Millions starve in Nigeria as President Jonathan searches for phantom investors in London Olympic stadiums!
When I first read an article by Tunde Oyedoyin on page 5 of the “Punch” newspaper dated July 14th 2012, which informed the nation that our dearly beloved President (who is apparently already working hard towards securing a fresh mandate in 2015) is currently visiting London with a huge entourage in quest of phantom “investors” to rescue Nigeria from underdevelopment, I first thought I might be dreaming..
And so, I read the article over and over again and rubbed my eyes repeatedly. - No, I wasn’t dreaming: The information was only too real, even if it was so weird that it might easily qualify as a new chapter written posthumously by the long departed author of “Alice in Wonderland”!
Tunde Oyedoyin’s article is titled:
LONDON OLYMPICS : JONATHAN, OTHERS TO SHOWCASE NIGERIA’S INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
The full article reads :
“As Nigeria’s representatives and athletes from other nations prepare to battle to win medals for their countries at the London 2012 Olympics which begins in just 13 days, winning medals of any colour may be the least thing on President Goodluck Jonathan’s mind when he comes to London during the games.
Rather than heading to the Olympic Park in East London, the President will lead a powerful Federal Government and private sector team in the opposite direction and head to the Dorchester Hotel, West London, for a high level investment and business summit that will showcase Nigeria’s investment potentials to the world.
Jonathan, who will give the keynote address on the opening morning of the three-day (July 30 to August 1) ‘New World Nigeria’ investment drive organised by the Bank of Industry (BOI) , has been pencilled down alongside the Co-ordinating Minister for Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo–Iweala, Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and foremost entrepreneur, Aliko Dangote and several other Ministers and State Governors to spearhead the parley .
Unlike members of Team Nigeria who will be competing with their counterparts from over 200 countries, Jonathan and his team will have less competition as they try to woo investors to bring their capital to Nigeria after the games.
While Team Nigeria’s contingent to the games is made up of basket ballers, sprinters, quarter milers and boxers, etc, Jonathan’s own Team Nigeria will also include the Minister of Power, Professor Bart Nnaji , his Agriculture counterpart, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina and Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Trade and Investment. Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun will also be in the president’s sales team.
On the opening day, July 30, Jonathan will speak on ‘New World Nigeria Is Open For Business,’ in his keynote address before Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala takes to the podium to talk about ‘The Nigerian Economy And The Ease Of Doing Business.’ Later in the day , it will be the turn of the trio of Aganga, Ajimobi and Kola Jamodu, Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), to hold a panel discussion with the theme, ‘Transforming Nigeria’s Industrial Sector for Competitiveness.’
Author of this article: From Tunde Oyedoyin, London”
- Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather!
Before now, nobody told me that the streets of London would be flooded with eager investors seeking to be informed on Nigeria’s investment potentials exactly when the Olympic games are in progress...
Presumably, these amiable and highly elusive investors are flying all the way from Japan, China, Canada, Germany, and the U.S. while the Olympic games are in progress in London in order to listen to President Jonathan’s mouth-watering presentations about the wonderful profits to be made by foreign investors in Nigeria and in order to admire Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s bizarre series of head scarve styles, in preference to watching Usein Bolt shatter Olympic records...
Who would ever have thought that a Nigerian “champion” President from Utueke village in Bayelsa state would succeed in stealing the limelight from all the magnificent athletes who will soon be gathering in London to compete for Olympic medals?
How will President `Jonathan’s own prize be designated?
Could it be that an Olympic medal will be awarded to him as “Champion seeker of phantom investors”?
Interestingly enough, the peculiar race in which President Jonathan will be engaged in London is in a sense a relay race for which the baton was passed on to him by His Revered Highness Chief (General) Olusegun Obasanjo, the almighty monarch of Otta farms.
As many `Nigerians will recall, our ‘action man’ from Otta spent the first four years of his Presidency travelling restlessly all over the globe in quest of the strange breed of elusive phantom investors that Jonathan has now pursued to London.
No doubt because of the fact that my eyesight may be failing somewhat these days as a result of old age, all the diligent searches I have conducted everywhere (including under my bed!), have so far failed to produce any trace of even ONE SINGLE investor who was lured to Nigeria by Chief General Obasanjo in the course of his four years of non-stop world-wide junketing at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars of Nigerian taxpayers’ money.
However, since I readily confess to be suffering from senility and mild dementia, it may well be that some more diligent folks have been privileged to encounter some of the phantom “investors” that the astute Otta farmer managed to capture, cage and bring back to Nigeria in the course of his prodigious travels...
And now in a smooth baton change, President Jonathan has taken over the race to discover invisible “investors” from Chief General Obasanjo and is now heading at top speed to the finishing tape to claim the top prize of “Champion seeker of phantom investors” for Nigeria”!
Who says that Nigeria will not shine at the 2012 Olympics?
