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Archive for the month “April, 2012”

A Pinch Of N(u)ews A Laugh At Serious Issues

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Strife-Torn Nigeria Is an Investment Magnet – Businessweek

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Update #Nigeria : Explosion rocks Kano city again

Explosion and gunshots in Kano were targeted at the Christian Student Fellowship located within the theatre and sports complex at the old campus of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK). 8 people confirmed dead and several injured. Men of the Nigeria Police in pursuit of the terrorists.

Breaking News :#Nigeria Explosion rocks Kano city again !!!

There are reports of explosions and sporadic shootings around Bayero University, Kano. details still sketchy.

We would update you as event unfolds.

Unmasking Adenuga

This is an explosive blow by blow account written in free flowing style by two adventurous journalists and profilers. It rips across big business and the inherent risks, intrigues, love and sadness, death, and escape from the jaws of death, disappointments and finally the big catch – the telecommunications giant -Globacom that thrusts Michael Adenuga into the league of global business, as told by Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe. Nduka Nwosu reports

Mike Adenuga’s story remains a writer’s delight any day. Add Africa’s richest man – by Forbes magazine’s estimates – Aliko Dangote to it, and your pay day is made in the art of profiling. More importantly, they are prodigious subjects for reporters in search of redemption. Why? Because a writer once described journalists as writers who fell by the wayside. Put in simple language, they are chroniclers in a hurry.

But every once in a while, a journalist emerges as a writer, wins a double crown and reclaims his or her birth right. This perhaps defines the present incarnation of Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe, both parading till date five titles including two business best sellers: 50 Nigeria’s Corporate Strategists: Top CEO’s Share Their Experiences in Managing Companies in Nigeria and Nigeria’s Marketing Memoirs: 50 Case Studies, and now Mike Adenuga, Africa’s Business Guru.

The Nigerian scene is replete with such writers. Tony Momoh in the 80s penned his Simple Strokes, a reporter’s notebook based on a holiday in Britain, Naiwo Osahon’s novel Sex is a Nigger’s Game and Ben Okri, who worked as a reporter in Uche Chukwumerije’s Afriscope when the hope of a university education was not forthcoming, are a few examples.

In The Famished Road, Okri’s world like Adenuga’s, sets the pace for the journey to the unknown, the unauthorised biography Awoyinfa and Igwe set sail to chronicle. “In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world… a dream can be the highest point of life”.

This dream in biographical sketches became real right from the day Awoyinfa and Igwe tendered their resignation in the National Concord rather than be deployed to the editorial board. Before that, however, they had brought to the bookstands the best sellers that built their Taj Mahal, which according to Awoyinfa was supervised by Igwe from joint resources.

Critics may argue that the twins of two worlds – the multicultural art of writing and reporting may have opted for the material dollar at this time, gripped by the buccaneering spirit. No, they were only worthy evangelists in the fine art of writing – good ambassadors of a genial, vanishing culture.

The preface sets the stage: “In this gripping book, Mike Adenuga: Africa’s Business Guru, money, power, politics, high-wire intrigues, betrayals and bloody escapes from the jaws of death, blend into an explosive alchemy as award winning journalists, Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe, unmask the mystery of the enigmatic African billionaire, Dr Mike Adenuga, Jr., the first man in the world to single-handedly float a mass consumer telecommunications company, Globacom.

“This riveting book is a product of five years of investigative efforts by two of Africa’s most tenacious writers. The story of Mike Adenuga is an inspiring and an unorthodox entrepreneurial manual drawn from the long-concealed secrets of Africa’s most elusive personality and certainly one of the richest black men in the world”

In the opening chapter, what initially looked like an assassination attempt, a stunning, blood-chilling rehash of an armed robbery attack unfolds: “Around him, there was blood, blood, everywhere. Blood oozing from the ruptured arteries of his fleshy body. Precious blood wasting on the floor, like a vandalised oil pipe ruptured by some rampaging fuel thieves. And amidst the splatter and blotches of blood on the floor lay Mike Adenuga groaning. He had just been shot. Shot point-blank in the sanctity of his home, his castle… An argument had ensued between them, with the rebel robber saying adamantly: “Let’s finish the job. We have to finish this job. We must kill him. We must kill him.”

