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Like Buhari, Tinubu has no business in Aso Rock

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Nigerians knew that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, would be a bad President. What they probably did not know is that he would be this terribly bad or that it would be this fast, so soon after. Or put another way – a complete disaster, tapering towards a national fatality.

Yes! Fatality! That is the only correct reading of the fate of Nigeria if something does not happen soon and quickly too, apparently not to stop – for that would be too much to ask – but at least mitigate or slow down the galloping descent to the jagged rock down the precipice – the only bargain any right-thinking person might hope for at times like this.

 

It takes only an imbecile or a listless moron with the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), of a Mongolian idiot not to have recognised the signs, or noticed where the country would be headed with him at the driving wheel. Of course the last time I checked, no Nigerian shares the history of the Mongols. The devil in the room therefore is not that Nigerians lacked the knowledge or wisdom to do the right thing, but other myriads factors helped to bring him to power.

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Yes! Let it be stated again that Tinubu was not the choice of Nigerians. That one is settled irrespective of what the judges at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) decide. No matter the bold face anyone puts up, the truth about who Nigerians chose to lead the country in 2023, is ensconced in the inner recesses of every heart. But it is what it is, as the saying goes in our hood.

Indeed, even if he were not showing the signs of clear incapacity, figuratively and in real terms, it would have been easier for the camel to enter through the eyes of the needle than for the All Progressives Congress (APC), his party, co-led with as the National Leader, to have produced another President after Muhammadu Buhari and the calamity he wrought on the country.

A little digression might help understand this position. In December, 2008, I had a sit-down with Nana Akufo-Addo, today’s President of Ghana, at his home in Accra. As then, candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the ruling entity in the country, he had just won the election on the first ballot, but missed being declared winner and would-be successor to John Kuffor, by the skin of the teeth. His votes were not enough to declare him President by a few hundred – mind you not thousands or millions – just a few hundred votes – that were denied him.

Of course, not under the watch of Kwado Afari-Gyan – I hear he is now late – Chairman of Electoral Commission of Ghana (ECG), would anyone be rewarded with half a vote not earned legitimately – government candidate or not – unlike his Nigerian opposites – Maurice Iwu, Attahiru Jega or the babanla of them all – the cyber-shutting, Mahmoud Yakubu, who has given the world the new meaning of the word, glitch.

So, I had asked my host his expectations regarding the inevitable recontest between him and the late Atta Mills, the candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP). You know what he told me? He did not take me on a cruise inside the space coaster of political lies like the archetypical Nigerian in the mould of Adams Oshiomhole who changes colours like ogwomagana, but shot straight from the hips.

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“I know that Ghanaians have become weary of voting one party. Our party has been in power for two terms and there might be that urge for a change. Besides there might be a coalition between the opposition and other parties. Those are my fears.”

Those were his exact words. He did not tell me how the people loved him and how they saw him as the next best thing in the world since the discovery of Ewa Agonyi and Agege bread. He told me the truth the way he knew if. Incidentally, I was still in Ghana to see his prediction come to pass, exactly the way he read it.

Atta Mills went ahead to win that election. Parenthetically, I was one of those invited to meet with the new President, years later, when he came to Nigeria to seek help at Synagogue Church of All Nations of the late Temitope Balogun (TB), Joshua for his ailing health issues. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the late cleric was using us to “catch cruise” as it is said these days.

For try as we did using all the tricks in the book, my team and I were not allowed to meet with him. The only sign that he was actually in the building was the long black Mercedes Benz car with all the insignia of his high office, of course befitting an African President, inside the living quarters of the church. I had hoped to confront him with the Ghanaian experience and beg him on how he could help Nigeria transmit the Ghanaian model or get it to their level of election without tears, such as I witnessed in the one that produced him.

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On a personal level, I would also have used the opportunity to confront him about how his aides gave me the short end of the stick, when they kept me waiting for hours in a futile attempt to get an exclusive from him, only for some white men and ladies wielding cameras, to be expressly ushered in straight with immediate effect and automatic alacrity, as Chief Eleiyimi of Oja, in Village Headmaster, would put it, while I was still waiting and hoping.

