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Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa: How Nigeria Should Really Respond: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa: How Nigeria Should Really Respond

By: dayan (M) |Time : September 06, 2019, 08:17:22 AM
The international crisis that resulted from the latest killings and attacks on Nigerian businesses in South Africa presents Nigeria with a golden opportunity to solve a significant problem -permanently.

The truth is that either South Africa has totally forgotten Nigeria’s role in getting her to freedom, or she doesn’t care anymore. The speech by that country’s deputy police minister indicates that the attacks seems like part of a strategy to drive Nigerians (and other black Africans ) out of South Africa.

Apart from Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), there hasn’t been significant repudiation, outrage or condemnation of the treacherous conduct by other political leaders in South Africa.
Therefore, one can safely assume that this problem (constant attack on Nigerians) is not going away anytime soon in South Africa.

The question then is, how should Nigeria respond appropriately, i.e. in such a way that permanently solves this problem?

The summary of the proposed solution here is that Nigeria should really conduct a staged strategic disengagement from South Africa.

It has been a quarter of a century since the end of apartheid in South Africa, and during those years one cannot say that the relationship between Nigeria and that country has been improving as should be.

There has been trade, but hardly anything more.

Trade is good, but the entire relationship between two of the most important countries in Africa should have moved beyond trade to other closer working relationships and peoples exchanges.

That has not happened.

Nigeria hesitated to sign the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) partly because countries like South Africa keep wanting to eat their cakes and have it at the same time. They want the Nigerian market, but not the Nigerian people. Nigeria has signed that protocol, and yet the South Africans continue their strategic elimination of Africans (Nigerians being the main victims due to their population in that country).  Trevor Noah the South African celebrity pointed out that African immigrants in South Africa do not control even up to .01% of the South African economy, and yet they get attacked.

Latest statistics indicate that there is a $60 billion trade between Nigeria and South Africa; clearly the largest between any two countries in Africa. However on closer examination, one realizes that Nigeria only exports oil to South Africa, while South Africa invested massively, and control many sectors of Nigeria’s economy. Nigeria has no big business presence in South Africa as that country has in Nigeria.

The reason for such level of depth of South African investment in Nigeria is because Nigeria provides conducive (and even supportive) environment for South African businesses to thrive in Nigeria.

Nigerian businesses do not enjoy similar levels of ease in South Africa.

The South African businesses cart billions of dollars annually from Nigeria to South Africa, and even control some critical infrastructure in Nigeria.

As things stand today, Nigeria is at a strategic disadvantage with South Africa. However, in that disadvantage is also an advantage, and that is that Nigeria can shop for other buyers of Nigerian crude oil, but South Africa cannot find another market anywhere in the world that can replace the Nigerian market. Fact. The opportunities being tapped in Nigeria by the South Africans can be tapped by Nigerians or other friendlier foreign countries.

So, what should Nigeria do?
What can Nigeria do?

Nigeria can do the following if there is bold leadership in Nigeria:

Step (1).
Initiate the development of a new megalopolis somewhere in the Taraba, Crossriver, or any middle belt area where large portion of land can be sourced. On this land, Nigeria should design and initiate the construction of a Las Vegas- like tourist city, huge farms, and industrial parks -a mega-city in which to invest tens to hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 15 years. 

The projected population for such megalopolis should be between 2 – 7 million. The mega-city should have a world-class international airport to allow for easy international access in and out of Nigeria.  This project should form the fulcrum of a new Nigerian economic thrust into the future, setting the pace for other states in Nigeria to tap into its heartbeat. It can stimulate massive growth and investment throughout Nigeria. It can also foster national unity.

Step (2).
Nigeria should offer Nigerians in South Africa (and other foreign countries applicable) an opportunity to return home to settle and build this new megalopolis. There should be constant electricity using solar and other independent power sources, good public utilities like water and waste disposal, hospitals, jobs, entertainment, and education facilities in this new metro area. All these would create massive jobs.

The idea is for Nigerians to return home and settle there, starting businesses, creating jobs, getting jobs, helping to create a city of their dreams and a home to stay. The metro should be co-designed and co-envisioned by Nigerian diaspora to create environment that mimic some of their experiences abroad.

Step (3).
The final step is that Nigeria should take over all South African investments in Nigeria, and use the money to help build this new city where Nigerians returnees can settle. Nigeria should also degrade its diplomatic relationship/mission with South Africa, and put systemic roadblocks on Nigerians traveling to that country and South Africans visiting Nigeria. Essentially the relationship should return to what it was during the years of apartheid in South Africa.

South Africans feel that they have more to protect from Nigerians than the reverse. But the truth is that, as things stand, Nigeria has far more to protect from the South Africans.

In strategic terms, as things stand today, South Africa has far more to gain from Nigeria than Nigeria can gain from South Africa. Nigeria can find other buyers of her crude internationally, but South Africa cannot find another 200 million AFRICAN market.

If the South Africans want a new engagement in the future afterwards, Nigeria should set the terms on purely unemotional strategic national interests, instead of the usual hubristic “African big brother” basis .

It is past time we played this game OUR way.


-NIGERIALOG

Re: Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa: How Nigeria Should Really Respond

By: alagbe003 (M) |Time : September 06, 2019, 05:10:58 PM
I personally like the analysis stated here, I hope it can be executed massively.

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