Ladi Balogun: A Great Guy


Loud Whispers

You see, this very handsome chap is like Udeme. Udeme is that black guy in one of the alcoholic beverage firms’ TV Commercial called great. Ladi is a great guy. The outgoing Managing Director of FCMB is truly one of those people you come out of a meeting with asking yourself why you were created in the dark. I met him on my first day on the job at FCMB. I had just been recruited by his also very nice younger brother, Gboyega to join them; thereby bringing to an end my three months’ joblessness foisted on me by one Nicholas Nyamali. That one is not such a great guy. The guy just woke up one morning say make I resign saying I am a cultural misfit. Who does that in this kind of economy? Well that is a story to be powerfully told in my upcoming biography. So that was how I walked into Ladi’s office.

He was looking very handsome and well dressed; he was in a hurry, running to meet up an appointment with Aliko Dangote and asked me to join him in his official car so that we could talk. In the car, he talked about the burden of leadership, the vision of taking FCMB from a merchant banking pedigree to a retail market, the challenges involved in that move and the reason for my joining as a great grassroots man. My head did not stop swelling as I watched this fine gentleman speak with so much conviction, putting in so much sacrifice to take a platform built by his equally illustrious father to the next level. I was giddy with excitement that by the time he dropped me, I was walking in the clouds. His tenure at the bank is coming to an end and I must tell you, my 15 months at FCMB brought me really close to his leadership style. I read his regular circulations to staff, his attempt at playing football at the Ezekiel Adamu’s annual beach soccer tourney, his funny attempts at dancing during the end of year costume parties and his penchant for replying every mail.

This was truly a great guy and coming from a mad critic like me, you guys should take this seriously. I hear he would be moving to the Group as the Group Chief Executive of the holding company, I feel he is doing the nation a great disservice by limiting himself to the FCMB group. He should lead a young and highly-talented professional push into public service and give us a real change, not the kind we are seeing today. Ladi, well done and for your efforts, I will be sending you VIP Tickets to Isale Eko, The Play. Kindly send that your beautiful assistant, the one that sits just before we enter your office to come collect the tickets in Shomolu. If you can’t send her, don’t worry about the tickets, I will send something else. Diran go kill me ooo. Ladi, I wish you well, you truly deserve the best.
Audu Maikori: I had Warned Him
I was really not surprised when the arrest came. It came just as he was preparing to go to the loo. I hear the people did not wait for him as they had express instructions to get him to Abuja before oga had his breakfast. So straight to the night bus, remember AMCON had just seized Arik Air and there were no flights. My brother landed in Abuja in his boxers and slippers with only one wish – that his picture should not be taken and tweeted or instagrammed to the millions who follow him. Well, for me, it is not the issues that led to his arrest or the powers that be that stepped in to get him out, but the seeming recklessness, unbridled power and the irresponsible use of social media in today’s Nigeria. The seeming cheapness and relative use of social media has in a way dropped buttons of pocket nuclear bombs in the hands of a largely restive and near-illiterate youthful population and any attempt to curb this will get the so-called human rights groups screaming blue murder.

For Audu, I am particularly disappointed because one would have expected someone of his pedigree to be a little bit more responsible in handling his own ‘small power’. Rushing to tweet on a very sensitive issue like that only from information provided by your driver who may have been owed like four months’ salaries is very irresponsible. Authorities cannot be battling the bastards who cause all these mayhem and at the same time be battling uproars caused by irresponsible statements like that of Audu, caused simply by a tweet on a toilet seat. Please this write-up is to those like Audu who have turned themselves into self-appointed social media influencers to self-regulate their activities or they simply would just push the country into an undeserved carnage due to the highly irresponsible use of this potent weapon. I have said my own, you guys can come and fight, I am waiting, shebi na Twitter and Instagram, they will use to abuse me, me I will wait on the street to fight. I no kuku get Twitter or Instagram. I no sabi use am.
Ayodele Fayose : A President in Waiting
Me, I am throwing my weight behind this Amala-eating, fire-spitting gadfly for President. What else can we wish for in a country that has produced people like Awolowo and the great Azikiwe but has now thrown all that illustrious pedigree to the dogs with years of misrule, corruption and misogyny that today, revisionists are now seeking the highest position in the land? What will we stand to lose with a Fayose presidency, my people? Nothing. After all, what else can happen to us with the dollar at over N500, inflation at 18%, unemployment over 20% of working population and tribal and ethnic conflagration  burning through the land and despair being our soul mates? Not only Fayose should come out, even Charly Boy and Denrele should also come out, nothing go happen. I like Fayose as a person, I have never met him but I must tell you clearly that I admire his consistency even though he laces it with tomfoolery, you can actually see his deep love for the nation.

