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Crap leaders look out for themselves.

Minor leaders look out for their sect or section.

Great Leaders look out for their country.

Exceptional Leaders look out for humanity.

Dear Leader, which are you?

 

Before they take him away from us. Before they appropriate him exclusively for themselves. Before we send him forth to occupy the Presidential palace in Abuja also known as Aso Rock. Before we throw him like a lamb into a den of lions, we must do something post haste. We must do something about the seemingly intractable Aso Rock Disease.

The Aso Rock Disease is a unique disease of Nigerian Presidents and Heads of State that no doctor or medicine can cure. A wasting disease, once acquired by its intended target the sitting President or Head of State, its symptoms can only be managed, almost never eradicated.

 The only known effective palliative for Aso Rock disease is to quit Aso Rock unconditionally. However one of Aso Rock disease’s principal symptoms is a deep yearning to remain in perpetuity as the rent-seeking Tenant-in-Chief of Aso Rock. And therein lies the dilemma of what is effectively a classic catch-22 situation.

Since one cannot effectively fight an enemy that one cannot readily identify, it is necessary for us to revisit and refresh our memories about the particularities and peculiarities of this strange Aso Rock disease which almost exclusively targets Nigerian Leaders safely ensconced in the imposing Presidential Villa at Aso Rock, Abuja.

Signs and Symptoms of Aso Rock Disease

The following are some of the main signs and symptoms of Aso Rock disease presented in no particular order of severity or chronology. Note that the list is neither exclusive nor conclusive.

  • Targeted assassinations or unexplained violent deaths of political opponents and sometimes supposed ‘friends’.
  • Attempts at tenure elongation as the chief tenant of Aso Rock.
  • An “I don’t give a damn” attitude about national issues particularly regarding issues concerning citizens’ welfare.
  • An “I certainly give a damn” attitude about mundane issues particularly issues concerning the President or Head of State’s personal interests, personal welfare or personal prestige. 
  • Over-enjoyment of and refusal to hand over the “security vote” directly to the security agencies to control and dispense as they deem fit while discharging their constitutional responsibility of providing security for all.
  • Bloated feeding and miscellaneous expenses budgetary allocations for Aso Rock presidential villa.
  • Ever expanding, state of the art presidential aircraft fleet.
  • Sectionalism manifested by channeling development to a particular favored part of the country most often the President or Head of State’s natal section or sometimes that of his wife.
  • Extravagant show of piety in churches or mosques.
  • Unwarranted meddling with political parties particularly the president’s own political party.
  • Excessive and indecent interest in personally nominating the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Resort to executive bribery and other financial inducements to influence the outcome of deliberations in the National Assembly
  • Rampant cronyism and nepotism
  • Favorable reception and open reward of acts of sycophancy
  • Heavy looting and stashing away of state funds
  • General mischief and barely concealed resort to conspiratorial instigation.
  • An overbearing and extravagant First Lady.
  • Marginalization of the vice-president.
  • Rewarding accomplished election vote riggers with choice appointments into the Federal Executive Council (i.e. Presidential Cabinet) and headship of other money spinning parastatals.
  • Punishing whistleblowers of corrupt activity while shielding and rewarding allegedly corrupt public officials.

Given these signs and symptoms, what specific micro-organism lies behind the Aso Rock Disease? Let us consider its virology

 

Virology of Aso Rock Disease

Aso Rock disease is caused by the Aso Rock virus which is an invisible virus that has two variants. The first variant or Aso Rock virus Type 1 is genetically associated with innate greed (a.k.a. long-throat) and feverish ambition. The second variant or Aso Rock virus Type 2 is passed on by tangible human vectors who are persons found exclusively in the Presidential Cabinet – that is persons who have steady direct access to the President or Head of State, the Tenant-in-Chief of Aso Rock. 

There are various categories of Presidential Cabinet by which and through which the President may be infected by Aso Rock virus Type 2. These include:

  • The official Federal Executive Council or Ministerial Executive Cabinet, recognized by the Constitution of the Federal Republic and whose members are nominally vetted and confirmed by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The President may be infected by Aso Rock virus Type 2 during the Executive Cabinet sessions or afterwards while interacting face-to-face with members of this cabinet. Statistical records show however that this form of transmission is very rare in reality.
  • The Special Advisers’ and Special Assistants’ Cabinet whose members are officially appointed by the President to advise and assist him on official matters. Although well poised to infect the President with Aso Rock virus Type 2, members of this cabinet rarely have the opportunity to do so since they are appointed in most cases only to come and join in the feast and may not physically see the President who they are supposed to be advising or assisting for several months or years at a stretch.
  • The Kitchen Cabinet whose members are informally selected by the President himself to advise him on sundry matters. Members of this Cabinet are supremely poised to infect the President with Aso Rock virus Type 2 through the type of advice they give to him. 
  • The Bedroom Cabinet whose members share the same bed as the President if he is the type that has a roving eye. Naturally these presidential nocturnal encounters are accompanied by small talk during which the President may be infected by Aso Rock virus Type 2.  The titular head of this Cabinet of course is the First Lady of the Nation. 
  • The Wine, Beer and Squash Cabinet whose main function is to help the President unwind with a shared bottle of wine if he is the alcohol imbibing type or a game of squash or some other sport if he is a physical fitness enthusiast. Note that such sessions are accompanied by small talk during which Aso Rock virus Type 2 may easily be transmitted.
  • The Sectarian Cabinet whose members are the President’s prayer warriors. These are often Bishops, Prophets, Pastors or Imams, Alfas and other prayer warriors of the President. They can infect the President with Aso Rock virus Type 2 couched as prayer points, prophecies and visions.
  • The Sectional Cabinet whose members are the leaders of the President’s own ethnic group such as royal fathers and other tribal leaders. Accomplished tribal warriors including youth militants may muscle their way into this cabinet.
  • The Shrine Cabinet whose members offer sacrifices and perform other rites and rituals for a President who swings both ways spiritually. It is easy to see how members of this cabinet can inflict a President with Aso Rock virus Type 2 while performing divinations and currying favors on behalf of the President from  the nether world.

Regarding these various presidential cabinets, it is important to stress that some individuals may be titular members of several of these different kinds of presidential cabinets all at the same time. Indeed research time and time again has proven that there is a perfect correlation between the number of these cabinets a particular individual belongs to and that individual’s capacity to infect the President with Aso Rock virus Type 2. 

For example an individual that belongs to the Ministerial Cabinet, the Kitchen Cabinet and the Bedroom Cabinet all at once has a three-fold increase in his or her capacity to infect the President with Aso Rock virus Type 2. This is because such an individual can have encounters with the President during the day, during the evening and late at night!

How often have outbreaks of Aso Rock disease been observed among Nigerian Presidents and Heads of State over the years? It is time for us to briefly consider specific cases of this dreaded disease.

Epidemiology of Aso Rock Disease

Aso Rock disease has wasted not a few relatively promising military or civilian administrations in Nigeria. Let us refresh our memories by revisiting the recorded outbreaks of this disease briefly and quasi-chronologically.

The first known case of full blown Aso Rock Disease ever recorded in the history of Nigeria afflicted a Tenant-in-Chief who for the purposes of this piece we shall simply describe as the gap-toothed one. Now it should be noted that before him there were other cases of Aso Rock type Diseases. But these were very mild in comparison to what has come to be regarded as full blown Aso Rock disease. 

We shall call these early and very mild forms as proto-Aso Rock diseases. The first recorded case of proto-Aso Rock disease which occurred in the period 1970 to 1975 afflicted no other than our own dear Jack the one-time play boy army officer turned evangelist and latterly turned a basher of his deceased fellow one-time play boy army officer colleague turned rebel leader cum war time adversary. 

The first substantive Aso Rock Disease was recorded in Nigeria in the period 1985 to 1993.  It is pertinent to note that seduced by his cunning smiles, no one protected the gap-toothed one from Aso Rock disease. Arguing whether he was infected by Aso Rock virus Type 1 or Type 2 or both is largely academic. We all know what happened next. He refused to leave until he was forced to step aside.

For his successor the technocrat, Aso Rock disease did not matter one way or the other, for he was eased out unceremoniously by other causes even before he could unpack his luggage. 

To this day no one can say for sure whether the dark-goggled one contacted the Aso Rock virus Type 2 from close proximity to the gap-toothed one or whether he carried Aso Rock virus Type 1 in his own genes. Plentiful anecdotal research evidence however buttress both scenarios. In any case no one would have dared raise a suggestion to his face about seeking medical attention in the form of a retro-viral vaccine shot until he died suddenly in 1998 from as yet unexplained circumstances. What cannot be denied is that his own form of combined Aso Rock disease was of greater severity than that of the gap-toothed one.

The bearded-one stayed for too short a while (1998 – 1999) at Aso Rock to be infected by the Aso Rock virus which leads to Aso Rock Disease. But there are many who swear to this day that if he had stayed a minute longer at Aso Rock he would have surely tested positive to Aso Rock virus Type 2.  

The sharp tongued one having survived an unmerited stint in prison gave everyone the impression that he was naturally imbued with immunity to trifle opportunistic diseases like Aso Rock disease. He it was who characteristically volubly proclaimed on release from prison when the subject of running for President was mooted to him by the self-appointed powers that be: “how many presidents do you want to make of me?” 

On the face of it, this was an expression of natural immunity to Aso Rock disease. But closer scrutiny reveals that it was actually a positive test for the presence of Aso Rock virus Type 1 in his genes. It is universally accepted medically that the presence of anti-bodies against a specific virus in the human system is a confirmation of the presence of that virus within the body. 

Seen in this light therefore, his knee–jerk reaction actually arose from anti-bodies to Aso Rock Virus Type 1 already present within him. Before long after emerging as the tenant-in-chief for the second time (1999-2007), he tested positive to both Aso Rock Virus Types 1 and 2 and shortly thereafter succumbed brutally to full blown combined Aso Rock disease. 

The meek one was weakened by other health challenges as a result of which he was quarantined while serving as the tenant-in-chief (2007-2010). With this vacuum, the primed Aso Rock virus type 2 present in his kitchen cabinet staff, not seeing any other viable target apart from the First Lady to infect, mutated and the vector-hosts developed full blown symptoms of Aso Rock disease themselves and ruled the roost unhindered until he died and they were all constitutionally ejected from Aso Rock. 

The shoeless one who fortuitously or otherwise had a tendency of stepping into his erstwhile masters’ shoes, himself stood no chance. His penchant for trying on shoes of different sizes much bigger than his feet, hoping to find the largest one available, (a genetic condition consistent with infection with Aso Rock virus type 1) left him brutally exposed to Aso Rock virus Type 2 as well. 

He was infected by Aso Rock Virus Type 2 right from day one in 2010 and developed chronic, full-blown combined Aso Rock disease caused by both Aso Rock virus Types 1 and 2 acting in concert in short order. Within the short time frame 2010 to 2015, he manifested all the known symptoms of Aso Rock disease with the exception of violently eliminating real or imagined threats and publicly quarrelling with his deputy. He never recovered fully, insisting that one and a half presidential term is not enough until he was divinely eased out of Aso Rock by God himself acting through the agency of inspired men.

As we have seen coming down with Aso Rock disease carries serious consequences for both the leader and the led so a word or two about the political fortunes of presidents infected with Aso Rock disease will not be out of place at this juncture.

Prognosis of Aso Rock Disease

Aso Rock disease has almost a 100% political reputation fatality rate. There is not a single known case of a Nigerian leader infected by Aso Rock disease who has recovered from the disease with his reputation 100% intact. 

Invariably Aso Rock disease targets the leaders’ thinking faculties, stops them from making hay while the sun shines, paralyzes their ability to correctly gauge the mood of the nation, deludes them into thinking they are invincible with state funds, state institutions and other national assets at their disposal and leaves them totally unprepared for their inevitable and oftentimes disgraceful exit from office.

Most of these Nigerian leaders have something in common. They mostly took office with the potential of being great. Within one year in the saddle they started showing tendencies of being minor. By the second year they were largely confirmed as minor with a tendency towards crap. By their third year they were almost invariably certified as crap.

Pathophysiology

As indicated, the Aso Rock virus comes in two basic forms. The Type 1 Aso Rock virus which is genetically transmitted, is naturally mild. It is only triggered if and when the host manages to gain residency permit in Aso Rock as the tenant-in-chief. Even then it still generally behaves in a relatively mild-mannered manner. 

On exposure to and combination with Aso Rock virus Type 2 however, the Aso Rock virus Type 1 becomes ultra-aggressive and capable of causing very great harm both to the host and more so to the larger nation.

The Aso Rock virus Type 2 which is transmitted by the various categories of the Presidential Cabinet is a different animal altogether. 

 Found extensively in members of the various Presidential Cabinets, Aso Rock virus Type 2 does not usually attack its natural carriers or vector hosts other than in exceptional cases when the tenant-in-chief is incapacitated. In such cases it undergoes some mutation and attacks the members of the presidential Cabinet who then begin to act unilaterally in the name of the incapacitated President.

The exact manner in which Aso Rock virus type 2 is transmitted from the cabinet vector-hosts to the President is not yet well understood but is commonly thought to be through voice mail (aka solicited or unsolicited advice) which exits from their mouths and enters into the President’s brain through his ears. 

