XN Iraki, an Associate Professor at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, has expressed concerns over Nigeria’s growing influence on the Kenyan economy.
Professor Iraki, in an article titled, ‘Nigerians Are Not Coming, They’ve Already Arrived,’ published in The Standard. He raised the alarm over the influence of Nigerian churches, movies and banks in the country.
He said the entry of Nigerian lenders into the Kenyan market was well planned.
Iraki was reacting to the recent sale of Kenya’s Transnational Bank to Access Bank of Nigeria, noting that Access was not the first Nigerian bank to get a foothold in Kenya. “Guaranty Trust (GT) and UBA already have a presence here,” he says. The professor also said many Nigerians marrying Kenyan women was another grand strategy to get into the country’s market.
The article partly read:
“Why is the buyout so significant to the banking sector and the Kenyan economy? Why didn’t we notice it? Is that the last Nigerian purchase? First, the entry of Nigerian lenders into the Kenyan market was well planned. It started by softening the Kenyan mind with Nigerian churches and Afrosinema movies. That changed the hardened image of Nigerians as corrupt and happy-go-lucky—an outdated image.
“From my interactions, Nigerians are serious and focused. That focus and single-mindedness are often mistaken for pride and arrogance. Once they set their goals on something, they usually get it. The means can be contested, excluding juju. For every Nigerian caught on the wrong side of the law, nine others are doing the right thing, not just in their country, but somewhere in the world. One of them supervised my dissertation.
“I recently met a Nigerian who was a member of parliament in South Africa. In America, they are top administrators in universities, medical doctors, engineers, financial analysts and other lucrative jobs. It has been predicted that Nigeria will soon be Africa’s superpower. And why not? The country has gone through thick and thin, from coups and anti-coups and even a civil war, like the other superpower – USA.”
“For the Nigerians, marrying our girls seems to be part of their grand strategy to get into the Kenyan market; through genes, across generations. What else will Nigerians go for after our banks? Are banks their Trojan horse into our economy? And, more curiously, why is Kenya on sale? Not that I am an economic nationalist, but what are we buying ourselves?