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Dangote, Air Peace and the Patriotism of Capital – By CHIDI AMUTA

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Dangote, Air Peace and the Patriotism of Capital - By CHIDI AMUTA
Chidi Amuta


Money is perhaps a homeless vagrant. It has no nationality or permanent homestead in real terms. It goes and stays only where its masters are wise, prudent and far sighted. But in a world dominated by nations and their interests, real money is first a national asset and tool of governance and sovereign assertion. When money thus becomes a source of power, the nation whose flag the conquering company flies shows up to claim its own. Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, Coca Cola are synonymous with America. It is not because every American can walk off with a can of Coke from the supermarket without paying for it but because somewhere along the way, brand and nation have become fused and interchangeable. Every successful Business may aspire to an international identity but when the chips are down, every successful business needs to be anchored first on a specific sense of sovereign belonging. Ultimately, then, the companies to which sovereign wealth is usually ascribed have a final responsibility to that nation or sovereignty in times of trouble or goodness.

Make no mistake about it. Businesses are in business to succeed as businesses. To succeed as a business is to make tons of profit and invest in even more business and wealth creation. Sensible companies do not always overtly toe the government’s line. They instead buy into the hearts and minds of the citizens through the products they  offer and how friendly their prices are.

Two Nigerian brands have recently stepped forward to identify with the citizens of our country in this moment of grave challenge and desperate self -inflicted hardship. Dangote and Air Peace are now on record as having risen to use their products, brand presence and pricing strategies to identify with and ameliorate some of the harrowing difficulties that Nigerians are currently going through.

The worst moments of our present economic travail may not be over just yet. The epidemic of hunger still looms over the land. Innocent people are still being trampled to needless death at palliative food centers. Some are getting squeezed to death while scrambling for tiny free cash. Inflation figures just got even worse at over 33.4%. Those who fled the country in awe of rampaging hardship have not yet started returning or regretting their decisions to flee. Most Nigerians, rich and poor alike, are still needing to be convinced that the curse of recent hopelessness can be reversed any time soon.

Yet out of the darkness and gloom that now pervades our national mood, a tinge of sweetness has begun to seep into the air. The exchange rate of the Naira to major currencies has begun heading south. The dollar, which at the worst moments in recent times exchanged for as low as N2,300 to a US dollar, has climbed up in value. As at the time of this writing, a little over N1,000 can fetch you the same miserable US dollar. That may not sound like paradise yet since it is still worse than the worst of the Daura emperor. Most Nigerians are praying that Tinubu should minimally take us back to the Buhari days in terms of the exchange rate and relative food security. We are still far from there.

SEE ALSO:  Needless Alarm Over N100BN Enugu State Palm Plantation Deal

What has Dangote got to do with it all? The removal of fuel subsidy had unleashed an astronomical hike in energy and fuel prices. While motorists and transporters wept and wailed at the gas stations, the price of nearly everything else went through the roof. Since public power supply remains as epileptic or absent as in the 1970s or worse, we have been living in a virtual generator republic that is dependent on diesel and petrol generators. The price of diesel in particular jumped through the roof. Industrial production suffered just as transportation and haulage costs became unbearable. Every high cost was passed down to the suffocating hapless citizens.

Fortuitously, the gigantic Dangote refinery complex was coming on stream in a time of great difficulty.  Somehow, the hope was alive that the Dangote refinery would come on stream with a bit of good news on the pricing of gasoline and diesel. But no one knew for sure what Mr. Dangote’s cost accountants had in stock especially with the devilish exchange rate that reigned in the first nine months of the Tinubu tenure.

Energy and fuel prices were off the roof. A liter of diesel went for as high as N1,650 in some places. Gasoline was not any better. Those who wanted to keep their homes powered from generators needed troves of cash to procure diesel whose prices kept going up as the dollar exchange rate escalated. Factories fared worse.

