Albeit inherent synthetic challenges, Nigeria is pretty much tantamount to a virgin land with a superfluity of business opportunities. All the man-made societal and infrastructural challenges in Nigeria and indeed many developing countries are business and career opportunities in disguise. Contrasted with Nigeria, many Western economies are saturated or nearing saturation point because their public infrastructures are almost sorted. No wonder some of these advanced economies are drifting in and out of recession and depression.

With a staggering population of over 160 million people, a skilled cheap manpower, abundant raw materials amongst others, there is no gainsaying the fact that business, career opportunities abound in Nigeria.

Nigeria undoubtedly ranks high in the echelon of few remaining countries where a man metaphorically goes to bed hungry and wakes up the next day owning conglomerates not because he won a lottery but because wealth mysteriously changed hands while he was asleep. I am still trying to figure out how they do it but a recent case study is how a so-called Presidential Amnesty, multi-billion naira Crude-Oil Pipeline Surveillance Contract largesse and scholarships to study in top foreign and local universities abruptly unveiled a consortium of nouveau-riche highflying ex-Niger Delta militants.

Ask the wheeling-dealing Lebanese, Chinese, Indians, South Africans in Nigeria and a potpourri of other shrewd foreigners and indigenous entrepreneurs (the Dangote’s, Adenuga’s, Jimoh Ibrahim’s, Paschal Dozie’s, Rasaq Okoya’s, Otedola’s, Cosmas Maduka’s, Ben Murray Bruce’s, Ifeanyi Uba’s) who have paid their dues and mastered the art, intricacies of doing business in Nigeria and they will tell you Nigeria is the in-thing. Genuine, sanguine business deals abound in Nigeria notwithstanding the hostile and sometimes unpredictable business entropy. So also are fraudulent (419) business deals too.

Interestingly, events in Nigeria are contrasting, baffling and mind-boggling. More often than not, the realities on ground defy logic. A deeply religious country and people yet there is wanton greed, fraud, desperation, sleaze, kidnapping, insecurity, terrorism. Like they say, the more you look the less you see: a country with an average per capita income of plus or minus $1,500, yet Nigerians rank high in Private jet ownerships in the world. Mega Pentecostal churches are springing up in premises formerly owned by failed enterprises and churning out stupendous proceeds; analogous to Ponzi schemes, Nigerian banks are declaring colossal profits yearly albeit poor services; a supposedly poor country (so we tell our foreign creditors and benefactors) yet the office of Nigeria’s President has about 10 Presidential jets in its pool where the British Prime Minister is not entitled to a single jet, the later flies British Airways.

A speculated poor country yet Nigeria’s National Assembly is said to have guzzled N1 trillion in the last eight years with an average Senator’s earnings plausibly quadrupling that of President Obama. A supposed poor country yet Nigerians are said to spend N41 billion on champagne annually. With a telecom subscriber base of about 113 million, a report by FBN Capital Research estimates that Nigerians may have spent about N2.14 trillion ($13.7b) on phone calls and SMS between January 2011 and December 2012. Is it not enigmatic how companies in Nigeria are thriving despite the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index ranking Nigeria 131st out of 183 countries in 2012?

Read Part 2 of the series

* Please watch out for the preceding part of this series for a comprehensive list of investment, business and career opportunities to watch out for in Nigeria. Thank you.