SEVERE HEAD INJURIES (TRUST, DECEPTION AND GOOD NEIGHBOURS) - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

SEVERE HEAD INJURIES (TRUST, DECEPTION AND GOOD NEIGHBOURS)

- By Bashorun J.K. Randle


Chief Matthew Tawo Mbu from Okundi, Boki LGA in Cross River State was only twenty-two years old when he was appointed as a Member representing Ogoja in the Eastern House of Assembly and House of Representatives in 1952. In 1953, at the age of twenty-three, he was appointed as Minister, Federal
Ministry of Labour. He remains Nigeria’s youngest ever minister. Thereafter, he served as our First High Commissioner in London (the Court of St. James) from 1955 to 1959 and Foreign Minister from January to November 1993. While he was our High Commissioner in London, he attended University College, London and bagged a degree in law.


It was an amazing feat of self-actualisation and upward mobility. Regardless of his superlative achievements, he endeared himself to all and sundry with his exceptional humility and good natured disposition. He was also blessed with a great sense of humour. He died in Hampstead, London, U.K. at the age of 82 on February 6, 2012.

Whenever our paths crossed, mostly on planes or at social engagements, he simply overwhelmed me with his concern for the “Nigeria project” and the role which he felt I should play – in the footsteps of my father Chief J.K. Randle and my grandfather Dr. J.K. Randle.

He never failed to remind me that my father, regardless of the difference in their age, treated him as a dear friend. Hence, he was duty-bound to sustain and nourish the goodwill which I had inherited. We have to rely on the amazing leap in technology which has made it possible for late John F. Kennedy, President of the United States of America to deliver in his own voice the speech he was about to read in Dallas, Texas. Tragically, he was assassinated while his motorcade was on its way to the venue – The Dallas
Trade Mart; to address the Citizen's Council.

Here is an extract from his speech:

“This link between leadership and learning is not only essential at the community level. It is even more indispensable in world affairs. Ignorance and misinformation can handicap the progress of a city or a company, but they can, if allowed to prevail in foreign policy, handicap this country's security.

In a world of complex and continuing problems, in a world full of frustrations and irritations, America's leadership must be guided by the lights of learning and reason or else those who confuse rhetoric with reality and the plausible with the possible will gain the popular ascendancy with their seemingly swift and simple solutions to every world problem.

Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a Party is not to our Party alone, but to the nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.

So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake.
Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”
The much loved “JFK” died from severe head injuries.

In the case of our beloved Ambassador M.T. Mbu, the audience at the launching of his book: “M.T. Mbu: Dignity In Service” at Yar’Adua Centre, CBD, Abuja on Tuesday 10th April, 2018 were stunned when he spoke “live”:
“I was in Kaduna on January 5, 1966, to represent the Prime Minister at the commissioning of the air force base when I overheard soldiers discussing a coup.

I confronted the GOC and said, ‘You are discussing a coup!’ That was my good friend, Sam Ademulegun. He and two of his friends were of Brigadier rank: Brigadier-General Aguiyi Ironsi and Brigadier-General Maimalari.
Sam, who was GOC, retorted, ‘It’s not you we want, we know the people we want, those who are corrupt must be removed from the system,’ and I was alarmed.

I said to my good friend Sam, ‘The coup you propose to carry out, won’t you use guns with bullets?
If you use guns with bullets, will the bullets distinguish between the corrupt and the non-corrupt?
Once bullets are fired, they don’t discriminate. If the target is a human being and it hits you, you will
die.’

He patted my back and said, ‘We won’t hurt you MT, you are everybody’s friend. We know the people we want to remove.’ Unfortunately, my good friend, Sam Ademulegun himself perished in the coup with his wife. He didn’t survive the coup because he didn’t know that he was going to be a target.”

Upon his return to Lagos, Ambassador Mbu alerted Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of the plan to carry out a coup by senior officers in the military who were openly discussing the matter, but the Prime Minister
said to him:

“Matthew, you worry too much.”
We have to rely on the extract from Lindsay Barret’s book: “Danjuma: The Making Of A General”; Dr.
Nowa Omoigui’s account of events: “Operation Aure”; and the leaked version of events by Julien Assange of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, the fugitive former CIA consultant regarding what transpired on 29th
July, 1966 when the counter coup occurred:

“Upon arrival at the Government House, Ibadan, having established that the Supreme Commander was in, Major Danjuma was confronted by two command problems. Both arose from the fact that he neither belonged to the 4th battalion nor was he part of the National Guard, although he was senior to all the boys on the ground. First task, therefore, was to ensure the cooperation of those
elements of the 4th battalion who were on duty there. The second was to secure the cooperation of the National Guard Commander on the ground. In order to address the first problem he asked the adjutant ("Paiko") to issue a "legitimate" order that all his soldiers on duty be disarmed by the duty officer (Onoja) who was there to conduct a "legitimate" inspection.