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Who knows, I could even have been invited to Ghana on a pleasure trip as compensation in addition to the apologies for my troubles, including nearly missing my flight back to Nigeria. But, I never got the chance, no thanks to Joshua and his tricky ways.

Of course, there is no chance of that anymore, here on earth, except, perhaps in heaven. The man has since died and ironically, Akufo-Addo is now President, some years after that interesting encounter in Accra. Nonetheless, that singular event with the Ghanaian President then, remains instructive till date – people get weary of voting one party and make changes for the sake of it.

So, that the APC was destined for its political Waterloo, even on this singular factor, was known to the goat and the hen. Indeed if any miracle could have sprung them from the depth of political morass, the genie would have come from the magic lamp of Yemi Osinbajo, then Vice President who ought to be the party’s talisman and not Tinubu.

But he has gotten there anyways, by his simple political technique of snatching it, grabbing it and running with it, one that he perfected in the uncanny relay race agreement he struck with Buhari. So now what? The answer is what you are seeing today. The worst Nigerians have feared is unfolding already. The Tinubu phenomenon, Yinka Odumakin, his once close ally warned long time ago, is unravelling before everyone’s eyes.

Imagine just how one thoughtless, rash, impulsive quip – subsidy is gone – has set off a domino effect – a chain reaction that has cascaded throughout the country, leaving in its stride a flood of pain, anguish, hunger and death. Imagine the supine, banal and vapid solution that has been offered to contain it when the horse has already bolted from the stable.

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Worse still, indications are that there are many more of such faux pass where that came from, as evidence of groping in the dark, has become the major imprimatur of the last three months. Like handing over the job of piloting a plane to a cobbler, nobody seems to know what to do.

As flood from the dike began to drown everything in sight from that singular move, the first step was the wackiest proposal that he would release N8,000 to the “poorest of poor Nigerians.” No data, no clear idea of the target is. Just empty words that would neither scratch the surface of the problem, assuming the money really got to anyone in the first place, nor make the littlest impact.

Now, it became obvious that the completely asinine move would fall flat on its face, another one banger, has just been released. We’re being told of how, this time, N180billion would be released as a panacea. Guess what the money would be used for! Five trailers of rice for each of the 36 states of the federation, N5billion for them to procure 100,000 bags of rice and other palliatives.

Now, ask where this rice would come from? Does Nigeria have the capacity to produce a quarter of the quantity of rice needed for this project? In the end, it would be a fresh chase for foreign exchange as the states take a recourse to importation, again, assuming that the governors would not pocket the money.

Now, has anyone heard Tinubu, or any of his officials speak strongly about corruption? Has anyone heard him proffer solutions on how the oil thieves in the Niger Delta could be stopped and oil production upped to such a level that Nigeria would meet its quota at the international oil market?

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No! Never! But who is not aware that Nigeria is emphatically the only oil producing country in the world that is not benefitting from the ongoing war in Ukraine? Have you heard him, in all the discussions going on about subsidy and or lack of it, talk about the restoration of the four refineries in Nigeria? Again, who is not aware that Nigeria is the only oil producing nation in the whole wide world without a functional refinery?

Certainly, those are no-go areas. Why? That is where the vested interests operate – those responsible for the calamity that has befallen Nigeria today – the actual devils in the room. Solve the corruption in the two critical areas of the economy and half of the problems is gone.

Ask many of the billionaires in Nigeria today their sources of sudden wealth and the ready answer would be – oil and gas? Doing what? You would meet a brick wall. But you need not be told that in there lies the metaphor for mindless pillaging of the national economy. When someone tells you that crude oil is not a piece of sweet or biscuit that you could steal from a shelf, the question is why would it persist for a second with the right government in place?

Why is it impossible to ascertain and peg the amount of petrol consumed in Nigeria today, which is the real issue behind the entire subsidy debate? But no attempt would ever be made in producing an answer. Would it surprise anyone to learn that these vested interests, the economic leeches, mostly from the Western countries, who have found collaboration with their willing Nigerian enablers were the ones that shut down the server of the INEC server – the glitch, Yakubu spoke about?

