It is reported that the United States President-elect, Donald Trump, has appointed a 63 years old Nigerian investment banker, Bayo Ogunlesi, to serve as a strategist on his economic policy team.
Mr. Ogunlesi, is a private equity tycoon. He is the co-founder and chairman of Global Infrastructure Partners, an investment firm with a primary interest in infrastructure and real estate development.
CNN reports that he is perhaps best known for his 2010 acquisition of Gatwick International Airport in London, a deal that was said to be worth $2 billion at the time.
Mr. Ogunlesi will serve as a member of the board, which also included CEOs of General Motors and IBM. The 16-member group will be led by Stephen Schwarzman of the American equity firm, Blackstone. The group will have a direct line to Mr. Trump and be tasked with giving the president-elect nonpartisan views on how government policy impacts the economy and jobs, the cable television etc. The forum is expected to hold its first meeting during the first week of February at the White House.
It is also reported that the Nigerian community in U.S. has lauded the appointment of Mr. Ogunlesi by Trump, saying it could signal a positive trend for Africa.
The Nigerians told the Correspondents of NAN in New York, that Mr. Ogunlesi has been an excellent ambassador for Africa and Nigeria in particular.
Michael Adeniyi, former President of a Nigerian U.S.-based group, the Organisation for the Advancement of Nigerians Inc., told NAN that “Bayo Ogunlesi is an excellent and extraordinary Nigerian.
“For him to be appointed into Trump’s Economic Advisory Team is an honour to Africa and especially to Nigeria. He will add value to the Trump’s team and he’s worthy of celebrating.
“Prior to his appointment, Bayo Ogunlesi has been a pride of Africa; he reached the pinnacle of his career in Walls Street through his company which he built from the scratch. He is a round peg in a round hole.”
Another Nigerian, Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede, a professor of Global Affairs and Political Science at Rutgers University and Farmingdale State College, said Mr. Ogunlesi has all it takes to contribute to a positive American economic outlook.
The spokesperson for the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, Pastor Akinremi Bolaji, said Ogunlesi’s appointment was a positive development for Nigeria and Africa.
Mr. Ogunlesi is the first Nigerian to be appointed by Mr. Trump as he continues to shop for top advisers following his victory last month.
Written by Ezinne Okolo