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Akwa Ibom: The Legal Profession And The Emerging Global Economy



Akwa Ibom: The Legal Profession And The Emerging Global Economy
Udom Inoyo

By Udom Inoyo


Two significant events led to the postponement of this Bar-week, first scheduled for March 2020, but I am happy that we are all here today, and by God’s grace, in good health. For me, it feels surreal that you will still come back to me as your keynote speaker, having known that I retired from ExxonMobil last year and I am now an ordinary citizen. You know, in our society, as opposed to what happens in other climes, people move on once you are no longer in a position of ‘relevance’, and they care less about your expertise. So, thanks for having me here and hopefully, I will have something worthwhile to share.

You have asked that I speak to you on a very important subject, which, if we cut to the chase, is about robust opportunities for lawyers in Akwa Ibom State. I am happy that you appreciate the emerging economic trends in the state, which have already started manifesting in steady and sustainable steps, and would consolidate in the not-too-distant future. I am even happier that you desire to play in that space, and why not? But let me be blunt. No amount of pontification will offer you an opportunity in that space unless you deliberately alter the current trajectory. You must be determined to alter your disposition towards things. You must see the opportunities and embrace them, and by so doing, avoid Helen Keller’s characterization that “the most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.” I will come back to this later.

Before I proceed further, please permit me to make a disclosure, which is that though a lawyer, I did not work in the Legal Department of ExxonMobil through-out my career spanning over 30 years, in Nigeria, the United States of America and Belgium. And I was not embarrassed by that. While I had close interaction with the lawyers and some of the external counsel, it was not my responsibility to make a legal call on matters affecting the company, even if such affected a section of the business where I was the ‘Oga at the top’. However, I can happily report that just being a lawyer offered me an extraordinary view of the business and a unique approach to issues, and this became even more germane when I assumed board responsibilities. I did my best to keep abreast with the law, especially in areas of interest, since I never wanted to be ill-prepared for a discussion with my learned colleagues or to sign off on a matter that could embarrass me or create legal exposure for the company. But as you know, the law profession is a jealous one and requires meticulous devotion. So, my remarks this morning will reflect my personal work experiences. It will not be steeped in law or wrapped in legalese. I want to be simple and truthful, and with a focus on how you can find opportunities in an emerging economy.

Emerging Global Economy:
While this is not an audience of economists, it is nevertheless important that we put things in perspective. I am sure that you can identify with the major developed economies of the world, notably Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, who, in 1975 (joined by Canada in 1976) announced an intergovernmental economic organization called G7. The economy of these countries is understandably stable, resulting in a focus for growth in other emerging jurisdictions.

With a focus on ”…a country that is recognized as having a significant GDP growth (as well as a large global contribution to production), an increase in the size of the middle class, and a potential for rapid growth and investment” came the birth of emerging markets more represented as BRIC- Brazil, Russia, India, and China (John Christy-Emerging Market Economies-The BRIC). These countries now account for roughly 30% of production globally. I am sure we know where China sits today, clearly on top of the ladder! Other emerging markets include Mexico, South Korea, Colombia, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa.

In late-2005, Goldman Sachs identified the next group of countries to watch, called The Next Eleven or N-11. These were Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam (Justin Kuepper, Next 11 Economies Poised for Growth, updated 2019).

As of 2015, Nigeria was assessed as one of the fastest-growing economies by real GDP of 7.3% (Vietnam: 5.6%, Indonesia: 5.5%, Bangladesh: 6.4%, Philippines: 6.3%). I am sure you know our current situation, including the rather interesting news that we have come out of another recession.

Just yesterday, the National Bureau of Statistics gave rather alarming figures on the situation of our unemployment condition. It is a situation worth taking note of.

I will not be surprised that for many, engaging in a dialogue on an emerging global economy seems a stretch given our current economic realities. But this is not the time to be despondent. Rather, the challenges confronting us should be a reminder of the counsel of Albert Einstein that ”Imagination is more important than knowledge”. This is an opportune time to think out-of-the-box, and I am happy that some people are already doing so, even here in Uyo. So, let us collectively agree on three things this morning: Imagination! Vision! Drive! For those of you who enjoy taking holidays in Dubai, I am sure you have seen these operationalized in that city. If not already done, I encourage all of you to read My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence by His Highness, Sheik Mohammed bin Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai which chronicles the journey of turning a regional economic centre into one of international acclaim within a few decades.

Make no mistake, the economy of the 21st Century has already been defined, largely by technological advancement and only those who adapt quickly to this reality will have a place on the table. This is even more, given the adjustments following the COVID-19 pandemic. Many sectors are already experiencing disruptions on account of new technology. For example, the oil and gas sector is now impacted by big data and analytics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and edge computing, cloud computing, AI and machine learning, robotics and drones, 5G networks, and collaboration tools. This, therefore, means that in a country like Nigeria, with a huge population, largely youths, but with limited technological advancement, we must buckle up. We need to adjust to the new global trends across all sectors, failing which we would be left behind. Alvin Toffler, an American businessman, was very clear on this when he opined that ”the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”. The world will not wait for us.

