AJAOKUTA STEEL: TIME TO BREAK THE DEADLY CONSPIRACY SURROUNDING AJAOKUTA STEEL COMPANY LIMITED BY NATASHA HADIZA AKPOTI


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I have been advised to use pseudo names in publishing this piece, but that’s not my nature. I am one who
bolds up to situations and thus, I shall bear my name and consequences this report might stir.

From the 14th of August 2015, the day I had an interactive and empowerment session with the blacksmiths of #Ebiraland, Kogi State, the pains in their voices daunted me. A people, whose ancestors carved a niche in ironworks way back as the 7th century suffered for want of materials to support their trade while a steel giant lay raped in their backyard by a series of unfortunate events and conspiracies.

In October, I took online to issue a petition pleading with President Buhari to revive ASCL; and with your support we were able to get hundreds of signatures. Since that day, I left no stone unturned to discover the
happenings so as to better understand the best path forward. I have taken time to make this report as brief and as simple as possible and urge you all to take time and read.

● 1958 to 1979

• 1958 – the colonial administration conducted a feasibility study on iron ore deposits in Nigeria.

• 1967 – the United Nations Industrial
Development Organisation survey identified Nigeria as a potential steel market which led to the signing of
a bilateral agreement between Soviet Union and Nigeria.

• 1971 – the Nigerian Steel Development Authority was established by Decree No.9 to bring to reality a steel plant.

• 1979 – during the administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, TyazhPromExport (TPE), a Russian leading engineering company commenced construction works on Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.

● 1979 to 1994

In less than 12 years, TPE transformed a wide expanse of land to contain some giant size network of machinery meant to process the exploration of steel for
Nigeria. Indeed, billions were spent and its evident in the state of the art townships, roads, bridges, power plants, air strip, port, rail that were put up in Itakpe and Ajaokuta in Kogi state.

In 1990, as the project approached completion, TPE on monthly basis for 4 years wrote to the Federal Government reminders on the need to commence
works on the necessary infrastructure needed to successfully operate ASCL and Nigerian Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO). They are access roads to
the mines and rail system from ASCL to Onne sea port in Port Harcourt. TPE also suggested the possibility of
dredging river Niger which could offer a better and more convenient route of importing raw materials. This
infrastructure TPE argued would benefit the public especially Northern part of Nigeria where finished steel
manufactured products such as cars, parts, construction materials etc could be shipped to other states and nations once the state is fully functional as
an industrial hub. The government never responded.

● THE INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACIES

A lot of people talk about the international conspiracies surrounding ASCL but very few know what actually
they were or are. Here;

• In 1992, when the project was near completion and while the Russians (TPE) called on the government to
work on needed infrastructure; powerful countries namely France, America, Germany, Britain etc including organizations like the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund (IMF) started reaching out to the Nigerian government to terminate the project with the Russians. The Ohinoyi of Ebira land HRM Ado Ibrahim witnessed firsthand a plot by the IMF during a
conference in NewYork where a team of Nigerian officials and foreign agents connived that ASCL should be completely dismantled and forgotten. To them, Nigeria did not need to have a steel plant. Nigeria could as well buy steel from them if needed for its
development.

The Nigerian government listened to the negative solutions without ever considering the true intentions of the so
called experts from these powerful foreign countries.
Russia all through stood its ground alone against France, America and co and kept on reminding Nigeria of the need to ignore the adverse opinions. Russia told Nigeria that this conspiracy was cooked by the West to stop Nigeria from achieving the economic strength
strong enough to uplift not only itself but the whole of Africa. To them, Nigeria and Africa needed to be kept
as a market for all junk goods from the West. This is in line with the colonial economic model brought in by the
British and so, to have Nigeria turn around its economy and that of weaker nations hitherto being exploited by
the super powers, and by implication, impact negatively on the extent of influence of the richer countries sent shivers at the smart future awaiting
Nigeria.

Nigeria’s government was too busy focusing on ushering the 3rd Republic, June 12 saga and all. No attention was given to the Russians. TPE was no
longer being paid. In 1994 TPE left Nigeria.

● SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

• The Debt Buy Back
Nigeria’s contract with TPE was to construct ASCL for five billion German Deutschmarks (DM) and such that
the Nigerian steel authority gave TPE promissory notes guaranteeing payment to the company. When the Nigerian government suspended payment and TPE left, TPE soldoff these instruments to recover some of the debt owed to the company.
In October 1995, a series of secret debt buy-back transactions took place whereby the debt instruments
were sold at inflated prices to Liberian companies purportedly owned by the Abachas – Parnar Shipping
Corporation and Mecosta Securities .This involved the withdrawal in 1996 of $2.5 bn of public funds to settle debts owed to Russia for the construction of the Ajaokuta steel plant, but which in reality had been discounted to only $500m. Obasanjo in 1999 settled
debt through OMPADEC.

http://www.un.org/en/africarenewal/subjindx/subpdfs/131nigr.pdf

● THE CONCESSIONS

• SOLGAS – the first Concessionaire

In 2003, Nigeria under president Obasanjo realized the need to complete Ajaokuta and so, SolGas, an American company which specialized in petroleum was given concession. For a year and a half, Solgas’s zero progress raised questions as to their technical
capacity to operate ASCL. Even though they claimed Senator Liyel Imoke and Gbenga Obasanjo brought in Global Steel Holdings Limited/ISPAT to short- change it from performing. To this end, Nigeria terminated contracts with Solgas. There were no minutes recorded to document deliberations engaging or terminating with Solgas.

• GLOBAL STEEL HOLDINGS LIMITED (INDIAN) – the second Concessionaire

An Indian company first operating under the name ISPAT then changed its name to Global Infrastructure Holding Limited and now Global Steel Holdings (GSH) were helped into Nigeria by Sen. Liyle Imoke and Gbenga Obasanjo under President Obasanjo’s tenure
in August 2004. The agreement was such that company would own 60 percent of the shares of the steel mill.
The Federal Government would keep 30 percent while 10 percent shares would be sold to the public. This company, GSHL owned by Mr. Primod Mittal is not
affiliated with ArcelorMittal, which is the world’s renowned steel giant.ArcelorMittal is owned by Lakshmi Mittal and a cousin to Mr. Primod Mittal.
This concession which saw the taking over of ASCL and Itakpe is termed one of the biggest scams of that administration. The plant was hugely undervalued for $300m and GSH was
to pay nothing to the government but inject its funds to revive the plant with a number of conditions, some of
which were:

– 1. That the Federal Government should give GSHL two oil blocks.

– 2. That GSHL be allowed to lift crude oil from Nigeria.

– 3. That the Sapele Power Plant be given to GSHL to operate.

– 4. Concession of Delta and Warri Ports to GSHL to operate.

– 10. The supply of Natural Gas to GSHL at “competitive and reasonable tariff”.(GSHL came up with this condition after it failed to sign a Gas Supply Agreement with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas
Company (NLNG). GSHL offered to pay N5.00 per cubic meter of Gas as against the market price of N30.00!). It also inserted in its conditions that Gas price should be kept “reasonable and consistent”.

After all these conditions, ASCL still deteriorated as equipments of ASCL were moved to Delta steel (which
GSHL took over in 2005) while some to other private-owned Indian-owned steel factories in Nigeria in the name of “borrowing”.
The Federal Government under President Yar’adua realized the huge mistake Nigeria once again made and
sought to terminate the contract with GSHL. The then Director General of the BPE, Mrs Bolanle Onagoruwa stressed that the approval of the concession of
Ajaokuta by president Obasanjo was in violation of the BPE Act.

At Senator Ahmed Lawan-led Adhoc Committee, the then Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect
Mohammed Musa Sada also revealed that the FG under President Obasanjo single handedly sold ASCL to GSHL and that GSHL ruined the Ajaokuta complex by stripping it of all valuable equipment and machineries. This and more revelations led to the cancellation of the entire process by the FG.