Strangely enough, a malicious little bird has whispered to me that there may be some kind of connection between President Jonathan’s forthcoming Olympic jamboree and the little matter of the $200 million “bonanza” that the President announced that he intended to place at the disposal of Nigerian artists at the height of the last Presidential campaign.
When I asked this malicious little bird (don’t try to find out where I learnt bird language from!) what the “connection” could possibly be, the multi-hued bird twittered the following information before flying off to nest for the winter in Accapulco :
“Elementary, my dear Watson! All you have to do is follow the money trail :
The magic (and highly elusive!) $200 million announced by President Jonathan as a fund for artists was lodged in the Bank of Industry in the care of Ms. Evelyn Oputu, the no-nonsense CEO of this dynamic institution that also happens to have somehow been mentioned in connection with Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim’s alleged diversion of aviation intervention funds into purchase of a Ghanaian bank.
Somehow, somehow, sha, although no Nigerian artist or cultural worker has ever smelled a single naira out of the elusive $200 million fund supposedly earmarked for artistic activities, the Bank of Industry has suddenly emerged as the deep-pocketed source of funding for the bizarrely named “New World Nigeria” investment drive that is serving as a vehicle for President Jonathan’s Olympic jamboree. Not surprisingly, a series of separate news stories have told the Nigerian public that Ms. Evelyn Oputa and the Bank of Industry are simultaneously funding a few hastily assembled exhibitions of Nigerian art works and fire brigade style productions of theatre performances in London to coincide with the 2012 Olympics...
Could it be that this mischievous mystery bird that perched briefly on the ledge of my bedroom window to twitter all this convoluted news in bird language knows something that we ordinary folks are too daft to have perceived?
Whatever be the case, a jovial hippopotamus that I recently encountered while I was having a swim in Lagos lagoon confidently informed me that the Ladbroke betting agency in London has placed odds of 10 to 1 that we will shortly hear (within a maximum of one year!) that the $200 million allegedly earmarked for “artistic activities” and placed under the ultra enlightened and artistic “guardianship” of the Nigerian Bank of Industry has all been spent to the last kobo, with nothing to show for it...
I wondered how my hippopotamus friend happened to know so much?
When I asked for an explanation in the secret hippopotamus language that I originally learnt while swimming in the waters of Aba river more than half a century ago, the hippopotamus playfully snorted :
“My friend, you must be daft if you don’t remember the dazzling footwork displayed by a gentleman named Frank N, who, while serving as Federal Minister of Information in Chief General Obasanjo’s cabinet some years ago, claimed to have totally expended a ‘film industry intervention fund’ of N100 million released to him by the General within a few months by diligently organising seminars and travelling all over the world to gratify a burning desire ‘study’ how films are made...“
Could it be that Nigeria became the champion of expensive irrelevant seminars during Mr. Frank N’s tenure as Federal Minister of Information?
Maybe the Ladbroke betting agency and my jovial hippopotamus friend are on to something that mere mortals like me are blissfully unaware of, the more so as the gentleman in question has now surfaced in a new incarnation as Chief Executive of an annual Economic Talk Show that convenes each year in Abuja to announce that the kwashiokor-stricken Nigerian economy is among the “fastest growing” economies in the world, in glaring opposition to the indisputable evidence that millions of hapless Nigerian citizens are currently starving to death...
All in all, I readily confess to being an ignorant and ill-informed imbecile, but I wouldn’t ordinarily have thought that President Jonathan actually needed to travel all the way to London in quest of investors, considering the fact that one of his neighbours in Abuja named General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) confessed not too long ago (as reported in an article in “Punch” newspaper dated February 18th 2010) that he had made a $500 million fortune from the sale of oil blocks, but doesn’t know how to spend so much money!
Why doesn’t President Jonathan put a telephone call through to Gen. Damjuma to request him to invest his windfall fortune in a few Nigerian industries?
Those fellow citizens with non-comatose memories may well recall some of the startling disclosures made by Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), when he addressed a consultative meeting of handpicked NGO’s and his newly established Foundation in February 2011, as subsequently reported in an article by Olusola Fabiyi, published in the “Punch” of Feb. 18th 2011.
The opening paragraphs of Mr. Fabiyi’s article are particularly delicious!
For the benefit of those who may have failed to read the said article at the time it was published, I crave indulgence to reproduce the following excerpts from this amazing publication entitled : I MADE $500M FROM OIL BLOCK, BUT I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO SPEND IT - DANJUMA.
Oddly enough however, Gen. Danjuma never quite got round to telling the public how much tax he actually paid following the $1billion profit he says he made from the sale of oil blocks allocated to him by our fondly remembered late dictator leader General Abacha.
T.Y. Danjuma also neglected to disclose to his long-suffering fellow citizens the nature of the process that entitled him to the allocation of the oil blocks that brought him such stupendous wealth.
