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Rethinking governance and politics in Nigeria since 1999



By Rikwense Muri

In the days of Chief Obasanjo as president, you will hear of great names who were randomly appointed to reform the nation. The President ensure they were experts in what they do and gave them free hands with the marching order to deliver without necessarily paying homage to him. He allow the party do the politicking and praise singing homages.

You will hear of names like Charles Soludo of CBN having the free hands in reforming the banking sector, making Nigerian Banks one of the strongest in Africa today. You will hear about the young choleric little man, Nasir Elrufai who was given free hands to reform the Federal Capital city which was looking like a set of glorified villages. Elrufai was strong and capable, in Abuja he was in charged transforming Abuja into a modern city, today it’s one of the fastest growing capital city in the world.

In the food and drug sector, you have the almighty Prof Dora, Nafdac was synonymous with Prof Dora Akunyili, she was given a free hand to reform the drug sector to position Nigeria pharmaceutical industries into world standard. You have the great Nuhu Rubadu of the EFCC who feared no one but God. Millions were recovered without any attention given to OBJ. Tafa Balogun the IGP and kinsman of Obj was was stripped of his position due to corruption. All were not perfect during OBJ but Nigerians saw a government of action, transforming the country. You have Ngozi Ikonjo Iweala setting economic target for the nation. Naira was a strong currency across borders. Gen TY Danjuma was there in the Defense, ensuring that no one dare the armed forces and the security of the country. Iron lady Obiageli Ekweseli, was in to handle education sector, private universities were given charter, all lecturers were mandated to have teaching ability and qualifications of PGDE. Also, we Don’t want to forget great name like Engr Jackson Gauis Obaseki of NNPC, etc.

The point is that ObJ concentrated in building strong institutions using the best hands from any part of the world to run the government while he allow the PDP do her party politics in the party, changing party chairmen and officials year after year. But in government OBJ used people who had no political ambition but are experts in what they can do. OBJ was not perfect but he ran a government that worked without propaganda of the opposition.

Yaradua came in but was distracted by ill health but he gave his ministers free hands and target and clear agenda to pursue and within a short time he did well in running a decent government with names like Sanusi Lamido, Dora, Abe Kachukwu, Adeshina, etc. He succeeded in the return of peace to the Niger delta. But cabal became popularized word, and could not let him run the government transparently. Death stroke, GEJ took over.

GEJ came in to “transformed Nigeria” and run a committed government, he did well in the education with Tetfund, new universities, many roads, infrastructure development. He however failed to protect Nigerians with a bad security team. However Nigerians enjoyed his government of increased salaries, better life and cheap food.

Buhari government came in with great hope from every corner of the country yet without a strong team to carry out the agenda of Mr president. He is running a weak government and weak political party. Both government and the party are not much concerned about Nigerians welfare and development. The government seems to be uncoordinated within itself. Everyone is showing himself to please the supreme leader, Buhari who himself not to be in charge of the government or the APC party. More money is being spend on the information ministry than on education. Lai Mohammed is the most popular minister who thrives in smooth words and propaganda. No inspiring name, no experts or technocrats in the government as minister, except Buhari. All we see around is politicians getting appointed into government as part of their share of contributing to the success of apc at the poll. No great minister, no inspiring CBN, NNPC, FCT, Education, Labour ministers. All we see in the government is the conglomeration of politicians with different ideologies and plans. Nothing work, nothing is invested in the lives of Nigerians. High tuition fees, high fuel, high transport, high food price, high healthcare, yet no one is doing anything except blame game on PDP. Femi Adeshina wrote this about Buhari, ” though the body of the government may be rotten, I know we have a good head, Buhari “.

In Buhari’s government the only capable person is Buhari. He’s the government, the people and everything. Believe in him means believe in good governance, whether you see or not, feel it or not. His cabinet is the funniest in the history of Nigeria with least concern on expertise. A lawyer was appointed minister of works, power and housing, a French teacher was appointed minister of Agriculture, medical doctor as minister of labor, a retire soldier as minister of petroleum, etc. Everybody is busy but nothing get done. IGP is busy, but security is compromised by herdsmen, Army are busy, but Boko Haram are smiling to the Bank with successful negotiations. Every budget got approved, not project yet on ground. The security council look like a regional meeting of brothers with two external invitees. Aso Rock cabal ensure Buhari is not briefed on the happenings in the country. They feeds him with stories on the origin of herdsmen militias from Libya and tell him to share to the world. He talk on sensitive national issues only to foreign media and not to Nigerians. One leave to wonder, “is this the Buhari we elected in 2015?” Should we keep on living this way?