This act didn’t go too well with GSHL and they dragged Nigeria to the International Chamber of Commerce
(ICC) in London, UK and demanded Nigeria pays them $1B for termination.
In 2013, after 6 years of heated negotiations at the ICC,
the Jonathan’s administration successfully took back ASCL. GSHL also lost their $1B demand.

deman

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● 2013 – TILL DATE: INDIANS HOLD AJAOKUTA TO RANSOM

One would have assumed the drama over in 2013 but alas, the Federal Governments hands are tied on
progressing with ASCL. GSHL shrewdly crafted an arbitration clause in the contract between the government and GSHL which prohibits Nigeria from
dealing with anybody until all matters with GSHL are resolved. In other words, the Indians do not want the Nigerian government to proceed on completing
Ajaokuta until an unreasonably selfish condition is me – they want the Nigerian government to give Itakpe Iron Ore company to them free for 25 years!

As at the moment of this report writing, there is a modified contract containing such ridiculous terms before the
minister of solid minerals in favour of the Indians. GSHL wants to tap Iron Ore from Itakpe and move to Delta Steel which was in June 2015 taken over by
Premium Steel, a company set up just months before the purchase of Delta Steel. Premium Steel is owned by another powerful Indian conglomerate headed by the Vasuwani brothers (owners of the controversial Stallion Group).

Truth is that Itakpe was set up as a captive mine to ASCL. The original plan holds that iron ore would be moved from Itakpe to ASCL which will in turn
distribute to other smaller rolling mills, Delta Steel inclusive. If GSHL succeeds in its bid to take charge of Itakpe, ASCL will become a sad history as there will be no ore to feed from. That means Kogi state will have no steel plant of its own ever again. So no matter the amount of pacifying information the government publishes for the public on the urgency and good intention they have towards ASCL, nothing shall be done until the arbitration is terminated.

Patriotic Nigerians must call on the Nigerian Government to immediately terminate every agreement in whatever form with GSHL. Nigeria is too big a nation to be held captive by an Indian company. TPE, a whole Russian government owned company who built the complex did not cause this much pain to Nigeria. Why would a private Indian Company who has never operated any steel plant in its own country India do such a thing to us? A more worrisome question that begs for answer is – Who are the heavyweight Nigerians behind GSHL selling us this cheap? I don’t believe Mr. Primod Mittal (owner of GSHL) would have the courage to stand alone and dare
this much pandemonium; so who are the greedy Nigerians toiling with the present and future of Kogi state and Nigerians?

No matter what, Nigerians must
remember that the masses are always majority and the power to determine our future truly lies in our hands. Our silence and ignorance has only cost us this much.

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● RUSSIAN TyazhPromExport (TPE) IS BACK WITH HOPE FOR NIGERIA

The Sole Administrator of ASCL, Egnr. Onobere has repeatedly said that since the Russians left in 1994, no progress has been realized on the project. The
following questions kept hovering my mind:

– the moment Nigeria realized their mistake in not completing ASCL and were ready to commence completion, why were the Russians not called back to resume works? Why did we settle for SolGas and GSHL in the first and second instances?

– From the quality of work evident in Ajaokuta, is there any doubt on the expertise of TPE that questioned their
invitation?

– Could it be that TPE wasn’t invited because the Russians are too straight forward and don’t engage in
“smart business”?

My research led me to uncover a lot of conspiracies on how TPE is no longer interested in doing business with
Nigeria and some even said TPE no longer exists. My curiosity took the better part of me and I decided to
look them up the internet and initiate contacts.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?
story_fbid=10154065985231758&id=675006757

I sent an e-mail to TPE in mid November, 2015 and another
early December 2015, none were replied. It is said that desperate times require desperate measures and that when you truly want to do something, you shall find a way; so I contacted a dear friend of mine who lives in Russia and who happens to be the acting Chairman of Russia’s Arbitration Court
on International Economic Matters – Mr. Tunde Adewon. As God would have it he is also a Nigerian; born to a father from Ondo State and a Russian mother. His father late Engr. Moses Adewon was one of the senior engineers who worked to build the Itakpe Iron Ore complex. Mr. Adewon on behalf of Builders Hub visited TPE in Moscow, Russia in the 2nd week in December 2015. After the first brief meeting, TPE, as precautionary measures ran a security check on me. Then Mr. Adewon was called for a detailed meeting and this was noted;

– TPE expressed deep sadness at the manner in which ASCL was handled.

– TPE said their heart was poured into the project in other to give Nigeria, the greatest country in Africa, the biggest steel Complex in Africa.

– That never, in all of their works across the world, not even in India, did they build a steel city as big as Ajaokuta complex.

– That it was sad Nigeria did not heed to their warnings about the international conspiracies and Nigeria turned their back on them instead of seeing the
bright future they dreamt for us. That we, by our own hands allowed our economy to be trampled amidst
negative interests by other powerful countries.

– That over the past years, they had tried reaching out to the Nigerian government to allow them come back
and complete the project. Nigeria did not respond positively.

– That they would want nothing more than to work to revive Ajaokuta and help Nigeria create jobs for its people and take itself out of poverty. Nigeria, they said must wake up from its slumber and be greater than ever before for itself and for Africa.

During a skype meeting, TPE was advised to write a letter of intent to the Minister of Solid Minerals. I also
made it clear that neither I nor Mr. Adewon were interested in any monetary reward. We were only good
citizens of Nigeria trying to use our best arsenals to contribute our quota in helping our country. They appreciated our honesty.

On the 25th of December 2015 (Christmas day), TPE wrote and sent the letter (which I have attached to this
post) to the Minister of Solid Minerals Dr. Kayode Fayemi. TPE is expecting to be invited over to discuss a path forward which would first entail technical evaluation of ASCL to ascertain damage and recommend modernization and upgrade plans for
completion. TPE said they are very ready to come to Nigeria even at a week’s notice.

On Monday the 18th January, 2016, I paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Solid Minerals himself, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. He acknowledged reading the letter from TPE and mentioned that the Ministry would look into it. I pleaded with him on the need to expedite actions regarding ASCL and reminded him that TPE’s intentions should be considered a priority.

Four weeks after the letter was sent to the Ministry and no response from the Minister’s office, I visited the
Department of Steel within the Ministry. To my shock, no one had seen or heard of the letter of intent.

Question – what happened to the TPE’s letter after the Minister read it. Is it not supposed to be sent to the Steel and Legal departments for action?

Do you also know that till today, no committee has been set up to investigate into ASCL?

● KIND WORDS FOR HON. MINISTER DR. KAYODE FAYEMI

My dear Minister, sorry if I sound a bit hard. I don’t like it myself but like I told you in your office, I tour rural
communities and interact everyday with the unemployed; the pains in their eyes are unbearable and that’s what I pour out right here… the pains of Nigerians and the huge expectations from your kind self and Mr. President. You visited Ajaokuta on the 14th of December 2015 and promised an urgent action first by composing a think tank whose report would be submitted to the President; that’s 40 days ago!!!

The Russians worked even on Christmas day to get the letter to you. When are you going to respond and
extend an invitation to at least hear out their plans for ASCL and Nigeria? When would you constitute the fact finding committee? How long a time would the
committee have to prepare its report? When would the President digest the report? When would decisions be
made? Please note that Nigerians expect your efficient office to act quickly as we are fast drowning.

Mr. Minister, I am aware you were misinformed that the Russians are not interested in the constructions works
in ASCL, that’s not true sir. Please do not be trapped by misinterpretations. For that sake, I have decided to
post TPE’s letter out to Nigerians to read. Also, my team met with the senior management of TPE in Russia
today the 26th of January, 2016 and they once again expressed their readiness to work with Nigeria on
Ajaokuta and other projects if need be.

Sir, do you know that TPE Russia constructed 3 of India’s largest steel plants namely – Bhilai, Bakaro and
Visakhapatnam? Do you know that Bhilai is an eleven-time winner of the best integrated steel plant in India?
They say the blast furnace technology in Ajaokuta is old. NO sir. Do you know that India recently contracted TPE Russia to reconstruct and modernize Rourkela (originally built by Germans) and Durgapur steel plants? It shall interest you to know that TPE is
installing the largest blast furnace in India as part of Rourkela upgrade.

