FEMI FANI-KAYODE, ONYEAGOCHA: BETWEEN WRENS AND THE SOARING EAGLE

Onwuasoanya FCC Jones

That individuals like Femi Fani-Kayode and Uche Onyeagucha could think they are verbally sparring with a colossus like Governor Rochas Okorocha is one of the prices one has to pay for submitting himself to public office. These men do not qualify to be in the lowest rungs among the personal staff of Okorocha and his Rochas Group of companies. At the time Okorocha started dining with heads of States of some of the world’s most respected countries and had heads of international and United Nations agencies at his beck and call, individuals like Onyeagucha, the jailbird and his new found ‘boyfriend’, Femi Fani-Kayode were still carrying files around government offices, looking for one lowly placed government official or the other whose shoes they may polish (with their tongues, if the need be), in order to have some money to maintain their notoriously hedonistic indulgences.

Onyeagocha, the son of a teacher and Fani-Kayode, the son of a lawyer obviously share more in common than just being failed lawyers who have not been able to argue out any notable case in court, but jumped to the seemingly easy route to wealth which they both see politics as. Both men are intellectually lousy and could have only become visible in a political system like ours, where garrulity and loutishness are seen as signs of vibrancy and most unfortunately, charisma. To them, mendacity is a talent which they are ready to consistently hone like Christiano Ronaldo is determinedly honing his dribbling and goal scoring skills in order to remain relevant in politics. Sneaky and parasitic, both men are also dependent on the goodwill of another strong politician before they can make any impact in politics. For Onyeagucha, such gamble had earned him a House of Representatives seat, when, what a majority of those who voted him knew was that they were voting for Odumegwu Ojukwu’s Party. unconfirmed reports has it that more than 80% of those who voted for APGA in Owerri Federal Constituency in the 2003 general elections had never heard the name, Uche Onyeagocha.

As at 2011, some people close to Onyeagocha alleged that he was on the verge of selling off some of the choice properties he acquired during his time in the House of Representatives in order to put food on his family’s table, but for Governor Okorocha who rescued him by appointing him into his government as a Special Adviser. Grapevine also has it that the Obinze born former lawmaker was also one of those who tried to sabotage the efforts of the Okorocha administration by failing to complete some projects awarded to them to do. Onyeagucha worked with Okorocha’s administration till the end of his first term,and hung around like a hawk waiting for something to pounce on after Okorocha’s inauguration for second term. Two years into Okorocha’s second term and it appeared to him that nothing was forthcoming, Onyeagucha turned colors and became the most virulent critic of the same administration he served for six years, and marketed to Imo people as the best thing that has happened to the State since its creation. He was always in the media granting press interviews to convince Imo voters on why a second term to Okorocha is the best thing that would happen to the State. At what point did Onyeagucha realize that Okorocha litters the State with abandoned projects? He might be thinking that some of the projects he was allegedly assigned to do under a direct labour arrangement are still abandoned. The other day, I drove to the General Hospital in Mbaitoli and found out that someone else has been assigned to complete the project, while it is suspected that another person was actually awarded the contract and paid in full, but that person allegedly made away with the money after doing a very shabby job, albeit, incompletely.

Till we are able to develop a political culture where people with traceable professional, entrepreneurial or even political background are allowed to handle political offices, we may continue to contend with leadership baggage like Femi Fani-Kayode and Uche Onyeagocha. Political offices are so sensitive and have a lot to do with the collective fate of a people that we do not allow people who see it as a platform to experiment their failed ‘guymanness’ to get close to power. It will be good to get a professional, entrepreneurial or even political dossier of either FFK or Onyeagocha before mother luck smiled on them.

Anyone whose parents can afford to pay his or her school fees and cater for other financial demands of theirs can actually become a lawyer. We can have some respect for individuals who went through tertiary education, self-sponsored.