After being disarmed by the Duty Sergeant, they were illegitimately screened and those who could be trusted (ie northerners), illegitimately rearmed. Then they were supplemented by the pre-selected group Danjuma brought along from the barracks with Onoja. To deal with the second problem he confronted Lt. William Walbe directly and secured his cooperation. This wasn't too difficult. Although they were in different cells, Walbe himself had been attending separate meetings in Lagos with Joe Garba and others and was well aware of the outlines of a coup plot although he did not expect one that night. Once the building was surrounded and the 106 mm gun positioned in support, Danjuma came under pressure from the boys on the ground to proceed with the operation. There were fears, based on myths acquired in the Congo, that General Ironsi was assisted by "juju" and that he could disappear at any time using his "crocodile". Junior officers who had come to join the party urged immediate attack, some even suggesting a repeat performance of the Nzeogwu assault on the Nassarawa
Lodge in Kaduna in January. They wanted the 106 mm weapon used to bring down the complex.

Danjuma resisted the pressure.
Lt. Col. Hilary Njoku, Commander of the 2nd Brigade in Lagos, then emerged from the main building and was walking right past the soldiers on duty moving toward the gate. One account says he came up from Lagos with Ironsi, had been staying at the guest house next to the main lodge, but was at the main lodge where Ironsi was staying, socializing with both Ironsi and Fajuyi. Another account says he came up from Lagos that evening, when rumours of a coup gained strong currency among senior Igbo officers in Lagos, to brief the Commander-in-Chief.

When he attempted to leave the premises, ostensibly to mobilize loyal units, he was shot at by soldiers who had been ordered not to let anyone out and he responded in kind. (Some say he shot first). Luckily he escaped with serious injuries, some say with no less than 8 pieces of shrapnel in his thigh. Njoku initially made his way to the University College Hospital but had to escape again when a "mop up" team came searching for him.

At this point, Lt. Onoja asked for permission to leave, saying he was going to get more ammunition from the barracks. However, he panicked and ran away in one of the landrovers, fearing that Njoku's escape meant the coup would fail. He was later arrested at Jebba.

When it became apparent that Njoku had escaped, Danjuma, guarded by two soldiers, made rounds to check all guard positions around the lodge and was moving toward the guest house when he heard the phone there ringing. He asked one of his guards to break the window so he could reach in to answer the phone. According to General Danjuma (rtd), this is how the conversation went:

Danjuma: "Hello"
Gowon: "Hello. I want to speak to the Brigade Commander. I want to speak to Colonel Njoku.
Danjuma: "May I know who is speaking?"
Gowon: My name is Gowon. Yakubu Gowon."
Danjuma: "Ranka dede. This is Yakubu Danjuma."
Gowon: "Yakubu, what are you doing there? Where are you?"
Danjuma: "I am in the State House here."
Gowon: "Where is the Brigade Commander?"
Danjuma: "He is not around."
Gowon: "Have you heard what has happened?"
Danjuma: "Yes, I heard and that is why I am here. We are about to arrest the Supreme Commander.
The alternative is that the Igbo boys who carried out the January coup will be released tit for tat since we killed their own officers."
Gowon: (after a period of silence) "Can you do it?"
Danjuma: "Yes, we have got the place surrounded."
Gowon: "But for goodness sake we have had enough bloodshed. There must be no bloodshed."
Danjuma: "No, We are only going to arrest him."
While we may differ over the coup d’état of 15th January 1966 and the counter coup of 29th July, 1966, forensic auditors have submitted their cryptic report:

“The Nation Was Left With Severe Head Injuries”
That is what prompted Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world who was at the Special Session of the National Economic Council held at the Presidential Villa on Thursday March 22, 2018, to declare as follows:

“Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth, with the fourth worst maternal mortality rate in the world, ahead of only Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, and Chad.

One in three Nigerian children is chronically malnourished.”
“The Nigerian government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies “investing in our people” as one of three “strategic objectives.” But the “execution priorities” don’t fully reflect people’s needs, prioritizing physical capital over human capital.”

Here you can see Nigeria’s per capita GDP growth from 2000 until today. If current education and health trends continue—if you spend the same amount in these areas and get the same results—per capita GDP flatlines, with economic growth just barely keeping up with population growth.

In 1978, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, who later became the Nigerian minister of health, helped establish primary health care as the global standard. Tragically, 40 years after Dr. Ransome-Kuti helped other countries set a course for the future, the Nigerian primary health care system is broken.

The evidence for this can be found in the epidemic of chronic malnutrition, or stunting.”
We also have the following front page report from “The Nigerian Tribune” newspaper of 26th March, 2018:

Headline: “HOW CBN MOVED OVER ₦100 BILLION TO JONATHAN’S RESIDENCE AHEAD OF 2015 POLL”
– Presidency Sources
This is nothing but desperation – Jonathan’s aide

“Few days after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo alleged that billions of naira were withdrawn by former President Goodluck Jonathan-led government and shared a few days before the 2015 elections, more details are emerging, showing how several tranches of funds were illegally removed.