Sir, please join as we ask ourselves why India, with all its steel expertise keeps calling on TPE Russia? It’s
because they are good and honest and that is what Nigeria needs now. GSHL was not invited by their government to work on their plants? Better still – has
GSHL ever done any steel works in India? Was Nigeria supposed to be a guinea pig? Little wonder they can’t
let go of Nigeria and are holding Ajaokuta hostage.

Sir, please see that the arbitration with GSHL is terminated as soon as possible. In the meantime, TPE is at this
moment writing a comprehensive letter of intent to the president, your office shall be promptly copied sir. Thank you.

Today the 26th of January, 2016, I printed copies of the letter and again took a set to the Minister’s office and a set to the Director of Steel, Engr. Also Abdullahi. He promised to follow up with the Minister.

Dearest Nigerians and Kogites, it is said that you can’t make the same mistake twice, the second time you make it; it’s no longer a mistake but a choice. I don’t
know what a third mistake is called!

We have watched our God given economic destiny being tossed twice by
a few; we cannot sit back and watch it happen the third time around. It will be a big shame unto us. Anger will do no good. We shall forgive everyone for
every negligent decision made in the past. Sadly we have found ourselves in the most despicable of times; we should be courageous enough to seek to take the best path forward. Let us think deep quickly and ask ourselves – what do we have to lose or gain if the
Russians come back to rescue Ajaokuta?

Now that God has ushered us a new government in Kogi state, let us demand of our Governor and National
Assembly members to make ASCL their watchword. Let our dear royal fathers HRM the Attah of Igala, the
Ohinoyi of Ebira land, the Obaro of Kabba and others keep interceding on behalf of ASCL. Let every Kogite realise
that there is no better time than now to unite and seek that justice is done to ASCL. Let every state in Nigeria
join forces to call on the Federal Government to revive Ajaokuta because that single project coupled with
Nigeria’s intellectualism can usher us into unprecedented greatness. We are too poor, our youths are jobless, our future is bleak, we cannot continue to
suffer this much. The time to speak up and act is now!!!
Truly yours
Natasha Hadiza Akpoti.

NOTE: This report took weeks of constant research with me meeting with the Minister of Solid Minerals Dr.
Fayemi, Director of Steel Ahl. Also Abdullahi, Sole Administrator Engr. Onobere, TPE Russia and so many
others. No part of this excerpt expressly stated, though all true, was made by any of the above mentioned.

… SamaOnPoint – always on point! …

PLUNGING NAIRA – BEFORE YOU BLAME EMEFIELE, LOOK AT YOURSELF BY KENNETH EZAGA


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It is either I do not understand economics and how exchange rates work or a vast majority of us Nigerians
still don’t get how we have wrecked our country with our own curious choices.

Just this morning I was listening to the radio and the lady on air went on and
on about how she thought CBN governor Godwin Emefiele was incompetent and should be sacked
because the naira was now exchanging at 309 or so to the USD. That view pretty much echoes the sentiments
expressed by many people I know and it amazes me that there are Nigerians who actually think there is some magic POLICY that can make the Naira strong in the near term. If my economics and my understanding of the way the world works are right, then that is as far
from the truth as Jesus Christ is black!

The simple fact of the matter is that apart from oil that accounts for over 90% of our revenues, we really don’t
have much of an economy. We hardly produce anything, we import even toothpicks, so exactly what policy is going to be implemented that will turn Nigeria into a top exporting economy in the near term? Where are our Apples, IBMs, Disneys, GMs, General Electrics,
Coca Colas, Empire State buildings, Statues of Liberties, Lockheeds, Citibanks, JP Morgans, ExxonMobils, NBAs, Super Bowls etc? Let me bring that closer home. There was a time long ago when Nigeria had a truly
strong economy and the naira was one to the dollar – even exchanged for higher than the USD, but that
Nigeria is not this Nigeria. Sadly that Nigeria was laid by the British, and this Nigeria (if you don’t believe in
the nonsensical imperialist conspiracies like me) – fueled by the DAMAGING Indigenisation Decree, has
been the creation of us Nigerians. Back then we had a booming economy.
We were either the top, or among the top exporters, of timbre, cocoa, groundnuts, rubber, palm oil, etc, in the
world. Nigerians not only holidayed at home in their villages, at Yankari Games Reserve, at Obudu Cattle
Ranch, at Oguta Lake, at Ikogosi springs, at Gurara Falls, at Mambilla Platueau, etc, we attracted
international tourists who brought in loads of foreign exchange. Even Nigerian schools were foreign
exchange earners because they attracted foreign students. We had different car assembly plants –
Peugeot, Volkswagen, Anamco etc. Nigerian government officials only bought vehicles assembled
in Nigeria for official cars. We had a thriving sports industry. We were not Man United or Chelsea fans, we were
Rangers or IICC fans. We had the Nduka Odizors, people made money from sports. We also had companies like Lennards and Bata producing school
shoes in their thousands, we had the thriving Nigerian Airways and the Aviation School in the north that
produced some of the best pilots in the world.

In those days if you were brilliant you were respected much more than the crass money-miss-road contractors of
today. Most of the Aje Butters I knew had fathers who were university dons. Back then it meant something to
‘know book’. Our textile industry was alive and well. Just recently I watched a news report on the textile industry in Nigeria on CCTV News. Though the main focus was on the comatose status of the industry, I was stunned by the gigantic Kaduna Textile Mill built in
1957. I could go on and on.

Today however, no thanks to our parents (and we must call them out the way Wole Soyinka did his generation)
and many of us (and we should be remembered for failing our children if we continue like this), we have destroyed everything. Today for instance Nigerian football (which comes easy to me obviously) doesn’t
appeal to us, we have to fly across thousands of miles to watch ‘our’ clubs play. Every year we collectively
burn billions of Naira being fans of clubs that give us nothing back, but some ‘entertainment value’ – simple
pleasures for which we are ready to destroy the future of our children. Well people, payback time is here!

Even with our ta-she-re (small) money, we all want to wear designer clothes and carry designer bags, Armani,
Givenchy, Louis Vuitton etc.
We all want to drive jeeps with American specs, our children must now school overseas and acquire the
necessary accents to come back home and bamboozle their ‘bush and crass’ contemporaries that they left behind. Who holidays in Nigeria anymore, is there Disneyland here? No one buys made-in-Nigeria school bags for their children, after all no Superman or
Incredible Hulk or Cinderella on them.

We are no longer top exporters of anything and the demise of oil means we have zilch… zero. A country of
170m fashion-conscious people has no textile industry. We take delight in showing how our made-in-Switzerland Aso Ebi is different class to everyone
else’s. When we help our musicians grow and pay them millions, they repay us by immediately shipping the monies overseas to produce their “i-don-dey-
different-level” music videos. It makes no difference that distinctly Zulu dancers are dancing to a Nigerian
highlife song. As stars concerned they also wed and holiday overseas to impress us all. All the musicians
who acknowledge their Ajegunle roots now speak in a cocktail of strange accents to symbolise how much they have blown their monies overseas.

Were we a more serious people, the highly popular Kingsway Stores of the past would probably have a thousand outlets span across Nigeria today supporting a massive agriculture industry among others, but today
we have the likes of SPAR and Shoprite, dominating the retail industry while our “Kingsway” is dead!

