Will the Donald Dukes of Nigeria Ever Get a Chance?

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PEDULUM By Dele Momodu, Email: dele.momodu@thisdaylive.com

Fellow Nigerians, I finally caught up, and had a most productive meeting, with one of my favourite Nigerian leaders, Donald Duke, in Lagos last weekend. I have steadfastly remained his fan long after he left power ten years ago as Governor of Cross River State. Not even his most fastidious and vociferous critic would ever suggest that he did not leave a monumental mark in that fortunate State. It remains a mystery why, and how, Donald Duke, was abandoned, and wasted, by his Party, PDP, and nay Nigeria. I have written endlessly, and campaigned feverishly, that Nigeria desperately, and urgently, needs many leaders in the mould of Donald Duke. So, it was a pleasure not only meeting up with him again but having time to discuss a topic we both fervently and passionately believe in, Nigeria.

I do not know if Donald Duke is a saint, since we seem to be obsessed with seeking, and finding, angels from heaven to lead us, but I’m very certain that Donald Duke would have performed and delivered once more. Successful and progressive nations are not governed by saints but by performers with uncommon vision, zeal and the determination to succeed where others failed. This handsome, charming, charismatic, cosmopolitan, suave, visionary, audacious and cerebral gentleman, has so much to remind us of a Barack Obama. It is one of those cruel ironies that many of those Nigerian youths who shout the loudest about wanting enduring change never remembered to fight for the emergence of the Donald Dukes of this world. They preferred to fight based on ethnicity, religion and raw cash, the very primordial things that have kept us, both, down and extremely backward.

I’m writing this article on a flight from Dubai to London, and there is no better time to get inspired and simultaneously angered about the disgraceful and embarrassing state of things in Nigeria. I have since come to the conclusion that Nigeria is in this peculiar mess because we have consistently and stubbornly continued to do and repeat the same nonsense and rubbish while expecting a miraculous change. Truth be told, a leader can never give or deliver what he does not possess. A leader can only be fired up by the limits of his education, background, worldview, experience and exposure. Age is also a factor, a man who made a mess of important assignments in his prime is not likely to make a success of it when he has become totally weak and dim-witted. It is not his fault but the natural law of diminishing returns. This is the difference between Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe. While Mandela surrounded himself with the brightest whiz-kids to shore up whatever shortcomings he had, having been out of circulation for 27 odd years, Mugabe, on the contrary remained the omnipotent and all-knowing leader even in his twilight years. This Messianic complex is dangerously perfidious.

It was with this background in mind that I was truly elated when Donald Duke accepted the invitation to meet me for a private session. The first thing that struck me on his arrival was his very good looks. Also, his confidence and poise. And, of course, as our conversation progressed, his sharp brains and wits. I had no doubt in my mind that Nigeria has been haemorrhaging to death because of our self-immolating lack of respect for the likes of Donald Duke and our preference for enthroning mediocrity. If we made mistakes in the past, must we continue to wallow in our foolhardiness? This was my starting point with Donald Duke.

“Oga, thank you for honouring my invitation at such short notice Sir. You know I have been your self-appointed Campaign Manager all these years. It is so wonderful to have you here finally, one on one…” I stated. “I cannot thank you enough Dele for keeping faith with me without seeing me. I cannot say we’ve been close friends, yet you mentioned me regularly in your column and I’m always wondering what I have done to deserve this honour from you…” he responded.

I told him how much I was fascinated by his incredible work in Cross River State, especially, how Calabar was fast becoming the Dubai of Nigeria. I was not unaware that his critics often lampooned him as wasting resources on building a beautiful State while his people languished in squalid conditions. But I knew such arguments came from people of limited minds and dreams. The living conditions of a people will never improve unless and until leaders learn to create huge dreams and gigantic activities that would ultimately generate jobs and opportunities. Donald Duke looked a bit pensive. “You won’t believe this; I was totally disappointed to hear supposedly knowledgeable people utter such words like ‘na Dubai we go chop’? It is this sort of warped mentality that has kept us where we have found ourselves… Lack of big dreams… Lack of faith in our abilities to build our own big cities and compete against the greatest nations… Nigerians are naturally brilliant, and we have the population to give us the power and influence of China, but we are not ready to change our ways of doing things…” he said, with sorrow in his eyes.

This dovetailed to my most important question: “Will you run the Presidential race?” He paused for a moment, measuring his thoughts and probably his choice of words. “Dele, do you want to hear the truth? I seriously want to run but my party, PDP, would have to decide on many things… Our party is well-positioned to win the next election if we can change our style a bit and beat APC at its own game. We must take advantage and benefit from our experience since 1999. Despite our apparent mistakes, Nigerians can now compare and contrast us with APC. What do we need to win the next elections? We must go to the field with our best candidates. We must learn from how we select our footballers. No one cares where you come from. Can you play well? Pronto. We must show clearly that we are more democratic. Zoning is good, but it has not worked well in Nigeria. The time has come to unleash the best brains from every part of Nigeria. We must galvanise our youths. They will never follow or support us if we can’t show how we are different and far better than APC…”

I told him how much I detest the idea of zoning and the way we’ve all accepted this unconstitutional act, unquestionably and horribly, like victims of mass hypnotism. I do not mind the principle of Federal Character in certain appointments and promotions, but it has no place whatsoever in elective office. Even Federal Character must be based on sound merit. No one should ever be appointed or promoted only because of tribe or religion. No student should be admitted or promoted if he cannot meet minimum requirements. We have now seen the result of promoting mediocrity, hypocrisy and laziness in Kaduna State where Governor Nasir El Rufai has practically guillotined the teaching careers of about 20,000 hopelessly and ridiculously dull teachers.

Zoning is undoubtedly one of the biggest scams in Nigeria. It was forced on us by some control freaks in order to direct and manipulate the system in perpetuity. If we break it down, we’ll see that it has favoured some states and regions more than the others, while some are at serious disadvantage. Nigeria has been led to date by government heads as follows: Tafawa Balewa (Bauchi, Moslem for 6 years) jointly with Nnamdi Azikiwe (Onitsha, Christian for 6 years), Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi (Umuahia, Christian for 6 months), Yakubu Gowon (Lur, Christian for 9 years), Murtala Muhammed (Kano, Moslem for 6 months), Olusegun Obasanjo (Abeokuta, Christian, two stints, for 3 years and 8 years respectively, totalling 11 years), Shehu Shagari (Sokoto, Moslem for 4 years and a few months), Muhammadu Buhari (Katsina, Moslem (two stints, for 20 months and currently 2 and a half years respectively, totalling over 4 years and counting), Ibrahim Babangida (Minna, Moslem for 8 years) Ernest Shonekan (Abeokuta, Christian for almost 3 months) Sani Abacha (Kano, Moslem for almost 5 years), Abdulsalami Abubakar (Minna, Moslem for about one year), Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (Katsina, Moslem for almost three years) and Goodluck Jonathan (Otuoke, Christian for 5 years). More significantly the North has held power for 34 years and shared power as the stronger of two heads for six years, whilst the South has held power for 17 years and shared power as the weaker of two heads for 6 years. Using religion, Christians have held power with 25 years to the Moslems’ 32 years. So much for zoning!

Furthermore, in reality, if zoning was a sincere and precise formula, Buhari should be seen to be completing Yar’Adua’s, and thus, the North’s, second term. After all, Yar’Adua spent three years in office before he died. If APC or PDP fields another Northerner and either manages to win, is that person going to serve one or two terms? Whichever way you look at it, those insisting the North must produce the next President are thus being clever by half. In fact, the South South has the right to insist Jonathan or someone from his zone should come back to complete their own second term. Just imagine such confusion and conundrum!

What is worse, zoning has never been of immense benefit to Nigeria or its utmost beneficiaries. Katsina has produced two Heads of State on three different occasions (Buhari, Yar’Adua and Buhari again). Kano has produced two (Murtala Muhammed and Sani Abacha). Minna has produced two (Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar). Abeokuta has produced two, also on three different occasions (Obasanjo, Shonekan and Obasanjo again). Have their sons turned their cities or States into Eldorado? The answer is a resounding No!

