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Pendulum: Why Britain Cannot Regenerate Without Nigeria



By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, I was honored to have been invited to participate at this year’s
BIG TENT FOUNDATION LEADERS’ SUMMIT AND THE RADIX ANNUAL CONFERENCE with the theme and focus on Regeneration, Renewal , Levelling-up – the buzzwords of the moment, which held in London two days ago. Here’s a fully developed version of my submission at the event.

I have the pleasure of joining you all today. I’m thrilled that we have not come here to make the usual diplomatic speeches, exchange pleasantries, back-slap, retire to coffee rooms and off we go back to our various destinations. We are here to tell ourselves the truth and nothing but the truth. Nothing would ever change if we continue to “clap with one hand or hide behind one finger” to use the words of the African legend, Chief Moshood Abiola.

I have chosen to speak on the topic: “Can Britain regenerate and make substantial PROGRESS by continuing to present a carefree attitude to African affairs, especially in Africa’s most populous nation, NIGERIA?

I grew up reading and loving the seminal work of the Guyanese historian, activist and author, WALTER RODNEY’s HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA, published in 1972. Born in 1942, Rodney had attended the University College of the West Indies in 1960, and bagged a first class degree in History in 1963, before proceeding to England where he bagged a PhD in African History in 1966 at the famous School of Oriental and African Studies in London, at the age of 24. He was assassinated on 13th June 1980 in Georgetown, at the age of 38. This author and his book were major influences on many Africans across the world in my childhood days.

In those days, the battle was between capitalism and socialism. The two neo-colonialist super powers of the time, USA and USSR, courted the African nations with a vengeance. Not to develop them, but to denude and despoil them. Not much has changed in terms of purpose, save that they have been joined by the hitherto silent, super power, China, and USSR has become Russia with somewhat diminished influence. However, in another sense, things have changed dramatically today. To the war has now been added the battle between poverty and prosperity; how to eliminate hunger, diseases, famine and wars. And the neo-colonialists are again having their say and way. Since the halcyon days of the Great British Empire which ended in the early 1960’s after most of the colonies became independent,  Britain has never been a super power of the same ilk as the others again, but it comes quite close, commanding great respect and attention because of its imperialistic past.

Since my speech is about Britain and its regeneration dream and ambition, it is pertinent to note that this can never be achieved in isolation, not without the active participation of close allies like Nigeria, my dear beloved country of birth before I migrated here, under duress, in July 1995. I was on the run from the dreaded military regime of General Sani Abacha.

I will focus on the common theme of this year’s summit and attempt to make sense of the current problems and drawbacks and what needs to be done to make amends.
Please note that Britain cannot regenerate while some of its biggest allies, especially my country Nigeria, continue to wallow in endemic poverty and backwardness. Most educated and uneducated Nigerians today would readily blame the British for under-developing Nigeria through the amalgamation of 1914 which not only forced different ethnic nationalities together but also made the marriage indissoluble. The intractable tension and prevalent conflicts since then have become the albatross of my country.

Let me cut a long story short. Nigeria is tottering today on the brink of another civil war and imminent collapse if urgent action is not taken by all of us. I know many Western analysts may dismiss this as only remotely possible, but those on ground understand how fragile the unity of Nigeria has become. Some parts of the country are practically under the grip of terrorists and bandits. The British government needs to do much more to persuade the Nigerian Federal Government and its leadership to seek urgent help from experts in counterterrorism and counter insurgency before it is too late. Britain stands to gain so much in a stable Nigeria and so much to lose in a destabilised Nigeria. Imagine hordes of millions of immigrants fleeing Nigeria and seeking asylum in not only neighbouring West African countries, but also in Britain, with which there has always been great affinity and ties. This doomsday scenario is real. No effort on the part of Britain or it’s European Allies would keep them at bay. It would be a tragedy of monumental proportions.

