Iyabo Obasanjo’s Quiet Celebration at 50


•Why she won’t reconcile with her estranged father

She is not a simple Bedouin neither is she some invisible wife or scion of the backwaters, yet when Iyabo Obasanjo clocked 50, she refused to make a show of it. Iyabo is the first child of former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo but when she turned 50 last Thursday she quietly celebrated the milestone in the United States of America without pomp or pageantry. Iyabo currently lectures Global Health and Contemporary African Politics at the Virginia Military Institute in the United States of America (USA). Since her embarrassing loss of the Senate Seat during the 2011 general election, Iyabo has been absent from the political and social scenes.

She withdrew from public arena to spend more time with her family. But contrary to speculations that she might be considering reconciliation with her estranged father, Iyabo nurtures no such plan. “Yes, it has been my last communication with him. I am very straightforward. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I am a very practical person. I think all you have in life is yourself. I don’t owe anybody to solve anything. If reconciliation happens, then I would say, okay this is what happened,” she said.

You could liken Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to the lion king. Like a sovereign of the jungle to whom the pride defers and for whose sake the lioness stalks and hunts lower animals, Sanusi enjoys wonderful perks; all thanks to the throne he occupies.

But a palace source argued that HRH Sanusi is today a recipient of innumerable favours because of his past generosity to friends and associates. This probably explains his access to wealth and luxuries befitting of royalty and the privileged class.

Just recently, the social media was agog with news of Sanusi’s two Rolls Royce. Several commentators and critics believed he bought it with emirate money and thus vigilantly flayed him for grandstanding on crucial issues affecting the north. Among other things, they accuse Sanusi of living in obscene luxury and having the guts to accuse the northern elite of insensitivity to the commoner’s plight.

Sanusi’s comments on gender equality and almajiri kids particularly drew flak but a palace source has responded claiming the noble emir wasn’t grandstanding or playing to the gallery.
According to the Kano Palace source, “The two Rolls Royce they talk about were never bought with emirate money. Emirs traditionally have friends and well wishers who buy some of these cars.

“Ado Bayero’s limos were mainly from Aminu Dantata, Isiaku Rabiu, Fernandez and Sani Abacha. Sanusi’s white Rolls Royce was given to him by an old friend Kola Kareem. The black other was given by another old friend, who was his classmate at ABU in 1977, Bola Shagaya.”
The insider said Sanusi did not spend a kobo in the purchase of the exotic cars and the allegations of financial probes are “non-existent”.

The insider adds that “the council has never bought a ticket for any of the emir’s foreign trips and in fact on almost all of them he buys the tickets and pays accommodation for the two title holders who accompany him, even though it is council’s responsibility”. “His Highness has never chartered a jet but if he needs a private jet he has many friends, and when he calls one of them, they arrange it happily. These include Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Aiboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Dauda Lawal, Wale Tinubu, Shagaya. Anytime he needs a plane, one of them obliges and he doesn’t pay and the royal council does not pay.”

These men are institutions on their own. Besides their intimidating wealth and fluorishing business concerns, they jointly constitute a formidable force in any political clime. Having attained great wealth and eminence by dint of hard work, initiative and perseverance, they have become so entrenched in the socioeconomic and political systems that they have become systems on their own, with the capacity to exert considerable influence or pressure on the virtually every sector in the country with interesting results.
These men enjoy the best of a charmed life. While their business interests extend beyond the country’s shores, they also own impressive capital projects, residences and property in the most exclusive neighbourhoods at home and abroad.

However, there is a huge gulf between the affluent and pretenders to wealth. The latter depict everything that is wrong with the aristocracy. This is because they project noise over matter. With their arrogant manner, they pursue acquisitions far beyond their modest means. For instance, during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, men and women that ought to patronise commercial airlines acquired or chartered expensive private jets, just to keep up appearances and their membership of the billionaires’ club. Thus they filled up the runways and airport hangers with aircraft that glistened with their wantonness and lust for counterfeit status. Fastforward to Muhammadu Buhari’s era, and you see a radical downturn in the fortunes and status of these private jet aficionados.

Today, because of the steep exchange rates it takes a steel heart and keen will to make money. It takes character and wisdom to tame it. But very few bankers are aware of this fact. Thus many have fallen to the lure of money, the common whore and procurer of people and nations. But where their peer flounder and stumble, a privileged band of Nigerian bankers soar like falcons. These privileged few affect the depth of the ancients thus their capacity to command the bittersweet complexities of money and its steep per cents.

These fortunate breed of entrepreneurs emerge as Nigeria’s richest bankers because unlike too many of their peers, they understand the actual value of the world’s hard currencies. Thus they engage in their pursuit and acquisition with the vigour and tact of the proverbial merchants of the Orient Express. Their industry glistens like polished gold even as it emits the sweet, heady fragrance of rare and exotic olive vines.

There is an innate strength in them that defies notions of valour applicable to their peer. In fact, very few men and women of their age and class can handle the onerous tasks of running formidable banking institutions with all the attendant headaches and challenges. But Tony Elumelu and Jim Ovia, Chairmen of United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Zenith Bank respectively unfurl into the task without a crease in their brows or the oft dreaded fear of failure and exhaustion. Like medieval knights with unrivalled valour, they did not crumble in fear or anticipation of failure in their march for excellence thus their extraordinary ascent the ladder of success.