Director General of Voice of Nigeria (DG, VON) Mr. Osita Okechukwu said President Bola Tinubu should be commended for not requesting to join the BRICS economic bloc, despite the fact that this decision has been met with mixed emotions.
Speculations that Nigeria’s candidacy was rejected because it did not meet some critical membership criteria were fueled by the fact that the BRICS bloc admitted Argentina, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates at the 15th BRICS Summit in South Africa.
However, Okechukwu, a founding member of All Progressives Congress, APC, said in a statement obtained by BANKPAWA on Sunday that Nigeria is better off sticking to her decades-old diplomatic stance as a non-aligned country.
When Vice President His Excellency Kashim Shettima finally set the record straight and announced, “So far, we have not applied for the membership of BRICS,” he was overjoyed. My boss, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is a firm believer in democracy and consensus, and that has had a significant impact on the way we approach policymaking.
Okechukwu made the following statement: “Whereas one has nothing against Brazil, Russia, India, China, nor our brothers South Africa that make up the BRICS; however Nigeria stands to benefit hugely if we maintain our age-old standpoint of multilateral diplomacy.”
He explained that the BRICS group—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—came together because they shared a common goal of promoting economic growth outside of the Breton wood system.
Goldman Sachs, ironically, came up with the name in 2001 and launched an equity fund targeting BRICS investors in 2006. As of late, the collective has set up shop as New Development Bank (NDB).
While Okechukwu agrees that economic growth is crucial, he argues that this growth should not come at the expense of Nigeria’s much-valued freedom and rule of law, which the leadership of the BRICS group despises.
While it’s true that BRICS has the potential to spur economic development, it’s also true that neither the West nor Russia nor China is the savior of the world. And most crucially, we must not ignore the potential threat to the rule of law and the freedoms we hold dear within the BRICS alliance.
If not for the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral lending organization established in 2014 and headquartered in Shanghai, Okechukwu explains, “less than a tenth of the World Bank’s total” $25 billion in recorded assets in 2022.
Accordingly, he urged President Tinubu to keep up Nigeria’s multilateral diplomatic strategy, which he claimed “allows Nigeria today and in the future to operate and relate freely with all blocs and ultimately guard jealously our national interest.”