Of course, not! Because, a good election and credible result would have produced a different outcome. It means a good leader would emerge, which would ultimately be the end of their vice grip on the soft underbelly of Nigeria’s massive wealth. Bad business!

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The twin brother is what has been playing out as the obscene and vulgar display of opulence and luxury you have seen so far. In less than 100 days, you must have noticed the notorious convoys of both the President and those of the leadership of the National Assembly. Tinubu and Godswill Akpabio, Senate President seem to be in competition of who would have the longest and most wasteful motorcades in Nigeria. Even Tajudeen Abbas, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other principal officers of the House, have also joined in the lewd game.

You have heard about how the National Assembly carved out N110billion from the N819.5billion for themselves – N70billion for “to support the working conditions of members” with another N40bllion to purchase Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for them. This was at the same time, 12 million so-called poorest of the poor Nigerians were to be given N8,000 monthly as palliatives.

In other words, while each of the 469 members would go home with at least N228.7million in just one instance, 12 million others would get N24,000 in six months. What could be more guttering? That is what Tinubu and his team call palliatives. But for Nigerians who shouted blue murder, that parlous offering would have passed. Now, what has it been replaced with? Imagine five trailer-loads of rice standing at Agege Market? How far would that go for the residents, not to talk about the entire Lagos?

Yet, that is what a thinking government, is proposing as its magic wand to take hunger off the people. Of course even the imbecile would know what would happen to the N5billion the state governments would be given. In the end, even the poor old woman in the village that was supposed to get the N8,000 would be lucky to get a quarter of that.

The next stage of the flogging is actually doing press-up somewhere within the Aso Rock Villa precinct. The so-called palliatives are just to lullaby you for now, because the petitions at the PEPT are still waiting. Nobody would probably talk about that soon. Wait for the heist of February 25 to be certified. Then you will discover that the words of the biblical Rehoboam to burden the people further is not just for the Israelites.

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Yes! While Buhari’s burden was to flog Nigerians with whips, Tinubu is actually coming with snakes and scorpions. For one, nobody with the mindset to appoint 48 ministers, populated by known economic brigands including former governors whose record was to lay heavy yokes on their people, would do less.

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How could he? With the crowd in Abuja, where each member of the cabal has already fixing a pipe and taken a vantage position to start milking the commonwealth? And for all these, the common binding factor is captured in one word – Greed. Uncontrollable desire to acquire more and more of what they never need.

For instance, check the garages of the NASS members who are angling for new SUVs. You would find that there are so many cars that are under cover and have not been driven for years. Yet, their desire is to add more. What else could anyone call it? Yet again, the picture pales to insignificance to what would happen in the executive branch. Else, what would make a Senator abandon the job of representing his people where it matters most after an intense electoral process to take up a ministerial position? Imagine a US senator leaving the job of a congressman to take up an appointment in a cabinet.

Yes! If indeed Tinubu is thinking about how to pull Nigeria out of the economic and social nadir, where Buhari plunged it in his disastrous eight years, would he be thinking of leading Nigeria to a war in Niger? Certainly not! Don’t forget that Nigeria currently wears the unenviable crown of the poverty capital of the world.

Yet in that war under the guise of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria would be providing close to 80 per cent, if not more of the resources needed in that war which could run into hundreds of billions of naira if not trillions, if the ECOMOG experience of former military President, Ibrahim Babangida is the template to go by.

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More regrettable, on a closer look is that the war itself has little or nothing to do with the main motive for it, which is to restore democracy in Niger, where a military junta recently sacked Muhamed Bazoum, elected in 2021. Instead, it has more of a proxy war for the West – US and France, believed to be pulling the string from Washington and Paris for the reason of their own obvious interests.

To fix Nigeria does not need any special sophistication. The solution is clear like the image on a bright wall. One – fix corruption. Plug all the loopholes from where the huge resources of Nigeria escape. The revenue husbandry therefrom would generate a pool of funds capable of leading to a new burst of economic energy similar to picture of decades ago when Nigeria was a huge construction site with chimneys from the various factories, busy emitting smokes.

