Sunday, September 27, 2009

Obama tries to stop Berlusconi from tapping current

1. Obama warns Michelle on the dangers of getting too close to Berlusconi

2. Watches closely to ensure it just a hand shake nothing more

3. But Berlusconi is not playing ball and wants more....a lot more, to Obama's obvious disapproval

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Again, things fall apart

Source

The governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, is facing a rebellion from his former political allies. He has been expelled from his party by a group led by party heavy weight, Chekwas Okorie,

The troubles in the party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, however, are not the only issues that are likely to make the elections in Anambra extremely volatile.

The PDP, which is Nigeria’s ruling party, is determined to win back Anambra from the opposition. To do this however, they must first get their house in order and select a candidate to run for the seat of governor. As of the last count, more than 30 people had picked up nomination forms from the party secretariat in Abuja, indicating they will be contesting for the right to represent the party during the election.

At least one of these candidates, the former governor of the central bank, Chukwuma Soludo, is thought to have the blessing of the wife of the president.

The political manoeuvring that is going on in the state is not limited to the big players, those on the fringes are dipping into the mix and confusing things even further. Some of them include the former state governor, Chris Ngige and the current deputy governor, Virginia Etiaba.

The beginning

The genesis of Anambra’s very complicated, and potentially violent politics can be traced to the 1999, elections that restored democracy in the country after 16 years of military rule. Anambra blazed the trail of what was to become known as political ‘godfatherism’ when Emeka Offor, to all intents and purposes, imposed Chinwoke Mbadinuju on the state.

Having spent a lot of money to get Mr. Mbadinuju into the Awka State House, Mr. Offor, being the businessman that he is, expected returns. He wanted direct access to the state’s treasury, a request that, to his credit, Mr.Mbadinuju refused. That was the beginning of the end for him. In 2003, he failed to get the PDP’s nomination for a second term in office.

While Emeka Offor was dissipating energy fighting the man he had put in the state house, another ‘godfather’ was preparing the ground for his ‘godson’ to get there. Chris Uba, brother to a close confidant of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, Andy Uba, had set the wheels in motion for his protégée, Chris Ngige, to become the governor. His thugs made sure that the 2003 gubernatorial elections were heavily rigged in Mr. Ngige’s favour, while the APGA candidate, Peter Obi, could only watch more or less helplessly as his own vigorous campaign efforts were wasted.

That lasted until Chris Ngige fell out with his godfather. In typical Nigerian style, Mr. Uba, in an effort to forestall any kind of ‘betrayal’ had prior to the elections , hauled Mr.Ngige before a shrine in the now infamous Okija incident, to swear an oath of loyalty; not to the people of Anambra State, but to him. Apparently, Mr. Ngige had agreed and sworn to the oath, so Mr. Uba was confident that unlike Mr. Offor before him, he would have unfettered access to the state’s treasury.

But there is no honour among thieves, and Mr. Ngige reneged on his oath, claiming to be an upstanding Christian. An enraged Mr. Uba had the recalcitrant Mr. Ngige kidnapped. Unfortunately for Mr. Uba, and fortunately for the people of the state, the Federal Government intervened in the crisis on the order of the then vice president, Atiku Abubakar ( President Obasanjo was away at the time).

Mr. Ngige was released and his removal declared illegal. Mr. Ngige’s tenure was cut short, however, when the courts decided that his election had been a farce, and that Peter Obi was in fact the lawfully elected governor of the state. That opened a new chapter in the drama that is Anambra State.

Enter Peter Obi

Peter Obi came into office without any known godfather and a section of the elite who believe they are the powers that decide the destiny of the state were not comfortable with having such a person in office. Within six months, he was impeached for daring to go back to court to seek his full four year tenure. (Mr, Ngige had occupied the seat illegally for thirty four months.) However, Mr. Obi once again triumphed in the courts. The courts ruled that Mr. Ngige’s three years in office were not part of Mr. Obi’s constitutional four-year term.

But the mess in Anambra was set to get even messier. More complications were added before the highest court in the country could rule on on Mr. Obi’s tenure of office. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , which should have known election to the gubernatorial seat in Anambra was not due untill 2010, conducted the 2007 general elections in Anambra.

