WEALTH, POWER, STATUS AND PRIVILEGE - By Bashorun J.K. Randle, OFR, FCA - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Friday, 20 January 2017

WEALTH, POWER, STATUS AND PRIVILEGE - By Bashorun J.K. Randle, OFR, FCA


J K Randle

It must have been during the winter of 2004 when the retiring partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension converged at the LanesboroughHotel in Knightsbridge, London to celebrate several decades of genuine friendship, mutual respect, and confidence in each other’s integrity.  At lunchtime, we proceeded to the hotel’s magnificent Apsleys restaurant. To quote one of the guests: “They know how to receive people. The welcome was delivered along with excellent pralines and champagne.”

 
A gentleman who was on his way to the table that had been specially reserved for him insisted on exchanging pleasantries with one of us – Martin Rutherford-Marsh, whose family had ties with the Royal family and the landed gentry going back several generations.



Anyway, it turned out the gentleman was none other than the Duke of Westminster and the pillar of the Grosvenor family who were the owners of prime London properties in Knightsbridge; Belgravia; Kensington; and thousands of acres in the UK and overseas.  It was Martin who whispered to us that the Duke was easily the richest man in the U.K. (second only to Her Majesty The Queen) with a fortune which was already approaching £10 billion.  A quick check on Google now reveals that:

“The Duke was a country man at heart.

His ancestral home, Eaton Hall is set in 10,000 acres just outside Chester.  He wished he had been allowed to become a beef farmer in Northern Ireland like his father.  He struggled at times with the burden of his responsibilities and suffered from bouts of depression.”

Anyway, he was soon joined by his family who Martin promptly recognised as his wife.  Lady Natalia Gosvenor and children – Lady Tamara; Lady Edwina; Lady Viola and a thirteen-year old son, Hugh.  Sadly, the Duke died a few months ago, aged only sixty-six years.

According to Martin, whenever he met the Duke he would always ask after the KPMG partners together with words of encouragement:

“Life is an uphill struggle on occasions, but life without challenge is no life at all.”

He was absolutely right.

According to 75-year-old retired nurse, Margaret Ford who was interviewed by BBC, she had lived close to the Duke’s vast estate all her life and knew him fairly well:

“He was terribly unassuming and humble.  He was indeed a fine gentleman and a great man.  He sent his children to local schools, and local kids were always invited to their birthday parties.  They were very down to earth people.  We shall miss him hugely.”

What is instructive about The Duke’s persona is that beneath his self-effacing posture was a firm and clear appreciation that wealth is a serious matter.  He hired the best chartered accountants (Martin was one of them); the smartest solicitors and so on and so forth to protect his family’s wealth and by extension its power, status and privilege.



As confirmation that he had succeeded in this endeavour, Eleanor Steafel delivered an eye-witness account of the memorial service held at the magnificent Chester Cathedral on November 28, 2016.

The congregation was massive (almost 1,500) with the Royal Family publicly declaring solidarity with one of their own.  The powerful message was conveyed by the presence of the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) as well as the Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Eugenie and the Duke of Kent.



There is a poignant lesson for the J.K.Randle family who rather than hold on to their wealth like the Duke of Westminster preferred to part with it – much to the chagrin of their successors who are now compelled to deal with the harsh reality . In these climes, without wealth there is no power, status or privilege.



Fortunately, the law is on the side of the Randle family.  So also are morality and justice.  Why would philantrophy, compassion and generosity of spirit merit dispossession, impunity and contempt? 



G.K. Chesterton scored a bull’s eye with his epigrammatic summation of the tactics adopted by government officials in their ruthless endeavour to confiscate private property.

                        “What a clever web we weave,

                        when we set out to deceive.” 

Malignant wickedness,perfidy and mendacity cannot defeat uprightness and steadfastness.



We refuse to accept that what William Shakespeare the English playwright lamented four hundred years ago – wicked men plotting grave atrocities in dark rooms and crevices to plunder not only state funds but also raid private property and purses – for no other purpose than to fund their flamboyant life style.  Embezzlement knows no bounds according to greatest playwright of all time.  The J.K. Randle family got a raw deal from the government as punishment for not growing its wealth, power, status and privilege.



Our ancestors regarded philanthropy and public service as a calling and a duty to mankind.  They demonstrated it by giving generously to society.

