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Editorial

Ekweremadu: The joke is on Buhari, when shame takes flight!

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What would President Muhammadu Buhari be discussing today with his colleague Presidents and Heads of State in England as they converge on the country for the coronation of King Charles 111? Would he be aware of the stolen glances, muffled conversations, snide comments, hidden laughter and benign sympathies?

What if one of the bold British reporters walks up to him to pop that important question – Sir, what do you think about your country’s former number six citizen being sent to prison when you’re here? Would he consider it insulting or would he simply dismiss it with the simple answer – do the crime, do the time!?

No one needs to wager a bet that the President would not be perturbed by the implications of what is unfolding before his own eyes in the UK. Of course it would be difficult to ascertain how come the sentencing of Ike Ekweremadu, Nigeria’s former Deputy Senate President, for such a high crime of organ harvesting, would be happening at the same period Buhari is in the UK. It might well be a coincident or planned to be so. But give or take, the important thing is that the optics. Does it look edifying in anyway?

No matter how it might be waved aside as just a course of events, it is difficult to see how it would be divested from the menu of discussions within the diplomatic circle gathering in London, if not officially, privately. Even as an ordinary citizen, the publicity given to the incident is enough to generate a fair interest, not to talk about a nation’s top citizen – a former number six citizen.

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What a diplomatic calamity! Which other President outside Buhari would be proud at this time, standing shoulder to shoulder with other world leaders with such an obscene and ugly scenario playing out before him, in which a top citizen of his country is being dressed in orange dress and being led away to jail, before his very eyes. Only a Nigerian President would suffer such a shame.

Yes, the argument is being made that the British court is no respecter of persons and therefore impervious to Ekweremadu’s status. It is also being argued that the date had been scheduled and could not be altered because of the coronation. But must Buhari be at the event? What is there for him or Nigeria to gain as to make it imperative to be subjected to such an international insult?

In other words, would he claim not to be aware of the implication? Assuming he did not advert his mind to it, would his advisers not have told him? Must he attend the king’s coronation, if it would present an opportunity to throw mud in his face? Must he be in London at this time?

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Naturally, this would not be the first time. Using a big event to deliberately smear Nigeria or accentuate its fault, seems to have become the standard in Britain. In May 2016, while foreign leaders were arriving London ahead of an anti-corruption summit held by the UK government, David Cameron, seized an opportunity of an event at the Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the 90th birthday of the late Queen Elizabeth 11, to describe Nigeria as “fantastically-corrupt.”

Though it seemed an unintended faux pass – an off-handed statement made in a private meeting – but many vast in diplomatic circles, suggest that the video clip accompanying it, was deliberately leaked to achieve a major purpose, in the well-orchestrated scheme to demean Nigeria.

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Incidentally, to many people, who had assumed that Buhari would have fumed with righteous anger at the deliberate slight by a fellow leader, and probably made a well-deserved protest, were amazed about how he gave more impetus to the obvious insult in his benign retort that he would fight corruption.

Today a more intriguing reaction is coming from the larger Nigerian society to the Ekweremadu saga. Countless number of compatriots, rather than see the hidden implication, have practically rolled out the drums to celebrate what they believe was a victory. One of their “enemies” is down.

He is corrupt. He thought it was Nigeria. He deserves what he got. If he had invested the money he stole in building a befitting hospital, he wouldn’t have been in this mess! On and on, the blame game goes on. But what they fail to realise is that the fate Ekweremadu just suffered has a ripple effect, like throwing a stone into an open market.

They seem not to realise that it may have a direct link to why a Peter Obi, or Wole Soyinka or Yakubu Mahmood with green passport, would be pulled out of a line a the Heathrow Airport in London or JFK in the US and delayed for hours, while their counterparts from Ghana, Togo, Zimbabwe or even the smallest nations in Africa are given easy passage.

Why would the same people not see that the same Oyibo people they are quick to eulogise commit far worse crimes in Africa without consequences. Ekweremadu’s case was attempt at organ harvesting, which is against the law and therefore he had to go in for it. But who punishes the white man for the horrendous atrocities they commit across African countries?