It is easy to understand the moral poverty of individuals who came straight from been spoon fed by their parents to occupy public offices. Individuals who do not know what it means to earn a small amount of money, save part of it and at the same time pay for your rents, buy your clothes, and do other things for yourself at less than fifteen years of age without depending on parents or some relatives. Would either Onyeagucha or Fani-Kayode had gone beyond being wheelbarrow pushers in either Afor Obinze or Aiyegbanju market in Osogbo, if they had something close to the humble background from which Okorocha picked himself up and has soared to one of the tallest heights as one of Africa’s most respected leaders? The spirits of industry, creativity, courage, integrity, compassion and modesty which propelled Okorocha to the height he is in today are alien to the duo of Onyeagucha and Femi, hence, I cannot agree less with the man who thinks that loquacity is a measure of intelligence and political sagacity that he is not in the same class with Okorocha. In saner clans, Femi Fani-Kayode would hold a thanksgiving service, if he is employed in Okorocha’s house to wash cars. That is, if personal attributes are measures for success, rather than parental background.

It is instructive that at close to 57 years of age, Femi Fani-Kayode’s most highlighted column in his Curriculum Vitae is the fact that he is the son of the senior, more respectable and obviously more industrious Fani-Kayode. The next is the fact that he was pampered to attend the prestigious Cambridge University where his father also graduated top of his class as a lawyer. The question any reasonable reader would want Femi to answer is; would he have been appointed a supervisory councilor in his local council if he was not the son of Chief Victor Babaremilekun Adetokunbo Fani-Kayode? How could he want to stand shoulder to shoulder with a man whose heights and attainments in life are purely as a result of his personal efforts and God’s special anointing upon his life?

Of course, Okorocha cannot be in the same class with a man who had been by banned by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from holding public office as a result of the backhand deals that went on in the ministries he headed as a minister during President Obasanjo’s tenure. People like Femi Fani-Kayode are still walking free in the street because we are in Nigeria. For a man whose every chance at public office has always come under serious questions for mind bending corruption and criminal malpractices, what in this world will he have to do with Governor Okorocha, who had handled several federal government contracts, running into billions of Naira, held political offices at the highest level, contested for the presidency of this nation against the wishes of the powers that be, yet, has never been a guest of the EFCC or any anti-graft agency? Certainly, as a man known for his zero-tolerance for corruption, it is easy to understand his point of divergence with individuals of questionable public and even private records like Femi Fani-Kayode. What could a man who is known for his humanitarian services and compassion for the less privileged have to do with a man whose hands are allegedly soaked in the blood of  thousands of our brothers and sisters in the Northeast who fell to Boko Haram’s savagery because some individuals were used as conduits to siphon billions of Naira marked out for the purchase of arms for our armed forces? Certainly, Okorocha has no point of convergence with a man who has been queried by the EFCC more than Emmanule Nwude. How do we begin to explain the alleged misappropriation of over 19.5 Billion Naira which were supposed to go into the renovation and upgrading of our airports?

The worst imprisonment is the imprisonment of the conscience. When someone who has already been sentenced to a lifetime of imprisonment by his own conscience comes out to talk about prison term for another man, you can only sympathize with him and pray he frees himself from the prison term he is already serving by recanting his many cheap lies, doing some penance and returning whatever he has stolen from the people. Uche Onyeagucha is already a prisoner, but I will elect to free him from that dangerous dungeon he has put himself into by posting bail for him. This bail will come in form of reminding him of the things he already knows about the Okorocha administration, but which he requested to be told so that he can apologize to the people of Imo State.

Onyeagucha knows that I am not happy with the fact that his own people have rejected him and as a humanitarian, it will be to my joy to see him return to the warm embrace of his people. In an interview published by some tabloids, Onyeagucha lied that the Okorocha administration is notorious for littering the State with abandoned projects and queried if anything has been done by the government to build industries and provide jobs as were promised during Okorocha’s second term campaign. The reality of thousands of completed projects to the credit of Okorocha has been stated severally, and I won’t bother the people with more of such.

