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Saturday, 11 March 2017

NOW THAT THE PRESIDENT IS BACK.



By: Eddy Ogunbor.

Rab-ble-rous-er: (noun) : a person who speaks with the intention of inflaming the emotions of a crowd  of people typically for political reasons.
En-fant-terr-ble: (noun) : a person whose unconventional or controversial behavior or ideas shock, embarrass, or annoy others.
Ebun Adegboruwa first caught my attention some years ago when he and some other residents around Lekki and VGC Estate led protest against Lagos State government in an attempt to stop or disrupt the Toll Gate project on Lekki/Epe Express Way.
The reason, understandably, was the fares  residents in the area will have to always pay daily at the Toll gate, especially to and fro work places for those working in Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Lagos Island and Mainland. Residents demanded for alternative routes away from the Toll gate and possibly through VGC Estate.
As credible and justifiable as their demands were, it was of opinion that Adegboruwa and protesters (including Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw and CSO activist, Yemi Adamolekun) should have constructively engaged Lagos State government stating their demands. Whatever it was, the state government stood its grounds. Though the project was temporarily stalled, Adegboruwa and Company had successfully shot themselves into limelight and consciousness of the Nigerian public. Mission accomplished for them.
When, however, Kate Henshaw and Yemi Adamolekun eventually had to appear on national TV to present Nigerians the reasons for their protest and opposition to the Toll gate project, they sadly sounded not convincing.
Cast your mind back to when same group of supposed activists ( Adegboruwa & Co) took on the NASS, and complaining that salaries and emoluments of NASS members were grossly bloated and thereafter led a protest to the NASS. It was a pathetic sight when Senator Udoma Egba, Senate Majority Leader at the time, gave the protest leaders a lecture of their lives that made Yemi Adamolekun speechless and could not thereafter make any meaningful response to Senator Udoma Egba.  They dispersed with their tails in between their legs. The point is that they failed to articulate their position with informed evidence and facts against NASS members before embarking on the protest. Again, they gained an undeserved public recognition, limelight and cheap popularity.
Ebun Adegboruwa is, according to him, a member of the RCCG and “adopted son” of Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, G.O of the RCCG. When, unexpectedly Pastor Adeboye decided to step aside as the G.O of the RCCG some few months ago, Ebun Adegboruwa, again hit the limelight  immediately  by writing a piece on the “Pastor Enoch Adeboye I know”. He poured encomiums on Pastor Adeboye almost to a point of sycophancy. He and some members of the RCCG took on the erstwhile C.E.O of the FRCN, Mr. Jim Obazee, questioning his audacity to take on the G.O and forcing him to step aside. They saw it as witch hunting, even though the orthodox Churches had complied with the financial regulation in question. They blackmailed Mr. Obazee in both print and social media.
Few days later, when Pastor Adeboye had to make some clarifications on his “stepping down” statement, Adegboruwa threathened a court action against Pastor Adeboye. Another limelight and cheap popularity stance. I am yet to read about the outcome of his publicized court action.
On January 19, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate President that he was proceeding on a 10 day medical leave and in his absence, the Vice President will act as President. This was followed thereafter, on the expiration of the initial 10 days, by another letter requesting for extension of leave on the opinion of his Doctors. All hell was let loose by Adegboruwa  and he came firing from all cylinders.
Adegboruwa circulated on the print and social media an alarming and disturbing article with false information, alerting Nigerians that a vacuum will be created in the Executive and Judicial arms of government leading to a total breakdown of law and order in the country. Gullible Nigerians, home and abroad bought into his argument, hook, line and sinker without properly informing themselves of the relevant constitutional requirement/position, the steps taken by the President and the prevailing situation on ground.
There were however, three issues at stake that Adegboruwa mischievously hammered on:
-          Confirmation of the appointment of the acting CJN.
-          Confirmation of appointment of the acting Chairman of the EFCC
-          The tenure of the VP in acting capacity would have lapsed without renewal.