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The suggestion is that crimes, local and international are embedded in the African genes only. But do not even look crimes like the slave trade, pillaging of commonwealth of colonised countries and other atrocities centuries ago. Those may have receded far at the back of history. What about many recent events that are still very fresh ?

Remember it was the white man that arranged hazardous wastes packaged and dumped in Koko, Delta State in 1988. It was the same white man that in 1996 illegally used some 200 children as guinea pigs in a vaccine experiment that killed 11 of them and left the rest with various degrees of deformity, including paralysis, in Kano.

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Today, not only are some rare artifacts from Nigeria and Africa are decorating many public and private museums in their countries, they are still stealing and carting more of them till date. It is still the same white man that have made their homes havens for child trafficking and prostitution, despite what is there in the open.

You wonder today why not a single dime enters the public till in Nigeria from production and sale of oil, when each day, shiploads of products leave the shores of the Niger Delta to foreign destinations. You don’t need to look deeper to see the imprimatur of the white man in the heist.

Were it just economic crimes alone, it would even be better. It is far worse! They have to kill and maim – in thousands and millions – to achieve their purpose. This is the fatal fate of countries like Congo Democratic Republic (DR), the acclaimed richest enclave in the world in terms of mineral resources. In such places, there is a pattern. Once deposits of mineral resources are discovered using satellite imagery, the next step is to arm vulnerable local youths with guns and drugs and off they go killing each other while they land with their helicopters and mining equipment to steal the minerals.

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That is why today the people of Zamfara in Nigeria’s North West bury their dead in tens and hundreds, while reporting the frequent landing and taking off of some flying objects, loaded with gold and other precious minerals, while the official story is that it is all about herdsmen and their cattle.

How many people died in Iraq where the world was told of a certain Saddam Hussein was storing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), only to discover that it was a personal beef and disagreements over mundane issues? Today, what is left of a once proud and beautiful country are relics of the past as the present is buried in misery of biting poverty – people hitherto swimming in opulence now dying of hunger in the midst of continued slaughtering in the streets by religious fanatics or other criminals.

What about Libya? This was a country so rich that on the attainment of 25, a man is ushered into his well-furnished home on government account, where studying from cradle to the highest level of educational attainment is free of charge, including foreign training. This was a country where citizens practically enjoyed a land filled with milk and honey in real terms. But what is Libya today? A wasteland of drugged, gun-bearing youths killing each other on the orders of warlords created by the leadership gap after the mindless blitzkrieg unleashed on the country by the white man.

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Now, what has happened to the culprits in these monumental wastage and massive carnage. George W Bush who has long admitted that Iraq was a mistake, has since retired to his ranch in Texas enjoying the status of world leader. Barak Obama, David Cameron, and Nicolas Sarkozy of US, UK and France who teamed up to commit that heinous crime of killing Muommer Gadaffi, are today strutting about the globe in like manner and being accorded red carpet treatments as statesmen by their hosts, when their places should be in jail for causing such human calamity.

So, talk about crimes! It has the colour of Africa. How much have you heard further of the sexual offences case of Prince Andrew, of the British royal house? Through the backdoor channels it has been settled quietly without fuss. But the case of Ekweremadu, a father trying to save his daughter cannot be settled. Of course, before Ekweremadu, was James Ibori, a former Governor. Again, Nigerians rolled out the drums as they’re doing today in celebration. They celebrate because they believe what Nigeria could not do by putting the former Delta State helmsman behind bars had become possible elsewhere.

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Before Ibori was the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State, who was lucky to have escaped back to Nigeria after being arrested in London for money laundering. Even the late Chinwoke Mbadinuju of Anambra State, escaped by the whiskers of a cat. His own crime was that he was seen with his traditional elephant tusk. His saving grace was that the tusk turned out to be fake when scientifically examined.