Here is the Lagos State Law No. 5 of 2011. 

“A Law to provide for the preservation, protection and restoration of historical  properties and cultural heritage sites in Lagos State and for connected purposes”

The Lagos State House of Assembly enacts as follows:

“1- (1)                        As from the commencement of this Law, no property, site or monument location to which this Law applies as a listed site under grades I, II and III shall be altered, demolished or improved upon except as is necessary owing to normal wear and tear or minor repairs, without the prior issuance of listed site consent of the Governor in accordance with the provisions of this Law.”



“(2)     Any alteration to any listed site shall take into consideration the character and special interest of the site.”



However, the events we have been dealing with for several decades are so bizarre, almost a circus, all in an unrelenting effort to dispossess us of our land and thereby emasculate the Randle family.  The crux of the matter revolves around breach of trust, negligence and looting in total disregard of personal responsibility and accountability.  At every turn, the J.K. Randle family has been undermined.  Why should government undertake a project which the Randle family, with all due modesty, is perfectly capable to execute?  The situation calls for maturity, restraint and tact combined with experience, knowledge and courage – as a counterpoise to the aggressive pursuit by government officials of their own agenda at our expense.  Rather than resort to lamenting over the abuse of power and the misuse of authority the J.K. Randle family must remain resolute and assiduous in guarding its integrity and reputation.  The answer to it all is COOL HEADS – but there is no room for fear or indifference.



It was typical of Richard Quest to quickly establish the nexus between wealth, power, status and privilege; and by way of contrast, the connection between the desperate pursuit of wealth and power – driven by greed and corruption.  The evidence he relied on was provided by the front page report of “Vanguard” newspaper of January 6, 2017.

Headline:     “HAYATOU FACES CORRUPTION CHARGES:

“Egyptian Competitions Authority confirmed that CAF president IssaHayatou will be referred to General Prosecutor for corruption charges which includes violations made by Hayatou in granting broadcasting rights for football championships.

Egyptians Competitions Authorities proved that Hayatou violated article (8) sections (A), (B), (C), (D), (E) from the Protection of Competition Act, as he abused his current position and gave  broadcasting rights to Lagardere Sports alone without posing it to other companies in a natural framework that ensures the existence of free and fair competition.



The report says that Hayatou granted Largardere the right for 12 years starting from 2017 till the year 2028.  CAF signed this agreement with Largardere in June 2015, almost a year and half before the current rights agreement ended.  It is worth mentioning that CAF grantedLagardere the same rights in 2008 and until 2016, which means that the company acquired broadcasting rights for 20 years.  These broadcasting rights were not only limited to satellite  broadcast but included webcasting too, and not only on the scope of Egypt and Africa, but throughout the whole world.



Egyptian Competitions Authority asked CAF for quick measures according to article 20 of the Competition Act, which most importantly included the cancelation of the contract between him and Lagarderebecause of the outcomes this have on Egypt. 



The authority also granted an exceptional right for BeIn media organisation in addition to the other company that applied for the broadcasting grants to continue its live broadcasting for the 2017 AFCON which will start on January 14, because of the short time available to perform the needed procedures before the start to preserve the viewers rights to watch the championship through a competitive atmosphere that allows viewers to review best prices and grants them more freedom to choose, in addition to re-opening the broadcasting rights and other rights publicly on the official CAF website in advance and CAF will evaluate proposals that will be submitted according to an objective criteria in a way that ensures the protection of competition in these markets and to stop monopolies.



CAF will also have to change the way broadcasting rights for its championships are sold in Egypt, in a manner that divides it into bundles that ensure the creation of conditions that encourages competition in broadcasting championships.

Competitions Authority stressed that CAF is subject to the Protection of Competition Act and is obliged to apply it according to the second article of the agreement between the Egyptian government and CAF.  The Competitions Authorities assured that they will be contacting all concerned authorities in the country to ensure the implementation of its decisions and remove the serious damages that happened to the Egyptian economy as a result of his actions.”

Additional evidence was provided regarding the even more troubling equation of survival when confronted with desperation – no wealth; no power; no status; and no privilege. 

Front page report of “Daily Sun” newspaper of January 6, 2017.