And we Nigerians make it a special point to shop from the Oyinbos who have ‘cleaner shops’, ‘better this and
better that’. For our personal pleasure we don’t mind them dominating us in our own backyard and shipping
proceeds overseas. I could go on and on, but I don tire. Even as you are
reading this, stop for a moment and look around you. What you see will probably explain why we are lucky it
is not N1000 to the USD yet. And don’t think for a moment that it cannot get there. Just continue to wear your Armani gear and Swiss-made lace, continue to spend your money on Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea
and Barca and encourage your children to do same. (My article tomorrow in my Saturday column in ThisDay Newspaper is on the Nigerian champions Enyimba FC –
Nigeria’s most successful club – not having a sponsor, yet Nigerian brands pay over N600m to Man United and Arsenal for sponsorship to impress us!)
Ehhh, no problem, continue to tell me the NPFL is rubbish or the clubs should clean up their act if they want sponsorship, mò gbó (I hear you). Don’t curtail your interest in choice wines (we were the number one champagne
consumers in the world in 2015), continue to love your American specs, cheer the education ministry for
letting schools sink to pitiable levels, don’t fight them to improve our schools, don’t chide them for letting schools drop Nigerian history and embrace British, America and whatever else curricula. Carry on with your love of French wines and Chinese silk, don’t bother about Jamiu Alli when there is Roger Federer. Stock up on your Italian, American, British products which you cannot live without, including the
‘baby soft’ toilet rolls produced only in that small unique village in England – the days are long gone since you were a broke student who used wet newspapers to wipe your butt. Don’t even consider holidaying in Nigeria, it’s too dangerous – you have to fulfill your dream of being Nigeria’s Henry Ford. Don’t listen to people like me who have a wardrobe full of only cheap adire that is actually cheaper than just one of your Tom Ford blazers. Please keep dressing in fine silk made in some exotic place so you can be addressed accordingly.

Finally keep letting corrupt leaders who have looted your commonwealth and shipped all the monies overseas get away because to attack them does not fit your political narrative. Let us continue with the fine life, let us all continue to work for Oyinbo. But don’t
forget that there is payback time and Emefiele is not your problem. Time for us all to look in the mirror and
take responsibility!

Source:

http://thenakedconvos.com/plunging-naira-before-you-
blame-emefiele-look-at-yourself/

… SamaOnPoint – always on point! …

MAYFLOWER SCHOOL, IKENNE, OGUN STATE – A TRIBUTE BY OGUNDAIRO MOSES OLUGBENGA


Edited by Salami Ismail Oyewale

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The above image was my DP on BBM on Wednesday, January 27th, 2016. While my PM read thus:

“If you attended #MayFlower School, Ikenne, please thank your parents and/or guardians. What a standard school they sent you to. #RESPECT”

Then the following conversion ensued between myself and one of my very amiable friend, brother and BBM contact, who is an Ex Mays (former Mayflower student).

Mr Gbenga: Thanks so much (in reference to my PM)

Mr Gbenga: Am proud to be a product of Mayflower School, Ikenne. ’05 set.

Mr Gbenga: I will be on ground in Ikenne on Thursday.

Mr Gbenga: The school is one of the best gifts my parent ever gave me.

BARON EL’SAMA: Awwwww! So lovely to hear.

Mr Gbenga: Yesso broda

BARON EL’SAMA: I visited the school in ’05 or ’06, it was during the Federal Government Colleges Games (FEDGCOL – Southwest Zonal Games) held at FGC Odogbolu. We visited Mayflower School, Ikenne, as part of “historical artefacts tour” of the Games.

BARON EL’SAMA: Upon touring the Mayflower campus, I was moved to my bone marrow. I fell in love with the school and the work ethics.

Mr Gbenga: Lol

BARON EL’SAMA: It’s perhaps the best secondary school in this country.

Mr Gbenga: There’s sumtin that skool imbibed in me, and till I depart this world, I will always make use of it. Which surely has been working for me.

BARON EL’SAMA: What’s that?

Mr Gbenga: Self Reliance!

Mr Gbenga: I can’t wait to get back to the skool I swear.

Mr Gbenga: Though it’s for a short weekend visit.

Mr Gbenga: Thursday to Friday

Mr Gbenga: My set is planning to build classrooms for the school as part of giving back to the school that made us.

Mr Gbenga: So most of us will be there.

Mr Gbenga: Not just for the merriment but also to give back something tangible to the school that carved us.

BARON EL’SAMA: Yes. I’m very impressed. It’s the “self reliant” aspect I cherished most about the school.  Students MUST belong to a group to learn one form of handiwork or the other.

BARON EL’SAMA: Mayflower had been promoting self employment and/or entrepreneurial acquisition skills years before the Federal Government mandated universities to make “Entrepreneurship” a compulsory course.

BARON EL’SAMA: If our government had had the vision of the founders of Mayflower School, Ikenne, small scale industries would have revolutionised the Nigerian economy by now.

Mr Gbenga: Yesso. I worked in the skool poultry, bakery and piggery.

BARON EL’SAMA: During that my solitary visit, I saw students painting the school busses. I saw some structures painted by the students. My brother, those paintings were not perfect but the joy and beauty of it was the fact that they were done by students!

BARON EL’SAMA: How many schools in this country would give young lads of secondary school age the opportunity to explore their creative abilities?

Mr Gbenga: Choosing Agric Enginreering  in FUTA wasn’t that difficult for me. Because Mayflower made me appreciate the importance of Agriculture.

BARON EL’SAMA: Imagine! That’s the beauty. I saw it all first hand. I experienced it, not as a student, but as a visitor.

BARON EL’SAMA: As swear, I wished that was the school I attended. Although my secondary school, FGC Ogbomoso (FEGCO) was a very standard school too but Mayflower School, Ikenne, is definitely a step above FEGCO only in terms of maximising the entrepreneurial and creative potentials of a student.

BARON EL’SAMA: The school has a zoo, I think? I’m not sure. It’s been ages I visited.

Mr Gbenga: Yes we do have a zoo.

BARON EL’SAMA: I think I should do a piece on my blog for Mayflower School, Ikenne.

Mr Gbenga: Mayflower is a community on it’s own.

Mr Gbenga: Wow!

Mr Gbenga: It would be really nice of you.

Mr Gbenga: Wld appreciate that so much.

BARON EL’SAMA: I’ll come up with something. I’ll send it to you before I publish. I’ll credit you as my co-contributor.

Mr Gbenga: Ok bro

Mr Gbenga: Thanks bro

Mr Gbenga: Pepenazi was my classmate from JSS2 – SS3. We were in the same arm, the same department.

BARON EL’SAMA: Wow! Interesting. From Mayflower to FUTA, you and PEPENAZI are very lucky. You attended standard schools “back to back”!  LOL

Mr Gbenga: Looooool. Olamide don cause trouble with this hin “back to back” line.

BARON EL’SAMA: Kindly drop anything worthy of note to make the piece great. Short stories about your experience on that campus.

Mr Gbenga: Ok bro

BARON EL’SAMA: Life style on that campus.

BARON EL’SAMA: Just one or two nostalgic memories you’ll want me to share.

Mr Gbenga: Ok bro

BARON EL’SAMA: Great. I’ll publish it first thing Friday morning. God willing

Mr Gbenga: Ok bro

BARON EL’SAMA: Kindly send the piece via  rosy4sama2@gmail.com

BARON EL’SAMA: I’m really thankful.  Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write on Mayflower.

Mr Gbenga: It’s a pleasure bro

Mr Gbenga: Let me spring to work immediately

Mr Gbenga: I’m not good at writing tho but I knw u will mend it, you will know what to do with what I write.

END OF CHAT
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Then Mr Gbenga came up with the following nostalgic memories of the good old days of his time at Mayflower School, Ikenne:

“I got admission into Mayflower School, Ikenne, in 1999. As the resumption date got closer, I grew excited because the name of my school to-be made me believe I was going to a very “butter-ish” or “posh” school.

I arrived Mayflower School, Ikenne, with my mum and I saw students dressed in shorts and a green top, on no socks with brown sandals!

I said to myself, I must be in the hostel environment, this is not the real school.

Upon getting to the Administrative office with my files, we were swiftly directed to the section where school uniform is being disbursed to new intakes. To my utmost wonderment, I was given the same “thing” I had seen earlier on some other students while taking my first steps on the Mayflower soil with my mum some moments ago.