According to a Presidency source, some new but dramatic details of how some of the funds were illegally transported from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the private residence of the former
President Jonathan had now emerged.

In that particular case, the former NSA [National Security Adviser] personally supervised the physical transfer of the money from the CBN vaults to the private residence of the former president.

"In one particular instance, over N70 billion was released in parts from the national treasury between January 8 and February 25, 2015. The over $289 million which was also referenced last week by the vice president is said to be included in this particular series of illegal transactions,” the source stated. The Presidency source also said minutes of the CBN board meeting of August 25, 2014 indicated the board's approval of another N60 billion requested by the former president and released later by the apex bank.

A Presidency source said the sum, which was okayed by the CBN board, was not tied to any project or procurement and was meant and disbursed purely for campaign purposes, through the office of the then NSA and the State Security Services (SSS) leadership at the time. Specifically that N6o billion that was okayed by the CBN on August 25, 2014 was said to have been shared between the two security agencies thus: N40 billion went to the NSA while N20 billion was released to the SSS," it added.
BASHORUN J.K RANDLE

While some of these newly emerging fund disbursements have been traced to the former NSA, there were indications that some of the funds were unconnected to the ongoing defence contract trials of the former NSA.
The $289 million mentioned by the vice president last week at the seventh Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for private sector stakeholders was released on February 25, 2015.

“Documents, including cash vouchers, indicate that $289,202,382 was released in cash to the NIA by the Central Bank of Nigeria from the Joint Venture (JV) Cash Call Account No. 000-0000-11658-366 of the NNPC/NAPIMS with JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, USA.

At the exchange rate then of N199 to a dollar, $289 million is equivalent to about N60 billion. But had the money not been stolen, it would be at today’s rate over N104 billion,” it added.

According to the Presidency source, another set of illegal fund was withdrawn under one week between January 8 and 16, 2015.
It said the sum of N1.5 billion was released in three tranches of N300 million, N400 million and N800 million.
“This money was released from the MEA Research Library Account to the Join-trust Dimension,” an official source with knowledge of the transaction disclosed.
The source further said the sum was transferred to their various political associates, which included a former minister.

Further findings showed that N350 million was allegedly transferred to one of President Goodluck Jonathan’s ministers on February 2, 2015 and another N250 million was allegedly transferred to him on February 19, 2015.
A document further showed that yet another N10 billion was released to the Office of the NSA by the CBN on September 15, 2015.

The money was said to have been released in tranches of foreign exchange of $47 million, $5 million, 4 million euros and 1.6 million euros.
A letter from the Office of the NSA in November 2014 further showed that the money was released by the CBN as ‘funds for special services’.
Findings also showed that this particular CBN release of N10 billion was sourced in November 2014 from a N40 billion CBN released funds meant for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

It was this N10 billion that the source claimed former President Jonathan instructed the CBN governor and the then NSA to deliver to him personally in a private residence in Abuja.
Sources said the money was illegally transferred using CBN van for the use of “PDP presidential primaries.”

Responding to the allegations, special assistant on new media to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, said “this is nothing but the desperate last throes of a government that came in throughpropaganda and is about to go out because of a lack of proper agenda.”
In a statement on Sunday night, Omokori said the allegation was false, adding that the former administration was acknowledged globally for its anti-corruption drive.

“President Jonathan’s administration has the enviable record of advancing Nigeria’s anti-corruption war and delivered results to the point where we made our best ever improvement in Transparency International’s CPI in 2014, when we moved eight places forward from 144 to 136,” he said.
He said there was nobody involved in ensuring the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari who had not secretly or openly regretted it, adding that “even his own wife, Aisha, is full of regrets and has not hidden it.”

From “The Nigeria Voice” and “Sun” newspaper dated 23rd March, 2018, we have a front page report
with the headline: “NIGERIA’S STOLEN CRUDE TRACED TO PHILADELPHIA, USA”

“Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, Thursday revealed one of the destinations where stolen crude oil from Nigeria was taken to without the knowledge of the Federal Government.
Through the efforts of a group of lawyers of like mind, Falana said that some ships that carried stolen crude from Nigerian seaport were traced to a port in Philadelphia in the United States of America (USA) where the product was discharged.

Upon investigation here in Nigeria, he stated that there was no record of the shipment of the crude, whereas, at the destination port, a record showed that the crude was from Nigeria.

“We got information at the loading port, of a ship carrying crude and when we traced it, it was a port in Philadelphia that 6.2 million barrels of oil was recorded from Nigeria, the ship could not escape because of taxation put at $12.7 million.
This revelation is just one out of many ports in the US, not to talk of Britain, India or China where stolen crude from Nigeria were taken to,” he lamented.
Falana made this revelation at training on anti-corruption monitoring and reporting, organised by the Anti-corruption Situation Room of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda. According to him, it would be difficult to give an accurate figure of barrels of crude oil that leave the country’s shores everyday, since there was no meter at the loading point.