The wife of the President complained, Obasanjo complained, TY Danjuma complained, Atiku Complained, Gowon complained, IBB complained, Goodluck Jonathan complained, Youths are complaining, villagers are complaining, city dwellers are complaining, Nigerians are complaining, yet no one get sacked and no one resigned.

President Buhari must rethink and restrategize to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, especially now as the world has changed forever, through ensuring governance is separated from politics of propaganda. We are not asking for a perfect government but we are asking for a government that put the people of Nigeria first in everything.

Rikwense Muri

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How Aviation Sector Grew Under Hadi Sirika in 8 Years



The Nigerian aviation sector is tipped by Embraer in a 2020 report to experience the biggest growth in Africa in the next decade and more. The report estimated that Nigeria’s aviation sector has a prospect for an over $7.2 billion (over N3.3trn) annual Grosso Domestic Product Growth (GDP).

“With the implementation of open skies, according to a study on SAATM by Embraer (2020), in 2038, using traffic forecasts and economic impact estimates from ICAO, Nigeria’s aviation industry would contribute some $1.3 billion to GDP. That number would rise to $7.2 billion when factoring in the induced and indirect catalytic effects of tourism. Aviation could generate 800,000 jobs of which 60,000 would be directly associated with airline operations” the report indicated.

Also, a recent aviation sector study for Nigeria by International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in June 2020, showcases the significant contribution of air transportation to the National economy, by providing 241,000 jobs (direct and indirect) and a contribution of $1.7 billion to the National economy.

The FG projects that with the successful implementation of the roadmap projects, the overall goal is to grow the Aviation sector’s contribution from the current 0.6% to 5% (approximately $14.166 billion).

Thus, ahead of these reports, since 2015, the federal government of Nigeria deliberately began concrete implementation of open skies or The Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and Nigeria’s Aviation Roadmap. These policies were actively piloted by the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and abled by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Aviation Roadmap is chiefly to build tangible and intangible aviation infrastructure to unlock the over N3 trillion aviation annual economy and reposition even for greater growth.

The key components of the aviation roadmap according to the policy document include: Establishment of a National Carrier, Development of Agro-Allied /Cargo Terminals § Establishment of Maintenance, Repairs, and Overhaul (MRO) Centre, Establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company (ALC), Development of Aerotropolis (Airport Cities), Establishment of an Aviation & Aerospace University, and Concession of five International Airports (Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt.

Others include; the upgrade of NCAT into an ICAO Regional Training Centre of Excellence, the Designation of Four International Airports as Special Economic Zones, the Introduction of Policies on Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Adherence to Employment Policies on the Enforcement of Expatriate Quota, and the upgrade of AIB to a Multimodal Accident Investigation Agency – Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

After about eight years of sustained implementation of the roadmap and implementation of other enablers in the aviation sector, the aviation sector witnessed unpreceded growth in spite of the Nigerian economy experiencing a recession twice within the period.

Hadi Sirika Receiving the OBC Certificate from the former ICRC DG Engr. Chidi Izuwa
Giving a scorecard of the aviation sector recently, Hadi Sirika said “We have successfully debunked the claim that aviation doubles every 15 years. Currently in Nigeria, the number of airports including those currently being developed has doubled, the passenger number has doubled, other entrepreneurship including catering and ground handling has blossomed, the number of airlines and jobs has multiplied” he said adding that even the 2020 global pandemic could push back Nigeria’s aviation industry growth.

A cursory look at the roadmap deliverables showed that Nigeria Air, the most talked a bit item on the roadmap is about 90 percent completed. The due process on the project by the regulator Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has returned a clean bill of health, the outline business case approved, the core investor and other investors unveiled, the full business case is being developed for FEC to approve and the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) has passed the second stage of procurement at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“Nigeria Air has the strategic direction, with a solid business plan for the next ten years and a start-up budget of 250 million US dollars. The Nigerian Government only invests 5% into this start-up funding (12.5 million US dollars), in line with its 5% share in Nigeria Air. By the transparent and structured PPP process the Government has ensured a clear ownership structure, including the leading African airline, with a secured start-up budget which gives Nigeria Air a solid financial foundation” said Prof. Tilmann Gabriel, a researcher on African Aviation.