Adegboruwa ignored facts therefore insinuated that a vacuum will be created in the Executive and Judiciary arms of government and the EFCC. However, there was indeed a letter from the President to the Senate requesting for extension of his leave. But Senate was on recess and the letter could not be read at the time, though the letter was delivered and received at the NASS. That does not create a vacuum in the Presidency, as there was an acting President on ground, therefore by implication should continue in the acting capacity until resumption of the NASS.
Secondly, the acting CJN had acted for a period of 90 days and the NJC, not the Presidency, headed by the acting CJN was supposed to have written to the Presidency requesting for an extension for a further 90 days for the acting CJN. This the NJC did in the last minute of the first 90 days. This, also was in order avoiding a vacuum and ensuring continuity.
The Senate, before the recess, had rejected the confirmation of DCP Ibrahim  Magu as substantive Chairman of the EFCC as requested by the President. The rejection of Magu’s confirmation by the Senate does not foreclose the issue of confirmation as the President can resubmit his name. This, we are informed has been processed by the acting President.
The acting President has sworn in the CJN after confirmation received from the Senate. And the letter requesting confirmation of Ibrahim Magu will be attended to eventually by the Senate. Magu stays on as the acting EFCC Chairman. Curiously, Adegboruwa has withdrawn his case from the courts following superior opinion of his lawyer over his(Adegboruwa) opinion.
At every point and every issue of national interest, Ebun Adegboruwa misleads and misinforms Nigerians for self-interest. Nigerians should watch him closely and not take him seriously. He is not the defender of the masses he wants us to believe.
The often used cliché of “take the message and not the messenger” in the case of Ebun Adegboruwa should be discarded.
The issue of the acting EFCC Chairman will be addressed.
The CJN has been confirmed and sworn in.
There was/is an acting President and
The President is back.
Long live President Muhammadu Buhari!!!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!




Sunday, 5 February 2017

Nosak Group holds management retreat


By Editor   |   29 January 2017 
The Chairman  of Nosak Group,  Dr. Toni Ogunbor
The Chairman of Nosak Group, Dr. Toni Ogunbor

Introduces Nosak Family Vegetable Oil
Nosak Group, a diversified business group with interests in agriculture, manufacturing, logistics, pharmaceuticals and supermarket, recently held a two-day management retreat in Lagos.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Dr. Toni Ogunbor, said hard work and commitment are essential values that can take the company to a higher level.
Enjoining staff to be focused and achieve the company’s objectives, he noted that the global economic recession that occurred about 10 years ago is still having its negative effect in many countries’ economy, including Nigeria. He added that the 2009 banking sector reforms carried out by then CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (now Emir of Kano) aimed at strengthening Nigerian banks, but in the end it saw stronger banks taking over weaker ones.


Commending staff for their cooperation during the company’s trying period, he stated that Nosak Group has built structures that help it ‘weather the storm,’ saying that over 80 per cent of businesses lost out during the global recession, but Nosak Group survived, as a result of judicious management of its resources and the diversification of its business interests. Urging members to embrace hard work, the Group Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Thomas Oloriegbe, said doing this would enable staff to run with the company’s vision and mission statement of fostering an environment of success.
Highlight of the event was the introduction of Nosak Family Pure Vegetable Oil.
Speaking on the product, Managing Director, Nosak Farm Produce, Mr. Robert Ogiri, said although there is stiff competition in the vegetable oil sector in the country, the company’s latest product would lead others because of its premium nature. Ogiri disclosed that the product is cholesterol free and has zero trans fat, apart from its triple filter.

The Guardian

Agribusiness Workshop Opens In Benin City

on:

