Two highly government-favored Nigerians, Theophilus Danjuma and Aliko Dangote have been selected by President Muhammadu Buhari to lead the northeast rehabilitation committee. Danjuma’s SAPETRO was awarded (OPL) 246 in 1998, paving the way for his billions, and Dangote was favored by the Nigerian Obasanjo government since as far back as the 70s! According to Wikileaks Cable: 05LAGOS362_a, 8:
“…the Government has been very supportive of Dangote. We know the company at one time or another held exclusive import rights in sugar, cement, and rice using such advantages to do volume business and undercut competitors. In a December 1996 interview, Aliko Dangote admitted that a government mandate once forced him to import so much rice that the local market crashed by almost 80 percent.  The direction of GON trade barriers also suggests preferential treatment. High tariffs or outright bans on imported items favor the Group in nearly all areas in which they do business including wheat flour, cement, certain textiles, sugar and pasta.”
We are not talking of just preferential treatment here; these advantages were to the destruction of competition and small businesses; they were to the destruction of the fibre of Nigeria. Danjuma in his later days has resorted to the “charities” business with his $100 million donation to his “foundation” in what some may consider “atoning” for his undue advantages to the detriment to of the larger society, but others put a bit worse as Emeka Obi said in Forbes in 2011:
“I don’t believe TY Danjuma is a hero of philanthropy,” said Emeka Obi, a social commentator and journalist at Compass Newspapers. “TY Danjuma is the problem with Nigeria whereby a few members of the ruling elite appropriate the nation’s resources and wealth to themselves at the expense of over 100 million Nigerians who are struggling to make ends meet. This is the problem with the Nigerian system: a single man makes so much money not because he is hardworking or deserving, but because he is merely connected to the powers that be. Danjuma was given an oil bloc as a gift. It is preposterous. The $100 million Danjuma has given to the foundation is not his money; it is Nigeria’s money, and it is absurd that he pretends like he’s some sort of philanthropist.”
These two men shall head the Federal-government set-up Northeast Rehabilitation Committee, Buhari has just announced. Now this piece is less concerned about the genuine agitation for the overdue probe into the wealth of these duo and he like, as well as the need for some form of harsh restoration of the balance in favor of the State over single individuals. This piece simply asks:
Are billionaires and the Elite the best candidates for heading the address of Nigeria’s issues caused by the illicit cash flow to the very billionaires and Elite and the social inequality thereby originated that led to the very terror; and also these very monies flowing from them to Boko Haram and the like also responsible for the ugly state of the nation today?
Are there no “austere” individuals like Buhari to put in charge of these committees? Shall we always as a nation be made beggars to the cabal?
Dangote’s policies in particular were branded “beggar-thy-countrymen,” by US analysts. It is true. Now what is a worse insult than the beggars rendered so are again put at the mercy of those who made them victims of terror and poverty?
Could Buhari not find one rich man and one poor man to head this committee? Must the committee be used to again enrich the almighty cabal, by the use as can be predicted of their companies, their exorbitantly sold cement, today marketed at the highest price in the world?
Will Buhari vote for Buhari?
We had other options including wealthy Jonathan, Atiku and others to vote for as our President in 2015. But we chose “austere” Buhari. To what end? To get the very cabal who got us in this fix, back in charge of our nation’s affairs?
To be turned into a nation of beggars?
Have we forgotten that the very Dangote chaired the fundraiser for Jonathan’s PDP, raising billions to campaign against Buhari, that we fought blood and brains against? Now he is being put in control of the parts of Nigeria most bitter about the insensitivity and robbery of the nation and sponsorship of terror by the very cabal!
Today the government is forcing itself by depending largely on World Bank and other foreign loans. Is this why we voted for “change?” In the professional world, the dependance on donations from these billionaires while employing them in government committees and using them to fund government processes is called “conflict of interest.” The results are 100% predictable: more favoritism for them, and more coveting of the nation’s land, dollars and all other resources by the few with resulting deeper deadly social inequality. Is this Nigeria’s eternal destiny? Do we not have faith in the power of the masses?
If we want funds from the colonial globe and Cabal, do we have to bend-over for them to put it in our backsides or rather shall we position ourselves better, fine and tax them appropriately for the same and even more figures we need that we today favor them to beg for in “donations.” Reposition ourselves properly for fair and equitable trade with the world…to get the same value of the subjugating “donations.”
In my recent article, “Of Proudly Injudicious Lawyers Being Ministers And $7000 Beds For The Poor,” I asked the same question when we saw the list of appointees for ministerial positions. Some of whom have been indicted by the ICPC. Some of whom construct $400 boreholes for $450,000. None being a common man, the force behind the electoral victory of commoner Buhari. I asked, would Buhari give Buhari a chance?
On a related note as was observed in the recent Media chat:
Buhari To Give Cabal-Industry Dollars But Deny Same To The Largest Labor Employers–SMEs
Today small industry and small entrepreneurs have no access to foreign exchange.
Perhaps President Muhammadu Buhari does not get it, or does not understand the severity of it, but from the President’s media chat and his responses on the government’s choice for distribution of scarce dollars, Nigeria is at risk of not creating but losing millions of jobs.
President Muhammadu Buhari in the chat said that the government was going to focus on making dollars available for big manufacturing industry.He said: “On foreign exchange, how much are we earning? We try in our priority to look after industries that are employing people and producing goods and services.”
Big industry are owned of course by the Cabal; many such Cabal looted billions of Nigeria’s national earnings to establish their companies; but punishing them for this is not even the issue. The issue is that big industry is the small employer of labor. This is a known fundamental fact of economics especially in the developing world.
SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) is the largest employer of labor. The companies that you and I run; we are the people that employ 75% of labour in Nigeria. It is the same in India, China, Malaysia, Brazil and so on. SMEs across the world employ anywhere between 70 and 80% of labor. The so-called big industries only employ a tiny fraction of labor.
Developed societies have actually moved from “manufacturing goods” to service economies. Lot’s of such services are provided by small and medium enterprises who are being starved of dollars.
The strict and partial moves being employed by the current administration in these trying times are very risky and may implode the nation before they possibly alleviate the crisis and before they may yield the needed returns. Thousands of small and medium enterprises are folding across the nation due to the shortage and denial of foreign currency. Nigeria has not yet developed its manufacturing sector and a significant amount of SMEs depend on various completed and partially manufactured materials from abroad. These businesses are unable to get access to their raw materials, tools or traded products. The implication is catastrophic.
While we are not suggesting that the government simply returns the access to foreign currency to what it was; we demand that it be the same for Cabal big industry as it is for Small and Medium enterprise. Whatever ration of access to foreign currency is given to large companies, so also the same ration of access to foreign currency should be given to small entrepreneurs. We want change. We are tired of being slaves to the recurrently preferentially treated Cabal who get tax breaks, access to credit, preferential choice land and now, preferential access to foreign currency.
So we ask: why should the Dangotes and Danjumas always be favored above the rest of us? Syria and Libya constructed infrastructure but what happened? Many will say that the social inequality and government institutionalized disadvantagement allowed those nations to crack; and look at them today. In seconds it all came tumbling down. What is the use of Buhari building-up Nigeria only to deepen the lines of inequality, frustration and anger that are the roots of the terror and that will pave the path for the terror of tomorrow? If Elite individuals as these are so good, I suggest we add Jonathan to the list and surely two more Ds, Dasuki and Diezani to jointly head the Rehabilitation committee?
God Bless Nigeria this 2016. May we reap the fruits of our votes.