London - Former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon has charged British entrepreneurs to take the lead in investing in Nigeria.
Gowon, who identified many areas of strategic partnership between both nations, made the call in London at the Nigerian Business Roundtable organised by the UK Institute of Director (IOD) as part of the Commonwealth Day celebration.
He said that both countries had a long standing relationship dating back to over a century and noted Britain's colonial and post -colonial roles which still remained evident in many sectors of the nation's economy.
The former head of state said that “China is coming to Nigeria in a big way and may take over the investment environment from countries like the UK.”
“Nigeria will give Britain preference over any country, so you need to partner with Nigeria and invest in its emerging economy.”
He urged investors not to be deterred by threats of insecurity, saying that the challenged was being addressed by government.
Governors of Delta, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, Edo, Gov.Adams Oshiomole and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi state spoke on various investment opportunities and incentives available for investors.
Uduaghan listed the "Delta Beyond oil" initiative by his administration as a strategy to diversifying the state economy from relying on oil.
He said that his main focus were human capital and infrastructure development, promoting of peace and security, adding that strategy had been put in place to curb insecurity in the state.
In the same vein, Oshiomole blamed some foreign investors for not being true ambassadors of the nation's investment drive.
“Some companies doing business in Nigeria are not good investment ambassadors of Nigeria. They do not want competition so they try to stereotype the nation so as to discourage potential investors to the country.”
He urged them to spread the good news, saying that there are enormous opportunities in all sectors of the economy.
Yuguda urged investors to disregard threats of insecurity, saying, “seeing is believing, come and invest and expand the scope of your business.”
“Nigeria is one of the few places in the world where you can make super normal profit of up to 200 per cent within a short period.”
“Aside oil, there are enormous resources in solid minerals as well as a conducive climate for agriculture,” he added.
Responding, Simon Walker, the Institute’s Director-General said the programme was organised to showcase the nation's economic potentialities as it celebrates centenary.
He expressed the commitment of the institute to promoting ideas and investment opportunities among its member states.
The IOD Nigeria was established in 1984.
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.