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Loud Whispers With Joseph Edgar

Loud Whispers With Joseph Edgar

ASUU vs FG:  Shame! Shame! Shame!

If not that this thing is very painful and sad, someone will just be sitting down on his couch and be laughing. So the federal government and the dinosaurs who lead the ASUU camp have succeeded in keeping our children off school for seven months.

This has moved to the point where the students have decided to take things in their own hands. They have started blocking very critical institutions and facilities in protest to the shameful situation. They first blocked the strategic Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and then they faced the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and I hear they are mobilising over 60 buses to enter Abuja and do the same.

I am, however, begging them to leave the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway alone. That one na them and bandits, and those ones will not understand what is going on.

So, these two groups of prehistoric Nigerians – FG and ASUU have been going at it for all of these years without really understanding each other or each other’s situation. I have never seen negotiations like this where no side is moving. I hear even the federal government finally made some slight moves but ASUU did not budge.

I hear they are asking for N4 trillion. For what, if  I may ask? If federal government dare pay that money, I will walk naked from Lagos to Abuja making stopovers in various brothels  on the way to preach the essence of safe sex on the way.

Thankfully, I hear a court has come out to ask ASUU to call off the strike but ASUU is planning to appeal. My people, this is tiring. Nobody is looking at the interest of the students who are the ones suffering.

They are the ones in this quagmire. I hear they have started learning other trades to survive while the children of the elites are busy graduating abroad and sending us pictures to taunt us.

This is a big shame and I support NANS in their quest. Please, they should reach me for advice on more strategic locations where they should carry their protest to. This is shameful.

Magnus Onyibe: I Still Don’t Agree

That was how Oga called me from America last week. I was about to sleep when the call came in. He had written a beautiful piece for on the ASUU matter that I did not agree with. I published it but I guess he needed to make his point verbally, so he called.

“Edgar,” he said, “the government has to move the petroleum subsidy towards education. Instead of subsidising consumption and setting up all of these task forces on rice, maize and the rest, they should subsidise education,” he countered.

He went further to say that in America that is what is done. Students are given loans with which they pay back after schooling. This reflates the economy and allows for lecturers to be paid market-driven rates and there will now be enough monies to fund the schools which would impact productivity in the economy. He cited India as a good example and how these youths were running all the tech companies in the world.

He further said that if we really educate our youths, they could sell their skills in international markets and bring back diaspora receipts among others. If you know Magnus very well, you know immediately that you don’t argue with him because the man na intellectual. Developmental economist from Harvard, na him me go carry my Shomolu head argue with? I kept quiet and urged him to continue.

When he finished, I said “nice one Lord. I agree with you. You have just made a lot of sense.”

 I agreed, so that the argument go end so I go sleep because if I counter Oga Magnus, I no go sleep that night. He go start to open books. So, I agreed and he said “Edgar, I knew you would see good reasons.” I replied “Yes sir, thank you, God bless you,” and I turned and went to sleep. No be Nigeria and ASUU matter go worsen my BP this night.

But I don think am well and Oga Magnus cannot argue with me in my column. I no greeeeeeeeee. Na lie. I no greeeeee. My position remains steadfast: government has no business in tertiary education and that is why we are seeing this dislocation. Government cannot run the structures with its inherent inefficiencies, red tape and endemic corruption. If we move the subsidy to education, you will see another class of billionaires reaping from the system with lecturers still wearing torn trousers and slippers all over the place.

Sell the schools. Privatise and move on. Carry the money from the sale to strengthen regulation and initiate strong welfare and scholarship packages for the poor. This has happened effectively at the secondary level where missionaries have taken back the schools and turned them into Eldorado.

The problem is that the government is busy in areas that don’t concern them; they have spread their ineptitude in all of these areas, ensuring wastage and debauchery in their wake. JAMB has asked for independence. Yes na. Why will the government be subsidising that one when the capacity to rival Lagos State Government in IGR has been firmly established?

Government should reduce itself and size, concentrate on core areas of defence, macro and micro economic regulations and oversight, currency and that kain thing. Not this one that the government is doing everything including trying to regulate how many times I will sleep with my wife.

Oga Magnus this is my position. Please no call me for night again. We are struggling with erectile challenges and need to maintain focus abeg. If you no gree, call Ngige abeg. Thank you. Lol.

Wike and the 40 ‘Thieves’

Immediately after Governor Okowa was nominated running mate to Atiku, I met up with a former Governor and huge PDP stalwart. I said to him, “how will you guys manage this Wike person o,” and what he said was very instructive.

The fear, he said, was in Wike working from the inside for APC. This statement has become very instructive and prophetic abi how else do we explain this one.

We have just been told that Wike and his people have all pulled out of the campaign structure of Atiku all because Ayu has refused to step down. For me, this is all one big joke and it will be hard not to see a conspiracy theory in this matter or how can otherwise very sane people be behaving like this.

On the eve of the campaign, you were all fighting over one lame positioning. One will think that this chairmanship of a party is all that o. Wetin even dey this chairmanship? Was Oshiomole not a very powerful Chairman of a ruling party, Is it not in his village that they removed him?

