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Wednesday, 30 April 2014


Saturday, 26 April 2014


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Friday, 25 April 2014

Tagged-Business Success In 2014: "Optimizing Opportunities In The Federal and State Budgets".
Date: Tuesday 29th April, 2014
Venue: DRV Hall, off Oniru Estate Road, by Four Point Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos Business Success is based on the level of knowledge you acquire to keep it running...come and get it right here!!!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

STOP THIS CARNAGE NOW.....before it gets too late!

My heart was broken, watching security and rescue officers pick up pieces of human flesh into a bag at the site of last Monday's mayhem at Nyanya, a suburb of our Federal Capital, Abuja. I wept as I watched the wreckage and the wanton destruction of human lives by a band of demented and grossly degenerated criminals who go by the name Boko Haram.

Truly I believe that these evil men have crossed the line of Total insanity. And we can not be watching and appealing to them . Do they look like people who listen to appeals? Let all these appeals cease. It is insulting and disgusting. These animals with the basest instincts have completely lost every bit of humanity and can not respond to any human overtures.

Almost Every Single day since this year, they have been on vengeful rampage, spilling innocent blood of Nigerians, perhaps to appease their thirst for blood. And I think the Nyanya bombing is a complete desecration of our country . And while we were wasting energy making speeches of appeal , they rubbed insult into injury by marching peacefully into the government secondary school in Chibok , Borno State and kidnapped over 100 female Students and drove them away without any challenge. Iam puzzled how this could happen. After they had invaded several schools in the recent past, killing and maiming innocent school children, that we could allow this to happen again makes me extremely sad. More so when many Schools in the State had been shut down, why could we not provide sufficient security to the few that were in session preparing for the WAEC exams?

I have written in this column several times that it looks to me that we are not really serious about ending this crisis or winning the war. There is so much sloppiness in our approach and it is either we are not coordinated or there is too much sabotage. I accept that when we are fighting this kind of war, it is practically impossible to Police everywhere or preempt every attack, but in my opinion we have not been as effective as we ought to. After the bombing of the motor park in Kano where several people were killed and vehicles destroyed, why are our Motor packs and public places un protected even with the minutest anti terror equipment? After they had attacked our Schools repeatedly, it is a big shame that we can not protect even the few schools open in the North East.

If we can not protect or preempt attacks on these known targets, then who and what can we protect ? Just the government houses and the houses of Assembly and the homes of Political office holders.?I believe that something is wrong or deficient with the deployment of our security apparatus and network. Is our intelligence capability so poor?

So, rather than waste my time appealing to the blatantly insane insurgents and their reprobate backers, I will rather appeal to Nigerians, those who genuinely abhor and oppose what is happening. My appeal goes first to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am really wondering how he is handling all these. I believe he must be very distressed. I believe he must be the most distressed person in the country today. When I saw his hand on his chin as he inspected the scene in Nyanya last Monday, my heart went out to him as well. I presume he must be asking the 'why me' question, the type people ask when bewildered by unsavory happenings. He must go down in Nigeria's history as the President who went out to inspect scenes of man-made disasters and condole the bereaved more than any other so far. I believe he must be doing his best but as it is obvious to him, his best seems not to be good enough. I sympathise with him because in the real world, it is difficult to measure effort. What is measured and appreciated is RESULT. No matter what diehard supporters of the President like us may feel the truth is that with the daily killing of innocent Nigerians is the daily erosion of the confidence

of ordinary Nigerians in his government. The first assignment of any government is to protect lives and right now lives of many innocent Nigerians are being wasted. My candid appeal to him is to draw the line on the ground now. If I were him, I will take what ever action that must be taken to see that the Nyanya bomb will be the last of that Nature to be detonated by the Boko Haram or any mutant. I will go to any where in the World to procure help to see that this does not happen again. I will for a starter go after the insurgents and ensure they are driven outside our borders and then cordon off the entire border in the North East of Nigeria. To hear that the book haram have training camps and depots within the Nigerian territory bewilders me. If need be, I will declare a state of emergency in the whole Nation. I will declare every day a Nigerian citizen is killed unjustly a national mourning day and will outlaw any boisterous celebration of any nature until we sort out this National tragedy. If we need volunteers to beef up our security forces, I will ask. If we need foreign troops or whatever, I will get. I know that eventually, we will defeat the insurgents, but at what cost to the lives of innocent Nigerians. I will do whatever is possible to protect the lives of innocent Nigerian Youths whose lives are being cut short in very miserable ways. Some may say that these actions may make the insurgents feel good. What the heck, are they not feeling good already? And that should not bother us, what should be our focus is to galvanize the entire citizenry to frontally resist this evil that is threatening to consume us.As long as people are feeling safe somewhere and having fun,the required galvanization and concentration will not be achieved.