Else, he would have been ferried from the airport where he was caught straight to court and jail. Of course there would have been joy in the land, because like Ekweremadu, Ibori and Alams, Mabadinuju was not smelling roses with his people in Anambra at the time, coupled with the fact that all public officers in Nigeria have enemies who would always wish the worst to happen to them.

So, like every other world leader, Buhari would have his space at the gallery to watch the event of Saturday, May 6, 2023. There would be handshakes, patting on the back, exchange of banters and pleasantries. But the joke would be on him. In the private places, out of earshot, he would be the butt of diplomatic jokes. Then Nigeria will sink further. Then the citizens would taste the outcome – at airports, in foreign lands and elsewhere nationalities take prides of place. That’s the tragedy!

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Editorial

Nigerian economy vs ‘Lagos Boys’: So long for Tinubu’s famed brilliance

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On page 106 of his book entitled: Baiting Igbophobia, The Sunny Igboanugo Thesis, one of the latest in his INTERVENTION SERIES, globally-famed Nobel Laureate, and Africa’s leading playwright and essayist, Professor Wole Soyinka, described an encounter with Prince Mohammad Saif Al Hakim of the Fujairah Emirate. The subject matter was President Bola Tinubu.

It was at the Annual Conference of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), in the United Arab Emirate (UAE), February 2023, the first to be held physically since the COVID-19 outbreak, which had him as the Guest Speaker, as the former President of the prestigious body.

The erudite scholar, and human rights crusader, recalled that before the event started proper the conversation with the Prince, which had delved into the situation in Nigeria, particularly the presidential election and more particularly, Tinubu, went thus:

“How are things in Nigeria?’

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“Well, you know, so-so. Not the most relaxing sphere of existence. But not the most turbulent.”

He chuckled. “And the elections? How is Tinubu doing? ‘What do you people think?”

It was unexpected, the directness, so I became cautious in my reply: “Well-e-ell, the usual mixed feelings about all the contestants. In his case, he has an additional problem of health. People find that worrisome. I also do, quite frankly.

His response was spontaneous and any serious journalist is free to fly to Fujairah and check. The prince took a good look at me as if attempting to situate me. He tapped the side of his head and said:

“Ah, but here, is that alright?”

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I nodded, Yes, adding: “I haven’t heard any complaint regarding that department. The contrary appears to be the case.”

He nodded satisfaction, beaming: “We were in college together, in Chicago, Brilliant. We all knew him. Talked about him a lot. We were sure he would go places. Everyone admired him. We still keep in touch.”

The most deductible reading of this narrative, is that Soyinka is not only among the numerous supporters of Tinubu, who are trumpeting his famed intelligence and brilliance, but that he actually emphatically denied that the debate around this phenomenal brain power did not come into play as one of the issues that shaped the voting of Nigerians one way or the other in that election.

But the Nobel Laureate was wrong in presenting that picture to his friend, the UAE prince. Tinubu’s mental health, was indeed one of the key issues on the card, regarding how Nigeria saw him as fit and proper to lead Nigeria after his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari. Therefore it could either be an oversight or deliberate that he replied in the manner he did.

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But what is now evident in today’s Nigeria is that Tinubu is currently being confronted with the reality and challenge to prove that invincibility upstairs, with which he was said to have “built Lagos,” as the first governor in the present-day democracy which started in 1999. The evidence has produced one visible outcome – failure. His famed knack for headhunting the best, seems to have also failed him.

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Before the ink with which he signed the dotted lines in the document that proclaimed him President on May 29, 2023 dried up, and while the echoes of his voice taking the necessary oath of office were still reverberating, the former governor had thrown the entire country into chaos by those three words, which he pronounced as the last part of his inaugural address – subsidy is gone!

Since Tinubu climbed down from the dais at the Eagle Square to meet the chaos which he created by those unnecessary words, the further effect is that like attempting to apply the break at top speed, he totally lost control of the vehicle and has been running into various obstacles to gain control again without success.