The good news is that Nigerians are some of the brightest and most hardworking humans on earth. Britain currently employs and enjoys our phenomenal workforce. Thousands of Nigerian kids are in British schools and universities because we believe education is the greatest gift we can bequeath to our children. On a personal note, I have had to work assiduously and at breakneck determination to send one of my four boys to Harrow school in London and the other three to Charterhouse Godalming, in Surrey. Such opportunities are dwindling today for many Nigerians because the economy is in shambles, kids are being kidnapped from their schools in some parts of Nigeria. Nigerians value education so much, but it has now become an occupational and health hazard. Britain would do well to encourage good governance in Nigeria from hereon. There are many Nigerians waiting to become heroes in Britain and not martyrs of a freedom struggle in their country. Only by good governance and administration will the former be the Nigerian narrative going forward.

It is also noteworthy to demonstrate and understand how the British banks are shooting themselves in the foot by engaging in policies that are inimical and would never be beneficial to Britain in the long run. Nearly all accounts opened by professional Nigerians and others in England are being shut down on account of scaremongering, seeming racial  profiling and institutionalised racism which labels them as Frauds, PEPS and even just plain suspicious. Proper legitimate transactions are queried merely because of your ethnic sounding name or business origin and the AML big stick is wielded against them. Barclays Bank takes the cake in this seeming conspiracy against Nigerians on the pretext of fighting money laundering. It is obvious that the British Banks have blatantly refused to understudy the Nigerian peculiarities. A few examples would reveal some shocking realities. Nigerians hardly operate credit cards. Our debit cards are virtually useless. I cannot go to Harrods or Selfridges and bring out my Nigerian debit card to pay for a two hundred pound item. So we are forced to carry cash. In order to transact business and as a result of foreign exchange restrictions by a confused regime, we are compelled to source for foreign currencies from the Black market at exorbitant rates, either in cash or by transfer. This is our predicament as the British banks flag us at the slightest opportunities and, like orphans, we have no government at home to fight for us. Neither the British Banks nor the British Government, which have led Nigeria to this sorry pass by harbouring, shielding, hiding and retaining Nigeria’s wealth stolen by a few corrupt leaders, are inclined to accept the blame. Instead they shift responsibility to innocent, hardworking Nigerians and turn us into the criminals that we are not. The British Banks upon assuming most of us as criminals then proceed to treat us in a most disgraceful and heinous manner.  They simply send out forms or ask online questionnaires that can never adequately cover our unique challenges. The next thing you receive is the message that an account you opened over 20 years ago has been closed down. This is racism of the highest order and it cannot foster or engender any form of regeneration, or even cooperation.

So, please, tell me, how can Britain regenerate when the country is deliberately throwing away opportunities and killing Nigerian businesses through these insidious and invidious means. Britain is the ultimate loser, but those who are gaining most are in the Middle East and Asia. The Nigerian love and rave for made in Great Britain goods has long since faded. Other European countries have quietly eased into the space which Britain by its discriminatory policies has long vacated. However these countries and even the United States of America are coming behind the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries and their Asian counterparts, particularly China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan etc.

We all remember how Nigerians used to swarm Oxford Street, Knightsbridge, Bond Street, Mayfair and other popular neighborhoods in the past but all those have dried up. The effect on the British economy can only best be imagined, particularly having regard to the damaging effects of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. How can a nation be holier than the Pope and hope to survive the repercussions of such shortsightedness?

However, I believe there is hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Britain should not isolate itself from others. Its institutions and establishments should take a logical, rational and fair approach to the challenges facing African countries and their citizens.

Britain must lead the way in ensuring fair trade to African countries, particularly Nigeria. The cycle of poverty and diseases needs to be broken and eradicated. One way Britain can do this is by ensuring that it encourages its businessmen and women to establish industries in African countries. So that, rather than exporting their raw materials to the industrialised nations for value addition which then gets sent back at outrageous profits, the finished products are themselves produced in those African countries.

