“The rejected stone will one day become the cornerstone.” – The Twitter Ghana story in 2 minutes.
As Nigerians, the feeling of frustration and tiredness is one we are collectively accustomed to, so much so that we can almost swear that nothing surprises us. I mean, we have literally entered the ‘You can’t shame the shameless’ era. But then Twitter chose Ghana and we can feel the scab being reopened. All of a sudden, we feel the shame of our collective reality all over again that we as a nation need to do better.
We need to recognize that at this point, we’re doing more than frustrating and killing Nigerians. By we, I mean the ones in charge of enforcing policies to help better the nation. This is because some of these policies are chasing away businesses from Nigeria. I am talking about policies like CBN instructing banks to close accounts of persons or entities facilitating payments and transactions in cryptocurrencies. Also, policies like CBN suspending non-banking institutions from offering BVN validation services. These policies are actively hindering the growth and development of the Nigerian economy and it needs to stop.
This might be fresh info to a few of us that don’t follow the news or those of us who aren’t concerned about the pace of the Tech Community here in Nigeria. To these people, I say relax and follow this story. I promise you’ll learn a thing or two and might even be amused along the way. To others who have heard the news and are either upset or frustrated by it, I also say relax and follow this story. You’ll get a lot of clarification on the itty bitty details that influenced Twitter’s decision to have their West African headquarters in Ghana. Thereafter, you’ll have full clarity on where to channel your frustration. You’ll also get insight on what needs to be done so that such can be avoided in the future.
I’ll have you know that Nigeria was Twitter’s first choice; they originally intended to set up their headquarters in our country mainly because of the talent pool, the skillset, as well as the active engagement of Nigerians on Twitter. But somehow, they changed their minds and chose to set up in Ghana.
According to Twitter’s official statement, they decided on Ghana because of Ghana’s stand on free speech. Plus they have a better policy for internet use unlike in Nigeria where the retrogressive social media bill will impede our free speech rights and use of the internet.
If you remember correctly, during the #EndSARS movement, a lawsuit was brought against the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, by Adamu Garba, a Nigerian. Now, the only reason that suit was dropped was that Twitter doesn’t have any entity in Nigeria. If they did, the lawsuit would’ve gone through. Imagine what that would mean for Twitter in terms of money, their business structure, pacifying their shareholders while trying to expand and move their company forward. Now with that information at the back of your mind, if you were Jack Dorsey even if Nigeria was liquid gold for your company in all other ramifications, would you set up in Nigeria after having a close call with one of their numerous idiosyncrasies?
Another thing to consider is the fact that Ghana is actually a better country to run a business compared to Nigeria; consider the fact that they have constant electricity, the standard of living is better for Twitter and its employees, and the political landscape of the country is a lot more stable.
On Twitter, Tolu Ogunlesi shared his take, saying Twitter moving to Ghana wasn’t a big deal since Facebook had already agreed to open up shop here in Nigeria. The statement which some found reassuring is nothing but gibberish. This is because the same issues that prevented Twitter from setting up shop here, are also preventing Facebook from setting up shop here as well. So much so that the company Facebook planned to partner with in Nigeria to facilitate their move to Nigeria, Cityhub, has moved from Lagos to Kenya and Rwanda.
Nigeria is highly becoming a wasteland that development and progress are actively running away from us, and as a Nigerian, I think our growth is stunted or at the very least, is in retrograde.
Now that I’ve explained the present events and what led to them, I’m sure you’ll agree that the policies of our government are the bane of Nigeria. If you don’t agree, follow this analogy closely. Uber and Bolt came to Nigeria and the government proceeded to frustrate them by demanding hefty licensing fees from them. Gokada came to Nigeria, the government banned motorcycles from the streets of the country and the company was forced to reposition as a delivery company. This same government banned cryptocurrency and the trading of cryptocurrency, which affected the ability of numerous Fintech companies to conduct their usual business. The government also banned the buying and trading of foreign stock, making it difficult for companies like Risevest and the likes to do business. Government has also banned Fintech companies from verifying BVN for their customers. Companies like Paystack, Cowrywise, and others are currently dealing with this problem.
All of these struggles are peculiar to Nigeria and her economy. So it shouldn’t be surprising that despite the talent pool in Nigeria, Twitter chose Ghana. Plus if you check closely, most, if not all of their hiring plans, involve Nigeria and Nigerians because even Ghana’s market is Nigeria.
I can only wonder when Nigeria will become a safe haven for companies to conduct their businesses freely. Nigerians are tired of living in a retrogressive society struggling to function in a progressive world.
I mean, is Nigeria really the giant of Africa? Once upon a time, we told Ghana to go, then the world accepted them and now Twitter chose them.