My next appeal is to the Security forces. They are doing their best and many are dying in action.But they can see that their current best falls below National expectation. Iam one of those who hailed the promise of Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh that the insurgency would be brought to an end in April. I have been praying for them to succeed. But we have less than 2 weeks left for April to come to an end and with the renewed onslaught by the insurgents, I am believing God for a miracle. But if April ends and the situation is not reasonably resolved any confidence left on our security forces will be severely shaken. And I hope that they are contemplating the consequences. Let them change their strategies and redouble their effort. The recent embarrassing discrepancy between their story on the rescue of the kidnapped students and that of the Parents and school authority adds no honour to their mission.

Thirdly, let me appeal to the Governors in the North to abandon Political divisions, urgently meet with their traditional rulers, community leaders and other leaders of thought and Marshall a plan to stop this carnage.If they unite on this, they alone can contain this insurgency. In my community, three years ago, an indigene was kidnapped. The community met and rose as one and everybody went into the bush and by day break, the captive was released, the kidnappers driven out of town, and three years after they have not returned. In my opinion, this matter is really in their hands. And that's why I applaud some of the parents of the kidnapped students who on Thursday decided to go into the Sambisa forest to try and rescue their wards. That is the type of action and Courage the citizens must show to put the enemy to rout.

Fourthly my last appeal goes to the people of Nigeria that they must be prepared to face inconveniences. If the President and the Security forces adopt the kind of suggestions I have made above, then we may have to forgo some rights and face some restrictions. We either eat our cakes or have it back,not both. When Alqueda invaded America, world travel changed, especially if you are going to America. They now insist on seeing your nakedness.I do not need to appeal to Nigerians to be vigilant and report strange persons or strange objects, because such appeals seem not to produce much result. It is our civic responsibility and if we do not want to live up to it, then let us be prepared to face the consequence, but stop looking for whom to blame.This carnage must stop now or else it might be too late!

Finally, we must be comforted by David's testimony in the book of Psalm chapter Eleven: "In The Lord,I put my trust, how say ye to my soul ,flee as a bird to your mountain?. For lo the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at the upright in the heart. If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do?. The Lord is in His Holy Temple, the Lord's throne is in heaven; His Eyes behold, His Eye Lids try, the children of Men. The Lord trieth the righteous, but the wicked and him that Loveth violence, His soul hateth.UPON THE WICKED,HE SHALL RAIN SNARES, FIRE AND BRIMSTONE ,AND AN HORRIBLE TEMPEST; this shall be the portion of their cup". Let us trust The Lord to help our efforts,especially if we are the righteous. If any one is not, this Easter is a great opportunity. Happy Easter, Nigerians, anyhow!

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR

Monday, 14 April 2014


Since this week, I have been psychologically elevated and my Patriotic zeal refired. The news that Nigeria's REBASED nominal GDP has almost doubled from 285 billion dollars to 510 billion dollars is a great tonic to me and I presume to other patriots. Indeed the additional information that Nigeria has advanced to the position of the 26th Largest economy in the World, only six percentage points, shy of our 2020 Vision target got me literarily dancing.
But why are Nigerians not celebrating?Some commentators have asked whether this is real or fantasy. My friend Bismark Rewane has described it as a flight from reality to vanity. I can understand this apparent denial of reality. This story sounds too good to be true. Nigerians are used to reading,hearing and narrating bad news about their Country.Some, actually love to hear bad news about the Nation. The reason, I can not tell.If the news was that we had declined in GDP or have receded in our ranking, many commentators would have been celebrating, berating the Nation in their characteristic past time. But that we are now the largest economy in Africa is not reverberating. If this news was about South Africa or Ghana, there would have been elaborate commomeration in Jo'burg and Accra.
But I am celebrating,though every commentator had cautioned me against celebrating. Even the senior government officials who presented the good news made some 'effort' to discourage any celebration perhaps to minimize any rise in expectations or to preempt the anticipated opposition or nay Sayers who would readily read politics into what is purely economic reality. Iam enthused for many reasons. First, as a proud Nigerian, I am pleased that my beloved, though beleaguered Country is in the news for good. Indeed in the Global news. Every international medium has carried the news in the last week that Nigeria's economy has overtaken that of South Africa to become the biggest in Africa. We are therefore not only the fastest growing economy but now also the biggest in Africa. That gladdens my heart and makes me feel good.

