Shall we now beg Goodluck Jonathan for forgiveness?

SATIRE SATURDAY: Shall we now beg Goodluck Jonathan for forgiveness?

Former President Goodluck Jonathan

Oladeinde Olawoyin

Two weeks ago, I was in Ibogun-Olaogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ancestral village, for an interview with the retired general. The conversation is meant to be part of a special publication by this newspaper, set for release in commemoration of Nigeria’s 20-year democratic journey later this month. Of course, having served for the first eight years of the 20-year journey, Mr. Obasanjo occupies a significant part of that narrative.

Sitting right before the former president in his room while the engagement gathered momentum, one thing struck me about his views on Nigeria and her leadership question: Mr Obasanjo had no doubt that the nation has consistently witnessed a complete descent in its choice of leadership since 1999.

To be sure, anyone who has read the Otta farmer well enough would be conscious of this not-so-subtle obsession with the self; his numerous ways of pronouncing himself the best thing that would happen to Nigeria’s leadership institution and his tangential reference to everyone who came before and after him as incompetent simpletons.

Yet if we look beyond the numerous flaws of Mr. Obasanjo himself, beyond his megalomaniac tendencies, given that he had the will power to do so much but delivered not as much, it is tempting to agree that Nigeria has indeed been experiencing a descent into the abyss in terms of its leadership choice since 1999.

For, with the understandable exception of the turbulent tenure of the late Umaru Yar’adua, whose early reformist steps and failing health threw into our own version of what could pass for martyrdom, the nation has taken several steps backward than it has taken forward in her journey toward growth and development.

And these disturbing concerns, by default, are a reflection of the quality of leaders the system has thrown up over the years. While former President Goodluck Jonathan elevated institutionalized sleaze by his legendary docility, the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has given a new nomenclature to crass incompetence. This leadership pattern, frankly, is a major reason why Mr Obasanjo whose serial iniquities are all too known now considers—-some would say ‘deludes’, and rightly so—-himself to be our own Gandhi!

The bar of governance, of leadership, hasn’t only fallen; it is on the muddy floor reeking of incompetence and corruption and related malfeasance.

So the other day when a narrative began to gain traction across the media landscape, I was as amused as I was disturbed. It began with a subtle campaign by folks suggesting that the nation faces numerous leadership and institutional crises today because of the way Mr Jonathan was (mal)treated at the polls in 2015, by the political elites and, by extension, the ordinary voters. First, it would have been funny if it was not very unfortunate.

Then came the bigger narrative, peddled first by — I think — a former aide of the ex-president, Reno Omokri, and a former minister for aviation and Mr Jonathan’s campaign manager, Femi Fani-Kayode. It would get to its crescendo at the height of the royal rumble between former Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido, and the dollar-flaunting governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje. The wise logic of Messrs Omokri and Fani-Kayode is steeped in the narrative that suggests that the humiliating actions taken against Emir Sanusi are simply the outspoken former CBN governor’s ‘reward’ for his anti-Jonathan “treacherous” actions when he held sway at the CBN. In other words, Nigeria and those who (mal)treated Mr Jonathan would only know peace when they apologise to the man and he forgives them.

Because Messrs Omokri and Fani-Kayode wield considerable influence across Nigeria’s social media landscape, that narrative would soon take on a life of its own. They and their alleluia crowds would later release a long list of names of those who met their comeuppance after “betraying” Mr Jonathan, Nigeria’s, and indeed Africa’s, all-time “hero of democracy”! Bukola Saraki. Atiku Abubakar. Dino Melaye. Nigeria. Nigerians. The list is endless.

Then came the biggest of all initiatives: a massive, never-seen-before, all-inclusive delegation of detribalised Nigerian youths, selected across fora like Facebook and Twitter, from Zamfara through Ile-Oluji, with the sole mandate of marching all the way to Otuoke to go seek forgiveness from Mr Jonathan on behalf of 180 million gullible Nigerians who rejected him in 2015. As at the last time I heard of this initiative, over a thousand names of willing participants had been captured.

This delegation, whose activities I understand would be covered live on CNN and Aljazeera, would also plead with the former president to pray for the country because, as the narrative goes, our numerous crises would disappear pronto once he does. It remains unclear whether the delegation would go see Mr Jonathan with sacrificial materials—-e.g white foul, a ram, a calabash, kola nut, a piece of red clothing, and, most importantly, ninety-seven bottles of undiluted Ogogoro—but the possibility of that would not be ruled out. Nobody visits a deity (of democracy) empty-handed. And, you know, especially for those who nurse the bitter thoughts these selfless Nigerian youths are out there to “hustle” Mr Jonathan, nobody comes back from a deity empty-handed too.

But in the meantime, just before the world witnesses the biggest of all appeasements, let us make it clear that people who build sane societies do not obsess about a wasteful past because of a lifeless present. Rather, they organize to actualise a vibrant future.

And for those selfless youth who would soon be on their way to Otuoke, they should be fair enough in their dealings. If Jonathan deserves to be appeased for elevating sleaze to a “transformational” height, then they should also extend the consideration to, of course, Yar’adua. If Jonathan enjoys the honour of being described as a “gentle” man with good heart, Yar’adua is the epitome of that virtue. It does not matter that “good” heart does not build “good” nation. It matters not.

And because Yar’adua is a product of Obasanjo, let our selfless youth also move to Otta—to appease ‘Baba’ whom some ignorantly accused of wasting $16 billion on an illusory power even if details have shown that it was just a paltry 3-point-something billion dollar that was expended. Obasanjo, of course, is a product of the Abdulsalami Abubakar transition initiative and so our youth would also need a visit to Minna, to appease the retired general for being a subject of wicked conspiracy theories over the death of M.K.O Abiola.

Still on Abiola, and because Abdulsalami’s residence isn’t far from a certain gap-toothed general’s hill-top mansion, our youth would also need to visit Ibrahim Babangida, to seek forgiveness over our misunderstanding of his annulment of the June 12 election. Because we now know better, we are sorry.

Mr Buhari needs no appeasement because he is the source of this pan-Nigerian peregrination. Shehu Shagari died recently so a visit to Sokoto is pointless. Ditto Murtala Mohammed and Mr Buhari’s friend, mentor, and confidant who never stole us blind, Sani Abacha. Yakubu Gowon already prays for Nigeria and so we are sure he needs no such appeasement; he loves us already. Aguiyi Ironsi and those who came before him too are not here.