Agribusiness Workshop Opens In Benin City
BENIN CITY:A 3 day workshop on Agricbusiness Organised by Edo State Government in line with the vision of the Godwin Obaseki led administration of creating jobs for Edo youths in the Agricultural Sector has commenced in Benin City the Edo State Capital.
Delivering a key note address at the workshop with the theme : “Harnessing Resources And Opportunities To Optimise Agricbusiness in Edo State” the Chief of Staff to Edo State Government Mr. Taiwo Akerele thank participant in the Agricbusiness for desiring to join the government of the state to develop it through Agriculture. He said the government is ready to invest in the Agricultural sectors to create job for the people of the state saying that the government is ready for the business of developing the state.
Akerele said the government is ready to create an enabling environment for investor to come into the state to invest without fear of being harassed as the Obaseki’s administration has put modalities on ground engaging with communities that have crises with investors encouraging such communities to ensure they create the enabling environment and atmosphere for business to thrive in the state.
“Edo state is an investment friendly state and the governor is investment friendly. He is set to position Edo on the part of process as he assured the people that in 3 years Edo will be made one of the biggest competing state in the area of Agricbusniess with Lagos or Ogun State”.
He urged the participants to take the workshop seriously as the Agricbusiness in the state is for serious investors that will join hands with the government of the state to develop the state. He wishes the participant a fruitful deliberation.
Earlier the chairman of the occasion Mr. Tony Ogunbor commended the governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki for organizing this workshop barely 70 days in office. He said the governor has done well in the few steps he has taken including organizing this Agricbusiness workshop, he has hit the ground running.
Ogunbor x-ray the Journey of Lagos Industrialization to the input of experienced men from the private sectors bringing their wealth of experience to bare in developing the state. He said people like Babatunde Fashola contributed to the development of Lagos. Ogunbor said Obaseki is in the line of such great men coming from the private sector who can use his wealth of experience to turn the fortune of Edo State around for the better.
“Translating the management skills in the private sectors to the public sectors is what is needed to transform Edo state; Obaseki has that skill to move the state to enviable height in the country. This is not the time to lament in missed opportunity but to harness the Agricultural potentials of the state and put it to good use creating jobs for the youths.
Speaking further he said in time past Edo State was in the fore front of oil palm, rubber and cassava production. If we develop the Agric sector, it well leads to industrial development. “Edo State can become the food basket of the nation if we all put effort to develop the Agric sector and through this sector we can equally generate revenue for the state” he concluded.
The Agribusiness workshop which commenced today 26th will last till 28th of January 2016.
Nigeria Observer

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Meet the Bush-nominated federal judge who halted Trump’s executive order

https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fposttv-thumbnails-prod%2F02-04-2017%2Ft_1486218472365_name_20170204_ruling_thumbnail.jpg&w=480
Watch the ruling temporarily blocking Trump’s trPlay Video4:48
U.S. District Judge James L. Robart on Feb. 3 issued a ruling temporarily blocking the enforcement of President Trump’s executive order barring entry to the United States for citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees. (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington)
Judge James Robart wore a bow tie to the hearing, opened with a joke and finished with a thunderclap.
He was known for that sort of thing.
“The amicus law professors,” Robart said Friday, noting the many groups that waited in his Seattle courtroom to argue for or against a motion to halt President Trump’s travel ban. “Sounds like the three amigos.”
People laughed, despite the tension. The federal judge had a habit of mixing soft speech and extraordinary pronouncements.
At the end of the hearing, with no jokes or spare words, Robart halted Trump’s ban and potentially changed the fate of tens of thousands of refugees, Muslims and others around the world who had been denied entry into the United States.
His order challenges a White House that had spent all week defending the ban.
“The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!” Trump wrote in a tweet Saturday morning.
But Robart had been called judge for more than a decade. President George W. Bush nominated him to the federal court for Washington’s western district court in 2004. Though he had held no judgeship before, senators of both parties praised him.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced him to the judiciary committee as a man who had fostered six children with his wife.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont) went over Robart’s 30 years as a lawyer — up to his work at the time as managing partner at Lane Powell Spears Lubersky, where he handled mostly commercial law cases.
Utah’s Sen. Orrin G. Hatch noted Robart’s “representation of the disadvantaged” — including his work representing “southeast Asian refugees.”
“I was introduced to people who, in many times, felt that the legal system was stacked against them or was unfair,” Robart replied.”Working with people who have an immediate need and an immediate problem that you are able to help with is the most satisfying aspect of the practice of law.”
“Well thank you,” Hatch, a Republican, said. “That is a great answer.”
No one opposed his confirmation.
In his 13 years on the federal bench, the judge handed down criminal sentences no lighter than the law recommended — 78 months in prison for a crack dealer, life for a man who murdered a woman on a Native American reservation two decades earlier.
His job as a federal judge got more complicated after Seattle police shot and killed John T. Williams — a partially deaf woodcarver who did not put down his carving knife one day in 2010.
Hundreds surrounded a Seattle police station to protest Williams’s death, which had followed other accusations of police brutality in the city. A Justice Department investigation “found routine and widespread use of excessive force by officers,” the Seattle Times reported. That led to a long series of settlements and lawsuits — the bow-tied Robart presiding.
“Well, there certainly are a lot of you!” he said last August. His tie was green, his beard as white as ever.
In the years since Williams’s death, the Seattle case had evolved from passionate protests and a federal investigation into an endless string of hearings to oversee police reforms.
August’s hearing was one of many, and Robart gave no indication at the beginning that it would be anything of special note. He listened to each side argue, as he had done many times before. When it was his turn to speak, he went over schedules, comments and consent decrees to come.
Then he took a deep breath.
“I will now step back from my very precise legal practice and give you the following observation — from me,” he said.
He spoke of the police — training and accountability and leadership: “The men and women who go out and walk around Seattle and proudly wear the Seattle Police Department uniform,” he said. “They are entitled to know what they may and may not do.”
He breathed in again. Then he spoke of protests against police that had spread across the country, and FBI statistics showing that black people are twice as likely to be shot dead by police as their share of the population would warrant.
“Black lives matter,” the judge said.
His words, the Seattle Times noted, caused “a startled, audible reaction” in the courtroom. Here was a federal judge echoing a slogan used by protesters.
Robart was not done. “Black people are not alone in this,” he went on. “Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans are also involved. And lastly and importantly: police deaths in Dallas, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and let’s not forget Lakewood, Washington, remind us of the importance of what we are doing.”
If his words were extraordinary, he gave no indication that day. Robart thanked everyone before him “for your hard work” and walked out the door behind him.
Half a year later, a country troubled by different matters waited on the judge’s word.
Robart listened for nearly an hour to arguments of the federal government and to those who oppose its travel ban, then thanked everyone for their “thoughtful” remarks.
He tried to tramp down any anticipation. A judge’s job, Robart said, “is not to judge the wisdom of any policy,” but only whether it was legal.
He would not even do that at the moment, he said, but merely consider whether Trump’s order should be blocked temporarily to prevent “immediate and irreparable injury” to the people it affects.
Robert looked down at his papers and issued his order.
The travel ban must be halted not just in Washington, he said, but for all “federal defendants and all their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys and persons acting in concert … at all U.S. borders and port of entry, pending further order from this court.”
No one said a word. In his manner, Robart recessed and walked away.