READ ALSO: Moderna Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Trials For Children

Lawyers And The Akwa Ibom Economy
Since the majority of you are from the state, let me begin by reminding you of the African proverb that ‘Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs’. I take pride in being an Akwa Ibom indigene and I am appreciative of the on-going transformation from a predominantly subsistent agro/artisanal state towards a semi-industrial economy with the ambition of becoming industrialized soon. That is if there is no disruption to the existing road-map. Governor Udom Emmanuel’s focus on Infrastructure (including Port development), Tourism and Entertainment (including Aviation), Agro-allied businesses, Information Technology, Education and Health Services, and the promotion of Small, Medium Enterprises (SME’S), etc. must be appreciated for the significant transformations these would bring to the state, including opportunities for human capital development, which is pivotal for any developed economy. There is also a silent revolution going on; creating a positive identity for our people, and ensuring that they take pride in their culture and language, and this should not be taken for granted. Nothing gives me greater joy flying Ibom Air, especially on the Lagos and Abuja routes, than the announcement-”Ukang Nyin, ette ye eka nyin, etok-etok ye akamba, imi di wor ndion”. It sends a powerful message about the state and its people.

We all know that Akwa Ibom State is blessed and its potential is huge: from its position as a coastal state of the Niger Delta, the fertile rain forest, enviable aquatic splendour, preponderant and largely untapped mineral resources, fortunes of the 13 per cent derivation fund from crude oil production, and most importantly, some of the finest minds who can and are holding their own amongst peers anywhere in the world. But these huge blessings must be properly harnessed for the benefit of everyone. We must therefore be clear as to what we want as a people, and come together to work for the general good. Always remember that “to the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favourable wind.” – Seneca

For those of you who are keen watchers of the Cable Network News (CNN), I am sure you have come across The 100 Club, celebrating businesses that have survived a century. I enjoy watching this programme because it reinforces a commonsense approach to personal and organizational success, irrespective of geographical location or race. These are grounded on hard work, diligence, the ability to change and adapt to contemporary realities, and of course, integrity. Unfortunately in our society today, these tenets are unappreciated. It is almost as if doing that which is right is an aberration; and attracting condemnation, as most people now adopt a short-cut approach to success, including, the celebration of various slants of ‘Robbin-hood,’ ‘Pablo Escobar’, or ‘Onno owo nkpo’. It is almost as if there is a truism in the statement that corruption runs Nigeria.

I have often wondered if anyone gives a hoot about why we have missed the boat. Take the economy for example, do we ask questions about why almost all businesses in our society fail? Has anyone been concerned about why huge amounts of public funds would be committed to a venture and go to waste? How many people recall that there was thriving marine transportation between Calabar and Oron in the 1970s, a distance of about 21 kilometres? Such services are littered all over Europe and most have been operating for decades? What happened to our Qua Steel company, including the Federal Government Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), the Nigeria Newsprint Manufacturing Company, Oku-Iboku, Qua River Hotel, Eket, Biscuit factory, and Sunshine battery in Ikot Ekpene, Quality Ceramics, Itu, Palmil industries, Abak, Ebughu Fishing terminal, Mbo, etc ? Can you imagine where the state’s economy would be today if all these businesses were thriving? Is it not ironic that another company, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN), which started its operations in this state, just a little over 50 years ago, is still doing well? Or do you think that MPN is doing well because of the expatriate workers? The last time I checked, about 94% of its workers are Nigerians, including the many young talented ones that are manning various offshore platforms worth multi-million dollars. Over a quarter of these employees are also from this state. So, why are they running these complex operations successfully? It comes back to doing things the proper way, based on common tenets of hard work, diligence and integrity. If you want a more sophisticated name, call it global best practice.

READ ALSO: Britain To Increase Nuclear Weapons, Review Relations With Russia, China

Unless we go back to these time-tested principles, we will not have a growing economy and Akwa Ibom State will not be an investor’s destination that we all desire and which the Udom Emmanuel administration has done a lot to position the state in that regard. But the good news is that as members of the Bar, and I must add, Bench, I see the commitment to move this state forward.

So What Should You Be Doing?
Dear colleagues, while your wig and gown have taken you this far, you must make some adjustments to play in the emerging economic space. I do recognize that practising law in the state can be restrictive as most of you are focused mainly on litigation and preparation of legal documents, which, given the slow speed of trials in courts and inability or sometimes, the unwillingness of clients to pay, limit your ability to expand your scope. But that must be altered. You must begin the process of retooling and re-skilling for the opportunities that are nowhere and those that lie ahead. You must expand your knowledge to embrace learnings that are looked-for by a modern economy. Let me give you an example of the inherent opportunities, starting with my familiar oil and gas sector.

