Nigeria, UAE and the fight against serial injustice

Chris Adebayo

By Chris Adebayo

I am surprised that the Nigerian govt’s actions in support of a Nigerian business is not finding favour with some friends. Yeah, Air Peace was late in filing its request. Therefore, we should let it stew in its own juice?

Sorry, international trade and international relations don’t work that way. Every country worth the name (well, except those banana republics and the francophonies of Africa) knows to do all it can to support its businesses. Foreign policy is generally an extension of domestic policy, for the impact of it must reflect positively on the country – economy, governance, image, what have you.

When MTN ran into problems with the Nigerian govt a few years ago, to whom did it run to? You get it. It ran to the South African govt, begging it to intervene. What did President Zuma do? He flew to Nigeria to intercede. He got a soft landing for them. He did not say, “MTN is a private biz that ran foul of Nigerian directives and it should deal with the consequences”.

When Canada detained the CFO of Huawei on the request of the US, what happened? China immediately detained a couple of Canadian citizens in its country. Until the CFO was released and she landed in China, those 2 Canadians stewed in Chinese jail. China did not sit down and say, “oh, well, it’s a financial crime issue between Huawei, a private company, and the US authorities”.

There are so many examples of countries fighting the battle of private companies and vice versa. That’s why multinational corporations and their operations are a significant part of international relations and power leveraging.

There is scope for knocking Air Peace. But the time for that is not now. Right now, it is our duty to rally round the Nigerian Govt as it seeks to fight back against the serial injustices that Nigerians and Nigerian companies are subjected to in just about everywhere.

Is Air Peace a world class airline? No. But how many airlines start out as “world class”? It takes time, learning and unlearning, investing and divesting, testing and re-testing. Emirates took time to become the behemoth that it is today. The BAs of today were no different. Why should we now begrudge “the days of humble beginning”? Are we expecting a local airline to be able to immediately match the Emirates of this world?

A lot of government support is required – locally and internationally – for airlines to survive, much less thrive. Emirates survives purely on Govt subventions and support. Nigeria has so many BASA (Bilateral Air Services Agreement) that are wasting away (loss making, if you will) because we simply do not have the capacity (airlines) to utilize them. So if we have an airline willing to take up just 10% equivalent of what the UAE already enjoys (3 slots to roughly 30 for Emirates and Etihad), why should the Nigerian govt not support it? Indeed, why should all Nigerians not rally around such a company?

Also, the idea that it is our loss is a partial reading of the situation. When Emirates put its budget for the year together, I am pretty sure they factored in their 21 daily flights to Nigeria. Same with Etihad. They may be cash rich but they sure aren’t loss happy. True, the ban may affect Nigerians too, but there is no gain without pain.

All said, I support our Government’s actions.
Share on Google Plus

About Newsmart


Post a Comment