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The State of the Nation and the People’s Constitution



By Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, CFR,  FCI Arb (UK)

1. Introduction

This topic raises two fundamental issues, namely: the state of the nation which examines contemporary issues agitating the minds of Nigerians, and how those issues can be addressed in the context of a peoples Constitution that satisfies the wishes and aspirations of the people. I therefore wish to proceed by providing a synopsis of some of the major contemporary issues of concern in the nation and thereafter examine how the constitution can be made to address the challenges and accommodate the diverse interests in the polity.

2. The State of the Nation and Contemporary Challenges of the Nigerian State

The Nigerian State is presently plagued by a myriad of issues which have the potential of shaking the very foundation upon which the state is built. While, for want of time and space, it may not be possible to interrogate each and every issue, I consider it pertinent to mention the following:

(i) The Structure of the State and Devolution of Powers
One of the contemporary issues that have raised agitations from different sections of the country is the perceived lopsidedness in the power sharing arrangement between the various tiers of government especially between the federal and state governments. It is contended that the sphere of the federal government is too large to the extent that it negates the federal principle of unity in diversity. Nigerians desire a federation where the constituent units (States) of the federation enjoy the autonomy of dealing with issues that are peculiar to them and controlling their development priorities. Arising from this feeling of a lopsided power sharing arrangement are the calls for restructuring of the federation; devolution of powers from the central to the state’s governments in areas such as control of the police and the attendant need for State Police to address the serious challenge of insecurity plaguing Nigeria; control of resources within the country and generally, the granting of greater autonomy to the states in the political, social and economic spheres. There is the need for the constitution to be framed in such a manner as to accommodate these diverse views.

(ii) Resource Control Agitations
Proponents of resource control draw inferences from the provisions sections 134 and 140 of the 1960 and 1963 Constitutions, respectively to contend that the constituent units of the federation once enjoyed greater control over their resources than what obtained under the 1979 Constitution and the current1999 Constitutions. Agitators in this regard readily point to a time when the regions controlled almost 50 per cent of the resources within their regions and contributed to the running of the central government. They recall that the regions at this stage of the nation’s history, enjoyed greater development in accordance with their priorities, diversities and peculiarities. They thus contend that the over concentration of resources at the centre (a carryover from military rule) has weakened the states and rendered them ineffective as federating units. The 13 per cent derivation principle in the Constitution is also considered by proponents of resource control, especially from mineral bearing communities to be inadequate.

This has come for these issues to be examined holistically with a view to addressing these challenges. Arising from such feelings are the calls for fiscal federalism, changes in the revenue sharing formula, demand for greater equity stake for oil-bearing communities in the Petroleum Industry Bill, etc. They contend that it is only a people’s constitution that can assuage them by addressing these concerns.

(iii) Political Marginalisation
The growing feelings of marginalization across the country have their roots in the perception that certain sections of the country are being unduly favoured at the expense of others in the allocation of resources, political patronage and government support using common resources, which ought to be enjoyed, by all sections of the country. There is therefore a palpable feeling of lack of inclusiveness in governance and unfair distribution of political patronage and resources of the federation. This has become so pronounced as to justify the perception that it is only when the political leadership hails from a particular state or geopolitical zone that the socio-political and economic prosperity of the State or geopolitical zone would be guaranteed. This has manifested in the calls for an Igbo president, southwest president, northern president, president from the middle-belt, south-south president, and wide spread condemnation of perceived lopsided political appointments, (Ministers and heads of the various MDAs) in Nigeria.

The cries of political marginalisation are not limited to geopolitical considerations, but extend also to the religious divide within the country, especially between Christians and Muslims. This is more so as the federal character principle in the Constitution has not been able to address these concerns to the satisfaction of all either on account of poor implementation or abuse to the detriment of other sections of the country. Thus, it is not uncommon to hear of a Christian or Muslim president in the conversations on where the political leadership of the country should come from. These demands based on ethnicity and religion have the potential of overshadowing the need for merit in the system. The calls for rotational presidency between the North and South or amongst the 6 geopolitical zones of the country, multiple vice Presidency, Christian/Moslem tickets etc. are examples of how deeply these issues have eaten into the fabric of the society. The country is therefore in search of some form of political engineering that will ensure that these diverse views are accommodated in the constitution.