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Refreshingly, Mr. Aliko Dangote whose mega billion dollar refinery in Lagos has just started producing petroleum products has a bit of good news for all Nigerians. He has reduced the price of diesel from the mountain pe58% to a more considerate N1,000 per liter, nearly a 58% reduction in price in less than a week. The prospect is good that when his gasoline products begin to flow through the pumps. Mr. Dangote may have even better news at the gas stations. Along with his fellow cement oligarchs had promised to deliver cement to Nigerians at a more friendly price. The full benefit of that promise is still a long way away.

It needs to be said in fairness to Dangote as a brand that more than any other single company in Nigeria, it has invested in the things that touch the lives of the people most immediately. Sugar, salt, fertilizer, tomato puree, fruit juices, cement and now petroleum products. No other single Nigerian brand can boast of a wider and more expansive range of socially relevant products than Dangote.

In direct response to the prevailing hunger and hardship in the land, Mr. Dangote has himself stepped forward to provide millions of bags of rice and other food items to Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country as humanitarian palliatives. In terms of the human face of capitalism, Dangote would seem to have perfected an enlightened self interest above his peers.

SEE ALSO:  Enugu's Quantum Leap: Governor Peter Mbah's Visionary Transportation Revolution

Just when life was about to gradually grind to a halt, a bit of good news has come from unusual quarters. In a nation that has grown dependent on a feeding bottle tied to the beast of external suppliers of everything from tooth picks to civilized coffee, the belief persisted that all good news can only come from abroad. Nigerians could only hope to enjoy more friendly prices for the things that make them happy if our foreign partners changed their mind. Not any more.

It requires pointing out that the Nigerian spirit is too expansive to be bottled up within our borders just because air tickets are unaffordable. The urban- based Nigerian wants to go abroad for business, on holidays or just to flex!

At the worst of the recent moments, a return Economy Class ticket to nearby London sold for as much as N3.8m-N4million. Major international airlines insisted that the Central Bank had seized and was sitting on their dollar ticket sales proceeds. They needed to keep the high fares to hedge against the uncertainties that were everywhere in the Nigerian air. Nigerian travellers were being punished for the bad fortunes of their national currency and the untidy book keeping habits of the Central Bank.

Almost from nowhere, Nigeria’s largest international airline, Air Peace, announced a low fare flight into London’s Gatwick Airport. The airport itself is also owned by a Nigerian businessman. The fares were unbelievably low, as low as N1.2 million in some cases against the exploitative fares of all the major foreign airlines plying that route. Unbelievably, Air Peace pulled off the London Gatwick  deal with quite a bit of fanfare and patriotic noise making that set the foreign competitors scampering back to the drawing board. Air Peace floated the Gatwick fare reduction as a patriotic act, more like social responsibility to fellow Nigerians than the plain business sense which is what it really is. It was a drive for volume in a market of low volume driven by high fares.

To drive home the patriotic edge of its revival of international flights, Air Peace rebranded its crew and adorned its senior cabin crew with uniforms that featured the traditional Igbo “Isi Agu” motif. For those who are hard at hearing, the Isi Agu motif on Nigerian traditional outfits is of Igbo ancestry just as the Aso Oke, Adire and Babanriga are South Western Yoruba and Northern Hausa-Fulani respectively. A Nigerian airline intent on striking a recognizable indigenous resonance and identity could adapt any combination of these traditional dress motifs to drive home its original and national identity. The isi Agu features a series of lion heads, obviously severed at a moment of unusual valor. To go on a hunt and successfully kill and decapitate a lion is an undisputed symbol or infact a metaphor for unusual valour and heroism among the Igbo. Therefore the choice of that motif by Air Peace in its new cabin outfit is in fact a modern statement on the unusual heights to which Nigerian enterprise can rise if inspired by a patriotic commitment to national greatness. The Isi Agu is therefore Nigerian national heroism captured in an outfit.