In one fatal moment of unprovoked madness, he pulled the trigger and bang! Shot point blank. It’s lights out for Adenuga!

Beyond this mild beat, Awoyinfa and Igwe present the image of addicts of the gutsy adventure story of crime and criminals, where action rips along in a series of explosions, what another writer described as a blood and cyclone adventure saga full of action, where menace mingles with violence and horror with mystery stashed on mystery, death on brutal death.

On a humorous note, however, they are glad the man survived the bullets of the black angels of the night to give themselves a self appointed assignment. They continue: “If he had died at that point in December 1982, perhaps the story would have ended there. If he had died, we wouldn’t be embarking on this long, arduous, literary epic, a journey to unmask this enigmatic, shy, evasive and reclusive business colossus, who shares some character traits with the Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich. Abramovich, the Russian Oligarch who had quietly amassed immense wealth and was living his life unobtrusively, until he bought a top football team in the English Premiership called Chelsea. Then the Pandora box of global media glare exposed him to all the troubles it contains.”

Traumatised by Obasanjo

Like a fellow writer Brian Moore whom the lucid and celebrated Graham Greene extolled the way he brought his subtle sensibilities into several varieties of genre fiction, in Awoyinfa and Igwe’s new book, what they excitedly described as their Opus Magnus, “Stale old forces embrace fresh new spirits.” Example: “Okay, I would show you that I am playing God and kuku destroy you once and for all” to which the frightened and weather beaten Adenuga replies President Obasanjo, with his knees crawling on the floors of Aso Rock, his palms stretched full length in the charged, steamy atmosphere: “Sir, I am your son. Please don’t be angry with me.” Obasanjo: “I shouldn’t be angry? Why shouldn’t I be angry? See you now. You would come and prostrate and when you leave here, tomorrow, you would go and be publishing your adverts, abusing me. No be so (Is that not true)?”

Again in Africa’s Business Guru, bedraggled characters turn what should have been a sweet farewell into a bitter retreat. Another example: “Their discussion progressed on a cordial note until IBB brought up the issue of restoring Adenuga’s licence. Obasanjo pointedly accused IBB of hiding behind Adenuga to play in the telecoms market without the courtesy of disclosing his vested interests to him. Babangida refuted this charge, declaring he was not in partnership with Adenuga.

“Obasanjo said there was a full security report on the matter, but Babangida dismissed (the) so called security report as fiction concocted by his EFCC boys. The discussion soon degenerated into acrimony. Presidential Villa insiders said that an enraged Obasanjo bullied and practically chased IBB out. Obasanjo was shouting, ‘Get out, just go!’ to a retreating IBB.”

The book reveals how generous the businessman was to Obasanjo donating a multi-million library to Obasanjo’s Bell University, yet the man bluntly refused to grant his licence. At the launch of the Obasanjo Library, this is the account of story behind the library’s launch: “Adenuga had gone to Abeokuta with Dr. Yemi Ogunbuyi for the occasion and the duo had decided to go to greet Baba first. But they were intercepted by a man in a white Kaftan robe who turned out to be Obasanjo’s cousin. The cousin politely said Baba wanted to know how much Adenuga was going to donate. Incidentally, Adenuga had raised this question with Ogunbiyi on their way coming. ‘How much do you think I should donate to this thing?’

‘I don’t really know may be N100 million,’ Ogunbiyi suggested.
‘That’s exactly how much I have in mind,’ declared Adenuga.
“Now the question from Obasanjo’s emissary was curious and unusual, he thought, but nevertheless, he had no choice but to inform the man that he planned to donate N100 million, thinking the man would be very impressed. Wrong. Obasanjo’s cousin brought out a piece of paper and handed it to Adenuga. ‘Sorry sir, but Baba says you can’t donate less than that amount,’ the man had written.

“Inside the piece of paper was the sum of N250 million scribbled in Obasanjo’s handwriting with a red pen. ‘No problem,’ Adenuga told the emissary, wondering if others were subjected to the same experience, but also knowing he dared not ask anybody, lest he be betrayed. He later showed Ogunbiyi the piece of paper. ‘I’ll give anything he wants,’ he told Ogunbiyi. ‘I’m afraid of that man o. N250 million is about the price of an oil well,’ Adenuga added.”

