Loud Whispers  With JOSEPH EDGAR

AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq: Plotting Creative Dots

AA, as he is fondly called by very close associates, is thinking of legacy. This very influential Governor of Kwara State who also doubles as the Chairman of the Governors Forum, in his second term, has mapped out a clear road map that would move his state from being just a semi-agrarian cum civil service state to a major oasis of socio-economic development, leveraging heavily on a developmental tripod – technology, entertainment and industries.

For him, the vision has always been to drive developmental traffic towards the state in a bid to ramp up economic activities which will now impact jobs, infrastructure, and youth engagement in the first instance, and then generally ramp up the basic standard of living while gently reducing the burden on the scarce resources of the state by opening private sector-led revenue-generating initiatives.

To achieve these, his administration has embarked on very strategic projects that would serve as trigger projects for the anticipated economic flows. By this, he has plotted a very aggressive road map that has as pinpoints – a massive movie studio named the Sugar Factory, a huge tech hub which has been described as the biggest of its kind in the West African subregion, a modern high-tech animation studio and finally a massive garment factory just away from the airport.

The idea, according to him, is to leverage the deep fountain of youthful talent that can be pulled from the tertiary institutions in the state and around to drive talent toward these projects, thereby creating critical opportunities in these areas which will now jump-start a massive economic renaissance in the state.

To timestamp his seriousness, he is building a world-class Conference Centre complete with three massive conference halls, and a hotel with over 200 rooms within the same complex. According to him, this will give Abuja a run for its money in that space.

Already traffic into the state has witnessed a major lift with the airlines recording more flow, thereby leading to an increase in scheduled flights and expansion of fleets, making AA’s dream of turning Kwara into a major economic hub almost a reality.

He really does not need our prayers as from what I have gleaned, all the projects have reached over 90% completion and as earlier mentioned with human traffic, his vision has started emerging into the phase of reality. Na only one massive restaurant that will serve afang is what is left to attract tourists from Spain. That’s all. Well done sir.

Let’s Stop Bullying MultiChoice

We sha like to just bully this company and the reason is very simple. Shebi it went to get the “monopoly” of all of those very beautiful football stations and did not stop at that. They also acquired Nollywood, Zee World and cartoons, thereby literally holding Nigerians in their “balls.”

This is why anytime they make a small move to increase their subscription rate, the whole country will run into a frenzy, forgetting that they are not NTA nor have been granted any form of subsidy, making them very vulnerable to a harsh economic climate.

Mbok, even the police have increased the cost of their police report from N5,000 to N40,000 so why can’t MultiChoice whose content acquisition cost is tied to the dollar rate, high diesel cost, multiple taxes from all levels of government and also technology acquisition and maintenance cost also ramping up in incremental costs. And you say they should continue doing magic with their subscription?

You think it is everybody that has the “juju” that the federal government has been using in keeping fuel prices at the same rate even though the dollar is going up and they have “removed” subsidy?

 Mbok, MultiChoice is even trying by doing only a 20% increase. If I were their MD, I would tie it to the dollar rate. As the thing is going up, my subscription rate is going up because I cannot go and tell my shareholders story o.

Last I checked, pay TV is not a social or essential service o. If you cannot afford it, you leave it na, after all, you have alternatives like NTA or even start another round of tales by moonlight under the tree in your backyard for entertainment.

Taking them to court, abusing them and calling them all sorts of names is just misplaced aggression. The fight is with the people whose policies are causing these harsh economic realities that are making these companies either shut down or raise their prices. It’s not to be fighting a private concern who only is just looking for a way to survive.

Las las, it’s a simple case of demand and supply – market forces. If DStv “overpriced” themselves, leave am na. Na by force to watch Africa magic? Mbok, I tire o.

Dave Umahi vs Laila Johnson: An Epic Confrontation

You know how men get weak in the knees in the face of wicked beauty? That was what must have happened to our “village boy” minister. This wicked beauty not only appeared at his press conference looking like the famed Delilah but carried with her the brains of Albert Einstein.

I had started seeing this divine beauty just this week and muttered under my breath that this ARISE TV has scored a goal with this lady o. Her beauty regaled my senses with the soft ambience of wonder. Her eloquence and clarity reminded me of the very serious TV presenters to dazzle global audiences in some of the most influential international stations, and her brilliance not leaving any doubt as to her emergence as a critical draw in this very competitive market.

I also remember saying to myself “Channels, don die o,” How will they come back from this one, only for me to stumble on the clip of Minister Dave Umahi dawdling and doodling as this beauty held him in her hands and made a mockery of him.

Mbok, the lady didn’t have to say much o. All she did was just to keep repeating the same question- can we have the document…… and Mr. Minister started embarrassing himself telling us how he didn’t go to school, how he is a village boy and how he needs an interpreter.

By this time, my sweet Laila just knew that she had him on the ropes and delivered the deadly sucker punch: “You have a lot of people around you, I am sure they can help interpret for you,” and that gave our minister some sense.

He started answering her questions like a recalcitrant student who had just been knocked on the head by a no-nonsense teacher. He answered her questions very dutifully and obediently like a nice little “boy.”

Mbok, Laila has landed o. The next encounter should be with Wike. Kai, I cannot wait o. Na wa.

Was Aderemi Adeoye Truly a Policeman?

This is a new confusing one o. We don’t know whether to hail him or ask questions. Egbon, in his farewell speech reportedly said that while in office, he had “started the Alpha Trust Investment Club (ATIC) in 2018 and they started with a modest N54million but the investment is worth over N20billion today.

