Today brings evergreen comments made at different times by this unique Nigerian mentor. You cannot listen to him without questioning his Nigerian heritage.
This is a special entry. Its the long-awaited conclusion of this series for now, and stands out because of the man involved. Its other edge is embedded in its peculiar style. In no previous serving did you hear this much directly from the subject.
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Today brings evergreen comments made at different times by this unique Nigerian mentor. You cannot listen to him without questioning his Nigerian heritage. Apart from with wizards, witches and such other black-hearted people, this all-round icon is a hit everywhere, every time. Now, let’s hear it for him:
“I left N75 billion saved for my successor. Imagine that! A Nigerian leader! Wow! To you, young people, take back your country. It is your future they are toying with.
“I reduced my convoy to five vehicles and you cannot buy fuel unless I am in the car.
If I sleep in a hotel and have to pay N250,000 a night, I would be awake all night feeling like I was robbed.
“We handed schools back to churches and, by 2013, we were number one in WAEC.
“The only way out of recession is to spend for growth. You can only spend for growth either from savings or from borrowing. The question is: what are you borrowing for? Consumption or production? When you borrow for consumption, you are heading for disaster.”
Without a doubt, those lines coming from a Nigerian plying politics in Nigeria are incredible, but they were not convicted. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is that they were made (every word, every sentence) by our very own compatriot. No savvy, but these sweet-nothings-like quotable quotes which went and remain viral and central to the whither-Nigeria political-cum-economic discourse online offer great relief. God may have spared (read over-tolerated) this country because he found at least one man, one big man, whose head is still correct!
“I had to stop the presidential lodge in (my state), a project awarded at N40 million (at that time). I had to close down state house in Lagos and Abuja because I felt we didn’t need it. They said President Obasanjo is coming, so I went to borrow the kind of cars they wanted, from a neighbouring state, instead of spending millions. I requested Obasanjo to spend the nights in my lodge (while my wife and I went opposite to lodge in a hotel for the week, where we paid N30,000 instead of N100,000!
“I used the N150 million for two bulletproof cars to buy almost 50 Peugeot cars at N3 million each, gave 17 to judges, 18 to permanent secretaries (because I discovered they did not have cars) and kept 10 for Government House. I did not use bulletproof cars as governor.
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“One day, they said we should attend World Igbo Congress in (the) US; that the budget was cut from N40 million to N32 million. I asked them why; that only one person should go and come (back) and tell us what was discussed.” My, my, my!
“Instead of paying N30,000 for each security personnel (about 30 of them) per night in Abuja, I told IG (Inspector-General) to give me police whenever I am in Abuja. I travel alone. People complained. The 15 drivers (in Abuja state house) who come to airport to cause confusion, I asked them to go; I kept only three. The others to go back to Awka or look for other jobs.
“Governor’s Lodge and Government House were burnt before I came. With budgets of N400 million and N300 million, I repaired them for N42 million and N80 million, respectively. They wanted to impeach me that I did not spend by due process, (that is) following the awarded contracts and contractor.
“I saw a table that my predecessor used, they said its old. I asked them to renovate it, that all I needed was a table.
“This in a nutshell is exactly how I was able to save money and made sure that our state had the best road network; more than any other state in Nigeria!”
The Anambra State commercial town of Onitsha gave the world a legendary human gift on the 19th day of July, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and sixty one. In 1980, the boy completed his secondary school education at Christ the King College, Onitsha, and thereafter (in 1984) tertiary at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, for which he flaunts a B.A. (Hons.) in Philosophy. Of course, his next stop was business (he is Igbo, for crying out loud). He was, variously, chairman of numerous Grade A companies, some of which are Next International Nigeria Ltd., Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd., Guardian Express Bank Plc, Future View Securities Ltd., Paymaster Nigeria Ltd. (how on earth could this same man have named his company Paymaster?) as well as of Fidelity Bank Plc (he was its youngest chairman ever).
In the public sector where he recently re-emerged from nowhere as is his wont, he’s remembered in part for his time as chairman of Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission but largely for how he bulldozed his way rather gently to Government House, Awka, on March 17, 2006, and overcame multiple challenges to enjoy the constitutional two terms complete with an un-Nigerian financial regime and performance. Mentors don’t come any godlier, any humbler, any better. Ladies and gentlemen, please, rise and celebrate this five-star Nigerian who may well be our next Vice President: His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi. God bless Nigeria!
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