Homeboy and The American Dream

A rose is still a rose, sang Aretha Franklin in her sweet epiphanous ballad. Roses dominate the prose of Awoyinfa and Igwe as they present themselves as the good ambassadors of a genial cause. In a breezy shakedown cruise spanning 682 pages, their poignant narrative opens with another familiar note: “This book started as a journey, actually in Springfield Illinois while on an international visitors programme – a long tortuous journey to unravel the mystique of a great Nigerian, an African business leader we have come to know, study and admire for his courage, tenacity and indomitable spirit of enterprise, outsized dreams and vision, leadership, can-do spirit, competitive and winner-takes-it all mentality, his legendary generosity and for so many other things you will come to discover in this book. But as they say, there is also perhaps, the dark side of the moon.”

Writing the Mike Adenuga story for Awoyinfa and Igwe was like finding a Byzantine treasure trove, and this deserves to be chronicled in prairie, prosaic, language. The investigative skills came to play as the elusive businessman extraordinaire became his famous self – the Scarlet Pimpernel with the magical powers of appearance and disappearance, one moment he is here, as the master wordsmith and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka would put it, the next moment he melts into mystery land.
The duo treat the book the way a hunter treats a wild beast with a reporter’s superego, the type of game that awakens a lion from the den to make his kill for the day.

Awoyinfa and Igwe must have absorbed a popular saying among the people of Western Samoa, that from the direction of the wind, you can tell a story from the beginning. And so Adenuga himself sets the stage for the great voyage: “Essentially running a business is similar to leading a military operation or orchestrating a political campaign, or performing as a great athlete. The fundamental principles are the same. The over-riding objective is to out-manoeuvre the opposing forces; to outsmart the other party; to outperform the competition; to outwit the other guy-to achieve. This may sound harsh. But that’s the way it is.”

The young Adenuga, we are told, sold once goat feed courtesy of his entrepreneurial mother who early in life pushed her children to hawk primarily to acquire street wisdom and that explains how excited Adenuga was to announce to Mrs. Oyin Adenuga: ‘Mama, we have found oil,’ when his upstream exploration company struck one. In the American dream, it is clear Adenuga admired his university slogan, Ride with Pride at the North Western Oklahoma State University, Alva, and transformed it into ‘Glo with Pride’, when he launched the mobile network – Glo.

The American sojourn, wrote the chroniclers, transformed Adenuga into a cab driver. “It was as a cabbie that Mike Adenuga met the assassinated Nigerian journalist, Dele Giwa, who was also a cab driver in New York. Life as a black cab driver in New York was as risky as it is today. You could easily get killed. But they did it because they needed to survive. And they made good money. They were not regular taxi drivers who had their taxis painted yellow and black. They were gypsies. You found them around the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, whereas the official yellow cabs were found mainly in Manhattan.”

We are also moved into Adenuga’s world of business, his arrest and flight into exile where his business empire flourishes, his family life and his divorce from his first wife Fola who still speaks passionately of the golden years of bejeweled diamonds and jet set lifestyle, her devastation by the court that gave the husband custody of her children including the child in the womb. Fola, we are told, is restored as a member of the Adenuga family by her children and the matter of divorce is left behind without necessarily returning to the house.

Big Bosoms and Backsides

At Devcom Merchant Bank, the writers unveil Adenuga’s second wife to be, Titi Adewale who came for a job and transfixed the boss into another world with her God-given curves. “Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is one of Adenuga’s friends of the early years. They were into merchandising, arms deals, crude oil selling and government contractors. They were the Babangida boys. Kalu remembers that in those days he and Adenuga used to have slang for a woman endowed with heavy breasts and big buttocks. The slang was ‘Burkina Faso’. ‘Burkina’ (for the big breasts) and ‘Faso’ (for the big buttocks).