Donald Duke agreed with me that Nigeria needs to be reconfigured and repositioned urgently. We are respected globally for our brilliance, intellect, innovativeness and boundless energy, but we parade some of the worst leaders on planet earth and the global community wonders how and why we allow the dregs of our society to represent us. Duke believes things might change for the better if we don’t give up. He said there are times he feels frustrated about the Nigerian situation but wakes up the next day re-energised seeing the potentials instead of the horrendous challenges and difficulties. He said he would appeal to members of his Party not to waste this unique opportunity because history would not forgive them if Nigeria collapses so miserably.

He elaborated extensively on his vision for Nigeria. He said rebuilding Nigeria is not going to take rocket science but vision, passion and total commitment to the ideals of civilisation. According to him, this cannot be achieved if we keep Nigeria perpetually in the hands of those who play Nigeria like Russian Roulette. For such leaders, there is no hurry or any sense of urgency to develop. Theirs is to attain power by crooked means, warm the seats and quit without any tangible achievement. Nigerians seem comfortable in this ‘game of thrones’ that forces them to accept their bizarre existence as if it were God-ordained. We all complain but still do nothing to correct these foolish anomalies.

How hopeful is he that he, or people of his ilk and pedigree, may emerge in the next dispensation? His response was very calm and sober. “If I can get the ticket of my Party, I’m certain that with the support of our members and the youths of Nigeria yearning for urgent restoration of hope, we shall defeat APC. I’m certain Nigerians are anxiously waiting for a leader with proven record of vigour and excellence. They will come out en masse to vote if they see such a candidate. And I promise to join hands with my Party to free Nigeria permanently from recession, oppression and depression. We know what to do to unlock the potentials of our vibrant youths and we possess the most important gift of all, the trust in our ability to take development to every part of our great country and attract our most fertile minds back home from all over the world. Our international friends are also waiting to support the right leadership when they see one. It would be the dawn of a new era in Nigeria…” I couldn’t help but shout a loud Amen to that, as he stood up to take his exit.

I followed him to his car and I felt proud and privileged knowing that such a leader is available if ever we need him and are ready to avail ourselves of his quality services. The ball is in our court.

Let’s keep the conversation flowing as I search and serve you more leaders soon.

God bless Nigeria

  • Tolu Olujinmi

    I do not know why some people would be the first among some readers of Bob Dee’s Pendulum column every week, just because the are always looking for a way to criticize, argue & condemn Dele’s epistles.
    If I must let those people who fall into this category know, you have the right to ignore this man’s message if you can, & or does not have anything meaningful to contribute to his narratives. I hope these people are not using all these criticisms for critical-writing course in a class.
    Dele, keep on flying, we are watching your back.

  • Aleks

    I’ve never been a fan of Dele Momodu, never will, but on this issue of Donald Duke, I can’t agree more with his position. Unfortunately, Dele’s reputation has not done Duke any good in this instance. I can bet that many of the negative comments we’ve got here has nothing to do with Duke, but a direct consequence of someone like Dele endorsing him. If I were aspiring for any political office, I’ll stay very far away from Dele Momodu.
    That said, a lot of people commenting here know next to nothing about Duke and/or his real achievements during his two terms as Cross River State Governor. Most people think Dukes main achievements were Tinapa, Obudu Ranch and Calabar Carnival. Nothing is farther from the truth, and it’s a great disservice to Duke when people only remember the above tourism products while totally relegating his solid achievements in the real economic and social sector. Indeed, Tinapa, Obudu Ranch, Calabar Festival/ Carnival and other tourism products have penetrated peoples consciousness so much that, very few have bothered to go deep enough to see and know that Dukes most impactful accomplishment as CRS Governor was improved access to electricity across the state. Within the 8 years that Duke was in power, he quietly took electrification (especially rural electrification) from a negligible level to something in the region of 80 – 85% of Cross River State. The impact of this on the socio-economic development of the state cannot be overemphasised. His other very impressive achievements were in education, agriculture, healthcare delivery, urban/rural roads and environmental conservation amongst others, however rural electrification remained the single most important legacy of his administration.
    Indeed persons in similar positions of responsibility need to take some lessons from the strategies that Duke deployed to accomplish such feat with the limited resources he had at his disposal during those eight years.
    Dukes commitment to providing sound education and health infrastructure in Cross River State was such that, despite the shameful lacklustre performance of his successors, the state is still reaping bountifully from the infrastructure and programs that he put in place in those sectors. His investments in agriculture reversed the declining production that the state witnessed in the production of its key cash crops like oil palm and cocoa, while cassava, rice and pineapples was elevated from subsistence production to large scale cash earner for government and private sector. The roads he built (which he usually insisted on inspecting every kilometres by himself before commissioning) outlived all the roads built by his successors. Urban water supply is another area that Duke scored very high collaborating with ADB to provide clean and reliable source of drinking water across urban areas in the state. Is it in attracting private investment? Today the few standing industrial investments in CRS were either initiated or revived during Dukes administration. What about labour? Within those few years, Duke had revolutionised the civil service in Cross River State. His discipline, provision of trainings, infrastructure and general motivation of the civil servants resulted in a quantum lift in the quality of service delivery during his administration. It is on record that he not only cleared the arrears of civil servants and pensioners salaries that he met on assumption of office, but owed neither civil servants nor pensioners salaries for any month throughout his 8 years tenure. Atop this, long before the federal government thought of sovereign wealth fund, even with the meagre resources available to the state, Duke had set up a Legacy Fund for the future and dutifully paid in N50m every month as savings for the future. I can go on and on. During Dukes administration in CRS, for the first time in many Nigerians lifetime, people actually started daring to believe that Nigeria can actually achieve its true potentials. It’s a shame though that the administrations that succeeded him in Cross River State tend to behave as if their only campaign promises were to destroy every single foundation that he laid to lift the state to greatness. Therein lies the tragedy of Nigeria, the giant with plastic feet.
    Which progressive nation won’t want to have such an intelligent, visionary and forward looking young man as it’s leader? Well not Nigeria, a nation that everything is viewed within the narrow prism of tribe and religion. If not, why would people who know next to nothing about this young man come out here to pour out wild venom just because a discredited journalist like Dele Momodu decided to spill dirt on an otherwise accomplished leader in the name of endorsing him.
    Dukes Absence from governance in Nigeria, is not his personal loss, but a most spectacular loss for the nation. How long we wish to continue wallowing in such self immolation, I cannot say. But for many who dearly love this nation, we can’t wait for the day that someone like Duke will mount the mantle of leadership for Nigeria. Maybe God will smile on me that it happens in my lifetime.

  • Ralph

    I have personally met HE Donald Duke and his equally lovely wife on a flight commended him for his leadership and foresight. I find no one more qualified as C-in-C/President of FRN. However, power will not be thrust on Donald simply because he is good. Donald has to stay active and relevant. When OBJ stopped his ambition in 20034, Donald simply went quietly and kept low key. He should have been in Senate. Granted his brother was Min of Culture, but that didn’t stop him being relevant. People like Sen Udo Udoma have found a way to make a mark in Nigeria. Im sure Donald can find a way too. Even if he doesnt end up as President (only God knows if it is his destiny)

  • AyoJon

    And you supported Saraki

  • moribund9ja

    Dele read your article again.
    It’s surprising that you know this much yet you vigorously campaigned for a moron like Buhari.
    Shame to you people.

    • James Gunn

      😁😁😁😂😂

  • Chris Ibeakuzie

    Mr. Donald Duke will make a very successful Vice President to Alhaji Abubakar Atiku in the PDP come 2019 election.

    • James Gunn

      Plausible

    • Ralph

      That will be a monumental error

  • Arabakpura

    I am waiting for the day Dele Momodu will meet the real Dele Momodu; that will be the day that Dele Momodu the columnist and publisher will be true to himself!

  • Jon West

    The Donald is a very handsome and presentable young man and was well versed in the public relations aspect of governance during his 8 years in power in the civil service state of Cross River. The Donald was quite good at carnivals and other leisure activities but did not do much in the real sectors of manufacturing and agriculture.

    To put his suitability for Nigerian leadership in proper context, we need to know that the Donald was evicted from his palatial condominium complex in Ikoyi , Lagos , recently for the economic misdemeanor of failing to meet his financial obligations to the financial institutions that funded his beatiful real estate.
    He was shown on live TV,leaving the complex in a hurry , wearing only bath robes. That’s your future Nigerian President, according to Dele Momodu . However, worse things have happened; afterall we have a Certificateless President who could not grow his herd of 150 cattle over twenty years, even after looting the PTF and NNPC. Bring on the Donald, lets have some festival fun. To hell with Nigeria!!

