The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, said it was inappropriate to compare the realities of the Nigerian economy with those of other smaller African states.
He argued that at least 10 Nigerian states “have greater GDP than those countries”.
Osinbajo also noted that the violent reports coming out of the country did not reflect the reality of the entire country, which he said was too vast in land mass.
He noted that in order to better understand the sheer size and complexity of its nuanced challenges, the international community needs to understand Nigeria’s population and geographic size.
According to a statement signed on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, Osinbajo made the argument when he answered questions from a group of Harvard Business School students who visited him Friday at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The students, who were on an African field trip, had contact with VP about leadership, faith, spirituality, government policy on education, health, economics and national image, among other things.
The statement is titled, “Why I Value Transparency and Social Justice, by Osinbajo.”
According to the VP: “First, it is necessary to appreciate the size of the country, which is crucial to understand what the problems are.
“For example, the state of Borno is about the size of the entire United Kingdom plus Sweden or Denmark. So if it is reported that there is violence in Nigeria, it is probably an incident in a remote area of the country, and many people in Abuja and Lagos may hear about it on social media, this is how big this country is.
“When they talk about the economy, we are often compared to smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have greater GDP than those countries. It’s a huge target market.”
Responding to the question about an inaccurate characterization of Nigeria in parts of the international community, the Vice President said: “It is important to continuously involve the international community to show them how we think about the stereotypes. It comes down to the work we do as government and people on the characterization. This is why the work on the ease of doing business is the initiative behind it, the whole idea that this environment is one that is inviting for business and people to come and do business.”