I informed the officer again that I have not been given my “school uniform”. She smiled and told me: “that is your school uniform I just gave you”. I almost broke into tears. It was then it dawned on my adolescent mind that my parents must have hated me so much to have decided to send me to this jungle!

Something unique and absurd took place next. Another officer issued me a “student number”. Which had to be written boldly and legibly at the top of ones chest pocket for easy identification. I’ve seen lots of movies, at that instance I concluded that my parents had deliberately decided to send me to a schooling prison! From the movies I’ve seen and in real life, it is only in prisons that I know that numbers are a means of identification!

I started weeping! My mum thought I was weeping because I am missing her.  She kept on telling me: “stop crying Gbenga, I’ll visit you next month”.

I wanted to tell her:

“mum I’m weeping because I just realised how much you and dad hate me so much. I’m crying for the sufferings I’ll pass through in this God forsaken prison-like school you brought me”!

Something you get to see in Mayflower School, Ikenne, that’s quite different from most schools is arms of classes were in colors, and classes were arranged according to how brilliant the students were, the classes were as follow: red,green, blue, gold, silver, purple, orange, brown, pink and yellow for JSS classes.

Our hostel coordinator, Mr Bakare would tell us back then: “it’s better you are a class sweeper in Red (the most brilliant class) than to be a class captain in Green (the second most brilliant class)”. The importance of academic excellence was supplanted into our young minds.

The SSS classes were different, we were divided into three departments then – the Science class, Commercial and Arts.

Most of the students of Mayflower School, Ikenne, stayed in the “Students’ Second Home” i.e the hostel, which was run by the Solarins since the Ogun State Government took over the school. The hostel was the only structure coupled with the junior school left for the Solarins and that is where I was lucky to stay all through my 6 years in school.

There’s just a slight difference between the school uniform and the hostel uniform, the school uniform is green for the boys, hostel uniform is brown for the boys while the girls have pink as their school uniform and I think the Sunday wear is green gown for the girls.

In Mayflower School, Ikenne, all boys and girls put on a “short nicker”, there’s no difference unlike other schools where the seniors put on trousers.

What really stands Mayflower School, Ikenne, out among other schools is that the school really taught every one that ever passed through the Mayflower gates how to be “self reliant”.

You don’t have to wait for anybody to tell you what to do, when to do it, what you have to do. We have a popular saying then that “be at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing”.

No matter how lazy you are, at Mayflower School, Ikenne, you would be transformed into a very hard working beast. All JSS1 – SSS2 students had a portion of land (we call it plot) they MUST tend to every morning before proceeding to the assembly ground. No junior student will help a senior student out because they are also busy tending their plots.

Mayflower School, Ikenne, hardly employs anyone from outside to take care of the environment or do the school and hostel chores, we have different societies like the Garri making society, the Bread making (the bakery), the Piggery, the Fishery, the Poultry and also the Painters.

All these groups were comprised solely of students with some teachers playing supervisory roles. We have students that also work with the cooks to ensure the kitchen are well taken care of before and after meals. We do take care of our hostels ourselves.

The lazy ones from home among us, had Mayflower School, Ikenne, to thank for being the turning point of their lives. We got so used to hardwork and it is really helping our lives now.

Sundays are days we always look forward to at the hostel mainly for the following reasons:

● Sundays are the days with special meals.

● Sundays Community Gatherings – the boys put on white while the girls put on their green gown. Inspection on the hostel field takes place first. Then we proceed to the Assembly ground where the Hostel Authorities usually bring in high profile dignitaries to speak to us and inspire us. I can remember seeing the late Bèéko Ransom kuti, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and many others that I can’t remember now.

We were always told then that the late Tai Solarin (the founder of the school), always said this prayer:

“MAY YOUR ROAD BE ROUGH”.

We all thought it was a curse. I guess all of us got to understand this when we left the school – “nothing good comes easy”.”

I’m very proud to be Ex Mays!
Long live Mayflower!
Great Mayflower students!!
Ogundairo Moses Olugbenga
S/N 13743 99/05 set SSH B3UP

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Then another BBM contact dropped this:

BAMIDELE: Boss, na name still dey keep dat school o. Standard don waka tey tey

BARON EL’SAMA: It’s pathetic. Just like every other great institutions this country once had. They’ve all gone to the doldrums.

BAMIDELE: Exactly! You get my point.

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Thanks for reading folks. #Bless

OMOSUYI DAYO “ÈJO”


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*ÈJO’s 6 packs of fitness!

Introducing to you all, Omosuyi Dayo, “senior Dayo” a.k.a ÈJO (snake), a #FUTAfc legend.

The current Al-Hidd SCC of Bahrain hitman is the best left footed player and probably the best football player I’ve trained with/against, played with/against. Definitely along side Alobo Pius “Martins”.

Back then, he was a beauty to watch. He is a naturally gifted footballer with immense bundle of skills, tricks and flair.

Right now, he still remains a joy to watch.

Back then, he detests aerial balls, he loves it to be played on the ground, always. I can’t remember him going for any aerial duels/balls then.

Right now, he has metamorphosed into a beast with immense aerial prowess.

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* ÈJO in FUTA FC colours, WAUG 2010 Games, Kano.

At the 2010 West African University Games (WAUG) held at the Bayero University Kano (BUK), he was at his imperial best, notching up 3 goals and 2 assists to lead us (FUTA FC) to the quarter-final stage. Just behind the leading goalscorer of the tournament, Alobo Pius “Martins” of FUTA FC, who had 6 goals.

In the 2010/2011 season, he single handedly dragged our team, FUTA FC, to the regional finals of the Ondo State League, where we boycotted the final against Sunshine Stars due to some administrative lapses. And perhaps fear of being over hammered!

While doing his university proud on the soccer pitch, he was simultaneously  captaining Rising Stars FC of Ondo State, the feeder team of Sunshine Stars, in the Nigerian National league (Pro), the second tier of the Nigerian football pyramid.

The former East Riffa Club of Bahrain starlet is a very humble person with a large heart. The ex-Malkiya Club of Bahrain wizkid is always a bundle of laughter, pranks and jokes. A very lively character in the dressing room who hates to lose!

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*ÈJO, in Al-Hidd’s colours, doing what he knows how to do best – score goals!

My first training session with FUTA FC fell on a day after the team had lost. The coach, Micheal Ajibua, sent the team to one of the FUTA hills for strenuous drills, as a reward for losing. What a harsh way for me to get introduced to university football. I almost collapsed. And there was this senior player making jest of me. He yelled at a time:

“Coach,  è wá gbè òmó yìn yìí ooo, health centre jì nò gàn sì bí ooo – Coach, come and take this your new boy away, health centre is very far from here”.

In reference to me almost breaking down from the strenuous drills! We all laughed hysterically. Then the coach ended the strenuous hill-drills for my sake.  That senior player turned out to be “senior Dayo “ÈJO”.

Have I told you one of his parents (I think his dad) was a professor in FUTA then. He wanted his son to tow the line of academic pursuit. But the doggedness and sheer willpower of young Dayo made him take a stance and insist on becoming a professional footballer. He did his best to graduate from FUTA, that was his best way of not totally abandoning the academic blood of his family.

Omosuyi Dayo “ÈJO”, as you are arguably the biggest export from the FUTA Sports Complex, I pray God continues to bless your handiwork (in this case your foot works). May He continue to make you bigger and better in all ramifications. Wishing you the very best as you seek that lucrative deal to “La-Liga” my amiable “senior Dayo ” a.k.a ÈJO!

I don’t know if Omosuyi Dayo will like all these I’ve revealed about his past. Please, if you get offended, kindly find a spot in your heart to pardon and forgive me “senior Dayo “ÈJO”.

I have only decided to celebrate and appreciate you via this post before you get hugely massive in this football world of over 70,000,000 footballers!
#RESPECT

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* 2015 happy memories!

FCMB… MY BANK AND I


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If after reading this piece, you still don’t believe banks are the bane to the growth of small scale enterprises and our economic progress/development in this country, then you’re either among those benefiting from the misfortunes of the masses or an uneducated-unenlightened-backward illiterate!