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In their recent pricing strategies, neither Dangote nor Air Peace has acted out of pure charity or patriotic feeling. Both are reacting to the pressure of latent demand in a market where the purchasing power has been depressed by economic difficulty brought about by government policy and political exigencies. Yet each of them is intent on being seen as acting out of altruistic patriotic motives. That may be true in the short term.

SEE ALSO:  Kogi: Real reason White Lion fears the zoo

For every liter of diesel sold, Dangote is saving the Nigerian consumer 60% of the current market price. A savings of 60% is a lot for households and businesses. Similarly, for every Economy Class ticket sold by Air Peace on the London route, the average Nigerian traveller gets to save between N1.3million-N1.6 million. That is an awful lot of relief which travellers can apply to other competing needs in these hard times. No one can deny that these are direct savings and benefits that accrue directly to Nigerian citizens. To that extent, both Dangote and Air Peace can be said to be applying their capital to serve a patriotic end.

It is common capitalist gimmick for companies to apply a percentage of their profit to pursue communally beneficial ends in their territory of operation. Oil companies build schools, hospitals, libraries and other socially beneficial  infrastructure in their catchment localities. In normal corporate parlance, that only qualifies as Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) or targeted social beneficence.

But Dangote and Air Peace are doing something a bit more far reaching. They are shedding handsome percentages of their revenue and therefore profit to fellow Nigerians at a time when such savings are desperately needed and deeply appreciated. That is an instance of capitalism serving a patriotic end over and above its statutory tax obligations to the government. This should be commended.

It does not ,however, make these companies any less rapacious as capitalist ventures than any others. They may in fact be investing in better times and bigger profits when the bad days are over. They are investing in the goodwill of the market and therefore deepening their brand penetration and mass sympathy. These are strategies which are far sighted marketing ploys that dig deep into the hearts and minds of generations of consumers.

Ultimately, every capitalist is like a cat; selfish with nine lives and prone to inherent cunning. But, as former Chinese leader Deng Zao Ping said when embracing the free market for his long standing communist nation: “A cat is a cat. It does not matter whether it is a black cat or a white cat. For as long as it catches mice, it is a good cat.”

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Opinion

Enugu’s Quantum Leap: Governor Peter Mbah’s Visionary Transportation Revolution

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Enugu gov't approves establishment of army barracks in Isi-Uzo LGA
Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah


By Dr. Maxwell Menkiti Ngene

In a bold move that is set to transform the landscape of Enugu State, Governor Peter Mbah has unveiled the Enugu Modern Transport Interchange, a state-of-the-art transportation hub that is poised to revolutionize the way people move within and outside the city.

This monumental project is a testament to the governor’s unwavering commitment to modernizing Enugu and unlocking its full potential.

The Enugu Modern Transport Interchange is an architectural masterpiece that boasts cutting-edge design, comfort, and convenience. Strategically located in the heart of the city, this transportation hub is designed to provide seamless connectivity for commuters, travelers, and businesses alike. With its sleek and modern facilities, the interchange is set to become an iconic landmark in Enugu, showcasing the state’s growth and development.

Governor Mbah’s vision for the Enugu Modern Transport Interchange is not just about building a bus station; it’s about creating a sustainable transportation ecosystem that promotes economic growth, reduces congestion, and enhances the quality of life for residents. By providing a safe, efficient, and reliable transportation system, the governor is empowering the people of Enugu to move freely, explore opportunities, and access essential services.

The Enugu Modern Transport Interchange is a game-changer for the state’s transportation sector. With its advanced technology and modern infrastructure, it is set to reduce travel times, increase efficiency, and enhance the overall commuting experience. The interchange will also serve as a catalyst for economic growth, attracting businesses, investments, and job opportunities to the state.

Governor Mbah’s commitment to modernizing Enugu’s transportation system is a testament to his leadership and vision. By investing in critical infrastructure projects like the Enugu Modern Transport Interchange, he is demonstrating his unwavering dedication to the people of Enugu and his desire to leave a lasting legacy.