(iv) Separatist Agitations
The logical fallout from the pervading feeling of marginalisation in the polity are separatist agitations, which have given rise to movements of various types calling for the separation of their enclaves from the Nigerian state as presently constituted. These groups express the feeling that they are not being fairly treated in the federation and strongly assert that time has come for them to take their collective destiny in their hands by creating their own republics. Thus, we now have increased calls for Biafra and Oduduwa republics, amongst others to be carved out of Nigeria. While the right to self-determination is a universally acknowledged right, section 2(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended provides that “Nigeria shall be one indivisible and indissoluble Sovereign State “. The question arises as to what extent the constitution has provided for the enjoyment of the right to self-determination with this seemingly iron cast provision. How can the feelings of these separatist agitators be accommodated within the existing constitutional framework? The recent arrest of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) on account of their pursuit of separatist agenda has brought these issues to the fore.

3. Towards Addressing Nigeria’s Contemporary Challenges
Nigerians have proffered different solutions to our national challenges/questions which include but are not limited to poor governance, insecurity, a poor democratic culture, weak institutions, mismanagement of the nation’s diversity, marginalisation, etc,. There is a need to develop a constitutional framework that adequately addresses these concerns in a manner that offers sufficient comfort to the various segments of the country. I believe this can be achieved through the process of making a people’s constitution and enthronement of good governance in the polity.

(i) The People’s Constitution
A large segment of the Nigerian population holds the view that much of the nation’s malaise stems from the Constitution. They posit that had a people’s constitution been in place, such a constitution would have addressed all the challenges being experienced in the country. They readily assert that the 1999 Constitution is neither autochthonous (i.e home grown)), nor produced by the people themselves. They see it as having been imposed on the people by the military. The proponents of this view refer to the preamble to the constitution which states that “We the People of the Federal republic of Nigeria having firmly and solemnly resolved…” as fraudulent, since the ‘people’ were not consulted by the military before the constitution was enacted. They also point to the absence of a Constituent Assembly made up of elected representatives of the people or a referendum that could have validated the constitution.

A peoples’ Constitution also refers to the ownership of the Constitution. This means that the populace must identify with it and as a prelude to doing so, it follows that they must understand it. It should not be a document seen as belonging to ‘’government’’ as it were. What then should be the process of forging such a constitution; a process led constitution etc. In some climes, it begins with the language of the constitution. It is written in the indigenous language of the people. For example, the original language of the Tanzanian Constitution is Swahili which all Tanzanians see as theirs. South Africa’s Constitution is translated into the indigenous languages in the country. Admittedly, the diversity of languages in Nigeria makes this well-nigh impossible here! Ultimately, a people’s constitution must be the product of serious dialogue about the foundations of the state (which are rather shaky as shown by the agitations already discussed) and negotiations about the terms for going forward (the nature and structure etc).
To deal with some of what can rightly be termed contemporary issues relating to the state of the nation, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, convoked a Constitutional Conference in 2014 to deliberate on the Constitution with a view to distilling areas of common agreement that would form the basis of a new constitution or amendment to the existing constitution. However, the report of the conference could not be fully implemented before the end of his tenure. The National Assembly (7th, 8th and 9th Assemblies) also initiated moves to amend the constitution to reflect the wishes and aspirations of the people with varying degrees of success. The 1st -4th Alteration to the Constitution has shown that with the requisite political will, the elected representatives of the people can play an important role in the evolution of a people’s constitution. However, the amendments so far undertaken appear to fall short of the expectations of the people as calls for devolution of powers, fiscal federalism, state police, etc still flourish. This has led to renewed calls for a holistic review of the constitution and enactment of a people’s constitution as a panacea for dealing with our urgent concerns such as political marginalisation (by means of such formulae as rotational presidency or multiple vice presidency among others) to allay the fears of the minority groups and ethnic nationalities who feel that the present arrangement does not guarantee them access to political offices needed to advance the interest of their people within the federation.