He expressed doubt whether the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) could sanitise the oil and gas sector, now that the government has no respect for figures and data from agencies like NEITI.

Falana also announced that his group has secured the nod of the Attorney General of the Federation to file charges against all foreign banks that warehoused monies looted from Nigerian treasuries by the late Sani Abacha and former governor of Delta State, James Ibori.”
It was the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud who in an interview with Victoria Ojeme which was splashed on the front page of “Vanguard” newspaper of 25th March, 2018 dropped a bombshell:

“Norway produces 36,000 megawatts of electricity from hydro power for five million people while Nigeria produces on a good day 3,600 megawatts for two hundred million people, which means that Nigeria has to produce its power from generators and from the use of diesel which is expensive anddoes not benefit manufacturing in the country.”

He also added for good measure: “First of all, I would like to say that the people and the human capacity here in Nigeria are enormous. As an example, Nigerians graduating from US educational institutions have the best results and it is the same thing with Nigerians in Norway. The human capital of this country is enormous. I think Nigerians are performing below what they can do and if you manage to get all of the creativity, human capital and innovation together, Nigeria should take its normal place which is among the top countries of the world. So why are things like this? I don’t know. I used to say it is 20 per cent about politics and 80 per cent about organization. So maybe the society needs to be organised somewhat different. Nigeria is underperforming and something needs to be done to change that. And in whatever way the international community, of which Norway is a part, could help in reorganizing and getting all these potentials out to benefit the people of Nigeria, I am sure that all my colleagues and the entire international community will be happy to cooperate with Nigeria on that.

We hosted the Nigerian-Lake Chad Humanitarian Conference in February last year, which came out with almost $700million in commitments; Norway made a commitment over a three year period of approximately 100million Norwegian Krone which is in the range of $20million a year over a three year period but depending on the needs we are adding to that. As you probably know, we are also the biggest per capita donor to the general funds of organisations like UNICEF, UNHCR and UNDP.

So we have direct assistance through programmes worked out here and indirectly through the organizations. So we are scaling up and we are in dialogue now with the government and the UN about what can be done to attract more commitments to the situation as the situation is today in the North-East but also to move from humanitarian assistance to development activities.”
We have every reason to draw encouragement from the late Joseph F. Kennedy former Ambassador of the United States of America to Britain and father of President John F. Kennedy who insisted that:
“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge its truth and falsehoods in an open market is afraid of its people.”
We also have the front page of “Nigerian Tribune” newspaper of March 29, 2018.

Headline: “How We Recovered ₦2.4billion; U.S. $115,000 from ex-Air Chief, Amosu – EFCC

An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Tosin Owobo, on Tuesday, revealed how the commission recovered ₦2.4 billion and $115,000 from former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.
Owobo who said this before Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos revealed further that Amosu returned ₦2.4b through bank drafts at the agency’s Lagos and Abuja offices. Owobo said his team also recovered $115,000 in one of Amosu’s residences. Amosu is standing trial alongside former Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo.

They were accused of diverting about N21 billion NAF funds, charges which they pleaded not guilty to. Nigerian Tribune recalls that an initial plea bargain talks with the EFCC and the defendants broke down after the defendants reportedly refunded some money to the Federal Government.
However, at Tuesday’s proceedings, the Prosecution Counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo during the examination in chief enquired whether the EFCC had recovered anything from the N21 billion allegedly stolen by the defendants.
Owobo, therefore, answered in the affirmative.

He told the court that money, cars and landed property were seized from the defendants.
“About N100m was recovered from the third defendant Air Commodore Gbadebo.
 “About N383 million was recovered through the first defendant’s wife. The first defendant (Amosu) also refunded two bank drafts of N2.4 billion in our Lagos and Abuja offices. We recovered $115,000 in one of the first defendant’s residences,” he said.
Owobo listed the recovered vehicles to include a bulletproof Lexus LX 570, a bulletproof Landcruiser Sports Utility Vehicle and a Toyota Avalon.
“Various landed property and buildings were recovered from the second defendant.” Justice Idris thereafter adjourned the matter till April 18, 2018 for continuation of the trial.”

Also sharing the front page of “Daily Sun” newspaper of March 29, 2018 is an even more damning headline: “Wasted Billions: Don’t Blame Corruption; Nigeria is Cursed” – by Newton Jibunoh

“A few days ago, I was on the phone with a dear friend and, in our usual fashion, before long, the conversation steered towards the state of the country. After speaking about the previous articles I have written so far in this column, I gave him a run-down of what I planned to talk about next, which was the decay of the system and tracing it as far back as pre-Independence.