Andy Uba, the president’s man Friday won the poll. The elections was won at a canter by utilising all the connections available to the PDP rigging machinery. In the build up to the elections, the two Uba brothers: Andy and Chris fell apart. Chris felt that his elder brother was encroaching on his path. However, the real power lay with the elder, so Chris was promptly brought back to heel. In a landmark ruling delivered by the Supreme Court, shortly after he was sworn-in as governor, Andy Uba was asked to immediately vacate the office and Peter Obi returned to complete his stolen mandate.

More twists

Thus was added another twist to the Anambra saga, as Andy Uba is asking the courts to allow him be sworn-in without an election as governor in 2010. Mr. Uba Snr claims that since he won the 2007 gubernatorial election conducted by the national electoral body, he should replace Mr. Obi when the governor’s tenure ends next year. His is a case of, “I have booked the flight and should get on board when it is due.” Andy Uba is not having a smooth wait for the courts to pronounce him governor next year. He is being challenged by many others who think an election in 2010 should and will happen. Among these is ex-governor Chris Ngige.

The growing list of potential PDP candidates for the seat includes, Emma Anosike, Kodilichukwu Okelekwe, Emeka Nwandu, Nicholas Ukachukwu, Annie Okonkwo, Odemezue Chukwura, Damian Okolo, Kenneth Osita Odidika, Chuma Nzeribe, Benard Okeke, Alex Obigolu, Ikechukwu Obiora, Austin Okafor, Nwoye Tony Okechukwu, Ekwenze Solomon, Emmanuel Mbamalu, Eucharia Azodo, Mike Nkwocha, Chinyere Ogualili, Ugokwe Jerry Sunny, Caro Nwosu, and of course, Chukwuma Soludo, who until a few months ago was the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Mr. Soludo’s candidacy is contentious and has not been bolstered much by the negative press he has been receiving in the last few weeks as a result of the current banking crisis. Despite all of this, Mr. Soludo has gone ahead and picked a nomination form. Given his background, not a few people believe Mr. Soludo is not capable of surviving in the clearly thuggish and dirty politics of Anambra. But given the antecedents of Anambra’s very educated people in this area, it is likely that Mr. Soludo will do just fine.

Mr.Chris Ngige, a medical doctor, was a chief executive who saw nothing wrong with entering a marriage of convenience with the thuggish Chris Uba.

Then there is Chinwoke Mbadinuju, who, in spite of a doctorate degree still aligned himself with Emeka Offor to become governor. Anambra politicians, like their counterparts in other parts of the country appear to be able to move from being “technocrats” to “thugocrats”.

Mr. Soludo has been seen in all the politically correct places, and has been endorsed by PDP’s Mr. Fix – It, Tony Anenih. He is also rumoured to have the backing of powerful friends such as Alex Ekwueme and Mrs.Turai Yar’Adua. For him, the nomination seems to be already in the bag, with everything else merely a formality. With the PDP rigging machinery in place, he is likely to be the next governor (or at the very worst, the anointed candidate). The important “votes” are from PDP national figures like Mr. Anenih, not the people of Anambra State. That probably explains why Andy Uba is yet to pick up a nomination form, but would rather go through the judiciary to the government house.

The other political parties are not left out of the madness. The intrigues are such that they are rending apart family ties. The current deputy governor, Virginia Etiaba, and her second son, Emeka, have both expressed interest in running for governor. Mr. Etiaba has had to leave APGA, his mother’s party in order to pursue his ambition. He has declared his interest on the platform of the PPA.

The younger Etiaba’s defection has further highlighted the rift between the Chekwas Okorie and Victor Umeh led factions of APGA in the state, but may have just solidified Mr. Obi’s position within the party, an assurance which the incumbent needs in order to pursue his second term ambition. For now though, it looks like in Anambra State, things are likely to continue falling apart.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nye anyi egbe

Three days ago, a man was murdered in his own home. Bayo Ohu was a political correspondent with The Guardian. He was killed by three men who walked into his house in broad daylight and shot him to death. The men then walked quite calmly away.

Then, in a 'swift' reaction, the police PRO, Frank Mba, has changed his story from 'suspected murder' to 'alleged armed robbery' because Ohu's laptop was taken, and the car in which the murderers came has been recovered. Cue the case being left to die away quietly.