As you may know, the oil sector is probably the most regulated anywhere in the world and with these labyrinths of regulations come opportunities for lawyers. For example, lawyers are needed to advise on commercial transactions as well as craft procurement contracts to avoid disputes down the road. Lawyers are also required to interpret complex technical laws and regulations and apply them in many technical areas of the business, such as Drilling, Operations, Safety, Projects, etc.). Lawyers are also required in various aspects of Relationship Management: that is, company’s Interaction with Operational partners like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation-NNPC (which are governed by agreements), Regulators like Department of Petroleum Resources-DPR, National Content Development Management Board-NCDMB, and other government agencies governed by various statutes. Internally, lawyers must opine on corporate governance issues, application of anti-corruption laws, including those of other jurisdictions such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) or the UK’s Anti-Bribery Act, as they affect operations in Nigeria and engagement with non-governmental actors-Human and Environmental Right groups.

Lawyers are also needed to interpret the rights of employees under Employment contracts, Collective Bargaining Agreements with the Unions and Labour laws. They also interface on consequences of workplace injury or accident, discrimination and harassment cases, disciplinary actions, and separation for cause. There are also opportunities as arbitrators. The list is long, but the good news is that each of these areas provides abundant opportunities for all of you. A fortnight ago, our state governor was in Morocco as part of a consortium that signed a $1.4b deal to produce ammonia in Nigeria. Given that this plant will be located in the state, you must vigorously prepare for the above opportunities that I have just enumerated. By extension, there are similar opportunities in almost all sectors of the state’s economy where one can carve a niche for his/herself.

I do recognize that some work must be done to further a meaningful engagement in some of these areas, and as such will like to partner with the Bar on the following initiatives:

Capacity Building
I have discussed with some colleagues who are interested in rolling out a learning opportunity (physical/virtual) in diverse areas of law and the economy, with the first phase covering the following subjects. This will be expanded as we receive feedback from you.
(I) Project Finance: Barrister Aniekan Ukpanah, Managing Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
(II) Concepts of Arbitration in Construction Contracts-QS (Barrister Ifeanyi Anago/Mr Tony Ndah, Managing Director, Cost-Link Associates
(III) The place of the judiciary in Infrastructure Development: Ms Imeh Okon, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure
(IV) Energy Regulation-Dr. Sam Amadi, Former Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Head of Public and International Law department, Baze University, Abuja
(V) Ethics in Legal Practice-Barrister Edo Ukpong, Founding Partner, CLP Legal.
(VI) Aviation Law: Barrister Essien Udom, SAN, Founding Partner, Udom & Udom Law Firm
(VII) Arbitration: Barrister Inam Wilson, Partner, Templars Law Firm
(VIII) Establishing and Running a Legal Practice as a Successful and Sustainable Business: Barrister Ken Etim, Managing Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo Law firm
(IX) Opportunities in the Oil/ Gas and Energy Space: Dr George Akpan, PhD and Professor Lucky Worika, Dean of Law, University of Port Harcourt
(X) Advocacy in Legal Practice-Justice Ifiok Ukanna (Rtd.)
(XI) Analogue to Digital: the making of a 21st-century lawyer in Akwa Ibom state-Basil Udotai Esq., Managing Partner, Technology Advisors LLP.
(XII)Opportunities for lawyers in Sports: Paul Bassey, renowned Sports Journalist, FIFA/CAF Match Commissioner/Instructor on club licensing & SSA TO AKS Governor on Sports.
+Mr. Joe Udofia, CEO Vandrezzer Energy and Patron, Vandrezzer Football Club FC
(XIII)Professional Ethics in Legal Practice (my personal experience): Uko Udom, SAN, Attorney General, Akwa Ibom State
(XIV)Tax Practice: Unveiling the Opportunities, the Challenges and Approach: Oluseye Arowolo, Partner, Tax & Legal, Deloitte & Touche Nigeria

READ ALSO: Sheikh Gumi And The Holy Bandits Of Zamfara

2: Synergy For A Sustainable Legal Practice
You may have noticed that we have identified an opportunity to talk about running a law firm as a successful and sustainable business. As most of you should know, it takes a lot to build a viable business, especially in our clime, so I hope you will take advantage of the knowledge sharing opportunity. However, to make this learning optimal, it may be worthwhile for you to begin to explore merging some of the law offices as opposed to the prevalent practice of everyone running his/her little law firm. Remember, there is strength in unity and prospects in diversity.

Structured In-Chambers Experience
While personal training is generally good and is encouraged, nothing offers a better opportunity for knowledge transfer than in-chambers experience. Understandably, major legal briefs will always go to law firms with the needed expertise, but it will serve the state better if such government briefs mandate training of an agreed number of young Akwa Ibom lawyers (both from the State’s Ministry of Justice and the general bar). Call it our version of ‘local content’ but it is really about exposing our younger lawyers, practically, to some of these complex cases that they will otherwise not have had the opportunity to engage in. You never can tell, it may spark an indelible desire in them to explore opportunities in such an area. I am sure our esteemed attorney general will consider this.