My dear friend had once been a part of this debacle during his time as one of the ‘super’ permanent secretaries (as they were commonly known) under the Yakubu Gowon administration, so I knew he meant well when he said that, if I wanted people to read the article, I shouldn’t mention corruption.
He advised that I make our situation seem like a curse so that the traditional and religious institutions will have things to do by evoking the spirits behind the curse. It was a joke, which we laughed over, but the words lingered on in my mind.
Hence, the choice of this week’s column: are we cursed or just corrupt? Never mind the comments by the former Prime Minister of Britain about Nigeria being “fantastically corrupt.” We can’t possibly be described as such when we are yet to even agree on the scope of corruption: can we classify theft as corruption? Nepotism? Our past President attempted to explain corruption to us when he announced that “stealing is not corruption,” but that explanation didn’t go down too well with many people. Therefore, the definition of corruption in the Nigerian context remains elusive.

Unlike corruption, curses are things we seem to be more familiar with, wielding them as a defensive or offensive weapon against our enemies. We saw this in action just a few weeks ago when, His Royal Highness, the Oba of Benin, publicly placed a curse on human traffickers and those assisting them, in response to the continued exposure of illegal migration and human trafficking in Edo State.

With media reports of mysterious deaths and diseases following the curse, some seem to believe in its ability to bring around the desired improvement in curbing the menace. While we hope that is the case, it is best we don’t hold our breath just yet, since we live in a country where snakes and monkeys cart away millions.

As we debate the possibility of a cursed or corrupt nation, it is necessary to trace the country’s downward spiral from a booming economy with a currency that rivalled the dollar to one that is constantly at the mercy of unstable exchange rates, international aid and foreign investors. In our usual culture of keeping quiet and acting like nothing happened, we have failed to demand answers from key people over the failure of our industries. In the 1980s, with four refineries and its status as a leading oil and gas producer, Nigeria had the capacity to process refined commercial crude oil for domestic consumption and export. That was expected. But that has not been the case for many years as a result of the poor state of the refineries despite the billions of naira that have gone into the building and the refurbishing of these refineries.

Consequently, the nation has become a major refined product importer with very negative implications for its economy. Infact, it has been revealed that Nigeria’s refining capacity is one of the smallest compared to its peers.
There have been many talks on reviving the refineries; all to no avail. The most recent move by the Federal Government in addressing the issue was to consider a policy whereby multinational oil and gas firms operating in the country would be compelled to build refineries in Nigeria. This might just be the best solution, since we have proven unable to do it ourselves.
Another industry we ran down and are now struggling to revive is the steel industry. This is an industry that was to be the backbone of our nation as it could serve as a stimulus to national development and an economic boost to the industrial growth of any country.

The idea of having a steel industry was conceived in 1958 by the federal government. For the most part of the 1960s, the federal government invited and received proposals from foreign firms, including those from the UK, U.S., Germany and Canada, most of these being on the feasibility of establishing steel complexes. At first, the efforts of the government did not yield significant positive result because they were based on the use of iron deposits in Agbaja and Udi, which were later found to be unsuitable for direct reduction.
However, by 1973, suitable iron ore deposit was discovered in Itakpe, Ajabanoko and Oshokoshoko all in the region around Kabba-Okene-Lokoja-Koton Karfe axis, now in Kogi State. This was great news at that time and looked to be the beginning of Nigeria’s industrial revolution.
The discovery led to the establishment of the Ajaokuta Steel Company, which consumed close to $10 billion at 98 per cent completion but, along the way, before we could celebrate its completion, the project was halted. Decades later, we are still yet to own a thriving steel plant.

If operational, the Ajaokuta steel has the capacity to become a major producer of industrial machinery, auto-electrical spare-parts, shipbuilding, railways and carriages. The steel plant has the capacity to provide direct employment for 10,000 technical staff and indirect employment for about 500,000 for unskilled upstream and downstream employment, if it is in operation.
There was also the case of our river basin authorities that would have revolutionised the agricultural industry. Six river basin authorities were built for the supply of potable drinking water and irrigation. The irrigation was also to promote two seasonal cropping in the year, which would bring about food security in most of the dryland regions that have lost their capacity. This, however, didn’t happen and the communities that were made to settle around the Chad and river basin authorities were left stranded. Still, most Nigerians do not have access to potable water.

Another industry we once had at optimum capacity was the paper industry. In the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government established three pulp and paper mills, namely Nigeria Paper Mill Limited, in Jebba, Kwara; the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company Limited, in Oku-Iboku, Akwa-Ibom; and the Nigeria National Paper Manufacturing Limited, in Ogun state. Two of the mills – NPM and NNMC – performed well in the 1980s, which faded out paper importation during this period. Unfortunately, bad management, corruption and other factors did not benefit the industry in the long run. It is believed that the nation is losing about N180 billion from the non-performance of the three paper mills. Their non-performance also means that jobs that should have been created are lost to other countries. According to an article in The Nation newspaper, this is also worsened by the fact that the federal government spends N50 billion on importation of paper annually.