The security situation in Naija has always been bad, no questions about that, but it sadly appears to be getting worse. Regularly, one reads in the news of acts of violence that are getting worse in terms of frequency and sheer wickedness. The police appear helpless.

Or are they really?

The question still remains unanswered: You take a man, he has a wife (maybe two), and children. You give him N 8500 a month, ask him to buy his shoes from that amount. You ask him to buy his torch, bulb and batteries from that amount. From that amount he is also expected to cater for his aforementioned family. Then you give him a gun! What do you want him to do? What should we do? We need guns.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Extensions to die for

Source



There is in my mind no other browser that is better than Mozilla Firefox. And the reason for this is simple: extensions. Firefox extensions or add-ons are installable enhancements to the Mozilla Foundation's applications (such as Firefox, Thunderbird, Seamonkey and Sunbird).

They allow the user to add or improve the features of the applications, make use of new themes to his liking, and handle different types of content.

Ever since I made the switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox some five years back, I have tried a whole lot of other browsers but simply find myself returning to Firefox again and again. For the casual user out there, find below a very quick tutorial on installing extensions in Firefox,

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The devil's workshop

So Chxta had an encounter with a mechanic that got him wondering what the hell is the problem with Nigerian workmen. If you don't like your job, please walk. Alternatively, I will.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

UNDERSTANDING NIGERIA'S BANKING SECTOR PART 1

This one was written by a political analyst, Dayo Coker. Excellent piece...

The Soludo Era.



After the banking consolidation exercise reduced the number of Nigerian banks to 25, Professor Charles Soludo became a national hero. He was hailed as a practical genius who translated abstruse economic phenomena into reality, a man who easily vanquished the stodgy and connected grey eminences that had tried to resist his reformist agenda.

As the masses sang his praises, the canny bank chiefs who had succeeded in saving their institutions knew that they had to embrace him in order to protect their empires. To seduce him, they levied themselves 2 million naira each and hosted him a superlative 50 million naira "dinner". He was initiated into the luxury life.

Soludo, the hyper-intelligent economist soon morphed into a dapper dresser who wore Savile Row suits and expensive Rolex watches. He became very close to a privileged group of bankers who became the de facto rulers of Nigeria’s financial sector. The tough talking regulator lost his sense of impartiality.



The Stock Market Boom.

General Olusegun Obasanjo's decision to work with Bretton Woods economists combined with soaring oil prices to draw foreign investors to the Nigerian financial sector. In addition to hedge fund managers who invested a small fraction of their portfolios in the growing market, ordinary Nigerians joined the fray when they realized that banking sector reforms had transformed the stock market into a veritable cash machine.

Growing investor confidence quickly led to a sharp rise in stocks and attracted the hoi polloi. Small investors rushed to the stock market in droves and sank their money in "high growth stocks". The snake oil bankers quickly read the situation and drew up plans to further increase their capital base.

In order to achieve abnormal returns, they enlisted the support of stockbrokers who brazenly manipulated stock prices with the tacit support of the leadership of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A rash of public offers soon followed, leading to an exponential increase in stock market indices. Some states even compelled civil servants to buy shares, forcibly deducting the value from their salaries.

Clergymen told their congregations about the "miraculous wonders" of the stock market. As the unsophisticated “sheep” emptied their nest eggs into the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the bankers and their sidekicks got richer. Mid-level managers earned millions in bonuses as reward for bringing in ensnaring ignorant investors. The stock market became part of the national conversation. And there was no stopping the bubble as the new financial elite was born.



Greed and Recklessness.

As the money rolled in, the banks immediately went on a spending spree. South African brand consultants were paid huge sums to design new logos, Indians got millions for software and overpaid managers were poached from rival banks. In little time, the banking tsars became delusional and started a turf war. They commissioned ostentatious offices and hired buxom bimbos to reinforce their marketing departments. These “happiness” officers were given huge allowances for miniskirts, contraceptives and expensive baubles.