    • KWOY

      I suggest you take up a column Jon. You are too brilliant & exposed to be only reacting to half-baked propagandas!! The public will profit so much from your enlightenment! The discourse will be highly enriched. You will stand in the mould of Akin Osuntokun! Bravo!!

      • Jon West

        Thanks my brother, but nobody would have me. I tried with Thisday Backpages on their own invitation, but they very quickly found me a liability after a few articles. Well, we shall keep trying our best to either save Nigeria or very quickly arrange its demise . There are no half-measures. Africa and the Black race are waiting expectantly.

        • wanwa

          Try Vanguard, The Sun or Daily Post. You will make front page.

        • FrNinja

          Nigeria takes it for granted that it is black Africas leader but if you travel through Africa you realize that Nigeria is actually the African version of India swimming in monumental corruption and bad governance hatching a few extremely
          wealthy people and pumping out a sea of the wretched of the earth.

          Perhaps if Nigeria disintegrates it will produce smaller better governed countries that will do Africa proud.

        • James Gunn

          I wondered what happened with that. Now I wonder no more.

      • Be Sincere

        I see this fact also. how I wish JW could take a column. Always factual, succinct and enlightening. Your column will be a delight Jon

    • Arabakpura

      When Obasanjo was shopping for who to dash the Nigerian Presidency to after him, Donald Duke’s name came up prominently and Obasanjo simply retorted that he didn’t want to turn Aso Villa into a music theatre! Whatever that meant!

      • Ralph

        And see how OBJ’s sense of character judgement played out! He went for a shoeless drunkard who ended up supervising the disapperance of billions of dollars we are still looking for all over the world and nearly lost the country to black flag waving lunatics!

    • James Gunn

      😁😁😁😁😁😁

    • Aleks

      My most respected Jon West, I have come across few with your intellectual capacity in this forum, hence whenever I find the time, I always try to read your comments, and I mostly agree with them.
      However, in this instance, I beg to disagree. I’ve not known much of Dukes personal life, but I have followed his public life and contributions to governance with intrudging admiration.
      I can say so because I witnessed his administration in CRS first hand.
      I’ve never been a fan of Dele Momodu, never will, but on this issue of Donald Duke, I can’t agree more with his position. Unfortunately, Dele’s reputation has not done Duke any good in this instance. I can bet that many of the negative comments we’ve got here has nothing to do with Duke, but a direct consequence of someone like Dele endorsing him. If I were aspiring for any political office, I’ll stay very far away from Dele Momodu.
      That said, a lot of people commenting here know next to nothing about Duke and/or his real achievements during his two terms as Cross River State Governor. Most people think Dukes main achievements were Tinapa, Obudu Ranch and Calabar Carnival. Nothing is farther from the truth, and it’s a great disservice to Duke when people only remember the above tourism products while totally relegating his solid achievements in the real economic and social sector. Indeed, Tinapa, Obudu Ranch, Calabar Festival/ Carnival and other tourism products have penetrated peoples consciousness so much that, very few have bothered to go deep enough to see and know that Dukes most impactful accomplishment as CRS Governor was improved access to electricity across the state. Within the 8 years that Duke was in power, he quietly took electrification (especially rural electrification) from a negligible level to something in the region of 80 – 85% of Cross River State. The impact of this on the socio-economic development of the state cannot be overemphasised. His other very impressive achievements were in education, agriculture, healthcare delivery, urban/rural roads and environmental conservation amongst others, however rural electrification remained the single most important legacy of his administration.
      Indeed persons in similar positions of responsibility need to take some lessons from the strategies that Duke deployed to accomplish such feat with the limited resources he had at his disposal during those eight years.
      Dukes commitment to providing sound education and health infrastructure in Cross River State was such that, despite the shameful lacklustre performance of his successors, the state is still reaping bountifully from the infrastructure and programs that he put in place in those sectors. His investments in agriculture reversed the declining production that the state witnessed in the production of its key cash crops like oil palm and cocoa, while cassava, rice and pineapples was elevated from subsistence production to large scale cash earner for government and private sector. The roads he built (which he usually insisted on inspecting every kilometres by himself before commissioning) outlived all the roads built by his successors. Urban water supply is another area that Duke scored very high collaborating with ADB to provide clean and reliable source of drinking water across urban areas in the state. Is it in attracting private investment? Today the few standing industrial investments in CRS were either initiated or revived during Dukes administration. What about labour? Within those few years, Duke had revolutionised the civil service in Cross River State. His discipline, provision of trainings, infrastructure and general motivation of the civil servants resulted in a quantum lift in the quality of service delivery during his administration. It is on record that he not only cleared the arrears of civil servants and pensioners salaries that he met on assumption of office, but owed neither civil servants nor pensioners salaries for any month throughout his 8 years tenure. Atop this, long before the federal government thought of sovereign wealth fund, even with the meagre resources available to the state, Duke had set up a Legacy Fund for the future and dutifully paid in N50m every month as savings for the future. I can go on and on. During Dukes administration in CRS, for the first time in many Nigerians lifetime, people actually started daring to believe that Nigeria can actually achieve its true potentials. It’s a shame though that the administrations that succeeded him in Cross River State tend to behave as if their only campaign promises were to destroy every single foundation that he laid to lift the state to greatness. Therein lies the tragedy of Nigeria, the giant with plastic feet.
      Which progressive nation won’t want to have such an intelligent, visionary and forward looking young man as it’s leader? Well not Nigeria, a nation that everything is viewed within the narrow prism of tribe and religion. If not, why would people who know next to nothing about this young man come out here to pour out wild venom just because a discredited journalist like Dele Momodu decided to spill dirt on an otherwise accomplished leader in the name of endorsing him.
      Dukes Absence from governance in Nigeria, is not his personal loss, but a most spectacular loss for the nation. How long we wish to continue wallowing in such self immolation, I cannot say. But for many who dearly love this nation, we can’t wait for the day that someone like Duke will mount the mantle of leadership for Nigeria. Maybe God will smile on me that it happens in my lifetime.

      • Jon West

        Okay, I believe that he did more than I was ready to give him credit for, but I know him personally and he is too much of a showman, without much intellectual debt. He wont do better than Obasanjo for sure, but would be more democratic and is also handsome, as an icing on the cake .

    • Ralph

      You may be right about Donald being in debt. But that is not a question of his integrity or capability. It shows the man did his best not to steal. You may not know this but Cross River was getting nothing from FG compared to nearby states like mine – AKS. But he did a lot in Agriculture and Tourism – playing to the strengths of his community. You must be a pompous person who thinks you will never fall on hard times. Tells me you havent got much life experience. Keep living!

  • John Paul

    “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it” – Franz Fanon. Similarly, every person must discovery their mission, fulfill it, or betray it.

    No doubt Donald Duke was one of the shining stars of at the beginning of the fourth republic. He caught our attention with Tinapa, etc. We gave him “A” for effort. He was one of the people that we wanted as president in 2007.

    Where Donald Duke betrayed his mission was his eerie silence during the worst looting in the History of Africa . The pillage that occurred during the dying years of PDP. Donald Duke was missing in action. He did not speak up against this blasphemy. He was nowhere to be found

    He was silent when vermin were engaged in $6.8 billion fuel subsidy fraud. He was silent while Nigeria was hemorrhaging $10 billion per annum in oil theft. No one heard a hoot from him. He stayed loyal to his party – the idiotic PDP – and betrayed his counrty

    That era presented a golden opportunity for Donald Duke to show some leadership. He should have elevated the interest of the masses over party loyalty. But he did not do so. He took the wide road that led to a betrayal of his national mission

    “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions” – Barack Obama

    Contrary to what the naysayers make think, Nigeria is actually on the right track. Thanks to the Nigerian masses, who had the courage to take a stand and kick the idiotic PDP out of power in 2015, our institutions have been strengthened

    We now have stronger electoral system. Two strong political parties. A stronger military. A stronger EFCC. A stronger resolve to develop our country. And the vermin who have built an industry, and lifestyle, on looting our resources, are dying a slow and painful death

    To maintain the course. Nigerians have to focus on development and productivity. We have to shame, disgrace and get rid of the parasites in the system who produce nothing and still loot the funds that is meant for our development

    The cup is half full

    • Gary

      Really? Even paid sycophancy must have an element of truth that is then exaggerated.
      But apparently not with you.

