In a recent interview with Arise TV, former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, highlighted the challenges faced by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as he strives for Nigeria’s inclusion in the prestigious G20 group. Akinyemi attributed many of these challenges to the legacy of bad leadership that has plagued Nigeria’s past governments.
President Tinubu’s attendance at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, on a special invitation from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was seen as an opportunity to strengthen Nigeria’s international standing. During the summit, Tinubu engaged with leaders from the United States, Germany, South Korea, and witnessed the conferment of permanent member status on the African Union.
However, Akinyemi emphasized the need for Nigeria to work diligently to improve its image in the international community, stating, “We must stop de-marketing Nigeria, irrespective of what the government does. If we as people have no faith in our own country, in our own government, it will backfire.”
He went on to address the international aspects of the summit and its implications for Nigeria, noting that Nigeria is not yet a member of the G20, and he attributed this partly to the economic challenges resulting from past leadership. Akinyemi stated, “The reasons are many. One is the bad leadership that has driven our economy to the ground. Now that we know the cost of bad leadership, I hope we will give to our country a decent leadership that can promote Nigeria.”
Furthermore, Akinyemi expressed that President Tinubu is currently dealing with the consequences of past leadership, which extend beyond the tenures of Presidents Jonathan and Buhari. However, he also highlighted the opportunity for Tinubu to harness international goodwill, as the new President of the G20 is from Brazil, a country with which Nigeria maintains a strong relationship.
To capitalize on this favorable alignment, Akinyemi recommended the establishment of a task force with the goal of securing Nigeria’s sponsorship for permanent membership in the G20 before the next summit. This move, he believed, could help Nigeria overcome the historical legacy of bad leadership and secure a more prominent role on the global stage.
As President Tinubu continues to navigate Nigeria’s international relations, the nation faces the challenge of building a positive image and seeking recognition within the esteemed ranks of the G20.