The pertinent question that arises is how to ensure that a people’s constitution is enacted. This in turn spawns’ other questions. Will the mere convoking of a sovereign national conference to discuss all the contending issues in the federation suffice? What should be the role of the National Assembly in the constitution- making process? Do we still need to convoke a Sovereign National Conference with an elected National Assembly in place? Closely related to this issue is the question as to whether a constitution made by the National Assembly needs to be subjected to a referendum to ascertain that it emanates from the people? Furthermore, having come together to make the peoples constitution, should the Constitution contain provisions for dealing with the separatist agitations of the people who may no longer wish to be part of the federation? These are pertinent questions that Nigerians must answer in our quest to evolve a people’s constitution.

(ii) Good governance
Apart from the constitution (whether autochthonous or not), there are Nigerians who hinge the nation’s challenges on the lack of good governance. To this school of thought, separatist agitators, resource control agitations, political marginalisation etc, are mere symptoms of lack of good governance. They contend that if Nigeria had good governance, all these agitations would disappear. They draw examples from some advanced democracies where successive presidents have sometimes come from one family without a care from the people. To this school of thought, our priority should be to enthrone good governance in the polity. For them, this is the panacea for dealing with the myriad of problems besetting the country.
This leads logically to the real indices of good governance. There is no denying the serious problems of grinding poverty and its many manifestations such as inadequate shelter or even homelessness, food insecurity; serious levels of unemployment. In addition, the phenomenon of ‘out of school children that is rampant in some parts of the country means there is a whole ‘army’ of potential criminals out there. All of these factors contribute to the insecurity in the land. Further in the matter of education, the very obvious drop in the standard and quality of education in the land bodes no one any good.

The Nigerian Constitution does provide some kind of blueprint for good governance that seeks to address some of these concerns in the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy in Chapter 2. It is however limited by its non-justiciability. A peoples’ Constitution should rethink this. The South African Constitution merges them with the Bill of Rights. The relevance of these provisions as well as the priority to be accorded them is underscored by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and their target date of 2030. The 17 goals set for the nations of the world (including Nigeria) capture the expectations of the citizens of every country from their governments and in sum approximate to good governance. There is a need for the legislature and the Executive to take them seriously.
Ghana’s Constitution mandates the Executive to report annually to the Legislature on what has been done to further the attainment of the Fundamental Objectives. Nigeria’s Executive and Legislature can be constitutionally compelled to do the same. There is no doubt that financial constraints will make it difficult for the State to meet these Objectives easily. An incremental approach to attaining them is therefore a way out. This means that proper planning with adequate timelines will be embarked upon for the purpose and these would be reported upon appropriately.

(iii) The Leadership Recruitment process
Closely related to the problem of the absence of good governance is the leadership recruitment process, which many Nigerians contend is less than satisfactory. It is argued that if the leadership process is more inclusive and people oriented, the right kind of political leadership that will be accountable to the people will emerge. It is also argued that such leadership will govern well and, in the process, reduce the prevailing tension in the country. Specific issues to address in this regard are elections and the law governing them. The credibility and independence of the electoral umpire to take proper charge of elections must be guaranteed to ensure the transparency and credibility of elections. Any attempt at stifling the electoral umpire and fettering its discretion in the exercise of its power to organize and manage elections will not be in the best interests of the people. A peoples Constitution should be able to meet this requirement.

4. Conclusion
In conclusion, it should be appreciated that the myriad of problems facing the country requires delicate political engineering. This can be achieved through a combination of a constitution that works for the people (able to accommodate all the competing interests and diversities) and good governance on the part of the political leadership. This is because enacting a people’s constitution alone will not suffice. Nigerians must also embark on a process of recruiting the right political leaders who will work towards making a people’s constitution capable of enthroning good governance, transparency and accountability in the polity. Social justice and equity in the distribution of political offices and resources remain potent factors that a peoples’ constitution should provide for Nigeria. This will eliminate or reduce to the barest minimum, the present separatist agitations in the country.