Aso Rock Type 2 viruses show characteristics which are vector-host specific. It is not unknown and unheard of for Aso Rock Type 2 viruses from one vector-host to fight against another Aso Rock virus Type 2 from another vector-host. Such fights which occur inside the President’s brain once he or she is infected from several sources, leaves the President confused as to what course of action to take in addressing pressing national issues. 

Many a Nigerian President infected with Aso Rock disease has been known to confess that they receive conflicting advice (sorry type 2 viruses) from their cabinets. 

Now while the Aso Rock virus Type 2 the President receives from the Kitchen cabinet is passed onto his brain through his ears while standing up or sitting down, the Aso Rock virus Type 2 the President receives from his Bedroom cabinet is passed onto his brain from his ears and other parts of his body while lying down in a horizontal position. 

Ample research has shown that Aso Rock virus Type 2 transmitted to the President while he is in a horizontal position is 10 times more potent than their counterparts transmitted to the President when he is in a vertical standing or semi-vertical sitting position. 

Buoyed by the published results of this ground breaking research, members of the public who have Aso Rock virus Type 2 to infect the President with, but who lack direct access to him because they do not feature as members of one of the possible Presidential cabinets, often resort to infecting the President through known members of the Presidential bedroom cabinet especially the First Lady. 

This is why the pet projects of the First Ladies of Aso Rock are always over-subscribed by known carriers of Aso Rock virus Type 2 who lack direct access to the respective Presidents but who nevertheless decide to infect them through their wives. This type of indirect infection is known as secondary infection. And the mode of transfer of the Aso Rock virus Type 2 from the original vector-host to the First Lady is via bank drafts and cheques (checks) drawn in favor of the First Lady’s pet project, the proceeds of which inevitably end up in the First Lady’s hand-bag.

 

Prevention

Because Aso Rock disease is a dreaded presidential disease that no doctor nor medicine can cure, prevention seems to be best solution for the intractable problem. There are two aspects of prevention of Aso Rock disease. The first has to be done by the ultimate prime target of the disease that is the President himself. The second has to be undertaken by the well –meaning people of Nigeria i.e. those Nigerians who are not vector-hosts of the disease themselves.

Since heaven helps those who help themselves, and since Aso Rock virus Type 2 is transmitted in the form of voice mail from a carrier’s mouth to the President’s brain and into his consciousness through his ears, the President is well-advised to always wear a protective filter inside his ears to sift all voice mail coming through from his various cabinets. 

A robust and effective filter would automatically apply a four way test on all voice mail traffic before routing appropriate ones through to the President’s consciousness. 

The technical details of the four way test which is actually a form of decision cascade are as follows:

  • Does the incoming voice mail (advice) have the capacity to protect the interest of humanity? If yes classify it as exceptional and adopt it at once. If no subject it to the second test.
  • Does the incoming voice mail (advice) protect the interest of the entire nation? If yes classify it as great and adopt it at once. If no subject it to the third test.
  • Does the incoming voice mail (advice) protect the interest of the sender’s sect or section? If yes classify it as minor and keep it in view from the presidential rear mirror. If no subject the advice to the fourth test which let the truth be told is utterly superfluous.
  • Does the incoming voice mail (advice) protect only the sender’s interest? If yes reject it as crap. If no regard the advice as useless.

As noted above, the primary vectors of transmission of Aso Rock disease to the President of Nigeria is via one or more forms of the self-chosen Presidential Cabinet. And who can occupy Aso Rock without having several cabinets? Aso Rock disease hides itself deep within the drawers of the presidential cabinets. 

To protect themselves and their administrations from Aso Rock disease, every Nigerian President is well advised to sanitize and vet very thoroughly any object such as any piece of advice they pull out from the presidential cabinet along the lines of the decision cascade guidelines given above before adopting the advice for implementation. 

For Nigerian Presidents it seems, the fear of the various Presidential cabinets should be the beginning of wisdom. Too often we hear of Nigerian Presidents blaming their misadventures on the quality of conflicting objects they pull out from their presidential cabinets as if they did not “pre-select and pre-approve the installation of their presidential cabinets together with their contents” themselves.

Thankfully the incoming President is different. As a devout Muslim it is unlikely that he would have a Beer and Wine Cabinet. He might have a squash cabinet, but members of that cabinet would be too exhausted from playing squash to transmit the Aso Rock type 2 virus to the President.

Furthermore the new President is not known to have a roving eye. It is thus to be expected that his Bedroom Cabinet shall consist of one and only one member, his lawfully wedded wife the First Lady (thanks be to God for little mercies).

With such a reduced population of potential sources of infection, his chances of coming down with Aso Rock virus type 2 is correspondingly reduced. 

The new President is famed for his indifference to money and deep abhorrence of corruption (thanks be to God for great mercies). 

Taken together with the fact that his leadership credentials were forged on the anvil of disappointment by the hammer of serial electoral frustration, it is to be expected that by now any traces of Aso Rock virus type 1 existing in his body, if at all they ever existed in him from birth, would have been purged and expunged.   

The second aspect of prevention which is left to well-meaning Nigerians is to inoculate the President and boost his resistance to the opportunistic Aso Rock virus type 2.

Now the best way of inoculating Mr. President is to offer prayers and supplication to God Almighty on his behalf. Those who underestimate the power and potency of prayers might do well to reflect on the waning fortunes of the once shoeless one.

Let no one be deceived as to whom the glory for the ouster of the once shoeless one should go, for to God alone is the glory due.

When God’s time arrived, when the time allotted to him by God as a punishment to Nigeria and Nigerians for our collective sins and individual shortcomings expired, all the dollars and all the naira at the beck and call (in the Treasury of?) of the Federal Government of Nigeria were not enough to salvage the administration of the shoeless one.

So when the chairperson (and sole member?) of the shoeless one’s  Bedroom cabinet proclaimed on the stomping ground sometime in March/April 2015 that “this is our own time. We shall enjoy our full eight years of (mis?) rule allowed by the Constitution before we handover”, it was as if God said to them in reply. ‘You f**ls, before the end of the month of May 2015, this power which you cherish so much shall be taken away from you and handed over to another.’

So as we congregate in anticipation of a smooth take-off of a brand new Presidency, there is something we must do right away without hesitation or indolence. 

Before they take him away from us. Before they appropriate him exclusively for themselves. Before they inject him with Aso Rock virus Type 2.

We must inoculate our new President by prayerfully committing him and his family as well as all his decisions and indecisions, all his actions and inactions exercised on our behalf and for our benefit to God Almighty for guidance and protection.

We eminently know and verily hold it to be always true that just as a man who places his trust in God alone cannot fail, so also a nation that places their trust in God alone cannot falter.

So whatever may be your praying mode; whether you pray by standing up or by kneeling down; whether you pray by sitting down or by squatting down; whether you pray by endless dancing or by rolling yourself on the ground, whether you pray by bowing your head down or by hitting your forehead on the ground, let all of us, each in their own way commit our new President to God Almighty that he may govern us well for the benefit of all and to the glory of God in heaven. Amen

But please note as we inoculate our new President through prayer, that ritualists, terrorists, kidnappers, cultists, fraudsters (419ners), all evil and corrupt people who pray by slaughtering their fellow human beings either with a knife or with a gun or with a pen or with poison or with their mouths or by fraud, with the intention of making instant money or acquiring instant powers or out of envy and jealousy, are not invited to join us.

Let all such people steer clear and keep well away from the rest of us while we pray until they receive their own just reward either in this life, or in the life to come for the sheer wickedness of man unto man.                    

 

THE END    -

 

 

 

‘Vanity upon vanity; (In the end) all is vanity.’

- Ecclesiastes

 

 ‘I have got ants in my pants and I need to dance.’

  • Lyrics from ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ a classic Funk symphony by the Funk group,

Funkadelic, (1979).

 

As the airplane taxied to a halt at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Kent Churchill felt a tightening in his stomach. It was uncanny but he always felt this way when he touched down on Nigerian territory. There was something about this bizarre country that both attracted and repelled him in equal measure. Try as he would he couldn’t quite place his finger on what it was and he had long ago given up trying. 

To his surprise and elation he quickly breezed through Immigration and Customs. The local officials acted a bit queerly and unprofessionally but Kent was too tired and elated to care. He easily made his way through the Arrival Terminal to the Baggage Claims hall. Before long he had claimed his checked-in baggage and with the help of a trolley he exited the Airport building and emerged into the warm Lagos night. “Mister Shurshill, Mister Shurshill” a familiar voice rang out. “I am here. You are welcome. It is good to see you again Mister Shurshill.” It was Baba Osun his longtime charter taxi driver friend. “Ah Baba Osun, it is good to see you again my friend.” Both men gave each other a friendly hug. 

Now Baba Osun whose real names were Femi Oluwole was quite a character. He was a third generation commercial driver. His grandfather drove Lorries during the colonial days. His father drove taxis and later owned several. Baba Osun, the first of seven brothers, migrated to the United States where he operated a taxi cab in Boston and picked up a diploma in Sales/Marketing. He sent for and installed three of his brothers as taxi-drivers in various cities in the United States. Later he returned back home to Nigeria because he could not stand the cold in North America.

Some rival taxi drivers quickly surrounded Kent. “Oga Oyinbo (My master, the Whiteman)” said one, “do not make the mistake of leaving with this man. He does not maintain his taxi.  His air-conditioner is not working properly. Follow me let me take you in my car. Inside my car, it is colder than Europe in winter time.” Baba Osun gave the upstart a hostile stare that was fierce enough to frighten a lion. ‘Ti’ m ba mu e (If I lay hands upon you),’ he muttered. Without a further word the unfortunate taxi driver slouched away the same way a vanquished dog would do with its tail drooping between its legs, before an alpha dog. 

Before long the duo were on their way in Baba Osun’s cab on the long ride  to Kent’s hotel located in Lekki a distant surburb of the sprawling Lagos megalopolis. 

“Mister Shurshill” said Baba Osun, “it is night time but still I hope you have already noticed that Lagos has changed a lot since the last time you visited. You will not recognize Lagos again.” 

Kent had indeed noticed some changes but the most remarkable change he noted was in Baba Osun’s driving. Baba Osun seemed much more courteous, more careful and more tolerant of other road users now than he ever was before. 

As if he was reading his mind, Baba Osun brought the matter up. 

“Mister Shurshill, you know we have a new government now. Our new President is a no-nonsense General. The smallest mistake you make, will land you in jail. As I speak to you right now, they have expanded the Kirikiri Maximum Prison to ten times its capacity. In addition to the old prison known as Kirikiri Prison Phase 1, we now have Kirirkiri Prison Phase 2, Kirikiri Prison Phase 3, Kirikiri Prison Phase 4, up to Kirirkiri Prison Phase 10. Yet the demand for prison space far exceeds the available capacity.” 

“I reliably learnt that on the General’s instructions, once you are locked away inside Kirikiri Prison Phase 1 to Kirikiri Prison Phase 10, the keys to your cell are immediately thrown away inside the Lagos Lagoon. So once you are inside Kirikiri Prisons there is no coming out. They say people who enter Kirikiri erect with handcuffs in their hands, come out lying face up on stretchers with cotton wool stuffed into their mouths, ears and nostrils. That is why I am very careful with my driving. Unlike before I am now ever ready to concede defeat to other drivers like a true sportsman and statesman.”

 “I hope you don’t mind if it takes us all night for us to drive from the International Airport to Lekki a journey which should ordinarily take us at most 2 hours. Please note that the long delay is not because of heavy traffic, but because I have to be very careful, sportsmanly and statesmanlike in my driving.”

“That is okay my friend. Take your time and drive carefully. I would hate to see you rot in jail,” replied Kent.

“Mr Shurshill did you not notice that our police, immigration and customs officers now raise their two hands up above their heads when they are interrogating people?” queried Baba Osun.  

“Yes now that you mentioned it, I do remember thinking that it was a bit unusual and unprofessional,” replied Kent, “why do they do so? Don’t they realize that an armed criminal can easily gun them down before they can reach their weapon?” 

“Oh no Mr Shurshill. They never act alone. When one officer is interrogating somebody, he is always covered by his colleagues. The reason why the officer interrogating people always raises his hands above his head is that everyone can see that he is not receiving a bribe. Even when he receives a document like a passport or driving particulars from somebody he must make sure to raise it aloft and rifle it for all and sundry to see that it is a document and that there is no money concealed inside it.”

“Very impressive” said Kent “I would never have believed that Nigerians can be so careful and circumspect. Your new President must be something else.” 

“Ah Mr Shurshill, the man is an Ogbologbo (old hand). He knows all the tricks in the books. You cannot beat him. He has a lot of this (Baba Osun pointed repeatedly to his brain signifying smartness).”

“Mr Shurshill did you not also notice that none of our uniformed officers has a potbelly?” 

“No I did not pay attention to that. But I did notice that they all looked smart and walked briskly. Maybe it is because that is the way uniformed officers are in the United States that I took it for granted that they would be the same elsewhere.”

“Ha ha ha, our new President is lean and mean. They say he only has fura de nunu (local drink derived from fresh cow milk) or kunu (local drink derived from grain like millet or sorghum) for breakfast and eats sparingly at lunchtime and sometimes skips supper altogether.”

Baba Osun continued. “Ahhh any uniformed officer that has a potbelly in Nigeria has signed his own retrenchment notice. Our police and army officers now avoid pepper-soup as if it is poison. They also run away from beer and pounded yam as if they are Christmas presents from the devil himself.” He chuckled in self-amusement.