Finally, in line with our obsession with what we call “Afghanistanism” in journalese (evident in how we empathise with victims of disasters in far away places even when the homefront burns), is it out of place too if our youth help seek forgiveness from Adolf Hitler—-on behalf of gullible European Jews

Credit: Premium Times

Menace of WhatsApp Broadcast Pranks 

Menace of WhatsApp Broadcast Pranks

by Demola Adefajo

There is no doubt about it, the WhatsApp and other social media have revolutionised our knowledge base. WhatsApp has enabled us keep in regular contact with friends, co-workers and family at minimal cost. However, it has come with its own negative baggage.

As a regular or occasional user of WhatsApp and other social media you must have come across some messages which you believe to be true and you decide to send to your friends and groups only to discover that they are untrue! It is also possible that you have identified some of your contacts who are always sharing messages which almost always prove to be hoaxes. In fact, I have a contact whose name I have changed to Alarmist because of her penchant for sending alarming messages which almost always prove to be untrue.

I have identified different categories of these messages based on their motives. They are those I call Marketers. They are designed to extol the virtue of some particular products which they claim can do a lot of magic. One of such is a broadcast recently recommending use of hand sanitisers to prevent sexually transmitted infections! We also have one advertising coconut oil as a cure for cancer.

The second category are those I tag demarketers. The broad objective is to malign some products. This category of broadcasts comes out with outlandish claims meant to malign such products. Victims of this type of broadcasts include Coca Cola, Paracetamol, Crunchy Biscuits, Dew Water, fruits etc. They come out with claims that a large number of people have died in a particular country after consuming the product! A cursory search on Google would expose the deceit. They however bank on the fact that most people are more likely to share a message than to check the veracity. They would even dare you to check on the net.

The third group are the pseudo religious broadcasts. You are asked to share a particular message in order to receive some favour. The designers even go further to give examples of people who sent the message and secure contracts or suddenly become millionaires. On the other hand, they give examples of some imaginary characters who met with misfortune because they refused to share! Did Dangote also share this type of message? Maybe that is the secret of Bill Gates’ wealth!

Among the pseudo-religious broadcasts are those designed to create discord among adherents of various religious groups. One of such was sent to me with the instruction to send to all my contacts! It claimed Christians are being killed in one part of India. A check on Google showed that there was no such killing. More importantly, the place mentioned does not even exist! Another is a message alerting Muslims to the plan by Denmark to burn the Qur’an “next Saturday”. The message has been circulating for years. Yet it is always “next Saturday”. You are asked to send to all your Muslim contacts so that they can boycott products made in Denmark! Hmmm! When will it be “next Saturday”? Is Denmark a person?

There are also the downrightly mischievous ones designed to poke fun at us! Maybe you still remember that message instructing us to bath with salt water and drink a lot of salt to prevent Ebola. It was originated by some girls who were bored and wanted to catch some fun. They then decided to design that message. So many people believed and did as instructed. At the end of the day many high blood pressure patients were dispatched to the great beyond after the salt they took aggravated their health condition!

We also have a recent one asking us to send to five WhatsApp groups to claim a sum of N720,000. Just like that!

In fact there are websites dedicated to creating this type of message!

Whichever the category of WhatsApp hoax broadcast they all bank on our fear, greed, emotion and laziness.

Here are some tips to avoid falling victim.

Beware of long health warnings. They often pack a lot of lies in the middle after starting with facts,

Hesitate before sharing messages. Maybe if you read a second time you would discover some lies in the message. This is why they often end with instruction to share now.

Always check on Google. Many of these hoax messages have been circulating for years and they have been documented as hoax. Just type the key words into your browser. E.g. Paracetamol Machupo virus hoax.

It is not true if it stands too good to be true! Ignore messages asking you to inform physically challenged persons that there is a scheme paying them N100,000 per month! Or a message instructing you to send name of your over 70 for free Hajj!

Ask questions. Don’t just share. Ask “Why is this person asking me to share with all my contacts?” What do they stand to gain?

We should endeavour to know a little about everything. For instance, if we know that HIV cannot be transmitted through food, we would ignore messages claiming some people got infected with HIV when they eat banana or water melon.

Try clicking on the links or call the phone numbers. This writer has made a number of breakthroughs by clicking on the link and indicated. On many occasions, the link refers to a different unrelated matter entirely.

When I called the phone number used to advertise a particular job offer, the person at the other end told me he had nothing to do with the said job. He lamented that he had almost developed a phobia for his phone as a result of the number of people contacting him for a job he knows nothing about.
Resist the urge to be the first to break a particular piece of news even when we aren’t sure it is true.

Be more scientific minded and less superstitious. A more scientifically minded person wouldn’t help send messages claiming some people died after receiving calls from a particular phone number

Some widely circulated WhatsApp hoax messages

Share this message with 20 contacts and your WhatsApp logo would turn blue! Even if you send to 1 million contacts, it would remain green.

Share this picture and some organisation would donate to treatment of a sick child. Bloody waste of time. Nobody is monitoring how many times you send a particular message!

40 persons died after eating a particular biscuit in South Africa. Ok o! I wonder how 40 persons would die after consuming a product in South Africa and yet no newspaper reported it and the company has not been blacklisted!

Share this video until it reaches Buhari! Thanks so much. I don’t have Buhari on my contact list. Besides, the person in the video does not bear any resemblance to the person you claim to be reporting.

To be continued!
Demola Adefajo blogs at

www.demolaadefajo.com
Twitter: @demoadefa

A ‘forgetful’ chief Justice, an illustration of the Nigerian problem

A ‘forgetful’ chief Justice, an illustration of the Nigerian problem

By Tabia Princewill

IF the Buhari administration has done one thing right, it’s to show us why exactly it is so difficult to turn things around in Nigeria. The eyes of the ordinary man on the street should be open to the many strangely legal and illegal pathways available and commonly used by the political elite hell bent on maintaining the status quo.

The first among their methods, besides using legal jargon to confuse the uninformed or exploiting legal loopholes and technicalities, is misinformation and manipulation aided by some sections of the media.

Let us take a quick walk down memory lane, starting with: “no government can fix Nigeria in four years”, a statement by former President Goodluck Jonathan at the end of his own four-year term. Ironically, he was right. There are simply too many people standing in the way of progress: our dysfunctional system was purpose built to allow a predatory elite unchallenged and unequal access to our resources.

Unequal access to our resources

The Constitution we inherited from the military has many strange clauses, including ones which place the bodies meant to investigate or sanction chief executives under the control and authority of these same executives.

What a perfect way to ensure no one is ever found guilty of anything: constitutionally, only Onnoghen can suspend Onnoghen in order to investigate the same Onnoghen.

In legal terms, the NJC, a body under the Chief Justice’s supervision, is expected to also investigate, suspend and/or sanction him.

What we call “due process” in Nigeria, is faulty in many ways. Our laws, particularly those pertaining to the code of conduct of civil servants and political appointees, have built in loopholes which have always allowed individuals to escape justice, or to escape proper investigation to begin with.

