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Femi Otedola: How UAE Visa Deal Boosts Nigeria’s Economy

The corporate sector has seldom been as vocal in its approval as when Femi Otedola, chairman of Geregu Power Plc and director of FBN Holdings Plc, commended President Bola Tinubu’s diplomatic skill in resolving the UAE visa issue. This breakthrough in a protracted visa dispute between Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates has sparked conversations that extend well beyond governmental circles.

Otedola’s endorsement should not be taken lightly; it underpins several layers of economic, political, and social implications that could have far-reaching consequences for Nigeria.

Economic Implications

Diversification of Investment

Otedola astutely noted that resolving the UAE visa dilemma could serve as a catalyst for attracting investment from the Middle East. This diversification stands as a crucial step in lessening Nigeria’s reliance on established partners like the European Union, the United States, and China.

Aviation and Tourism Renaissance

The resumption of air travel is poised to reinvigorate Nigeria’s aviation and tourism sectors. As Emirates and Etihad Airlines promptly resume their operations, this could spell new opportunities for hoteliers, tour operators, and a plethora of other businesses tethered to the travel industry.

Currency Stabilisation

The promised joint foreign exchange liquidity programme is a tantalising prospect that could bolster the Nigerian Naira, which has suffered consistent devaluation pressures.

Political Implications

Diplomatic Soft Power

The resolution may not just favour Nigeria alone. It could serve as a model for other African nations, positioning Nigeria as a leader in diplomatic affairs on the continent.

Strengthening of Bilateral Ties

Otedola commended the possibility of partnerships beyond commerce and tourism. Agreements in sectors like defence and agriculture lay the groundwork for a durable alliance between the two nations.

Leadership Milestone

President Tinubu’s diplomatic efforts have been lauded as a new precedent. Otedola’s endorsement places a spotlight on what could be a hallmark of a globally engaged Nigerian administration.

Social Implications

Mobility for the Masses

The lifting of the visa ban has social ramifications that extend beyond the boardrooms. Ordinary Nigerians can now more easily travel for leisure, education, or health reasons to the UAE.

Boosting National Morale

Success on an international level can translate to increased national morale. Otedola’s optimistic outlook reflects a general sentiment that Nigeria is stepping onto the world stage with renewed confidence.

Criticisms and Questions

While Otedola’s enthusiasm is infectious, there remain valid criticisms and questions. The transparency of these diplomatic manoeuvres is one issue that should not be overlooked. What did Nigeria concede, if anything, in this agreement? And importantly, will the benefits of this accord be widespread, or concentrated among the elite?


Otedola’s renewed confidence in Nigeria and his pledge to increase investments are symptomatic of a larger mood of optimism. While challenges lie ahead, this historic visa resolution has the potential to act as a catalyst for broad-spectrum change in Nigeria. As Otedola aptly put it, “We are witnessing the storm before the calm,” and it seems Nigeria is gearing up for the much-anticipated tranquillity and progress.

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