International Opinion

Mbawuike: Deconstructing Nigeria’s insecurity challenges

If there is any major sociopolitical discourse in Nigeria today, it is the challenge of insecurity which has, unwittingly, become an octopus claiming lives across the country and destroying the economy.

The situation is such that the government whose constitutional duty is to protect lives and property appears to be either incapacitated or overwhelmed, hence, the advice from concerned Nigerians for citizens to take their destiny in their own hands.

Paschal Mbawuike, an America-based Nigerian private sector player, is livid with the unfortunate security crisis in Nigeria and, therefore, calls for a concerted effort to combat it.

Among other things, no meaningful investment can be attracted to a country with large scale insecurity as Nigeria appears to be turning out, insisting that it is in the interest of all citizens to have a peaceful nation.

“As a responsible citizen, I am touched by the worsening insecurity in our fatherland. I am also sad at the rhetoric that I hear which does not promote peace. My advice to every Nigerian is to eschew our differences and channel all our energies toward making the country work for us all. All hands must be on deck to achieve this,” the businessman said.

According to him, “The current situation is such that if you know anything that will assist government deal with the current insecurity permanently, you must let the authorities know.”

The man Mbawuike

He sits atop a leading corporate entity, Cohen and Woods International, a Washington-based Africa-focused consulting firm, founded by Ambassador Herman J. Cohen, a former assistant Secretary of State for Africa, under former President W. Bush.

Like many other Nigerians in the United States, he has also remained a very quiet rain maker, and closing a lot of deals.

He strongly believes that “in business, you do not get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate for.”

Mbawuike has cultivated rich and strong connections over the years among influential persons, in and out of governments around the world, working with corporate entity such as Cohen and Woods.

For several years, the deal maker has served Ambassador Cohen, as a senior vice president for Business Development and Strategy.

Recall that Ambassador Cohen has played a key role in the US-Africa relations for over five decades, serving as US Ambassador to Senegal, Uganda and Congo DRC.

He has also served as a junior officer in The Gambia and Zambia; he is fluent in French and Swahili. Under his watch as a former top USAfrica diplomat, he oversaw the peace process in Angola, between Jonas Savambi and Dosantos. Also, he oversaw the peace process in Mozambique, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

It was because of these efforts that he became a close friend of former Nigerian President, General Ibrahim Babangida and Libya was at the centre of this interest.

His association with Ambassador Cohen also opened several doors of business relationship for him. For instance, Cohen is a founding member of the Corporate Council on Africa, a trade association that promotes trade between the United States and Africa, a few members of Council include; United States Agency for International Development, Exonmobil, Chevron Corporation, Caterpillar and Pfizer Corporation.

The Council also has the Dangote Group and Zenith Bank as members on the Nigerian side, while the Ethiopian Airline (a member of the Star Alliance) is also a member.

As the saying goes, success is contagious, and if you move with the wise, you are likely to be wise, Mbawuike’s world view has been positively impacted by Cohen’s exposure.

Cohen is a member of the Council on Democracy and has for several years, been a regular contributor to the Foreign Policy magazine, a frequent guest on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Voice of America ( English and French), the French Television and the National Public Radio in the United States as well as Arise Television and TVC Lagos, both located in Lagos, Nigeria. He is also a major contributor to the Strait Talk Africa, a Voice of America programme that is broadcast in Africa, from Washington DC.

Mbawuike, the Amaimo Ikeduru-born Imo State indigene, had after his secondary education at the Amaimo High School, got engaged at the old National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) where he served as a Meter Reader. At that early age, however, his aspiration was to play a bigger role in the power sector.

This dream fired his zeal at the Contour Global that is deeply involved in playing a key role in Nigeria’s petroleum and gas sector.

In 1983, young Mbawuike moved to Boston at the prompting of an uncle, a long time US citizen who had this messianic willingness assisting many of his kinsmen keen on living the American Dream.

While in Boston, Mbawuike attended Chamberlain College. He later studied Political Science and Television Production at Howard University, Washington DC.

He admits that for over 30 years, he has been fortunate and privileged to host very important Nigerian citizens coming into DC.

Mbawuike, who fully committed to the Nigeria project, has insisted that he would never belong to any political party in Nigeria; rather, he would work for the success of the country, building relationship around the world.

Like many Nigerians in the Diaspora doing great things in all fields of human endeavour, Mbawuike is a successful private sector operator and a power broker in Washington DC.

Tony Ailemen wrote in from Abuja

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