I know that some people will venture to say that the enabling environment for such large scale industrialisation does not exist in Africa. Whilst this may be true, the process for regeneration should be all encompassing and predicated on mutual sacrifices. The industrialised nations did not get to where they are in a day, months or a few years. Having reached that level, they must continue to improve and tag each other along, taking themselves on the superhighway of futuristic scientific and technological development and advancement. This they must do amongst themselves by technology transfer. They must entice and induce the brilliant and willing African minds to assist in reaching the lofty heights they have already attained. They should stop providing the Africans with little drops, feeding them in cribs and crabs but never letting them get proficient or independent in any way. I believe that with Brexit, Britain, which has gained a lot from Africa and has a lot to answer for, including the expropriation and theft of valuable Nigerian artefacts, not to to mention lopsided trades, can make reparations of sort by embracing equity and justice in its dealings with Africa.

One way of doing this and hasten the industrialisation process is to assist Africa in its power generation, transmission and distribution programmes. The continent is in darkness literally and figuratively. If light perpetual shines on Africa, a glorious age would beckon for the world. I feel that real darkness engenders darkness of the spirit. On the contrary, light opens up new vistas and an array of opportunities, which will also sharpen the mind and change mindsets. It is imperative that Africa embarks on a wholesale rethink, and full scale rejig of its power infrastructure. Renewable and sustainable energy is the only way to go to achieve this end. Britain and the rest of the developed world would be greatly advised to focus on Africa in this area and assist it to prosper. To do so would mean that when the rest of the developed and semi-developed world think that they have found solutions to the world’s environmental and climatic problems, the behemoth that is Africa will lunge out of the the fecund darkness and plunge the world back to environmental catastrophe. It is easy for Britain and other countries like it to neglect Africa because our carbon footprint is negligible compared to theirs. However, as they reduce their torrid conditions, so it is likely that those in Africa would increase as we struggle to play our own catch up.

In essence, Britain cannot hope to survive alone. It must carry Africa along in its trade, scientific and technological development, if it is to regain its pride of place in the comity of nations.

Furthermore, and equally importantly, Britain must recognise that it cannot supplant the mores and culture of a people with its own morality and laws. No country would seek to do that to Britain or succeed in doing so.

I love and prefer the British system, especially its rule and respect of Law, than any other. The British government should not give up on Africa by shrugging off its shoulders over our seemingly intractable problems. It does so at its peril. Britain should not add to our woes by embarking on policies which will only impoverish us. Instead, it should aid our development with technology transfer which is birthed in a sincerity of purpose. Britain should not drive us into the clutches of new hardened and desperate neo-colonialists because the end result would be calamitous, and bring casualties for Britain. Brexit is an opportunity for Britain to develop its old markets and allies. Sadly, present policies seem to militate against this. There is an urgent need for a change of attitude, otherwise we are heading for mutual economic and social upheaval, woes and destruction.

Britain needs to engage Africa, speedily. We should be partners in progress. No more. No less.

Thank you.

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Pendulum: Why I Have Faith in the Supreme Court




By Dele Momodu


What is the argument on the other side? Only this, that no case has been found in which it has been done before. That argument does not appeal to me in the least. If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still while the rest of the world goes on, and that will be bad for both.” Lord Denning, Master of the Rolls (1899- 1999) PARKER v PARKER.”

Fellow Nigerians,

I’m not a Lawyer. But I’m surrounded by friends who are Lawyers. I enjoyed seeing Lawyers in their wigs and gowns and was tempted to read Law after my first degree at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you view my trajectory today, my application was bounced by the egg heads at the Faculty of Law, despite my first degree which, in some universities, would have been a prerequisite for my entry into a Law degree program. That is a story for another day. I simply accepted my destiny, with equanimity.