During my #NYSC camp, I got #FCMB as my bank to funnel my monthly allowance to my pocket from the government’s coffers. Legal funneling though.

During the bank registration, we were instructed to pay N1,000 for the issuance of Mastercard, which I did. And was subsequently deducted.

Here is a breakdown of the transactions on my FCMB account since November 13tg, 2015 to date:

● 13/11/2015

Debit: N1,000.00 (Mastercard Issuance Fee)
Balance: N0.00

● 29/11/2015

Debit: N8.00 (I don’t know what this was for)
Balance: -N8.00

I’m already owing the bank money despite not depositing a dime in my account!

● 31/12/2015

Credit: N19,800 (NYSC Allowance)
Balance: N19,792.00

Foolish bank, they’ve allowed the people I’ve been “scoping” know I’ve collected my December “allowee” now! LOL

● 01/01/2016

Credit: N2.78 (Consolidated Interest)
Balance: N19,794.50

Big grammar, small money!
They should just have said “Interest: N2.78”. Which one is “Consolidated Interest”?

And if you do the basic mathematics properly, my balance should be: N19,794.78 and not N19,794.50!

How FCMB got N19,792.00 + N2.78 = N19,794.50 beats my imagination!

The implication is that N0.28 is “missing” from my account mysteriously!

● 01/01/2016

Debit: N1,000 (Mastercard Maintenance Fee)
Balance: N18,794.50

This really got me furious. Just in November, 2015 (about 2 months ago), N1,000 was deducted from my account as Mastercard Issuance Fee.

Why another N1,000 for “Mastercard Maintenance Fee”? Is the fee on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual basis?

Besides, my Mastercard is always in my wallet, I’ve been maintaining it adequately myself!

● 01/01/2016

Debit: N0.28
Balance: N18,791.72

If you remember I mentioned a “missing” N0.28 from my account previously, FCMB, in their folly, instead of crediting my account with the said “missing” amount, went further to debit my account to the tune of N0.28!

Again, N18,794.50 – N0.28 = N18,791.72!  According to FCMB mathematics.
My balance should have been N18,794.22 and not N18,791.72!

The implication of this again is that a whooping sum of N2.50 (“N18,794.22 – N18,791.72 = N2.50”) is “missing” or should I say “stolen” from my account?

As at the time of publication of this piece, my account balance is N18,791.72!

My people, have you seen how they messed up my N19,800 allowance in just 2 days (31/12/2015 – 1/1/2016)?

For the benefit of doubt, two things might be the cause of these anomalies:

● either a staff of FCMB is fraudulently doing these deductions without the consent of the institution,
or
● the bank’s charges are overbearing which is not in compliance with laid down banking principles (hidden charges).

Those IT staffs of our financial institutions, especially during this yuletide, are smarter and faster than the speed of light. Only our financial monitoring solutions can and will expose some of these their heinous acts.

Imagine these illegal deductions from the accounts of about 10,000,000 Nigerians!
Massive sum of money! Huge fraud going in these banks!

Now tell me why I should not place a curse on the generation of the owners, shareholders and staffs of FCMB?

As a comrade, a strongly worded email has been sent to them. I’ll patiently wait for their response before I take my next line of action.

BUHARI, OUR NATIONAL INTEREST AND COURT ORDERS by IJIGBAMI


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A step below President Buhari’s present level of high-handedness only brings us back to the era of impunity that we voted Jonathan out for.

Nigerians are very forgetful of the past. Nigeria, under the watch of the former President, could not successful keep terror suspects in custody because prosecutors failed to prepare a case. We had a system where court orders and injunctions stalled corruption cases and made a mockery of our fight to defeat corruption and insecurity across the country.

This time, we have an executive that is willing to stretch its constitutional powers to keep Nigeria safe and recoup
stolen fund, yet we’re starting to paint the President as a dictator.

Nnamdi Kanu is a threat to our national security. In advanced societies, suspects are detained for issues as trivial as traffic offence to keep them in custody while a stronger case is put together, why must Nigeria be different?

Societies with strong intelligence communities engage whatever means is takes to keep terrorists and extremists out of circulation, must ours be different?

Indeed, there are global concerns with regards to ethical issues on national
security and intelligence activities of nations; developing countries should not be singled out as if we are the only ones involved in such. Indeed, the primary responsibility of government is to ensure its people live neither in fear of terrorism, external aggression nor poverty and other factors that undermine their peace and safety while it also sustains the fundamental rights of its people.

However, many advanced nations have passed through periods of national
crisis when liberties were exchanged for greater security, the balance between both being restored after such crisis, and Nigeria is at that point right now.

Within the last 10-15 years, advanced nations have defied international charters against enhanced interrogation techniques, illegal rendition, detention without trial and all sort of measures all for the sake of national security. We have not resorted to this yet you’re starting to paint us as bad. We have not rendered our terror suspects to Niger Republic for torture, as you did render yours to Egypt for torture. We have not built illegal detention facilities in Chad, as you’ve done in Cuba. Kanu has not accused our security agents of subjecting him to waterboarding as you’ve done to many of yours, so what is the fury about? We understand you did what was necessary for the safety of innocent people, just as President Buhari is doing the same.

Nnamdi Kanu’s illegal entrance into the country with equipment for the purpose of undermining our national security is enough to get us worried, and get a responsible President to act.

On the NIMASA ex-DG and Arms thieves, I doubt if there is any law in Nigeria or anywhere in the world that restrains the authorities from re-arresting a suspect on different charges after he/she has been granted bail on others. Hence, we do not have to blame the President for identifying measures within our laws to use against corrupt public office holders just to keep them from jumping bail.

We had a soft-spoken, gentle-looking President whose lame duck attitude cost us $2.1 billion meant for the war on terror and drove us where we are today, but we have moved on. Now we have a stronger, more willing leader in President Buhari and the best we can do is support him to do whatever is right and just to keep us on the path of prosperity and security again.

As Nigerians, we must understand that security is a collective task that requires the mutual cooperation of every citizen, and the understanding that our liberties will not be compromised as long as we remain law abiding and do not act in ways that endanger others, as Dasuki Sambo and his partners are alleged to have done to our soldiers and our countrymen up North. We need to understand that a man that literally sneaked into the country using unconventional methods can sneak out using same methods; that we lack the intelligence capability to keep tabs on all suspects, and just like in past cases, corrupt public office holders may escape justice by choosing not to return to Nigeria if they are allowed to pursue whatever medical excuses abroad and extradition is not as easy as it appears.

We are protected as law-abiding citizens, and we have in President Buhari what we have always desired, a strong man with great political will to frustrate corrupt public office holders, a step below President Buhari’s present level of high-handedness will only bring us back to the era of impunity.

@ijigbami

AHMED SULE: The Marginalised Nigerian Youth and the Curious Case of Femi Pedro


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“Those that do not hear (the plights of the suffering masses) will one day feel (the wrath of the masses)”. #BeWise
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AHMED SULE: The Marginalised Nigerian Youth and the Curious Case of Femi Pedro

By Ahmed Sule via BellaNaija

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http://www.bellanaija.com/2015/10/23/the-marginalised-nigerian-youth-and-the-curious-case-of-femi-pedro-a-rejoinder

A couple of days ago, while talking to my sister, she asked me whether I had read an article written by Femi Pedro which was trending on social media. I hadn’t, but as we were speaking over the phone, I did a Google search and came across your article titled, “Buhari and the Curious Case of the Young Generation” on BellaNaija. After reading the article I decided to pen a response to you.
In the aftermath of the publication of your article, there has been a lot of debate about the contents of your letter with a number of people, especially those of the middle-class variety agreeing with your point of view. Since you are an influential Nigerian whose words carry a lot of weight and because your article is addressed to a very important but vulnerable segment of the Nigerian populace, it is important that the contents of the paper are critically examined. Since your article was addressed to young Nigerians via the public domain, I will also respond to your article via the public domain. In my opinion, your article is flawed not only logically, but it is also flawed morally and economically and in the next couple of pages, I will explain why. I trust that you will read what I have to say with an open mind.