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Opinion: Will the Hopes of Nigerians be Truly Renewed?




By Abdulakeem Sodeeq Sulyman
It has however been observed by sociologists of revolutions that the social and psychological impulse behind most revolutions are two-fold: the passion for social justice and the thirst for political vengeance.” – Tatalo Alamu
May 29th, 2023, will mark exactly eight years that the outgoing President, (Retd.) Major-General Muhammadu Buhari gained access to the helms of affairs of our dear country, Nigeria, with a new catchphrase “I belong to everybody and belong to nobody.” The promises inherent in that catchphrase was refreshing to virtually all Nigerians to the extent that, as a newspaper vendor then, I sold more than fifty copies of The Punch newspaper. The goodwill enjoyed by President Buhari was so fervent, unmatched and unprecedented – I think.
Tunde Jaiyebo says, “One of the greatest sources of pain and sorrow is to be betrayed by those who are supposed to protect, love and help you.” Since President Buhari’s tenure as a civilian president had begun, Nigeria, a country blessed in every ramification has been experiencing a whirlpool and rollercoaster in different aspects of our social and national life. What is most troubling is the failure of President Buhari’s administration to robustly tackle the tripartite issues – insecurity, corruption and stabilizing the economy – Buhari and his party, the APC, used to oust the then president Goodluck Jonathan and the then ruling party, the PDP.
Initially, President Buhari started his administration on a snail movement and another factor that derailed the rail of his administration was lack of conception of governance and political leadership, leading to losing some candidacies to ‘perceived enemies,’ failure to set-up his cabinet on time and failure to take responsibility for his inconsistent policies leading to economic summersaults. All these, amongst others, clearly revealed to discerned Nigerians that President Buhari was not ready for governance.
As the President prepares to vacate the Aso Rock in some hours, I am sure it will be difficult for him to accept that he is leaving the affairs of Nigeria and Nigerians in a bad state than he met it. C.S. Lewis aptly submitted that, “To assess the value of anything, one must first know its purpose.” The purposes of President Buhari’s administration was obvious – to rescue Nigeria from the throes of PDP’s abuse of power, minimize corruption and end insecurity. However, if we use these metrics to evaluate the President’s tenure, it must have come to terms with the dumbest Nigerians that our values have been mishandled and misplaced under Buhari.
The interesting and intriguing events that unfolded during President Buhari’s reign inflamed the passion of Nigerians to be ready for the 2023 elections. As the elections were approaching, the two major political parties – APC and PDP – witnessed enormous challenges in the selection of their flag bearers for the presidential election. To me, the decisive moment to the 2023 presidential election was the emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the flag bearer of the PDP. This fueled the rages of some powerful forces and their actions cost the PDP or the emerging LP, the chances of winning the presidency. Like it or not, both Tinubu and Atiku have been at the forefronts of the Nigerian political dynamics getting to thirty years or thereabouts. This made me limit my search lens of electing a viable president of Nigeria to the two of them.
Fortunately for the APC, its candidate, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu emerged the winner of the presidential election. The announcement of Senator Tinubu as the winner of the presidential election was like robbing salts on the wounds being nursed by some people who believed that the president-elect has many civil and criminal allegations levelled against him and he ought to be declared innocent of those allegations before he can be sworn-in as the Nigerian president. A small boy like me might not have swum deeper in the murky waters of Nigerian politics, but what is clear to me is that our political climate is not meant for the faint-hearted and those not ready to toy with their dignity and reputations shouldn’t bother venturing into it!