Since I had a fascination for Law, I privately engaged in picking and reading legal textbooks, especially anything to do with Jurisprudence and a bit of Company Law. I was particularly fascinated by the landmark cases of the iconic Jurist, Lord Denning, and how he broke rank with the traditional rules and previously held presumptions in English Law, by taking the road less travelled. I enjoyed, and relished, his radical views and witticisms. The above quote of Lord Denning is very relevant to my current topic about the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The main reason for my epistle to you today is simple and straightforward. Many Nigerians seem to have given up on our Judiciary. There are at least two monumental cases ongoing at the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the Presidential election appeals that were separately filed by Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi against Bola Tinubu and INEC. Many people have called to ask why my principal, Atiku Abubakar, is wasting his time and resources on pursuing a fruitless case. None of them ever said he never had a good case. They merely gave the usual conspiracy theories as to how corrupt the Judiciary is in Nigeria, as well as the war chest of Bola Tinubu, which he’d never been known to shy away from deploying to maximum advantage. While it may be true that bribery and corruption is of a pandemic status in Nigeria, I still believe there are good people, and Judges, in Nigeria. We should therefore resist this campaign of calumny against our Judges. I have personally thrown this question at Atiku Abubakar a couple of times and he told me very firmly that he believes in the rule of Law. He mentioned how he’s been saved several times by taking his matter to the Judiciary.

The doubting Thomases in Nigeria often predicate their skepticism on the fact that no Presidential election appeal has ever succeeded in removing an incumbent President. While this may true, I believe there is always the possibility of a first time in every situation, and this is the origin of statistics.

At least, we have the reinvigorating example of Sidi Dauda Bage, a Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria who said in the case of SALEH v. ABAH & ORS (2017) LPELR-41914(SC)

“This Court must take the lead, in righting the wrongs in our society, if and when the opportunity presents itself as in this appeal. Allowing criminality and certificate forgery to continue to percolate into the streams, waters and oceans of our national polity would only mean our waters are and will remain dangerously contaminated. The purification efforts must start now, and be sustained as we seek, as a nation, to now ‘change’ from our old culture of reckless impunity. The Nigerian Constitution is supreme. It desires that no one who had ever presented forged certificate to INEC should contest election into Nigeria’s National Assembly. This is clear and sacrosanct. More compelling as a judicial determination had been taken by no less a technical panel sitting in, at least, a panel of three judges as Election Tribunal with constitutional mandate to determine such issues as they relate to elections and its outcomes, including eligibility. This has also been affirmed by the trial Court in this appeal. On these issues, our duty is to apply the Constitution and the law in its start, original form undiluted by ‘colourated’ interpretations.”  (Pp 26 – 31 Paras E – B)

There is yet another superlative example: “THE POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT TO RECEIVE FRESH EVIDENCE:

Section 22 of The Supreme Court Act provides, inter alia, that *“The Supreme Court may, from time to time, make any order necessary for determining the real question in controversy in the appeal, and may amend any defect or error in the record of appeal, … and generally shall have full jurisdiction over the whole proceedings as if the proceedings had been instituted and prosecuted in the Supreme Court as a court of first instance and may rehear the case in whole or in part or may remit it to the court below for the purpose of such rehearing or may give such other directions as to the manner in which the court below shall deal with the case in accordance with the powers of that court.”*

(2008) JELR 48885 (SC), Onnoghen JSC (as he then was) held:

“Order 2 Rule 12 (1) of the Supreme Court Rules which guides the court in the applications of this nature provides, thus: “A party who wishes the court to receive the evidence of witnesses (where they were not called at the trial) or to order the production of any document, exhibit or other thing connected with the proceedings in accordance with the provisions of section 33 of the Act shall apply for leave on notice of motion prior to the date set down for the hearing of the appeal.” It is settled law that it is within the discretion of the court to decide whether or not to admit further/additional evidence on appeal. It is also settled that for the court to exercise that discretion one way or the other, it must act not only judicially but also judiciously. It is in an effort at attaining the standard of exercising its discretion judicially and judiciously that the courts have set down certain principles/conditions as guides. *The principles are: 1) the evidence sought to be adduced must be such that could not have been with reasonable diligence obtained for use at the trial; 2) the evidence should be such that if admitted would have an important, not necessarily crucial effect on the whole case, and, 3) the evidence must be such that it is apparently credible in the sense that it is capable of being believed and it need not be incontrovertible — see UBA Plc v. BTL Ind. Ltd. (2005) 10 NWLR (Pt. 933) 356 at 370–371. The above conditions must co-exist for the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the applicant.”