The benefit to be derived from the establishment of the national Carrier are; reduction of capital flight from Nigeria; gain of the optimal benefit of BASA and SAATM; development of an Aviation hub; contribution to the GDP; facilitate hospitality and tourism; facilitate growth and development of the Nigerian Agricultural Sector; and create jobs around the Agro-Cargo Terminals.

Designation of five International Airports (Lagos, Abuja, Enugu Kano & Port Harcourt) as Special Economic Zones. Mr. President approved the designation of the Four International Airports as Special Economic Zones on 17th May 2021. The next step is the commencement of Implementation processes with NEPZA is ongoing. The Benefits of Special Economic Zones are i. more efficient and business-friendly trade environment with less bureaucratic red tape because of the associated fiscal incentives and packages; ii. attract world-class international and local Airlines/Companies into the Nigeria Aviation Industry; iii. attract investment incentives which include; Investment Policies and Protection, General Tax Based Incentives, Sector Specific Incentives, Tariff Based Incentives, and Export Incentives; iv. attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and generate employment opportunities and human capital development, thus stimulating the overall improvement of the Nigerian Aviation Industry; v. improve the overall ease of doing business in Nigeria and more.

Airports to be Concession are as follows: – Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos: a. Old International Terminal – Terminal and Ramp b. New International Terminal – Terminal, Ramp, Car Park c. Cargo Terminal – Ramp – Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Port Harcourt and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano a. Old International and Domestic Terminal – Terminal, Ramp, Car Park b. New International Terminal – Terminal, Ramp c. Cargo Ramp. (To be developed). The current position is that Negotiation with preferred bidders on-going. Draft Full Business Case (FBC) finalized and the FG is targeting a completion period – 2nd quarter, 2023.

Establishment of An Aviation Leasing Company (ALC) An Aviation Leasing Company which would be private sector-driven will be established to address the challenges of limited access to capital and high cost of funds. The ALC will provide leasing opportunities for Nigerian and African airlines in order to boost fleet size, and alleviate the problem of aircraft leasing and high insurance premium charges. The current status is that a Full Business Case (FBC) has been completed and a certificate of compliance issued by the ICRC. And awaiting FEC approval. Project to commence operation by the 2nd Quarter, 2023 based on the projection.

Establishment of a Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) Centre. The establishment of a private sector-driven Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Centre is critical for the diversification and repositioning of the Aviation Industry as it provides aircraft repairs, overhaul, and maintenance services. Experts say currently this facility does not exist in the whole of West and Central Africa. MRO is therefore a necessary requirement to facilitate the development of the aviation industry.

The proposed facility will have the capacity to serve both Narrow and Wide Body aircraft maintenance requirements and will be located in Abuja. The Full Business Case (FBC) has been completed and a certificate of compliance was issued by the ICRC, which was subsequently approved by FEC.

Development of Aerotropolis (Airport Cities). The FG anticipates that the development of Nigeria’s major commercial airports and surrounding communities into efficient, profitable, and self-sustaining commercial hubs through increased private sector participation and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will create jobs and grow the local industry. The project will be structured as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement where the private partner will be required to design, develop, finance, and maintain the Aerotropolis during the agreed period.

The Aerotropolis will contain the full complement of commercial facilities that support airlines and aviation-linked businesses. Other components of the project include the development of hospitality and tourism-oriented real estate assets; and ancillary support infrastructure. Currently, the land has been acquired, and the process for the selection of a preferred partner has commenced.

Development of Cargo/Agro-Allied Airport Terminals ..2 To take advantage of the high-value agricultural products potential of Nigeria, the need arose to develop dedicated Cargo/Agro-Allied Terminals and ancillary infrastructure in each of the six (6) geographical zones of the country to facilitate the movement of fresh produce by air. The terminals will be established via a Design, Build, Operate, and Maintain model of Public Private Partnership (PPP). The proposed terminals will have facilities such as a dry Cargo Terminal Warehouse; a Perishable Cargo Terminal with Cool Chain Storage; climate chambers for storage and handling of temperature-sensitive products including Pharmaceuticals and Bonded Warehouses. The procurement phase is ongoing and the selection of the preferred partner is ongoing with a target of the second quarter of 2023 as a completion target.

The establishment of Aerospace University. The school is tipped to arrest of the dearth of high-level management cadre in the Aviation Industry. it will also promote Aviation Research and Development. Already the concept note has been presented to NUC for their consideration. African Aviation & Aerospace University (AAAU) courses to commence 2nd Quarter 2022.