Worse still, those he has called to ride with him and relying on for help, appear to have done more damage rather than salvage the situation. Obviously, their interest is not to help him stop the galloping vehicle even as its parts are being dismembered and pulling out one after the other – bumpers, headlights, fenders, windshield, et al, but on what they could grab from it before it finally crashes in the jagged rocks down the valley.

We at Whirlwindnews.com.ng, have never been enamoured of Tinubu’s option right from the outset and have not failed to say so. But we never knew that the disaster would come so soon. Just one year and Nigeria is almost completely crippled. What a shame! But all hope is not lost. Not yet. This speeding vehicle could still be stopped and could still be salvaged, if only Tinubu could recognise the danger, stop the fiddling with knobs, concentrate on the road, while steering the vehicle out of more danger instead of deliberately heading to them.

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The first and immediate option is that Tinubu must severe the umbilical cord tying him with his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari. He helped Buhari to become President and Buhari returned the favour to help him snatch, grab and run with the number one job on February 25, 2023. They are now square. Enough of inheriting Buhari’s enemies, while the man snores soundly in Daura after enough fura and nunu.

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Yes! Tinubu used to be a jolly good fellow with a visible large heart and open arms that accommodated everyone until his political marriage with Buhari who smeared him with ethnic tar and nepotistic slur which followed him like swarm of flies to a wounded dog throughout his eight years of calamitous outing as the worst President in Nigerian history.

Unlike and until now, he was the best friend of Ndigbo, across Nigeria, in the class of 99 outside governors from the South East, which he demonstrated by building his economic blueprint around an Igbo man. It was during his tenure that Eze Ndigbo title in Lagos, which is now being painted as a terrible sin by his successors, particularly in the current government, became quite pronounced, as they not only had access to and in his government, but became his eyes and ears among their Igbo kiths and kin not only in Lagos, but back home.

Today, even the likes of Joe Igbokwe, who have virtually ostracised himself willingly from his people just to please him, have been sidelined in the scheme of things, despite his best efforts. That alliance must come back. Nobody deliberately hurts the Igbo or indeed anyone and gets away with it. Buhari did not even with his claims. Tinubu must reconnect with Nigeria – all tribes and tongues, so that they connect with him.

Another option is that he must seek outside help. Even himself must have realised by now that the Lagos crowd, which constituted the gamut of his passengers, has not helped matters. Their sense of ownership and entitlement has become a serious albatross. If anything, it has succeeded in removing the veil from the big masquerade. Now, everything is exposed and people now have an idea of the person behind the mask.

One year is long enough to pay political debt and having lasted that long, they have gotten their ample comeuppance and must therefore disembark from the vehicle or be forced to do so. If Tinubu insists that he must go the Buhari way of ethnically-decked appointment as a template, there are millions of versatile, worthy and competent Yoruba people in Nigeria and across the globe to choose from. This was exactly the template Olusegun Obasanjo, President 1999-2007 used in carving the niche for himself as the best President of Nigeria since the current democratic exercise.

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But why must it even be the Yoruba? Why must it even be members of the All Progressives Congress (APC)? Why not spread the dragnet to pull in Nigerians of all ethnic persuasions as Obasanjo did? There are so many Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealas with the clout and reach out there to help him pull back the Nigerian economy from the brink.

Would it be impossible for Tinubu on a cool evening to put a call across to Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) or stealthily, in the wee-hours of a given day, knock at the doors of Atiku Abubakar, at Asokoro Abuja, and let them discuss Nigeria and the way forward and return to the Villa before dawn? Did the world not see it happen between Uhuru Kenyetta and Raila Odinga some years back, when they publicly denounced their animosity, even in the thick of their political rivalry?

Today, Nigerians are being regaled with the laughable tale that the N5.4trillion that Wale Edu, Minister of Finance is proposing as fund for subsidy for the next six month is a ruse and that subsidy is indeed gone, when even an imbecile is aware that the Minister is spot on. For as long as Tinubu maintains the them and us template that he brought with him to Abuja, he would continue with his current loss of control. Even the fact that it came as a proposal from no other person than, Edun, the numere uno, in the management of the Nigerian economy is an indication of the current danger.

