•Ex-President urges investors to key into economic recovery
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has warned foreign and local firms doing business in Nigeria against engaging in acts that can undermine Nigeria’s economy.
Obasanjo counselled the firms that their emphasis should be to make Nigeria self-sustaining in production and consumption, vowing that he will kick against companies that want to use unwholesome business practices to sabotage the country’s self- reliance drive.
The ex-President, who spoke in Abeokuta on Saturday at an interactive session with the Indian Professionals’ Forum (IPF) in Nigeria, condemned a situation where some companies have elected to make the country a dumping ground for sub-standard and fake products.
The IPF members, led by its President, Mr. Dinesh Rathi, organised the interactive forum to identify with Obasanjo and to tap from his experience.
The Ota farmer explained that wrong business dealings were not only acts of undermining the economy, but also give a bad name to companies doing genuine business in Nigeria.
He noted that his administration had cause to expel some Indians from the country because of unethical business practices, saying the duty of companies is to improve the lot of the country where they do business and not to undermine its economy.
Obasanjo added that he visited India sometime ago and witnessed to his admiration, what India and Indians were doing “for self-reliance,” wondering: “Why any Indian company should come here (Nigeria) and undermines our own self-reliance initiative.”
He deplored a situation where “jollof rice is (allegedly) being prepared and shipped to Nigeria as ridiculous and bad”.
According to the ex-President, that was not what the country needed.
He admitted that there are genuine Indians doing business in Nigeria, engaging Nigerians as workers and contributing to the economy’s growth.
He challenged the representatives of the firms to fish out the bad eggs in their midst.
Obasanjo said: “There are Indians, who are in partnership with Nigerians and they are doing well. We have some even here in Abeokuta. They are doing very well and it is very encouraging.
“But there are Indian companies that have been doing what they will not do in India and that is unfortunate and I hope those of you who are doing the right things, who really make us proud and our association with India, will make sure that this type of bad things are stopped.
“I have the unfortunate responsibility to deport some Indians from what they have done wrong. My successors brought them back. He too later sent them back again – the one who brought them back, send them back again because you see, a Leopard never changes his skin and they believe that they can bribe their way in this country.”