The battle assumed a personal dimension as nouveau riche bankers fought for prime real estate in Ikoyi and Victoria Garden City. Others rented Banana Island flats and joined expensive boat clubs where they flaunted their expensive curios. The gnomish Jim Ovia took over an entire street in highbrow Victoria Island where he built an imposing edifice and commissioned a flashy ATM galleria. His amazing architects delivered The Civic Centre, a ship-inspired building that came to define his expensive taste. He became a trusted confidante to Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola, Nigeria’s richest men. Aig Imoukhuede, one half of the now infamous United Alliance, built a fortress complete with angry mobile policemen. Jeremiah Omoyeni, the banker cum politician, got a 450 million naira housing allowance for his short stay at the helm of the crisis-ridden Wema Bank.

Anthony Elumelu, Cecilia Ibru, Jim Ovia and Tayo Aderinokun commissioned private jets to take them around the world while Akingbola curiously started an FM radio station and announced that he would treat himself to a Rolls Royce on his 60th birthday. Prince Nduka Obaigbena, This Day’s flamboyant chairman became the cheerleader-in-chief as banks picked up the tabs for visiting global dignitaries at the newspaper’s exquisite “town hall meetings.” Vanguard raked in billions from its annual Bankers’ Awards.

Foreign praise singers also realized that there was money to be made and set off a craze for dubious awards. African Business, Business Initiative Directions, The Banker and EMEA Finance came calling, dishing out awards in exchange for cash. Renaissance Capital, led by the mercurial Stephen Jennings staked its claim and exchanged ratings for securities contracts.

As oil prices continued to spike, savvy local entrepreneurs became potential oil and gas traders. They drew up grandiose business plans and convinced bank chiefs to advance huge loans for the purchase of tank farms and refined crude. The bankers obliged and shared the "upfront" interest. “Oil and Gas” became the most important phrase in the lexicon of the Nigerian banker.

Some of the oil traders were not satisfied with their bulging bank accounts. Since real estate is the Nigerian's true barometer of wealth, they went back to the bankers and drew up plans for an African Dubai. The bankers obliged and doled out more cash. Deals were sealed in posh country clubs as huge loans were given with utter disregard of risk management processes.

Foreign credit lines and unnecessary forays into the capital market meant there was just too much money to spend. Banks soon decided to have a taste of the apple and incorporated subsidiaries to market “luxury estates”. Lekki, Ikoyi and Abuja became the new Hamptons. Even foreigners began to complain about the skyrocketing prices of Nigerian real estate. "Expatriate Only" signs soon became de rigueur.

The Early Signs.

When the subprime mortgage crisis ballooned into a full scale economic meltdown, the foreign bankers knew they had to run. After all, the global banking system was on the brink of collapse. Indy Mac had disappeared and fabled Wall Street institutions such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers had imploded.

The Nigerian banks had no chief economists and were blissfully ignorant of the implications of the crisis. Akingbola, Okereke-Onyiuke and Soludo all publicly declared that the country’s financial system was isolated from the rest of the world. Most Nigerians continued to buy stocks not knowing that Peter Ololo and his fellow stockbrokers were using cheap money to prop up the stock market. This made it easier for foreign operators to exit the market at a premium. Firms such as Actis, the private equity fund, dumped its shares in UAC for 50 naira. By the time, the stock market went into a tailspin, it was too late.


Deconstructing the Fallen Five.




Erastus Akingbola

Some staffers of Intercontinental Bank have accused me of bias, claiming that I have personal scores to settle with Dr Erastus Akingbola. This is untrue. I have always believed that Erastus Akingbola was a crook and I owed the Nigerian public a duty to expose him. It is now clear that he was an exceptionally talented huckster who used his avuncular mien to shamelessly manipulate the public.

He frittered away the bank’s money on questionable “CSR” schemes designed to influence politicians and lay the groundwork for a future political career. In the week before the August 14 temblor, he instituted a 50 million naira scholarship scheme for Katsina natives in a clear attempt to lobby the president through Ibrahim Shema, the governor of the president’s home state. Akingbola also instituted a similar scheme in his home state, Ondo, where he was rewarded with the chancellorship of the state-owned university in a clear case of quid pro quo. As part of his national “save me from Sanusi” tour, Dr Akingbola finally ended up in Sokoto where his attempts to lobby an unsmiling Sultan fell flat.

He didn't show up for the historic August 14 meeting. Three days later, he had vanished into thin air. Nobody can underestimate the danger still posed by the highly influential Akingbola, who has been in the industry for thirty years. His case is not just an error in judgement. In any serious country, he would be the subject of an international manhunt.