No Senate has ever deemed it fit to review such aberrations, for obvious reasons. Protecting politically exposed persons from punishment or investigation is the primary “human right” of concern to the Nigerian elite and nothing else.

Politicians have always counted on the ease with which Nigerians can be manipulated: the collapse of our educational system is intentional, it’s the reason why some people see nothing wrong with the many unresolved allegations hanging over some of our nation’s top citizens who continue to determine our country’s future. When the June 12 election was stolen from us, some people treated it like a “Yoruba issue” with nothing to do with the rest of Nigeria.

We’re not wondering why Obasanjo and Atiku are suddenly back to being friends, despite the terrible and damning things they both said about each other. We ignored it when former Finance Minister, Okonjo-Iweala said the National Assembly received N172 billion to pass the 2015 budget and that this has been the practice from time immemorial.

We made jokes about budget padding. We also ignored the $16 billion power funds allegedly “mismanaged” by the administration led by Obasanjo who curiously criticises every President he helped install once they allegedly no longer see eye to eye.

INEC officials who admitted they received $115 million from Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum to compromise the 2015 elections were sentenced to seven years in prison over the weekend. Curiously, this isn’t discussed.

We ignored it when Justice Dahiru Sale was removed by Obasanjo and Ayo Salami was removed by Jonathan. Do we see a pattern here? Our Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, who managed to “forget” $900,000 is only taking a leaf from the “forgetful” Nigerian people, many of whom act as if justice doesn’t apply to the rich or well-connected.

The corruption industry in Nigeria is more sophisticated than any bystander could possibly imagine. While the US, the UK and the EU “mean well” (although this could be argued given what WikiLeaks cables revealed they supposedly knew about the activities of oil companies such as Shell which allegedly also play a key role in subverting our tax income and judicial processes), they must admit the obvious, like anyone who wants Nigeria’s progress: the anti-corruption fight obviously needs a judiciary that is above reproach.

Damaging evidence

Buhari’s “fear” of being perceived as a dictator, despite the mind-boggling facts or damaging evidence of corruption enacted by those the EFCC and security agencies have investigated or prosecuted, which could support or explain his actions, is a thought Obasanjo, Yar’Adua or Jonathan wrestled with.

Lee Kuan Yew, a man who is now celebrated by the West after he successfully sanitised Singapore, took many of the steps Buhari is ironically being criticised for today. Mandela was called a terrorist by the British government, Martin Luther King wasn’t appreciated by the US government until his death (in fact “troublemaker” was the most polite term used to describe him).

So, sometimes foreign governments get it wrong, in pursuance of their own interests and agendas at the time. Nigerians need to decide what they want, once and for all. Our country’s survival depends on it.

BY signing Executive Order 007, the President allowed private companies to build federal roads. This is another one of those underreported yet potentially game-changing events in recent months. Zainab Ahmed, Finance Minister said: “Our intention is for there to be at least one significant eligible road project underway in every state of the federation within the first year of the operation of this scheme”.

A total of six investors (Dangote, Lafarge, Unilever, Flour Mills, NLNG, China Road and Bridge Corporation Nigeria Limited) will build 19 federal roads in 11 states in Nigeria (794.4km across the six geopolitical zones). In return for tax breaks, critical projects will be undertaken by the private sector. Couldn’t this have been done decades ago?

National Judicial Council

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, sent a petition to the National Judicial Council, NJC, demanding it “immediately takes over the case of Justice Walter Onnoghen from the Code of Conduct Tribunal with a view to setting up a committee to investigate the allegations of breach of constitutional asset declaration requirements against him”.

A SERAP statement said: “It is in times like this that the NJC must be most vigilant and alive to its constitutional duties, if it is not to permit a diminution of our treasured constitutional rights.” Interestingly, Onnoghen reportedly postponed the NJC meeting without giving a reason for doing so. Is that due process?

Kemi Adeosun resigned over an NYSC certificate, yet with the Onnoghen matter, some people encouraged him to neither resign nor take the expected steps to clear his name. In Nigeria the accused is never held to the same standard as the accuser. President Buhari said he expected Onnoghen to have “acted swiftly to spare our Judicial Arm further disrepute by removing himself from superintending over it while his trial lasted”.

He also said it was “no secret that this government is dissatisfied with the alarming rate in which the Supreme Court of Nigeria under the oversight of Justice Walter Onnoghen has serially set free, persons accused of the most dire acts of corruption, often on mere technicalities, and after quite a number of them have been convicted by the trial and appellate courts”.

If petty thieves in Nigeria were granted use of the same excuses and loopholes as the high and mighty, no one would ever be convicted no matter the crime.

Tabia Princewill is a strategic communications consultant and public policy analyst. She is also the co-host and executive producer of a talk show, WALK THE TALK which airs on Channels TV.

Culled from Vanguard

SANs and Onnoghen circus

SANs and Onnoghen circus

CJN Walter Onnoghen

by Sam Omatseye

His eyeballs shone across as his fist thumps resounded from his oak desk. That afternoon, in his striped navy blue suit in his office at Anthony in Lagos, he was in a combative temper. “If there is a case between a rich man and a poor man,” roared the late Gani Fawehinmi to now Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Dele Momodu and myself, “I will find the law for the poor man.” This was in the late 1980’s when Gani was the people’s armoury against a state of army and anomie.

That was the Gani, who did not flaunt an elitist conscience as a lawyer. He bonded with hoi poloi. That Gani will be growling in his grave now. His younger colleagues are pitching their tents with an oppressor in a puerile defence of one of their own. That is what the Walter Onnoghen case has made of otherwise cerebral and intuitively intelligent lawyers today. Gani would have said it was right to prosecute Onnoghen. He would have said the NJC has nothing to do with this. He would have asked Onnoghen to explain how he was able to afford over 50 houses on his little salary. He would have wondered why his colleagues did not understand the difference between a public servant and judicial officer. He would have questioned his mnemonic faculties and asserted that a chief justice who can forget such a lump sum could forget crucial matters of law while dispensing justice. He could have asked Walter Onnoghen to resign and return to the arboreal tranquillity of his village.

But it astounds that our judiciary has fallen into such decay. But it should not. The judiciary is no high tower, or Noah’s ark. It is not immune from the maggoty rot, the prevalent purulence of the Nigerian society. Corruption is writ large even in the argument of lawyers who want to defend Onnoghen and claim that the CJN ought not be prosecuted at the Code of Conduct Bureau. In the first place, did Onnoghen fill the assets declaration as a judicial officer or as a public servant or a Nigerian citizen? He did it as a Nigerian citizen and public servant. If filling the form were exclusive to lawyers, then it would be a matter for the NJC. But as he filled it, so the soldier or doctor fills it for the public office. Does it mean that a journalist who fills an asset declaration form and lies or suffers memory loss, will have to go to the media council and not CCT? If a judge commits murder, is that a case before the wigged and hoary personages of the NJC?