Thank God for social media, we are all learning Law on the go. The world is watching us and our Judiciary in particular. It is sad that our Executive arm of government is already on trial. Our Legislature is considered reckless, unpatriotic and irresponsible by many citizens and non-citizens alike. I do not know why and how they have fallen so low in the eyes of the same electorates who supposedly voted them into the hallowed Chambers. To make matters worse, the Nigerian media, which ordinarily should be the fourth estate of the realm, is also under severe attack of being compromised and divided across ethnic considerations and pecuniary gains by the government of Nigeria. This is the tragedy of our nation. So, to who then do we turn in this season of anomie? Atiku Abubakar had to approach the American Judiciary before he could unravel what should not take up to one hour to confirm at home, if the government agencies agreed to do their jobs according to international best practices.

Even foreign analysts are now painting lurid pictures of Armageddon, the final battle between the good and evil elements in our country. This should worry all of us. The Judiciary today can restore instant global prestige and adulation to our country. The Judges can automatically improve our economy by not kowtowing to the overbearing appurtenances of power, by not delivering technical judgments but being seen to ensure real justice. They can bring back the sinking influence and relevance of their profession.

A CBS newsreport that went viral yesterday should tell us that outsiders, apparently, understand the issues at stake more than us, and they appear even more concerned about the impending catastrophe, if adequate care is not taken. The explosive interview was granted by Gregory Copley, an expert in Defense and Foreign Affairs, an Editor and Publisher, to John Batchelor.This brutal analysis of our predicaments is worth listening to, reading, and digesting, if you can find it online…

Please, join me, in saying the Lord’s prayer, if you wish…

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Pendulum: The Truth Tinubu Must Be Told




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, once again, this is not the best of times in our dear beloved country, Nigeria. After we had thought, gladly and gleefully, that no government could be worse than the recent Buhari administration, we are now confronted by yet another monstrosity. In less than two months in power, Tinubu’s government started collapsing whatever positive legacy Buhari left behind. Yet, we would have assumed and expected a President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be far better prepared and more visionary than Buhari and his lacklustre team was. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. While I’m not about to give an overview of Tinubu’s wobbly stewardship so far, and so soon, I’m constrained to put my thoughts and unequivocal opinion on the ongoing Tinubugate on paper. I’m doing this in my personal capacity as a Nigerian citizen and as a true and truthful friend of Tinubu. I believe only a true friend can look you straight, eyeballs to eyeballs, in the face, and tell one of the world’s most powerful men, the Gospel truth.

I have no doubts in my mind that the majority of Tinubu’s so-called friends and ubiquitous hangers-on are pretentious hypocrites. Tinubu has also not helped himself by encouraging both royals and puppets alike to worship at his feet and turning him into a demi-god. I’m convinced that they serve him no useful purpose. I will establish this fact in a minute.

The Tinubugate did not begin yesterday. It started after Tinubu returned from exile and metamorphosed into the Governor of Lagos State in 1999 and instantly became the biggest beneficiary of our epic battles in exile during the NADECO days. In all honesty, we were all happy that he was amply compensated for his salutary efforts.

But unknown to us, trouble was brewing. We didn’t know how or what led the legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, to exhume all manner of “false declarations” contained in the forms submitted for Tinubu’s gubernatorial bid. On October 11, 1999, just months after Tinubu contested and won his election, Chief Fawehinmi’s powerful interview was published on the cover of Newswatch magazine, with the screaming headline: WHY TINUBU MUST GO – Gani Fawehinmi. The fearless Lawyer also granted another interview on the cover of The Source magazine, with an even more acerbic headline: “TINUBU IS A CRIMINAL – Gani, and a rider below: Deserves 10 years in jail! On top of the same magazine was published a worrisome story: The Tinubu Story: THE SOURCE UNDER THREAT. This was the first tell-tale sign of the new and toxic Lagos State to come, a Lagos of one man, one permanent ruler, reminiscent of the Sicilian Mafia, which we privately rechristened the “Cosa Nostra” of Nigeria.
Some members of our “exile confraternity” were naturally alarmed. But we were somehow timid and, thus, carelessly dismissed Gani’s case as, at the very best, alarmist and unnecessarily meddlesome. A few of us who were very close to Gani Fawehinmi knew it would be difficult and of no effect, to approach him and try to persuade him to drop the case. The other sad revelation was when some of Tinubu’s commissioners started fretting and sweating profusely. God is my witness. Many of them, out of panic, about the imminent impeachment of Tinubu, were, stylishly, dissociating themselves from their boss. We heard all kinds of gibberish, from some of them, who are even in government today: “we brought our integrity into this government, we can’t allow anyone to tarnish it…”