SEE ALSO:  Needless Alarm Over N100BN Enugu State Palm Plantation Deal

As Enugu continues to evolve and grow, the Modern Transport Interchange will remain a shining example of the state’s potential and a beacon of hope for a brighter future. Governor Mbah’s transportation revolution is not just about building roads and buses; it’s about building a better Enugu for generations to come.

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Needless Alarm Over N100BN Enugu State Palm Plantation Deal

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By Samson Ezea

Undoubtedly, the country’s economy is in dire straits, which requires that certain pragmatic actions must be urgently, rightly, and extraordinary taken to salvage the situation before it collapses completely. This is time for both the leaders and the led to put on their thinking caps.

That is why, for example, the crusade has been for the country and its people to move from consumption and importation to production. This is in order to revive, rescue, and strengthen the economy and create employment for the teeming unemployed citizens.

Clearly, Enugu State Governor, Barr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah has since assuming office demonstrated his belief and understanding of the above clarion call which is in sync with his campaign promises of moving the state economy exponentially from the current 4.4bn dollars to 30bn dollars through private sector investments, reviving and repositioning of the state-owned moribund and abandoned industries, assets and public utilities.
This Governor Mbah has already done by awarding contracts for the completion of the age-long abandoned International Conference Centre and the immediate rehabilitation of the moribund state-of-the-art Hotel Presidential, Enugu. Not resting on his oars, Governor Mbah has moved to revamp NigerGas Limited, NigerSteel Limited, Aluminium Smelting Company Ohebe Dim, and others.
For the fact that these bold economic moves and efforts of Governor Mbah’s administration are unprecedented in the history of governance and leadership in the state since its creation, it deserves the support of every discerning person. This is considering the quantum of jobs and economic boom it will bring to the state after completion.
Knowing, believing and practicalising the axiomatic saying that a country could be said to be economically prosperous, buoyant and stable by producing in abundance what her people eat and export as well as earn revenue, Governor Mbah, has apart from commencing the revamping of the Ogrugru Jetty and establishing many hectares of cassava plantations across the state, recently sealed a N100BN Public Private Partnership deal with the Pragmatic Palms Ltd to revive the dormant Enugu State-owned United Palm Products Ltd.

The deal which was commended by many, even beyond the state, was ignorantly and mischievously described as fraudulent and conduit pipe to divert public funds by the struggling opposition Labour Party in the state and other armchair critics, social media alarmists, traducers and scaremongers, who usually pontificate and misyarn on matters and issues they are not knowledgeable or conversant with or have not done due diligence on.

Enugu Labour Party’s misleading statement on the deal was contained in a press statement issued and signed by its state chairman, Barr. Casmir Agbo and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Onuora Odo.

SEE ALSO:  Kogi: Real reason White Lion fears the zoo

Clearing the air and puncturing the Enugu Labour Party’s misleading information and armchair strictures against the N100BN deal, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Mbah on External Relations, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, in a media statement titled “FACTS OF THE N100BN DEAL TO REVIVE MORIBUND ENUGU STATE UNITED PALM PRODUCTS LTD” laid bare the incontrovertible facts about the deal.
Parts of the statement read: “The Enugu State United Palm Products Ltd., UPPL, is one of the numerous initiatives of the former Premier of the defunct Eastern Region, the late Dr. Michael Okpara, and had lain fallow for decades.

“Enugu State Government IS NOT releasing N100bn or any dime to Pragmatic Palms Ltd. Instead, Pragmatic Palms Ltd, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the partnership, will finance the revitalisation of UPPL. Pragmatic Palm Ltd. will provide finance for 60 per cent of the transaction value, while the Enugu State Government will provide the plantations valued as 40 per cent equity.”