Even at that, as I stated in my TVC show, The Platform, even the lawyers are not listening to themselves. Some of them claim the job of CJN is exclusive to a profession. But so is the office of the attorney general. Would they say the attorney general would go to the NJC? The lawyers, led again by Wole Olanipekun and the 88 other supine faithful, lined up as though they owned the constitution and the society. They remind me of the words of the playwright George Bernard Shaw: “the vocations are a conspiracy against the laity.”

Such attitudes led another playwright Shakespeare to proclaim. “The first thing we do, let’s kill the lawyers.” I have no such morbid imagination about lawyers. Thankfully, they are not wise enough to fool the rest of us or even other lawyers.

They are quick to turn on the big courts to defend the rich like them, especially the SANs. Yet, I have no record of an instance where this gang of knowledgeable men have felt a stir in their hearts for the poor. When did they go to court to defend a yam seller who was unfairly charged to court? We have so many people in jail because no one pled their cases, either for stealing N20 or for taking a bribe. They were easy on their own consciences to line up for the klieg lights of vanity to defend somebody who already said he did wrong.

The man said he forgot about $3 million. Even Bill Gates would not forget such a sum of money. The question is, if he could forget that amount, how much more has his lordship’s memory forgotten? If a man forgets N1, he must have so much that N1 is not worth the burden of his remembrance.

I still don’t understand why the man who says he is guilty wants Nigeria to do for him? To allow him continue as the preeminent judge in the land? Who can defend that? The lawyers argue that it is about process first, and substance later. The real substance is that the man is putting the nation through a meaningless circus and rigmarole by not resigning. Once he resigns, which he will eventually do, the case will go under the radar and we can go on as a nation.

The lawyers also wondered why it was so quick to take the matter to court between the submission of the petition and prosecution. These are the same lawyers that have perfected the art of turning a case that should take six days to six years. They are so used to dilly-dallying and shilly-shallying that they are dazed that a case could cruise in court.

The Onnoghen case is also an example of how the lawyer can be out of sync with the society. When the history of the judiciary is written, today will go on record as a watershed of an era when a section of our top lawyers burned the book of justice because one of them broke the law. They are acting in cahoots with a self-indulgent class. People sometimes forget that the SANs are not about justice, but about the law. “The law,” as Henry Thoreau noted, “has not made anyone a whit more just.” They want law for law’s sake.

Was it not Onnoghen, who presided over the case against the Senate president? His ruling was not only wrong but curious. Bukola ‘Eleyinmi’ Saraki had filled a form that he owned a property before he owned it. He became a prophet of his own prosperity. If Onnoghen forgot that he had the money, Eleyinmi remembered his own before he had the property. Perhaps Onnoghen exonerated him because of the solidarity of remembrance between them. They have written their own version of Milan Kundera classic titled: A Book of Laughter and Forgetting.

Except that no one is laughing, and laughing in the East European writer’s novel was also a mockery of the laugh. It is what Nobel laureate Samuel Becket called risus purus, a laugh laughing at itself. Onnoghen and Eleyinmi are kindred spirits in forgetting the present. Eleyinmi was a man of faith. He claimed a property before it came, and it came. Onnoghen endorsed Eleyinmi’s spirit that moved the cement and paints and blocks. His spirit moved mountains.

Laws are a product of society. The law was made for us and not the other way round. We cannot accept a cabal of lawyers who run away in a riot of tendentious opinions and want to impose them on us. They sometimes think the so-called laity is not literate. The best lawyers are not those who just stick to the letters but the spirit. As Paul says in the Bible, the letter of the law kills, but the spirit gives life. Thankfully we have others who stand firm. They are the avenging angels of technicality.

Some have asserted that the Buhari administration wanted to nail Onnoghen. Granted it is true, it was not Buhari, who tweaked Onnoghen’s memory, or imposed amnesia on the fellow. He should take responsibility and not pass it on to others. Others have argued about timing. I wonder myself and ask, when is the right time for justice? Is there a time for justice and another for injustice?

If the security agencies did not unveil this illegality during his screening, that is egregious folly. But that is also trying to excuse a man who has done wrong. If his screening was so contentious, that was a stronger reason why filling the form should have been conscientious.

I have often quoted Shakespeare here that if correction lies in the hand that committed wrong, to whom shall we complain? We cannot trust Onnoghen with the law and justice anymore. He is the last stop of justice. After his seat, it is God. We don’t run a theocracy. Even theocracies are run by men, in what is called the divine rights of kings. Since we don’t want to bring God into this, Onnoghen, now irretrievably tainted, should do the right thing. The SANs should stop grandstanding and return to their billion naira cases and leave the rest of us alone.

The man should resign and save the nation a circus.

Source: The Nation

The rise and fall of Jose Mourinho

The rise and fall of Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho’s acrimonious departure from Manchester United cannot mask the fact that the Portuguese is still undoubtedly one of the finest managers of his generation, writes Tunde Sulaiman

Albert Einstein, the universally acclaimed German-born theoretical physicist, who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics), once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Sadly this appears to be the path that the manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho opted to embark upon with ultimately disastrous results.

His arrival at Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 was heralded as the beginning of United’s return to the summit of English football, especially with his trophy-laden record of success at all the clubs he had previously worked at.
And it appeared this would continue at the Theatre of Dreams when on August 7, 2016, he won his first trophy, the FA Community Shield, beating reigning Premier League champions Leicester City 2–1.

Although he ultimately failed to end United’s four-year wait for the Premier League title, he did, however, beat Southampton 3–2 in the EFL Cup Final to become the first United manager to win a major trophy in his debut season.
And on May 24, 2017, Manchester United won the Europa League courtesy of a 2–0 win over AFC Ajax. This was Mourinho’s second major trophy of his first season as Manchester United manager. It also maintained his 100% record of winning every major European Cup final as a manager.

But the following season he was not as successful failing to win any trophy and although he managed to get the Red Devils’ finishing second on the table (the highest they have finished since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013) the fact that they were 19 points behind Manchester City was damning.
However, the dark clouds that had been swirling around the Portuguese grew darker over the summer going into his third season when he publically complained that the Old Trafford hierarchy had failed to back him in the transfer market especially concerning getting defenders.

But he failed to explain why he was unable to get the best out of those he had despite the over £60 million he spent on just two defenders – Eric Bailly – £30million from Villarreal and Victor Lindelof – £30.7 million from Benfica.