The debtor who asks his creditor to return next year thinks its too far. One year is gone already. The next bend will be 2027. Then what? Nobody knows if the vehicle would have crashed completely by that time. Unfortunately, if it does, Tinubu may not be a victim of the fatality. He would probably be sipping the best wine in the garden of a mansion in Paris, France with his friends. That will be the tragedy!

 

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Editorial

Edo impeachment: Sad ending for ‘Emperor’ Obaseki

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The Nigerian history book will certainly not forget Monday, April 8, 2024. On that day the nation’s democracy was dealt yet another hammer-blow. Just like the pains felt by Christians a fortnight ago, when the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was being replicated on Good Friday, the pains and shock of the nailing of democracy to the wall, is unimaginable to lovers of democracy in Nigeria and around the world, by that very disastrous outing.

From the outset, let us say that we at Whirlwindnews.com.ng, have followed the twists and turns of this story, flinching and wincing at the sheer intolerance and impunity of Godwin Obaseki, Governor of Edo State.

We have been shocked beyond words at how much he could descend in his manifestation of sheer pettiness, narrow-mindedness, impulsiveness, if not outright childishness in his handling of his dispute with Philip Shaibu, his erstwhile deputy, whose only offence on record, was that he dared go against his wish by offering himself to be the next governor of the state, in the September 21 governorship election, a clearly legitimate ambition he has absolute right to.

Before the turn of events with the declaration of his ambition, the pair, had maintained themselves as chummy – happy good buddies in public. All that suddenly disappeared into thing air. Having so tracked the sequence of the events from beginning to this sad end, we do not hesitate to pronounce the governor the guilty party in this matter. What a sad story! What a sad day!

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It becomes sadder still when we consider that Obaseki, is one of the most educated and high-profile governors in Nigeria today in terms of content and exposure. To this extent, his conducts in terms of public behaviour, official and private activities and more importantly, democratic credentials ought to be topnotch consistent with his high attainment.

But what did we see in the case in question? Nothing different from his counterparts, who found themselves into office out of thuggery or other manners of political brigandage and malfeasance replete in Nigeria’s political space. He clearly has not lived up to his billing.

There is no telling the fact that the Dennis Osadebey House in Benin would be swarming at the moment with all manner of political hounds, cheerleaders, praise-singers and goons, including the members of the state House of Assembly, who executed the odious project.

There will be celebration, no doubt. The fatlings reserved for this special occasion would have since been slaughtered and used to prepare exquisite cuisines. There would be surplus of choice wines which would go with other delicacies, soft and loud music and other concomitant accessories accompanying the backslapping and merrymaking.

In the end, Obaseki would have won the ego war. Even friends of Shaibu, who had egged him on in the war every Nigerian outside the imbecilic realm knew from the outset he would lose, would have returned to pledge their loyalty to the governor and denigrate his former righthand man in every manner.

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But that is where it would end. From henceforth the governor would have lost any claim to democratic identity. For the simple reason that he has soiled his name, so disastrously, whenever those who helped Nigeria’s democracy are called to mount the rostrum, Godwin Obaseki, would be missing on that list, unless prepared by equally decadent, insipid and or deficient individuals lacking democratic ethos.

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In the end, what did he gain? Perhaps, a well-oiled and massaged ego and nothing more! Shaibu, would certainly be the winner in the long run. Like others before him he has approached the courts to intervene in the matter and because as is wont in other cases, like the child sent by the father to steal, those who prosecuted the project, would naturally have been tempted to break the doors with their legs, by discountenancing due process, including valid court orders, in their bid to please the governor. In other words, the impeachment is most likely going to be set aside.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and his deputy, Philip Shaibu

Obaseki-Shaibu

Yes! He would not have served out his term, but if the benefit of hindsight is anything to go by, if the impeachment is quashed at the end of the day by the courts and all the benefits accruing to him therefrom, paid and in the eyes of the law, he is returned to his original position as if nothing happened, what then?