The Washington Post

Sunday, 29 January 2017

A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION.




Yesterday was a blessed day for my family and myself because, by the special grace of the Almighty, one additional year was added to my life and sojourn on earth.
To God be the glory and honor.
Remarkably, I received two  WhatsApp messages from two different persons. These, I will like to share with you.
1.       The first message came from Venerable O.U Igbinosa, the presiding Pastor of St. Peters Anglican Church, Benin City. This is my Church and my fellowship place when in Benin City. The message is not really a surprise because, every morning, Venerable O.U Igbinosa sends to me The Daily Devotional Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). However, this particular message is very instructive and the reason I will share it with you all today: –
“THE DAILY DEVOTIONAL CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION)
DATE: SATURDAY, JANUARY 28,2017
BIBLE READING: HEBREWS 11:13—29
TOPIC: EMBRACE GOD'S ASSURED PROMISES

During the time of these heroes of faith, God revealed the future to them and they identified with it. Though God's promises to us in life most times manifest in the future, we should firmly relate to them. The secret of success in the faith life is to see the promises of God, embrace them, be assured of them, and confess (acknowledge) that we are people on our way to inheriting the said promises.

Had the heroes of faith reminded themselves of the things they gave up, they would have had the opportunity to return. Through the Word of God, let's follow their footsteps and desire something better than we have at present. Let's follow the example of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who bequeath to their descendants the faith to believe God for their inheritance which was still in the future. Let's learn from Joseph who prophesied the future deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. Let's forsake the enticements of the present world like Moses did. By faith, we too can INHERIT His promises.

Prayer:-  "Lord, let me see, be assured of, embrace and acknowledge Your word".

2.       The second message came from my political friend and associate, Comrade Godwin Erhahon, former Edo State Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The message also is very instructive and I share with you :–

“God is Faithful! - The Best Piece I've Read This Year!