Opportunities in Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs)
There must be a meaningful engagement of MDAs in the state to unlock opportunities and mitigate exposures. Officials must know the critical importance of engaging a lawyer in the conceptualization of programmes/projects and not only when a problem emerges. An opportunity for the NBA leadership to address the state’s Executive Council with regard to the inherent capacity of the Bar to provide value across the spectrum of economic activities in the state should therefore be pursued.

Enrollment In The Federal Public Service
I will be remiss in my task today if I fail to mention my observation with regard to the presence of Akwa Ibom people in the Federal Civil Service, and I think the state will benefit from verification of the number and calibre of its indigenes in the respective MDAs. I know that we have a representative in the Federal Civil Service Commission and hopefully, there is synergy with the State Government on this matter. There must be a deliberate policy to inject our people into the federal service (and this also includes such agencies as NDDC, NCDMB, etc.), just as I appeal to our young ones to be daring to seek opportunities outside the state. You can compete and win. So go for it!
But let us be clear on the above. The world has changed and only those who can compete in the marketplace will win. So, placing our people in Federal Ministries and Agencies must be done deliberately and credibly otherwise it will not be of much value. We want those who are qualified and can compete with the very best from other states and not those merely favoured by political godfathers.

The Judiciary
Any discourse about the state of law practice will be incomplete without a mention of the state of the judiciary. Underscoring this imperative is the established principle requiring the silence of our judges in the face of a myriad of work-related inconveniences: continued use of manual processes, limited resources for speedy research, etc.; hence the need for the intervention of the Bar, government, and the general public. In pitching for improvement in the state of legal practice, the Bar must use its enormous reach and pedigree to support and push for the improvement of the fortunes of our judges. Likewise, our respected judges must also be part of this education programme so that both parties can row in the same direction of knowledge.

While thanking you again for the opportunity to engage, let me plead that the above recommendations should not be considered as silver-bullet. This is a family and I welcome ideas from all members on how to progress this conversation of creating opportunities for lawyers, especially the young ones.

Given what I know, and especially His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s determination to reconstruct the economy of Akwa Ibom State beyond crude oil, I can assure you that the state’s future is bright. But to benefit, you must be deliberate in reskilling yourselves, including a determination to explore beyond our shores. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot soar and succeed. It was a dare-to-win mindset that propelled one of us, Mr Paul Usoro, SAN, to be accomplished in the profession, including, becoming the 2018-2020 President of the Nigerian Bar Association.

I am particularly grateful to the senior legal practitioners from the state who are committed to sharing their experiences with the Bar, knowing that this will be the most satisfying legacy of our generation. A lot more people have indicated interest to be part of our recommended knowledge-sharing experience and we will keep broadening the subject of discourse. But you must ensure that this remains on the top burner.

Finally, to the young ones, please remember that “the moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it”– J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan. So, never give in to fear. Most of you know me and if there is a central theme to my story, it is the fact that it is possible to get to the top of a career without compromising one’s spiritual values or soiling one’s hands. That could also be your testimony. So rise and push forward.

God bless Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria.

Udom Inoyo (Advisor, Inoyo Toro Foundation) gave this keynote address at the NBA Uyo Branch Week on March 16,2021.

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Exposed: The Real Peter Obi



Exposed: The Real Peter Obi

By Promise Adiele
Today, I am possessed by the spirit of exposure. Without let or hindrance, resistance or disputation, I surrender to the service of my fatherland to expose, perhaps in the process, educate the foolish and enrich the wise, nothing more. While exposing, I didn’t consult the Ifa oracle or Delphic oracle, both Yoruba and Greek prognostic divination essences famed for revelation. Exposure, that act of revealing the unknown, invades my conscious mind while the revered apostle of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud watches with keen interest. I admit to being a helpless captive of the spirit of exposure. It goes beyond the paralyzing mental hypnosis suffered by victims of religious ecstasy. I am fully aware and awake, with no hallucination, reverie, or phantasmal anecdote. I have no choice in the matter, therefore I must expose, reveal, uncover, and inform. St. John suffered the same fate as I do today which inspired him to write the Biblical book of Revelation. Exposure is different from prophecy, the alter ego of prediction. While exposure reveals what exists but is not known, prophecy reveals what does not exist, therefore not known. Today, I am not predicting anything. I want to expose many things about the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party Mr Peter Obi. Every presidential aspirant must be exposed, nothing hidden. No guesswork. No half-truths.