They were now driving on a very long bridge. Kent succumbed to tiredness and dozed off. 

“Mister Shurshill, Mister Shurshill” exclaimed Baba Osun excitedly. “Look we are now on Third Mainland Bridge. I know you will not recognize this place again. You will not know that we are over water now.” 

As he said this, Kent woke up and peered around. Indeed try as he would he could not recognize the bridge as the Third Mainland Bridge. It looked more like an elevated roadway in the center of town. 

“You see all those lights you are seeing far into the distance? They are lights from the houses of Igbo people who have relocated into the Lagos Lagoon” said Baba Osun. Our people say “Eko oni baje (may Lagos not get spoilt). But I tell you Eko ti baje pata pata (Lagos is totally spoilt already).  The Lagos Lagoon is no more.”

“You see these Igbos, they are building more and more structures on the Lagos Lagoon. I am reliably informed that they have bought up all the space inside the Lagoon right up to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean.”

“I do not blame them. But although we Yorubas are very careful and would not willfully disrespect our elders, I hold the Oba (King) of Lagos responsible for this tragedy and calamity that has befallen us. He was the one that said he would throw the Igbos into the Lagoon if they did not vote for his preferred candidate during the last elections.”

“After the elections when the Oba’s candidate won, all of us Yorubas, thought the matter was settled. Then one Igbo trader woke up one day and said he was relocating voluntarily to the Lagoon which he claimed had just been ceded to his people by the Oba of Lagos. Moreover he said it would be more peaceful for him inside the Lagos Lagoon than inside Kirikiri Prisons.”

“We thought he was only joking and that after being bitten by the giant mosquitos on the Lagoon for one or two nights he would run back. To our surprise he did not return and we did not see him again.”

“The next thing we knew, two more Igbo traders said to one another ‘Nna men, there must be something our brother is seeing inside that Lagoon that is keeping him there after all this while. Let us go and join him now before it is too late for us to hit it big.’ They left and did not come back.”

“That is how the Igbos started leaving for the Lagoon one by one. Initially we were very happy and were jubilating that the Igbos had met their waterloo inside the Lagos Lagoon. One day to our amazement and chagrin we woke up to see one high rise wooden building emerging on stilts from inside the Lagoon.”

“The next day two more high rises started emerging. The next week we counted 50 wooden high rises emerging on the Lagoon and we saw the foundations of many hundreds more. It was then that we realized that we were in serious trouble. Before we knew what was happening almost all the Igbos that matter financially in Lagos started rushing to live inside the Lagoon. They rented out their houses on Lagos mainland and relocated to the Lagoon. They mapped out canals in the Lagoon and built on both sides of the canals just as we build on both sides of streets on land.”

“They numbered their houses along the canals and gave names to the canals just as we name streets on land. The biggest and widest canal of all which extends from the Lagos mainland Lagoon front to the Atlantic Ocean they named after the Oba of Lagos. One of them rushed down to Venice and stole the designs of the gondola boats there. He took the drawings to Nnewi and their brothers manufactured prototype gondolas to serve as taxis plying the canals.”

“The biggest insult we received was when we woke up one day to see that a giant billboard had been mounted on the Lagos Lagoon proclaiming “Welcome to Igbo Lagoon – courtesy MASSOB (Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra) Lagos Branch.” 

“When we challenged them the Igbos said that while Lagos is still no-man’s land, the Lagoon is now Igbo Lagoon. They brought out audio and video documentary evidence showing that the Oba of Lagos ceded the Lagos Lagoon to them!!!” 

“They said they were ready to defend their ownership rights over the Lagos Lagoon right up to the World Court at The Hague.” 

“When we pointed out to them that the Oba merely said he would throw them into the Lagoon if they failed to vote for his preferred candidate, they retorted that the Oba sent them forth into the Lagos Lagoon to occupy it, to be fruitful and to multiply therein. They said that is exactly what they are now doing.”

“It was only when our OPC (Odua’ Peoples Congress) and MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) stepped in that the Igbos calmed down. You know MASSOB, OPC and MEND forged a partnership and fought on the same side during the last election.”

“Initially when OPC were approaching the Lagoon to reclaim it, we thought there would be a world war in the Lagos Lagoon between MASSOB and OPC. But you know these Igbos are commercial arch-strategists and political arch-imbeciles. They realized that if only MASSOB was allowed to operate on the Lagoon, potential customers from other tribes would not patronize them on the Lagoon. So they quickly removed the offensive billboard and welcomed OPC and MEND with open arms and so peace was quickly restored on the Lagoon.” 

“It was only after the new President launched the War against Corruption that we realized that these Igbos have great business acumen and humongous commercial foresight.” 

“In fact Mr Shurshill, I recorded the President’s address to the nation while launching the War against Corruption and I play it back from time to time when I am in a sober mood. Let me play it back right now for you with your kind permission.” 

Baba Osun pressed the play-back button on his vehicle’s audio console and the new President’s voice filled the inside of the taxi.

>> Greetings to you dear Nigerians, fellow country-men and women. You are all living witnesses of the depths of despair and dungeons of depravity into which our dear country was dragged down by unbridled corruption in the recent past. By giving me your votes during the last elections, a majority of you Nigerians vowed that things must no longer remain the same. You gave me the mandate to chart a new course for our country. I vowed on assumption of office not to disappoint you nor misplace the hard earned trust you have reposed in me. <<

>> Accordingly with the co-operation of the National Assembly, I wish to signal my intention to launch a comprehensive War against Corruption (WAC) on every single inch of Nigerian soil and land. As regards this war, please note that there are many different forms of corruption and we shall fight as many manifestations of it as we can identify. To name but a few, there is economic corruption, social corruption, religious corruption, sexual corruption etc. None shall be tolerated on Nigerian soil.<<

>> If we do not kill corruption in Nigeria, corruption will kill all of us in Nigeria and throw our dead bodies into the Lagos Lagoon and other water bodies scattered across the length and breadth of the country. Because we do not want to meet such a watery end, we shall fight corruption with all the energy we can muster as a people. To this end, all corrupt people in Nigeria will go to jail and there shall be no exception no matter how highly placed they might be. To signify the seriousness of our intent, I hereby endorse a blank warrant for my own arrest which I shall hand over publicly to the Inspector-General of Police with the instruction to fill in my offense and execute my own arrest any day I commit an offense. <<

>> I note that we are now a nation practicing true democracy. That is why if you paid careful attention to the earlier part of this broadcast, you would have noticed that I restricted the War against Corruption (WAC) to the Nigerian landmass and not to the entire Nigerian territory. This is in the spirit of true democracy which we must be seen to be practicing both in fact and in reality. The underlying principle guiding all democracies is the freedom of choice. Every Nigerian has a fundamental right to his choice. Those majority Nigerians who voted for an end to corruption are free to exercise their choice on the Nigerian land mass. However those minority Nigerians who voted for corruption are free to relocate to the Lagos Lagoon or the water ways inside Nigeria where anything goes. <<

>> So those Nigerians who remain on dry land do so with the understanding that they are subject to immediate arrest and possible imprisonment if there is any evidence of infringement of the extant anti-corruption laws on their part. Those Nigerians who choose to step into the Lagos Lagoon and other water-bodies in Nigeria do so with the understanding that they are no more subject to the laws against corruption but are subject to the law of anything goes. Note that this painful distinction has to be made in order to ensure that the tenets of democracy which I pledged to uphold are fully met as regards freedom of choice and association. <<

>> Fellow Nigerians, the die is cast. As long as I retain your trust and your mandate, there shall be no going back or slacking-off in the fight against corruption. We shall take the battle to corruption in all its forms and manifestations. I reiterate that I shall be leading the battle from the tip of the spear that is right from the frontline and we shall ultimately prevail against corruption by the Grace of God. I trust that you shall line up behind me as usual as we wage this war of national survival and liberation. <<

>> May God bless Nigeria. << 

Kent listened attentively to the replay of the Presidential broadcast and could not but applaud its contents. “Very well said and to the point, I daresay” he exclaimed.

Baba Osun was beside himself. “Mister Shurshill, it was only after this broadcast that I realized that the Igbos especially those that relocated to the Lagos Lagoon have 100 per cent commercial foresight but zero percent political foresight.” 

“See immediately after this broadcast, all the homosexuals and lesbians in Lagos started looking for houses to rent on the Lagos Lagoon. All the prostitutes relocated to the Lagos Lagoon. All the native doctors, all the ritualists, all the cultists, all the kidnappers, all the political jobbers, all the blackmailers, all the criminals in Lagos, they all relocated to the Lagoon.”

“The rent for a single room in the Lagos Lagoon skyrocketed while that on firma terra in Lagos dropped precipitously. Those Igbos who relocated first to the Lagoon became multi-billionaires overnight. Like I said, our own OPC members belatedly relocated to the Lagos Lagoon. They struck a partnership with MASSOB and together with MEND and the newly formed Arewa Solidarity Front (ASF) who also joined them, they formed a Joint Strike Force to maintain law and order on the Lagos Lagoon.”

“They put up a new huge signboard on the Lagos Lagoon proclaiming: - Welcome to the Lagos Lagoon where anything goes. Remember the official policy here is ‘Every one do as you like. Don’t ask, don’t tell, just pay your levy, mind your own business and do your own thing.’ – signed MASSOB/OPC/MEND/ASF Joint Strike Force.” 

“Mister Shurshill, I tell you out of fear of WAC, all the beer parlours in Lagos relocated to the Lagoon. All the Nkwobi and isi-ewu joints relocated to the Lagoon. All the night clubs as well as the strip-tease joints relocated to the Lagoon. Every day by 7.00 pm Lagos is already asleep while the Lagoon is just waking up. Even the suya (barbecue) sellers were forced to relocate to the Lagoon in search of customers.”

“You know when the water is too clean, all the fish will die. All the people living in Lagos are dying of boredom. A balance has to be struck between cleanliness and pollution you see.”

“Once it is night time, all the people looking for fun troop to the Lagoon. Even the police officers and soldiers once they close from work and pull off their uniform, they head to the Lagoon. Even Pastors head to the Lagoon pretending to be preaching to sinners, but when no one is looking they dash into a hidden corner of the Lagoon to catch some fun.”

“Even myself, once I drop you, I am heading to the Lagoon. You see my loins are already itching me. I must entertain myself with a woman’s company.”

“Ah my friend, but you have a wife at home. Why don’t you go and meet your wife at home and relieve yourself in the comfort of your own house,” said Kent.

“Ah Mister Shurshill, you will not understand. By the time I get home, my wife Iya Ibeji (mother of twins) is already frowning. When I touch her a little, she will be making shakara (sulking) as if I have committed a great crime. If I persist and she eventually succumbs she will lie there like a cold engine block such that all my desire will melt away just like that and I will feel like someone jerking off on top of a corpse.”

“When I ask her to give me style, she will say Baba Oshun round up quickly and let me go to sleep. Is that the type of woman you want to go home to when you are pressed?” Baba Osun hissed in disgust and annoyance.

His eyes suddenly lit up with excitement. 

“But when I go over to the Lagoon and hook up with Mama Ngozi or Mama Ebuka in their beer parlour, any style I want, they will give it to me. It is true they drain me of all my money, but they make me feel like a vigorous man once again.”

Sighing Baba Osun remarked, “Ah these Igbos, both their men and their women, they are like termites.  No they are like soldier ants. When you strike them off from one place, they reemerge from another corner in greater numbers. I tell you Mister Shurshill the Igbos are soldier ants in our pants.”

“How can you remove so many soldier ants from inside your pants without undressing yourself completely?  Answer me is it possible? The soldier ants come at you in great numbers. Kill 20 of them, 200 of them will reemerge. That is our plight with the Igbo.” 

“Mister Shurshill can you believe that they have incorporated the Lagoon and Waterways Dwellers Association of Nigeria (LAWDAN) and had the boldness to name our own Oba of Lagos as the Life Grand Patron of LAWDAN. They say every year they will take a big fish caught inside the lagoon to the Oba as a token of appreciation to him for creating a new business opportunity for them.”

“Stranger still, the Igbos are now saying that they will continue to strongly support our new President, the retired General, so long as he leaves them alone to do as they like inside the Lagoon and waterways across Nigeria. They say his WAC on land is driving heavy business to them right inside the Lagoon.”

“And they are right. Do you know that many of our daughters, even Yoruba girls in the university now go to the Lagoon each night in search of Igbo boys? The other night while I was hooking up with Mama Ebuka at the back of her beer parlor in the Lagoon, I overheard three Yoruba girls arguing inside the beer parlor.”

“One girl  named Yetunde said ‘Ndubuisi is my provider.’ Another one named Toyin replied ‘Yetunde wait until you meet Ekene. Oh Ekene is my most wonderful provider.’ The third girl, Omolara by name, said ‘Kanayo my own provider is tightfisted, he does not give me much money, but he told me that I can take as many designer clothes as I like from his store. This expensive Brazilian wig I am wearing is from Kanayo’s shop.” 

“Mister Shurshill I tell you I was so annoyed with those useless Yoruba girls that I felt like leaving the arms of Mama Ebuka and going across to give each of them a dirty slap across their painted faces.”

“I owe my life to the fact that I remembered the policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell, just mind your own business,’ enforced on the Lagoon. 

