President Bola Tinubu, on Sunday, stated that with last Thursday’s Supreme Court verdict affirming his electoral victory, distractions are over for his administration.
Consequently, Tinubu said he has a renewed focus to pursue his agenda towards Nigeria’s economic prosperity.
“It is just about a few days ago that the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had the final say on our electoral exercise. The distraction is over. This gives us more time to focus on governance for the people and moving Nigeria forward for economic opportunities and prosperity that will defend democracy,” Tinubu said when he received the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Thanking the German leader for fulfilling his promise to visit Nigeria, Tinubu noted that the largest economy in Africa was ready to partner with Germany, which occupies the same position in Europe.
However, he acknowledged that while Germany had advanced in clean energy, Nigeria was still crawling, pledging his administration’s determination to change the narrative.
“Our economic team and members of the group are all here ready to partner with you, with Germany as the largest economy in Europe. And the largest economy in Africa is Nigeria, you know that.
“We are blessed with a good environment, time of weather and blessed in terms of mineral resources. Our hydrocarbon industry is still fledging environmentally while we are moving towards the transition energy source.
“I know Germany has advanced a lot in protecting the environment and modernising energy to meet the 21st century needs both of the world and Europe in particular. Nigeria is still crawling, but we are determined to change the narrative and bring about a transformative government in the country,” Tinubu stated.
Although Nigeria is still fighting terrorism, it needs Germany’s help to stabilise internal security and protect its democracy from detractors, Tinubu appealed.
He explained, “We’re fighting terrorism and that is improving. We still need very much support in that area. And for us to be able to sustain democracy, the rule of law and freedom for our people, we need to fight for democracy.
“And democracy must win at all times for us to meet the expectation of an African dream. That is why your visit this time around is more than necessary and welcome.”
The President drew Scholz’s attention to the coup in Niger Republic, saying the ECOWAS is “diplomatically managing the situation.”
Tinubu acknowledged past contributions by the German government in security and highlighted Nigeria’s need for more such collaboration.
He observed, “The need for you to help in that of security will be emphasised, and we will continue to require your knowledge. We thank you for your past contributions, particularly police law enforcement training. We need more help.”
At the government-to-business roundtable, the Nigerian leader argued that while foreign investors are quick to shy away from challenging terrains, his government is working to reform business laws in a way that minimises friction and delays.
He reasoned, “Investment is cowardly, it doesn’t like delays and conflicts, it will run away, we understand that. Equally, time management to promote efficiency and smooth operation under the rule of law is crucially important.
“We are reforming our economic and business environment to promote efficiency… I’ve made a commitment to you that we’ll promote efficiency and ease of doing business and remove all conflict areas immediately.
“You might have read or been aware that we have removed oil subsidy; we’re going through tax reforms to eliminate double taxation and give you better returns on investments. There are principles that will ensure your investments grow well and are protected.”
In his remarks, the German leader stressed his country’s commitment to Nigeria’s security and upholding its democracy and the rule of law.
Scholz argued that Nigeria’s extractive industry must benefit the home nation as it does the recipient economies in Europe and other parts of the world.
He said: “It is also important that we use the way of developing your economy in the fields of the minerals you have. I think that the investments into this structure must be easy, but also benefitting for your country.
“It is something that bothered me a lot in the past that sometimes it was just about extraction, which is not enough. There should be one bit more for making it feasible that some parts of the economic development can be used in the countries of origin.
“This is not the case today in our world, but if we change this a little bit, it will change a lot and working in this field is also important for us.”
Sunday’s visit is Scholz’s first to Nigeria since assuming office in December 2021.
It also began his two-day working visit, where he is scheduled to meet business leaders in Lagos today (Monday).
He is the second European leader to visit the West African state since the Russo-Ukrainian War began in February 2022.
On September 7, 2022, Polish President Andrzej Duda met former President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, expressing his country’s desire to increase energy imports from Nigeria.
The Russo-Ukrainian conflict has rekindled Europe’s interest in Africa’s energy market as EU nations seek alternatives to sanctioned Russian supply.
Sunday’s meeting also continues over six decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries, sustained by high-level visits dating back to 1978 when then-Chancellor Helmut Schmidt visited Nigeria.
In November 2008, German President Horst Koehler was received by President Umaru Yar’Adua in Abuja.
Also, the immediate past Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was the first head of state outside Africa to visit Nigeria after Goodluck Johnathan’s election in 2011. She returned in August 2018 to meet his successor, President Buhari.
In 2016, then-President Christian Wulff’s visit to Nigeria led to the signing of several agreements in areas such as energy, trade and culture.