In your epistle, which was written in response to the complaints by our youths about the lack of opportunities available to them, you suggest that youths have always played an important role in Nigeria. You argue that the same circumstances faced by the present crop of young Nigerians was faced by previous generations of young Nigerians, the only difference being that the present crop of Nigerian youths are arrogant, lazy, vain and lacking in ambition. To justify your argument, you cite your ability to OWN a bank along with some of your friends when you were all in your thirties. You also develop a “Hall of Fame” of past and current generation of Nigerians who achieved political, economic, industrial and artistic or creative success in their youth. You also advice young Nigerians to humble themselves, know their worth and eliminate distractions, which hinder them from seeing the big picture.

With all due respect Sir, your analysis is simplistic at best and vicious and dangerous at worst. It is written from a privileged narrative and the condescending tone of the article is nothing more than “youth-slamming.”

To support your assertion about the indolence of our youths, you appeal to your authority as a Nigerian elite who achieved wealth, fame and influence at an early age. By devoting the first three paragraphs of your article to the story behind the formation of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), you are telling the Nigerian youths that, “If I could OWN a bank, in my youth, why can’t you?” The fact that you OWNED a bank in your thirties is not a sufficient and necessary condition to conclude that young Nigerians are lazy and lacking in ambition.

You have developed a syllogism along the following lines:

Premise 1: I was successful at a young age.

Premise 2: Young Nigerians have not achieved what I achieved when I was their age.

Conclusion: Therefore, Nigerian youths are lazy and should work harder so that they can seize the moment.

Another flaw in your argument is you result to cherry picking to support your argument. In short your paper suffers from selection bias. You conveniently develop a “Hall of Fame” of Nigerians who excelled at young ages and use this as a basis to suggest that young Nigerians are lethargic. Names such as Fola Adeola, Linda Ikeji, Awolowo et al resonates with most Nigerians and informing your readers that they were all young when they achieved fame will bias your reader to your point of view. According to the 2006 census, there are around 50 million youths (within the 15-34 year age bracket). A sizeable number of these youths are near or below the breadline. It is therefore illogical to select a sample of successful youths and reach a conclusion about the whole population of young Nigerians especially when the sample is not representative of the total population.

Another omission in your analysis is the circumstances of Nigeria during the period before our independence in 1960. You state, “Since pre-independence, the Nigerian youth have played a pivotal role in nation-building and economic development.”- So far so good. But what you fail to point out is when the colonialists were in power, they occupied the top positions in the country. Post independence, when the colonialists left the country, the top layer was vacant and the younger generation of Nigerians who were educated at the time were in prime position to take over. Contrast that with today where there is an ever-increasing number of youths at the bottom of the ladder who are unable to climb up because the top is occupied by the older generation. This is the reason for the youth’s grievance. You may then argue, “But in my time, there was an older generation of people at the top, yet we broke through the glass ceiling.” This is true, but you need to bear in mind that the circumstance of 20 and 30 years ago is also different from today. In  1980 and 1990, Nigeria’s population was 73.6 million and 95.6 million respectively, however as at today the total population is around 173 million. If you extrapolate the youth population in these different eras, you will then begin to appreciate that the conditions of yesterday are not the same as today.

Mr. Pedro, you also fail to acknowledge the responsibility of the older generation in creating the mess that our youths face today. Nigeria is in its present state due to the corruption and greed of the past generation who mortgaged the future of the young generation in order to line their pockets. Without going into names, if you search your “Hall of Fame,” you will notice that some of the people on that list are responsible for ruining the lives of the very young Nigerians you are advising.

In your analysis, you completely ignore the impact of social exclusion on our youths. You note, “Most of us who made an impact in our early thirties came from modest means. We were not rich, and we did not have any noteworthy inheritance. Nobody did us any favours.” Really? Lets go back to the genesis of the formation of the bank that you OWNED. It is possible that most of your co-investors were not born with silver spoons, but it is obvious that at the time when the bank was formed, you were all accomplished middle class gentlemen. For instance, prior to that historic meeting at “Fola’s crib”, you all had proven track records. Bode Agusto had worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Citibank; you had worked for Central Bank of Nigeria and First City Merchant Bank; Fola Adeola had cut his teeth with D.O. Dafinone and Deloitte. Moreover, you are a scion of the renowned Pedro family and have a surname, which is recognisable throughout Lagos. Your double barrel foreign qualification (achieved at a time when few Nigerians could boast of a foreign degree) in addition to your closeness to Otunba Subomi Balogun put you in good social standing to enable you wine and dine at the table with like-minded people to formulate a remarkable idea like OWNING a bank. Would you have been able to wine and dine with your co-investors if you came from a poor family, had to delay working in a first tier corporate entity after your graduation because you had to take care of your five siblings while living in a one bedroom flat only to find yourself unemployed at the age of 33?

So Sir, in summary, your article is logically flawed as it is based on cherry picking, sweeping generalisations, syllogism, red herrings and false dilemma.

Your thinking is also flawed on moral grounds. By singling out the Nigerian youth, you are assaulting acerbically a vulnerable segment of Nigerian society that is defenceless against your assault. You fail to synthesis your top-down elitist approach with a more humane bottom-up analysis and as a result, your pen or should I say keystrokes has left young Nigerians dehumanised and bloodied on the Jericho road of life. Admittedly, you are a man of integrity, however, I find it strange that you have not used your position of influence to publicly speak truth to power. Admittedly, I am not privy to your conversations with people in the corridors of power and there is a possibility that you sometimes tell them some home truths, but wouldn’t it be more beneficial to society if you speak truth to the “classes” publicly with the same zeal that you have spoken “truth” to the masses publicly? You have also failed to speak truth publicly to your friends in the financial sector. If you carry out an in-depth analysis of the working practices of the many banks that dot the country, you will come to the realisation that some of these institutions are committing crimes against humanity. Some young Nigerians who work in the financial sectors have battle scars to show. Some are given unrealistic, unreasonable and unattainable deposit targets to meet, failure of which will result in termination of appointments; some are encouraged to engage in corporate prostitution by selling their bodies for deposits; some are stripped of all form of their humanity by narcissistic executives; married and pregnant women are often discriminated against; some have been subjected to novel forms of sackings such as “e-sacking”, “exam sacking’” and “verbal sacking.” Perhaps you should channel your energy to speak to your friends and ex-colleagues to make banks more humane for the younger generation.

Earlier on, I mentioned that your article was simplistic at best and vicious and dangerous at worst. The reason why I described it as dangerous is partly because of your mentoring involvement. You say, “I have spent a lot of time mentoring, observing and interacting with young Nigerians.” My concern is that if your 1,844-word essay is a reflection of your views about poor Nigerians in general and the marginalised young Nigerians in particular then such Darwinian elitist thinking is probably being passed down to the next generation of Nigerian leaders being mentored. Is Nigeria at risk of breeding a new generation of elites that have contempt for what Cardinal Mahony calls the last, the least, the littlest?

Your analysis of the Nigerian youth bears all the hallmarks of the bootstrap philosophy, which suggests that for people to succeed in life, they have to do it by their own effort i.e. lift themselves up by their own bootstrap. In short, the unfortunate is to be blamed for his misfortune. It is the same sentiment expressed by Auma Obama, sister to President Obama who once said, “Poverty is not an excuse for failure. Do something.” The problem with this line of thinking is that it fails to factor the structural causes preventing individuals from realising their true potential. Martin Luther King eloquently denounced this Darwinian philosophy when he said, “It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” Nigerian politicians and oligarchs have taken the spoils of the land leaving little or nothing for our helpless youths thereby rendering them bootless.