“If I had made the fatal mistake of accosting those girls, the Joint Strike Force would have dumped me inside the lagoon to suffocate and drown inside the human waste and thick sludge found there.”

“The only revenge I could take upon the Igbos at that moment was to inflict as much pain as I could upon Mama Ebuka. I was so rough on the woman that she would always remember that she met a true Yoruba man that night. It was the sound of her cries of painful joy that quietened those lousy girls. “

“Mister Shurshill it is because of the antics of these Igbos that we the Yoruba are forced to ensure our wives fidelity by lacing them with magun (juju or voodoo) such that if they are unfaithful, any man that meets them dies immediately. If not our wives would have run into the arms of these Omo-Ibo (Igbo boys). “

“It is easy for us to protect our wives but how can we protect our daughters from the hands of these Omo-Ibos? That is our dilemma. No sane man would want to take his own daughter to a witch-doctor for that kind of charm. That is why I said the Igbos are like soldier ants inside our pants eating away at us right from inside.” 

Baba Osun sighed wearily.

Just then they reached Kent’s hotel in Lekki. It was already 2.00 am. They had left the airport around 9.00 pm. In spite of the long duration of the trip, Kent was quite happy. He paid Baba Osun his full fare and gave him a further 50 % of the fare as a tip. Kent felt he had received value for his money.  

Baba Osun did not realize it, but in truth, Kent was a leading socio-anthropologist and an analyst for the American CIA. He was regarded in CIA circles as an expert on West African cultures. He was a leading contributor to the now famous CIA National Intelligence Estimate that had predicted the break-up of Nigeria in the year 2015. 

Nigeria had tottered briefly on the verge of potential break-up on the run-in to the presidential elections of 2015. World leaders perhaps mindful of the CIA prognosis had tried their best to avoid an implosion in Nigeria.

Kent’s current visit was to reassess the situation in post-election Nigeria with emphasis on the view from the Nigerian street. Without knowing it, Baba Osun had given him tremendous insight into the pressures building up on the Nigerian street. 

He said to Baba Osun, “My friend I will certainly like to visit the Lagos Lagoon one of these days before I leave. Maybe you will be available to accompany me as my guide.”  

Baba Osun was overjoyed. Kent was his favorite customer of all time not the least because he was an excellent listener.

“Ah Mister Kent, I will be available to take you to the Lagoon any day, any time. Just give me a call and I will make myself immediately available.” 

Just then Baba Osun’s phone rang. It was his wife. Baba Osun hissed. “It is my wife. This woman will not allow me to rest. She is always marking me closely like a no-nonsense ace defender in a soccer game. ” 

“Yes Hello, ” he said harshly as he picked up the call. 

“Baba Ibeji (father of twins), ah-ah you have stayed too late now,” said his wife. “I woke up to ease myself and realized you are not yet back. It is already past 2.00 am where are you?”

 “Ah Iya Ibeji, I had a flat tire in the Lekki area of Lagos. I put the spare tire and unfortunately that one also got punctured. I have just managed to push the car to a safe place. I shall have to sleep inside the car,” lied Baba Osun.

Iya Ibeji was furious. “But you should have called me since and I would have told your younger brother Kunle to drive over to where you are to assist you.” 

“Why would you do something like that?” retorted Baba Osun. “Is Kunle not a taxi-driver like myself? You want him to leave his customers or his family and come looking for me as if I am a small boy? Let me tell you a flat tire at night is nothing new to a taxi driver. Go back to bed I will see you tomorrow evening.” 

Baba Osun hung up angrily and switched off his phone. 

Kent laughed in amusement as he alighted.  “Baba Osun do not bother about me anymore, I can handle my luggage. Go home to your wife.” 

But Baba Osun had grabbed his luggage and escorted him right inside the hotel. 

“Good night Mister Shurshill” he said once they were safely inside. 

“Good night my friend. I hope you are driving home straightaway?” 

“No way Mister Shurshill,” replied Baba Osun, “I am driving straight to the Lagos Lagoon. I cannot sleep this night unless and until I hookup with Mama Ebuka.” 

“Ah my friend” said Kent Churchill shaking his head, “I can see that you truly have a soldier ant right inside your pant. Take care that she does not eat you up anytime soon.”

But like a wayward dog that would no longer heed his master’s call, Baba Osun got into his car and drove off to join the Igbos and other revelers right inside the Lagos Lagoon.

 

  • THE END   -

 

 “Who then is the faithful and prudent servant whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? ……But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely…” 

Mathew, 24:45-51

(Writer’s comments:- For the wicked servant read a Nigerian President. For the fellow servants, read ordinary Nigerians. For the serial beatings read political maladministration, hijack of the State Treasury, diversion of State Funds, insensitivity, lack of human sympathy and absence of empathy. For the eating and drinking, read doling out of State Funds in the form of  electoral bribes to pressure groups, religious, traditional and opinion leaders, security officers, judges,  media practitioners etc.  For the drunkard friends, read corrupt politicians, corrupt opinion and religious leaders, uncouth political thugs, greedy business men and irreverent ex-militants. For the wicked servant’s master, read national elections).

 

  

My compatriot Sule was a bad boy. Without question Sule was a very bad boy. In those days, Sule was a student studying civil engineering in one of the local universities around and josh was Sule playful? His mother Loveth, more popularly known as Madam Love, and whose favorite refrain was “show love to all men” was a frequent visitor to a certain departmental office particularly during the build-up to semester exams. 

Just before Sule’s final semester exams, Madam Love was sequestered in the private office of Dr Larry Adams, then Head of the Civil Engineering Department.  “So you see Madam Love, I have tried my very best but I can see no way Sule can graduate this semester” Dr Adams chipped in. “Sule your son is too playful. He takes nothing seriously. Already he has spent 9 years in this department studying for a 5 year course. If he fails this time according to the University rules and regulations he will be kicked out for good.” 

“God forbid” quipped Madam Love. “Yes Madam Love, but what have I not done for Sule.” “I have given him extra tutorials but he is not serious. Can you imagine, just this last week I was tutoring him on the Principles of Reinforced Concrete Design and he appeared to be busy jotting down points. When I asked to see his notes, all he had on it was a sketch of a naked girl sitting in a very compromising position on the laps of a bald man old enough to be her father. Can you beat that?”

“Hmmm….” exclaimed Madam Love “Sule will kill me before my time.” “Please Dr Adams, do not give up on Sule. He is just like his father. His father was too playful too before he died. Look let me tell you a family secret. When I was a young girl barely 14 years old, my eldest sister Sisi Onome married Sule’s grandfather the late Chief Shehu Adamu as his youngest wife and took me along to stay with her in that family. Sule’s father Musa who was then about 19 years old was the only son of Chief Adamu from all his wives and because he wanted more sons that is why he married my sister Sisi Onome.”

“At night when my sister went to sleep in Chief Adamu’s apartment, Sule’s father Musa would creep into our own apartment and start playing with me. Every night without fail we would play together till day-break before he crept away.” 

“Both Sisi and myself took in at the same time. When Sisi discovered what had happened and that I was equally pregnant she cursed me and wanted to banish me from the family, but Chief Adamu insisted that I must give birth first in his house before leaving. Sisi and I gave birth few days apart.”

“Unfortunately Sisi gave birth to a baby girl Risikat while I gave birth two days thereafter to Sule who was a carbon copy of Musa and bore a very strong resemblance to Chief Adamu as well. Sisi cursed me bitterly saying I had shattered all her plans because she intended to poison Musa someday once she gave birth to a son herself.” 

“On seeing Sule for the first time, Chief Adamu exclaimed, ‘this baby is just like my very self. What am I looking for again?’ To cut a very long story short, that is how I grew a long tap root in the house and secured a higher stake in the Adamu family than Sisi. So you see Sule is just like his father and his grandfather. He likes play – play too much. It is in their blood.”

“Anyway Doctor Adams, I know you have been trying. Please help me this last time so that Sule can graduate. Look as usual, I have brought a lot of fresh food stuff with me from the village. Name it yam, plaintain, fresh vegetable, melon, coco nut, coco-yam, assorted fish, palm-oil, lobster, palm wine, snails etc. They are all heaped inside that lorry parked outside. I also have something special for you inside this envelope too. Here take it.” 

Doctor Adams quickly snatched the envelope and put it inside his breast pocket and straightened it out. “Madam Love, I will try my best but let me put it on record that I cannot guarantee anything. Look each semester I go round all the Lecturers begging them to pass Sule. Now the other Lecturers are beginning to suspect that something extra is going on.” 

“They think I am enjoying something extra-ordinary from you even though I share all the goodies you bring to me with them on an equal per capita basis and two of us know that nothing else is going on between us.” Doctor Adams glanced wistfully at Madam Love’s bosom and hips.

This was the opening Madam Love was patiently waiting for all along. She eagerly seized it with both hands. “Ah Doctor Adams, why did you not openly declare your interest and intention to run for my private office since all these years that we have known each other? You these men. Forget it.  All of you are the same when it comes to play-play matter. You know you always look very serious and officious like a consecrated Bishop. I did not know that you too equally like to play. Wait for me. I am coming.” 

With this she quickly stepped outside his office.  

Doctor Adams’ heart started beating feverishly.  He imagined all sort of things. ‘What is Madam Love up to?’ he thought to himself. ‘Maybe she went to the rest room to freshen herself up. But surely she knows I cannot do anything right now? Too many people may be hanging around outside my door monitoring me.’ His heart was beating ever faster like a heavy duty submersible pump as he imagined himself playing with Madam Love. 

He imagined grabbing her by her thick waist and imposing himself forcefully upon her. He imagined her crying out in pain. The thought was too ecstatic for him to bear. Scratching his bald head and loosening his tie, he said to himself, ‘Boy oh boy, no venture, no success. Life itself is a risk. I shall contest to occupy Madam Love’s private office immediately she comes back no matter the consequences. But I must be very quick about it. Five minutes at the most. Once you knock a woman down the first time, other times will surely follow with minimum resistance, just as night must follow day. It is an unfailing law of feminine nature. ‘ 

He stood up and adjusted his office table and chairs, trying to figure out the best location and configuration to lay the impending ambush on Madam Love’s corporal assets.

Madam Love re-emerged suddenly with three young and very beautiful girls in tight-fitting short skirts and skimpy blouses. “Doctor this is Ifeoma, this one is Aisha and the other one is Funke. They are some of the young girls I am training on home and social etiquette back in the village. Aisha, Funke and Ifeoma this is Doctor Adams, Sule’s godfather.”

 “Good day Sir” they greeted in unison like a choral group, genuflecting synchronously by bending both knees and revealing their deep cleavages in the process. Doctor Adams involuntarily straightened up in shock and shook each girl’s hand, taking a tad bit too long to release each hand. “You are welcome Funke, Ifeoma and Aisha, please sit down and feel at home.” All three sat down without crossing their legs. 

Doctor Adams moved back and sat on his chair. From his vantage position behind the table, he espied that they were wearing nothing beneath their skirts. What he saw was unbelievable and indescribable.  Suddenly the blood vessels inside his brain started pulsating so rapidly that they threatened to burst. He was choking with lust. He removed his tie completely. He felt some relief now that he was sitting down behind his table for the bulge in his pants had become very conspicuous and highly embarrassing. But Madam Love was not yet done.

“Doctor, my son Sule told me that you sent your family away to Ghana for the summer holidays. I know you are a very busy man who would not have time for such minor domestic issues like cooking. That is why I brought Aisha, Ifeoma and Funke along with me so that they will always prepare good food for you with all the stuff I have inside that Lorry which I do not want to go bad and be wasted.” 

“With your permission, can Funke, Aisha and Ifeoma go now with the Lorry driver to your house and help to offload them?”  She continued, “do not worry, all three of them can stay with you for several weeks or even months until your family comes back. I know you will take very good care of them. Just give them your house key. The lorry driver knows the way to your house.” 

“Sure, sure, by all means Madam Love, they can stay with me,” replied Doctor Adams as he hastily removed the house key from the bunch of keys on his desk, his hands were shaking with excitement like that of an old man down with Parkinson’s disease. 

Once they were gone, Doctor Adams exclaimed in genuine admiration. “Madam the Madam. The one and only Madam Love.”  “Yes it is me” replied Madam Love, “showing love to all men as usual.” Doctor Adams could not help himself. He stood up and declared solemnly. “Madam Love, I hereby confer on you a doctorate degree without coursework in the administration and practice of love to mankind. Truly you are an accomplished subject matter expert in the specialty and art of Love.”  

“Thank you Doctor Adams but please do not forget your son Sule.” “Sule?” sniggered Doctor Adams as if that was a non-issue, “I tell you Madam Love, Sule is already a graduate engineer.” “Amen, amen, amen-oooh” ejaculated Madam Love. She stood up in excitement and made to embrace Doctor Adams but he gently extricated himself from her grasp. 

Having been privileged to enjoy a sneak preview of Aisha, Funke and Ifeoma’s more modern and contemporary hidden assets, he was no more enthusiastic about hugging the antiquated and dilapidated female anatomy of Madam Love, a point which did not go unnoticed by Madam Love herself. She cleverly concealed her deep embarrassment and utter disappointment. 

At this point in time, Doctor Adams was ready to call it a day at the office and retire to his home immediately but he continued. “You see the problem with Sule is that even if you show him the exam questions as well as the solutions before-hand and ask him to practice it all night, he will still fail the exam once he gets inside the hall.  I have tried it with him several times in the recent past with nothing on his part to show for the assistance rendered to him.”