Headline: “BOKO HARAM: WOMEN SELL SEX TO SURVIVE IN LAKE CHAD –

                        Red Cross”

            The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said women in       the Lake Chad basin have been forced to prostitute to survive.

            The ICRC attributed the development to Boko Haram insurgency, which        drove millions from their homes and left children to starve.

            “The violence has displaced over 2.4 million people across the swamp           lands of Lake Chad, where the borders of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria meet, and disrupted the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of        others,’’ ICRC said.

            According to the United Nations (UN), up to a million people have been         cut off from humanitarian aid by Boko Haram, in spite of a regional    military offensive against the Islamist militants.

            “It is extraordinary to see a woman and her family and they have nothing other than what they have been given.

            The children are clearly malnourished and it is just hopeless,’’ Simon Brooks, head of ICRC’s delegation in Cameroon, said.

            According to Brooks, as the head of their households, some mothers             were forced to prostitute so they could feed their family, since many no longer have husbands, because of the conflict.

            “When you don’t have the means to survive, you’ll go begging for it. It’s loss of dignity when you’re having to resort to something like that just to keep your children alive – fraternising with people who have money,’’ he      said.

            The unfolding catastrophe in the Lake Chad basin was named the most         neglected crisis of 2016 in a poll of aid agencies by the Thomson Reuters            Foundation.

            “Overshadowed by the wars in Syria and Iraq and the global refugee and     migrant crisis, Lake Chad has barely made the headlines,’’ Brooks said in an interview in London.

            The report said over seven million people lack food “but insecurity makes it hard for aid agencies to reach the most vulnerable.

            “This area has suffered from decades of chronic neglect … if it continues to be under-funded and under-reported, then, millions of people will continue to suffer,’’ Brooks said.

            In August 2016, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a       report which detailed how 1.4 million children were displaced, with, at           least, one million trapped in hard-to-reach areas.

            “The Lake Chad crisis is a children’s crisis that should rank high on the           global migration and displacement agenda,” according to Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

            “Humanitarian needs are out-pacing the response, especially now that new areas previously unreachable in North-East Nigeria become accessible.”

It was President MuhamaduBuhari of Nigeria who delivered an incisive dimension to the violent consequences of destabilisation of the matrix of wealth, power, status and privilege:

“Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires …… through official bungling, negligence, complacency, or collusion.  Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigeria territory.”

Nobody really knows what Boko Haram insurgents want to achieve by killing everyone and destroying everything.  It is just possible that Professor Valmir Dickson-Wright of Cambridge University got it right.

“It is one of the consequences of being excluded from wealth, power, status and privilege.  This is a direct contradiction of the acceptance, by those staff who works on the vast estate of the Duke of Westminster, of his century’s long hold on wealth; power; status and privilege.”



It was the front page report of the “Saturday Sun” newspaper of January 7,2016 which threw up a most intriguing aspect of the wealth / power equation – especially those who are entirely estranged and alienated.

Headline:     “LOVE MADE IN PRISON”

“The Love story of Pastor Darlington and Funmilayo Ajitemisan of Open Channel Bible, is out of this world.  They were not attracted to each other at first sight; and shared nothing in common, except crime.

These two ex-convicts found love in the most unusual of places, in the Nigerian Prison; where the condemned had no hope.



But Darlington and Funmilayo made the best of their situation, they found love and Christ.  Ever since then, their marriage has withstood 28 years of love, relative hardship and perseverance.

While working as preacher in Nigerian prisons, Darlington met Funmilayo, first as a counsellor at Kirikiri female prison.  Unknown to both of them they were going to end up marrying each other.

Narrating the story of their journey to matrimony to Saturday Sun, Darlington said the tale started and could only be understood from his life history as a female serial killer which landed him in prison in Bombay, India, to his numerous incarcerations which contributed to who he was and the love life he later had with his wife.



As a child, from the age of seven, Darlington had become notorious in Mushin, Lagos.  He was the head of many Mushin notorious criminal gangs.

When he travelled abroad for more studies, he ended up becoming a women serial killer.  He took pleasure in killing women, all because he believed he was raised by a bad mother.  As a child, he developed hatred for women and only derived pleasure in killing them.



“I ended up in prison outside Nigeria.  I was what you called an international hired assassin, a pimp and a gigolo.



