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Ewoo

By Kola Animasaun

I went a productive year and some months in the East Central State – in the time of Ukpabi Asika – but it did not include being able to speak the Igbo language.  I would have been able to understand some words.  But I know enough to know that when the Igbo whined Ewoo! he was expressing frustration.

The late Abacha sometime assembled a set of ministers which I dubbed “dug out from the gutter.”  Some of my colleagues thought I was very uncharitable.  Like the Igbo, I feel like shouting Ewoo! at the company Jonathan has assembled.  In actual fact, it is not a new company.  It is using the same group all over again.

I would have thought he would have used the opportunity to wipe clean the slate.  It will clearly show Jonathan has his own ideas and would be his own man.  I do not now have that impression.

Except, in places, the men assembled by Yar’Adua was influenced by Obasanjo – from the Vice President (now confirmed President) to the National Security Adviser.  Ribadu had to run away to haul missiles at Nigeria from afar.

Now the company is complete.  Ribadu, despite saying that, he should be cleared, the government used its clout to say no more.

We should now forget the litigations that failed to fly against Atiku.  We must forget the unmerited promotion (according to Police Service Commission) etc.

Obasanjo now has the temerity to play in the centre court.  The drummers are complete and the propet is ready.  We do not need to see how the propeteer plays it.

The Big Masquerade has jumped into the market square and has announced that there was no more zoning.  That was when the last President has come from the West.  And after “three quarters” of zoning from the North has been through.

But, of course, Obasanjo is the boss of the Board of Trustees and the President, Jonathan the leader of the party.
Dimunitive El-Rfai has arrived Nigeria and the old company is complete.  We can now expect all the works that marked the old times.

I do not expect some remarkable fireworks but the usual wheeling and dealing.

I expect the government to arrange for INEC man who will be amenable for another “do-or-die” election.  The scenario is too familiar and I pray it does not happen.

Between Aliyu Gusau and Sanusi Lamido
Aliyu Gusau has been a footnote in our history.  Of course, he has been a very impoint foot note.  At the point of the Nigerian civil war I met him in Enugu. He was a solder.

You will be surprised: he rose to the very high point of a Lieutenant–General to the point he has not rocked the boat.  He did all the nation asked me and he went home.  He was called back to higher duties.  The nature of his duties did not make news.  But he was happy to do whatever he had to do.

But in the last few days, he was dragged into the economy and he had to say one or two things.  Mainly that the Central Bank of Nigeria, whose head is Lamido Sanusi Lamido, does not mind the economy too well, and the economy is suffering.  He says quite a few other things.

Lamido I did not know too well, except that he has been a banker and had done well for himself, having risen to the rank of the Managing Director of the First Bank.  He must have done a few other things besides.

Of course, minding the business of the First Bank is a different kettle of fish from minding the commanding height of the economy.  He has to take some hard decisions and that, of course, put him in coalition with those who would take advantage of the economy.  I doubt he took the right decision.

Now, the knives are out!  “After all, we know that First Bank made a huge provision of about N74 billion for non-performing loans under his tenure (Lamido)”

“Mallam Sansi is also using his EFCC agents to go after the assets of the ex-bank CEOs on the excuse that the values of their assets are beyond their earnings.  Can he provide the income profile of a bank CEO including his while at First Bank?  Nigerians may also wish to have the CBN Governor make public his income and how he is able to maintain four wives and numerous children in various parts of the globe.”

Of course, once you bait the bee in its home, you get what is coming to you.  But is it the time for that?
I would buy their other argument that “But back to the main (and that really main).  Issues, we had earlier argued that collapsing banks in the United Kingdom last year, received billions of pounds from their parent governments without their MDs getting sacked, because they realize the importance of confidence in the banking system…”

Some Newspapers and magazines have dubbed Sanusi’s reforms as voodoo.  I do not buy that submission.  Rather, I will go with Aliyu’s submission: “That the fragility of the economy further dictates offenders be interdicted without damaging the sector.”

After all, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau is a National Security Adviser and he should know how the minds of the government works.  They should call the halts if it comes to it.

Sanusi is a prince of the royal hose of Kano who has not hidden his ambition to mount the throne.  The golden time of Emirs has now been obscured by new realities.  They no longer bark orders.  They reason with commoners.

Banking itself has a new set of rules.  It must not scare away shareholders and lenders.  You cannot scare the shareholders by calling on the bogey of new buyers.  The new buyers will not play ball.

A knowledgeable friend himself, a former director of the First Bank, told me there are many ways you could do the chicken.  You could call the shareholders to increase their participation even with deadlines.  And you could ask bankers to court if you suspect they fiddle the till.  Nowhere in a civilized world you parade bankers in the full-view of the like of EFCC.  Where else in the world would you expose the indebtedness of customer?

My friend thinks that was why Dr. Akingbola ran away.  He probably has not seen anything like that.
Why would Dangote take loans from abroad to discharge his obligation in Nigeria?  And he would make money for foreigners.


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