Cecilia Ibru

Long before the stock market correction and the rapid fall in global oil prices, Cecilia Ibru had inexplicably shackled Oceanic Bank to a bilateral 175 million dollar five year loan from Merrill Lynch. This transaction was packaged by Osaze Osifo, a financial consultant and business partner of Andrew Alli, a CBN debtor who is currently at the helm of the controversial African Financial Corporation. A former chief executive of Oando, Osifo had made a killing in Nigeria's GSM licence auction before joining the Oando triumvirate of Jite Okoloko, Wale Tinubu and Mofe Boyo.


The Slick Osifo had cultivated a friendship with Oboden Ibru, Mrs Ibru's son and heir apparent, who doubled as the bank’s executive director and chief executive of Oceanic Capital. Osifo, Alli and four other principals needed additional capital for their investment boutique and through Oboden, Osifo’s company Travant Capital Partners was selected as the financial consultants for the transaction.

Oceanic Bank mismanaged this loan. In addition to heavily betting on real estate and petroleum marketing, the bank lent vast sums to the Delta State Government and other firms with ties to the powerful James Ibori. The bank also perfected numerous ways of diverting money through imaginary companies. One of such transactions involved lending millions of dollars to Meggitto Clothing for the purpose of exporting fabrics. This money vanished into thin air. We now know that there were other shady transactions such as the incomprehensible 19 billion naira loan extended to Nigeria's most famous nanny.

Insiders say that the [i]dim witted Cecilia Ibru [/i]was hopelessly out of her depth at the helm of the bank. Surrounded by lackeys and relatives, she signed documents without reading them and gave loans based on her personal judgement. She relished being a mother figure and even though her staffers have kind words to say about her, they acknowledge that there was too much laxity with respect to management issues.

When it became apparent that Oceanic Bank was tottering, Mrs Ibru embarked on a number of questionable projects to raise money for her bank. These included an unethical 400 million dollar football reality program and a shady raffle in partnership with the Suru Group. It is a pity that the United Nations Global Compact did not do a thorough investigation before they named her to its committee on corporate governance.



Barth Ebong


Only a powerful witchdoctor could have known that Union Bank was in trouble. Long criticised for its horrendous customer service and aversion to technology, its chief executive was neither ostentatious nor publicity-hungry. As the oldest bank chief, he had a measure of gravitas which turned out to be a mask for incompetence.

With the benefit of hindsight, one should have guessed something was wrong with the big, strong and reliable bank when last year, in response to a campaign to force its chief executive to resign, the board moved its AGM to Maidugri, effectively disenfranchising the bulk of the bank's shareholders.

Union Bank also stunned analysts when it agreed to underwrite half of Afribank's overpriced public offer. Now it turns out that the dour Ebong also gambled heavily on high risk sectors. It is now clear that years of mismanagement had turned the bank into a corporate cadaver. So far, Union bank’s loan recovery efforts have yielded little fruit when compared to Intercontinental, Oceanic and Afribank. The authorities must also investigate how the trio of Nike Akande, Jite Okoloko and Festus Odumegwu ended up on the bank’s board of directors.


Sebastian Adigwe


Many analysts believe that Afribank's current problems stem from its relationship with African Petroleum. The bank was heavily involved in financing Femi Otedola's takeover of the petroleum marketing company and the huge debt added to its woes. The two firms forged a strong relationship that resulted in Adigwe joining AP's management board while Osa Osunde, an alleged front for Lucky Igbinedion, doubled as Vice-Chairman of AP and Chairman of Afribank. Apparently, the effete Adigwe was a figurehead who pandered to the whims and caprices of the bank's powerful backers. A few weeks to the CBN action, Afribank took out paid advertisements congratulating Ogbueshi Uche Luke Okpuno, one of its prized clients who later showed up on the CBN’s debtors list. How interesting.



Okey Nwosu


FinBank raised more than 100 billion from its public offer and invested heavily in the oil and gas sector. The bank clearly had no long term strategy and one wonders if Mr Nwosu believed that oil prices would hit 400 dollars. A week before he was sacked, the suave Okey Nwosu approved a loan to Jevcon Oil and Gas. It was widely celebrated as a testimony of the bank's devotion to indigenous operators in the maritime business. Amazingly, Jevcon shows up in the CBN list of debtors. Dr Onyung, Jevcon's chief executive, has not issued any public statement to counter the CBN’s claims.