In the past couple of pages, I addressed the logical and moral flaws of your article. In this section, I will discuss the economic flaws of your analysis of young Nigerians. Otunba, I know that you are an economist par excellence. You have a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from University of Wisconsin–Superior and a Master’s degree in Economics from Wichita State University; you worked as an economist at the Central Bank and you are a member of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Bankers, London. But with all due respect Sir, based on the contents of your paper, your thinking is out of tune with current economic thinking. You analyse the plight of the Nigerian youth from the narrow prism of Nigeria, even though the problem is a global phenomenon. While economists and policy makers around the world are banging their heads to understand and find solutions to global youth unemployment, you are simplifying Nigeria’s youth unemployment challenges to discussions about Don Jazzy, Facebook and six young men who OWNED a bank.

I strongly recommend you read the 2015 baseline report prepared by the World Bank and the International Labor Organization titled, “Toward Solutions for Youth Employment.” According to the report, we are witnessing the largest concentration of youths in human history with about 1.8 billon young people around the world. Of this number, 85% live in emerging economies like Nigeria. Almost a third of young people around the world are either not in employment, education or training. The younger generation who you debase, account for approximately 40% of the global unemployment and are four times more likely to be unemployed than the older generation. At the moment, the situation shows no sign of improving as nearly a billion additional young people are expected to join the global workforce in the next decade even though only 40% are expected to join jobs that currently exists. Moving back to Nigeria, our youths suffer from the same plight as their global counterparts. According to McKinsey, youth unemployment in Nigeria is around 50% while the Central Bank Of Nigeria suggests the rate to be 80%. Sir, I hope you can see from these grim statistics that the current situation of youths in Nigeria and youths around the world is tragic.

You fail to consider the interplay between technology and youth unemployment. Automation has eradicated jobs that were available when you began your banking career. As a consequence, there are fewer jobs available in an era of increasing young people. I am sure you were taught in Economics 101 that a limited supply of a good, combined with a high demand for that good, results in a mismatch between the desired supply and demand equilibrium. If you can appreciate this most basic of economic principles, why can’t you appreciate the plight of young Nigerians who have to compete for jobs in an era of fewer jobs as evidenced by the sixteen people who died in stampedes around the country as 6.5 million young Nigerians were seeking employment for the 4,000 vacant positions in the Nigeria Immigration Service? You might want to rebut, “The government and private sector can’t create all these jobs, and so it is up to the youths to set up their own businesses.” The flaw with this thinking is that not every youth in Nigeria is destined to be an entrepreneur just like every Nigerian can’t be a lawyer, doctor, banker or blogger.

You fail to properly stratify the constituents of the younger generation. Most of the people you mentioned in your article achieved their success between their mid- twenties and mid thirties. Labour economics tell us that adults within the age bracket of 25 to 34 display the highest level of entrepreneurship globally. That is partly because at that age one is not too inexperienced or one is not too old to take risks. In Nigeria, the 25-34 year age bracket constitutes 15.4% of the total population compared to 15- 24year age bracket, which is 20.17% of the total population. You also fail to discuss the difficulty entrepreneurial youths have in obtaining credit facilities from financial institutions. Some of them do not have sufficient collateral to obtain loans while others are not well connected to solicit the help of guarantors with deep pockets.

You fail to appreciate the impact of unemployment on the younger generation. Could this be because you never had an unemployment gap on your CV? I understand that you did your undergraduate studies between 1976 and 1978 and started your postgraduate degree in 1979. Within a year of graduating from Wichita State University in 1981, you joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1982 where you worked till 1988. 1988 was a critical year for you as you left the CBN for First City Merchant Bank and in the same year you linked up with five other gentlemen at “Fola’s residence” to birth GTB. Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can negatively affect future earnings; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can lead to social exclusion; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can lead to further joblessness; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can affect your ability to have your own family; Perhaps, if your circumstances were similar to the average Nigerian youth today, you would appreciate that unemployment at a young age can lead to physical and mental health challenges.

Sir, you need to realise that everybody cannot be a Gbolly Osibodu, Fola Adeola or Femi Pedro. For every Gbolly Osibodu, there are millions of young Nigerians wallowing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity; For every Fola Adeola, there are millions of young Nigerians who have nothing to live for; For every Femi Pedro experiencing the Nigerian dream, there are millions of young Nigerians experiencing the Nigerian nightmare.

Your direct crusade against young Nigerians is also an indirect crusade against young women. How? Majority of young Nigerians are women who make up 31.3% of the total population compared to young men that make up 27.8% of the population. All the statistics that I referenced earlier are average figures for the youth population. If we are to break the numbers into gender components, you will see that young women are hardest hit by the problems confronting the youths. For instance, relative to their male counterparts, women are more likely not to be in education, employment or training, they are more likely to be socially excluded, more likely to be working in vulnerable employment and more likely to be discriminated against at work.

I would like to address your comments regarding youth distraction. You write, “Young Nigerians have to eliminate distractions. Do not get carried away by the allure of good living, bling, fame and fortune…. By all accounts, social media is obviously the biggest distraction. It is a powerful tool, but can also derail you from focusing on the bigger picture.” Otunba, using social media and focusing on the bigger picture are not mutually exclusive. It shouldn’t be either/or; it is both/and. Permit me to ask you a question. Who is more dangerous to Nigeria? – A young Nigerian logging on to Twitter to express her opinion or an old Nigerian who siphons $6 billion to her pocket? A young Nigerian who logs on to Facebook to keep in touch with friends or an old Nigerian bank CEO who embezzles $1.2 billion of depositors money? A young Nigerian who shares her pictures with her friends on Instagram or an old Nigerian who makes a false declaration of his assets? Sir, you are preaching to the wrong generation.

Before I conclude, I would like to advice you to come off you high horse and see things from the perspective of the younger generation. I must admit that you are not alone in your thinking as your sentiments are supported by a cross section of the so-called Nigerian middle class. It is in the interest of the so-called Nigerian middle class to be worried about the marginalisation of the Nigerian youth. A friend of mine often says, “Those that do not hear will one day feel,” while Martin Luther King wrote from a Birmingham jail, “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…This is the inter-related structure of reality.” Nigeria has developed a two tier parallel system comprising of two kinds of people – the “haves” and the “have nots.” The “haves” live in their gated communities protected from the “have-nots” who are confined to the ghettos. Oppression has become the name of the game with the 1% oppressing the 99%. The boss oppresses the subordinate; the clergy oppresses the laity; the landlord oppresses the tenant; the lender oppresses the borrower; the musician oppresses the fans, the governor oppresses the governed and the richer older generation oppresses the poorer younger generation. The so-called Nigerian middle class may think they are immune from the sufferings of the “Nigerian underclass” especially when looking through the safe confine of their gated communities. But how long can this last before the underclass begin to leave the ghettos and slums to knock on the doors of these gated communities demanding their share of the national cake? After all, revolutions are usually started by the younger generation.

Finally, in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the protagonist Benjamin Button played by Brad Pitt suffers from a condition in which he ages backwards. At birth, he has the appearance of an old man, but as the days and years go by, he becomes younger. When he is 50 years old, he looks like a twenty year old. It might be time for the older generation of Nigerians (of which I am a part of) to age backwards and live as a young person in today’s Nigeria. I am confident that by the time they see themselves sitting for an entrance exam with 80,000 other candidate vying for ten vacancies; by the time they submit thousands of CVs only to receive an email reading, “We regret to inform you that your application was unsuccessful; by the time they apply for a bank loan and are told to produce their mothers birth certificate; by the time they are told to sleep with one Chief in order to generate deposits for their employer; by the time they hear rich old Nigerians tell them that they are lazy; by the time they see that they have no money in their pockets to pay for the medical expenses of their dying mother; by the time they see themselves socially excluded; by the time they see themselves sleeping in a cockroach infested room – then they will understand that it is simplistic, heartless and immoral to call the young generation indolent, arrogant and vain.
Selah.
Photo Credit: © Kadettmann | Dreamstime.com

About Ahmed Sule
The author is a middle-aged Nigerian who was once a youth. He can be reached via the Twitter Handle: @Alatenumo