Looking into the political pedigree of Senator Tinubu, there is no doubt that he has proven his mettle to preside the affairs of Nigeria some days. His track record of working with some of the finest brains in the legal practice shows that he is sorrounded with competent individuals who can help in addressing injustice and restore social equity and inclusion. His experience as a senator during the military junta had equipped him for the liaison and collaborations required to drive cooperations among the arms of government; while his sagacity to be the only governor that survived the impeachment onslaughts against the South-west governors during 1999-2003 and many other battles he had won were enough to convince Nigerians that Tinubu is capable of steering the affairs of Nigeria to our dreamed land.
At this point that every decision to birth a virile country counts, Nigeria doesn’t deserve to be governed by ‘accidental managers’ – those that present themselves to us as problem solvers and maintain the status quo, giving us reasons why things don’t work, instead of exploring and discovering how to get things done to better the lots of ours. However, in order for us to have deliberate leaders, we must adjust our leadership selection process as submitted by Dele Momodu that “If anything must change in our country, how we select and elect our leaders must be the first change we embark upon.” Nigeria will not change if we citizens don’t change our approaches to politics and manners of electing leaders by desisting from basing our choices on factors that can be easily exploited and polarised.
Gerald Sykes makes us understand that “Any solid achievement must, of necessity, take years of humble apprenticeship and estrangement from most of society” and this is what Tinubu’s political sojourn teaches. Tinubu never hides it that he is interested in presiding the affairs of Nigeria some days. Instead of exploiting our differences to inflame the polity, he built bridges, assembling politicians with common aspirations and leveraged his political wit and acumen to galvanise resources for the birth of alliance which today’s the All Progressives Congress culminated from. I believe his role in the formation of APC qualifies him for the daunting task of rebuilding the cracking foundations of our dear country, Nigeria.
This humble intervention of mine is not to eulogise the president-elect, but to acknowledge how he has honed himself for the highest political office in Nigeria. What Nigerians witnessed in the last general elections, brought into fore that Nigeria is a nation existing in abstraction. It has become obvious that we need a leader that can set a new direction for the future. Some happenings in the elections revealed to us that our nation has been widely and deeply divisive and needs to be redeemed before it is too late! The challenges we are currently grappling with call for a combination of strategic and servant leadership; leaders that can harness the diversity of our dear country to set us on the path to our peculiar greatness and economic prosperity.
Simon Kolawole posited that “In underdevelopment politics, balancing is a major instrument of achieving some political stability.” Nigeria is in dire need of leaders who will respect every part of the country and create equal opportunities for people from every part of Nigeria to thrive and flourish. The potentialities of Nigeria are much more than political affiliations, ethnic background or religious sentiments. The over concentration on our fault lines – religion, ethnicity, etc., – has called for leadership that will initiate steps aimed at healing our wounds. That is why Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in Algeria, says, “Political efforts to separate Christians from non-Christians will probably cause more harm than good.”
In the next few days, Nigerians will be looking forward to the game plans and frameworks that will be deployed by the president-elect to restore our common aspirations. The safest way to achieve this is by shifting from politics to governance because Aristotle quipped that “The point of politics is to moderate a bad government so that it doesn’t become worse and, if possible, to try to gradually make it better.” Many people still believe in the Nigerian dream. But all they need is a leader who can strengthen their beliefs by making them feel important in the quest of birthing the nation of their dream. “Nations that flourish are those that continually reinvent themselves in light of domestic and changing world conditions. Those that fail to reform will atrophy and die,” says Obadiah Mailafia.
May Nigeria attain the lofty heights envisioned for it by her forefathers.
Abdulakeem Sodeeq SULYMAN is a Librarian, Author, Researcher and budding Self-development expert. He can be reached via +2348132226994 or

