Loud Whispers with JOSEPH EDGAR

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi Returns 

It was bound to happen. I had suspected when I had reached out to him to inform him that the media campaign for The Dukes Economic summit was about to break and he asked me to be very subtle about his involvement.

Khalifa’ s removal was one of those things that shook the very fabrics of our land. For an ancient and well-regarded heritage to be sacrificed on the altar of selfish politics really left much to be desired.

The then government was very clear in its decision to abuse its authority due to Khalifa’s insistence on certain reforms. His stance on many issues didn’t sit well with that government and to get their own back, they did the unthinkable.

They decimated the emirate, balkanised it into four and created new Emirs while taking advantage of the divisions within the royal family.

Emir Sanusi took the decision with stoic calmness. I remember sitting with him in his Victoria Island residence a few days after the dethronement and his philosophical disposition and calmness which amazed the large crowd that came to stand with him.

That night, he talked about his unflinching stance on some of those issues that put him at loggerheads with the government and his resolve to remain unbowed and possibly go to his grave without recanting.

Khalifa is indeed a man of destiny as he has been vindicated in his lifetime and within such a short time.

His recall has been met with wild jubilation signposting his huge popularity and wide acceptance.

It’s however quite instructive that I just left him a few days ago in London where he had come to speak at my economic summit and I sha noticed that there was a mischievous look in his eyes, like he was hiding something.

I wanted to ask him and say, ‘Khalifa this one that you are bouncing, is there something you want to tell me?’ But thought otherwise since he was with his very beautiful daughter and aides.

My own is that I want to thank the Executive Governor of Kano State for not making the announcement last week, because he for scatter my summit o. I’m so grateful that he waited for us to finish the summit before making the announcement.

This is what in Shomolu we call ‘Governor wey sabi.’

Please where are they selling the Aso-ebi o, because this one is not a small celebration. Long live the 14th Emir of Kano.

Agbado Economics: Profiteering, the New Paradigm

Given the hardship in this country, the new trend now is that, when someone is hungry, they will ask for a meeting at a restaurant so that you feed them.

Anyways, that was how they asked me to meet them in this fancy restaurant in Lekki. The man is richer than I am o, by far but na me dey find something abi. So, I landed at the place. Very beautiful place with exceptionally good-looking waitresses.

I ordered chicken wings, he ordered one bowl of rice; I took my bottle of coke and he took one glass of cocktail. I counted my chicken pieces to make sure it was a complete six.

Then the bill came, I was not with my reading glasses so I could not see the total and I asked the very beautiful waitress who had put her breast between me and the bill to read out the figure as I flashed my Access Bank debit card.

My people, what I heard almost made me mad. The girl said, N106,000. I screamed. You know me I don’t have shame, I screamed o. The mumu people who were in the restaurant being defrauded like me, looked up and were doing like I was the poorest man in Babylon. I knew some and I could swear that I was richer than them, but because they were with babes, they pretended like I was a nuisance.

I asked for the manager o. Please what did I eat that is N106,000? He started citing the usual suspects – diesel, cost of foodstuff, replacement cost, dollar rate, etc.

I abused him and his owner, abused Tinubu, abused Awolowo, abused every and anybody I could think of because this was just outright theft masking under “harsh economic” times.

I paid o and walked out of the restaurant in anger, leaving my client alone and driving off. Just as I descended the Third Mainland Bridge, the debit alert hit and my balance of N2,345 faced me.

I cursed again and went straight home to my bed.

General Richard Duru: A Very Sad Song

For those of you who do not know, General Duru is the Nigerian Army officer who was kidnapped in Imo State over six months ago. Since his abduction, there has been radio silence from his constituency and authorities.

But last week, the radio cackled and spewed “crap.” The police in Imo State reportedly announced that its “gallant” officers had apprehended the kidnappers who had sadly killed General Duru. The report also went ahead to tell us that the “gallant” officers were able to trace his car to a buyer and seller in Lagos and from there the “dragnet” moved very swiftly to apprehend the whole gang.

