London - Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, on Wednesday tasked British entrepreneurs to take the lead in investing in Nigeria and identify many areas of strategic partnership between both nations.
Gowon stated this in London at the Nigerian Business Roundtable organised by the UK Institute of Director (IOD) against the backdrop of the nation’s centenary and Commonwealth Day celebrations.
He said that both countries had a long standing relationship dating back to over a century, and noted Britain’s colonial and post colonial roles which still remained evident in many sectors of the nation’s economy.
The former head of state said that “China is coming to Nigeria in a big way and may take over the investment environment from countries like the UK.
“Nigeria will give Britain preference over any country, so you need to partner with Nigeria and invest in its emerging economy.”
Gowon urged foreign investors not to be deterred by threats of insecurity, saying that the challenge was being addressed by government.
The former head of state, along with the Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, Adams Oshiomole and Isa Yuguda Delta, Edo and Bauchi states, spoke on various investment opportunities and incentives available for investors in Nigeria.
Uduaghan listed the “Delta Beyond oil” initiative by his administration as a strategy to diversifying the state’s economy away from oil.
He said human capital and infrastructure development as well as promoting peace and security was major focus of his administration, adding that a strategy had been put in place to curb insecurity in the state.
However, Oshiomole blamed some foreign investors for not being true ambassadors of the nation’s “investment drive”.
“Companies doing business in Nigeria are not good investment ambassadors of Nigeria. They do not want competition; so they try to stereotype the nation so as to discourage potential investors to the country.”
He urged them to spread the good news, saying that there were enormous opportunities in all sectors of the economy.
On his part, Yuguda urged investors to disregard threats of insecurity, saying, “Seeing is believing, come and invest and expand the scope of your business.
“Nigeria is one of the few places in the world where you can make super normal profit of up to 200 per cent within a short period.
“Aside oil, there are enormous resources in solid minerals, as well as a conducive climate for agriculture.”
Responding, Mr Simon Walker, the Institute’s Director-General, said the programme was organised to showcase the nation’s economic potentialities as it celebrates centenary.
Walker expressed the commitment of the Institute to promoting ideas, and investment opportunities among its member states.
The IOD Nigeria was established in 1984.