Without sounding apologetic, the Okorocha administration has kept to its promise of providing jobs to the populace and industrializing the State and Onyeagucha is one of those who can attest to that (I hear he tells close friends and associates that he suspects Okorocha of minting money in his house, with which he executes these projects and sustains the numerous people oriented policies and programs). Onyeagocha, by insinuating that a government must build factories for it to be deemed as pursuing an industrialization policy casts a big question mark on his educational and leadership credentials. It beats my imagination that an acclaimed leader and an activist would support that government builds and runs factories in this century, when it has been severally been proven that government is not a good administrator of businesses. What government can do and is to guarantee a conducive environment for private individuals to build, own and run their industries in such an environment. Government’s duties in ensuring the growth of industries include; ensuring adequate security of lives and properties, implementing policies and programs that ensure the growth of small and medium scale industries, making infrastructure available for the setting up of such industries, ensuring access to soft and low interest credit facilities to would be investors, etc. Governor Okorocha’s Rescue Mission administration has done these and more.

On job creation, more than 20,000 new workers have been injected into the Imo State civil service since the inception of the Okorocha administration six years ago. While a good number of these new recruits into the State civil service were employed as teachers to make up for the serious deficiency in our educational sector; primary, secondary and tertiary. In the education sector alone, the Okorocha administration has employed more than 12,000 teaching and non-teaching staff in Imo State University, Owerri, Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, Eastern Palm University, Ogboko, School of Nursing, Orlu, Imo State College of Education, Ihitte-Uboma, and across primary and secondary schools in the State. As a result of the government’s business friendly policies, more than 250,000 other jobs have been created by private sector operators who continue trooping into Imo State in their numbers to invest. These workers include the regular staff of the many hospitality and tourism industries that have been built in the State within the lifetime of the present administration, the casual workers employed by the several construction companies working in the State, etc.

The Okorocha administration has also directly empowered more than 10,000 citizens of the State to build industries in the State. This includes the grant of 1,000,000 Naira non-refundable seed fund to 305 youths in the State who are already erecting small scale industries in their areas across the State, which are expected to in turn provide jobs for other youths and citizens of the State, 3,500 women have also been assisted with funds to strengthen their businesses, while thousands of others have benefited from the several skill acquisition trainings being run through the Office of the First Lady of the State and other empowerment programs the State funds for the benefit of the citizenry. Conservatively, one can say that Okorocha has built more than 3,000 cottage industries in the State. This is considering the fact that some of the youths and women who benefited from the government’s empowerment and industrialization improvement grants are into different types of manufacturing, trading and also agro business. Chief Uche Onyeagucha is aware that the most industrially advanced countries of the world like China and Japan have cottage industries to thank for their status in the present world.

Without trying to insult any of these men, who are great Nigerians in their own rights, comparing them in anyway with Okorocha is like comparing the wren with an eagle, metaphorically speaking. Obviously, the wren as one of the smallest of birds wish it could be like and fly like the eagle, the king of birds. Governor Okorocha is operating at a level that these men may only wish for. As he completes his tenure as the governor of Imo State, Okorocha stands out as the most suitable candidate to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari should the latter decline to take another shot at the presidency come 2019. Onyeagucha and FFK can only hang around and pray for one appointment or the other to be dropped on their laps.

Onwuasoanya FCC Jones is an ordinary citizen of Imo State.

 

DMO: TAPPING DIASPORA RESOURCES FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Abimbola Johnson

It is time again for Nigerians living abroad to think home. In the age of globalisation, Nigerians in the Diaspora do not have to return home to contribute to the development of their country. They can do so through several means and ways. And one of these is to subscribe to the Diaspora Bond issued by Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, DMO.

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) on June 13, 2017, through the DMO, commenced road shows in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland, for the country’s first Diaspora Bond of 300 million dollars.

The Director-General of the DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo is leading the FGN delegation comprising representatives from the Central bank of Nigeria, Ministry of Finance to the roadshow. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun is currently engaged with working details of the newly signed 2017 budget – hence her inability to lead the roadshow.