My incarceration started at the age of three in Mushin area.  As a child I would always prefer to go out and get lost, only to be found in the police cells.  I found it more comfortable than staying at home.



Then at the age of seven I was initiated into the world of crime.  It was in the days of Omo Pupa and Mighty Joe who ruled Mushin.  They were all notorious criminals and I was their errand boy.  I would always deliver their hemp.

From that age I started doing things my age mates could not do.  I can steal a whole stock of anything alone and resell it to the owner.  I can enter any compound and brutalize the person. I specialised in brutalising women, because I hated them.  It was my hatred for my mother that made me to hate women.  As time went by, I travelled abroad. Then I went into hooliganism full time, and then I became a serial killer of women.  As I told you before, it was for the hatred I had for my mother, I don’t know why she hated me first, so I hated her for no reason also,” he said.



On the long run, Darlington was caught and was sentenced to death.  Miraculously, he was spared and he gave his life to Jesus Christ.  He promised never to go back into crime, but to serve God through prison evangelism till he dies.  Darlington has a Ph.D in criminology and four Master’s degrees, but he is not thinking of using them to earn himself a living.

“I didn’t repent here in Nigeria; I repented when I was to be hanged.  I was to be condemned to death.  I was granted bail.  From that I got my freedom.  I made a covenant with God that I was going to serve Him with all I have if He would let me go.  I told God that I will preach in the prison all my life and I will not work with my certificates.  I have six certificates which include a Ph.D in criminology and four Master’s and one B.SC.”

It was during his ministration in Nigerian prisons that the unusual happened.  As at this time, his hatred for women had vanished when he met his heartthrob.  The fear of the hangman had melted his hardened mind and he searched for love in usual places.  He could not find love without forgiving his mother.

“I met my wife when I kept my vow that I would be preaching in the prisons.  As I was preaching in all the prisons in Lagos, I told God that I wanted to get married and He should show me my wife.  Then the Holy Ghost told me that my wife was in the prison.  I questioned it.  I asked how I was going to marry a prisoner.  Then I was told that I was to marry Funmilayo Smith,” he said.



As a retired dancer and male sex hawker, Darlington had seen many women and he had specific features he wanted from his future wife; Funmilayo did not just fit the description.

“I had been seeing her.  She had been coming for counselling but, I was never attracted to her.  She was fine, but not my taste.  Remember I was a star before, which meant that I have seen beautiful ladies.  I never thought I was going to marry her.  I was just a messenger to her mother who was then in the military.  I was aghast but I had to obey God.



Then she was also placed on bail, then I traced her to her house and told her that the Lord wanted her to be my wife.  She tried to dissuade me with her situation that she might be going to jail and be convicted.  I accepted what her fate might be and she agreed.  Then in 1989 we got married.”



On Funmilayo’s part, the former beauty queen believes she is not different from her sweetheart.  She was sent to prison after being charged to court for stealing and illegal possessions.  She believes that their meeting and relationship have been designed by God and there is nothing she is ashamed of.  “I was not different from him.  I was a duplicate of him.  I was a professional call girl.  I have a tremendous, unusual love for him.  I was charged for theft and other things, but I was in remand more than the stipulated period,” she said.



The marriage has not been all sweet and honey, it has experienced some hindrances.  Apart from the fact that while they got married, Funmilayo was still standing trial, while on bail, she was almost implicated in another crime perpetrated by her former group.



“She was rearrested for another crime her former group committed in which she was not involved.  It was at this period that we had our first twins.  It was later that her case was settled and the court said that she had been freed,” Darlington disclosed.



The marriage also suffered family resistance.  Funmilayo’s mother did not accept the marriage, she did all she could to frustrate the union.

“There was a time we were separated.  My mother in-law did not know why her daughter would decide to marry me.  She was always interfering in my marriage.  People predicted that we are not going to last long, but now we are 28 years in the union.  I love Funmi so much, we are inseparable,” he said.

Now both of them are strong in the Lord and in the ministry, preaching in the prison.



Darling was, however, grateful to the Lord that despite their past, none of his children took to their criminal ways.”



                                                                                    Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former

                                                                                                President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of

                                                                                                 Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa

                                                                                                Region.  He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services.

Email:   jkrandleintuk@gmail.com








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