Two – fix greed. What is wrong if a Nigerian government official owns one car? Those who watched the welcome party for Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her first day in office would probably have been taken aback when she arrived in one simple sedan – not even an SUV instead of a convoy. Did it take anything away from her high office?

This Monday, August 21, 2023, 45 ministers would be taking charge of Nigeria as Tinubu’s foot-soldiers. Do they look like those that would keep their fingers off the public till as to save up money to build the financial power bank needed to reignite the economy? Do their pasts suggest those who could drive in one car to their offices and in the streets? How many of them have you seen mixing up with people and engaging with them? Elsewhere, do you not see leaders riding bicycles to their offices or taking trains? Does the governor of California, whose economy is 10 times bigger than Nigeria drive to office in a convoy?

So, if you thought that for one moment that the Tinubu men would give Nigeria the leeway for climbing out of the hole it has found itself over the recent years, you would be in for a long thing, as it is said. It would be worse if you thought that Tinubu really cares. The President capable of any magic is the one with the propensity to shed weight and give his government a haircut. Is Tinubu prepared to do that? The answer is out there already.

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Soon, you would discover that just like Buhari, whose capacity, mindset and calling ought not have taken him beyond the position of Emir of Daura, Tinubu with all his claims of a thinker and a doer, does not have any business being at the Villa as President of Nigeria. And that is putting it mildly.

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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Editorial

Escape of Nadeem Anjarwalla: Shame of a shameless country!

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Nigerians woke up on Monday to another shocking story – a damning narrative of how Nadeem Anjarwalla, Executive Manager of Binance for the African region, escaped from the guest house, where he was being detained in the care of the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA), currently being manned by Nuhu Ribadu.

As usual, it is another regaling narrative in the series of pure, but bizarre episodes that have continued to shock the world even as they provide some sort of comic relief to them at the same time, with the consistency that could only be likened to movie scenes.

After all, is this not the country where monkeys cart away catches of currency notes and snakes swallow millions of public funds? While those in saner climes, one of them derisively describing Nigeria as a fantastically corrupt country, wonder what specie of homo sapiens inhabit our space, while sharing tea or quaffing beer in the club, we, especially our leaders have continued to supply them with more salacious ingredients to do so from our seemingly endless reservoir.

Unfortunately, we never seem to be in short supply of the most outlandish tales or quiver at their obvious nonsensicality and absurdity. It never occurs to us that we live in the comity of nations where our behaviours count and are counted against us. We simply carry on as if nothing matters.

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The case of Nadeem Anjarwalla, presents no less in illogical and ridiculous to say the least. This was a man the Federal Government, had taken in for high economic crimes, such as money laundering and terrorism financing transactions – crimes, which outcomes have led to sorrow, tears and blood – through which hundreds of people have been sent to their early graves due to hunger, poverty and want and others from in the bushes as victims of kidnappings and mindless carnages.

PREMIUM TIMES, which broke the story on Monday, narrated how the 38-year-old Binance executive, made good his escape on Friday, 23 March, from the Abuja guest house where he and his colleague were detained after guards on duty led him to a nearby mosque for prayers “in the spirit of the ongoing Ramadan fast.” It was from there that he bolted out of the country aboard Middle East airliner, the report said.

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In confirmation, Zakari Mijinyawa, spokesman of the ONSA, who continued the story, in a statement, on Monday, added: “Until his escape, Nadeem Anjarwalla, who holds British and Kenyan nationalities and serves as Binance’s Africa regional manager, was being tried by Nigerian courts. The suspect escaped while under a 14-day remand order by a court in Nigeria, and was scheduled to appear before the court again on April 4, 2024.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser confirms that Nadeem Anjarwalla, a suspect in the ongoing criminal probe into the activities of Binance in Nigeria escaped from lawful custody on Friday, March 22, 2024. Upon receiving this report, this office took immediate steps, in conjunction with relevant security agencies, MDAs, as well as the international community, to apprehend the suspect.

