Mr. John Bannen, the Chief Executive Officer of Bay Solar Energy Corporation, in the United States was one of the American Solar Energy Experts/Investors of whom I wrote about recently as they traversed Nigeria for investment opportunities.
Upon return from Nigeria, Mr. Bannen and the other Americans investors have wonderful stories to tell!
I interviewed Mr. Bannen, who lives in California, and he was simply a delightful interview subject. I have never heard a non-Nigerian, and in particular, an American, describe visiting Nigeria in glorious terms and in the most wonderful ways in which Mr. Bannen did. The effect of this, was that I was so excited that I was unable to focus on the questions that I had scripted for the returnees from Nigeria
He and others informed me of their immediate plans to return to Nigeria, as now that the inaugurations are over! The Bay Solar Energy chief narrated his travels to Lagos, Abuja, and several points of Nigeria in between. He excitedly told me that he would like to live in Nigeria. He recounted the numerous hospitable people and the cordiality with which he and his entourage were received and treated in the different parts of Nigeria. One of his comments that struck me, was, when he said that he was treated with such friendliness by Nigerians more than his friends in California, his Americans friends who he has known forever!
Effusively, he described Nigerians and Nigeria! He preached to me, about the boundless opportunities that he saw, while he and his team were in different parts of Nigeria, he talked about business that he saw, even those outside of his specialty of solar energy.
He literarily, wanted to know, why some Nigerians that he has met overseas, do not see, what he described as glaring opportunities in Nigeria.
As it turned out, since the last visit to Nigeria by Mr. Bannen and the other Americans, so much has transpired; of particular importance is heightened debate about carbon-neutral energy sources, including solar energy. Presidential candidates for 2008 elections in the United States, public interests groups and commentators on American public affairs were all agog, in very strident and rather robust debates on alternative energy sources, and in particular, carbon-neutral sources.
Ethanol and other biofuels are being touted and promoted as an alternative to carbon-fuels. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times undertook a special feature in Times, in collaboration with the Discovery Television Channel. We have since then also learned that Mr. Richard Branson has established 20 ethanol producing efforts in the Midwest of the United States. He has already poured millions of dollars into these efforts.
Additionally, former Vice President Al Gore of the United States produced a book and then, a movie version of the book, the inconvenient truth, which talks about sources of energy and their attendant risks posed to our environment worldwide. Carbon-neutral energy sources, has never been more attractive.
Forgive my exuberant outlook, but do you see what I see? Nigeria has carbon fuels in abundance. Nigeria has sunshine in abundance, and so, Nigeria wins with solar energy as well. When and if, the world decides to use composite fuels in hybrid vehicles, or when and if, the world runs out of carbons fuels and use only ethanol or biofuels? How about those endless fields of greens in all the states of the federation?
Corn is a major source of ethanol fuel. Nigeria will win with ethanol; corn is grown and harvested in every state in Nigeria!
As to the business of solar energy, John Bannen and his other American solar energy experts and investors, are returning to Nigeria, in a follow up to an earlier visit that was reported here. As they sign deals and deliver solar energy systems to Nigeria, all well-meaning Nigerians are rooting for them.
Energy plays crucial roles in economic developments worldwide, and Nigeria is desirous of rapid economic development, this, in my view requires that we explore all sources of energy, carbon, biofuels, solar etc. Solar energy is generally devoid of the pollution inducing factors associated with carbon fuels.
The upsurge of investments in Nigeria by American and other investors of the world is a testament to the progress that is made in Nigeria. It is a reaffirmation by Nigerians and foreign investors, of the confidence that we repose in Nigeria.
More success stories of visits by investors, and consequent fruitful and profitable investments in Nigeria, will lead to more confidence in Nigeria, and more investments.
Nigeria, Is Open For Business! As Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala would say. I make bold to add that all Nigerians, at home and abroad, their foreign friends, should all get involved.
We must start early, so we can get on the ground floor or is it the bottom pot?
All investors are welcome. Announce to your friends and business associates, spread the word to all. There is no better time than now, to invest in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s development, advancement and greatness is waiting for your added value.