In the country of Armenia, in 1988, Samuel and Danielle sent their young son, Armand, off to school. Samuel squatted before his son and looked him in the eye. "Have a good day at school, and remember, no matter what, I’ll always be there for you." They hugged and the boy ran off to school.

Hours later, a powerful earthquake rocked the area. In the midst of the pandemonium, Samuel and Danielle tried to discover what happened to their son but they couldn’t get any information. The radio announced that there were thousands of casualties.  Samuel then grabbed his coat and headed for the schoolyard. When he reached the area, what he saw brought tears to his eyes. Armand’s school was a pile of debris. Other parents were standing around crying.

Samuel found the place where Armand’s classroom used to be and began pulling a broken beam off the pile of rubble.  He then grabbed a rock and put it to the side, and then grabbed another one.

One of the parents looking on asked, "What are you doing?"   "Digging for my son," Samuel answered. The man then said, "You’re just going to make things worse! The building is unstable," and tried to pull Samuel away from his work.

Samuel just kept working. As time wore on, one by one, the other parents left. Then a worker tried to pull Samuel away from the rubble.  Samuel looked at him and said, "Won’t you help me?"   The worker left and Samuel kept digging.

All through the night and into the next day, Samuel continued digging.  Parents placed flowers and pictures of their children on the ruins.  But, Samuel just kept working.  He picked up a beam and pushed it out of the way when he heard a faint cry. "Help! Help!"  Samuel listened but didn’t hear anything again.  Then he heard a muffled voice, "Papa?"

Samuel began to dig furiously.  Finally he could see his son.  "Come on out, son!" he said with relief.
"No," Armand said.  "Let the other kids come out first because I know you’ll get me."  Child after child emerged until, finally, little Armand appeared.  Samuel took him in his arms and Armand said, "I told the other kids not to worry because you told me that you’d always be there for me!"

Fourteen children were saved that day because one father was faithful.

How much more faithful is our heavenly Father!  Whether trapped by fallen debris or ensnared by life’s hardships and struggles, we are never cut off from God’s faithfulness.  He is true to His character.  He is reliable and trustworthy and can always be counted on.

Deuteronomy 7:9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations…"

1 Corinthians 1:9 - God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
Psalm 37:28, "For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever" .
Keep trusting God to the end.”
The two messages preached the following:-
(i). Promise of the Father (God)
(ii). Faith/belief in the Promise of the Father (God) and
(iii).The fulfillment of the Promise of the Father (God).

The salient point in Venerable Igbinosa’s message is that:-   “God's promises to us in life most times manifest in the future, we should firmly relate to them. The secret of success in the faith life is to see the promises of God, embrace them, be assured of them, and confess (acknowledge) that we are people on our way to inheriting the said promises.”
Likewise, in the second message from Comrade Erhahon, Samuel’s promise to his son Armand, was also in the future. However, just hours later, there was an earthquake in Armand’s school, that is, hours in future. In comparison, the future in both cases were just moments in time.
Samuel kept his promise to his son, Armand and Armand kept faith and belief in his father’s promise.
In the presence of God and His promises, a thousand years in the human eyes is only a passing second or moment for God.
How often do we question God? How often do we think God is not answering or will not answer our prayers? How often do we not have faith in the Promises of God? And thinking that He has abandoned us?


In our Bini language, we say -
Egheosasere, meaning, God's time is the best.
I therefore wish to thank you all that sent birthday messages through facebook, WhatsApp, SMS, telephone calls, etc and pray that God will meet you all positively at your point and hour of needs.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY AND HONOR.
Eddy Ogunbor.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Oba Of Benin Exiles Isekhure

For the suspended Isekhure of Benin Kingdom, Nosakhare Isekhure, afflictions indeed come in multitudes. The erstwhile chief priest of Benin was suspended from his traditional duties January 17 by the Benin Traditional Council, BTC, on the orders of Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare 11, the Oba of Benin on sundry allegations, including abuse of his position, pronouncing himself the head of the royal family and deliberate refusal to perform his traditional duties during and after the burial obsequies for the late Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa, as well as the subsequent coronation activities.

