, there are over 1 million Nigerians living in the U.S., paying taxes and contributing immensely to the economy of this great country, yet all the U.S. can do is give Nigeria a paltry $300,000.

The last time I visited the congressional gallery to watch the debates, in May 2010 while taking a break from the Bi-national commission meeting, the U.S. Congress was debating whether to approve a grant $200 million to Israel to buy more American made weapons to contain the threat Iran might pose in the future.  This does not include the other $4 billion grant we give to Israel and Egypt by law every year. Israel is our number one ally in the Middle East, and I support every effort to make sure that Israel’s security is not threatened. However, should we also continue to treat Nigeria, our 4th largest oil supplier like a step child?

Nigeria sends 1 million barrels of its crude oil to the U.S. every day. Even though Nigeria gets paid for the oil, they could sell the crude to the Chinese instead of the U.S.  Yet, the U.S.fails to realize that it is crucial for Nigeria as a country to remain vibrant, peaceful and stable.

However, you cannot build stability on an economy that has no adequate power, water, good roads, adequate security, and where the average citizen subsists on $2.0 per day.

A few years ago, the U.S. Intelligence agency predicted that Nigeria will become a failed state in less than 15 years. So if that were the case, what is our America doing about it?

After all, we have over 140,000 Americas citizens, in Iraq, close to 50,000 in Afghanistan, and another 50, 000 protecting the people of South Korea. Yet, Nigeria, the number four supplier of the fuel that keeps the economic engine humming, we don’t even have a single FBI agent stationed there to help them with a simple corruption investigation. We know Nigeria needs a minimum of 150,000 megawatts of power, yet we have not provided a single plan to help the people of Nigeria get adequate power.

We know all the coasts of Southern Nigeria have been polluted for 50 years by the same oil countries we would put in jail America for pollution, yet we turn a blind eye.

America has all the technology to create a financially stable Nigeria, that can demand more American exports, yet America chooses to ignore that. So what is our idea of friendship?

Granted, people think about friendship, while nations are mostly concerned about interest. It is in America’s best interest to guide Nigeria on the right part so that Nigeria can build an economic engine similar to the U.S.  There are 150 million Nigeria consumers out there, almost half of them under 25 years old, a future baby boom generation that can demand American products for the next 25 to 30 years.

So does it not make sense for America to create joint ventures with Nigerians to build American cars in Nigeria and create jobs for Nigerians?

Does it not make sense to send American home builders (who are suffering in the current recession) to use American technology to help Nigeria create a housing industry that can build the over one million homes that Nigerians need every year for the next 30 years? If Nigerians can build and finance 1 million homes per year with the help of Americans, is it not possible that the U.S. might sell 1 million G.E. Refrigerators made in  America and assembled in Nigeria, thereby creating jobs in both countries.

Since Nigeria needs 2 million agricultural tractors per year, does it not make sense for John Deer, an American company to create assembly and manufacturing plants in Nigeria to create jobs in Nigeria, increase the people’s standard of living and have a steady market for their tractors?

Based on these few examples, it would seem like a win win solution for both countries.  In fact it is more in the interest of the U.S. because if the U.S. Fails to take advantage of these opportunities, the chances are that, countries like China Will and are already filling the void. Therefore, as a friend, and an “ally” it is in the best interest of U.S. to help Nigeria develop as fast as possible instead of producing reports that seem to suggest that “Nigeria might become a failed state” If Nigeria becomes a failed state, it will definitely impact the U.S. and the world in more ways than we can think of now or in the future

Credit: Saharareporters.com

 Toyin Dawodu is the Managing partner of Capital Investment Group, a California based Diversified Investment Company focused on Infrastructure development in Africa.    Email:  toyin@capvestgroup.com

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