As if this was not enough, he then started fighting with some of his high-profile stars like Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku and his toxic relationship started to affect things on the field of play, which meant that a team that finished second only last season was now floundering in mid table this term.
But perhaps what was more telling was the awful display of United even in games against the so-called “minnows” in the Premier League, talk much less of last Sunday’s abject capitulation at their great North-West rivals, Liverpool

Many pundits believed that had he wards put up a decent fight like they often did under Sir Alex even when they losing, then perhaps the “Happy One” would have still been given more time.
The stats clearly showed how poor his team was playing Liverpool with only six shots on target compared to the Reds’ 36!

Before then, Mourinho had watched perplexed as City completely outplayed his team at the Etihad including a record-breaking 42 passes in the build up to the third goal without a single United player making any serious effort to win the ball back.
It appeared that once again the usual demons that seem to manifest in his third term had returned to haunt him in this campaign.

And after the Red Devils’ only managed to pick up 26 points after their first 17 Premier League games, their worst points haul in the top flight at this stage since 1990-91, United, which is loathed to sack managers, finally lost faith with the man, who had clearly lost the dressing room, after the abject capitulation at Anfield last Sunday.
Under Mourinho this season the stats have just been very damning:

*They have conceded 29 goals in the league this season – one more than they did in the whole of the 2017-18 campaign (28).
*They are 19 points off leaders Liverpool, 11 points off the top four and closer to the relegation zone than the top of the table.
*They have one win in six league games and a goal difference of zero.
Liverpool’s 19-point advantage over United is their biggest after the first 17 games of a top-flight season.

Liverpool had 36 shots on Sunday – the most United have faced in a Premier League match since Opta started recording shot data in 2003-04.
So long as results on the field had been good the Portuguese had a job but once things turned his situation became untenable.

Added to the fact that despite spending close to £400million in his time in charge, his team was neither playing attractive football nor even grinding out results it was clear that it was only a matter of time that the Old Trafford side would be in search for their fourth manager since the departure of their very successful Sir Alex Ferguson.

David Moyes took over his fellow Scotsman and left after only eight months, Luis van Gaal, who guided Holland to third place at the 2014 World Cup, came in won an FA Cup and was then shown the door two days later to be replaced by Mourinho.

However, Mourinho should not shoulder all the blame for United’s woes because Ed Woodward, who is in charge at Old Trafford as Executive Vice-Chairman, should have known what he was getting into in signing the Portuguese, who was hardly ever going to deviate from his safety first approach to the game – which is in direct contrast to the ethos of the Red Devils, which is to play attractive offensive football.

Woodward’s background as a former accountant and investment banker meant that he was out of his depth in the topsy turvy world of football, which perhaps also explains why he opted to give Mourinho a contract extension in January when the club was nowhere near playing well or challenging for the title.
This also meant that United was forced into coughing out a huge severance package for getting rid of Mourinho. Although the sum has not been disclosed, however, some reports have it that it could have been as much as £24million.
And thus exactly three years and a day after he was unceremoniously asked to leave Stamford Bridge, lightning struck again with Mourinho being ousted from his dream Old Trafford job.

But it all began so differently. He first burst on the international stage in 2003 when he guided unfancied Porto of Portugal to the now rested UEFA Cup and then followed this up with the more prestigious Champions League the following season, upsetting Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United along the way. Mourinhoarrival in England brought some fresh air to the stale nature of the Premier League, which was then dominated by just two managers – Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.
The Portuguese was the man, who single-handedly changed the face of English football when he joined Chelsea in the summer of 2004.