Let us digress a little. One of them, extremely close to Tinubu, was the first to tell us about “the falsification of Tinubu’s age, the identity of his original parents from Iragbiji, his forged academic records”, and so on. This chain-smoker claimed absolute knowledge of Tinubu’s life. He told us in my Accra home that anyone who tells Tinubu the truth is instantly marked down as an enemy, so he has stopped telling him the truth. With this kind of mindset, you can imagine what quality of advice Tinubu gets regularly.

Then, out of the blues, my very daring and loyal friend, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, decided to bite the bullet on behalf of Tinubu. What he did was reminiscent of the “lamb of God who took away the sins of the earth…” He, like a kamikaze soldier, took absolute responsibility for the errors contained in Tinubu’s files. Miraculously, Tinubu was saved, and we were all relieved. Everyone is asking me how has Tinubu compensated Afikuyomi, and my answer is I don’t know.

It is noteworthy that Festus Keyamo had jumped on the bandwagon of those seeking to impeach Tinubu at that time. This is another story for another day. I cannot wait for my memoirs to be ready in order to put names and faces to the main dramatis personae.

Let’s now fast forward to the year 2002. There was a popular magazine known as The Week. It planned a cover story on Tinubu. Somehow, the story leaked out to then Governor of Lagos State. Tinubu immediately, and with automatic alacrity, reached out to the Publisher of the magazine, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and pleaded that the scandalous story should be dropped. Out of love and respect for his friend, Atiku reached out to The Week magazine Management and got the story to be stepped down. The Editors were miffed by this development, and in the aftermath, led to the resignation and exit of the Editor, Mr Simon Kolawole.

The meat of my epistle today is that there are many didactic lessons to pick from this Tinubugate. Tinubu eventually left office in 2007. But he never really left Lagos alone. He became Nigeria’s ultimate godfather, who determined, almost to the pin, who gets what. Many of his acolytes knew he was capable of turning them into emergency Billionaires and were ready to stand ramrod on his mandate. This, I believe, is the crux of the matter.

Now, why do I blame Tinubu and his die-hard fans? Two major reasons are carelessness (or is it negligence?) and recklessness. Why would a man who left office since 2007, 16 long years ago, fail to clean up the records that nearly got him impeached in the first instance? And given the fact that he couldn’t have personally handled those documents himself, why did the hordes of minions claiming to love him till eternity fail to deliver a world-class file for his documents?

The Laws of Nigeria never insisted that a Presidential candidate must attend a university. In the last 16 years, Tinubu should have ensured his personal documents were thoroughly checked to be squeaky clean before submitting them to INEC. If necessary, he could have easily gone back to school (Atiku still went to school recently to update and upgrade himself) and try to erase all the previous controversial details. As for his conflicting dates of birth, he should have settled for a preferred birthday date, like President Olusegun Obasanjo did. It can never be a crime that a child’s parent did not record or obtain his birth certificate. As for claiming to have worked for Deloitte and others, he should have limited himself to “I have worked for big multinationals globally and they truly enjoyed my services and valued my contributions” without mentioning specific companies and dates.

