Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”— Winston S. Churchill
“One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.” —Nelson Mandela
President Buhari’s official three day visit to France is a sure sign that major countries are quick to establish and develop diplomatic and trade relationship with Nigeria. It is a good sign that Nigeria is open for business.
France have been consistent in their support for Nigeria as well as been one of Nigeria’s largest investors. It is not a one way street; Nigeria is also France’s main exporter of oil and petroleum products. This is partnership working and everyone is bringing something to the table. This is not the special relationship like the British and the Americans, but it is more grounded in mutuality and connections.
The geopolitical significance of the relationship is important for the cooperation and the stabilization of Nigeria’s neighboring countries, who are blighted with the common menace emanating from Nigeria; Boko Haram. It is therefore in the best interest of France and Nigeria that this mutuality continues to flourish.
In fact, France has been a strong ally; in 2014 France helped and support about 8,700-strong taskforce made up of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin to reduce the nefarious activities of Boko Haram. They set an Intelligence Centre in Abuja to support and train some units of the Nigerian armed forces. So this visit is significant as it helps to strengthen their mutual interests; security, defence, trade and investments. The President spoke to his French counterpart, President François Hollande in front of the press delegates, top France ministers and investors and requested that France provide some aerial support, intelligence so that the Nigerians armed forces are able to take on Boko Haram more extensively.
Buhari stressed the need to protect the Nigerian’s borders and attract more investment to Nigeria. It is a priority no one could do business in a place that is not safe and the confidence in the efforts of the president in reducing corruption in Nigeria seem to be paying dividend.
President Hollande projects that the trade between the two countries should double in the next four years. In turn, Buhari has assured the French that his administration is committed to reducing corruption and corrupt practices in Nigeria. It will be better that he makes haste, and gets his cabinet in order for the French visit then.
Good news, Nigeria is Polio free
Let’s eradicate Polio 2
I wrote in my column last year February and September 2014, IN LETS ERADICATE POLIO, my concern that Nigeria had not made much effort in eradicating polio despite the health ministry pledged to do so by 2012. The good news, Nigeria has been polio free now for a year. I recalled the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu describing the resurgence of the deadly polio virus as an embarrassment to Nigeria and vowed that the government will intensify efforts to change the situation. Prior, to the news, Nigeria was one of the last three countries where polio still ravaged the populace; which included Pakistan and Afghanistan. Nigeria still has two more years before it, along with the whole of Africa, can be certified officially polio-free by WHO, but health experts say its achievement bodes well for wiping the disease out. Global health experts still hold out hope for an end to polio worldwide by 2018.
So this is progress and good news and I know it was no mean feat to mobilise the programme. For those who are not familiar with Polio, Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by a virus that spreads from person to person invading the brain and spinal cord and causing paralysis. Polio (POLIOMYELITIS) mainly affects children under five years of age.
Polio can spread from these endemic countries to infect children in other countries with less-than-adequate vaccination and one in 200 infected leads to irreversible paralysis. So, amongst those paralyzed, 5% to 10% die when their breathing muscles become immobilized. Unfortunately, there is no cure; the most effective means to eradicate polio is to immunize every child in order to stop transmission and ultimately make the world polio free.