In the same report, the police congratulated themselves for doing a fine job on the matter even though the General had been “killed.”

As expected, the public uproar was deafening. People screamed how can such an illustrious Army General be picked just like a chicken and really nothing was done about it except some not-so-well-written press releases once in a while.

Then like thunder from the blue,  another report emerged from the authorities refuting the first and issuing helplines to the public to assist in the investigations. They assured us that the General was still alive despite the first report.

See, the public knows for a fact that the Army authorities have not done enough on this matter. They can hide under “security” by not carrying the public along, but we all know as sure as day, that truly this Duru matter is not looking like a priority to his constituency.

Even his immediate family has been pushed off. I know for a fact that the woman has not been able to meet any officer of substance both at the Army and at the Imo State government level who were the ones that dragged him to Owerri in the first place.

General Duru served with no blemish, he gave Nigeria his all, he cannot die like a drunk struck with leprosy. We cannot allow him to be infested by vermin and treated like a bastard. It will remain our eternal shame if we cannot resolve this.

Alive or dead, Major General Duru must be treated with great dignity. He was a Nigerian Army General for God’s sake.

Emdee Tiamiyu: A Controversial Exit

I have mixed feelings about this issue. But let me rehash the story, especially for those of us who are not aware. This young Nigerian went on a BBC interview to state very candidly that Nigerians hid under the cover of student visa to rush into the UK with their families in a bid to escape the harsh reality of life in Nigeria.

Not long after, the British authorities released a policy which banned students except those doing a PhD from coming into the UK with their families. This led to a massive uproar within the community and serial backlash against this “squealer.”

This made him apply for asylum and was immediately awarded a reported sum of 160,000 GBP with which he quickly rushed to his native Ogun State to start building a mansion. He was outed, arrested and finally deported.

Now my take: Anybody rushing to the UK or any other country outside of genuine health and educational purposes is a joker. Yes, I have said it. I have spent the last two weeks in the UK for my play ‘AWO-UK’ and I must tell you that what I have witnessed with the lives of Nigerians living there is, to say the least not very impressive.

So jumping on any bandwagon with your families to live in matchbox houses, ride the train and dress like South African miners all over the place is not something I will strive to do.

Nigeria is a land of opportunity. Only cowards run at tough times. There are more opportunities in Nigeria than in the UK for Nigerians. Even the so-called corruption and inefficient system, can even be used to an advantage like so many people have done.

Embarrassing yourselves like this young man and the hordes who have done what he was alleged to have said or rushed to the UK or any other country as economic refugees, na una sabi o.

Me, I am here, make my money, come to that your UK, eat in restaurants you won’t dare to eat in, shop in shops you won’t dare to shop, and when I am through, I will go back to my Nigeria and make my money and come back to taunt you. Be disgracing yourselves over there and saying you are chasing the almighty pounds instead of coming back home and contributing your own quota in changing the system.

Lastly, let me state it here very clearly – anybody above 40 who japa is a fool. Yes, I have said it, come and beat me. Msheww.

Let Ganduje Just Calm Down

Just about one year in a very tepid administration, this one is already talking about second term. Which second term when you are still struggling with understanding the enormity of the situation you find yourself in?

No wonder, when I heard of that humongous amount reportedly spent on hajj, I just called my neighbour and said, “That is them wanting to buy a second term.” It’s about one year and things are worse than the very clueless Buhari administration. All indices are facing south and the level at which Nigerians now operate is almost at the level of peasantry.

The middle class has been wiped out, and apart from the resurfacing of the Third Mainland Bridge and the hugely controversial Lagos-Calabar road, no meaningful infrastructural development has been recorded. Corruption is at its ingest ever, the government has not been able to curb its expenditure, no real international breakthrough, a cabinet with no real champion and a President who although understands the politics therein has not been able to come to grasp with governance and this one is already screaming second term.

Abeg, oga calm down. It’s people like you who are causing confusion and trying to distract our president.