My determination to expose the real, undiluted, factual, identity of Mr Peter Obi inheres from the tumultuous effect his persona is currently having on the Nigerian political horizon. Interestingly, the emergence of one man in our country’s political maturation is causing a tsunami across the length and breadth of the land. In my commitment to unravel Peter Obi, I have engaged the remote and immediate peculiarities of his identity, his historical existentialities, and the sublunary ethos that foreground his groundswell among Nigerians at home and abroad. Also, my objective is to steer the wheel of our contemporary political discourse away from obtuse, unreasonable circles to centres of rational, objective thinking. Granted that we can make mistakes sometimes, but we shouldn’t hug idiocy forever. Nigeria is on the cusp of collapse due largely to the mistakes of 2015 when we collectively plunged into a semblance of Hades for failure to expose what needed to be exposed. But 2023 offers a good opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past. Peter Obi’s exposure? Here we go.

READ ALSO: How I’ll Treat Agitators, Secessionists As President – Peter Obi

First Exposure: His full name is Peter Gregory Obi and his nickname is ‘Okwute’. He has a clear, real, and honest identity. There should be no contention or controversy about the identity of the potential of the next president of Nigeria. ‘Okwute’ in Igbo language means rock. The muse reminds me of the connection between the Biblical Peter and rock. Recall that the Master told the Biblical Peter, “upon this rock will I build my house and the gates of hellfire will not prevail against it”. Today, we have a potential president of Nigeria whose real and nickname are subsumed in that divine declaration by the Master. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi’s identity draws on celestial and terrestrial possibilities which explain the wildfire his emergence on the political scene is provoking. Surely, the gates of religion, ethnicity and other nebulous metaphors that represent hellfire will not prevail against his name. Remember, his name is Peter Gregory Obi. No questions. No stolen identity. No one adopted him as a child. No family is denying his parentage. It is only a deluded generation that will vote for anyone whose identity is shrouded in secrecy. Identity denominates human existence therefore a fake identity presupposes a fraudulent personality. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi is his name. He does not have any other name. Go and verify.

Second Exposure: Mr Peter Obi was born in 1961 and he is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. No controversy. That is his origin. Did you know that? He has an identifiable genealogy and definite origin. Any political office aspirant with an indeterminate origin is a disgrace to the political process and unbridled insolence to the electorate. Peter Obi’s origin is well known. His origin is not an object of infinite conjecture. He did not migrate to Anambra from any of the neighbouring states or countries. The next president of Nigeria must have a specific origin known to all Nigerians. No guesswork, no permutations, no lies, no mysteries and no sophistry. Anyone, even a foreigner can aspire to any political office in any part of the world, but hiding one’s identity is criminal, therefore morally disqualifies anyone from any political office in the land much less the presidential seat. Peter Obi is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. Go and verify.

Exposure Three: Did you know that Peter Gregory Obi is arguably the only former governor in Nigeria that does not collect a kobo as pension from his state Anambra? Go and verify. Some past governors have impoverished their states by appropriating the exchequer and collecting almost 70% of the Internally Generating Revenue. Such states have the potential to be like Dubai or even better but because their former governors, cronies, and family members have the states in their pockets, the states wallow in inadequacy, leveraging the average, not aware of their vibrant potential. Peter Obi’s wife does not control any part of Anambra State. His only daughter does not control any market in Anambra State. His only son does not own properties in Anambra State. Peter Obi does not have thugs all around the State as a murderous arm of violence and civil menace. A man that does not collect a pension from his state as a former governor is not greedy. Nigeria does not need a greedy president who will turn state coffers and structures to private use.

Exposure Four: Are you aware that Peter Gregory Obi is healthy, fit, and agile? Now you know. He can engage in physical exercise and do thirty to fifty push-ups in a few minutes. He can jump on the treadmill in a jiffy and remain there for a long time. Did you know that in 2022, he plays football, table tennis, and lawn tennis? He does not have any known medical history which will impair his official function as the president of Nigeria. Given Nigeria’s experience under the current administration, the country does not need a septuagenarian, sickly, frail, and senile president. According to Suyi Ayodele in his Tuesday FLATOUT column in the Daily Tribune “a town which makes the invalid its king does not prosper because the health of the king determines the prosperity of the town”. No one gives a sick baby to a sick nurse to look after. Nigeria is sick, very sick therefore requires a fit, proper, agile, and healthy president to fully take charge of our collective affairs. Remember, when Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power in the country, he lamented that age was affecting his performance and wished he was younger and healthier. He went on to spend considerable time in a London hospital while the country suffered in parturition. This must not recur. A body led by a set of rotten eyes will inevitably head for disaster. Nigeria should never be led by a sick president again. Peter Gregory Obi is healthy and rearing to go. Kindly go and verify.

READ  ALSO: Can Peter Obi Win The Presidential Election In 2023?

Exposure Five: Peter Obi attended Christ The King College Onitsha Anambra State. Afterwards, he was admitted to the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1980 to study philosophy, the acclaimed parent discipline. He graduated in 1984. Some lost souls are peddling the propaganda that he spent twelve years at UNN studying philosophy. Well, Obi graduated from UNN in 1984 at the age of twenty-three. If he spent twelve years studying philosophy at UNN, that means he was admitted to the university in 1972 at the tender age of eleven. These greasy-brained detractors will stop at nothing to merchandise falsehood of impudent dimension. Anyway, he attended Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, Columbia Business School and the International Institute of Management Development. He also attended the Kellogg School of Management of North-Western University, Said Business School of Oxford University and Judge Business School of Cambridge University, go and verify, no controversy.