Full of self-confidence and his ability to get the job done, the then youthful brash 41-year-old became an instant English media delight when during his first press conference after being announced manager at Stamford Bridge he uttered these immortal worlds: “Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.”
Of course while this rubbed off many as being slightly cocky, especially in a conservative society that often frowns at such, however, the Portuguese manger was able to back up his talk with an unbeaten start to his Premier League sojourn winning all his matches in August, which included an opening match 1-0 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.
Under Mourinho, Chelsea did not drop their first points until the fifth game of the season in a goalless draw against Aston Villa on September 11, 2004.
In fact the Blues did not lose their first game until October away at Manchester City, with Nicolas Anelka stroking home a penalty in the 11th minute that he won himself after being felled in the box by Paulo Ferreira. The result left Chelsea further behind pace-setters Arsenal, the margin now at five points.
Ironically that was the only defeat Mourinho’s team was to suffer all season and his team was to rally to their first title in 50 years courtesy of some battling performances in which they set a number of records (which have only recently been broken by Manchester City).
Some of the vast number of records set during the title winning season included: most away wins in a season (15), most clean sheets kept in a season (25), fewest goals conceded away in a season (9), most wins in a season (29), most consecutive away wins (9), fewest goals conceded in a season (15) and most points in a season (95).
After missing out on the league title to the unbeaten Arsenal in the previous season (2003), Chelsea continued spending large sums of money in order to build a squad capable of challenging for honours.
However, despite another huge capital outlay in the second season under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, the Blues failed to improve upon their Champions League semi-final placing the previous year, but in the end only matched that achievement. They also exited the FA Cup in the fifth round to eventual semi-finalists Newcastle United.
But in spite of these setbacks, the ‘Special One’ had laid his marker, especially after also becoming the first foreign manager to land the Premier League title in his very first attempt. He also added the League Cup for good measure.
On a personal level, Mourinho was named the November Manager of the Month, January Manager of the Month and Premier League Manager of the Season – to confirm his “I’m the Special One” boast.
But by this time already a number of pundits had started to query his path to success raising eyebrows over his safety first approach to the game with his teams more often grinding out results rather than playing swashbuckling football.
The following season, Mourinho continued to dip into the pocket of his wealthy Russian billionaire owner, signing Michael Essien from Lyon and Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City for more than £20 million each.
But in spite of the this perceived “safety first” flaw, the Portuguese’s second season was momentous for Chelsea’s incredible start to the campaign where they recorded the most dominant first half of a Premier League season in history at that time.
They won a record nine games in a row at the start of the season, which culminated in another record holding 17 wins out of the first 19 games. As of 2017 Chelsea 2005-06 hold joint records for most wins at home in a season (18) and fewest home defeats in a season (0).
Although the Blues did suffer more defeats this term (five) they were still clearly the best team in the marathon called the league and ended the season ensuring that Mourinho became the first manager in history of the English game to win back-to-back titles in the first time of asking.
In spite of the ability to buy the best players in world football, the native of Setubal constantly downplayed this as an advantage insisting that Chelsea’s success was more down to his hard work than having deep pockets.
“We are on top at the moment but not because of the club’s financial power. We are in contention for a lot of trophies because of my hard work.
“If Roman Abramovich helped me out in training we would be bottom of the league and if I had to work in his world of big business, we would be bankrupt!”
He also brushed aside claims that under him the club valued winning at all cost over keeping to the ethos of the “beautiful game”.
“I am not concerned about how Chelsea are viewed morally. What does concern me is that we are treated in a different way to other clubs. Some clubs are treated as devils, some are treated as angels. I don’t think we are so ugly that we should be seen as the devil and I don’t think Arsene Wenger and David Dein are so beautiful that they should be viewed as angels,” was his curt response to that complaint.
On another occasion he was more blunt saying: “I don’t say we are a defensive team. I say we are a strong team in defensive terms, but at the same time lacking sufficient fluidity in attack because that will take time to come.”
Nevertheless, in his third season dark clouds had already started gathering over the loquacious Portuguese whose feud with Arsenal’s long serving manager, Arsene Wenger was beginning to look like the “theatre of the absurd”, with many considering him going overboard with his constant verbal broadsides at the French tactician.
At the beginning of the campaign, Wenger had raised concerns over the way and manner Chelsea was going about their business of being the dominant team in English football, saying: “I know we live in a world where we have only winners and losers, but once a sport encourages teams who refuse to take the initiative, the sport is in danger.”
Of course an unimpressed Mourinho fired back: “Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. Wenger must be one of them – it is a sickness. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”
He went on to add: “At Stamford Bridge, we have a file of quotes from Mr Wenger about Chelsea football club in the last 12 months – it is not a file of five pages. It is a file of 120 pages.”
Mourinho was, however, unable to make it a hat trick of triumphs with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United finally wrestling the league diadem back from the London club.
Chelsea finished second six points behind the Red Devils even though they only lost three times (unlike the five the previous season).
Going into the 2007–08 season, speculation continued to mount of a frosty relationship between Mourinho and owner Abramovich, which might see him leaving the club.
In the first match of the 2007–08 season, Chelsea beat Birmingham City 3–2 to set a new record of 64 consecutive home league matches without defeat.
Despite surpassing the record set by Liverpool between 1978 and 1981, the start to the 2007–08 Chelsea season was less successful as previous starts.
The team lost at Aston Villa and followed this with a goalless draw at home to Blackburn Rovers. Their opening game in the UEFA Champions League saw them only manage a 1–1 home draw against the Norwegian team Rosenborg BK in front of only 24,973 (an almost half-empty stadium) which included an unimpressed owner Roman Abramovich.
Finally matters came to a head on September 20, 2007 with Mourinho unexpectedly leaving Chelsea as the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history, having won six trophies for the club in three years. He was also undefeated in all home league games.
His next port of call was Italy where he joined Inter Milan on
June 2, 2008 as the successor of Roberto Mancini on a three-year contract, and brought along with him much of his backroom staff who had served him at both Chelsea and Porto.
At his very first press conference as Inter boss he spoke solely in Italian, claiming to have learnt it “in three weeks”.
Mourinho stated that he only intended to make a few major signings that summer. By the end of the transfer window, he had brought three new players to the side: Brazilian winger Mancini (€13 million), Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari for a reported €14 million and Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma for a cash/player exchange fee of €18.6 million plus young Portuguese midfielder Pele.
In his first season as Inter head coach, Mourinho won the Supercoppa Italiana, beating Roma on penalties, and finished top of Serie A. Inter, however, were eliminated 2–0 on aggregate by Manchester United in the first knock-out round of the Champions League, and he also failed to win the Coppa Italia, being defeated 3–1 on aggregate by Sampdoria in the semi-finals.
Despite his domestic successes in winning the Scudetto by a ten-point margin, Mourinho’s first season in Italy was viewed as disappointing by some Inter fans, as the club failed to improve on the performances of his predecessor Roberto Mancini in the Champions League.
And in keeping to type, Mourinho also caused immediate ripples in Italian football through his controversial relationships with the Italian press and media, as well as his feuds with major Serie A coaches, including Carlo Ancelotti, then of Milan, Luciano Spalletti of Roma and Claudio Ranieri of Juventus.
At a press conference in March 2009, he insulted the first two rivals by claiming they would end the season with no honours, and accused the Italian sport journalists of “intellectual prostitution” on their behalf.
In his second season Mourinho became the first manager in history on April 6, 2010 to take three different teams to the semi-finals of the Champions League (this record was equalled by Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal a day later) after Inter managed to overcome CSKA Moscow 0–1 in Russia in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, which ended 2–0 on aggregate.
He continued with his epoch-making run in Italian when on May 2, after a 2–0 away win at Rome against Lazio, Inter almost secured the Serie A title. Three days later, the team won the Coppa Italia, defeating Roma 1–0, and on May 16, 2010, Inter beat Siena 1–0 to secure the domestic double, accomplishing the feat of winning all trophies available for a manager in the Serie A.
On May 22, 2010, Inter won the 2010 Champions League after beating Bayern Munich 2–0, and in doing so became the first Italian club to complete the treble, with Mourinho personally celebrating the second Champions League title in his managerial career.
But 24 hours after celebrating their epoch-making victory, Mourinho dropped a bombshell saying: he was “sad, as almost for sure it’s my last game with Inter”. He then added that “if you don’t coach Real Madrid then you will always have a gap in your career”.
After days of discussions between Real Madrid and Inter, a world record breaking compensation package was successfully agreed on May 28, 2010, and Mourinho was consequently released by Inter.
In Spain it became another “Jose Mourinho circus” with the ‘Special One’ winning the Copa del Rey in his first season. The following year, he won La Liga, and became the fifth coach to have won league titles in four countries.
But he made his mark when only in his second season on May 2, 2012; Real Madrid won 0–3 against Athletic Bilbao to clinch the Liga title for the first time in four years. On May 13 2012, Madrid defeated Mallorca 4–1 in their last league match of the season, which set records for most games won in a La Liga season (32), most away wins (16), most points obtained in any of the top European leagues (100), improving the most goals scored record they already had set earlier (121) and finishing the season with the highest goal difference (+89). Madrid topped the league nine points clear of runners-up Barcelona.
But it would have been out of place if he did not catch the headlines for all the wrong reasons when in his third season he was mired in controversies including poking Tito Vilanova (then assistant coach at Barcelona) in the eye during a brawl, continual complaints about refereeing bias, clashes with journalists and Real officials, and frequent hints that Barça received favourable treatment from UEFA.
And then Mourinho left the club at the end of the season by “mutual agreement”, a year after signing a contract extension to 2016.
He returned to Chelsea on June 3, 2013 and told Chelsea TV, “In my career I’ve had two great passions – Inter and Chelsea – and Chelsea is more than important for me.”
He, however, failed to reproduce his first term performance in which he won the league title in his very first time of asking, finish third in the 2013–14 Premier League, four points behind champions Manchester City.
But was back on top in the second season when on May 3 2015, Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions after beating Crystal Palace with three games to spare.
Mourinho was subsequently named as Premier League Manager of the Season, with Chelsea losing just three matches all season.
However, the wheels fell off in his third season with Chelsea losing nine of their first 16 matches prompting the Blues to terminate his appointment on December 17, 2015.
Despite this blip, Mourinho’s impressive credentials meant that he was still very much in demand and on May 27, 2016, Mourinho signed a three-year contract with Manchester United, with an option to stay at the club until at least 2020.
In his first season he was able to land the League Cup courtesy of a won 3–2 over Southampton to become the first United manager to win a major trophy in his debut season
And even though his team did not really play the “United way” fans were still ready to give him time hoping that perhaps they had finally got the man to return the glory days back to the Theatre of Dreams – alas it was not to be so.
But no matter the acrimonious ending, one cannot deny the fact that Jose Mario dos Santos Mourinho Felix is one of the most decorated managers of the modern area, which was why his sacking became headline news around the world when it broke last Tuesday.