So, why embark on a project with such a fleeting, phantom and temporally gains? Why lose everything, just to enjoy such a short-lived bliss? Indeed, what Obaseki did is not peculiar to him. Instead, he would be joining the special class currently occupied by President Bola Tinubu, who as governor of Lagos State, had the record of supervising the impeachment of two deputies, Isah Yuguda of Bauchi, Sullivan Chime in Enugu, the late Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Rochas Okorocha of Imo, Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and Yahaya Bello of Kogi.

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Except Tinubu, who managed to wangle himself to the Presidency, where are the others today? Some of them have fizzled out, while others have at one time or the other become victims of the obsessive and excessive powers, they had used in dealing with their deputies.

Who knows? The day might come when the same Obaseki, might face the same monster that he unleashed against Shaibu. Hopefully, if and when that day comes, he would look back and remember what April 8, 2024, looked like in Edo, when he held the levers of power and used it to determine political life and death. Today, he has established himself as not only a dictator but the Emperor of Dennis Osadebey. What a sad ending of a blistering public image!

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Editorial

Allen Onyema: Upping the ante of patriotism

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The name of Allen Onyema, has been on the lips of many Nigerians for the past one week or so now. Not that he is a stranger to Nigerians or vice versa. In fact, he has been a household name since he broke into national consciousness with his Air Peace Airlines – an outfit that is as strange in its ways as its numerous deeds are pleasant to the souls of many a compatriot.

Outside the enemies of Nigeria, of which there are a surfeit that the nation is cursed to live with and endure, prancing about everywhere including the corridors of powers at every level, only very few would likely discountenance the positive impact of what he has done for Nigeria using this carrier.

When Nigerians were being killed in South Africa as a result of the xenophobia that broke out in the country, it was Onyema that elected on his own to deploy his aircrafts to lift them out of the country and bring them home. That was in 2019. A few months after, in 2020, during the outbreak of COVID-19, when foreign airlines shut their doors on Nigerians or charged cut-throat fares, he was the one the nation ran to once again to rescue citizens.

Between April and May, 2023, he was again on song, this time to airlift Nigerians from Sudan, after the country broke out into a fratricidal conflagration that caused non-citizens to flee the enclave. At great risk and cost, he again responded swiftly and diligently. In all these interventions, the common denominator, was that missions were carried out in the main, free of charge.

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In other words, he bore the cost himself. And what cost? The money involved were not minor amounts that could be waved away lightly. They were industry-size costs capable of making serious dents on any firm, and could indeed bore holes into the pocket of both Air Peace himself as a businessman. Yet he endured.

Look at his latest foray on the Nigeria-London-Nigeria route, which commenced operations on Saturday, March 30, 2024. A typical Nigerian businessman could have keyed into it to make a kill. If Onyema were not some kind of uncommon, scarce and far-in-between patriot, he would have seized the moment like his contemporaries in exploiting the current systematic bastardisation of a country under the heavy pall of all manner of greedy Shylocks, practically squeezing the very life out of the citizens.

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What if he had just halved the prices of his tickets on that route? He would still have been been smiling to the banks with humongous profits, while seen at home as a hero with the same people he would be exploiting eulogising him. But did he travel that route?

Indeed, before he moved in, there had been a flood of tales of terrible and horrible experiences Nigerians went through outside the asphyxiating cost imposed on them as fares. One of the stories, narrated how in one of the neightbouring countries, where two Nigerians, had gone in the search of cheap tickets, after being fleeced by criminal immigration officials, were clamped into a jail on trumped-up charges and later jailed – a double jeopardy, having lost their London opportunities.

During his appearance on Monday, on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television, the airlines boss elaborated on the impetus of his intervention – how Nigerians travelled to as far as Morocco, Egypt, Qatar and other near and distant countries just to reduce the heavy financial weight as well as the hassles of running around for the reprieve.

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Hear him: “Nigerians are happy. It is as if a kind of burden has been lifted off their shoulders. A situation where Nigerians were paying (through their nose) – my own staff, paid N15million on Business Class to the UK. Some people paid N17million. Then, because some people couldn’t pay, Nigerians were going to South Africa, fly six hours to South Africa, overfly Nigeria airspace to fly to London, for another nine or 10 hours, just to get a cheaper fare.