Nosakhare Isekhure
Nosakhare Isekhure
But on Wednesday, the travails of the 67-year-old Isekhure were further compounded when he was ostracized by the Oba. The magazine gathered that the BTC may have been provoked to move against him following the perceived effrontery by his family, Ihogbe N’Ore to threaten the palace with legal action if within 14 days it did not prove the allegations leveled against the Isekhure. Isekhure’s family had spurned his suspension, stating that “the reasons given to support the purported suspension are facts that have been distorted” and if not corrected, were capable of misleading his admirers.
 
The banishment of the Isekhure was announced at his No. 9, Sokponba Road traditional palace and residence by a high-ranking palace chief when the Oba’s emissaries, including palace chiefs, chiefs priests, and some rugged youths swooped on the palace to execute his orders of sealing it up in order to safeguard the shrines and traditional items that had hitherto been in his custody, including artifacts, relics and other paraphernalia of the office of Isekhure. Scores of passers-by, neighbours, and residents of Benin watched in awe as the life-size statue of the Isekhure was pulled down, along with other structures. As at the time of going to press, bricklayers were busy erecting a fence to seal up the entry points to the palace even when the embattled Isekhure was inside the house.  He had advised relocating to his personal residence following his suspension.

A Benin chief who did not want his name mentioned, said it was unheard of that an individual would threaten a court action and even give an ultimatum to the Oba of Benin. According to him, “the Oba owns the Isekhure. The important part of what he fails to understand is that he has to be humble”, stressing that sealing off the palace was part of the process of ostracizing him. The Ihama of Benin had been reassigned the duties of the Isekhure which historically, according to the BTC, he originally performed. Efforts to reach the suspended Isekhure were unsuccessful as his phone had been switched off.

Tell Magazine

Friday, 9 December 2016

I think you will find this interesting. "Build Operate and Transfer Nigeria.



By Simon Kolawole

Dearly beloved Nigerians, I have a number of proposals today that may interest you. Or upset you. One, I respectfully propose that we concession the Niger Delta to the Netherlands for 17 years. Do not change the revenue allocation formula. Do not increase the derivation formula; retain it at 13%. In fact, scrap the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta. Just hand over the Niger Delta as it is now to the Dutch and ask them to “build, operate and transfer” the region by 2033. Just a change of leaders. The same followers, the same land, the same water, the same creeks, the same share of national resources and the same 1999 constitution.

Let me fantasise: in just 17 years, the Niger Delta would have a massive network of well-built roads, electricity would shine bright everywhere, schools would be brimming with brilliance, quality healthcare would be within the reach of the people — and the lives of the Niger Deltans would be reformed and transformed. Let me fantasise further: skyscrapers, refineries, power plants and holiday resorts would dot the landscape. In fact, the bridge from Port Harcourt to Bonny Island would finally be built. Just a change of leaders. The same followers, the same land, the same water, the same creeks, the same share of national resources and the same 1999 constitution.

My second proposal. The south-east, in my view, is one of Africa’s most blessed regions in terms of human resources. Hand it over to the Japanese to build, operate and transfer by 2033. Don’t abolish quota system. Retain federal character. Forget confederalism. Don’t stand on any Aburi Accord. Simply hand over the place to the Japanese on a 17-year concession agreement. Just a change of leaders. The same followers, the same land mass, the same palm wine, the same kola nut, the same share of national resources and the same 1999 constitution. By 2033, you would swear you have mistakenly strayed into another country.

Join me in my fantasy. The first thing the Japanese would do is to come up with a policy that would make all south-east councils buy their official cars from Innosons Ltd. All south-east government vehicles would be from Innosons. All lawmakers would use Innosons cars. All official cars would be from Innosons. All contractors would patronise Innosons. You know what would happen? Innosons would be so overwhelmed with orders they would explode! Positive vibration! They would start assembling vehicles for export to Africa and beyond. Innosons would become our own Honda. Soon, Simonsons would spring up to rival Innosons.

What we know as the south-east today would become the manufacturing hub of Africa. Whatever you want to buy would be produced from there: mobile phones, electric kettles, shoes, bags, shirts, TV sets, computers, wallets, fans, air conditioners and photocopiers — all thanks to the Japanese. No, not that the Japanese would set up these factories. It is the same south-easterners (and foreign investors) that would be energised to troop to the region as a result of the leadership the Japanese would offer — easily discernible in clear vision, cohesive and intelligent policies, creative incentives, tenacity of purpose and an unwavering, genuine focus on development.