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On the incorporation of the Pragmatic Palms Ltd, the statement read:”Because several parties/investors are involved, it became imperative, as is the best international practice, to register a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) as the platform to transact the deal. Pragmatic Palms Ltd. was duly incorporated before the signing of the agreement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, however, although it is not the case in this instance, it is apposite to also note that the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, provides for Pre-incorporation Contract. Section 96 (1) of CAMA, 2020, provides: “Any contract or other transaction purporting to be entered into by the company or by person on behalf of the company prior to its formation may be ratified by the company after its formation and thereupon the company shall become bound by and entitled to the benefit thereof as if it has been in existence at the date of such contract or other transaction and had been a party thereto.”

“As demanded by the Enugu State Government, Pragmatic Palms Ltd. provided a guarantor, which is Diamond Stripes Ltd, a reputable and huge company that has done investments worth over $20bn spanning power and renewable energy sector, port sector, and agricultural sector since 2013. Diamond Stripes Ltd. is the sole investor in Onitsha River Port and has invested heavily in the agricultural sector, where it is the largest owner of silo complexes in Nigeria. It was involved in the acquisition of 600MW Shiroro Hydroelectric Power plant in 2013, concessions of 30MW Gurara Hydroelectric Power Plant in 2019, and establishment of 300MW Shiroro solar power project in 2021.

SEE ALSO:  Enugu's Quantum Leap: Governor Peter Mbah's Visionary Transportation Revolution

“The state’s interest in the N100BN UPPL deal is well secured, benefitting from Governor Peter Mbah’s experience as an investment finance expert and an entrepreneur who has handled multi-billion-dollar projects himself. Besides asking for and getting a corporate guarantor on the part of Pragmatic Palms Ltd, the government also demanded for and got bank guarantors from Pragmatic Palms. Importantly, performance targets and timelines were equally set in the Agreement for Pragmatic Palms Ltd. failing which the Enugu State Government is free to revoke the deal and reassume total ownership of United Palm Products Ltd., UPPL.

“In addition, the Enugu State Government is represented on the company’s Board, including the Chairmanship of the Board, as part of the steps taken to secure the state’s interest.”

In addition to the above explanations by Enugu State Government is a trending video speech of the MD of Pragmatic Palms Ltd., who is also the MD/CEO of Diamond Stripes, George Nwangwu, a professor of Project Financing Law, who has led transaction teams that have participated in the consummation of over 100 privatisation or Public Private Partnership (PPP) transactions worth over $20 billion across Africa.

Prof. Nwangwu was the Head of Infrastructure Finance at the Ministry of Finance under the leadership of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, during which he led the team that delivered the Second Niger Bridge deal.

With these elaborate explanations and substantiated evidence about the deal, the companies and the actors involved, what else will anyone including the roving Enugu State Labour Party and their hired social media hirelings will say or criticise again? Is it not obvious and legal that the difference between the mother and child in this case is that of age and experience. The lack of experience and qualifications being complained about the child are in her mother, who is also his guarantor.

Just as it has been observed that since the issuance of the public statement on the deal by the Enugu State Government, the Enugu State opposition Labour Party and their social media cohorts have neither punctured nor commended it. They have remained silent and probably ensconced in their propaganda cocoon, even on social media platforms, where they have been running riot on the matter before now. This is at a time when silence is not golden because it invariably means acceptance.

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This has once again clearly shown that Enugu opposition parties, especially the Labour Party, need to get its act right by doing due diligence before going public with media statements against state government programmes and policies.

SEE ALSO:  Needless Alarm Over N100BN Enugu State Palm Plantation Deal

Propagating falsehoods and lies in the name of media statements against state government’s policies and programmes is not virile or vibrant opposition politics. It is simply false alarm, scaremongering, and misyarning.
While it is the responsibility of the opposition to question, criticise or interrogate government’s policies and programmes, they should do so without sounding judgmental and conclusive, especially when they are bereft of knowledge, ideas and incontrovertible evidence to espouse thier positions, claims or points.