His constant screams against the government has made him the sole opposition party despite the fact that most of his statements are pedantic and sometimes assumptive; his cries, I believe, keep the government awake. But a Fayose presidency even if a pipe dream shows the decline in our national fabric, a thaw in national cohesion, a loosening of a collective sense of reasoning and the emergence of a  poverty-fuelled surge towards just anything to end this suffering. It is like someone confessing to murder just to put an end to the unending torture being carried out by his tormentors. This impending presidency if not properly put in context will suddenly emerge the same way the Trump presidency crystallised on the Americans. The wide-scale suffering and impoverishment could lead to a popular revolt against symbols of the establishment, throwing up a Fayose-type leadership as a legitimate alternative to a rudderless leadership. What we will now be getting would be leadership by Amala, a mimickry of our nationhood and a virtual continuous circus like what the Americans are seeing now. I have spoken as I see from my crystal ball, a Fayose presidency is not too far away. It is indeed a very strong possibility if we continue on this path of insensitivity to the plight of the common man. I keep quiet.
Big Brother Naija : Of What Value?
I have never understood why and how people would just be sitting down and watching people sleep. This fascination with the morbid boredom that comes with this phenomenon called Big Brother continues to amaze me. But please, it seems millions of Nigerians continue to remain in stupendous absurdity as they remain fascinated with the antics of juveniles who have been given the opportunity by a wasteful network to carry out hedonistic pursuits, all in front of millions of zombies spread all over the continent. This particular edition is the lowest so far with a married Lothario cavorting with ladies from otherwise good homes but apparently with easy virtue in an almost pornographic slant. I have banned the watching of the programme in my house as I have teenage children who I would not like for them to watch these people carry out open sexual and other socially unacceptable behaviours all in the name of entertainment. So I ask today, of what use is this Big Brother Naija? What values are being promoted? This is wasteful, damaging to our cultural ethos; damaging the institution of marriage, legitimises illegal anti-social behaviours and foists on our youths, ethos that can only be damaging to the fabrics of society. This is truly bad, I have said my own, if you like, take it; if you don’t like, ignore. As for me and my household and I think other right-thinking households, NO MORE BIG BROTHER. It is a disgrace Period!
Arik Air – About Time
Me I was very happy when AMCON finally took over this beleaguered airline. It was about time, the debts were mounting, the service epileptic, and the damage to Nigeria’s reputation unquantifiable. They carried on like a leprous carrier destroying lives, wrecking havoc to businesses and generally attempting to represent to the outside world, a symbol of Nigerian ineptitude. The Chairman of the Airline has come out to accuse AMCON of taking over his airline in a commando-style manner, citing an ‘inflated’ debt figure as against the fact that they owe a little less billions than has been announced by the authorities. Is this oga serious? He should be very grateful for this takeover. He should just quietly go into sleepy retirement, that is if the EFCC does not come after him. Business leaders must be awake to their corporate responsibilities that come with running a business especially one with the kind of strategic importance as Arik. Leaders must know when and how to throw in the towel. It was very obvious that the Sir Ikhide-led team had bitten more than they could chew. They had built something that was now bigger than their joint corporate leadership skills; they should have handed over the thing and be enjoying their dividends and other benefits. But no, they kept on running the place thereby disgracing themselves and throwing Nigerians into untold suffering. This takeover was even too late in coming abeg. It should have come sooner. Good riddance.