      The Nigerian cup is half full with Mainagate, Barugate, the Ikoyi Loot, the Grass-cutting deal, inconclusive elections unless APC wins, nepotism and sectarianism as governing principles under Buhari, an Army that massacres hundreds of citizens over their religious sects and has become of repression in a quasi-Police State under an old and sickly illiterate Islamic fanatic? Amid recession, mounting unemployment and deteriorating living and material conditions of an unchecked population?

      Seriously, only a insane mind will dare to comes to the public square to claim these as progress and delude himself that Nigeria is better off today than it was before May 29, 2015. Not continue to spout the patent falsehood that corruption under Jonathan was anywhere close to the kleptocracy of the IBB, Abacha and even Abdulsalam years.
      Only in Nigeria.

      • Ralph

        All those gates you listed are either the fruit of the last PDP government or just a perception problem (Baru).

    • KWOY

      Pity the soul whose consolation must be your kind. For, if that is the consolation you are taking for the baggage you inflicted then you are not enviable. Dele Momodu is at least admitting mistakes & seeking for solution. But not you – because you cannot escape the shame & gilt of imposing the ruinous beast you did for appointments! ….I’ll ask you the question of 2 political parties after 2023…at the longest!

    • FrNinja

      Nigeria has a fundamental governance problem which affects PDP and APC alike. The motivation of public office remains to subtract not to add. At least PDP made it a national umbrella of corruption and looting from the start while APC was assembled as a vehicle for Northern muslim hegemony and Yoruba opportunism.

  • His Excellency, your piece with Dele Momudu is very interesting. Those of us that hold our valuable leaders such as you with proven track record in high esteem know what you can do, we know your pedigree. Our thoughts is one – may God Almighty that seeth the hearts of men, that made you the Governor of Cross River State when people never thought it will be possible lead you into the Presidency of Nigeria to replicate the wonders you brought as Governor in Jesus name. For as Dele said, ” a leader can never give or deliver what he does not possess”.

  • Salmon Omokanye

    Dele Momodu is a complex character; a quaint mix of demagogue and vibrant workaholic. His presentation of Donald Duke is however right and timely. Am sure most people knew Donald duke had more ability than Obasanjo and Yaradua. But Obasanjo made Yaradua his choice and imposed him as president in a “selection” rather than “election”. And of course PDP is a Conservative party that is likely to pander to Emiers and prophets than listen to professors. Donald Duke is not right for PDP and PDP is not ready for Donald Duke. Realistically, Donald Duke should go to the drawing board and join others of that level of ability to bring the right political party to rescue Nigeria. Alternatively, he should join the APC and team up with the progressives in that party. Best wishes

    • austin

      Pray, who are the progressives in APC?

  • American Abroad

    Nigeria is drowning, dying in installments from a thousand cuts. The deepest cuts have been inflicted by widespread, reflexive corruption (of which said Mr Duke is an exemplar), smoldering undeclared civil wars (Delta, Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen, IPOB to name the top 4), civil anarchy (from kidnapping, armed brigandage, ritual mutilation, forced dispossession, police brutality, military mayhem, labor unrest), loss of faith in nationhood and leadership (or what else do you think all the talk of “restructuring is about?), climatic changes (threatening to completely, irrevocably, sink Lagos island and most of Ikeja and environs by 2035) and a demographic time-bomb. Yet, we argue over the relative merits of solipsistic, narcissistic, Me-too leadership? Are we all insane?
    I’ll share a recent analysis from VenturesAfrica.

    “According to the World Poverty Clock, Nigeria’s struggle with overpopulation will be a problem now, rather than in 2050. Nigeria will by February 2018 overtake India as the country with the most people in extreme poverty. Currently, 82 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty, which is 42.4 percent of Nigeria’s population.
    The World Poverty Clock, a brainchild of the World Data Lab, tracks poverty estimates in about 99.7 percent of the countries in the world, using data obtained from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, and the governments of these countries. Using this data, it estimates the rate at which poverty is being reduced globally, and also how many more people are becoming extremely poor in these countries.
    Living in extreme poverty as defined by the World Bank is living under $1.90 per day. People living in extreme poverty are unable to meet their minimal needs for survival. The first goal of the Sustainable Development Goals, set by the UN in 2015 is to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030”. To achieve that globally, by putting it into numbers, 90 people need to leave poverty every minute to eradicate poverty totally by 2030.
    However, there is a shortage of about 9.5 million people globally per year. Presently, The World Poverty Clock, which monitors live estimates of global extreme poverty predicts that for the 2030 SDG target to be met in Africa, 57 people have to leave extreme poverty every minute. However, that is not the case, as on the average, 9 people rather than leaving, enter extreme poverty every minute. Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo are both responsible for the 9. Nigeria needs 11.9 people per minute to escape extreme poverty, but presently has a deficit of 6.8 people every minute, i.e. 6.8 people enter into poverty every minute.
    For Nigeria, its problem is its population. Nigeria’s population is growing faster than its economy. Between 1990 and 2013, Nigeria’s population increased by 81 percent. By 2050, going by the speed of its present population growth rate, Nigeria will be the third most populous country in the world. By passing the 400 million mark, it will be taking over from the U.S.A. and be only behind China and India.
    On the contrary, in recent times, Nigeria’s recent dwindling oil wealth due to the global oil price reduction, with oil being the mainstay of its economy, meaning its oil-dependent GDP would be affected too. The country’s economy was hit hard by the recent recession in the country. IMF projects GDP to rise by only 0.8 percent in 2018, after the recession since 2016 had slowed down the economy.
    Nigeria’s mean household income per capita is $1168, as compared to India’s $1759. However, this wouldn’t be an accurate measure of the welfare of the average Nigerian. What would be accurate to measure the economic growth as compared to its growing population will be the wealth distribution. More wealth is concentrated with the elites, despite the country’s oil wealth, than among the people. Those who have access to this oil wealth through politics have been the major recipients of the wealth. The high rate of unemployment, endemic corruption, the lack of basic social amenities for millions of people, the difficulty in doing business and the millions living in poverty are all consequences of the huge inequality in Nigeria.
    Hence, Nigeria’s rising extreme poverty numbers isn’t unexpected. Instead, it’s a direct result of years of negligent and ineffective government policies. It’s dependence on oil for years and an inability to generate non-oil revenue has led it to this. Even now, Nigeria’s 2018 record budget is running on a deficit and will be funded by much borrowing with government debts also on the rise. It would be extremely difficult for the country to meet that 1st goal of the SDGs, which all the other goals are more or less dependent on.
    The solution to this problem would be the formation of a credible policy aimed at eradicating poverty. The clock is ticking”.

    Nigeria will be an unlivable country by 2050. I’ll ask again: are we all insane?

    • Gary

      You have again presented a national problem in elegant and flowery language.
      But alas, without hazarding any solutions other than questioning the intelligence of the public couched as rhetorics. The trademark of the Nigerian manager or media pundit.
      Any six-year old in Nigeria knows generators provide power and treated boreholes water. And the Police take bribes at checkpoints and Buhari is not articulate and has turned out worse than Jonathan.
      We are fifteen months away from the next elections. Enough of simply itemizing problems in grandiloquent grammar without proffering viable solutions.

      • American Abroad

        I’ve given so many solutions on these BackPages, I can only imagine you are either a newcomer on this forum or a troll passing by.
        Regardless, I’ll give you one solution as a start: enable EFCC, round up all those who have stolen anything above 1 million Naira from our patrimony, try them fairly (and openly) according to the rules of law & evidence, and shoot them. It’s that simple- and necessary.
        A looter is worse than a poorly paid policeman who asks for alms (for want of a better description) at checkpoints: one is a nuisance lacking in pride, the other is the reason Nigeria will implode sooner than later.
        By the way, I supported Buhari simply because I believed he will finally put paid to official corruption. Either Nigeria or Corruption will survive, not both.

        • Jon West

          And shoot them? And you are a Professor? Perhaps a Professor of impunity, despotism and Buharinomics, the grand art of hypocrisy in the service of unmitigated corruption and incompetence. To hell with Nigeria!!

