As mixed reactions trail the purported rejection of Nigeria’s application to join the BRICS economic group, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria, (DG, VON) Mr Osita Okechukwu has said President Bola Tinubu deserves commendation for not applying to join the group.
At the 15th BRICS Summit in South Africa, the bloc admitted Argentina, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE among other intending developing countries into its folds, thus fuelling specultions that Nigeria’s application was rejected for not meeting some crucial membership criteria.
But, in a statement made available to DAILY POST on Sunday, Okechukwu, who is also a founding member of All Progressives Congress, APC, declared that Nigeria is better off maintaining her decades-old diplomatic standpoint as a non-aligned.
He stressed that he was thrilled when the Vice President, His Excellency Kashim Shettima, cleared the air and said, “So far, we have not applied for the membership of BRICS. And it is majorly informed by the fact that my principal, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a true democrat that believes in consensus building.”
Okechukwu stated: “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 pointed out the worldview origin of BRICS, saying, “records have it that to spur economic development outside the Breton wood system, the BRICS, a bloc comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and later South Africa, was formed.
“Ironically, the acronym was coined in 2001 by Goldman Sachs and 2006, the bank opened an equity fund for investors in the BRICS. The group had since established New Development Bank (NDB).”
On the proposal that Nigeria’s membership of BRICS has economic growth as the main goal, Okechukwu argued that whilst economic growth is important, it should not be at the expense of Nigeria’s cherished freedom and rule of law, which the leadership of the bloc abhors.
“Whilst one agrees that BRICS may engender economic growth; however neither the West nor Russia or China is Father Xmas, therefore our destiny is in our hands. And most importantly we cannot gloss over our cherished freedom and rule of law which maybe in jeopardy in the BRICS alliance.
“Otherwise, at the last count, the New Development Bank (NDB), a multilateral lending institution set up in 2014, based in Shanghai, had $25bn in recorded assets in 2022, less than a tenth of the World Bank’s total,and not much economic growth was stimulated,” Okechukwu explained.
Accordingly, he appealed to President Tinubu to maintain Nigeria’s multilateral diplomatic strategy, which he said “allows Nigeria today and in the future to operate and relate freely with all blocs and ultimately guard jealously our national interest.”