On Tuesday, 3rd July this year, Nigeria rolled out the red carpet to receive France’s helmsman Emmanuel Macron.
For mar Macron, the official visit was a sort of home-coming as he had served as intern, fifteen years ago at France embassy in Nigeria.
Also, significantly, it would be the first call of the French president to the country since his election in May 2017.
Certain issues and events arising from Mr. Macron’s state visit should not be lost on the nation.
At a joint news conference with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while responding to a question on how his country could help Nigeria curb herdsmen-farmer clashes, Mr Macron said France could not solve Nigeria’s problem.
Rather, the French president advised Nigerian government to take on the task of providing security as well as creating an enabling environment for the people to thrive.
What a truism? It is an incontrovertible fact that not just only Nigeria but Africa as a continent, must take the initiative to fight the scourge of insecurity plaguing it.
Why the need for some measures of external assistance is obvious due to the conventional scope of terrorism, it will be delusive to thrust the security of the whole country in the hands of foreign countries.
For example, Europe, which has for years entrusted its security on alliance with United States, has taken steps to reduce such dependence.
In 2017, nearly two dozen European nations agreed to extend their powers into military realm.
Although it could be said that the Nigerian government is quite aware of its responsibility to keep the nation secure, it still remains evident that it still relies on some Western and Asian countries for military hardware.
The big question is; whither is the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria DICON? It is high time DICON be transformed to an organization capable of producing small military hardware to large ones through collaboration with international arms manufacturers and adaptation of weapon technology.
This would require massive defence spending, which can only be enhanced by a buoyant economy, a factor that requires input of government, private enterprises and individuals.
President Macron aptly captures the indispensability of this when he posited that the Nigerian government should create an enabling environment for people to thrive.
To achieve this, government should adequately address the gaping infrastructure deficit, such as deplorable roads, erratic power supply, which are essential for industries and individual entrepreneurs to thrive, thus enhancing job creation.
Signing of bilateral agreement by Lagos, Ogun and Kano with France on urban mobility improvement programme, letter of intent to participate in the implementation of the Nigeria blue-print land degradation and improvement of water supply respectively, are part of the process.
However, the fact remains that the country should also go beyond reliance on foreign countries to achieve provision of basic amenities; it is an indication that the nation is not yet poised to take its fate in its hand in this regard.
It, therefore, behoves government to fast track evolvement of local technology, which would see the nation manufactures machines and equipment to enhance provision of infrastructure.
Some measures of strides have been achieved in this respect in agriculture; it should spread fast to other areas, as technology is what drives development.