My third proposal: let us sign a 17-year lease agreement with the Dubai rulers to help us run the north-central. As usual, I am proposing different leadership only. Other variables would remain. The same followers, the same land, the same water, the same yams, the same mangoes, the same share of national resources and the same 1999 constitution. I will not even suggest modernising “our agriculture”. I am talking about travel and tourism. Look at Lokoja, Kogi state, the confluence of River Niger and River Benue. Picture the billion-dollar travel and tourism industry that Sheikh Al Maktoum could engineer there within 17 years!

Imagine what Al Maktoum can do to Jos — that beautiful, temperate city that used to be the home of expatriates! In 17 years, we would be discussing Jos in the same category as Marrakech, Pattaya and Cape Town as preferred tourist destinations. Imagine what Dubai rulers would turn Zuma Rock to in 17 years! This mighty mountain would play host to Nigeria’s own Disneyland. You would soon be seeing “Zoom to Zuma” commercials on CNN across the world, shortly after the airing of “Incredible India”! It would be a destination for local and international fun-seekers. And to think Zuma is just a few kilometres away from the Abuja international airport…

I’m writing just 1300 words, so space would not allow me to discuss concession opportunities for the south-west, north-west and north-east — or what could happen if we lease the federal government of Nigeria to Rwanda for 17 years. Let me now time take questions and observations so that we can close our discussion and shut down. Your first observation is that I’m being too simplistic. You said I make it look like it is so easy to build roads, fix electricity, provide quality health care, improve education standards, develop tourism and create a manufacturing hub. You said I am living in fantasy. Thanks for the compliments, but I am not fantasising.

Pack your bags today and pay a visit to Bonny Island, where the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant is located. You won’t believe you are in the same Niger Delta. The roads are perfect. Electricity is 24/7. Water flows without inhibitions. The schools, whether conventional or vocational, are of the highest standards. I am not talking about what would happen by 2033 — I am talking of what has been on Bonny Island all along, courtesy the NLNG. If you want further evidence of what oil money can do, you can also visit the Europe-like staff quarters of the multinational companies in the Niger Delta. Yes, it can be done! I repeat: it can be done!
Your second question is that I make it look like there are no ethno-religious and political problems inhibiting Nigeria’s progress, and I talk as if there is no need to change the constitution, ditch federal character, increase derivation to 50%, or break Nigeria to pieces.

No, Ma’am, you misunderstood me. I will never understate the political and ethnic problems plaguing Nigeria. I am not 100% naive. I see, feel and observe the complexities everyday. What I’m saying, Ma’am, is that in spite of these challenges, in spite of our “bad” marriage, we can still make progress! That is why I suggest, in my proposals, that we should change only one variable — leadership.

Your own question, Sir, is why a 17-year concession? Why not 10 years? Why not 50 years? It was deliberate, Sir. We have had an unbroken democratic experience since 1999, and I am saying that if our leaders are actually interested in developing this country, 17 years is enough to go very far. My proposal is for us to have a different kind of leaders for the same period of time with the same followers, the same climate, the same humidity, the same temperature, the same vegetation, and the same share of resources. The concessionaires would still contest elections every four years but no Nigerian politician would be eligible to run until after 17 years.

I can see that professor is unhappy with me. How on earth can I be asking for a re-colonisation of Africa by proposing that we hand over to the Dutch, Japanese and Emiratis? I’m sorry, Prof, I am only speaking in parables. I am saying if the Dutch could build a country on water, if the Emiratis could create an oasis in the desert, if the Japanese could develop without natural resources, then developing Nigeria would be a piece of cake! We are blessed with all the brains, all the resources to develop this country. Our leaders must use their brains — or lease one. Forget oil. Forget FAAC. With proper leadership, the needed billion dollars would flow in from all over the world!

I will take one more question and then go home. A Nigerian who lives in the UK took his family to Dubai for the first time in August and called me from there. “Simon,” he said, “these people have two heads.” We both laughed. So your question is: are you sure there is nothing really wrong with us? If these things are doable here, why are we not doing them? Professor Chinua Achebe famously wrote in The Trouble with Nigeria (1983): “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else."