          • American Abroad

            Yes, Mr Jon West, I would. But I would surely follow due process as well as the letter of the Law.
            And, by the way, if the scuttlebutt that you actually own a “mansion” in Asokoro is true, and its value is not consistent with your known earned salary as an ex-Director at NNPC, I would regretfully but fastidiously tie you to the stakes as Guest of Honor at a firing squad, our personal friendship notwithstanding. I feel that strongly about it.
            Public brigandage in Nigeria must come to an end, and public morality must be reinstated; this is no way to run a country, or indeed, conduct human affairs. My father served this country and his community for years, and guess what- he did it ENTIRELY for free, as he already had a very successful legal practice and thought it was his contribution to his country. Besides, he would NEVER take a bribe or suborn corruption in any way. That was just in the 1970s and early 1980s, and he was not an aberration then; many of his colleagues did likewise, and for that reason, supported Murtala Mohammed who appeared eager to address Nigeria’s Corruption Elephant in the room.
            We simply must reclaim our sense of morality and call out the swindlers and the terminally “corrupt in both high and low places”, to purloin an Nzeogwuism. I owe nobody any apologies for such very strong views on Corruption, which has crippled and maimed, and now finally threatens to garrote Nigeria.
            Any more questions?

          • FrNinja

            Your father was either an aberration or you did not know him enough. Nigeria was always fantastically corrupt and fundamentally lawless as the Brits documented in their journals, as writers like Achebe also explored in his books on the early years of independence.

            The scale of system failure in Nigeria is the combination of these twin factors. Money is not just stolen at the top but throughout Nigerian society. Rules are not just broken by Saraki and friends but by everyone all the way down to the street vendor.

            An infamous article by a white oil worker based on his experiences in Nigeria made the salient observation that if you took the average Nigerian and put him in the presidency or halls of government there would be no change in behavior. How many countries are this bad?

            Nigeria has already descended into this pit of hell and as a country will only be redeemed by genuine large scale individual repentance. Otherwise it is headed for an early exit.

          • American Abroad

            In matters of personal probity, one can only speak or vouch for oneself or those s/he knows intimately. No, my father wasn’t an aberration; Yes, I know him very, very, well, and I am pretty much like him (a major reason I’d never steal public or private funds: he’d be too mortified and ashamed of his first son for me to even idly contemplate such infamy); Yes, again, I will never take a bribe; and of course, yes, there were- and still are- a lot of Nigerians who never will. I’ll give you a few names: Mr Muhammadu Buhari, Chukwukadibia Obiakor, Gamaliel Onosode, and just a few years ago, Kayode Eso, Sir Louis Mbanefo, Aminu Kano, Buba Ardo, Akanu Ibiam… actually, it’s a fairly decent list. Perhaps you should talk to your father about his own example to you?

          • Jon West

            There you go again, exhibiting your ignorance about the state of affairs in your country of birth. Muhammadu (or is it Mohamed?) Buhari should not be in your list of the unbribable. He took bribes while he presided over the NNPC and PTF and was also complicit in the Dasukigate scandal, which is why the case will never go to court. Dasuki, an intelligence officer and a scoundrel to boot, videod the transaction where your former hero was compromised with $400,000 in cash and two Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs. Please be careful about assertions about an environment that you are far removed from. Sometimes, it is better to exercise some caution and humility instead of trying to be the “main man” every time.

          • American Abroad

            Maybe, he is as corrupt as you are. Who knows?
            It’s not personal, I’m just laying out the facts as they are. Corruption is the reason Nigeria is failing, why people die daily from diseases that have been eradicated elsewhere, schools hire El-Rufai type reachers and expect kids to compete in a global arena, newspapers publish nonsense in bad prose and expansive illogic, roads are killing fields where access is denied traffic and pedestrians, each year is predictably worse than the preceding year, there are acres of arable land but no affordable food, everybody is desperate to “make it” at the cost of his neighbor’s life. ‘
            Mr Jon West, I think I am sadly disappointed that perhaps, despite your own education and insight, you are still too “Nigerian” in its worst self-defeating coloration, and I will consequently depart this dialogue. A corrupt man is a man who has not yet evolved. Period.

          • Ralph

            And the Buhari bribes were paid to your account?

          • Be Sincere

            This is very childish of you. What is your age please?

          • Ralph

            You think the Brits are not equally morally and fiscally corrupt? Maybe you havent heard of the expenditure and sexual scandals. The current PM is only in power because she bribed the DUP with £1bn in ‘projects’ from a magical money tree. Dont suffer from the bigotry of low self-esteem

          • FrNinja

            The brits are so morally and fiscally corrupt that they suffer from power outages, bad education, rubbish public healthcare, poor public water supply while their leaders cruise around in SUVs on potholed roads. Clap for yourself imbecile.

          • John Paul

            Alas, it is a mental problem

            ————————————————————————————-
            “There is a whole body of research that when people grow up in an environment where people are poor, no healthy food, no job, once the mother and father live there, the offspring will have anti-social effects from the very beginning. Research showed that if the mother and the father suffered hunger at the time they made the baby such that, during pregnancy, they did not have enough food for the foetus, this can predispose the offspring to this personality trait. The conclusion can be that anti-social characteristics may be understood as a form of environmental adaptation so that exposure to malnutrition, to hunger during the formation of the baby can have impact on sex …brain development predisposes these people to the so called-anti-social behaviours like, to have food, you have to kill or steal – Professor Franzek, Psychiatrist
            ———————————————————————————————–

            Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/the-mental-disorder-that-makes-nigerian-leaders-loot-prof-franzek-researcher-reveals/

          • American Abroad

            I agree. That is why a lot of our problems are seemingly intractable. That is also, by the way, why the famine of war-time Biafra has wreaked such unconscionable havoc on present Igbo leadership, as those same 1967-1970 kids are now in positions of leadership. As Achebe (or more appropriately, TS Elliot) might have said, things have fallen apart.

          • FrNinja

            What about the soldier class? How many military officers came from comfortable backgrounds like Ojukwu?

          • Jon West

            Tying Jon West to the stake? It can never happen for the simple reason that I would be long gone, being a major player in the Nigerian conondurm and either a participant in the interment of the of the Nigerian disaster or an active observer in the process. As for the Asokoro mansion, well even Buhari has one and he also cannot honestly explain its value when juxtaposed with his income over the years, so I may be in good company for the coming march to the guillotine with your man and his Marie Antoinette. However, please be informed that I have always lived below my means, a rather tragic advise from our fathers, which we cannot now overcome. A man should really live above his means. Life is too short.

          • Be Sincere

            Mr AA, you are always good at grammar but very poor in idea.

          • American Abroad

            Perhaps, Sir. What are YOUR ideas?

        • AyoJon

          As far as I’m concerned. Why can’t 2 out of the 17 count charges be enough to convict these looters rather than throwing out the case.
          One count charge for stealing N2500 get people death sentence in this Nigeria

    • FrNinja

      Nigeria is 10 years or less from public financial meltdown and almost certain disintegration. Nigeria will not exist in 2050. It will be an example in the history books of the perils of corruption and incompetence.

    • Country man

      Dear AA,
      I would like to get your thoughts on the current structure Nigeria operates.
      I have not read your opinion on restructuring the nation, and what kind(that’s if you are in support) you will love to see in Nigeria.

      • American Abroad

        The best architects try to marry Structure with Function. That was the genius of Le Corbusier. In Nigeria, we wrongly believe there is a “magic” structure, and worse, it will prayerfully (we pray a lot, remember?) override poor function. That is the madness of Nigerians.
        “Restructuring” is a reaction to public dissatisfaction with lousy government, which the people, rightly or wrongly, believe is not acting in their best interests. It is a symptom, not the cause of a pathology, consequently I see it as a rabbit-hole or red herring, which I can neither applaud nor condemn on its merits. However, like any other distraction, I ignore it for the most part.
        We need a fair, dedicated, inclusive, patriotic (to the concept of a federal Nigeria, not inbred parochial instincts), informed, self-sacrificial government that understands that Corruption is inconsistent with Nigeria’s survival as a nation and that Excellence is the key to communal progress, as it breeds success all-round. We should stop sending in our fourth Eleven to do serious work on behalf of everyone else, for as Buhari’s lame cabinet manifests, the very best of the Third Rate is still third-rate. That’s why we are in the doldrums. It has nothing to do with structure but function.

        • Jon West

          My dear man, structure affects function. When will you get clever?

          • American Abroad

            Point taken.