As Nigerians feverishly trudge towards the 2023 election to save the country from imminent collapse, all the presidential hopefuls must be exposed and critically scrutinized. We must also remember that our present condition is the end-product of an odious conspiracy in 2015 by a few people with vaunting, inordinate, self-serving objectives. It appears that APC’s only objective as a political party is to preside over the liquidation of the Nigerian federation. Do they think we are stupid? We cannot succumb to ennui at the most critical moment of our corporate existence and allow the ruling potentate to further imperil our existence. We must ask the basic questions about all the candidates, their identity must be exposed, health profile, education history, and place of origin. I have exposed the Labour Party candidate. Expose APC and PDP candidates honestly and straight to the point.

Adiele, PhD,
Mountain Top University.


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The Failed Government Of Muhammadu Buhari



By Victoria Praise Abraham
We do not have problems in Nigeria. What we have is a failed leadership and a failed government of the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari. His government cannot effectively tackle insecurity, unemployment, food security, incessant strikes by various bodies in the country and many other leadership challenges presently plaguing our nation.

When Buhari of the All Progressives Congress took over in 2015 we all thought our many problems as a nation were finally over. We thought that our great messiah had finally come and that our lives as a people would now finally get better, richer and healthier. The Buhari government had promised change and we were already in a bad place as a nation and as a people. Alas, this was not supposed to be.

Today, we all can testify that it has been a change from bad to worse and from the frying pan into the fires of life.

Life as a Nigerian living in present-day Nigeria has become extremely difficult, frightening and a great ordeal and struggle. Everything that can collapse has collapsed. The health care system, the educational system and even the economy is in the sliding bend. We have never had it worse than this and our prayer to God Almighty is for urgent interventions and deliverance from this clueless government that has helped to mismanage the economy and our naira.

We have been bruised and battered by the lack of leadership or poor leadership by this APC-led government of Muhammadu Buhari for more than 7 years. Our sensibilities have been assaulted as we daily now live in the fear of being kidnapped either on trains, on the roads and even in the air. The situation is dire, pathetic and desperate at all levels of life. The daily kidnappings, killings and abductions have now reached alarming low levels the kind we have never seen before to the point that the president himself is lamenting the situation. How on earth can you as a president lament the troubles in your nation? This is a clear and glaring sign of a failed leader and a failed government because it means that you are fed up and unable to properly cope with the challenges that you are facing as a leader in the 21st century Nigeria.

We are assaulted daily by terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, abductors, armed robbers and pen robber in the same Buhari-led government. If not, how do we explain the humongous thefts of our collective wealth by top people in the Buhari-led government? A case in view is the high-level theft by the accountant general of the federation Ahmed Idris who stole billions of naira from the coffers of the nation.

Unfortunately, we have a president whose greatest pastime is jetting all over the globe in search of pleasure and peace while his own nation burns under the fires of terrorists, bandits, armed robbers and pen robbers. It is an open secret that Muhammadu Buhari is the most-travelled president of Nigeria.

Muhammadu Buhari at the slightest invitation from any country and for any occasion is quick to accept these invitations and of course there are also his many medical trips abroad at the expense of the Nigerian state.

It has never been this bad in our national life. People no longer sleep with their two eyes closed especially in the areas worst hit by terrorists and bandits in Nigeria. The north and the south of Nigeria including some parts of the east and west are being bombarded and we are daily losing precious lives of our Nigerian youths and even the middle aged and elderly. Women and children are not spared by this daily ordeal of insecurity, and instability.

READ ALSO: Okotie Wants To Lead Interim Government After Buhari

A large percentage of Nigerians can no longer eat three square meals because of the prevalence of poverty, food shortages and this is further compounded by poor or no health care systems. The power outages are another pathetic showing in the life of this APC-led Buhari government.

For the average Nigerian, it is hell on earth because they cannot eat well, they cannot sleep well and whenever they fall sick there is no access to good healthcare and so many are dying under the terrible hardship that never gets reported in the papers but this hard reality of the ordinary Nigerians is clear for anyone to see because more and more people have taken to begging for their daily living.

There is no job for the poor man. There is no peace for the poor man. There is no joy of any kind for the poor man. Even the educational sector is not spared in this great failure of leadership by the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

A large number of Nigerians live below a dollar a day. This situation is so bad that Nigeria has been dubbed the poverty capital of the world. Most of our youths are jobless, helpless and hopeless. The government has not deemed it fit to create an enabling environment for job sustainability.

There is nothing concrete and planned on the ground to curb youth restiveness, so you find most youth taking to crime because somehow, they have to find a way to live.