The nation’s debt office, DMO has already filed a registration statement for the bonds with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Documents sighted on the Diaspora Bond indicate that application would be made for the bonds to be admitted to the official list of the UK Listing Authority and the London Stock Exchange to ensure that the bonds were admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s regulated market.

The document added that there would be a series of investors meetings in the UK, the U. S. and Switzerland from June 13. It further noted that pricing was expected to occur following the investor meetings and subject to market conditions. The bonds will be direct general obligations of Nigeria and will be denominated in U.S. dollars. The international Joint Lead Managers are Bank of America Merrill Lynch and The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited, while the Nigerian Joint Lead Managers are First Bank of Nigeria Limited and United Bank for Africa Plc.

So what are Diaspora Bonds? They are simply bonds issued by a country to its own citizens’ abroad (Diaspora) to tap in their wealth in the adopted developed countries. They are essentially a form of government debt that targets members of the national community abroad. Sale of the bond can be restricted solely to members of a particular nationality or opened to all buyers, with nationals receiving a preferential rate.

The bond represents an opportunity for cash-strapped developing countries to gain access to the financial resources of their citizens abroad, something that has been tried and tested by two countries with famously large and industrious diaspora populations- Israel and India. For governments that have large diaspora populations, the bonds provide an opportunity to tap into a capital market beyond international investors, foreign direct investment, or loans. It is an attractive source of funding for governments that have experienced difficulties raising money on the international market or attracting investment.

While Nigeria is not among countries unable to raise funds from the international markets or attract foreign investments, her citizens are among the largest, and perhaps the richest diaspora populations in the world. There are over 17 million Nigerians in The Diaspora who send money home annually for various reasons. The total remittances by such Nigerians ranks second to the proceeds from petroleum as foreign exchange earners.  United Kingdom and United States of America are said to have over two million Nigerians each.

According to the World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Fact book 2016, remittances from Nigerians living abroad hit $20.77 billion in 2015, making Nigeria the sixth largest recipient of remittances in the world.

The report says remittances to Nigeria rose every year over the last decade from $16.93 billion in 2006 to $20.83 billion in 2014. And in 2016, remittances by Nigerians abroad were over $35 billion. This was the highest in Africa and the third largest in the world.

The top two sources for Nigerian diaspora remittances in 2015 were the United States ($5.7 billion) and the United Kingdom ($3.7 billion).

Between 2011 and 2014, Nigerians in the Diaspora had remitted $63.17billion (N10.35trillion) into the country. Analysis of remittances showed that $11billion (N1.8trillion) was remitted in 2011, $21billion (N3.44trillion) in 2012, $20.77billion (N3.40trillion) in 2013 and $10.40billion (N1.7trillion) in the first half of 2014. The global top ten remittance recipients this year were India ($72.2bn), China ($63.9bn), the Philippines ($29.7bn), Mexico ($25.7bn), France ($24.6bn), Nigeria ($20.77bn), the Arab Republic of Egypt ($20.4bn), Pakistan ($20.1bn), Germany ($17.5bn), and Bangladesh ($15.8bn).

Nigeria tops the top ten remittance recipients in Africa with $20.77bn, followed by Ghana ($2.0bn), Senegal ($1.6bn), Kenya ($1.6bn), South Africa ($1.0bn), Uganda ($0.9bn), Mali ($0.9bn), Ethiopia ($0.6bn), Liberia ($0.5bn), and Sudan ($0.5bn).

This is a huge potential source of funding for Nigeria which has battled deficits in the national budgets in recent years. The DMO under the cerebral Dr. Abraham Nwankwo has hit another first-initiative with a potential to be a game changer. He is leading Nigeria to become the first African country to experiment with the Diaspora Bond.

It speaks to the synergy within the President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet that all are working together to realise the economic vision of the government. Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, had hinted in February that the Diaspora Bond would be rolled out within the year. The National Assembly too was brought on board to support and approve it.

, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora has also urged all Nigerians to take advantage of the first ever Diaspora offer by buying into the bond.

A statement from her office explained that the Diaspora Bond will be used to raise funds from Nigerians in the Diaspora to finance capital projects and provide an opportunity for them to participate in the development of the country.

She said her office as well as Nigerians in the Diaspora was excited as the first ever Diaspora Bond is being rolled out to the benefits of Nigerians. She noted that the issuance of the bond was a unique way of lubricating the interest of Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in the developmental projects being carried out by the Buhari administration.

 

As part of measures to fund capital expenditures, the Federal Government had in February announced an offer of $1 billion Euro Bond under its newly-established $1 billion Global Medium Term Note programme. The DMO has also successfully launched a Federal Government Savings Bond (FGNSB).

Mrs. Johnson wrote in from Abuja.

 

NEMESIS OF A CORPORATE FRAUDSTER NAMED STERLING BANK AND WHY NIGERIANS SHOULD IMMEDIATELY STOP BANKING WITH THEM

Fejiro Oliver

“At the heart of banking is a suicidal strategy. Banks take money from the public or each other on call, skim it for their own reward and then lock the rest up in volatile, insecure and illiquid loans that at times they cannot redeem without public aid”

James Buchan

The month of June is an eventful month. One of its days marks the annulment of the election won by late business mogul, MKO Abiola. It will also be the day that the Federal High Court, Ikoyi will hear the case instituted against us by the Inspector General of Police acting under the criminal influence of their paymaster, Sterling Bank, who ran to them for protection from a N100 million fraud committed by the bank against itself and the customers.

Yes, June 12th will be everything historical for Dennis Ukpabi who blew the whistle in his now famous book ‘The Whistleblower’ and I. It will be the day that the Justice Mohammed Idris court will sit in the honorable temple of justice to determine whether it was a case of fraud published by Secret Reporters or a case of sexual exploits as exist in the warped imagination of the Executive Director in charge of Operation and Services, Mr Yemi Odubiyi and his three puppies namely Eguru Nyenke, Adekanla Desalu and Busola Awosile who still wore her legendary short skirts to the police station the three times I saw her.

Sterling Bank is everything a bank should not be. It is the poster child for financial corruption in the banking sector. It does not only steal from customers but steals from itself. For Sterling, all is fair and fair is all, as long as they make gain in the course of their business. Despite the illegal money domiciled in their vault; it is still a struggling bank that may soon collapse and only deceiving customers that it is a strong bank.

Top corporate bodies such as MRS Oil that has accounts with them has since commenced move to remove their money and move it to Fidelity Bank to avoid stories that touches the heart, but the bank in its known game of scam has been delaying the movement of the cash completely but moving it in bits; fearing that such removal of money from their vault will cripple them. Many other top companies whom I shall mention in subsequent write-ups have also done same.

For a bank currently enmeshed in a N100 million scandal, where they resurrected dormant accounts without the knowledge of the owners to run to their corrupt police partner and dole out customers cash for them to carry out the operations headed by the morally corrupt DSP Kenneth Ogbeifun tells Nigeria that Sterling will do anything to cover up every trace of corruption in the bank.

Ironically, this is a bank that preaches the whistleblowing policies and even dedicated a mail towards that, yet they could not stand a whistle blown against their own staffs which includes Yemi Odubiyi. Is anyone surprised? No! During the raid of its corporate office by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where they were caught red handed of hiding election funds lodged by Alison Diezani Madueke and the Managing Director, HYemi Adeola was whisked away, Sterling through Odubiyi sent panic mails to all staff in the head office to remain calm and not place calls to anyone on what the bank is going through. They reached out to journalists not to report the ugly incident.

Charles Ogbu, a famous blogger best captured the N100 million fraud when he said “A fraud took place in Sterling bank. The fraud was busted by a staff of the bank in conjunction with a blogger, named Fejiro Oliver. The bank acknowledged this and even sacked those involved and suspended one.