        • Country man

          Dear AA,
          While I believe there is no magic structure, the one we operate may never lead us to eldorado and there are few points that tell us so.
          First the unitary system poses a challenge because it makes states unproductive. Governors, ministers, house of rep, etc are all paid whether they are productive, efficient or not. Why will they brainstorm to generate revenue? If you had a job that never required you to turn up at the office and be productive but nevertheless paid you monthly would you overly worry yourself?
          That’s our situation with the present leaders and it has permeated the civil service, hence the docility and idiocy we see all around.

          There is a reason free market economies did much better than socialist or communist nations.
          Wealth in the hands of people, simply created healthy competition and had a ripple effect on productivity.
          Imagine Nigerians being able to own the resources in their lands.
          People in kogi can mine their iron ore without govt bureaucracy. Same goes for people who have lands with coal, lands with limestone, lands for arable farming, etc.
          The idea of GOVERNMENT MONEY which is nobody’s money is part of the reasons corruption is hitting the roof here.

          And yes talking about fighting corruption I can state that its the SYMPTOM, not the problem.
          Let’s look at our checkered history.
          Nzogwu and co struck in order to fight corruption, did it stop? NO
          Murtala tried to purge the civil service of corruption, did it stop? NO.
          Buhari in his first coming, came to remove corruption, did he succeed? NO
          Buhari is here again fighting corruption has he made any progress so far? NO
          The truth should be obvious to any rational individual by now:-
          The present Nigerian structure supports and provides a conducive ground for corruption and till its changed nothing will change in the mindset of the people.

          • FrNinja

            Yes the structure is wrong. Nigerians are just not dedicated to the country. But they are dedicated to exploiting it for their own benefit. Frankly to me Nigeria either needs to be administered by the UN for 100 years to get things working or disassembled into smaller entities along ethnic and sub ethnic lines. Let all of these smaller countries belong to ECOWAS for trade.

            Otherwise the coming collapse of the termite hill called Nigeria will not be pretty.

        • omodafididafidi

          Le courbusier! Hmm. AA Are you are architect

    • AyoJon

      I still don’t understand why people are happy that our population is exploding. Human capital my foot

    • Ralph

      Some of you need to travel out a but more. You think there is poverty in Nigeria only right? I can take you to places with extreme poverty in the very heart of the US and UK this very second. With people sleeping out in the cold without food to eat. Some of them are war veterans. Please it aint all that bad in Nigeria. Don’t believe some of these statistics people write from ivory towers while watching CNN and dont know what Murtala Muhammed Airport looks like. Recently a ‘reputable report’ by someone listed Lagos as a terrorist hotspot because of Maidugri. Clearly not knowing the distance between Maidugri and Lagos

      • American Abroad

        Sir: even some of us who may not have traveled out to the UK or USA would immediately recognize the fallacy intrinsic to your hypothesis. Those same homeless veterans “sleeping out in the cold without food to eat” would still be there, each successive day and night, and should they choose, could go into homeless shelters, free meals through locally sponsored Meals-On-Wheels, collect guaranteed governmental financial support each month, are entitled to free or subsidized housing (especially veterans), even free medical care through the VA program or Medicaid or Medicare (if they are 65 years or older) to treat their drug habit or psychiatric pathology, which is the reason 95% of them were outdoors bin the first place. In Nigeria, they would have long fallen prey to ritualists, buried in unmarked graves at any one of a thousand witch-doctor hovels.

  • Gary

    Dele, is the mere fact of Donald becoming a Governor now subordinate his peer to calling him “Oga”?
    You see how we put people on a pedestal and build a wall that subsequently blocks them from those they need to get unvarnished feedback?
    If you are already fawning with praise for Donald outside office, what would you then do if he were to gain power? Become another Lai Mohammed and build 24/7 propaganda operation as a temple for cult-worship for an Emperor in borrowed robes?

    As for Donald himself, he gave us no special insight into his vision of agenda for the country nor how he hopes to bring such to fruition. Then he talks as if he’s took a marital vow to the PDP or that Nigeria is officially wedded to a two-party system. The latter is the unfortunate impression that the Nigerian Press has steadfastly misrepresented to the electorate.
    Is anyone stopping Donald and likeminds from joining any party that is not tied to the Zoning arrangement of the leprous PDP and APC?
    He moans about his opposition to zoning as inimical to national progress yet refuses to do anything about it. Pretty much how the rest of the so-called political class approach the National Question. Folks who want to go to heaven but are in no hurry to die.
    A thousand personality profiles or PR sessions with Dele Momodu will not make the fundamental issue of Restructuring disappear. Like you said, it’s not rocket science to know why Nigerians thrive in societies that value reward merit, enterprise and competence. But fail miserably and underachieve in their own country. It’s the structure, stupid.

  • Mystic mallam

    Mr. Dele Momodu never disappoints with journalism afflicted with jaundice and prejudice. he so desperately wanted to say what a disappointment President Buhari turned out to be, but characteristically, he lacked the cojones to say so. Hear his detour to old man Mandela who surrounded himself with the best and brightest, and old man Mugabe who has party hacks and loyalists around him. How could a regular Nigerian relate to that? He could have used old man Obasanjo who chose the best hands he could find,[whatever else one might say about OBJ] and old man Buhari surrounded by his fellow natives, court jesters and personal sycophants. Ordinary Nigerians could relate to that, but for Dele, his innate code of cowardice and sycophancy would be breached. Another thing, it does amuse when hyperbole crosses the threshold of of the ridiculous. I wish Mr Momodu could be challenged to describe for us the identical particulars of Dubai and Calabar for which we should all line up to hail Donald Duke [I have nothing against the guy]. But if his ”achievements” include Tinapa and the tourism thing, then am sorry, Mr Momodu is yet to understand the meaning of achievement in a developing country where extreme poverty, hunger, want, ignorance and disease define the daily lives of the people. Finally, one would assume that the vastly travelled Mr Momodu would know one or two things about the real world – but hear him salivate at Mr Donald Duke’s puerile prospect of ”our international friends waiting to support the right leadership” – how naive could a prospective national leader possibly be!!!

  • Wikileaks

    Uncle Dee, the other day, you suggested people like Atiku and Akpabio after supporting Buhari to get to power. Now it’s Donald Duke. Tomorrow it might be Bola Tinubu.

  • RumuPHC

    This is rather sad coming from a columnist.

    When did Donald Duke become “Oga ” to Dele Momodu and on exactly what premise is do we situate the conclusion that Donald Duke is fit to be president of Nigeria ?

    I thought good journalism is about presentation of facts !

  • Fowad

    People think leadership is the solution like you op-ed suggests. I think our problem is more than that. When we have dealt with our backward culture through proper education and not mushrooming of buildings then something will happen.

    Some of our politicians who received good education like Donald Duke ran to the top of the ladder. They gave something but what they gave is not enough for them to be president. They did what they did to make claims for more access to power without adressing our real problems. Duke cannot just use Western education. We need Western education plus. How many of these guys have proved they have that?

    Robert Mugabe saw the problem. He made his mistakes, but our leaders here in Nigeria did not even try. Now that the problems are piling up notice what they are doing. They are hanging on to power more. They have made Nigeria a place where only fittest survive. They are deploying their education to grab as much as they can. This is why I can never trust a so-called educated man who want to rule Nigeria. They are the same people who will go and work with the so-called illiterate presidents and corrupt them.

    We must all accept that Nigeria was handed a sour grape right from the beginning. Then we can use education with selflessness to redress the imbalance

    • FrNinja

      Nigerias major problem is leadership. Leaders dont necessarily have to be selfless but have great vision, hard work and patience. If you want to see great leaders go and look at those that built the pyramids of Egypt, the great wall of China, the golden gate bridge, the missions to space.

      The Nigerian leader has created nothing of note. Look at Nigerian cities, look at the national highways, power grid, airports. Primitive and the people running them. Pathetic.

      American government inspires awe, Nigerian government elicits disgust.