Onyema addressing his colleagues at the event

“Nigerians were going to Morocco, Egypt, Qatar, eight hours, lay over of about three hours, you do another eight hours to the UK, just to get something cheaper. Then, if you want to fly direct, it’s a different ball-game. The humongous fare was unbearable for them.

“But when we came, what we did was, assuming we slashed the N15million to N10million, people will still clap for us. But, no, we brought it to where it belonged. We brought it down to N4million. We’re not losing by doing N4million. That I can tell you. We brought it – Business Class to N4million, brought the Economy Class to N1.2million and at the same time giving students rebates.

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“Immediately, the same airlines that were giving dollar as an excuse, for the fleecing of my country, came down withing 24 hours. Air Peace distorted the market. All of them started coming down within 24 hours. They started begging people, doing social media rounds all over the place and brought their fares from N15-17million to N5million and even begging people.”

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Now, he has taken his hitherto one man show patriotism a notch higher. He is now trying to co-opt others playing in his league to follow suit. On Thursday, he made the first pitch publicly by when he addressed members of the Corporate Nigeria under the aegis of Organised Private Sector (OPS). One of the guests, he was quoted by Ajuri Ngelale, President Bola Tinubu’s spokesman, as seizing the opportunity of a parley with the Nigerian leader to plead with his colleagues, to deliberately slash down the price of their commodities, goods and services.

Citing his own example when the President hosted members of the OPS to Iftar – the fast-breaking evening meal of Muslims in Ramadan at the time of adhan (call to prayer) of the Maghrib prayer – at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Onyema, pleaded with his colleagues to copy the example of Air Peace, in order to help the President, achieve his goals.

Hear him: “President Tinubu is thinking of the Nigeria of the future. The ease of doing business is coming back gradually. I can attest to that in the aviation sector because of the people you appointed to head that sector.  I can also attest to what our High Commission in the United Kingdom did in making Air Peace flights into Gatwick Airport a possibility.’’

Whirlwindnews.com.ng is on all fours with this patriotic call. We cannot thank Onyema enough for the manner he has deployed his resources in the service of Nigerians. This call is just one of the demonstrable evidences of his loyalty to the nation and the people of Nigeria. What Onyema succeeded in saying at that forum, even without doing so directly is that these people could still live large without killing Nigerians through their exploitative ways.

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No doubt, the call is likely to fall on deaf ears in the main, because the audience he was addressing is made up of those who put the country in its current parlous state in the first place – the economic brigands who have adopted all manner of ways to pillage the nation’s commonwealth and fleece Nigeria to the bones.

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Yes! Amongst them are the foreign exchange speculators, who have warehoused the forex they got from official sources in the evil gambit of selling them off to make huge profits rather than employing them to purchase machinery and raw materials to produce and grow the economy.

Seated in that audience were likely to be the bankers that never do any real sector business outside cheating the system and declaring outlandish profits or those responsible for the wanton and indiscriminate hike in prices of their products out of sheer pleasure of watching Nigerians suffer as would medieval sadist that see human suffering as sport.

Yes! There were thieves in that audience, for whom the words of Onyema, would be like pouring water on the back of a duck and who rather than be roused to pity and repentance like the people of Biblical Nineveh, were likely to be thumbing their nose at him, if not cursing under their breaths and angling for his head on platter as would Herod with John the Baptist.

Yet, he has spoken as a patriot. Perhaps, few might buy into his message, have a change of heart and do something in this direction. Nobody knows how much a little downward dip in the price noodles or biscuit could save the mother preparing his child for school from her nagging headache or how happy that man trying to erect a two-room structure in his village could be on hearing that he could now buy cement cheaper.

Even if unheeded, let Onyema’s pleas continue to be the tiny voice knocking at the conscience of those who hear them in that audience. One day, something must certainly give!

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