“However just right now as I am speaking to you I have devised a new technique. You know as the Head of Department, I have access to all the exam questions and model solutions which the Course Lecturers as a standing rule must deposit the night before inside the safe  over there in that corner of my office. So I will ask Sule the night before each particular exam to come to my house and copy out the solution in his own handwriting in an official answer booklet.” 

“On the exam day he can go and mess up as usual. Once all the answer scripts are turned in and just before they are taken away for grading by the Course Lecturers I will remove the one he wrote inside the hall and replace it with the one he wrote the night before and nobody would be the wiser for it. Yes that is what I will do.”

It was now Madam Love’s turn to hail him. “Ah the great Doctor. I knew you would always come up with a solution. You are too sharp Doctor. Thank you very much. Now that everything is settled, let me be on my way, it is a long journey back to the village.” Just then there was a knock on the door. It was Festus one of the senior and soon to be graduating students. 

“Can I see you briefly Sir?” “Yes, yes Festus. Come in.” Dr Adams was always pleased to see Festus. He reminded him of himself in his younger days before things went bad. “Sir I wanted your assistance in this problem I am solving. It is the last question of the last Chapter of the recommended text on the Principles and Practice of Structural Engineering Analysis and Design. I am having a little difficulty with it.” 

Doctor Adams was amazed. “If you are having difficulties why don’t you skip it and tackle others. Such a difficult problem may not even appear in the final exams,” he said dropping a heavy hint. “But Sir I have solved every other problem in the book. Only this one is proving too tough for me.” Doctor Adams was speechless. “Festus you mean you have already solved all the problems in this huge text-book?” “Yes sir” replied Festus. “I started from the very first day of the semester, solving 5 problems a day from each subject’s recommended text-book right up till now. “

Doctor Adams turned to Madam Love. “You see Madam Love, this is what I have been saying,” he said waving a hand. “Look at this boy now. See he is more than prepared for the semester exams? He started early and now he is relaxed. How many hours do you sleep in a night?” he asked Festus. “I sleep a full seven hours Sir.  I started preparing for the final exams right from day one. My parents are very poor you see and I have been surviving only because of the university scholarship I enjoy.” 

“How many hours do your colleagues sleep in a night right now?” “Well Sir,” replied Festus, “most of my colleagues did not start studying until last week and the Semester exams is just next week. They are very desperate now. They spend all their time in the Library and only come to the hostel to shower and change their clothes.”

 “And I suspect they are pestering you to help them in solving some problems?” “Yes, yes Sir” replied Festus, “how did you know? They are now running helter skelter in desperation asking me to solve this problem or that problem which they think would appear in the exam. Many of them even promise to pay me upfront so that I can teach them but I have to rest now you see, so that I do not get stressed up inside the exam hall.” 

Doctor Adams had heard enough. “Okay Festus that will do for now. See me tomorrow morning. You see I have a guest in my office from afar.” “Okay Sir and thank you Sir.”

Once Festus was gone, Doctor Adams turned to Madam Love. “Madam Love you see this boy has just reminded me of something very important. If Sule passes the semester exams right now as I have planned, a lot of eyebrows will be raised since everybody knows he is the least serious student we have. I will have to ask Sule to instigate a Student’s riot so that the exams can be postponed for a few weeks.”

“During the intervening period of the postponement, Sule must pretend to be very serious with his studies. He must contact all his lecturers and fellow students without exception asking them one intelligent question or the other which I shall compose for him. He must do this so that when the results come out and he passes, none of the other stakeholders will query his performance.”

“They will conclude that he utilized the period of the exam postponement to work hard. I only pity the students from poor family backgrounds like Festus, already living from hand to mouth, who may not have the money to finance themselves for a further few weeks of semester extension. You understand what I am saying?” 

“Yes Doctor Adams I will certainly notify Sule” she said as she made to leave. “Wait for me Madam Love, I shall be closing too. I have had a hectic day in the office,” said Doctor Adams as he hastily packed his things into his briefcase. Madam Love suppressed a smile. ‘Men are like little children if only you know how to manipulate them.’ she said to herself, ‘Doctor Adams cannot wait to get home and begin to play with his new toys.’

And so under the conspiratorial instigation of Doctor Adams, Sule and his cultic clique of friends sabotaged the University standby electricity generators by secretly pouring water into their engines thereby causing all of them to knock. After two consecutive nights of blackout, the University erupted in a violent students’ demonstration.  As a way of pacifying them the School authorities announced the postponement of the Semester exams by six full weeks in order to allow frayed nerves to settle and hot tempers to cool down. 

Poor, yet brilliant and studious students like Festus who were well prepared for the examinations were very bitter about the extension but other less well prepared students seized upon the opportunity to dust up their books. As advised, Sule was a model of agitated studiousness during the intervening period. He moved from Lecturer to Lecturer and from student to student asking critical questions in a fake demonstration of seriousness. He was spending heavily like a drunken sailor on shore leave, asking for tutoring help from all and sundry. 

And the exams did finally come to pass. 

As expected, Festus emerged as the best Student of the class with a cumulative GPA of 3.97 out of a maximum possible GPA of 4.0.  He later went on to become a Professor of Civil Engineering in one of the prestigious North American universities. 

Sule Adamu to the surprise and amazement of all and thanks to Doctor Adams’ secret intervention graduated with a cumulative GPA of 2.0. He would later go on to earn a Doctorate degree in civil engineering under the supervision of Doctor Adams with a carefully concealed Dissertation to match. Later still, he went on to become at first the Deputy Governor and later the substantive Governor of his home state in Nigeria. 

Doctor Adams rose to become the Vice-Chancellor of the institution but not before he became the subject of a messy divorce cum sex scandal well laced with numerous extra-marital liaisons and sordid allegations of having put at least three young ladies, Ifeoma, Aisha and Funke in the family way all about the same time. 

On the swearing-in of Sule as a State Governor upon the impeachment of his former boss, Madam Love became known statewide as Mother Excellency.  

She it was who while her son was still a State Governor, walked up to the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with her son the Governor, Dr. Sule Adamu in tow and made an unusual request. “I want you to do something for me Your Excellency, Mr President” she declared fearlessly. The President, a renowned Lothario, grabbed her buttocks from behind and said jokingly, “Yes Madam Love, what do you want from me now?” “I want you to command that this son of mine”, she held Dr. Sule Adamu by the hand “sits beside you on your right hand side in your Presidency.”

 “Ah Sule” addressed the President to the Governor. “Can you drink the cup of enjoyment which I am drinking?” “Yes I can, Sir” replied Sule. “Can you engage in conspiratorial instigation?”  “Yes, Yees I can, Sir” replied Sule, “I have been doing it all my life as my mother can eloquently testify.”  “Are you capable of human manipulation using all the tools placed at your disposal including those common resources kept under your custody and entrusted to your care for safe keeping on behalf of this present generation and generations yet unborn?” “Yes, Yeees, Yeeeeees Sir, I can and I will” replied Sule emphatically.   

“Well the cup of enjoyment I am drinking you shall also drink from and the conspiratorial instigation as well as the human manipulation of the masses by the Presidency you shall also partake in” replied the then President rather prophetically. 

“But as for who shall sit on my right hand side, it is not for me to decide. It is for the Nigerian constitution, currently under review to possibly accommodate my third term in office, to determine. However I can see that it is people like you, subject matter experts in the science and art of conspiratorial instigation and human manipulation that are emerging as the new face of modern Nigeria,” concluded the President.  

And the rest as they say is now history ever ready to repeat itself, except you intervene with your electoral vote.

 

  •   THE END      -

  

(Disclaimer: - This story-sketch of contemporary Nigeria and the characters within it is pure fiction. It bears no resemblance to any actual event which occurred in the past, nor to any person or persons living or dead. Any remarkable resemblance is at best accidental, for certain coincidental, and at worst a hallucinatory by-product of the reader’s hyperactive imagination.)

 

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under-foot and turn and tear you to pieces.”

Mathew, 7:6

 

This being the third in the ‘A Nation in Heat’ series of Nigerian ‘Liberation’ essays, it was originally intended that it would be the capstone piece. But then this writer had not bargained with what is universally known as the ‘Nigerian factor,’ in which uncertainty and mayhem are deliberately injected into a smoothly running system in order to yield otherwise unattainable outcomes. 

And so here we are, the Nigerian Presidential elections previously scheduled for February 14, 2015 has been shifted to March 28, 2015 by the conspiratorial instigation of the Jonathan Presidency because according to the BBC, “troops will not be available to help patrol the ballots because they would be fighting Boko Haram militants in the North East.”

If you believe this, then you would believe anything of course. The same Nigerian Army that had hitherto been reduced into a partisan electoral bodyguard force by the Jonathan Presidency has suddenly found its mettle, resolve and prowess and is now ‘raring’ to fearlessly engage terrorists in the forthcoming couple of weeks. 

It is possible that its new found courage is because it has been reinforced by more serious minded Chadian, Cameroonian and Nigerien armies in the Joint Strike Force against Boko Haram. Sensing that victory is near at last, the military wants to be well poised on the backs of the Chadians, Cameroonians and Nigeriens to claim the victory for their patron, President Jonathan. 

What cannot be ruled out in addition, as not a few observers have noted, is that sensing an electoral trouncing in the works, President Jonathan and his political party need more time to dissipate the fervor and enthusiasm of the opposition supporters not to talk of the meager funds available to the leading opposition party. 

They also need more time to fine-tune and re-jig their electoral rigging strategies, retrieve from safe haven locations, captive State funds, which were hijacked from the national treasury for these types of contingencies. Finally they need more time to dangle these captive funds at greedy electoral bureaucrats, greedy judges and greedy Christian pastors who like prostitutes are always available to render immoral partisan services at a hefty fee to desperate patrons. 

Tattered National Image 

For this writer, the price to be paid is one or more additional pieces in the ‘A Nation in Heat’ series of essays. Spare a thought for foreign electoral observers some of who are already in the country and others who had concluded plans to jet into the country this week in order to monitor the Nigerian elections. Those plans are now in tatters, because of the waning electoral fortunes of one man who cannot afford to fail. What kind of impression will they have of Nigeria? 

Spare a thought for some Nigerians who had relocated their families to their hometowns or sent them abroad in order to keep them away from harm’s way in case there is a violent backlash after the elections. They now have to incur the extra costs and risks of bringing their families back to their stations for a month and sending them away again in five weeks’ time. Their projections are now in shreds because of the fate of one man at the top who cannot afford to lose an election.

 Spare a thought for investors who have important investment decisions to make and were only awaiting the outcome of the elections to ascertain if the coast is clear to proceed or not. They now have to wait for another six or seven weeks to make investment decisions. That is if they have not already decided to withhold their investments on the grounds that an uncertain business climate is not a good environment for profitable investment. Just because of one man who cannot fail.

One of the most essential indices of a developed country or a country that is serious about development is the enthronement of certainty and predictability in all aspects of national life. But then that is asking too much from Nigeria. Nigeria has turned uncertainty into an art form. With the flimsiest excuse, uncertainty is introduced into the system as State Policy without giving a damn about the consequences so long as selfish aims may be attained therefrom. It is therefore with reason that Nigeria is the butt of global jokes as an archetypal unserious nation. Not surprisingly, Nigeria is equally a nation in steep decline.

Free-fall into Mediocrity

Imagine for a moment that there is a religion inspired terrorist insurrection in Florida and Texas in the USA. Imagine that the United States government having tried for six years to contain the insurrection, is nowhere nearer attaining its objectives today than six years earlier. Imagine that the situation has become so critical that neighboring countries like Cuba and Mexico are forced to intervene in order to bail out the clearly incapacitated US military. 

Further imagine that it is an election year in which the sitting American President (Obama) and his main opponent (Romney) had campaigned and toured 36 states at a frenetic pace over a space of about 1 month. Then imagine that just a week to the US Presidential elections, the same US military comes forth to say that they cannot guarantee the security of the electoral process as their attention would be focused on Florida and Texas in conjunction with their Cuban and Mexican counterparts! What a joke!  But that is the sorry and shameful situation the Nigerian military and Nigeria itself has been reduced to today.

If they were so serious about their limitations, why did they not come out openly to express their observations in December 2014, before the Nigerian President abandoned almost all State duties for 1 month to hit the campaign trail? Did they have to wait until they apprised the relative sizes of the turnouts at the President’s and his main Challenger’s campaign rallies, discovered that the Challenger was pulling at least an equal or in most cases larger support than the incumbent, before they realized that they cannot guarantee the security of the electoral process? 

What if it was the other way round? Would they have had the temerity to dampen the fortunes of their Commander – in – Chief if he was poised to win the elections?
When did the Nigerian military start caring so strongly about the terrorist action in the North East? If they were so serious about their responsibilities in the North East why did the Chadian Forces seize the initiative and enter Nigerian territory to attempt to recapture Gambaru in Nigeria from Boko Haram forces with the Nigerian Defense Ministry spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade reduced to saying that "the Chadians are...working in concert with the overall plan for an all round move against the terrorists as agreed," (Reuters, Feb. 3, 2015). 