Meanwhile, what should be of utmost concern and importance to the people of the state and the opposition is to support Governor Mbah’s move to revive the state’s dormant and moribund industries, assets and public utilities through Public Private Partnership and monitor closely the spate of work on them to ensure their completion for the benefit of the state economy and its people, irrespective of party leanings and status.

There is nothing wrong with the government entering into (PPP ) provided the terms and conditions are genuine, legal, altrustic, and transparent. It is in line with the international best practice. This is considering the fact that most of these state owned companies went moribund and dormant because of negligence, nonchalance, unhinged bureaucracy, and corruption by government appointed persons who manned them.

Governor Mbah’s expertise and knowledge in this aspect is not in question, considering his exploits, achievements, and experiences in the private sector as an investment lawyer, renowned entrepreneur, investment, and financial analyst. He knows and understands it better. Governor Mbah and his government deserve benefits of doubt and unalloyed support of all and sundry in their determination to grow the state economy astronomically and exponentially by revamping the state’s moribund industries, assets and public utilities through Public PrivatePartnership (PPP ) model.
After all, the NigerGas Limited Emene Enugu started in May 1962 as partnership business between the former Eastern Nigerian Government and Siad Machine Implanti Italy, who supplied the plant and managed it until the civil war broke out in 1967. Enugu State later retained the ownership. If our founding fathers and leaders could toe this path shortly after the country’s Independence and it worked successfully, who says such partnership, cannot work well now that the country and the state are in dire need of solution to the myriad of economic challenges bedevilling the country.

Finally, there should be a limit to politics because development can not be compromised, sacrificed, or politicised on the altar of petty opposition politics.

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The marabouts of Yahaya Bello, By Festus Adedayo

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The marabouts of Yahaya Bello
Festus Adedayo


THE enchanter recited the incantation with utmost fury: “River Niger and River Benue, the confluence is in Kogi State. Except say River Niger and River Benue no come meet for Kogi; if River Niger and River Benue come meet for Kogi, dem no go fit arrest Bello… Dem dey use EFCC pursue am, dem no go succeed o. Dem go lay siege for im house for Abuja… Except say I no be born of Igala kingdom… EFCC dey front, you dey back; you dey back, dem dey front; you dey left, dem dey right; you dey right, dem dey left; you dey centre, dem come there, you jump dem pass!…a lion cannot give birth to a goat…”

The repertoire is a typical exchange in African rituals. The target was the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an organization headed by Ola Olukoyede. Olukoyede is said to be a pastor in Enoch Adeboye’s RCCG. The aim is for the de-escalation of the pursuit of Bello by the EFCC, his alleged theft of Kogi State’s N82 billion notwithstanding. Bello’s matter got escalated towards the end of the week when the EFCC chairman alleged that the ex-governor paid in advance, the sum of $845,852.84 to the Abuja school of his children. Bello has made feeble attempt to denounce this from his hiding hole with the ill-logic that it was paid with his hard-earned sweats. Why the rush to pay school fees till 2034 if where the money was got today would remain permanent?

The marabouts of Yahaya Bello

Former Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello

Yahaya Bello and his apologists have been spurting out bunkum. They allege that the EFCC is hounding him. Let us assume they are right. First, it is shameful for a self-styled Lion to hide inside a hole like a coyote, thereby eating stale food reserved for effeminate animals. Don’t they say that the leopard, and by extension, the lion, does not eat stale food? (Ekun kii je’ran ikasi). It is thus lawless of Yahaya Bello not to honour the anti-graft body’s lawful invitation. Bello’s 8-year reign was notorious for his naked stomping on opposition’s human rights, running a government fittingly described as an orgy of violence. Why are executioners always afraid when swords are flung in their faces? His is reminiscent of the story of an executioner in Old Oyo Kingdom whose specialty was in decapitating his victims with relish. Upon courting the ire of the Alaafin and was sentenced to death, the ex-executioner suddenly became jittery. When the man about to decapitate him began to do the traditional acrobatics pre-cutting off of his head, jittery, the ex-executioner’s voice shaky, he asked what part of his body would be cut off, “my head or feet?” Celebratory townsmen who had gathered to witness his comeuppance were angered and demanded rhetorically what part of his victims’ bodies he relished in cutting off during his reign of terror.