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Voice of Emancipation: Nigeria’s New President




By Kayode Emola

In less than 48 hours Nigeria will welcome a new President, charged with handling its affairs for the next four years. Yet among the many challenges awaiting the new president, whether Nigeria itself can even survive another four years remains to be seen. There is no doubt that the Tinubu/Shettima presidency will need more than courage to keep Nigeria united for the full duration of their elected term.

Only time will tell whether Tinubu and Shettima will be sworn in come May 29, or whether we will instead have an interim government. However, one thing of which we are certain is that the era of Muhammad Buhari is over, never to be experienced again. Those who have survived living under Buhari’s misrule in Nigeria for the last eight years deserve an award for endurance.

We must not allow the expected swearing-in of a Yoruba man as Nigeria’s president on Monday 29 to make us complacent. Indeed, my Yoruba people, our task has just doubled.

Nigeria’s future is now looking more imperiled than ever before. The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) are already threatening to declare their own independent Biafra nation if Tinubu is sworn in come May 29. And the Biafra campaigners are not the only disgruntled people within the country. The vast majority of our Yoruba people and even the Hausa people are becoming embittered with the trajectory Nigeria has taken since independence. At this point now, the new president must decide if Nigeria will continue as it is, or ask the indigenous people to decide their future.

It is increasingly evident that Nigeria is not a sustainable venture, and that a trading post cannot become a country that can endure the test of time. The people within Nigeria never decided to unite and become a country, so trying to hold them to ransom can never succeed.

I will therefore urge the incoming president to rethink his policies if he has not thought about a peaceful way in which Nigeria’s dissolution can be established. Powering through and hoping that he can hold Nigeria together like his predecessor Buhari did will definitely not stand the test of time.

To my fellow Yoruba people who are singing hallelujah that a Yoruba man is going to be president. I want us to know that just as Buhari is leaving the Presidential seat come Monday 29, Tinubu will also not be president for life. When he leaves what will be the fate of the Yoruba people or the other nationalities that makes up Nigeria.

At this juncture in our history, it would be the time to give the indigenous peoples of Nigerians the opportunity to determine their future in a constitutional conference. Nigeria has gone past its due date and must now be prepared for decommissioning just like several countries such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, etc has done in the past. If not, a dysfunctional disengagement may lead to utter chaos if not another civil considering the damage the country is currently doing to the lives of millions of frustrated youths. The rate of poverty is not abating with the currency being devalued on a daily basis putting more strain on the people’s finances

The handlers of Nigeria must acknowledge that the unitary system being practiced in Nigeria has utterly failed the people. The people must now be handed a lifeline in order to salvage a future for themselves and their future generations. Anything short of that may mean Nigeria may go the way other African countries such as Somalia and South Sudan etc have divided with years of bitter civil war which has resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives.

Yoruba people should not shout ‘Uhuru’ yet because one of us is sitting in ‘Aso rock’. If history has thought us anything, whoever becomes president of Nigeria is there for themselves and not necessarily representing their constituents. That Tinubu will be president does not stop the call for an independent Yoruba nation, if anything, the call for an independent Yoruba nation should now become louder and clearer to send a strong signal to the local and international communities that the Yoruba people have finally made up their mind to leave Nigeria.

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DNV: Namibia Welcomes First Digital Nomads




By Dolapo Aina

According to Citizen Remote, “A digital nomad visa is a temporary permit that allows visitors to stay in a country while they work remotely. Multiple countries offer these sorts of visas, and most of them have a duration of twelve months, with the possibility to extend your stay. While they may not be for everyone, a digital nomad visa allows many remote workers to travel the world while they work from the comfort of their computers. They also help the countries impulse their economy by having foreigners stay for extended periods.”

Several benefits and fallouts of having digital nomads in a country include but not limited to positive country branding by the digital nomads who are residents in their host country. Digital nomads tend to amplify messages the host country might have been trying to get across to potential travellers. On the African Continent, only a few countries have latched on to Digital Nomads and Digital Nomad visas (and it is noteworthy to state that some African countries might not term it Digital Nomad Visas but have something in that guise.)

Since the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant fallouts, digital nomads and remote work have increased exponentially globally and in Africa particularly.

According to the Harvard School of Business, with the global shift towards remote work over the past three years, approximately forty-seven countries have developed digital nomad visa programmes. On the African Continent, a few countries offer Digital Nomad Visa. These countries are and in no particular order: Cape Verde, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles. Other countries on the African Continent have something within this category but officially, it is designated as Digital Nomad Visa.

On Tuesday, 9th of May 2023, Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board announced and welcomed Namibia’s first Digital Nomads.

According to a statement signed by Ms. Catherine Shipushu, who is the senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, “Namibia officially recorded her first digital nomads just five months after the official launch of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) on 11 October 2022. The programme was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Security (MHAISS) and the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), with the aim of enhancing economic activity in the country. The first two digital nomad visa applications were approved on Tuesday, 14 February 2023.”