“In an unequal world we live, a woman could have Burkina and not necessarily have Faso. But Adenuga prefers his women to have the full complements of Burkina and Faso in their figure. As for Miss Adewale, she was a fully endowed lady. And once Adenuga set his eyes on her, he never removed them. Like her name, Titi titillated Adenuga in no small measure.”

This is Adenuga unveiled. The story is told in beautiful prose that will make banner headlines and best sellers.

In summary, the billionaire philanthropist is summrised in the epilogue as he leaves his legacy to young businessmen in the making, on the Path to Guru: 50 Entrepreneurship Lessons, what the writers call “some nuggets of the business philosophies and timeless principles that have worked for Mike Adenuga not only as captured in this book but also espoused by Adenuga’s personal credo.”
The 50th and last credo reads: “Like all mavericks, the strength and secret of the Guru is the ability to think out of the box, the ability to act in unconventional ways that have brought about paradigm shifts. Unconventional ideas provide the keys to innovation, to differentiation. It is the magic sesame that opens the door leading to the path to the Guru.”

From Concord to Corporate Biographers

In spite of the fact that Brian Moore was described as a writer who lacked an appreciative audience with minimal black ink support from paying customers, “he had profoundly marked his time with over 20 novels, swimming the current like an arch-angel flying through the heavens.” Unlike the lucid Moore, Awoyinfa and Igwe with less than a dozen of similar efforts, are already celebrants, swimming the current like arch-angels as well, and the secret according to Igwe, whom Awoyinfa generously and respectfully defers to, the image making skills of their outfit – Corporate Biographers, is that “Mike has his head on the clouds and I have my feet on the ground.”
You would have imagined that having distinguished themselves as grandmasters in casting screaming headlines for the tabloid right from the Weekend Concord to The Sun, the inseparable twins of the pen would have embraced the art of sleaze journalism with” lurid voyeurism”, Far from it; they warn in the opening invocation in Africa’s Business Guru: “This story of Adenuga, we are told, is not a hagiography. If it is, then we have failed as journalists whose role is to present the good and the bad sides of our subject. As you will discover in this book, we delved too deeply into Mike Adenuga’s life to ferret out his strength(s) and weaknesses, his positives and negatives, including some of the things he might not normally like to be published. We didn’t set out to hurt him, but just to do our job, the way journalism is done all over the world.”

So the question is: how did this seasonal monsoon rain of profiling drench Awoyinfa and Igwe such that their ship refused to slip its mooring in the newsroom? And as the saying goes, how did their muse pour inky rain on their pens? The simple answer is that Awoyinfa and Igwe belong to the genre of ambitious journalism.
They maximised their input as creative writers when they joined forces with businessman and lover of journalism Orji Uzor Kalu to float The Sun newspapers, a successful tabloid and if you like a re-incarnation of the Weekend Concord, which till date recorded the highest print run ever in print journalism with 500,000 copies at a time weekend titles were hardly a good sale except perhaps the Sunday Times in the then Daily Times Group.

Recalling those early beginnings, Awoyinfa had been posted to the north as a staff writer and Dele Giwa impressed with his style of reporting, created a Reporter’s Notebook for him as a weekly column after his brilliant script on an illiterate reporter who worked for a Hausa title under the New Nigerian Newspaper Group. “I was not keen on reporting,” Awoyinfa recalls, “I was more impressed with creative writing and after leaving the Mass Communication Department with a degree, I had my idea of what I wanted to be, a columnist working under Giwa.”

‘Awoyinfa in Britain’ was another scintillating column that appeared in the Sunday Concord for three months as a Harry Britton Fellow and as assistant editor. Awoyinfa was attached to the Sunday Sun in Newcastle in the United Kingdom, and while there he developed a deep passion for tabloid journalism and according to him, “My confidence level grew. I was creating headlines and like Nigerian soldiers who returned from Burma after the Second World War, to discover things were no longer at ease, I was no longer content being an assistant editor. I wanted to edit a title.”
Igwe, on the other hand, was fast forwarded into his dream profession after a diploma programme at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. He was freelancing for Sunday Concord and no one had seen him. Then the break: a story on the ordeals of school children who left home early to be at school on time, was given a human angle touch. Then destiny brought him to Sunday Concord on a day everyone screamed Eureka: “We have found him.”