Then there were the vehicle assembly plants, of which we had six in the 1960s. The plants were going to enable Nigerian companies to produce vehicles in the country as done in other parts of the world, which in turn would create jobs and boost the economy. The blueprint establishing the plants encouraged or mandated the assembly plants to bring about reducing their importation of parts to about 40 per cent after 15 years so as to allow the local secondary industries to develop.

Another former glory was our three major public institutions that cut across different sectors, in transportation, we had the Nigeria Railway Corporation, in telecommunications, there was the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) and in aviation, Nigeria Airways. These three institutions were the biggest employers of labour, employing millions of Nigerians across the whole nation. In an era when countries were expanding their infrastructure to be more sustainable and durable, we were losing ours. Now, as they enjoy the fruits of their labour, we work hard so we can afford to travel to these countries and spend our hard-earned income under the cover of vacations/holidays and tourism.
The mindboggling fact is that, when combined, these failed industries have the potential to provide over 10 million jobs across the federation, which would go a long way in alleviating poverty. Globally, evidence abounds in literature confirming a strong nexus between corruption and infrastructural decay. It is very glaring from the simple analysis of the facts before us that it is not an absolute lack of funds that has caused infrastructural decay but outright mismanagement of these funds that is principally responsible for the level of infrastructural decay in Nigeria.

Up till 2011, Nigeria remained among the top 10 leading countries on corruption, according to Transparency International. But as supporters of Nigeria being cursed have pointed out, Nigeria is not the only corrupt nation in the world. In fact, they are quick to opine that many developed nations have corrupt leaders too but have managed to still prosper. If they are right, how do we then break this curse or is our imminent doom inevitable? I choose to disagree as, in my over 80 years on earth, I have been lucky to see life from different spectrums and one thing holds true, a corrupt system can only produce its own kind. Until we start holding people accountable for their failures and stop blaming unseen forces, our problems will be far from over.
Learning from our past mistakes, misconducts and corrupt practices is paramount. There is no point starting afresh if we don’t know why we never succeeded before. Except, of course, we are cursed – then what we would need are our committed custodians of spiritual powers to join forces and break the Nigerian curse.

It was left to “The Nation” newspaper of 31st March, 2018 to deliver a front page bombshell with the headline: “I Helped PDP To Rig Polls” – “Born Again” ex-Deputy Senate President Mantu.
A chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last night sparked a fresh controversy in the polity. The former Deputy Senate President confessed on television that he helped his party win elections in the past.
 “I don’t have to go and change election (results) but when you provide money, you give money to INEC boys that if they see any chance they should favour you, you provide money to the security (personnel),” he said on Channels Television’ Hard Copy.

“I tell you it’s not necessarily when I am contesting election but when my party sponsors a candidate, I will like that candidate to win election.”
Mantu who represented Plateau State in the Senate between 1999 and 2007 pronounced himself a born again politician in 2017. He was elected on the platform of the PDP.
He agreed ‘wholeheartedly’ with PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secundus, on the recent public apology he tendered on the party’s mistakes when it was in power between 1999 and 2015. He said: “We have failed the people through our ways and politics. It is time for us to ensure that we do not allow the wrong people to lead the people and the nation.
As politicians, we have committed sins against the people, by encouraging the things that we should not have encouraged.
God has totally blessed our country Nigeria with abundant human and natural resources but we have failed to utilize these to improve the quality of lives of the people. Asked why he thought Secundus’ apology was in order, Mantu said: “there is the need for Nigerian politicians to apologize for all the sins we have committed against the people. That is because we have short-changed the people.”

He recalled, how in the PDP, names of candidates who won elections were deleted and replaced with other names.
“Winners’ names were crossed out and replaced with names of those who did not win. It is bad because we imposed those who did not win on the people,” he said.
“It is true that we (PDP) ruled with impunity.”
He asked other PDP members to also become “born again, remorse and repentant.
“We must meet the expectations of the people. It is not about changing from one party to another.

It is about changing our heart. It is about changing our attitudes. Let us sit down and reflect on the bad leadership that we have given to Nigerians these past years and change. Nigeria is supposed to lead Africa but we have failed.”
On 31st March, 2018, “Daily Trust” newspaper devoted its front page to our double tragedy illustrated by two contrasting headlines:
i.) “Emir Weeps, Seeks UN, AU Intervention on Zamfara Killings.”
“The Emir of Anka, Attahiru Ahmad, who is also the chairman of Zamfara State Council of Chiefs, Thursday sought the intervention of the United Nations and African Union on armed banditry and cattle rustling in the state.
More than 30 persons were buried Thursday in Bawar Daji village of Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara after an attack by gunmen in the village on Wednesday.
The emir who wept for minutes at the burial lamented the horrific activities of bandits which have continued unabated in the area.
Reports said the bandits attacked the area after some members of the community held a meeting on how to handle them during this year’s farming season. The emir said a commission of inquiry should be constituted to investigate the killings, adding that the situation was getting out of hand. He said Fulani leaders and elders must look inwards to find out why a particular ethnic group was involved in senseless killings, even as he denied it was a conflict between herders and farmers.
The emir said district heads of troubled communities would be dethroned as something was “fishy” in the way they rule, and mingle with criminals.”
ii.) “Residents Recount Ordeal As Monkeys Invade Lagos Community.”
The monkeys are quick, they are also very hungry. They stop at nothing to gain access into homes.
But where do they come from, and how is this possible? Residents give their accounts.