(In passing, it is worth noting that some well informed sources have indicated that Gen. Danjuma realized a profit of over $8 billion dollars from the sale of PART of his oil block, and not a mere $1 billion. as he has often claimed)... .
Why was this oil block allocated to Gen. Danjuma alone, and not to any other citizen of Nigeria?
Did General Danjuma come first in an oil block allocation examination that the rest of us failed?
Was the allocation made to him as a result of some mysterious secret lottery ballot?
Or could it be that Abacha was specially instructed by divine providence to allocate a substantial portion of Nigeria’s oil wealth (which theoretically belongs to the entire nation!) to a God-anointed individual named Gen. Theophilus Danjuma?
Perhaps this was also the same process that led to the arbitrary allocation of oil wells by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) to a gentleman who currently owns one of the largest telephone companies in Nigeria (among other things), and whose ownership of the said oil wells was the original source of his stupendous wealth?
If God indeed points his finger from somewhere up above and instructs Nigerian Generals to allocate oil wells to their cronies while they are in power, there must be something odd and suspicious about the way in which Almighty God has chosen to make multi-billionaires out of a few chosen ones among us. - In my own case, I simply cannot comprehend why I do not deserve to be given an oil well through a General’s magic signature!
Could it be that I belong to an inappropriate religion? I wonder o!
If Gen. Danjuma will not share his secret with me, I am willing to consider undertaking to build at least fifty brand new churches in Atueke village, provided of course that someone will help protect me from collapsing and dying of heart attack when the Niger Delta Minister whispers in my ears the size of the bribe I will have to pay for an introduction to the present occupant of Aso Rock...
If access to oil well is not possible for a nonentity of my type, somebody should please tell Ms. Evelyn Oputu to PLEASE spare me 'small' inside the $200 million “artistic intervention fund” before it is all spent on cocktail parties designed to lure invisible “investors” to Nigeria...
Me too, I want to be rich before I die (abi I be monkey?).
If I get my own money from inside the artistic intervention fund, I plan to establish a big bank or a money spinning evangelical church (both of which appear to be the same kind of business venture these days!) in Namibia, close to Walvis Bay. No shaking!
Coming back to more serious matters, the opening portion of the article in which Mr. Olusola Fabiyi writes about Gen. Danjuma’s amazing confession about how he is too rich to know what to do with all his money reads as follows :
“A former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen Theophilus Danjuma, shocked his audience at a consultative meeting his Foundation and some Non-Governmental Organisations had in Abuja on Wednesday when he narrated how he made $500m from an oil business, and was in a fix on how to spend it.
The chief executives of the NGOs at the meeting could not believe their ears after hearing Danjuma’s narration.
The former Chief of Army Staff said the $500m came as his profit from the total of $1bn he realised from selling an oil block, which was allocated to him 12 years ago.
About $500m had been used to settle some pressing personal issues, pay his staff, and tax to the government.
He recalled that the story started 12 years ago when he was allocated an oil block by the regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha.
He said that the oild block which was in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, however took him aout 10 years before his company firt struck oil. Luckily for him, by this time, the price of oil had soared in the international market.
He said that this made him to sell the block becausehe knw that “whatever goes up must come down,” stressing that the deal fetched bim $1billion.
He also said that he was left with ‘just’ $500million after he had taken care of the essentials of life.
He said that he was not sure that the money would be secured in the bank. Still, he said that the contemplated saving the money for his children. Yet, a second thought told him this was not the wisest thing to do as his children might fight over it after his death. (...)”
Well, so we have it from the horse’s mouth: There is no need for Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to go and coordinate head scarves in London. What we might be looking for in Sokoto might be right here in our agbada pocket : Let Gen. Theophilus Danjuma be invited to rescue the Nigerian economy by establishing a few Kantooky chicken outlets with the unused portion of his $1billion (or $8 billion?) bonanza.
The neat thing about this solution is that two giant birds would have been killed stone dead in one blow:
On the one hand, Gen. Danjuma’s children will not have to fight over money after his death.
And on the other hand, the champion procurer of investors from Otueke would be a shoo-in for a new term of office in 2015, since he would be able to point to the presence of at least ONE homegrown investor in flesh and blood from Taraba state.
Neat, not so?
I beg to take my leave at this point and retire to my jungle abode, pending when my future era of stupendous wealth will unfold in Namibia...
Please make u na beg Madam Thatcher Evelyn make e no forget me o!
I throw 'way to salute to everyone, pending the time when I shall proceed to the hottest part of hell to join my bosom buddies like Gen. Sani for some serious gisting sessions...
At last, I will finally learn why IBB 'stepped aside' when everything seemed to be going so well for him!
I can't wait to get to hell!
* Dr. Ola Balogun is a filmmaker and musician based in Lagos
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