Igwe confessed he admired Awoyinfa’s writings from a distance. When they eventually met, a strange chemistry struck and after two decades plus, the corporate biographers and profilers are still waxing strong.

Culled from Thisaday.


‘A line has been crossed’: Gillard acts on Thomson and Slipper

I found this article from SMH that you might be interested in:

Alison-Madueke Promises to End Graft in Oil Sector

By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku

The federal government is putting in place far-reaching reforms that will address malpractices in the oil and gas sector, Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, said at the weekend.

Alison-Madueke, delivering a memorial lecture on The Strategic Importance of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry to Global Security and World Global Economy, at the Howard University in Washington D.C., United States of America, anchored her optimism on the reforms enshrined in the Petroleum Industry Bill, which is in the works.

According to her, the bill, when passed into law, would address the endemic corruption that has characterised the sector over the last five decades.

The minister, an alumnus of the university, noted that the oil and gas industry has been accused of not being transparent over the years, but assured the gathering that reforms will bring sanity to the industry and make it more viable for investment.

She said: “With the PIB, which is going through its final review, major reforms will come into the oil and gas sector, which has severally been accused of not being transparent.

“I think that over the years, there have been many filthy practices not only in the oil and gas sector, but also in many sectors. But there are also many reform initiatives that are digging deep and are beginning to take root.

“I think it takes a little time for them to become fully enshrined. But I must say we are already seeing some very good results and I am hopeful that over the next three four years, we will see a much broader sense of transparency within the sector at least in Nigeria.”

She added that Nigeria’s oil industry has the potential to alleviate global supply issues if fully developed.

She said the country’s oil and gas reserves were estimated at 37 billion barrels and 187 trillion cubic feet respectively, and Nigeria’s leading role on the regional and continental sphere placed it in a vantage position to provide a low-hanging mechanism to address global security challenges.
The minister said Nigeria currently aspires to grow its 37.2 billion barrels crude oil reserves to 40 billion barrels and increase production capacity from the current figure of over 2 million barrels per day to 4 million barrels per day by 2020.

“Nigeria’s deep water and shallow offshore fields have proved to be highly prolific. With capacity expansion by almost 1 million barrels per day over the next few years, Nigeria can significantly contribute to global supply and diversification, thereby alleviating the challenge of supply concentration around the Middle East,” she said.

According to her, the federal government was also leveraging on the nation’s abundant gas reserves through gas infrastructure development to stimulate rapid domestic and regional economic growth and grow liquefied natural gas exports.

In addition to building a gas-based domestic industry, through gas to power, petrochemical and fertiliser plants, she said Nigeria will expand its liquefied natural gas capacity from current 26 million tonnes per annum, (MTPA) by an additional 20 MTPA through the Brass LNG project, for which the final investment decision, she said, was fast approaching.

Alison-Madueke added that with energy at the heart of every economic, environmental and development issue, it has inextricably become linked to global security and the economy.

She identified rising energy demand and increasing concentration of supply, high oil and gas import bills, rapidly progressing climate change, food security and global terrorism as some of the issues that have compounded the situation.

She said the government plans to ensure equity participation in areas such as the gas pipeline projects and it will also ensure that over time, the private sector will play a more active role in areas such as pipelines, tank farms, and depots, among others.

“When that happens, as it certainly will, we will find that it will also begin to address some of the issues of transparency and underlying corruption,” she said.

Culled from Thisday

Python swallows a deer alive, then spits it out”

Watch this video, “Python swallows a deer alive, then spits it out” –

Sent from my iPad

Oyinlola Seeks Trial of MTN Manager for Perjury

Peoples Democratic Party national secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has urged the acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to arrest an official of MTN Nigeria Communication Ltd., Mr. Rotimi Odusola, preparatory to his prosecution for perjury.

Oyinlola, a former governor of Osun State, in a letter to the police boss, dated April 23, a copy of which was given to THISDAY at the weekend, said there was clear evidence that Odusola committed perjury in his testimony before a panel raised by the National Judicial Council to investigate petitions of an alleged romance between the now suspended President, Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami and some Action Congress of Nigeria leaders.