As for parentage, I would have told the world about my humble background and poor parentage. It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is not a crime to be adopted and acquire the name of one’s foster-parents. Everyone knew how Chief MKO Abiola played the role of a father figure in my life, including travelling all the way to Ijebu-Igbo and Ijebu-Ode for my wedding in 1992, but that never stopped me from celebrating my poor parents. And if there were peculiar reasons for obliterating ones original family history, that can still be easily explained. A public figure cannot afford to keep too many secrets. For far too long, Tinubu has blatantly refused to open up his private life to the members of the public. The repercussions of this stifness have been hugely calamitous to him and his immediate family. With more openness, this could have been avoided.

Let me now go to the specific handling of the Chicago scandals. For me, Tinubu and his noisy supporters have made matters far worse than it should have been. Only his blind and shameless supporters will continue to argue over a saga that started over five decades ago. All of us who knew the truth and looked the other way brought this calamity upon our country. And it is grossly unfair.

Instead of Tinubu standing up as a man to offer sincere and unreserved apologies to Nigerians, his “brood of vipers” are busy insulting the long-suffering people of Nigeria, and studiously rubbing salt and pepper on our festering wounds. This is most unfair. This can only aggravate the anger of our citizens, especially the youths.

The first thing Tinubu should do is to climb down his high horse and experience reality for once. No man, no matter how powerful, can achieve everything by force, all the time. The popular story of EFUNSETAN ANIWURA, IYALODE IBADAN is very instructive. Power is transient.

I’m certain there is a hand of God in this latest eruption about Tinubu’s record, which has refused to go is no longer about Atiku, Obi, Kwankwaso, Sowore and others. This is about Nigeria. Atiku has played his part honorably at home and abroad. What he achieved in Chicago was a monumental victory for our democracy. Because of Atiku, many Nigerians will have their pride restored. The burden has already been transferred to all of us. Whatever the outcome of the Supreme Court case, it is obvious to me that a new era beckons for us all except for those who choose to be voluntary slaves.

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Pendulum: Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr: Refreshing Lessons for Generations




By Japheth J. Omojuwa

This is neither a tribute to nor a piece in praise of Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. Presidents have defied protocol to offer praises, even across the ocean. Kings have broken tradition in offering tributes and titles, captains of industry have queued behind themselves sharing memorable and inspiring accolades to a timeless icon who did his best to moderate the celebrations. Even if one defied these and decided to try against reason, King Sunny Ade’s Fayeyemi tribute is matchless and inimitable, and I could never reach Chief Ebenezer Obey’s depth and artistry in celebration of the man. Thus, there is nothing left to be said in form of praise or tributes that could surpass those already offered by these great men and women.

I have not come to praise the man; I have only come to address the spectators who were held spellbound by the spectacle and were left wondering what could be so great about a man whom most of them have never seen and only ever get to hear of. Often, when one gets sucked into the attraction of the show, the lessons get lost.

This once, we cannot afford to miss the lessons. The stories that contributed to the making of the man provide vital context for his greatness and offer a rich source of learning and inspiration for generations to come. When these stories are left untold, myths and falsehoods can fill the vacuum, perpetuating disempowering beliefs that hinder progress and growth. For instance, some may believe that wealth can only be acquired through unscrupulous means or cronyism.

When President Emmanuel Macron of France wrote in his tribute, ‘you are humble enough to often publicly declare that the confidence of several French companies at the beginning of your entrepreneurial adventure was instrumental in building the success that is yours today’, among other French alliances, he was making reference to the man who explored for more capital through the banks. A much harder way than through the disempowering stories that people tell to explain wealth they do not understand and in the same breath excuse their own misfortune.

The moniker, ‘The Bull,’ is not merely a name with a golden insignia; it reflects some of Adenuga’s most essential characteristics. The Bull is traditionally seen as a symbol of wealth and subterranean powers. It does not just make an entry; it makes an unforgettable one. It does not recognize defeat; any appearance of defeat is a retreat that often proves costly for those who stand in its path. These traits find expression in the success story of Globacom, which is a testament to Adenuga’s tenacity and determination.