For long, some commentators have said Nigeria was big for nothing and that our large population was only good at consumption, and that we produced nothing but oil. Even other smaller African Countries encouraged by our own over critical press jeered at us as all the data ever released about Nigeria was adverse. Secondly, as Past Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group( NESG),People have asked me without break, what we had achieved for the 21 years we have held the Nigerian Economic Summits(NES). I had said that our greatest achievement has been the the ability to influence the government to diversify and open up the economy, through deregulation, commercialization and Privitisation. Today, Telecommunications, the flagship of our deregulation policy contributes 9% of our GDP from 0% in I990. With Services now contributing 52% of our GDP, it is clear that efforts to diversify the economy over the years is yielding fruits.

Thirdly, I have spent the greater part of my working life in Manufacturing, and have grown sick with the abysmal low level of contribution of manufacturing to GDP of between 2-4%. With the rebasing, we can see the impact of the increased activities in manufacturing - cement, flour, agro products, leather work, pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics and basic consumer products which have moved us to a better 7% of GDP. At one time, some even argued that given the very low contribution of manufacturing, may be Nigeria should discontinue all manufacturing and focus on the areas contributing some thing significant to our GDP. Now such morbid thoughts will have no foundation to stand on and you say I should not be glad.

Fourthly, the World is now better able to see the different promising sectors of the Nigerian economy and the promise they hold and should therefore elicit more interest. Certainly there will be an appreciable impact on investments in the Country going forward . Fifthly,Nigeria will assume greater respect in the international community. Should a meeting of the G26 be called today, Nigeria will be in the league. Seriously Nigeria will be better respected and it's voice listened to more intently in World Affairs than hitherto. After all, why has China garnered a lot of global attention and respect in the last ten years or so?. It is essentially because of its galloping growth that has brought it to be the the second largest economy in the World today, only behind the USA.

Sixthly, though the REBASED GDP does not automatically translate to more money in the pockets of Nigerians, it is gratifying that our per capita income has jumped from 1500 dollars to 2,688 dollars. That increases the worth of every Nigerian and again has a positive impact on the attractiveness of Nigeria to investors( foreign or domestic) as it indicates purchasing power potentials. Seventhly, it motivates the government that its efforts over the years have yielded something positive. Yes the governments( past and present) have not done everything right, but it true that they have done certain things right and Nigerians must be charitable to accord them the Honour for those things done rightly. The REBASED GDP throws up some of the areas that government policies have had positive impact, Telecoms and manufacturing for example. Conversely it shows up areas where more work is needed, Power for example which is yet to contribute meaningfully to the GDP. Perhaps at the 2015 rebasing, we may see Power contributing much more if the current Investments and restructuring are carried through.

Eight, the creativity of Nigerians shone bright in the REBASED GDP. Did any one imagine that Entertainment which is essentially indigenous could yield 854 billion( 1.4%) to the 2013 GDP. That must be rewarding news to our Nollywood entrepreneurs and actors and our musicians and comedians. I believe that it will not only motivate them to do more, it will spur the development of other indigenous business sectors like Arts and culture, literature,pottery,painting and sculpture,areas that Nigerians can readily excel.

I could go on and on to justify why I think that we need to be happy about the REBASED GDP. The point I am making is that we must cheer our Country and our selves when something good happens to our Country. Though several challenges still face us as aNation, though we expect much more from our governments( Federal, State and local Governments), though we still have high unemployment, though we are facing severe security challenges, the point must be made that many things are going well for our Nation. One and very important one at that is that our Economy has grown and expanded and that we have the largest GDP in the entire African Continent and the 26 largest Economy in the whole World. If that is not good news, I am sorry!

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa ofr.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


I fully subscribe to the democratic tenets of freedom of Speech, Association and Movement. But it must be accepted that each freedom has its limits and must be exercised within the circumference of the law. I have for several years been appalled by the ease with which Nigerian Politicians switch camps. A man belongs to a particular political party in the morning and just because his suggestion was not accepted at a meeting in the afternoon, he announces to us with glee and no feeling of remorse in the evening that he has joined another party, and while we are still trying to understand what that means to us his supporters or electorate,he announces next morning, perhaps after some overnight ' reconciliation' or 'settlement' meeting that he has gone back to the party he left yesterday evening. All in the name of freedom of association! What kind of freedom is this?

Now if you are just a politician seeking relevance or a position or where to stand, I can show empathy, as one may find that one platform may be too crowded and may not allow you a space to actualise your ambition. But then, is politics all about relevance and positions and ambitions?. I had thought that Political parties were organized to espouse certain ideologies that would influence good governance and orderly development of society. And therefore, before you joined one, you would scrutinize their constitution, philosophy and manifesto, so as to determine whether your world or political views or persuasion were in sync with those of the party you were planning to join. And so having joined, you would be expected to join hands with the other members to espouse and promote the political views of your party to influence political, economic and social behavior of society to achieve growth and orderly development. In such circumstances, seeking particular positions( elected or appointed) should not be sufficient reason to become a 'migrant ‘or 'nomadic ' politician as Mr Labarun Maku rightly classified Atiku Abubakar and his cohorts recently.