What a supreme irony it is that the Chadians who were once chased out of the Lake Chad area about 30 years ago by no other than General Muhammadu Buhari the leading opposition Presidential candidate, now carry the battle against Boko Haram straight into Nigeria and the Nigerian Army is forced to give public relations explanations about having granted prior approvals to them for the incursion. If it is not a slide into mediocrity for a nation of 170 million people to be bailed out by a nation of 10 million or so people then what else does mediocrity mean? 

Decadent Military

In any case since when did electoral duties become part of the Nigerian military’s brief? What has happened to the regular Police Force and Mobile Police Force? Is this misuse of the military to secure electoral victories for the ruling party not one of the prime reasons why the Nigerian army is faring so poorly in the battle against Boko Haram? Is this not the reason why the Nigerian military can come out so boldly to say that it cannot guarantee ‘security’ for the elections? Since when did securing elections become part of the military’s brief? 

Is it not in effect publicly conceding that given the size of the popular support mobilized for the opposition, it is not in a position today to guarantee electoral victory for its Chief Patron as usual?  What does the Nigerian Army have to say about the alleged involvement of its personnel in the rigging of the recent elections in Ekiti State with allegedly professionally authenticated voice recordings to match now in the public domain?

Is the partisanship of the Nigerian Army not buttressed by its recent declaration that it does not have the Secondary School Leaving Certificate of its former Commander-in-Chief General Muhammadu Buhari the leading opposition candidate after the same Army spokesman said that he had once seen it in his file? Was the Army spokesman in the Army in the early sixties when General Buhari enlisted in the Armed Forces as to know whether it was the practice then for enlistees to submit the original of their certificates on enlistment? 

Has General Muhammadu Buhari not been vindicated by General Alani Akinrinnade, a former Chief of Army Staff and a former Chief of Defence Staff when he remarked in a recent interview: “He did (General Muhammadu Buhari did submit his original certificates to the Army on enlistment). As I speak to you, I don’t know where my original certificate is because we gave the original to the Military Board. They took it from us when we applied to join the Army. You give the original copy of credential to the board. They take it and keep it in your file, that’s what happened. How many years ago? 50 years. And Nigeria with our (poor) record-keeping and filing things into an archive - if we have an archive at all; an archive inhabited by rats and cockroaches. I think it’s an insult. I take it as a personal insult.” (The Punch Newspaper, February 8, 2015).

Who must Nigerians believe about the practice in the Armed Forces 50 years ago?  Two highly respected and regarded Generals (Buhari and Akinrinnade) who retired about 30 years ago when the Nigerian Army was feared everywhere on the African continent or a currently serving Army Spokesman who within a space of two or three weeks contradicted himself publicly? Was the same Army spokesman after his most suspicious and awful public recant not immediately rewarded by a ‘routine’ transfer to another juicier(?) post? 

Is it not a sign of the decadence in the Nigerian Army since buttressed by its incompetence and impotence on the battle field that it has allowed itself to be misused by desperate corrupt politicians in the ongoing conspiracy to drag General Muhammadu Buhari, the leading opposition candidate and a man of reputedly very high integrity as acclaimed by friends and foes alike, down from his high horse of moral integrity to their own level of despicability? 

Had the Nigerian military searched for the missing Chibok girls with the same zeal and enthusiasm they searched Muhammadu Buhari’s personal files in the Military Archives for his original certificates, would they not have secured the freedom of those girls from terrorist captivity by now? 

Now wait a minute. How can the Nigerian Armed Forces who have so far been unable to free themselves and the institution they represent from the captivity of corrupt, desperate politicians, be in a position to free anyone else from the hands of terrorists? Indeed, who is in greater need of a rescue mission? Is it Nigerians from the clutches of terrorists or the Nigerian Armed Forces from the hands of corrupt politicians? 

What greater evidence is there of the military’s captivity under corrupt politicians than their role in thwarting the Presidential elections scheduled for February 14th, 2015? Has this ‘salvific’ feat not since been publicly acclaimed by their masters and captors - the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)?  Democratic indeed!!!

Transformation or Transmutation?

The evidently outgoing Jonathan Administration which refuses to leave without creating an ugly scene and an undignified global spectacle, prides itself in its so-called Transformation Agenda. However critical examination of the national political scene reveals that almost all the ingredients for a civilian dictatorship are in place. Consider this mix:-

  • Subservient, pliant and openly partisan Security Forces who are now regime protectors rather than constitution defenders. Commentary:- For proof refer back to the preceding paragraphs.
  • Heavily compromised legislators. Commentary:- They are self-compromised by their own greed.
  • A rabid propaganda outfit dedicated to the idolization of the “Great Once-Shoeless Leader.” Commentary:- this is still a work-in-progress but we are getting there by the day as all the relevant propaganda personnel are now in place.
  • Compromised Church Leaders. Commentary:- Where the presidential story-line in the 2011 cycle of elections which the gullible masses bought into was  “I was once shoeless,” the current presidential storyline targeted at Pentecostal Christians is “Lookout, I am so humble that I may be found kneeling down at the nearest Pentecostal Church revival crusade next to you.” A few Pentecostal Church leaders are still honest. But the rest?
  • Compromised Judiciary and Judiciary workers. Commentary:- There are still a few honest, God-fearing judges, but their numbers are dwindling rapidly by the day. As for Judiciary workers, it was recently in the news that the General Secretary of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Mr Isaiah Adetola may be on the run for his life having alleged that JUSUN was heavily bribed by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation to go on strike in order to frustrate the Supreme Court from pronouncing on the eligibility of Mr. President to run in the 2015 elections. He said the same Attorney-General later turned around to offer another counter bribe to JUSUN to call off the strike “so as to pave way for some persons to go to Court to stop the 2015 General Elections.” (NewsPunch report dated January 26, 2015). These are the leaders in today’s Nigeria! Nonsense!!
  • Partisan State Media. Commentary:- Virtually all state media are partisan in their coverage of the forthcoming elections. With its heavy financial war-chest, some private media may already be self-censoring in order to attract political advertisements from the ruling party, flush with cash.
  • Intimidated Electoral Agency. Commentary:- The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission appeared in recent photographs as someone shocked to his bone marrow at what was playing out before his very eyes.
  • Compromised Elders and Ethnic Associations. Commentary:-Look at the current raging conflicts in Ohaneze and Afenifere.
  • Captive Treasury. Commentary:- Two former Chairmen of the Central Bank of Nigeria have come forward publicly to allege that huge amounts of state funds running into billions of dollars are missing from the Treasury.
  • Largely Compromised Political Class. Commentary:- Most politicians in Nigeria are rotten and rotten to the core. This cuts across all political parties.
  • Compromised Bureaucracy. Commentary:- The Nigerian Bureaucracy at all levels is a renowned cesspool of corruption.
  • Online Censorship in the Works. Commentary:- The National Security Adviser spoke recently about censorship of online pornographic content. The crucial question is will the censorship stop at online pornography or is it a dry run for something more sinister?
  • Constitution Amendment. Commentary:- This has already been attempted but not yet concluded partly because the regime did not as at then have the political muscle to influence the outcome of the National Constitution Amendment conference. There is nothing to suggest the exercise will not be revisited and repeated to suit any hidden agenda, if and when the regime acquires greater political muscle by hook or by crook at the forthcoming polls.
  • Motive for self-perpetuation in power - Litany of outrageous conduct in office.Commentary:- As pointed out by this writer in a previous essay titled “The Unholy Trinity – National Interest vs. Regime Interest” which appeared in several online media sometime around November, 2012, all rogue regimes are characterized by an unholy trinity of illegitimate regime interests, the father figure of which is primitive wealth accumulation at the expense of the nation. As seen from the captive state treasury in Nigeria, this is already in place. The next element of the unholy trinity is regime stretch or self-perpetuation in power in order to protect the regime’s primitive wealth holdings and to prevent regime members from being sent to jail or meeting worse fate when they relinquish power. So as we can see, the motive for self-perpetuation in power is equally already in place. It will be naïve to believe that a sitting rogue regime will voluntarily wind itself down in accordance with the Constitution when it is faced with imminent electoral defeat.
  • Blatant rigging of election results. Commentary:- Historically, successful rigging of elections in a fairly evenly matched political contest (or in fact more so in one in which the putative Dictator is a distant second best to the main Challenger) is often the threshold for transmutation to full blown dictatorship. This situation from the look of things is already in place as the main challenger General Muhammadu Buhari to all intents and purposes is at worst evenly matched or perhaps far more popular with the electorate than the incumbent. In order to hold on to power in a blatantly rigged election, the putative dictator must of necessity resort to the next and last item which is the most potent weapon in the hands of all Dictators.
  • Terror, Violence and Targeted Political Assassinations. Commentary:- To the credit of this Administration, this is the only crucial ingredient for full blown dictatorship that is still missing in the Nigerian political scene. How long it will remain missing from the ready-mix for Civilian Dictatorship is anybody’s guess given that a perfect alibi for political terror is already in place in the form of Boko Haram and that for all intents and purposes the main Challenger, General Muhammadu Buhari cannot be defeated in a free and fair electoral contest without resorting to blatant rigging, which may already be in progress, right now even as you read this.

There is an American saying called the Duck Test which states that ‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.’ 

When one considers the current political scene in Nigeria within which the Jonathan Administation is operating and applies the Duck Test to its Transformation Agenda, one comes away with the distinct impression that ‘if it looks like a Civilian Dictatorship, acts like a Civilian Dictatorship and barks like a Civilian Dictatorship, then it is probably a Civilian Dictatorship in the works. So the Transformation Agenda may actually be a ruse. It may actually be a Transmutation Agenda into full blown Civilian Dictatorship that we are currently witnessing. Time will tell. But the nation is forewarned. A national disaster might be in the offing.

Change or Reformation?

The campaign mantra of the main opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress or (APC) under its Presidential Candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari  is Change. The APC then goes on to emphasize, Insecurity, Corruption and the Economy/Employment as its main focus. That may well be a correct focus as first order business attracting a new government’s attention. 

But it does not suffice if Nigeria is to stop moving around in circles like a goat tethered to a stake which sometimes moves clockwise and at other times moves anti-clockwise tracing almost identical loci at all times. Indeed many supporters and opponents of General Buhari still harbor old-fashioned ideas of supporting or opposing the General either because ‘he is one of us’ or because ‘he is one of them’  as the case may be. 

A lot of water has passed under the Nigerian bridge that change for the sake of change can no longer suffice. The chasms in Nigeria are so wide and are growing wider by the day. Sometimes one wonders if Nigerians actually exist in the same country.

Barring further interventionist essays like this one, the capstone piece in the ‘A Nation in Heat’ series of essays will look at the type of reformation necessary if Nigeria is to permanently break the mold of mediocrity inside which it is currently cocooned. It will suggest a couple of modalities to ensure that Nigeria is liberated from its current status as a nation with permanently unrealizable potential. Just as one pointer, it is self-evident that the engrained Nigerian mentality of a ‘turn-by-turn’ approach to leadership selection will never lead to a turnaround of Nigeria’s fortunes.

Have Faith Nigeria

With apologies to the sensibilities of our muslim brethren and as a way of drawing the curtains down on this interventionist essay, let us turn to the most excellent lyrical and rhythmical words of exhortation and lamentation by the roots reggae group Twinkle Brothers adapted from the Bible and addressed to a feckless generation.

‘Oh thee, oh thee of little faith,

When you reach-a-River Jordan and you turn right back.

……Faith can move mountain, Jah Jah say,

……Faith can move mountain oh yeah. 

Just as it was in the beginning so it shall be in the end.

Shedrack, Mishack and Abednego, 

say they cast them in a fire but they never get burn.

………Faith can move mountain, Have faith in Jah.

…….Faith can move mountain. Jahoviah.’

Twinkle Brothers, 1986, roots reggae track titled “Faith Can Move Mountain” 

Yes indeed, people of Nigeria, as a manner of speaking, we have reached River Jordan, the place of liberation from our sorry past, but the forces of backwardness, insist we cannot cross-over. They have shifted our time of crossing by six weeks. But let us have faith. Let us wait patiently. Let us keep our resolve intact. Let there be no violence, whatever the provocation might be. Let us not play into their malevolent hands.

Having reached this far, we cannot turn back again to place ourselves once more under the hideous yoke of Pharaoh (President Goodluck Jonathan) and Egypt (his political party). On March 28th we must cross River Jordan (General Muhammadu Buhari) and proceed to our Promised Land.  Have no fear about drowning in River Jordan. Have faith in God.  And it shall be well with the General.

  • The End -

I read some of the responses to my article, “Buhari vs Jonathan: Beyond the Election”, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the debate. I am glad that the debate has finally taken off. I have decided, for the record, to re-enter the debate if only to set some records straight and hopefully elevate the debate further. Whom do I respond to? First, let me thank Gov Kayode Fayemi for his very mature and professional response on behalf of the APC. It forms a great basis for deepening the conversation. Pat Utomi, Oby Ezekwesili, Iyabo Obasanjo, and thousands of other patriotic Nigerians have raised the content of the debate. Femi Fani-Kayode made me laugh, as usual. The Gov. Jang faction of the Governors’ Forum played the usual politics, although I know what most of them think privately. Who else? Oh, Peter Obi. Well, since he can’t write and designated Valentine as usual to write for him (who never disputed the NBS statistics that Obi broke world record in the pauperization of Anambra people but instead focused on lies and abuses) I won’t dignify him with a response here. His third class performance in Anambra will be the subject of a comprehensive article later.