Guarding against Fraud in Banking System

Guarding against Fraud in Banking System

James Emejo and Nume Ekeghe write on the need to adopt measures to address online fraud and encourage financial inclusion

In August 2017, a Nigerian bank was defrauded by one of its clients. The client, one of the petroleum marketing and distribution companies, which also runs a hospitality business, applied for three point of sale (PoS) terminals to facilitate payments by customers at its fuel stations. The bank availed the company two terminals.

Later in the year, the company requested that the PoS terminals issued to them be re-configured for ‘online card-less entries’ (Card-Not-Present – CNP), which the bank granted but only one of the terminals was re-configured.

The ‘online card-less entries’ (Card-Not-Present – CNP) service is normally provided to hospitality businesses, where customers can call to make reservations while providing their card details.

The company claimed most of its clients are foreigners who call to make reservations.
However, soon after granting the service, a high volume of ‘Card-Not-Present’ transaction totalling N908,271,096, was said to have occurred through the PoS device, using foreign-issued credit cards. Upon suspicion of fraud by the bank, the PoS was deactivated. The transactions were later flagged as fraudulent and chargebacks were filed by the card issuers, but unfortunately, the funds had been transferred to various accounts in other banks.

Subsequently, the bank requested the client to provide documentary evidence of service delivery to the customers who purportedly used the cards, but the client could not produce such evidence.
This above story was narrated by the Director, Insurance & Surveillance Department at the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr M. Y. Umar, during a recent workshop for financial journalists and select civil society organisations organised by the corporation in Benin, Edo State recently.

The story highlighted one of the biggest challenges in the country’s financial system today -fraud.
Based on data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, while the country continues to experience growth across payment channels, commercial banks in the country lost a total of N12.06 billion to fraud and forgeries in the first six months of 2018.

The CBN disclosed this in its ‘Draft 2018 Half Year Economic Report’ that was posted on its website recently.
According to the report, there were 20,768 reported cases of fraud and forgery (attempted and successful), valued at N19.77 billion in the review period, compared with 16,762 cases, involving N5.52 billion and US$ 0.12 million in the corresponding period of 2017.

“The actual loss by banks to fraud and forgery, however, amounted to N12.06 billion, compared with the N0.78 billion and US$0.03 million, suffered in the first half of 2017.

“The reported fraud and forgery incidences were perpetrated by both bank staff and non-bank culprits. The cases involved armed robbery attacks, fraudulent ATM withdrawals, draft defalcation, illegal funds transfer, pilfering of cash, stealing, suppression and conversion of customers’ deposits,” it had explained.

Reducing Financial Fraud
Umar, believes that with the advent of ICT, online crime has come to stay.
“It is difficult to successfully run/operate major businesses, financial, medical, academic, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, etc without the use of computers along with related software,” he said, noting that cyber-criminals are also always trying to improve their nefarious skills.

According to a Director, Consumer Protection, CBN, Mr S.K. Salam-Alade who was represented by Mr. Josephe Attah, the high incidence of fraud is usually as a result of weak security infrastructure in financial institutions and insufficient internal controls.
Furthermore, he attributed the development to the naivety of the average bank customer.

And, apart from the huge financial loss to consumers, financial institutions and the economy, online fraud also damages the financial system’s reputation, increases the risk of participating in its offerings. This, “threatens the attainment of the financial inclusion target of 20 per cent inclusion by 2020,” the CBN Director said. To combat the problem, he advised financial institutions to invest in the latest security technology solutions and effective communication of anti-fraud measures.

For Umar, continuous capacity building for end users, cooperation between actors/players, establishment of institutional framework for coordinating cyber security issue/efforts and review of related bills to further strengthen cyber security are essential.

Highlighting Opportunities of CIIE for China-Nigeria Cooperation
In addition, he said continuous public awareness and campaigns to educate the general public and the enforcement of the cybercrime laws should help to reduce online fraud.
He also called on the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) to play a more active and leading role in the fight against the economy’s bottom-line.

Also, the Head, Financial Inclusion Secretariat, at CBN, Mrs Temitope Akin-Fadeyi, who also spoke at the workshop, urged media practitioners to collaborate with financial regulators in the country to educate depositors on financial literacy and inclusion.

Akin-Fadeyi, who was represented by Mr Joseph Attah, a member of the Financial Inclusion Secretariat, CBN, said, educating depositors remains a collective responsibility of all.

According to her, there is a growing perception by Nigerians that it is the sole responsibility of the regulators to educate depositors on financial inclusion. However, she said it was important for media practitioners to fully understand the concept of financial inclusion.
Akin-Fadeyi, therefore, urged journalists to partner with the regulators to properly educate Nigerians to ensure increased participation of financial inclusion in the country.

Improving Financial Inclusion
The incentives to fight fraud in Nigeria are numerous. But a very important one is the campaign to improve the number of people who engage actively with the country’s financial system. The more fraud that exists in the system, the less people will be convinced to join the financial inclusion train.
The National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched in 2012 with the overall target of increasing adult financial inclusion to 80 per cent in 2020.

As at 2016, progress has been made with the percentage of adult Nigerians having access to formal financial services increasing from 36.3 per cent in 2010 to 48.6 per cent in 2016, while the percentage of adult Nigerians having access to bank accounts increased from 30 per cent in 2010, to 38.3 per cent in 2016.

According to the CBN official who gave a presentation on financial inclusion, the prospects for reaching 80 per cent inclusion is high with the presence of a formidable governance structure, a shared agent network expansion project with target of 500,000 agents by end 2019, target setting for states and financial service providers, a revised capital base for microfinance banks, the introduction of Payment Service Banks and the commitment of stakeholders and opportunities for partnerships.

