Zambian Minister of Labour, Comrade Fackson Shamenda, yesterday lamented the inability of successive governments in Nigeria to lead the quest for economic growth in Africa.
He, however, expressed confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari’s ability to restore Nigeria’s position as a leader on the continent.
Shamenda, who made the observation during his visit to Governor Adams Oshiomhole in Benin City, Edo State, said it was a shame that Nigeria, which all of Africans looked up to for development, had to get foreign telecoms companies to spearhead its GSM.
He said: “The first time I came to Nigeria, I saw a big plane with an elephant painted on it, and I wondered because elephants do not fly. Nigeria is supposed to be the big brother of Africa but the first GSM company came in from Zimbabwe when you are supposed to take development to Zimbabwe.
“This time, Nigeria is different. A Nigerian went to Zambia and established a branch of his cement plant in our country. It is gladdening, because it shows Nigeria is now truly taking up its role as the leader in Africa. I am proud of the son of the soil.
“We shall always cooperate with this great Nigerian son, Dangote. I was impressed when this leading investor in Nigeria and Africa came to Zambia to locate one of the largest cement plants in Africa there.
“We are a proud to see a Nigerian taking the lead in Africa, unlike the way it used to be, you cannot help the developed if you don’t help the underdeveloped, you cannot help the rich if you don’t help the poor.’’
While applauding Governor Oshiomhole, the Zambian Labour Minister said: “I was very delighted when I heard that you were elected the Governor of Edo State.
“I have known you, my brother, for a very long time; we used to be in the trenches together and I am happy that finally you have stopped causing trouble for the government and the employers but to be able to be part.”
“I have been following your activities, you are the same Adams that I have known for so many years and I have no doubt in my mind that the people of this state made the right choice and will not be disappointed and I don’t think they have been disappointed so far.”
On his part, Governor Oshiomhole thanked the Minister for Zambia’s right policies which attracted a Nigerian businessman to invest in the country, saying African countries should engender policies that would promote the unity of the continent.
“I want to thank you for the policies which the Zambian government has put in place not only to encourage foreign direct investment in their sector but also to give necessary incentives to an African to penetrate the market, to locate the plants and provide the security they needed to establish and to do a lot of things they have to do to get the plant in operation.
“We should have policies that promote African unity and the best way to promote African unity is not for politicians and political leaders to meet in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, once in a while and make bold statements about the continent and, thereafter, bring underdevelopment but should make bold statements to create jobs and use the resources they have for the continent and not export them to Europe and then bring a fraction back in the name of direct investment,’’ the governor said.