Here, I will focus on Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s response (as Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy—CME and hence on behalf of the Federal Government). Since I have known her, out of deep respect, I have never called her by her name: I call her Madam. I must state that I have great pains seeing myself on the opposite side of the table with Madam, in this way. I respect you, Madam, and will always do. If you read my article of September 2010 (before you became Minister), the tone and elucidation were as strong as the current one. It is my honest effort to ensure that our choice of leaders is based on rigorous scrutiny of what is on offer. Part of my frustration is that five years after, everything I warned about has come to happen and we are conducting our campaigns as if we are not in crisis. As a concerned Nigerian, I have a duty to speak out again. Regrettably, you have taken it very personal.

I am not bothered about the personal abuses: I actually expected worse. What name has the government not called President Obasanjo or any person who has dared to disagree with it of late? Anyone who disagrees with the government must either be ‘insane’ or have a ‘character’ deficiency or must be ‘looking for a job’ or ‘without honour’, or a ‘charlatan’. Yesterday, Sanusi alleged that $20 billion was missing and he was accused of gross financial mismanagement, recklessness and poor governance to the point of being the first governor of central bank to be suspended from office. Today, he is the good one; and for daring to award an “F” grade for our economic performance, Soludo has become the ‘worst’ and ‘without character’ or perhaps ‘looking for position’ (Lol!). Some days ago, a former president was called ‘a motor park tout’ and ‘un-statesmanly’ just for disagreeing. This “how dare you criticise us” mind-set of the government is dangerous for our democracy.

In this Part One of my planned three part series, I will restrict it to the main issues you raised. I will not bother about the malicious attacks on my person. For me, it is nothing personal. In early 2011, I had a similar heated exchange with then Finance Minister Segun Aganga. But when the Nigerian economy was at stake and he invited me to a stakeholders meeting in his office (as Minister of Trade and Investment) to discuss Nigeria’s response to the ruinous EU — Economic Partnership for Africa (EPA), I flew into Nigeria for that (at my expense) — the first and only time I have been to any government office to discuss policy since I left office. It is about Nigeria. I will, as expected, remind people like you of the salient aspects of my record of public service in response to your charge; challenge your claim to debt relief, and your reason for not saving; highlight your forgery of economic statistics and the lies in your response; but most importantly re-focus our attention to the historic mismanagement of our economy which you carefully avoided. I will show that while you are introducing austerity measures and soon to immiserate the citizens, our public finance is haemorrhaging to the point that estimated over N30 trillion is missing or stolen or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged — under your watch! We can’t go on like this, and I am convinced that an alternative future is possible. Can we have a public debate on this alternative future? The issues at stake are too grave to be trivialized through name calling. As I write, the naira exchange rate to the dollar is at N215 (from N158 a few months ago) and unless oil price recovers, this is just the beginning. For the sake of Nigeria, I won’t keep quiet anymore!

Let me start with Madam’s rather comical, wild judgment on my tenure of office which I believe to be totally false and baseless. I apologise upfront that in the process of making a ‘personal defence’, it is difficult to avoid a rather uncomfortable emphasis on “I”. I did not want that but since Madam has dragged us this low, I have little choice but to do so in the next few paragraphs—just to keep the record straight!

In my view, there are three criteria for evaluating a public officer’s stewardship: the evaluation by his employer; the satisfaction of the public he served; and the hard facts of performance. As I will show on these three counts, I am convinced that I left a world record of public service, and a thousand Okonjo-Iwealas cannot re-write that history. I served Nigeria under two presidents (Obasanjo and Yar’Adua) and as my immediate bosses, below are their written testimonials of my record.

Said President Obasanjo (December 2004):

“Charles Soludo is a true Nigerian. He is the sort of Nigerian that we all know we can rely on. Among his numerous virtues is COURAGE. I have found in him a man who can take tough and realistic decisions, stand his ground, educate others on the salience of his decision, and work very hard to ensure that the decision is efficiently and effectively implemented. His dedication to duty is first rate. His leadership qualities are admirable and his willingness to listen and learn is simply infectious. Professor Soludo has within a short time emerged as one of the leading lights of our nation. Not because he has a godfather but by sheer hard work, loyalty, dedication to duty, commitment to the nation, creativity, and undiluted association with the reform agenda….”

President Yar’Adua (May 2009) had the following to say about the Central Bank of Nigeria under my leadership:

“… the CBN has performed creditably well in delivering on its core mandates. This is especially even more so in the last five years. Most people would agree that without the successful banking consolidation and effective management of our foreign reserves, the current global crisis would have shaken the financial system and our national economy to their foundations with calamitous consequences”.

In the President’s special letter of commendation after the completion of my tenure of office, President Yar’Adua (June 2009) had the following to say to me:

“As your tenure as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria comes to a glorious end, I write on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria to place on record our debt of gratitude to you for your dedicated service and uncommon sense of duty over the past five years. I am confident that your worthy antecedents in the CBN and in prior appointments in the service of our nation remain sources of inspiration to an entire generation. As I wish you even more astounding successes in the years ahead, it is my fervent hope that you will readily avail us of your distinguished service when the need arises in the future”.

To the best of my knowledge, President Obasanjo has not changed those views even after ten years. The views of my two bosses, not the emotional outburst of an angry person desperate to get even, are what count.

How did Nigerians evaluate my public service? Unfortunately, we do not have scientific opinion polls on job approval ratings for individual public officers. But if the public opinions of individuals and organized groups (labour, employers, depositors, borrowers, stakeholders of the financial institutions, newspaper editorials, investors, etc) as expressed in thousands of newspaper/magazine clips during and after my tenure are anything to go by, then 82% of the public largely agree with the sentiments expressed by my two bosses. Your views belong to the other 18% which is okay, after all, no one is perfect. Five Nigerian newspapers and magazines simultaneously named us “man of the year” in one year — unprecedented in Nigeria’s history. I do not talk about hundreds of awards and recognitions by various segments of our society (during and even after service) for “excellent public service”. I was particularly touched by the historic award by the staff union of the Central Bank and the tears in the eyes of many as thousands of the staff gave me a standing ovation as I walked the aisle after my brief farewell speech.

Certainly, the international community (investors, bankers, scholars, donors, media, etc) took serious notice of the revolution in Nigeria’s monetary and financial system. I am recipient of five international awards as global and African central bank governor of the year, not to mention dozens of other recognitions (even after leaving office). The London Financial Times described us as “a great reformer”. Even as the global economic and financial crisis raged in 2008, the United Nations General Assembly appointed me to serve on the Commission of Experts to reform the international monetary and financial system. You don’t appoint someone who has ‘mismanaged’ his national financial system to reform the global system. For 8 years until 2012, I served on the chief economist advisory council (CEAC) of the World Bank, and together with two Nobel Prize winners in economics and other experts we met periodically and advised two presidents and two chief economists of the World Bank, and in 2011, I served on the External Advisory Group of the IMF. Again, these are not positions for ‘mis-managers’. Since I left office, I have been advising countries and central banks; and there is hardly any two months I don’t consult/advise on banking/financial and monetary policy. I have given these illustrations to make the point that for every one Okonjo-Iweala’s attempt to rewrite history, there are thousands who disagree.

Now, to some skeletal facts of our stewardship! I will be brief as I have a whole book to tell my story. As chief economic adviser, I had advised that our banking system could not support the private sector-led economy envisioned under NEEDS. When I assumed office at CBN, I inherited 89 rickety, mostly family banks (all of which put together were not up to the size of number four bank in South Africa). Many were insolvent, with depositors’ money trapped, and 20 more about to collapse. To get a credit of $300 million probably required all the banks to syndicate it. For me, there was a national emergency. I drafted a 13-point reform agenda, discussed and agreed all the specifics with the President, and his VP; as well as my management team at the CBN, and we swung into action. President Obasanjo promised 100% support and actually delivered 1000% — which was decisive. I apologize to you Madam because I did not brief or inform you about it. We just wanted to keep it confidential given the sensitivity of the announcement. It is on record that you never supported it.

It was both a revolution and a war and most people thought it was “impossible”, but thank God we succeeded. For the first time in Nigeria’s history a policy of that magnitude was announced and deadline kept with precision. We were courageous to revoke the licenses of 14 banks, including those of my friends, in one day. The FT-Banker concluded that the scale, precision, and cost of the transformation were unprecedented in the world. Before then, Malaysia had the least cost of banking consolidation at 5% of Malaysian GDP. It did not cost Nigerian taxpayers one penny. Twenty-five new, stronger banks emerged but the powerful idea behind consolidation ignited something even more powerful—‘the race to the top’. Banks raised more capital, and even banks like First Bank, Zenith, GTB, etc that did not merge with others went on capital raising several times. The consequence was higher levels of capitalization and within two years, 14 Nigerian banks were in the top 1000 banks in the world and two in the top 300 (no Nigerian bank was in the top 1000 before I came). Even after I left office, still 9 banks were in the top 1000. Our vision was to have a Nigerian bank in the top 100 banks within 10 years. As I see the new Access bank; Zenith, GTB, Fidelity, Diamond, UBA, FBN, FCMB, Skye, Stanbic IBTC, Union, Ecobank, etc, I cannot but feel that we have taken giant steps forward.

Deposits and credit soared (from barely N1.2 trillion to over N7 trillion); new technologies (ATM and e-banking) boomed, and banks had 57,000 new jobs; mega businesses emerged (ask any major operator in the Nigerian economy their experience with banking and credit before and after Soludo — the Dangotes, Arik, MM2, oil and gas operators; etc); capital market boomed and dominated by the banking sector. It was a new dawn for Nigerian private sector. I have heard Dangote twice say that he would not be near as big as he is today without the banking consolidation. Many other stakeholders still say it today. FDI and portfolio inflows flooded into Nigeria. The world celebrated, and one single transformative idea has changed the face of the private sector and economy forever. Banks became Nigeria’s first transnational corporations with about 37 branches outside of Nigeria.

I read some of the responses to my article, “Buhari vs Jonathan: Beyond the Election”, and I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the debate. I am glad that the debate has finally taken off. I have decided, for the record, to re-enter the debate if only to set some records straight and hopefully elevate the debate further. Whom do I respond to? First, let me thank Gov Kayode Fayemi for his very mature and professional response on behalf of the APC. It forms a great basis for deepening the conversation. Pat Utomi, Oby Ezekwesili, Iyabo Obasanjo, and thousands of other patriotic Nigerians have raised the content of the debate. Femi Fani-Kayode made me laugh, as usual. The Gov. Jang faction of the Governors’ Forum played the usual politics, although I know what most of them think privately. Who else? Oh, Peter Obi. Well, since he can’t write and designated Valentine as usual to write for him (who never disputed the NBS statistics that Obi broke world record in the pauperization of Anambra people but instead focused on lies and abuses) I won’t dignify him with a response here. His third class performance in Anambra will be the subject of a comprehensive article later.

Here, I will focus on Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s response (as Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy—CME and hence on behalf of the Federal Government). Since I have known her, out of deep respect, I have never called her by her name: I call her Madam. I must state that I have great pains seeing myself on the opposite side of the table with Madam, in this way. I respect you, Madam, and will always do. If you read my article of September 2010 (before you became Minister), the tone and elucidation were as strong as the current one. It is my honest effort to ensure that our choice of leaders is based on rigorous scrutiny of what is on offer. Part of my frustration is that five years after, everything I warned about has come to happen and we are conducting our campaigns as if we are not in crisis. As a concerned Nigerian, I have a duty to speak out again. Regrettably, you have taken it very personal.

I am not bothered about the personal abuses: I actually expected worse. What name has the government not called President Obasanjo or any person who has dared to disagree with it of late? Anyone who disagrees with the government must either be ‘insane’ or have a ‘character’ deficiency or must be ‘looking for a job’ or ‘without honour’, or a ‘charlatan’. Yesterday, Sanusi alleged that $20 billion was missing and he was accused of gross financial mismanagement, recklessness and poor governance to the point of being the first governor of central bank to be suspended from office. Today, he is the good one; and for daring to award an “F” grade for our economic performance, Soludo has become the ‘worst’ and ‘without character’ or perhaps ‘looking for position’ (Lol!). Some days ago, a former president was called ‘a motor park tout’ and ‘un-statesmanly’ just for disagreeing. This “how dare you criticise us” mind-set of the government is dangerous for our democracy.

In this Part One of my planned three part series, I will restrict it to the main issues you raised. I will not bother about the malicious attacks on my person. For me, it is nothing personal. In early 2011, I had a similar heated exchange with then Finance Minister Segun Aganga. But when the Nigerian economy was at stake and he invited me to a stakeholders meeting in his office (as Minister of Trade and Investment) to discuss Nigeria’s response to the ruinous EU — Economic Partnership for Africa (EPA), I flew into Nigeria for that (at my expense) — the first and only time I have been to any government office to discuss policy since I left office. It is about Nigeria. I will, as expected, remind people like you of the salient aspects of my record of public service in response to your charge; challenge your claim to debt relief, and your reason for not saving; highlight your forgery of economic statistics and the lies in your response; but most importantly re-focus our attention to the historic mismanagement of our economy which you carefully avoided. I will show that while you are introducing austerity measures and soon to immiserate the citizens, our public finance is haemorrhaging to the point that estimated over N30 trillion is missing or stolen or unaccounted for, or simply mismanaged — under your watch! We can’t go on like this, and I am convinced that an alternative future is possible. Can we have a public debate on this alternative future? The issues at stake are too grave to be trivialized through name calling. As I write, the naira exchange rate to the dollar is at N215 (from N158 a few months ago) and unless oil price recovers, this is just the beginning. For the sake of Nigeria, I won’t keep quiet anymore!