The statement further revealed that the Digital Nomad Visa programme aims to capitalise on the growing global remote workforce by offering location-independent foreign professionals the chance to live, work, and experience Namibia for up to six months. These digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, but without usurping jobs meant for Namibians. Early results are encouraging, with over 121 enquiries about the programme recorded so far. Of this number a total of 20 applications were received, out of which nine were approved, with five rejections. The reasons for rejection were made known to include; applicants who do not meet the income requirements of two thousand dollars per month, and are thus unable to prove that they can effectively sustain themselves while in Namibia. Other applications were rejected because they were submitted while the applicants were already in Namibia on a different legal status such as a Tourist Visa, or they arrived in the country before approval of their application.

According to Ms. Catherine Shipushu; “The launch of the Digital Nomad Visa earned Namibia international praise, from Cape Town to Germany and as far as Australia. Additionally, we have witnessed a surge in queries and applications for the DNV through our website, further demonstrating the growing global interest. This demonstrates Namibia’s potential to harness the digital nomad trend and create new opportunities for local businesses in the tourism and information and communication technologies support sectors. As an effective marketing tool for Namibia, the DNV program has also created visibility through digital nomads documenting and sharing their experiences on social media and other mass media platforms, showcasing the nation’s natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and hospitality. This increased visibility has the potential to help attract more tourists, investors, and talent, further stimulating the nation’s economic growth and development.”

It is said that, by design, the Digital Nomad Visa complements, rather than competes with, the local workforce, ensuring digital nomads bring their own remote jobs or freelance projects to Namibia. This approach benefits the Namibian economy and its people while creating an environment for local entrepreneurs and professionals to expand their networks, learn from their international counterparts, and explore new avenues for collaboration.

Dolapo Aina reached out to Ms. Catherine Shipushu (senior manager: Marketing, Branding and Communications of Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board, in the Office of The Presidency) for more clarifications and insights.

On the abovementioned statement that the digital nomads contribute towards the country’s economy by injecting foreign currency in the ecosystem, I asked if this is the only criteria being looked at? What about those nomads who can attract global attention and global traffic into Namibia? How do you factor that into the policy? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The Namibia Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) serves a dual purpose in enhancing the country’s economy. Firstly, it allows digital nomads to inject foreign currency into the ecosystem, contributing to economic activities and growth. Additionally, the DNV harnesses the power of digital nomads as ambassadors for Namibia. Through their documentation and sharing of experiences on social media and other platforms, they become valuable marketing assets, attracting global attention and generating publicity for the country. As part of our marketing campaign, we have engaged digital nomads, who are currently in Namibia, to share their unique perspectives and experiences, aiming to inspire and attract more digital nomads to choose Namibia as their preferred “work” destination. By leveraging their presence and influence, we strive to create a ripple effect of positive exposure and interest in Namibia, ultimately benefiting the local economy and fostering collaboration between local and international professionals.”

On the two thousand dollars per month projection, I asked if this was targeted at only Western nomads only or global nomads including African nomads who might not have the same financial muscle as their Western counterparts? And would this amount be reduced anytime soon? Ms. Catherine Shipushu stated that, “The requirement of USD 2,000 per month for the Namibia Digital Nomad Visa is not targeted exclusively at Western nomads. The income requirement serves as a benchmark to ensure that digital nomads, regardless of their nationality, have the financial means to sustain themselves comfortably in Namibia. The aim is to provide a positive experience for digital nomads and contribute to the local economy. The income requirement is based on the cost of living in Namibia and takes into account expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food and other essentials. The Namibian government understands the diverse backgrounds of digital nomads and aims to create an inclusive environment that welcomes global nomads, including those from Africa and other parts of the world, while maintaining a reasonable financial stability requirement. As with any programme, there is a possibility of periodic evaluation and adjustments based on feedback and the evolving circumstances.”

The launch of Namibia’s Digital Nomad Visa programme is a bold and strategic move that positions the country as a prime destination for remote workers from around the world. By embracing this global trend and offering a world-class visa program, Namibia stands to reap substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits.

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