“A tenant hasn’t been able to sleep in her house for fear of monkeys. Anytime she doesn’t close her windows before going out of the house, they enter by using their sharp nails to cut the net, eat what is available, throw leftovers on the bed, play with the children’s toys, mess up the house, then leave.
For safety reasons, she could not stay.”
That was the account of a former Chairman of the Sosanya Street Landlords Association, Alhaji Adigun Olaleye, who has lived on Sosanya Street since 1980.
The residents of Soluyi, Sosanya, Solaru, and Dapo said they have been tolerating the animals for over 14 years.

Our reporter observed a thick bush at Estaport Avenue, off Soluyi Street, where the monkeys, according to residents, live. From there, they are said to move in multitudes to different parts of the area seeking for food and relaxation spots.
“Before now, they didn’t enter houses,” Olaleye said. “Rather, they feasted on fruits available on trees. Whenever a tree produced enough fruits, they would move in large numbers to devour them and move on. We had to cut the trees.”
A member of the Olaleye family recounted her experience: “I sell eggs in crates and the delivery person drops them three houses away. Now, once I start taking the crates, one after the other, the monkeys follow me to know where I drop them. Whenever I decide to go check the eggs, I observe some are missing. I have caught the monkeys in the act. One of them can decide to take three eggs in one hand and two eggs in the other. Walking on two feet, they move away to distribute the eggs to others.
After some time, I started putting my eggs in the living room, where I can always monitor them. But the monkeys have never stopped trying because they will climb up to the first floor, where we reside, to take the eggs. I close the sliding door quickly, but they keep parading the balcony in a desperate move to grab the eggs. After some time, they leave. Sometimes, they gain access into the house, enter the kitchen and eat from our cooked food and leave remnants. We have to throw away the leftovers to avoid Ebola and any other disease that could emanate from them.”

Chika Wigwe, who lives at the end of the street said, “They don’t eat just anything; they eat cooked food. As far as your food smells, you are inviting them. They will come in and take away your pot of food, even if it’s hot.
“The monkeys didn’t just start coming today. They have been around for some time. The only difference is that before now, they weren’t entering people’s houses to take food. But now, it seems they are hungrier.”
Another resident, who has a fashion design shop on the street but chose to remain anonymous, recounted his experience with the monkeys. “I grew up in this neighbourhood and my children were born and bred here. Now, the monkeys are so desperate for food that we have to take extra care securing our food. We cannot afford to leave any cooked food unattended to because they could pounce on it before you turn. They have once collected a pack of biscuits from my friend’s child. They are disturbing us so much in the neighbourhood,” he said.

On the contrary, a resident, who simply gave his name as Moshood and disclosed he moved into the area a year ago, said he was surprised when people claimed monkeys entered their houses.
“No monkey has ever entered my house. In fact, the only thing I can say about them is that they jump from one rooftop to the other, but they have never entered where I reside. Although I noticed they usually rest and take fresh air in the uncompleted building beside the mosque, I have never noticed that they entered into apartments,” he said.

The security operatives guarding the street gate noted that the monkeys only disturb houses where there is food, and also cool off in abandoned or uncompleted houses where people are not residing.
A resident of Solaru Street said she has been living on Solaru Street for 15 years and a monkey has never entered her home. She had only observed them once this year playing on the rooftop of a house adjacent hers.
Another resident agreed with her submission when he said no monkey has entered his house since he moved into the area over 10 years ago. He, however, added that the monkeys usually play around and jump on fences to get to Sosanya Street and other places.
This reporter observed that on Solaru Street, some window nets were torn and windows closed, while a few residents, on the other hand, left their windows and doors open for ventilation. Upon enquiry, it was gathered that the torn window nets was the handwork of an angry tenant who packed out of the house, while the closed windows were because the owners of the apartment were not at home.

So, it was not because of monkeys. However, sometimes the monkeys use their long and sharp nails to cut the nets of houses and wriggle their way in through the burglary proof. At other times, they open the sliding window nets to gain access.
To avoid changing nets often, some residents use barbed wires across thick nets on their windows and doors.
The Chairman of the Landlords Association further said that 14 years ago, efforts were made to seek the assistance of the state government, but the relevant authorities allegedly demanded N200,000 to evacuate the animals after a letter was submitted to them. Since then, he said, no effort has been made to seek the help of both the local and state governments on the matter.
Many monkeys were said to have been killed by people who desperately wanted to get rid of them, but the ones left are not making life easy for the residents. Also, that members of the community wanted to seek the help of special security operatives to kill the animals with guns but discarded the idea due to the ban on shooting in residential areas.