Now if I have some empathy for Politicians seeking relevance or positions or space to stand, I do not have any for a Politician who has been elected into office under the banner and manifesto of a particular party who recklessly defects or migrates from one party to another. It is morally bankrupt and it is a reckless and unconscionable abuse of the freedom and choice of the electorate. According to the Nigerian Constitution and the extant electoral laws, only Political Parties are allowed to stand for elections and only political parties win elections. If it were not so, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi would never have become governor of Rivers State when he did. He never stood for the gubernatorial elections in 2007. His name was not on the ballot, neither did he campaign. But His party PDP went to the election and won. And when the Supreme Court was asked to determine who the rightful candidate of PDP for the election was, it said it was Amaechi and not Celestine Omehia whose name was on the ballot and who campaigned for the seat.

So that settled the issue that the electorate actually and legally votes for Parties. Yes, the individual candidates may influence the outcome, but whom the electorates are voting for are the parties, largely because of their philosophies and manifesto. And so if I have exercised my choice and voted for a party and it's manifesto and it wins and the party's candidate, then for one reason or the other( often selfish ), decides to defect to another party which I did not vote for perhaps because I did not share in their philosophy or like their manifesto, is this not a patent abuse of my freedom and perhaps a fraudulent conversion of my political equity?

This abuse has gone on for so long and I was just hoping some one else would share my distaste for this act of 'political prostitution'. Thank God that this week Justice Adeniji ADEMOLA rose to the task and pronounced that the 37 PDP members of the House of Representatives who turned coat and changed their parties to APC should lose their seats in the house. For me this is a very courageous judgement and carries with it a high moral weight.

We need bold,courageous and fearless Judges like Adeniji ADEMOLA to reign in the politicians and cut down their excesses.

As expected the affected politicians who now belong to the so called progressive party have risen, along with their leaders with one voice to condemn and abuse the courageous Judge for trying to bring order to the conduct of politicians in Nigeria. If Ademola had acted otherwise, they would have hailed him as the greatest and most fearless judge on earth. They would have assailed us with eulogies of how the judiciary is the last hope of the common man. The same party that has benefitted most from judicial pronouncements in the history of Nigeria must not be the one to be insulting a judge because he was courageous to remain faithful to his conviction, without succumbing to the threats and blackmail of the Party's intimidating machinery.

Rather than rubbish the courageous judge, I would suggest that they accept the sobering verdict, then appeal as they have done, or go to the same court to adjudicate on their members who have also defected to PDP. That is the honorable thing to do to help bring sanity to the practice of Nigeria's brand of democratic politics. How I wish that the type of Justice ADEMOLA was in the bench in 1952 when there was inexplicable mass defections of NCNC members to AG overnight in the Western House of Assembly, that prevented Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe from becoming the Leader of the Western Nigeria's Parliament, with its lingering consequences on Nigeria's Politics and unity till date.

Let me be clear that I am not opposed to any politician changing his party. I believe that, there may be very many genuine reasons why this must happen. The constitution and the electoral laws have recognized some of them. But my position is that if any elected political office holder desires for any reason whatsoever to change his party, he should do one simple thing. Resign his position and return to the electorate and re-seek their mandate to return to the position on the platform of the new party. For me that is the only way to respect the wishes of the electorate and bring decorum to the contract between the politician and the people.

If I know Nigeria well, the dethroned representatives who already said they are going nowhere, and have gotten their leaders and the media to drum up support for them may eventually go no where. They may even win the appeal- willy or nilly. For me I am fulfilled that Justice Adeniji ADEMOLA has stood for truth and righteousness and what ever happens thereafter, history will remember him as one Judge who did something to curb political rascality and 'prostitution'in our Country.

Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa ofr


Sam Ohuabunwa Foundation for Economic Empowerment (SOFEE) is a multi-sector based Not-for Profit Non-Governmental Organization committed to the economic empowerment of individuals, organizations, communities and nations through economic advocacy, capacity building and training on entrepreneurship, job creation and business excellence.

The foundation is organizing the 2014 Nigerian Economic/Business Roundtable Conference with the theme: BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2014: OPTIMIZING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FEDERAL AND STATE BUDGETS. The Roundtable Conference will review the 2014 Budget and policy issues of major macroeconomic concerns, including the global & local economic recovery, its impact on oil & commodities prices; the policy issues of economic restructuring, monetary / fiscal discipline and responsibility, domestic economic recovery projects & opportunities, economic growth, creation of new jobs & business opportunities, accruable benefits on governance, public and private businesses and the Nigerian citizens in general.