WAS IT GOD THAT BUILT THE CITY OF DUBAI?
Have you ever heard the story of the city of Dubai before? Can you prove that it was God who came to help them turn a city that was once best described as a desert into one of the most advanced economies in the world? Was it God that came to turn a desert city into one with a stunning environment and a super-efficient government? I don’t think so.
Dubai City does not have a particularly long history. Since it is located in an unbelievably harsh terrain, there have been very few battles fought there since no one wanted any part of this land! Dubai was founded in the year 1833 by Shaikh Mak- toum Bin Buti Al Maktoum. In those early days the major occupation and source of livelihood of her inhabitants was fishing and pearl diving.
For many years, Dubai was just an obscure society somewhere in the Middle East. It was a society that had no streets, cars, running water, electricity, schools, hospitals, or infrastructure. But this was soon to change when oil was discovered just off the coast in 1966. Suddenly Dubai was rich beyond anyone’s wildest imagination! It was like winning the lottery.
Over the course of just a few decades, Dubai has transformed from a sleepy little coastal village into a world-class city, famous for its ambition, drive, and economic promise. And guess what! It is all the result of one man’s vision! Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
In 1995, Shaikh Mohammed became the crown prince of Dubai with a chief objective of overseeing the transformation of this small patch of desert into the world’s most luxurious resort and business destination.
On January 4, 2006, Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum became the ruler of Dubai as well as the prime minister and vice-president of the UAE. He was the tenth ruler from the Al Maktoum family lineage.
Shaikh Mohammed is reputed for having a distinctive and inviolable criterion for anything that concerns Dubai. The criterion is that everything Dubai must be “world class”. By that, he means anything done in Dubai at all must be unprecedented in the world and “The Guinness Book of Records”. Thus Dubai has a list of many first iconic achievement under her belt.
There are many things in Dubai today that carry the appellation of the longest, heaviest, highest, and biggest or the very best of anything ever in the world. This list includes the world’s largest indoor theme park, which is the size of about 26 football fields that is completely enclosed and temperature controlled.
It’s also home to the world’s biggest ski dome. As well as a home to the world’s first fully furnished underwater hotel – Hydropolis. The hotel has been touted to be the only 10-star hotel in the world!
Not forgetting the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at 2,717ft, an artificial archipelago – Dubai’s man-made islands made in the shape of a palm tree amongst a host of other jaw-dropping architectural masterpieces.
This inviolable criterion of Shaikh Mohammed has helped him convert Dubai into something that looks more of a science fiction than real life reality.
How did Dubai do all these? For sure, they took the best from all nations and then modified it to fit into their own scenarios. And that is exactly what we must do as Nigerians too. Let us gather all Nigerians in the diaspora. Let’s put our heads and experiences together and create a masterpiece out of them.
Dubai achieved this in spite of the fact that the Middle East is famous for lots of conflicts, tensions and political instability. Yet she has gone ahead to become a political, economic and financial success. It is even adjudged one of the safest places in the world to live or to visit as a tourist because of the safety it has been able to provide to millions of tourists over the years.
To prepare for these roles, Shaikh Mohammed received a diverse education starting at an early age and was able to strike a balance as both a business leader and a political ruler thereby producing cultural, economic and social prosperity for the people of Dubai.
Through his initiative Dubai invested heavily in local construction when loans were cheap and made property investments abroad as the market was peaking. Before long, Dubai experienced a multiyear boom that turned it into an ultramodern city right in the middle of the desert.
In 2002, Mohammed issued a land reform decree allowing foreigners to own real estate in Dubai — a first in any Gulf state. Before the reforms, Dubai had no real estate market.
With the 2002 reform, anyone could buy a home in Dubai — an opportunity with particular appeal to wealthy families in unstable countries nearby.
Indians, Russians, Lebanese all poured cash into Dubai properties. It quickly became a hotbed for the wealthy barons of the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the former Soviet Union to pack their wealth into. Before long, it was named the world’s fastest growing city with an astonishing array of modern architecture. Dubai experienced as much property development as Shanghai, a city with 13 times its population.
However, sometime late in the year 2008, around October or thereabout the world financial crisis struck Dubai’s economy, slamming the brakes on its development. Projects that were in full swing were delayed and tourism declined greatly but Sheikh Mohammed introduced a brilliant strategy to lure multinational companies to the sheikdom.
It turned out to be a gem of an idea as many free zones were carved, each specifically designed to woo an industry he felt would benefit Dubai. Lured by the prospect of tax-free salaries, many of the international businessmen who visited Dubai never returned to their country for business. They stayed there, prospered and contributed to the making of Dubai.
Meanwhile, back in the 1980s, Mohammed had breathed new life into the languishing Jebel Ali port by declaring it Dubai’s first ‘free zone.’
Free zones in many countries were simply areas where companies were exempt from taxation. But in Dubai, there were no corporate or income taxes to begin with and Jebel Ali Free Zone was more like a Special Economic Zone in Deng Xiaoping’s China, where separate laws applied within the SEZ than beyond the gates. Jebel Ali thrived under the new regime, becoming one of the busiest ports on the planet and helping Dubai become what it is today.
Sheikh Mohammed took up his good works a step further. He set up the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) which is being referred to as a state within a state. It practices Western type of business. It has it’s own court system presided over by an imported British judge, it’s own official currency – the U.S dollars rather than the UAE dirham as well as it’s own official language – English. The DIFC is home to major banking giants on the global scene including HSBS, Citibank, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse.
And then Sheikh Mohammed also saw to the construction of Internet city and Media City. A 53 story twin Chrysler buildings standing next to each other. Internet city houses the Middle East headquarters of Microsoft, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Canon amidst others. While Media city houses the foreign bureau of Western News Media such as CNN, Reuters, BBC, as well as top Arabic stations such as al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya.
These are just few of the many inventions one man by the name Sheikh Mohammed brought to a small patch of desert located in an obscure place in the Middle East. As a result of the astonishing development that has taken place in Dubai, it is often compared to Singapore, Hong Kong, Orlando or even Las Vegas but many have avowed that the sheikdom is more like a hybrid of all them.
With all these in view, tell me again that only God can save Nigeria and I will tell you that you’re the last joker of the century. Which offerings, seeds, sacrificial giving, speaking in tongues, sleeping in churches or prayer meetings did Sheikh
Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and his people indulge in for them to have made Dubai the hub of civilization? None, absolutely none whatsoever.
So, friends; instead of folding your hands and looking to the supernatural to help transform Nigeria, stand up tall, take a stand and decide that you as an individual and a citizen of Nigeria will bring about the jaw dropping change that you desire for the nation.
“It is not in the star to hold our destiny but in ourselves” (William Shakespeare)
The Dubai story is proof of what is possible if any nation decides for a change. It proves that any nation including our beloved Nigeria can actually become anything if they will get off their butts and do the work. Or do you think they did that because they are better than us? Do you think the odds were stacked in their favor? I don’t think so. If anyone has an advantage at all, I must tell you that we are the ones who have the advantage.
Enough of the “only God can save Nigeria” mentality when people with little or no affiliation with God are doing great things. Enough of waiting for God when those who don’t even know Him are busy creating wonders just by taking advantage of their rights to rule and dominate over the earth.
The truth is that whatever single invention that a godless nation comes up with, a nation of godly people like ours can do much more. So awake from your slumber oh ye Nigerians and let’s turn Nigeria into a wonder for the world to see.
To be continued Tomorrow, don’t miss it.
Excerpts from the book Only God Can Save Nigeria: What A Myth.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.