Olaleye, who said he has been observing the monkeys’ antics for over 15 years, said, “They move in tens, sometimes more. They are selective about what they eat. They don’t eat trash and they are also scared and cautious. They won’t attack you, but anyone who moves too close to them, they scratch with their long nails. They run when they see you with a stick.
They love sweet things and can smell poison if added to their food. Once you chase them and you feel they are gone, by the time you turn back, they are there again. The monkeys don’t like the sun, so they usually stay off when it’s sunny and play around the bushes in the mornings and evenings.
But once it is 6pm, they move to wherever they need to sleep.”
Residents who are affected have appealed to the state government to assist by evacuating the animals to a zoo or any other safe place for peace to reign in the community.

As a consequence of the over one billion dollars grossed by the movie “Black Panther”, Hollywood producers have been scrambling for a sequel. One of the most audacious is none other than Harvey Weinstein who after his recent downfall and collapse of his hitherto giant company The Weinstein Company is determined to stage a comeback. He has been hawking around the following pilot project entitled “PAIKO’s WEDDING”. It is set in Ibadan and the date is July 29, 1966:
“The situation in Ibadan on July 28 was tense. Northern civil servants, chiefs and traditional rulers who had come for the Conference of Traditional rulers were eager to get out of the South, fearful that they would be targeted in the so called "Plan 15" Igbo Plot. Indeed there were false rumours that the conference Hall was slated to be blown up. At the regimental parade for General Ironsi a small controversy erupted in the press about the observation that northern troops refused to (or could not) sing the National Anthem. Arguments went back and forth on TV about whether their lips were moving.

Nevertheless, there was a grand reception in the evening hosted by the Military Governor, Lt. Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, which belied the tensions that were simmering underneath. Fate was beckoning. Both Ironsi and Fajuyi were distinguished veterans of the Congo peace-keeping operations (ONUC) from 1960-64. Then Brigadier JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi was the overall Force Commander for the last six months of the operation. Fajuyi was well known as the first Nigerian officer to be honoured with an international military citation. As a Major, he was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for personal action in leading a company of the 4QNR in combat on November 27, 1960 and subsequently extricating it from an ambush during operations on January 3, 1961.

However, following the call from Lt. Pam Mwadkon in Abeokuta, Lt. Garba Dada (Paiko) woke up other northern officers at the 4th Battalion, including Major TY Danjuma, a staff officer at AHQ who was temporarily staying at the Letmauk Barracks, having accompanied Major General JTU Aguiyi-Ironsi from Lagos. The Barracks is named after a town called Letmauk, site of a bitter campaign in April and May 1944 to retake AN from the Japanese in Burma, by the 1st Nigerian Brigade of the 82nd West African Division during World War II.
Dada told Danjuma: "Sir, we will have to do the same thing. The most important target is the Supreme Commander. For as long as he is there, everything we are doing here is nothing. We should go there."
After a brief meeting with Lts. Ibrahim Bako and Abdullai Shelleng, a quick phone call was made to Lt. Col. Murtala Muhammed in Lagos, seeing as Muhammed had earlier contacted the boys to stand down from their group's pre-planned coup. But Muhammed initially urged restraint, seeing as he was unsure whether his earlier confrontation with Anwunah meant that Igbo officers and soldiers in Lagos were already armed and may well have the advantage - as Anwunah had threatened.

However, concerned that exposed northern mutineers in Abeokuta would be isolated and thus likely arrested and charged if they delayed action, Danjuma, Dada, Bako, Shelleng, and the duty officer (James Onoja) decided to overrule Muhammed and proceed with operations in Ibadan. Because Danjuma did not go to Ibadan with combat dress, he borrowed one from Lt. James Onoja who had recently come back from a course in the US, and wore it right over his pyjamas. Then Danjuma armed himself with a hand grenade for suicide in the event of mission failure.

Soldiers were then hurriedly selected from infantry companies at Mokola commanded by Onoja and Shelleng. While Shelleng took one group to man checkpoints along the Lagos and Abeokuta roads toprotect the southern approaches to the city, 24 soldiers under Lt. James Onoja, some say in two landrovers mustered by the MTO, Lt. Jerry Useni, accompanied Major Danjuma to the Government House in the early hours of July 29, 1966. The specific initial objective was to isolate the premises, disconnect the Supreme Commander from the chain of command and arrest him as a tool for negotiations regarding the boys who killed Okonweze and others at Abeokuta. The Government House was already guarded by elements of the National Guards Company, led by Lt. William Walbe, who was in charge of a 106 mm recoilless rifle group, along with some soldiers on duty from the 4th battalion whose reporting relationship was to the adjutant of the battalion as well as the duty officer.”


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, J.K. Randle Professional Services. Email: jkrandleintuk@gmail.com

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