President Tinubu, please ignore all these ones, concentrate on governance and let the economy do well and you will see the second term fall on your laps. Ignore Ganduje. Thank you.

NLC, FG’s War of the Roses

I have already concluded that these two people are just “using our heads.” Abi, how do you explain the number of times NLC has called for strike since this administration and how many times it was aborted? If you ask me, they are planning these things together. Me as a person, I have lost faith in NLC since.

Let me tell you why. NLC represents about 16% of the total workforce, meaning that their influence has waned. Even the jailed Bobrisky has more influence than them today. They do not represent the Nigerian workforce, they know. The federal government knows and I know.

Now the federal government needs them to be shouting so that it will look like there is opposition since PDP has been captured and rendered ineffective by Wike – story for another day.

NLC on their part also needs all this noise to maintain a semblance of relevance which they have lost and this is why their President will run from pillar to post just to generally disturb the system. From being beaten up in Imo to going to fight the Labour Party and now minimum wage, the man is just running around aimlessly.

Asking for N600,000 as minimum wage is a clear case of either not understanding basic economic principles and the paucity of government revenues and very importantly, the massive impact of that on inflation  on the part of the NLC, while on the federal government side, you are saying you cannot afford the minimum wage but you are spending billions on Hajj for example and carrying along as if Nigeria is richer than Qatar and you expect the NLC nay Nigerians will take you seriously?

So, if I make a request of N600,000 and someone is offering me N56,000 what will that tell me? If NLC cannot see that they are now just a comedy troupe then that is on them.

I think the NLC should clear out or be restructured to reflect the current dynamics of the Nigerian workforce. Let me even help them small – My brother Joe, workforce dynamics have moved from the petroleum tanker drivers, textile workers, health workers and Railway workers amongst others that make up your membership and which held the economy in the ‘80s through the ‘90s to the new economy driven by media, technology, services etc and as such we have a younger work population who carry more weight and are borderless, with a vision far different from yours. Do you honestly think you represent these ones?

Flutterwave for example, has 1,000 workers, and Piggy Bank has about that and more, do you honestly really think you represent the new labour?

Please just go and sit down abeg, let’s hear word. And for you federal government, if you also want to be taken seriously on this minimum wage issue, then restructure your expenditure, reform the civil service, reduce the cost of governance and much more importantly, run a prudent and frugal administration. Thank you.

 Seun Oduwole: The Man and the Museum

If you drive through Onikan, directly opposite the National Museum, you will see a beautiful brown structure with a green grass roof. The imposing structure has changed the layout of the environment which boasts the MUSON Centre, the ECOWAS headquarters and also the Lagos Island Club.

I met Seun in London. He is the architect of the project that is funded by the Lagos State Government, I suppose. This project is the very first Museum built by Nigerians ground-up and with the very best in technology and top-notch design that has brought the preservation of our rare artefacts to another level.

Already, the museum houses some rare and almost priceless artefacts dating back centuries. Seun and his team have built a profound archival prototype that houses our history as a people and personally, I cannot wait for its doors to be opened.

I hear there have been enquiries from as far afield as Cuba, America and Brazil from tourists and enthusiasts willing to visit. My brother, why are we not opened yet o, or should I be directing my enquiries to the Lagos State Government? Well done!

Tope Fasoranti: A Belated Hailing

My Oga recently retired as an Executive Director at  Zenith Bank and I did not have the time to send him a congratulatory piece. Dr. Fasoranti remains a main pillar in the banking sector, one of the pillars of the new wave of banking which has embraced technology, driving impact and penetration much more than ever before.

An extremely brilliant professional, his career was marked with the highest level of clarity and engagement and if you now had his strong sense of self and integrity, you will understand why Zenith Group being limited by CBN tenor limit really did not have a choice but to let him go.

I hear something massive in the fintech space is brewing. He has not told me and I have not asked but at that age and with the power of intuition imbued in one man, this would not be a Caribbean retirement. It’s only just the beginning. Well done sir. 

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