Salami constituted the panel of justices of the Court of Appeal that heard the petition of ACN governorship candi- date in the 2007 election, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, and which nullified Oyinlola’s victory in the said election.

Oyinlola said in the letter to Abubakar that his call for Odusola’s trial was prompted by MTN’s admission in its statement of defence to its suit against the company that the call data records of Salami and some other people presented to the NJC, which the company had hitherto denied, emanated from it.

“Apart from the fact that Mr. Rotimi Odusola deliberately and consciously misled the National Judicial Council (when he appeared before the NJC Special Investigative Panel to testify) by denying the release from his very depart- ment, of Justice Ayo Salami’s and certain other people’s call data records, he has now also gone ahead to commit the offence of perjury by deposing, in Paragraph 7, of the first defendant’s witness statement on oath, to the effect that MTN’s capacity to store call data is limited to three months, when available evidence is to the contrary,” Oyinlola said.

He urged the police boss to ensure that Odusola is arrested and prosecuted for perjury in the interest of justice.

Culled from Thisday Newspaper.

The Siege on Aregbesola Sunday, 29 April 2012 – Thisday Editorial

For some time now, the South West leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been telling some interesting tales, all against the Osun State Governor, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola. From an attempt to “Islamise” Osun State to his plan for “secession” from Nigeria, there is no political crime in the book that Aregbesola has not been accused of. And to “prove” their damaging allegations, the PDP leaders have been quoting copiously from the contents of a “special security report” of very dubious value.

Aregbesola’s accusers have for instance alleged that the governor has “links” with Islamic extremists in North Africa, just as they referred to his trip to Cuba; introduction of a separate “coat of arms” and a flag for Osun State etc. The governor’s other “crime” is that he changed the official nomenclature of the state from “Osun State” to “the State of Osun”. All these, Aregbesola’s traducers allege, make the governor a threat to the corporate existence of our country.

While we understand that most of these allegations border on politics and may have been made in such light, we feel worried by the threat from a PDP chieftain in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, to the effect that his “team” would henceforth “stop and search” Aregbesola’s convoy because the governor was using touts as security guards instead of the official State Security Service (SSS) details assigned to him. Quite expectedly, Aregbesola’s party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has picked the gauntlet by raising the stakes in what has become a game of threats and counter threats which could snowball into something more sinister if not quickly nipped in the bud.

There is no doubt that political rivalry especially between a ruling party and parties in opposition is a welcome development in every democratic setting. If anything, such rivalry helps to put the party in power in check while promoting democratic consolidation. However, it becomes absurd and certainly dangerous when an opposition party embarks on scaremongering, spreading hate message and blackmail, all in the name of politics. The charges against Aregbesola are not only laughable and ridiculous, we believe the PDP leaders are making a political mountain out of a patently irresponsible report whose origin and authorship we still consider very doubtful.

It is on record that we have had reasons in the past to take umbrage at Aregbesola’s comportment as governor, especially when he was disrespectful of the president at a public function in Osogbo and also when he delayed the appointment of commissioners. But on the current allegations against him, we believe the South-west PDP is overreaching itself and we enjoin the newly-elected national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to intervene on the side of reason and common sense. Hounding Governor Aregbesola, as is the case now, on the basis of a spurious “security report” is uncalled for. And those behind this political machination should be held accountable in the event of a breakdown of law and order in that state, which may ultimately snowball into a major crisis in all of the South West.

We shudder to imagine what could result from a situation, where Omisore and his group actually attempt to stop the convoy of a serving governor to search for “illegal” weapon. That can only be an open invitation to violence and a prelude to anarchy. But in all these, we are more worried about the authorship of the “security report” being brandished by the PDP. At a time when there are serious national security issues that should engage their attention, we do not believe that the State Security Service (SSS) leadership would be writing fiction and making such the basis for demonising a serving governor. It would be tragic if they were indeed involved in this sordid matter. If the PDP wants to win future elections in the South West, it is a legitimate aspiration but using intrigues and blackmail as weapons is definitely beyond the pale and clearly unacceptable. Governor Aregbesola deserves some peace to work.

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