Let me start with Madam’s rather comical, wild judgment on my tenure of office which I believe to be totally false and baseless. I apologise upfront that in the process of making a ‘personal defence’, it is difficult to avoid a rather uncomfortable emphasis on “I”. I did not want that but since Madam has dragged us this low, I have little choice but to do so in the next few paragraphs—just to keep the record straight!

In my view, there are three criteria for evaluating a public officer’s stewardship: the evaluation by his employer; the satisfaction of the public he served; and the hard facts of performance. As I will show on these three counts, I am convinced that I left a world record of public service, and a thousand Okonjo-Iwealas cannot re-write that history. I served Nigeria under two presidents (Obasanjo and Yar’Adua) and as my immediate bosses, below are their written testimonials of my record.

Said President Obasanjo (December 2004):

“Charles Soludo is a true Nigerian. He is the sort of Nigerian that we all know we can rely on. Among his numerous virtues is COURAGE. I have found in him a man who can take tough and realistic decisions, stand his ground, educate others on the salience of his decision, and work very hard to ensure that the decision is efficiently and effectively implemented. His dedication to duty is first rate. His leadership qualities are admirable and his willingness to listen and learn is simply infectious. Professor Soludo has within a short time emerged as one of the leading lights of our nation. Not because he has a godfather but by sheer hard work, loyalty, dedication to duty, commitment to the nation, creativity, and undiluted association with the reform agenda….”

President Yar’Adua (May 2009) had the following to say about the Central Bank of Nigeria under my leadership:

“… the CBN has performed creditably well in delivering on its core mandates. This is especially even more so in the last five years. Most people would agree that without the successful banking consolidation and effective management of our foreign reserves, the current global crisis would have shaken the financial system and our national economy to their foundations with calamitous consequences”.

In the President’s special letter of commendation after the completion of my tenure of office, President Yar’Adua (June 2009) had the following to say to me:

“As your tenure as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria comes to a glorious end, I write on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria to place on record our debt of gratitude to you for your dedicated service and uncommon sense of duty over the past five years. I am confident that your worthy antecedents in the CBN and in prior appointments in the service of our nation remain sources of inspiration to an entire generation. As I wish you even more astounding successes in the years ahead, it is my fervent hope that you will readily avail us of your distinguished service when the need arises in the future”.

To the best of my knowledge, President Obasanjo has not changed those views even after ten years. The views of my two bosses, not the emotional outburst of an angry person desperate to get even, are what count.

How did Nigerians evaluate my public service? Unfortunately, we do not have scientific opinion polls on job approval ratings for individual public officers. But if the public opinions of individuals and organized groups (labour, employers, depositors, borrowers, stakeholders of the financial institutions, newspaper editorials, investors, etc) as expressed in thousands of newspaper/magazine clips during and after my tenure are anything to go by, then 82% of the public largely agree with the sentiments expressed by my two bosses. Your views belong to the other 18% which is okay, after all, no one is perfect. Five Nigerian newspapers and magazines simultaneously named us “man of the year” in one year — unprecedented in Nigeria’s history. I do not talk about hundreds of awards and recognitions by various segments of our society (during and even after service) for “excellent public service”. I was particularly touched by the historic award by the staff union of the Central Bank and the tears in the eyes of many as thousands of the staff gave me a standing ovation as I walked the aisle after my brief farewell speech.

Certainly, the international community (investors, bankers, scholars, donors, media, etc) took serious notice of the revolution in Nigeria’s monetary and financial system. I am recipient of five international awards as global and African central bank governor of the year, not to mention dozens of other recognitions (even after leaving office). The London Financial Times described us as “a great reformer”. Even as the global economic and financial crisis raged in 2008, the United Nations General Assembly appointed me to serve on the Commission of Experts to reform the international monetary and financial system. You don’t appoint someone who has ‘mismanaged’ his national financial system to reform the global system. For 8 years until 2012, I served on the chief economist advisory council (CEAC) of the World Bank, and together with two Nobel Prize winners in economics and other experts we met periodically and advised two presidents and two chief economists of the World Bank, and in 2011, I served on the External Advisory Group of the IMF. Again, these are not positions for ‘mis-managers’. Since I left office, I have been advising countries and central banks; and there is hardly any two months I don’t consult/advise on banking/financial and monetary policy. I have given these illustrations to make the point that for every one Okonjo-Iweala’s attempt to rewrite history, there are thousands who disagree.

Now, to some skeletal facts of our stewardship! I will be brief as I have a whole book to tell my story. As chief economic adviser, I had advised that our banking system could not support the private sector-led economy envisioned under NEEDS. When I assumed office at CBN, I inherited 89 rickety, mostly family banks (all of which put together were not up to the size of number four bank in South Africa). Many were insolvent, with depositors’ money trapped, and 20 more about to collapse. To get a credit of $300 million probably required all the banks to syndicate it. For me, there was a national emergency. I drafted a 13-point reform agenda, discussed and agreed all the specifics with the President, and his VP; as well as my management team at the CBN, and we swung into action. President Obasanjo promised 100% support and actually delivered 1000% — which was decisive. I apologize to you Madam because I did not brief or inform you about it. We just wanted to keep it confidential given the sensitivity of the announcement. It is on record that you never supported it.

It was both a revolution and a war and most people thought it was “impossible”, but thank God we succeeded. For the first time in Nigeria’s history a policy of that magnitude was announced and deadline kept with precision. We were courageous to revoke the licenses of 14 banks, including those of my friends, in one day. The FT-Banker concluded that the scale, precision, and cost of the transformation were unprecedented in the world. Before then, Malaysia had the least cost of banking consolidation at 5% of Malaysian GDP. It did not cost Nigerian taxpayers one penny. Twenty-five new, stronger banks emerged but the powerful idea behind consolidation ignited something even more powerful—‘the race to the top’. Banks raised more capital, and even banks like First Bank, Zenith, GTB, etc that did not merge with others went on capital raising several times. The consequence was higher levels of capitalization and within two years, 14 Nigerian banks were in the top 1000 banks in the world and two in the top 300 (no Nigerian bank was in the top 1000 before I came). Even after I left office, still 9 banks were in the top 1000. Our vision was to have a Nigerian bank in the top 100 banks within 10 years. As I see the new Access bank; Zenith, GTB, Fidelity, Diamond, UBA, FBN, FCMB, Skye, Stanbic IBTC, Union, Ecobank, etc, I cannot but feel that we have taken giant steps forward.

Deposits and credit soared (from barely N1.2 trillion to over N7 trillion); new technologies (ATM and e-banking) boomed, and banks had 57,000 new jobs; mega businesses emerged (ask any major operator in the Nigerian economy their experience with banking and credit before and after Soludo — the Dangotes, Arik, MM2, oil and gas operators; etc); capital market boomed and dominated by the banking sector. It was a new dawn for Nigerian private sector. I have heard Dangote twice say that he would not be near as big as he is today without the banking consolidation. Many other stakeholders still say it today. FDI and portfolio inflows flooded into Nigeria. The world celebrated, and one single transformative idea has changed the face of the private sector and economy forever. Banks became Nigeria’s first transnational corporations with about 37 branches outside of Nigeria.

Saturday, 24 January 2015 14:43

Naira in big fall at forex market

Written by

The Naira on Friday depreciated against the dollar as it traded at N208 from the N191.50 it sold for on Monday, Jan. 19.

The new rate has made the naira to lose N16.50 within five days.

In the parallel market, the Naira even exchanged for as as much as N235 to a dollar, as the American currency became rare in the market.

The CBN’s website, however, put the Naira against the dollar at N167.50, while the Pound sold for N253.20 and the Euro stood at N193.89S

The development has resulted into speculation in the market and caused ripple effects on other currencies.

The NAN correspondent who visited some Bureau De Change and Black Market operators in Lagos, said that they could not give rates to the Pound Sterling and the Euro.

Dealers who preferred anonymity said that there was scarcity of dollars in circulation.

They said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had stopped selling forex to the Bureaux De Change, since last year.

The dealers added that the recent review of trading positions for the forex trading positions of banks to 72 hours, also contributed to speculation in the system.

The effect, they added, was that the naira could depreciate further by next week.

The CBN in November 2014 devalued the Naira to N168 to the dollar.

A new online radio station - X365radio.com - has been launched. The 24/7 hour internet radio station is based in New York City, but transmits to every corner of the world with internet access. A press statement by the founders said yesterday that the new radio station "hopes to become a beacon of hope to people of all races, and to help to promote freedom, liberty and happiness in all societies." Available at http://www.x365radio.com, the new radio station according to the press statement, hopes to help to transform the way people live and conduct business 24/7 in every nation on the planet. 

Heritage Banking Company Limited has introduced Nigeria’s pioneer portable POS solution christened “PortaPOS” to ride on the mPOS revolution, which is fast gaining acceptance worldwide.

Aimed at providing a seamless payment channel for the bank’s esteemed merchants, the Heritage PortaPOS is being introduced to address payment challenges within the retail payments space and also in support of the cashless Nigeria project spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The PortaPOS is a payment channel that performs the functions of an electronic point of sale terminal. Its implementation allows services and sales industries to conduct financial transactions, receive payments and provide value added services via a specialised app on their mobile phones, which in turn helps to improve customers experience and free up valuable real estate that would otherwise be dedicated to the regular POS countertop.

According to Niyi Adeseun, executive director, Manila Banking, Heritage Bank, “today, small businesses and large retailers are turning to mobile point of sale (or mPOS) to increase sales and broaden their customer base. Existing large retailers are also adopting mobile POS solutions and integrating them into their current point of sales environment to enhance payment methods.

“The Nigerian retail and corporate market is undergoing a massive transformation in a battle for digital consumers who shop through a variety of channels, and as such expect a more integrated payment experience that is quick, seamless, convenient, and most importantly secure.

“Any smartphone or tablet is compatible with the Heritage PortaPOS, via a free downloadable app. It is also cost effective, allowing a small business owner to conduct transactions and receive payments without having to invest in an electronic register or pay support licenses for software. Additionally, the solution is also extendable to cater for inventory management requirements of the merchant, so our customers can truly have a mobile business.”

The Heritage PortaPOS, which is free to all Heritage customers, has several distinct features including ability to accept all EMV chip and PIN cards, MasterCard, Verve, and Visa cards. It is portable and light (@ 120g only, as light as a regular mobile handset); it has long-lasting and rechargeable Li-Ion battery and syncs to phone and printer via Bluetooth technology.

Its benefits include being able to work with all networks; direct credit of payments into business accounts; triple receipt option (paper print, email, and SMS) and assured transaction security.

Heritage Bank was founded on a commitment to support its customers in wealth creation, preservation and transfer, and the Heritage PortaPOS is one of the numerous innovative ways through which the bank hopes to empower Nigerian merchants to truly maintain a timeless rhythm to their business payment needs.

Heritage Banking Company Limited has introduced Nigeria’s pioneer portable POS solution christened “PortaPOS” to ride on the mPOS revolution, which is fast gaining acceptance worldwide.

Aimed at providing a seamless payment channel for the bank’s esteemed merchants, the Heritage PortaPOS is being introduced to address payment challenges within the retail payments space and also in support of the cashless Nigeria project spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The PortaPOS is a payment channel that performs the functions of an electronic point of sale terminal. Its implementation allows services and sales industries to conduct financial transactions, receive payments and provide value added services via a specialised app on their mobile phones, which in turn helps to improve customers experience and free up valuable real estate that would otherwise be dedicated to the regular POS countertop.

According to Niyi Adeseun, executive director, Manila Banking, Heritage Bank, “today, small businesses and large retailers are turning to mobile point of sale (or mPOS) to increase sales and broaden their customer base. Existing large retailers are also adopting mobile POS solutions and integrating them into their current point of sales environment to enhance payment methods.

“The Nigerian retail and corporate market is undergoing a massive transformation in a battle for digital consumers who shop through a variety of channels, and as such expect a more integrated payment experience that is quick, seamless, convenient, and most importantly secure.

“Any smartphone or tablet is compatible with the Heritage PortaPOS, via a free downloadable app. It is also cost effective, allowing a small business owner to conduct transactions and receive payments without having to invest in an electronic register or pay support licenses for software. Additionally, the solution is also extendable to cater for inventory management requirements of the merchant, so our customers can truly have a mobile business.”

The Heritage PortaPOS, which is free to all Heritage customers, has several distinct features including ability to accept all EMV chip and PIN cards, MasterCard, Verve, and Visa cards. It is portable and light (@ 120g only, as light as a regular mobile handset); it has long-lasting and rechargeable Li-Ion battery and syncs to phone and printer via Bluetooth technology.

Its benefits include being able to work with all networks; direct credit of payments into business accounts; triple receipt option (paper print, email, and SMS) and assured transaction security.

Heritage Bank was founded on a commitment to support its customers in wealth creation, preservation and transfer, and the Heritage PortaPOS is one of the numerous innovative ways through which the bank hopes to empower Nigerian merchants to truly maintain a timeless rhythm to their business payment needs.

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