  • Country man

    Mr Dele,
    This kind of journalism is part of the reason why the right people never get into power.
    You met with Mr Duke and he expressed interest in running for the presidency.
    This was a golden opportunity to get to know his blueprint.
    He wants to free Nigeria from recession, oppression, etc.
    The number one question is HOW?
    I have been to Calabar and there is nothing fantastic to actually make Duke stand tall above others. However it would have been insightful to get his thoughts on Nigeria’s current template.
    Anyone who has no intention of overhauling the present structure has nothing new to offer and I believe this is what the fourth estate should emphasize, not fawning over politicians like you have done on this article

  • Daniel Obior

    As always, Dele Momodu is a fraud, through and through. Hear him: ” A leader can only be fired up by the limits of his education, background, worldview, experience and exposure. Age is also a factor, a man who made a mess of important assignments in his prime is not likely to make a success of it when he has become totally weak and dim-witted”. But rather than mention the man Buhari, who we all know perfectly fits this his description, he went for the jugular of Mugabe. Mugabe has overstayed and should have groomed a successor. But, Mugabe is cerebral and he is the most educated head of state in the world. As president, he is culpable for the misfortunes of his country. However, his country is more the victim of the punishing sanctions of the west, because he dared dispossess the minority whites of the land they stole from the blacks. Please call a spade a spade, Dele Momodu.

    • Truth is bitter

      Do you not know Dele Momodu to be a praise singer by now. The man is Owambe journalist always looking ways to progress in life. He tried all he could to get appointment with Buhari but failed. He tried to promote his friend, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, a very irresponsible fellow, to become governor of Lagos state but failed. All his life is about climbing the social ladder and name dropping. There are people who were born poor and rose in life without name dropping and sucking up to people in power looking for favours – not Dele Momodu. I have met Donald Duke before, he needs to be more humble and work actively for what he wants in life. He is however in the wrong party. PDP in 16 years could not provide us with electricity, good roads, good schools and hospitals. PDP has been hijacked by scavengers and blood suckers. The party will never regain power at the federal level again.

      • Emmanuel Oluwole ONI

        You are 100% right. Exactly my thoughts too. Pre-2015, he was busy campaigning for Buhari and even meeting him immediately after the success of his election. However, when he couldnt secure the much needed chop-make-I-chop appointment in this government, he began negative media campaigns against Buhari. I am neither a fan of Buhari not Momodu but it is good for a man to have defined characters that could be vouched for anyday, anytime. Dele Momodu has lost the little respect he has gathered over the years in the media space with this write-up.

    • Fowad

      Daniel you hit the nail on the head.

    • Taiwo Babatunde Hakeem

      Dan may I ask a simple question, are you mentally stable?

      • Daniel Obior

        Simple answer: Yes I am mentally stable.
        Simple fact: You are dumb to ask a dumb question.

    • Your attacks on Dele is uncalled for. He who the cap fits, let him wear it.

      • Daniel Obior

        The cap does not fit him and my comments says why. Please feel free to disagree with my comment but say why.

      • Arabakpura

        Yes, even if the cap is made of raffia which fits Dele snugly!

    • Arabakpura

      You also took notice of that! This Dele of a man is one of the problems of Nigeria! Calling a spade a garden folk and not being true to himself! The tragedy is that he goes about propping up and deceiving this so-called leaders!

  • Chichi Girl

    Well,well,well…I like Donald duke. He speaks well and as you say he is handsome. Apart from the failed Tinapa and the CALABAR carnival, what exactly did he do for his state. I would have preferred if he articulated how he brought out his state from poverty and the blue print he left to ensure the state continues to run. I used to go to CALABAR for official duties during his tenure, I can assure you that apart from December most of those hotels are empty during the year. Would you believe that the month of December is a holiday for all civil servants in the state! If you compare the cost of the carnival to the revenue generated you will find out it is a wrong business model.
    The debt he raked up building his 🐘 project is second only to BRF our minister of darkness.
    Dele, we are looking for leaders who are young and have a “productive” vision. Not handsome men with packaging.

    • Mayo

      I didn’t go to Calabar while Donald was Governor so I can’t contradict or argue with anything you have said. However, one of the things I liked about Duke which would make me give him a closer look if he decides to run is that when he ran for his second term as Governor, his campaign website had detailed plans on how he planned to achieve his different campaign promises. I was impressed by that because all the politicians I had seen had always promised to do X, Y, Z without ever telling us how they planned to do it. Having a plan (even if not perfect and open to debate) showed someone who had actually sat down and thought about the issues (at least to me). In addition most of the plans that I saw actually made sense. His plan on education really made sense to me.

      Part of the reason APC has failed today is because they promised Heave on Earth without ever telling us how they planned to fulfill their promises. When Rochas introduced free education at almost all levels including pay bursary allowances, I asked – how is he going to pay for these things? Has he provided a cost outlay for this and where the funds would come from. Some of us who took that stand was abused. We all know how that ended.

      • Grelia O

        Donald Duke has the weakness of arrogance, too arrogant for his own good. He was approached for the position of VP before Jonathan, but he declined any offer that was not head of the ticket. He wasn’t humble enough to accept to work under Yar’dua. Humility that is devoid of stupidity is a virtue, and a powerful weapon. He forgot that “lowliness is young ambition’s lather…”

        His refusal of that offer, even if Yar’dua had lived to serve out his 8 years assuming a reelection, exposed Duke’s lack of foresight. He was young and still in his prime. If he couldn’t influence his boss’s agenda, he was going to have his chance with the benefit of incumbency. I bet he would have been more assertive than Jonathan. He must have realized now, perhaps to his regret, that “there is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…”

        Having missed to sail with the political / presidential flood, his voyage does not have to end in woes and miseries. He should roll his sleeves and join the activism to restructure and reposition the nation for progress. Achieving that is more urgent than winning the presidency. A good structure will protect the nation from the destructive effects of lousy presidents. Stable and functional democracies have inbuilt protective and, more importantly, corrective mechanisms. That’s how America survived Bush Jr and will survive the mother of all disasters aka Trump.

        There is still work for Duke if he is serious about change, real and beneficial change.

      • Arabakpura

        In Rocha’s anger and vendetta on his people, he replaced the bursary allowance with statues that many have feared may harbor evil spirits in the future!

        • Daniel

          😁😁😁😁

        • Ralph

          My my my…!

        • chris I

          hahahaha

      • FrNinja

        Donald Duke went to South Africa and enjoyed himself at Sun City and thought of Tinapa and tourism. He did not see South African exports of apples, oranges and think of Cross River exporting their great bananas, pineapple, mangoes and nuts.

        So he lacked both sense and vision two criteria for great leadership.

        • Mayo

          Both Tourism and Agriculture are 2 ways of making money. Hawaii, Las Vegas and San Diego all make loads of money from Tourism. Las Vegas & San Diego also make money from lots of companies holding their AGMs and people hosting meetings and get-togethers in those cities. Gambia, Egypt & Morocco also make money from Tourism.

          • FrNinja

            Undoubtedly but you start with what you have. Cross River has cocoa, banana, nuts, palm oil, fish. Donald Duke only saw leisure and entertainment.

            Nigerian governors generallt are not smart. Start with existing advantages. Lagos is smartly focusing on making living there easier by cleaning up and tackling transport. They understood ease of doing business before APC got in power. But compare Lagos to Port Harcourt where Amaechi had no clue how to even attract back all the oil companies and industries that fled port harcourt to Lagos and Ogun.

            Abia had a governor that watched Aba collapse into filth while he was pumping money into Enyimba.

            Anambra is pushing agriculture when it has more people in urban areas than square meters of rural land.

            Enugu is fancily marketing its coal city when most of its population is rural and industriously produce some of Nigerias finest honey, cashew, pineapple and ginger.

            One could go on and on. You go through Lokoja on the River Niger and you will barely see fruit trees as you see for example in Malis portion of their river.

          • Ralph

            Find out what Donald did in Agriculture before you start talking

          • FrNinja

            He did little. Instead he saddled the state with 80 billion worth of debt in the tinapa white elephant.

          • Amiria

            Why was Donald Duke called the ‘Pineapple Governor’ during his tenure?

          • FrNinja

            Why did he focus over 30% of budgetary resources on tinapa and obudu alone when most cross river indigenes were involved in agriculture? Why encourage large scale farming rather than incentivizing subsistence farmers to increase productivity like Kebbi with rice?

            Donald Duke received more resources than Peter Obis anambra yet look at the difference in impact. Anambra rocketed to the top of basic educational rankings and boasted Nigerias largest state run wealth fund.