Many exited at the point the government cancelled their mobile telecom licenses. Instead, The Bull charged on, refusing the small battle of a legal pursuit and instead focused on the big prize at the end of what was going to be a protracted bidding war for GSM licenses. Adenuga had to call on his grit again when the prize he won came without the trophy. The government had its cake and ate it. The Bull’s bouncebackability came into play again because well over a year later, he got the license that was fairly won in an open bidding process. When the stories get told, you cannot have a single blot on his shield. The Bull played by the rules, even when the rules were shifted against him, his staying power meant his team returned with victory. A hard-fought one but The Bull stayed invincible.

Other companies would have been happy to just start and do a continuous chase of those who had gone ahead of them, Mike Adenuga’s Globacom defied the norm by starting out with a paradigm shift that remains unmatched in Nigeria. Instead of chasing the competition and playing by their rules, by crashing the price of SIM cards and starting out with per second billing – others said this was not possible at the time – the competition had to bend to his game. The horses that started the race earlier were now doing the chase.

Adenuga’s Globacom dragged the industry on the path of perfect competition with his early moves, he then differentiated immediately by offering services the first and second movers had not even thought of. They were left competing with him at one end in a game whose rules he had redefined by his paradigm shifting bullish entry. He left himself alone without competition at other ends, advancing and flexing with technology above what was on offer. Translated to Yoruba, o ti ilekun mo won, o fi kokoro pa mo.

One reference the tributes intersect is his humility. Humility is an interesting phenomenon. You cannot be poor and be said to be humble. Poverty and humility appear to be parallel lines, yet they find intersection because poverty is already a humble position. Albeit a position that appears to be without the choice of the bearer. When it is said that a person is humble, one must pay attention. When you are so rich with means and power but appear to be unconscious of that elevated state of being especially in your dealings with people, that is humility. Some go out of their way to be seen to be humble. That defeats the purpose. Feigned humility is not humility. The Adenuga tributes refer to the sort of humility that the man himself would only come to see in the description of the people who experienced it. The humility of a man who just is.

Attention seeking appears to be humanity’s contemporary collective de rigueur. That could be explained by the ubiquity of the Internet and its appurtenances. Contemporary culture has now birthed a world where billionaires want to evolve into bloggers even as blogger aspire to be billionaires. We have built a universe and culture where staying relevant has become a daily endeavour, yet in all of that world, we all aspire to Mike Adenuga. The one who would rather not be seen, the one who finds comfort and apparent fulfilment in not being heard. Yet the one who has impacted people and institutions so much he brings life to another moniker of his, The Spirit of Africa. A reference that captures the essence of his values and the fact that one needs not be seen to make change happen, one needs not speak to be heard. And to make great impact, intentions and action are greater than fugazi moves, vain aesthetics and puerile drama.

The rich, in observing the tradition of noblesse oblige, have often committed to philanthropy. The Mike Adenuga principle goes above that sense of obligation because giving is entrenched in his persona. In a world where many keep records of those that they helped that never returned to say ‘thank you’, the millions opportune to be blessed by The Spirit of Africa do not get a chance to. Because his generosity leaves no room to collect appreciations. The giving and the changed lives are the essence of it all.

Conversely, you won’t find a person with a higher sense of appreciation, even for the little things.

Writing about personalities can be enjoyable, but there are times when addressing important issues should take precedence. This piece is not solely about an individual’s personality, but rather the enduring values necessary to navigate a constantly changing world. While exploring Dr. Mike Adenuga’s achievements could fill volumes, the focus here is on some of the values that propelled him to success and how we can apply them to our own daily challenges. As we confront new and complex problems, the lessons we learn from those who have gone before us can be invaluable. Dr. Adenuga’s life offers a powerful example of how these values can lead to great rewards, and this is a message that deserves to be heard by this generation and beyond.

He exemplifies E pluribus unum, and of him, there are lessons to be learned for generations to come. This is the legacy one must have a sense of appreciation for. Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. GCON, CSG, CdrLH at 70 has left lessons for us in these Platinum number of years, we cannot afford to lose sight of these precious gems.

Japheth J. Omojuwa is the author of Digital: The New Code of Wealth and founder of Alpha Reach

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