The Buhari government of the APC party has failed to provide these teeming millions of youth jobs to secure their future. A president that cannot think outside the box and be creative enough to find solutions to our myriads of problems is not my ideal kind of president.

During the campaign season just before Buhari took charge of the running of Nigeria as president he pledged to tackle insecurity, unemployment, and corruption. In his presidency these problems have worsened at a frightening rate.

Under this Buhari-led presidency Nigerians have become poorer and impoverished in an alarming fashion. The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar has been on a free fall for years now and the central bank governor under the Buhari-led government does not seem to know what to do about the problem.

The economy has been battered and bruised because of the lack of proper structures that can help grow the economy. Nigeria is importing everything and exporting less and less. Even the oil that is produced in Nigeria is again taken out of the country for refining before it is again imported back into Nigeria.

Our economy continues to struggle at the lowest levels. We are rich as a nation but poor as a nation and as a people. This is a great mystery, misnomer and travesty.

We are unable to travel interstate to do business with each other as Nigerians because of incessant abductions. Economic activities continue to dwindle to an all-time low since the Buhari-led government took over from the Jonathan-led government in 2015.

Buhari has borrowed so much from international bodies and China that we will spend many years repaying all that he and his government have borrowed in the last seven years and more.

READ ALSO: Buhari Goes To Saudi Arabia For Investment Conference

We are in desperate times because our innocent citizens are being kidnapped, and killed daily all over the north. There are problems of IPOB in the eastern part of Nigeria and we all remember the killings in the Owo massacre of Sunday the 5th of June 2022.

President Muhammadu Buhari never deemed it proper to visit Owo to commiserate with the indigenes of Owo over this dastardly act of terrorists in South West Nigeria. This lack of empathy and compassion from Buhari is unbelievable and acceptable. It shows that as a leader he lacks compassion and a very strong attribute of a great leader is empathy and compassion.

The Buhari government has not deemed it proper to enact laws that will stop Fulani herdsmen from roaming the lands of Nigeria and wreaking havoc on the innocent land owners of the south. We have a government that prefers cows to the precious lives of its human citizens in Nigeria. Under the present Buhari-led government we have become more divided as a people and as nations. Nigeria is a marriage of many nations and a wise leader will work at uniting these different nations with the Nigeria nation and not work hard at dividing it as the Buhari government has done in the last seven years.

Our present situation as a nation is pathetic, frightening and we are in need of quick divine interventions from God. On a practical level it is time for the impeachment of Muhammadu Buhari because in his time we have had unprecedented records of death of innocent Nigerians, more corruption, higher levels of the unemployed Nigerian youths and general insecurity and traumas.

The problem we have as a nation is not the myriads of problems but rather a failure of leadership or no leadership at all. Our leaders at the highest and at all levels have failed us a nation. We are rudderless, leaderless and clueless as a nation.

Our leaders at the highest helm of governance has failed woefully and it is time for them to all bow out and retire back to their bases.

It is time for the Buhari-led government to be impeached to save our fatherland and our unborn generation from further slide, decay and destructions.

We do not have problems in Nigeria, what we have is a president that prefers to jet around the globe to seek pleasure and peace in faraway Britain, Dubai, France and Spain rather than stay in Nigeria to fix the challenges confronting his leadership.

What we have in Nigeria is a leadership problem because everything starts and ends in leadership.

 READ ALSO: Buhari Goes To Rwanda For Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

All these other countries that Buhari prefers to stay in is as a result of leadership that works, that is effective and promising. We have leaders that lack the know-how, of how to properly solve problems in Nigeria.

In 2023 we need a president who is visionary, intelligent, fearless, selfless, courageous, compassionate, a unifier, sincere, competent, charismatic and a good communicator to help us rebuild our nation Nigeria,

We have fallen as a nation and we need a rescuer and a builder to help us rebuild and restructure the Nigerian nation.

As it is now, we are yet to find the messiah. As we begin the countdown to the search for the next crop of leaders, we must be very clear and discerning so that we do not choose leaders that will traumatize us as a people. We must choose credible, competent and compassionate leaders going forward. We truly do need ‘CHANGE’ now not the change Buhari promised us in 2015 but the change that will help to move our great nation forward forever. The APC-led Buhari government has failed woefully. He must now do the decent thing by resigning or be impeached by the senate.

2023 beckons.

A new Nigeria will emerge by the special grace of God Almighty.

. Abraham is an award-winning author and CEO of Vic-Abraham Media Nigeria Ltd.


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Muslim-Muslim Ticket Narrative: The Republic In Peril



Muslim-Muslim Ticket Narrative: The Republic In Peril

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The Muslim-Muslim ticket which the APC under the otherwise shrewd and perspicacious Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has adopted promotes and reinforces a dangerous narrative which the seven years of the Buhari administration have negatively entrenched in the minds of Nigerians. For, before Buhari, it was largely in somewhat hushed tones that the mythical Fulani ownership of geographical Nigeria was discussed. Not supported by any instruments of pre- or postcolonial relations, that dangerous supposition was essentially in the minds of a few and believed by fewer persons. For most southerners it was a joke, an infantile joke to claim that the rich waters and oil of the Niger Delta belong to some fellows who live one thousand miles away.  It is like the Israelis claiming that the oil fields in the Arab states belong to them because God had promised them the land flowing with milk and honey!

