Nigerian diplomatic representatives, African researchers, non-governmental organizations, both local and foreign media and participants attended a one-day round-table discussions under the theme “Perspectives of the Russian-Nigerian relations in the light of the results of the Nigerian presidential election” that was held on April 29 in the conference hall of the Institute for African Studies in Moscow.
The event was organized jointly by the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Nigerian Diaspora Organization (NIDO Russia). Participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the current socio-economic environment, post-election developments, as well as business/investment opportunities for Russian investors in Nigeria.
NIDO-Russia was established as a forum for Nigerian professionals residing in Russia to participate in the development of Nigeria. It serves as a platform for Nigerians to network on the diaspora. NIDO-Russia is committed to tapping into the knowledge and skills of Nigerians and Russians in both countries needed for national development.
The speakers included Profesor Dmitri Bondarenko, Deputy Director at the Institute of African Studies (IAS), Professor Tatiana Denisova, Head of the Tropical Section of the IAS, Mr Evgeny Korendyasov, Head of the Russia-African Relations Section at the IAS, Valeriy Vozdvizhenskiy, Executive Director of the Russia-Nigeria Business Council, Dr Maurice Okoli, Researcher at the IAS, Mr Rex Essenowo, Chairman of NIDO Russia, Dr Bashir Obasekola, and representatives from the Embassy of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
At the end of the heated debates and detailed discussions, the speakers and participants have agreed that the economic relations between Russia and Federal Republic of Nigeria will experience a significant positive development in the coming years, especially even before the presidential election many Russian companies, industrialists as well as private investors have shown keen interest in the economy of Nigeria.
The Nigerian election was the most competitive presidential race ever held in its political history and the country represents one of the largest democracies in the world. Now, if power is handed over peacefully as planned at the end of May, it will be a major shift for the country — the first political power transfer between civilians of different parties in a country that has spent much of its post-colonial history shaken by military coups.
With results from all of the Nigeria’s 36 federal states counted, the former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, delivered a crushing defeat to President Goodluck Jonathan, getting nearly 55 percent of the vote to Mr. Jonathan’s 45 percent. Jonathan represented the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while Buhari stood on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC).
With this new political and post-election background, the participants at the round-table discussion praised the country for its democratic development, noting significantly that “the current situation will consolidate the climate for both local and foreign investment in the country.”
Additionally, this could open another chapter to a great deal of opportunities and business prospects, and for developing a broader multifaceted relationship in political, economic, education and socio-cultural spheres between Russia and Nigeria. They, however, noted with much doubts that there will be definitely emerging challenges and problems to overcome in the process.
Russia has considered Nigeria to be a strategic partner in Africa because of its numerous opportunities in human and natural resources. Russia has long decided to build a stronger bilateral trade with Nigeria as the biggest investment destination in sub-Sahara Africa. Despite its more than 50-year business relationship dating from the Soviet era, trade volume has now remained low with a current figure of $300m between Russian Federation and Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Source: The African Executive (AE)