Being a press statement released by (Former) President Olusegun Obasanjo…
By Idris Abubakar Katagum
When the United Arab Emirates discovered oil in 1960, geologist predicted that by 2016 the oil must have run down and the good life could end just as quickly as it began. In response to the imminent economic time bomb that awaited them in the absence of oil, the then Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad ibn Rasheed Almakhtoum decided to transform what was then a small desert coastal trading centre to the world’s most luxurious tourist destination.
To do that, he invested heavily the petrodollars in the Dubai’s economy. Some of the investment include the world’s tallest hotel standing on an island in the Arabian gulf, named Burj al Arab, the Palm Island, Emirates Airline, Burj-khalfa, Dubai’s Internet city and many more. Within a Short period of time, Dubai was not only a luxury tourist destination but also a huge industrial hub. These investments have left the country’s economy strong even in the face of the global economic crises and the dwindling oil price.
In contrast, while responsible heads of governments are busy trying to effectively manage the petrodollars and save for the rainy day, Nigeria’s leaders only succeeded in siphoning the oil’s proceeds in to their private pockets and those of their cronies. Worst still is the fact that instead of investing the stolen fortune in their country, they decided to dumped it overseas in foreign lands. What a heartless set of people we ‘ve got as leaders! I once read that in the 60s, Dubai was not more than a hamlet when compared with Kano. But today, it’s no match to any of our cities, not even to our almighty Abuja. Now that the rain has started falling, we have become vulnerable to the economic forces. It is rather unfortunate that the incumbent government has to pay for the atrocities of the past leaders. Our faith correctly confirmed the adage that “If you fail to plan, you are simply planning to fail”.