With the style and composition of the Buhari government, the irredentist president made his plans clear to all – government was by a section of the country, for a section of the country and for a particular religion! To boot, Fulani from some countries in Africa have started assembling in the country to make Nigeria their home. The hostile scoundrels who kidnap, maim or kill are not indigenous to Nigeria, I dare say. The baffling thing is that southern leaders could not effectively challenge the gradual dismantling of a national consensus that had governed interethnic relations since 1960. Most of them in mainstream politics simply latch on to the received wisdom that to gain power in the centre you must suck it up to the holders of power from the north. So, they sacrifice their people on the altar of greed for power!

In 2003, before the grand alliance of unlikely forces that finally gave Buhari access to federal power, Bola Tinubu was reported by Wikileaks to have said that “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity’. It is true that the Tinubu camp has vigorously argued that their principal never said any such stuff. But Farooq Kperogi in Notes from Atlanta (December 4, 2021) has laid the authenticity of the statement to rest by asserting that ‘I took up Tunde Rahman’s challenge and showed that Tinubu indeed said what he was quoted to have said – and worse’, citing diplomatic cables wrenched from Wikileaks trove.

READ ALSO: Rivers APC Ex-governorship Aspirant Resigns From Party Over Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket

In skewed appointments both to cabinet and non-cabinet positions, Buhari made no bones about telling Nigerians that he meant to govern Nigeria as a colony of Fulani hegemony. Nowhere is this hegemony so evident than in the security architecture of the country. Also, the marauding herdsmen in the country never fail to remind abductees that Nigeria is their patrimony and that accounts for the soft approach of the incumbent government in dealing with the menace posed by terrorists and bandits. Nigerians have cried aloud about the skewed appointments in favour of one section of the country. Nothing has entered the ears of the Commander-in-Chief! Suddenly, the successor administration if the APC wins is a Muslim-Muslim band. Not good for the sight. Not healthy for perception. Not healthy for inter-religious harmony.

Nations build institutions which sustain and protect the core values of the country. In a country as multiethnic and multireligious as ours, no individual or administration should violate those core values. It is possible to argue that the fundamental principles for national unity have not been defined and nationally accepted. For example, power rotation, the place of religion and ethnicity must be worked into the Constitution. Nothing must be taken for granted. No section or religion must claim or preach superiority. It has the capacity to implode the country, either now or in the future.

READ ALSO: Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket Disastrous – Babachir

It is against this background that the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket must be resisted by pressure groups, ethnic and religious associations. The issue must be on the ballot box on election day. A northern Christian who was Legal Adviser to APC resigned his position because of his objection to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Ironically, Senator Tinubu and the APC had expressed reservations about the same-religion ticket in 2015. It was for this reason Professor Yemi Osinbajo was drafted in with his impeccable Christian credentials as a pastor in RCCG. What changed in 2022 or 2023?

The ethnic tension in the country that has reached a crescendo is alarming. Whether by design or default, the Tinubu and Shettima ticket is an attempt to further increase the tension and permanently destroy the fragile attempts at inter-religious harmony. It promotes the inane idea that one ethnic group or religion is superior to others in the federation. It is foolish to believe this nonsense, even if the ethnic group is numerically stronger. The point must be made that this rejection would not have mattered if the operating conditions in the country were settled or acceptable. For as we know, a Muslim could be as bad as a Christian in governance and vice versa. In other words, promotion of a religious faith does not bestow administrative or governing competence on anybody. The list of those who have misgoverned the country includes Muslims and Christians, with religion playing no moderating role in attitudes to the commonwealth.  The ruling APC which has mismanaged Nigeria into a freefall is slapping Nigeria further in the face by tying to force an anomaly on the nation.

READ ALSO: Tributes As Ace Artist Onobrakpeya Turns 90, Celebrates 60 Years Of Creative Genius

The APC has attempted to make things look good by appointing spokesmen who are Christians. This is after suggesting that a Christian from the north as a running mate to a Muslim from the south is not good enough to attract votes from the north. What a slap to northern Christians. This accounts for the bold and resolute reaction of the Dogaras and Babachirs, something we must take seriously.

All Nigerians must queue up to vote for their candidates in 2023. Hopefully, votes will count this time around. If they do, the Nigerian people will speak on who they want to govern the country. Sadly, the PDP ticket is also guilty of negating one of the assumptions that had governed the country – power rotation. We are therefore in a fix with the two old political parties. What will the end be?

Professor Eghagha writes from the Department of English, University of Lagos.


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