The same people who were sacked by the bank for fraud now went to the police and lodged a complaint of cyber stalking against the two guys who exposed their fraud, the same fraud for which they were fired and one suspended by the bank.

By law, the duty of the police is fighting crime. Fraud is crime. It is a crime against both the victim and the state.

Ironically, the same police whose constitutional duty is fighting crime such as fraud now decided to overlook the crime of fraud commited by the sacked/suspended staff of Sterling bank and charged the two guys who exposed the fraud. The police didn’t just charge them to court, they were criminally inept enough to even oppose their bail application even when their alleged offence is bailable.
Beyond appalling, actually.

How do you explain a situation where the police will prioritise anything over and above their main duty of fighting crime??

Here, the case of fraud has been established. The car that was fraudulently won by the ex bank staff was even retrieved by the bank.

There is something called Public Interest for goodness sake. And according to this thing called Public Interest, this case of fraud and prosecution of the alleged fraudsters should take priority for crying out loud!

In a nutshell, fraudsters are now the ones using the police to prosecute those who exposed their fraud.

Quite frankly, this country is too primitive for some of us”.

That explains it all. The banking sector has been shrouded in enough secrecy for too long and this is time to unravel all the dirty dealings in the bank. This is the time to make the bank open their records on other crimes that they have swept other the carpets. Sterling Bank has taken a ‘bold’ step that we encourage by going to court to challenge the fraud exposed.

No joy can be sweeter than having Adeola and Odubiyi stand in the dock for questioning on their roles in this internal N100 million scam and other crimes committed by the bank. For the first time, Nigerians will be seeing a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a dying bank giving details on how the bank was able to move a staggering $200 million in 2015 to an account. It is a story that will break the internet when we reveal it.

We are more than elated to have Odubiyi tell Nigerians his special interest in Eguru and Adekanla. Graciously enough, the telecommunication still have all their voice calls and SMS exchanges that will be presented before the world. Sterling Bank cannot stand before Nigerians and demand that we bank with them, when their directors like Odubiyi runs a personal account worth staggering millions of Naira and driving the latest automobile in town when his salary cannot afford such. For a bank that lacks integrity, Nigerians money and company hard earned finances are not safe with them.

Every Nigerian worth his salt should immediately begin to withdraw their little savings from the bank to a more credible one in order not to gnash their teeth like the day of rapture. Societe General Bank started like this and the result is what we all saw. Sterling Bank has defied all ethics of the financial world and its downfall will be worse than SGB. To continue to keep two dishonest bankers within their midst who confess to a crime is the very height of thievery and covering of fraud among junior officers in the corporate world.

State Governments who maintain accounts with Sterling should instruct their Accountant General to move their accounts to a bank where honesty and integrity is treasured above sexual gratification, nepotism and favoritism. Thankfully enough, Delta State has since moved substantial amount of DESOPADEC funds with them to another bank, knowing that the bank was used for money laundering during the last political administration.

As we move to cleanse the banks beginning with Sterling; we look forward to more taking the steps that Adeola and Odubiyi began. We look forward to having hundred SANs defend them as they mount the dock. We look forward to stripping them of the cloak of integrity they pretend to wear when they are only borrowed robes. Yes, we look forward to removing every cloak of financial uprightness for Nigerians to see them for who they truly are. We look forward to having the numerous sacked staff by Odubiyi and Eguru looking into the eyes of the sack master and financial terrorists and tell the world who they truly are. We look forward to every court moment for legal fireworks and journalists having true investigative stories on how Sterling has beclouded our eyes for long on their financial misdeeds

As the battle for the restoration of pride to the banking world begin, we welcome Sterling to the field of play and wish them doom as they meet their waterloo in this epic legal battle.

Court Rise…

These little things matter…

Fejiro Oliver is Editor In Chief of Secrets Reporters News, Investigative Journalist, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist can be reached on +2348022050733 (SMS ONLY) or secretsreporters@gmail.com. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86.