Now, the patronage of priests, priestesses of divinities, herbalists, sorcerers and occults is key to resolution of political dilemmas. Politicians use charms, amulets, rings, belts, ritual, incantations for the attainment of political goals. Either it was a skit or reality, that viral video of enchanters seeking Yahaya Bello to be set free typifies the usual scene in power relations in Africa. In the bid to attain, sustain or vend off irritants in political power struggles, there is widespread evidence confirming that many Africans today strongly hold on to beliefs which they got from traditional cosmologies.

Late University of Leiden scholar, Stephen Ellis, in a 2001 article, “Mystical Efforts: Some evidence from the Liberian war” (Journal of Religion in Africa, XXX1, 2) described how Monrovians were shocked at how soldiers “(disemboweled) the bodies of their victims and (eat) their flesh or internal organs, particularly the heart.” The art of eating human heart is borne of a residue of practices in Africa. The belief is that, a person’s essence is contained in the heart and the blood. So, once the hearts and blood of these warriors are eaten and drunk, “the one who had just eaten them acquires some of the power formerly possessed by his victim.”

SEE ALSO:  Enugu's Quantum Leap: Governor Peter Mbah's Visionary Transportation Revolution

Wherever Bello is at the moment, no one needed to be told that he is engrossed with one or a combination of three elements in the bid to confront the coercive power of the Nigerian state. In the tragedy that is Yahaya Bello, these three elements must be making gross harvests from his calamity. They are, on the one hand, the religious combine made up of Pastors, Alfas and African indigenous religious rituals and magic. The second is, lawyers scrambling to profit from what they perceive as the loot from Kogi. Some shameless ones among them gathered in court last week to protest against the EFCC. The third is bloggers/journalists who by now must have offered to defreeze adversarial comments against him in traditional and social media platforms.

Marabouts have become notorious in the incestuous relationship between politics and religion in northern Nigeria. They are traditionally Muslim religious leaders and teachers who functioned historically as chaplains serving in Islamic army of North Africa, the Sahara, and in the Maghreb.

For very many African heads of state, clerics and known spiritualists were their advisors. Kenneth Kaunda was top among them. As president of Zambia, he had an Indian, Dr Ranganathan, as consultant on power matters. So also did President Mathieu Kerekou of Benin. He had a Malian marabout called Mohamed Amadou Cisse, also known as ‘Djine’ or ‘the Devil’ as his spiritual advisor. Cisse once publicly espoused the Devil. He was hitherto advisor to some other African leaders like Mobutu and Omar Bongo of Gabon. Kerekou later appointed Cisse minister of state whose responsibility in the Beninese government was secret services. President Didier Ratsiraka of Madagascar too had a palace that boasted of an extravagant temple dedicated to Rosicrucian god. So also did Paul Biya of Cameroon and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.

SEE ALSO:  Needless Alarm Over N100BN Enugu State Palm Plantation Deal

Marabouts, herbalists, sorcerers and occult chiefs of the Yahaya Bellos of this world and other African leaders become repositories of highly confidential state information. These get them in the process of spiritual interventions for the captive leaders. Feckless and desperate in the bid to attain and cling on to power, they divulge details of innermost governmental secrets to them. A 1998-published journal article written by Stephen Ellis and Gerrie ter Haar with the title, “Religion and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa” (The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 175-201) discusses how leading marabouts have pre-knowledge of coups d’e tat and other secrets of power. Amadou Cisse, for instance, knew virtually all the secrets of power in Benin.

The moment the Nigerian state allows Yahaya Bello, for whatever reason, to escape the wrath of the law, its last lever of strength will snap off. Whoever kills the proverbial hunchback, the Abuke Osin, should pay dearly for it.

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