Sustaining Digital Banking
Meanwhile, the Head, Digital Service Management, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mrs Chioma Mbanisi, reiterated the importance of digital banking in the country.

Mbanisi said the importance of digital banking cannot be overemphasised and should be further encouraged among Nigerians.
“The digital option is indeed radically better than the physical one and should be utilised, especially in this era,” she noted.
“Ideally, it allows instant access, extreme convenience, trial and tracking options, vast reach, offered to people at lower cost and automatic record keeping.”

However, Mbanisi, pointed out, although the means of banking transactions are advancing from an orthodox way to a more digitised way, there are still some challenges.

“To the traditional customers, mature citizens or bank customers that are “technologically challenged”, digital can be a nightmare because they feel that they are at the mercy of a bewildering maze of computer servers, gadgets, bots, jargons, channels,” she said.

“Imagine engaging a bank’s contact centre and talking to a chatbot that does not understand why you are worked up and is consistent in giving you programmed responses?”
Mbanisi, also said the use of digital banking had led to disloyalty by banks customers, cybercrimes, regulatory complaints, lack of trust, lack of technology and the challenge in the use of technology.

Besides, she said that digital banking could pose challenges to employment level in the country.
This, Mbanisi explained could cause bank staff to lose their jobs as a result of the advent of automated machines replacing human beings in the future.

Still, the benefits of digital banking, she stressed, reduces cost of transactions and makes banking convenient. She advised banks needed to keep pushing the boundaries of innovation if they are to capture more Nigerians into the banking industry.
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Credit: ThisDay

Exceptional arguments against the minimum wage

Exceptional arguments against the minimum wage
Eze Onyekpere

The tripartite negotiations on the national minimum wage involving the government, private sector employers and the labour unions have thrown up fundamental issues of governance. The disputations question the basis of the continued existence of government in Nigeria. Many posers are raised: Why should the average person continue to pledge loyalty to a government that fails to recognise their right to exist, even if on the fringes and margins of society? It is a fundamental aphorism that the state exists to protect the security and welfare of the people. Laws and policies are to be made for the common good, especially the good of the majority rather than simply catering to the interests of the minority.
First, let us recall that what is being negotiated is not the maximum wage payable to employees in Nigeria, it is the minimum wage, the morality of the depths and not the morality of the heights. It is the minimum standard below which no state or employee is allowed to derogate from. So, listening to governors and commentators who are raising the issue of federalism as the reason why the Federal Government should not be legislating on the minimum wage, you either see ignorance or deliberate mischief. The legislation on minimum wage does not state that every employee should pay the minimum; they can go higher. Yes, wages should be deregulated according to the ability of states, local governments and generally, employers to pay. But the same, rather silly argument in the circumstances, is not used when the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission is given the constitutional power to fix and has indeed fixed a uniform salary scale for all governors, legislators, judicial officers and political office holders across the states, no matter their federation account allocation and or internally generated revenue. They have all been collecting this uniform pay structure and yet, they raise this argument when it is the turn of workers to ask for a living wage!
Virtually every Nigerian governor collects security votes exceeding N200m every month and simply pockets the money and accounts to no one but his dead conscience. The security votes of the 29 states (no data exist for seven states) from 2015-2017 gave an annual average of $579,823,187 (N208.8bn). The governor hires a retinue of aides who do no work that adds value to the state but pays them jumbo salaries. They are never owed and they receive the remuneration at fixed dates in the month. The governors go on long convoys of not less than 15 vehicles and generally live very affluent lives which ideally should only be lived by multi-billionaires who sweat for money. The N13.5m running cost of senators can pay 750 Nigerians the minimum wage of N18,000 each. And this is remuneration unknown to Nigerian laws and policies. While we focus attention on the jumbo pay of legislators, the ministers and appointed aides at the federal level make a kill out of the treasury. If you ask them, they will point to the approved RAMFAC salary but they live lifestyles that cannot be paid for by the official remuneration. Can society make progress with such impunity founded on hypocrisy?
The workers are simply asking for about $80 at the rate of N365 to 1USD. The news that employers of labour, especially the state governors claim that they are not able to pay the new minimum wage is simply the product of warped and wicked minds suffering from exceptional depravity. Burkina Faso pays a minimum wage of $138; Chad- $239, Tanzania-$149; Ghana-$128; Kenya-$331; Senegal – $148; Algeria – $531 and South Africa – $517. Yet, we claim to be the giant of Africa. There is therefore no reason for workers to accept this madness, especially state level employers who are bent of dehumanising Nigerian workers.
Organised labour should utilise this opportunity to launch and mount a blistering campaign, organise rallies while politicians are organising theirs, against any state governor who claims he cannot pay the new minimum wage and ask the electorate to reject such warped minds. Such a campaign should also extend to any governor who is owing arrears of salaries, pensions and gratuities. It would be suicidal for labour to allow such persons to come back as governors. How in all honesty can someone insist on leading a state when he lacks leadership qualities? Leading a people without a moral compass? Holding the led in disdain and displaying the exceptional depravity of stealing what they do not need. The time for this bunch of insensitive people is up and all men and women of goodwill should join hands to chase these crazy men out of leadership positions. Can any of these governors swear in all honesty that refusing to pay workers’ salaries is a product of lack of resources? How come there is self-evident inflation of contracts, mismanagement and stealing of available resources?
Let the governors be faithful over the little they have at their disposal and show utmost transparency and accountability. Men are caught on video stealing public resources and all they do is to use shadow groups and run to court to stop legislative investigations sanctioned by the constitution. A bishop comes to court with an affidavit showing the quantum of resources stolen by a former governor who is now a party chairman and the ex-governor says, no shaking. A former Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye, is in jail for stealing and many more will go to jail while those currently sitting as governors cannot account for the resources given to them to manage
Enter the pseudo-intellectuals who will argue that an increase in the minimum wage will lead to inflation. But inflation is not induced when someone steals billions, to every one’s knowledge. Inflation is only a product of when people’s suffering is about to be alienated. Even if prices of goods will go up, it is a product of the noise and reluctance of government and employers to do the right thing. They give traders and the common man on the street the impression that so much money is about to be made available to employees when the salary movement is from N18,000 to N30,000 – a mere increase of N12,000. Tell, me, what can N12,000 buy in the economy of today?
Dear organised labour, the ball is in your court, no one will give Nigerian workers their rights if you fail to utilise this historic opportunity of the minimum wage agitation to guarantee their rights to a livable wage. In the process, you will raise a structured discourse of Nigeria’s public expenditure management, plug the leaks and run a country on the basis of evidence and reason, rather than the current authority stealing going on in the name of governance. Our current leaders are suffering from exceptional depravity; they must not be allowed to continue. Nigerian workers have a right to determine their destiny!

Credit: The Punch