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Friday, July 19, 2024

“What Nigeria can learn from Ivory Coast’s leadership”

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The African Cup of Nations has put Côte d’Ivoire on display as top African football talents dazzle the world with their skills.

Aside from the football spectacle and grandeur attached to the AFCON tournament, Ivory Coast appears to be a nation on an upward trajectory after a violent civil war.

Although it is far from being a perfect country without challenges, the government led by Alassane Ouattara has earned the trust of the people.

In this exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES correspondent Tunde Eludini in Abidjan, Salman Tajudeen Adeyemi, a Nigerian businessman based in Côte d’Ivoire, speaks on various topics, including what Nigeria can learn from the AFCON 2023 hosts.

PT: Can you tell us how long you have been here in Côte d’Ivoire?

Salman: I was born here in 1968, but in 1984 I went to Nigeria. I went to Nigeria because, at that time, I couldn’t speak English as a Nigerian and I said to my father, why? So I went to Nigeria in 1984 and studied in Nigeria until 1996.

PT: How would you describe Ivorians in general?

Salman: The people of Ivory Coast, which you call Ivory Coast, are good people. They welcome visitors very well.

PT: Were you present when Ivory Coast hosted the African Cup of Nations in 1984? And were you able to remember anything of what happened?

Salman: I can tell you about the Nations Cup final, which was between Nigeria and Cameroon. Cameroon took the trophy at that time and their captain was Kofi Abe. Stephen Keshi was our captain at the time.

PT: Did you watch the game in the stadium or on television?

Salman: I watched the match on television.

PT When Nigeria lost, how did you feel?

Salman: Very bad at that time.

PT: The Super Eagles are back. Do you think this Nigerian team will be able to correct the mistake made in 1984 and win this time?

Salman: I really don’t have much confidence in the Nigerian team. The reason is that when I look at all the teams that are here, the Nigerian team plays like it is a women’s team.

They don’t put their leg on the ball. I have no confidence in them, but I told my brother that something tells me that Nigeria is the team that will lift the cup whether by surprise or by miracle.

PT: A few years ago there was a civil war in this country. Now the country has recovered and even welcomes the entire continent. Were you present during the Civil War?

Salman: The civil war started in 2002. I went to Nigeria, but I came back when the civil war ended. Many people don’t know that there was a civil war here, and it is true because many countries had civil wars and until now they have not caught up; They are still trying to develop.

The reason Ivory Coast is doing well is because of the current president. He is a man who inspires confidence.

The world trusts him. He is someone who if he wants to do something, he will do it. If he borrows money outside the country, it won’t be stolen. He will use it for what he is supposed to use it for. That’s why some people don’t even know there was a civil war in this country.

And as I said, he is a trustworthy man and many people trust him. He began building houses, businesses and other amenities. That’s why people started returning to the country after the war.

PT: What can Nigeria learn from Ivory Coast?

Salman: It’s not that Nigeria doesn’t have the resources; We do it and in abundance.

Our government should think of Nigeria before itself. They think only of their family and not of Nigeria. If you think about Nigeria, it won’t be like that.

Now look at the president of the Ivory Coast. I’m not saying he’s not making little money from this, but he thinks of the Ivory Coast before himself, and that’s what he’s supposed to do.

Many former presidents of Nigeria have more money than some countries. Where did they get the money from? Isn’t it Nigerian money? It is. Please, they should think about the country before themselves. If Nigeria is good, everyone will be good.

Samad Ladan

Today we talk about Ouattara because everyone in the Ivory Coast is happy. We are happy with what you are doing here.

The minimum wage here is 75,000 CFA, and in Naira it is over 100,000, and that is the weekly wage. Our people in Nigeria who are working, how much do they earn?

They get nothing.

They should think about Nigeria. We have the resources; We have more resources than Ivory Coast. Look at our gas: we have more gas there, but it is still more expensive in Nigeria than here, as if we are exporting gas while we have gas in the country. They should think about the country before their families.

PT: How is the Nigerian community here related?

Salman: We have an association and each local government has its own. All Nigerians have a Nigerian association in Ivory Coast. Any problem we have in our local or state government, we get together and throw in some money, and even in local government, we do it.

PT: Is there anything that attracts you to return to Nigeria?

Salman: Honestly, nothing attracts me. Everything is based on money. If I am in Nigeria and I don’t receive money, why would I go there? I will stay here. I am getting better here than in Nigeria, so I can’t go there.

Since I have family in Nigeria, I can go on vacation. If Nigeria improves, I can leave, but for now nothing attracts me to Nigeria.

PT: Which five players would you like to meet in person?

Salmán: Osimhen. He doesn’t know me, but I follow him on Instagram. Secondly, I want to see Osimhen again. Thirdly, I want to see Osimhen again and that is to show him that I love him. I also want to see Ademola Lookman and Sadio Mane.

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