My people, too many questions o. Was the CP a part-time policeman? Was he running around chasing Boko Haram with his calculator on one hand and gun on the other? Is this permissible under police service rules? Where did he get the N54million startup funds as a policeman? Was he allowed to set up a firm, talk less of an investment vehicle while in office and was it regulated by the SEC or any other regulatory authority?

You see the Nigeria of today, this kind of news even comes with a sigh of relief because normally, na EFCC will be pursuing him for thieving the place dry or for diverting funds meant to buy condoms for policemen in their safe sex campaign. Instead, we have seen an officer who served with no reported blemish, pulled out respectfully but he himself come open his mouth and “blemished his record”.

So, you see my confusion this morning, do we hail him as a straightforward and exemplary policeman, or do we ask him more questions?

Please, anybody that can explain, my number is on top of the page, kindly call me and explain this one o because I must really confess, I am very very confused as I write, kai.

Taiwo Ajai-Lycett Roars Back to Life

This cerebrally beautiful icon has roared back to life. During the week, someone sent me a promo she had just shot for a London stage play she will be participating in, depicting the life and times of a great sage- I am not mentioning the name of the play o.

The promo was quite electric. Even at her age, I hear close to 80, she still has the charisma and energy to hold down the audience. Her piercing eyes, clear elucidation and timing reminded the viewer of her legendary weight in the art space.

Mummy is today one of the biggest ever actresses in Nigeria. Her inputs crisscrossed international lines, bringing not only to her but to Nigeria accolades and respect. She continues to bedazzle with her beauty and charm.

I was first introduced to her as a teen watching the hilariously wicked British comedy “Some Mothers Do Have Em.” Her classic turn, beautiful visage and wonderful gap tooth used to capture the audience, thereby making her a permanent fixture in our minds.

The promo I just watched took me back to the years of my youth, reminding me of the days when you did not have to be a slay queen, show us your nude or indulge in various scandals to contribute to the space.

All hail Mummy Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and if you want to see the promo, just send me a plate of afang and it’s all yours to savour. Well done Mummy.

Dele Momodu: A Rich Life

I was privileged to sit beside this iconic media man to discuss Nigeria amongst others. Mbok, by the time we finished, he had taken us – complete with cameramen and all on a PhD course on Nigeria, its people, culture and tragedy.

Uncle Dele is such an encyclopaedia on Nigeria that it is amazing how he keeps all of that information in his head. Thankfully, he announced that he is writing a book on Nigeria and his experiences and also I have just seen a poster announcing his talk series. It would have been very very sad if he just left us at his appointed time without sharing his experiences and thoughts.

From Tinubu to MKO, to Obi, to Babangida, to Abacha to almost everybody down to his foray in the media with May Ellen Ezekiel, to his colleagues at the then wave-making FAME Magazine and finally his relationships with such iconic figures like Nduka Obaigbena, Mike Adenuga and the rest.

The talk was amazing I swear. Me that I was hungry after talking to Tonye Cole and Ruth Osime who were both equally brilliant, I just sat there glued as Uncle Dee continued with his evocation.

He will break into song, poetry and recitation. At some point, almost broke down in tears when he talked about his last moments with Chief MKO Abiola and ended the whole convo with the last thing MKO said to him: “I don’t think Sani can do that.”

Uncle Dee, I bow. That’s all I can say for now. My mouth is still open with amazement. Thanks so much.

Magnus Onyibe Leading from the Streets

Magnus is a very brilliant and extremely erudite scholar. He is, if I am going to be very factual, one of the leading lights of contemporary Nigerian politics. Although I recently do not understand his boundary-bending outlook on politics, his brilliance remains very much secure.

He recently sent me his new book, ‘Leading from the Streets,’ a well-packed voluminous book that has captured Nigeria’s descent from glory to international pariah in very beautiful prose.

The moment I got the book, I rushed to devour it but stopped almost immediately. It was a compilation of all of his articles from one particular period to another period. This was disappointing for me because I was expecting fresh insights into Nigeria from such a beautiful mind. Throwing together past essays that had addressed issues that events seem to have overtaken, to me, was a lazy way of throwing in a commentary on contemporary Nigeria.

I lost interest and threw the book aside. I called him and told him my mind but he no gree. If you know Magnus very well, you will know why he no go gree. He no dey gree o. He argued very strongly in support of his vision of the book and went ahead to offer me five minutes to speak at the launch.

Another thing again is that he has now gathered “yesterday’s people” to come and talk at the launch- from Gowon to all those kind people and this is my second grouse.

All these people will now come and be reminiscing. They will take us down the road of the beautiful old days and will smile and nod their heads and just say, “Kai, things have changed.”

I told my brother my mind. Mbok, let Gowon go and rest, let IBB go and rest, let Abdulsallami go and rest, they have tried. Allow them to take care of their dentures. Use your brain power and push for an intellectual renaissance in thought, in pragmatic engagement not putting people together who will come and tell us how Awo flew the first helicopter campaign in the North.

If Oga Magnus gives me that five minutes, this is exactly what I will tell Gowon and his crew – just leave us alone. Thank you

Funke Ogeah: A Befitting Farewell

Last Friday, Funke Ogeah was laid to rest after a very colourful funeral service at Pastor Ituah Ighodalo’s church. Chike was solemnly glamorous, their beautiful kids looking splendid as they bade their elegant mum farewell. It was a very touching ceremony as she was heralded with songs, tributes, recitals and homilies. Chike handled himself well with his kids.

Funke lived well as attested to by President Bola Tinubu’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Femi Gbajabimila in his own tribute as he reminded the audience of how she never asked him for a favour for herself but for others.

Funke will be sorely missed but we will all be consoled by the fact that she lived a very sweet and impactful life. Sleep well, my sister.

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