The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said it was unfitting to compare the realities of the Nigerian economy with those of other smaller African states.
He argued that at least 10 Nigerian states “have bigger GDPs than those countries.”
Osinbajo also noted that the violent reports emanating from the country did not reflect the reality of the entire country which, he said, was too vast in landmass.
He noted that the international community must understand Nigeria’s population and geographic size to better grasp the enormity and complexity of her nuanced challenges.
According to a statement signed on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo made the argument when fielding questions from a group of Harvard Business School students who visited him on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The students, who were on an African excursion, interacted with VP on leadership, faith, spirituality, government policies in education, health, economy, and national image, among others.
The statement is titled, ‘Why I value transparency & social justice, by Osinbajo.’
According to the VP, “First, there is a need to appreciate the size of the country, which is crucial to understanding what the issues are.
“For instance, Borno State is about the size of the whole of the United Kingdom plus Sweden or Denmark. So, when it is reported that there is violence in Nigeria, it is probably an incident in one remote area of the country, and many people in Abuja and Lagos may hear about it on social media, such is the size of this country.
“When they talk about the economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries, it is a huge target market.”
Responding to the question about some inaccurate characterisation of Nigeria in sections of the international community, the Vice President said, “It is important to constantly engage the international community to show them how we feel about the stereotypes. It comes down to the work we do as a government and people about the characterisation.
This is why the work around the ease of doing business is the initiative that has behind it, the whole idea that this environment is one that is welcoming to business and people can come and do business.”