What was Mr Nwosu smoking?


Ndi Okereke Onyiuke and Musa Al-Faiki

Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke is an amazing creature, a corpulent buffoon :biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin: who somehow clawed her way to the zenith of Broad Street while earning a dubious professorship. It is hard to understand how she kept her job after she publicly claimed that CNN and the Internet caused the stock market crash. While the NSE is a privately-owned organization, it is now clear that Okereke-Onyiuke has no business at the helm. For years, she has allowed the Exchange to be controlled by compromised acolytes and highly-placed insiders.

The case of Mallam Musa Al-Faiki is a cautionary tale. The former SEC DG was hopelessly out of depth during his five year tenure and did little to stop the widespread abuse in the market. Part of Mallam Al-Faiki’s problems was that he owed his position to Madam Onyiuke’s friendship with President Obasanjo. The vacillating SEC DG clearly did not want to offend his benefactor and when SEC staffers like Charles Udora, leaked their critical views to the press, he was always quick to issue a quick retraction.



The Talented Peter Ololo

Two years ago, one of Okereke’s aides told me about Peter Ololo, whom he simply called “Falcon”. The aide was starry-eyed as he described the powers of this mythical "Falcon", who could effortlessly double the price of First Bank stock within a month. Today, Peter Ololo is in EFCC custody. He owes 88 billion.

Like every smart businessman, he filled his firm's board with power brokers such as Senator Tunde Ogbeha and Senator S.A Otegbola. Unfortunately, the indolent Nigerian press has not really scratched the tip of Ololo’s schemes. In addition to Falcon Securities, the disgraced accountant also controlled two active publicly listed companies, DEAP Capital Management and Trust and DVCF Oil and Gas Fund.

These companies were empty shells whose complex schemes were powered by insider trading and exploitative business models. If Mrs Waziri’s EFCC is serious about sanitizing the sector, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to question the chief executives of these two “fund management” firms.



Fit and Proper Person Test

Nigerian regulators must adopt a system of screening bank executive directors to ascertain that they are of sound mind and body. Private investigators should be hired to pry into their backgrounds and their educational and analytical skills must be evaluated by an impartial panel. People should not be appointed to highly sensitive positions because of ethnic politics and tenure. I believe that such as test would have shown that Mrs Ibru, Mr Akingbola and Mr Ebong were not suited to the task of managing their respective financial institutions.



The Case for a Financial Services Authority




Perhaps the CBN, NDIC, SEC and other agencies should seriously consider the idea of establishing a Financial Services Authority to supervise the financial sector. The head of this agency must be chosen through a transparent recruitment process that has nothing to do with ethnicity, religion and other petty considerations. If the head hunters conclude that no Nigerian is suitably qualified, the government should consider foreigners for the post.

During the stock market bubble, a shocking thing happened. Pyramid schemes, commonly known as "wonder banks" sprouted in droves and earned the patronage of even highly educated bank managers who allowed greed to cloud their judgement. While they were eventually closed down, the SEC and the CBN has still not resolved the matter. An effective FSA could have nipped this development in the bud.



Vanguard newspaper and the Northern Agenda.


Unbelievable!!! In what must be a contender for this year's most stupid argument,Vanguard has backed its campaign against Sanusi with an article it published in March detailing a supposed plan by “anti-consolidation” forces to take over five Nigerian banks. I don’t understand why the Nigerian public is taking this rag sheet seriously when Sam Amuka-Pemu’s “tissue paper” newspaper does not even qualify to be called a tabloid.

Let’s look at the timeline. Vanguard published the article on March 23, 2009. At the time the article was published, those five banks were already heavily indebted to their peers at the inter-bank market and there were already concerns over their financial health. In fact, Dayo Coker was already on the trail of Erastus Akingbola and had released his findings to the press.