          • Hakeem Adedokun

            It’s so unfortunate how narrow-minded as a people we can be. For the fact that Donald Duke focused on Entertainment/Hospitality industry does not make him a bad leader. Dele talked about intelligence and that’s where I give 100% to Donald Duke. He chose a sector that gave him comparative advantage over others.
            Dubai was a small fishing town before now and their Leaders chose to turn a desert into one of the most beautiful places in the world today by focusing on the hospitality sector, generating almost $100 billion dollars yearly. They did this by dreaming big and not focusing on the fishing sector which wouldn’t have been able to generate 1% of what they are earning today.
            Given the crops of leaders, we have today, Donald stand tall above every one of them and would make an amazing president that most Nigerians will be proud of!

          • FrNinja

            Cross River does not have the same advantages of Dubai. Dubai had geographical advantages which it leveraged. Airlines were already stopping in Dubai decades ago because it was a refueling stop on the East-West route. They started with that, built malls in the airport for passengers to shop, built a massive global airline, then starting drawing people into the city.

            Now in the quest for value for Cross River, its strategic geographic advantage is not carnival or that kind of leisure its first and major advantage is agriculture. But after that it is oil and gas logistics. Calabar is close enough (by air) to most of the off-shore oil fields not only in Nigeria but in the Gulf of Guinea including Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Sao Tome/Principe. It has a really big harbor for large ships bringing equipment and a big harbor to take big stuff out. So Cross River should have focused first and foremost on a Port and oil/gas logistics free trade zone. It is more secure than Port Harcourt/Warri which suffer from militant violence. After that, Cross River should have attracted a refinery to the place and competed for fuel exports to the rest of Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Angola, Namibia and South Africa.

    • Clergy

      I’m responding because you asked a vital question, which I believe, as a Cross Riverian, I’m obligated to answer. “Apart from the failed Tinapa and the Calabar Carnival, what exactly didn’t he do for his state?”. This question should not go unanswered.

      Donald was one leader that did a feasibility study of the state and identified its comparative advantage before coming to power. He identified tourism and agriculture as the two pillars upon which he wanted to build a new Cross River State. At the time he came to power, you could hardly got a flight from either Lagos or Abuja to Calabar, but before he left, the Calabar airport only came behind Lagos, Abuja and maybe Port Harcourt, in terms of traffic. He marketed the State in such a way that you would want to come to Calabar for business or pleasure. Multinationals had their management meetings and AGMs in Cross River because he created a peaceful, beautiful and serene environment for them. He planted the state on the tourism map of the country and everyone wanted to come to Calabar. Hotels sprang up in Calabar, recreational facilities were created by individuals and hospitality related businesses were thriving. Specifically, he transformed the infamous Obudu Cattle Ranch to the famous Obudu Cattle Ranch with a presidential villa. He built the first cable car in Nigeria and the longest in Africa, he built an airstrip at the ranch that made even the then President Yar’Adua to frequent the Ranch most weekends for relaxation and brainstorming. The yearly Calabar Carnival was another of his creation in line with his tourism master plan for the state. All these made the state a center of attraction for visitors.

      In terms of infrastructure, the ADB water project in the state, was the most successful water project executed by the ADB. It was so successful that a friend of mine, who was with the water board, got a job with the ADB because of the success of that project. Calabar was the only state capital that depended on public water supply for the water needs of the people. Clean and potable water flowed through the pipes to homes, for years running. He made sure that loan was utilized for the provision of potable water for the state. If you knew how the roads were in the state before Duke came, then you will agree with me that no leader did more than him in roads in the state.

      His agricultural projects attracted Dangote to establish a juice processing plant in the state, utilizing the pineapples grown within the state. The moribund Calabar Cement Company was transformed to the lucrative UNICEM, the biggest industry in the state today.

      In education, he created the state university and established campuses in the three senatorial districts. He revived the State broadcasting corporation and they were transmitting on a 24hr basis.

      For the Calabar Carnival you claim is a wrong business model, I think it’s your view of the whole thing that is actually wrong. You don’t view government programmes and projects on the basis of a business model where the revenue generated must exceed the cost outlay. If that were to be, then schools, hospitals, roads etc wouldn’t be built. The value of the Carnival is not in how much government makes, it’s in more of bringing the state as a place of leisure and fun, a place of relaxation and recreation. Of course it’s not unusual for it to create business climate later, but that is meant for the citizens not the government.

      Finally, Donald Duke is one man that seeks and pursues excellence in whatever he does. The projects he does attest to that. It’s one trait I have noticed in him. Tinapa didn’t fail because it was a wrong business model, it failed because the midwife was not there to nurse the baby she conceived. Give him a chance at the presidency and see that vision come to light.

    • Aleks

      Unfortunately, Dele’s reputation has not done Duke any good in this instance. I can bet that many of the negative comments we’ve got here has nothing to do with Duke, but a direct consequence of someone like Dele endorsing him. If I were aspiring for any political office, I’ll stay very far away from Dele Momodu.
      That said, a lot of people commenting here know next to nothing about Duke and/or his real achievements during his two terms as Cross River State Governor. Most people think Dukes main achievements were Tinapa, Obudu Ranch and Calabar Carnival. Nothing is farther from the truth, and it’s a great disservice to Duke when people only remember the above tourism products while totally relegating his solid achievements in the real economic and social sector. Indeed, Tinapa, Obudu Ranch, Calabar Festival/ Carnival and other tourism products have penetrated peoples consciousness so much that, very few have bothered to go deep enough to see and know that Dukes most impactful accomplishment as CRS Governor was improved access to electricity across the state. Within the 8 years that Duke was in power, he quietly took electrification (especially rural electrification) from a negligible level to something in the region of 80 – 85% of Cross River State. The impact of this on the socio-economic development of the state cannot be overemphasised. His other very impressive achievements were in education, agriculture, healthcare delivery, urban/rural roads and environmental conservation amongst others, however rural electrification remained the single most important legacy of his administration.
      Indeed persons in similar positions of responsibility need to take some lessons from the strategies that Duke deployed to accomplish such feat with the limited resources he had at his disposal during those eight years.
      Dukes commitment to providing sound education and health infrastructure in Cross River State was such that, despite the shameful lacklustre performance of his successors, the state is still reaping bountifully from the infrastructure and programs that he put in place in those sectors. His investments in agriculture reversed the declining production that the state witnessed in the production of its key cash crops like oil palm and cocoa, while cassava, rice and pineapples was elevated from subsistence production to large scale cash earner for government and private sector. The roads he built (which he usually insisted on inspecting every kilometres by himself before commissioning) outlived all the roads built by his successors. Urban water supply is another area that Duke scored very high collaborating with ADB to provide clean and reliable source of drinking water across urban areas in the state. Is it in attracting private investment? Today the few standing industrial investments in CRS were either initiated or revived during Dukes administration. What about labour? Within those few years, Duke had revolutionised the civil service in Cross River State. His discipline, provision of trainings, infrastructure and general motivation of the civil servants resulted in a quantum lift in the quality of service delivery during his administration. It is on record that he not only cleared the arrears of civil servants and pensioners salaries that he met on assumption of office, but owed neither civil servants nor pensioners salaries for any month throughout his 8 years tenure. Atop this, long before the federal government thought of sovereign wealth fund, even with the meagre resources available to the state, Duke had set up a Legacy Fund for the future and dutifully paid in N50m every month as savings for the future. I can go on and on. During Dukes administration in CRS, for the first time in many Nigerians lifetime, people actually started daring to believe that Nigeria can actually achieve its true potentials. It’s a shame though that the administrations that succeeded him in Cross River State tend to behave as if their only campaign promises were to destroy every single foundation that he laid to lift the state to greatness. Therein lies the tragedy of Nigeria, the giant with plastic feet.
      Which progressive nation won’t want to have such an intelligent, visionary and forward looking young man as it’s leader? Well not Nigeria, a nation that everything is viewed within the narrow prism of tribe and religion. If not, why would people who know next to nothing about this young man come out here to pour out wild venom just because a discredited journalist like Dele Momodu decided to spill dirt on an otherwise accomplished leader in the name of endorsing him.
      Dukes Absence from governance in Nigeria, is not his personal loss, but a most spectacular loss for the nation. How long we wish to continue wallowing in such self immolation, I cannot say. But for many who dearly love this nation, we can’t wait for the day that someone like Duke will mount the mantle of leadership for Nigeria. Maybe God will smile on me that it happens in my lifetime.

    • omodafididafidi

      Had to squint real hard to make out your “” ELEPHANT”””