Even the Ayu sef, I don’t even know what the Methuselah is still doing in the place. Very powerful people with the resources you need, say you should go and you are still sitting down there and saying ‘no’. Even the Atiku sef, is tiring me. Can’t he too see the handwriting on the wall. Why is he still issuing statements and saying that he cannot force the man to quit?

What rubbish? If you see that this thing is hurting your ambitions, will you not carry umbrella and nack the baba for head and drive him away? This whole thing is making me want to ask if Tinubu hand no dey this matter.

Tinubu can be strategic like that o. Abi, you people did not see the way presidential candidates were stepping down for him during the primaries? When his colleagues were working on delegates, Baba Seyi was working on candidates. You saw it na.

So, I will not be surprised that na Tinubu fit don work on Ayu and Atiku and Wike and throw juju in-between them that they are now behaving like sailors in a brothel.

The ‘mumuness’ of these PDP people is shocking. Really shocking. I tell you. I don talk my own, I don keep quiet.

UNGA:  A Beautiful Waste of Time

I tried to reach out to three very prominent Nigerians this week to discuss my new plays for December. This December, we are engaging over 500 actors and executing the biggest independent theatre experience since Festac 77. So, I reached out to these three, among others seeking appointments and all three said they were at UNGA. I weak. I asked what was happening there and they all said they were there.

The next minute, I went on Instagram and there I saw my Instagram Star Tony Elumelu, walking the streets of New York and hugging old women and everybody including the frail looking Bill Clinton and signing documents with one UN Institution.

At least his own, we have seen that he has signed something that would fund his vision to the tune of $20million which is good. But the rest, I am still shaking my head as to wetin dem go do there. I hear even our President, instead of him to go and enter BRT in Buckingham Palace, decided to send Osinbajo and carried his wife, ministers and all sorts to New York to go and tell them that a new face will be representing Nigeria in the place going forward. Historic.

Nigerians like to waste time; we like to play to our egos and just waste valuable time and resources showing off. When they all come back, please help me ask them how this jamboree help the Naira? How this jamboree help inflation at over 20% and how this jamboree help ASUU? Even the president, help me ask am, wetin he achieve for the place?

A beautiful waste of time my people.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu – Auction of Life

Tears flowed and anguish was spread as the Lagos State Government through their agents carried out an auction of cars earlier impounded for various traffic offences. My people, this was very traumatic and sad as Lagosians wept profusely as their cars were auctioned off at prices that were very far from markets.

Immediately after, the Lagos State Government sent out a long list of traffic offences that were quite intimidating and were expected to serve as warning and deterrent.

Now this would have been very constructive at least if for nothing else for two reasons – shoring up government revenues and returning sanity to the roads. But we all know that this exercise has been fraught with corruption and underhand transactions that has made a few very rich, others carless and with pain and the government worse for it in terms of PR and revenues.

I think the whole thing should be looked at very critically again with the aim of blocking the loopholes and ensuring probity and fairness. I think the rightful owner of the cars should be given the first option of refusal. If I commit an offence, you impound my car and I am ready to buy back, it should be sold to me rather than carrying out a corruption-filled public auction where my car is sold off in front of me to the highest bidder who in turn comes back and sells to me at a funny price making a spread in minutes without any input just because he can shout or is sharing his mother’s bosom with the auctioneer.

Lagos, abeg revisit this process. It is fraught with back-end corruption thereby defeating the purpose. Thank you.

Richard Nyong: Lekki Garden of Eden

This young man was quite unpopular at some point. The tragedy that was the collapse of his property threw him up as a Nigerian we would all love to hate. But somehow, I felt kinda drawn to him even in those dark days. I try to go beyond the emotive posturing of Nigerians when things happen and try to see the fact.

Anyways, he went through all of that including incarceration, reparations and rebuilding both his business and his reputation. It is under this situation that I finally met with him penultimate Saturday for a brief talk. Very lively, handsome and deep. He welcomes me to his Ikoyi office shouting “Wow, Duke you are fine o.” I said “you should have seen me before Buhari.”

Tell me about that day. That morning I shot. He said I was called and ran to the place. I saw the carnage and went to report myself to three police stations…… as he spoke, I could see the pain in his eyes.  “Edgar, I was kept for 30 days in a cell and after that we paid reparations… all because I trusted the wrong people.”

“What would you do differently?” I asked. “Systems, structures and processes,’’ he shot back. His business is not built around these as he now believes that he is not building houses but building a business steeped in structure and processes and distinct certification of all counterparties.

He is relieved as he is now adjudged one of the biggest in the space. Over 150 ongoing projects and trillions in transaction value with his firm on the cusp of an exciting 10-year anniversary.

I asked “my brother what else did you learn from this,” and with no hesitation, he replied – God, God, God. His fervent belief in God and his faithfulness falling very beautifully into the love for his wife and family as the bulwark of his faith in his vision.

As I walked away, a picture of him on the wall caught my attention and I said, “bro you fat for here o” and he replied, “that na before the incidence.”

I smiled as I exited thinking within me, ‘that is a man’.

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