Their chief executives must have suspected that Sanusi would be a tough cookie and quickly dispatched their PR strategists under the aegis of ACAMB to plant the story. Of course, Vanguard’s moronic journalists played along and concocted this baseless story to distract the new governor. The article was meant to preempt Sanusi and force him into making a compromise but he refused to buckle under pressure. The Nigerian public does not understand that Vanguard newspaper is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the corporate malfeasance that pervaded the Nigerian banking sector. For years, the “newspaper” made a killing from the Vanguard Bankers Awards where a table for eight went for a whopping five million naira.

From a logical standpoint, this “northern agenda” argument holds no water. As the CBN Governor has pointed out in newspaper interviews, some Nigerian banks are controlled by nominees who are hidden behind legal documents. One does not have to be a chief executive to actually control a bank. It is possible that there could be individuals from the North that have designs on the banking sector but it makes no sense to speculate that a Northern "movement" is keen on hijacking the banking sector. And if Sanusi is a Fulani supremacist as his detractors have argued, then it is likely that non-Fulani Northerners are unlikely to support this purported plan.



Opinion and Analysis


I doubt that Sanusi Lamido will be successful in ridding the financial sector of the crooks that call the shots. My pessimism stems from the experiences of other reformist crusaders that have tried and ultimately failed to change the status quo in this dystopian conundrum called Nigeria. His job will be made harder by his colleagues at the central bank. They understand how the system works and may not be committed to his disruptive agenda.

Sanusi’s dalliance with the EFCC might reap short term dividends but anybody who understands the workings of Mrs Waziri’s EFCC knows that the agency is simply using this God sent opportunity to con Nigerians into believing that it is serious about the anti-corruption war. We must also consider the legal angle. Senior lawyers have told me that it is difficult to prosecute debtors when there is no evidence of fraud in the loan disbursement process. This explains why hardcore debtors such as Ike Okolo’s Aquitane Oil and Gas have ignored the EFCC and opted to hire legal heavyweights to defend them. In spite of the EFCC’s public relations blitz, other notable debtors such as the imperious Peter Odili have also headed to court.

The CBN has done the right thing by releasing the list of debtors whose loans are not performing. The composition of the list shows that there is a problem with Corporate Nigeria. Some of our most respected business leaders showed up on this list. I'm surprised that Alhaji Aliko Dangote and other respected Nigerian businessmen could brazenly decide to connive with these banks to short-change small investors and depositors. What if the banks had collapsed? The banks didn't help matters with their dubious interest charges. They basically gave debtors an excuse to stall.

Truth lies in the nuances.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The gods of our fathers

A few years ago, Eki Oba in Benin had its annual fire. Why Eki Edo and Eki Oba catch fire with an alarming sense of routine is a story for another day. What is interesting to note however is that for some reason, whenever they catch fire, goods do not get looted. Well, except for the Eki Oba fire of 2005. This time, people went into stalls and looted.

In the aftermath of the looting, many traders were ruined, and an appeal was made first by Apostle J. Longe, a pentecostal pastor for looters to please return the stolen goods. The man was ignored. In their turn, the Catholic archbishop of Benin, the Anglican bishop and the chief imam all came on air and appealed to the looters to please respect God and return what they had stolen. The reasoning was that God was watching, and if you destroyed people's lives, you would certainly reap what you had sown.

Still, there was silence.

A few days after the fire, Osamede Adun (whom we all know and love as Bob Izua) led a delegation of traders to the Oba Palace in Benin, and sacrifices were made. Then it was announced that the sacrifices had been made to Ayelala, probably the most ruthless deity of the Binis. According to the legend, Ayelala was a slave woman who was wrongfully killed, and took her vengeance on her killers from the grave. She was then made a goddess, and has proven to be an effective one at resolving disputes. It was to this deity that sacrifices were made, and Bob Izua announced that the looters had seven days within which to return the stolen goods or, "anything wey dem see, make dem take am as dem see am".

For seven days, the pile of returned goods at Ring Road in Benin kept getting higher and higher...

Read the rest of this story...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

inna lillahi wa inna ilahi raji'un

A few years ago I drove my uncle to the Anthony Village office of a Nigerian legal luminary. He had this sign outside his office, and after my uncle's meeting with him, I asked the man himself why he had that outside his office. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "That is the only way truth can ever prevail."

The sign said, "Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone."

Rest in peace, Gani Fawehinmi.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Opium

From pastors buying private jets, to imams preventing gullible people from going to school. Religion is indeed the opium of the Nigerian people...