By PRISCA SAM-DURU, PRINCE OKAFOR & VERA ANYAGAFU- PRESENTATION
In recent times, the importance of history as a tool for proper documentation of vital facts, has been emphasised so as to enable people keep good memory of those facts. Historians though a hand full of them are prominent in Nigeria, have made efforts to document facts as well as past events for future purposes while publishing has remained a key method of preserving those useful materials.
Recently, one of Nigeria’s brilliant historian, lawyer and 2014 recipient of the African Society of Cambridge University Award for research in African History, Ed Emeka Keazor, gave Nigeria, Africa, Germany and the entire world, what was generally described as a Christmas present in Lagos. It was a book titled, “ The Lagos-Hamburg Line – A Brief History of German Companies in Nigeria”, documenting the history of business relationship between Nigeria and Germany since the 17th Century. The book also traces the tribulations and triumphs of German business in Nigeria during and after the World Wars.
The public presentation of the book held at Metropolitan Club, V/I, Lagos, courtesy of the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lagos in collaboration with the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria attracted the presence of dignitaries from the German Consulate, delegation of German Industry and Commerce as well as some Nigerian business moguls.
Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Lagos, Mr Ingo Herbert who congratulated the author for his “tremendous and substantial work”, said that “the book not only reflects the manifold history of German companies, but also explains the historic background of the time of engagement in Nigeria and Germany. Not surprisingly, he points out that the business relationship was often closely linked to the overall political and economic developments, with the two world wars of the 20th century as major setbacks.
However, Keazor’s research reveals that there was a lot of continuity by companies, due to their established contacts and knowledge of the Nigerian business environment…I’m confident that this book will encourage German companies in their interest to invest in Nigeria and Africa.”
“German and Nigeria have enjoyed long business relationship. The book is a wonderful initiative to build more relationship with Africa and the need to get more Germans back into Nigeria business.”
Responding, the author appreciated the Germans for being very open and proactive in the process of publishing the book noting that rather than insist on or choose a German to write the book, allowed a Nigeria, “They were very open minded and keen on encouraging whoever that will do a good job.”
He said the only thing Nigerians and investors need to do business in the country is an enabling environment, adding that this will boost trade and investment between Nigeria and the rest of the world. Nigeria needs to provide a conducive environment for business to thrive.
He noted that his father Justice Keazor who was also present at the book launch, has been a source of inspiration to him. “ He made sure that reading books instead of watching TV, formed part my growing up. I was inspired to write on Germany- Nigeria business relationship after reading books in my father’s library.” Keazor said.
Reviewing the book, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, a Professor of Corporate Governance at the Pan African Atlantic University and the Lagos Business School, described the author as a great man.
Commending Keazor for his efforts at documenting such important book, Ajogwu said “The book is written in third person narrative and simple language which makes it readable for all. “This is so much knowledge packed in one book rather than have volumes. We must commend the author for lighting up a candle with this interesting book that takes readers down memory on the kind of business relationship that has existed between the two countries.”