“Security agencies are working with Interpol for an international arrest warrant on Nadeem Anjarwalla. Preliminary investigation shows that Anjarwalla fled Nigeria using a smuggled passport. The personnel responsible for the custody of the suspect have been arrested, and a thorough investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances that led to his escape from lawful detention.”

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Any informed Nigerian and those watching from elsewhere would have known the implication of this watery, infantile, obtuse and asinine tale. It is an open and short case. The matter has ended! Cul-de-sac, simplicita! From now on, politics takes over. The next stage is the Government Magic the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti spoke about in one of his epics. Soon there would be an order from the Presidency for the immediate rearrest and a threat to deal with those involved in the incident.

Anjarwalla No Longer in Nigeria”: Binance Reacts to Executive's Escape from Custody - Legit.ng

This will be followed with trading of blames, then media interviews, where political stalwarts, will attempt to shift the blames away from the key players with direct roles in the saga, make excuses and cite other countries where criminals similarly escaped from custodies and finally blame opposition for trying to politicise the issue, when they should join hands in solving the problem. Curtain falls!

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Indeed, who would be surprised, knowing the country we are in, hearing tomorrow that a panel has been set up to “investigate” this shameful incident? Of course, the move in the main would be a ploy to ending the current public outcry rather than any worthwhile attempt to arrive at the truth? Who would be surprised if billions of Naira are approved and brand-new vehicles purchased for the members of that would-be panel, naturally made of up party officials and their cronies? Who would be surprised that the end of this saga would probably be a report submitted at another grand ceremony, which would end up on top of those already gathering dust on the shelve for years?

Else, who has been held responsible for that freakish tale of a snake swallowing millions of Naira? Or did it not happen in Nigeria? Has anyone heard anything about the Betta Edu saga again? Naturally, the hullaballoo against the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Services, that suffused the entire Nigerian firmament only a few weeks ago have disappeared in the winds. Are the key figures mentioned in that odious affair, including her ministerial colleague, whose company was used to salt away the funds meant for humanitarian purposes, not prancing about in the corridors of power yet?

One thing that is as sure as death is that Anjarwalla, did not just escape. He was probably led out of the country leisurely and effortlessly through a well-oiled protocol. No one should also discountenance the involvement of very powerful people in high places. Otherwise, the puerile account that there is no alternative to removal of petrol subsidy, and it was in the interest of Nigeria, rather than vested interests, should be accorded the same credibility.

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What should be in issue is why? Was Anjarwalla led out of the country, because he induced his collaborators with money, which he must have had plenty of, given the level of his supposed crimes? Was it for religious reasons, given the part it plays in Nigeria? Or was it to ensure that what happened in Vegas remains in Vegas – in other words to buy his silence so that he does not name his collaborators in the high crimes when and if the matter finally ends in court? Find answers to these questions, solve the mystery behind this disgraceful saga.

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Come to think of it, is there any other country in the world where a shipload of stolen crude oil is arrested and rather than use it as evidence against the culprits involved, it is set ablaze to destroy the same evidence, as constantly happens in Nigeria?

Is there any other country in the world, outside those officially in war, where hundreds of students or citizens are corralled into the forest and millions demanded in ransom only for some of them who are lucky to be “rescued” just like that without consequences to the culprits, as happens in Nigeria constantly and consistently? Any other country with such infantile tales?

Is there any other country in the world where a government official would so brazenly raise a memo for N1.5billion or equivalent just to inaugurate a 37-man committee to fix the salaries of citizens and remains in the same position an hour after?

Where else in the world have four refineries built with the sweat and blood of citizens simply gone kaput and the same citizens are made to suffer the ugly fate of high oil prices as a consequence of importation, as in Nigeria for decades now? Where else in oil producing countries across the world has it been reported that proceeds from crude production end up in private pockets more than get into public till as Nigeria has suffered these past years?

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Indeed, which other country across the globe has presented the kind and type of sordid stories the world has been regaled with from Nigeria? Will there be more? Just wait! If not in days, in weeks! Soon, the Anjarwalla tale will give way! Soon another more funnier, odder, and weirder episode will come. Just wait!

 

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