Commenting on the aviation roadmap Prof. Tilmann Gabriel said “The Buhari Government had promised a new aviation industry which the future of Nigeria can rely on. It took hard work by the many involved, driven by a Minister of Aviation never tired of pushing this Buhari strategy in the last seven years.”

Also commenting Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, the Director-General, of the Nigerian Mereological Agency (NiMet) said one of the components of the roadmap is the creation of an Aviation and Aerospace University which is already happening.

He also said the roadmap is providing incentives for professionals to stay. “This will curtail the mass exodus of professionals for our great industry with all the huge potentials” he stated.

He also said the roadmap has yielded partnerships with other countries and these have helped to improve the industry.

According to the DG with the roadmap implementation, most of the agencies now have their specialized training centers including NiMet.

“We now operate two accredited schools where we offer Diplomas in Meteorology and Climate Change. We will soon upscale to HND other short-term courses.:

Prof. Matzo also said “The roadmap has encouraged entrepreneurship and innovation. These components could impact reduction in brain drain and most of these have been captured by the roadmap implemented by the Federal Ministry of Aviation: he stated adding that all aviation stakeholders were a part of the development of the document.

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By Daniel Young, PhD


Asking the country to go back to 100% ownership of the national carrier is tantamount to repeating the very problems that created the failure of Nigeria Airways Ltd. Nigeria Airways, became a national carrier when it rebranded from West African Corporation Nigeria in 1971. Before this time, the government of Nigeria owned a majority share of the airline 51% and foreign investors owned 49% which is the exact model of what the now Nigeria Air represents; the only difference now being, that the 51%, that originally belonged to Nigerian government, is now being shared between the government: 5%, and local investors 46% while, the rest of the 49% has been earmarked for foreign investors.

When I read some posts by those who have kept insisting that we should own the airline 100% as Nigerians, I am reminded of the saying that, “those who would not learn from history are bound to repeat the same mistakes” Government ownership of the airline, which became the new model after 1971 acquisition of the airline 100% marked the beginning of the downward spiral that eventually led to the death of the organization in 2003 began.

There is no point rehearsing the history of the rise and fall of Nigeria airways, but one thing is clear, from the time the first cracks of failure began to show, many investors, consultant- necromancers, fake airlines and port-folio experts of different sizes and shapes and shades have shown up before successive administrations with magical solutions and ideas to resuscitate the dying airline or now dead airline.

Some have been legitimate, others, vagrant and criminally intentioned. The sum being that, over twenty intervening years between these attempts at solving the same perennial problem of establishing national airline have come and gone; with no enduring solution until Senator Hardi Sirika came on the scene.

With no prejudice, I was, at a time very skeptical about Sirika’ programs and did not waste time to condemn what I thought at the time to be incongruous with established protocols for founding an airline. I utilized every available opportunity to condemn and criticize his programs as some as still wont to doing.

May I submit, that you can call Sen. Hardi Sirika by any name you may wish, but there is no denying the fact that, he is a very deliberate man who learns quickly, and is ready to take corrections where necessary. It is this conscious approach to learning against the barrage of criticism from all quarters that has led him to this point where we could almost declare with confidence: Nigerian, behold, Nigeria Air!


In 2001, armed with IFC and BPE approvals Dr. Kema Achikwe was confident she would be able float a national carrier with Atiku primed to take over Nigeria Airways as an investor. The new airline was dubbed: Air Nigeria.

Unlike Sirika’ model marked by wide consultations across all stakeholder groups, the floatation process that followed Kema Achikwe’ idea was shrouded in mystery. The core investor that provided a special purpose vehicle for this fraudulent transaction was “WING AEROSPACE” incorporated in the UK with One British pound as paid –up equity. Behind this scam were two Asians who claimed relationship with Singapore airline as Technical partners; which was later found to be false by a team of investigators from AON.

These men came into Nigeria with no funds to invest; did not have the technical expertise for the role they intended to play but yet, were offered 40% equity in Air Nigeria. The following represent some of the numbing facts of that transaction which are now facts of history:

• Air Wing Aerospace was appointed partners 2 months before it was incorporated in the Uk. A clear case of backward integration.

• They had no track record or financial resources as investors.

• Air Wing Aerospace was handed over six Nigeria Airways prime properties by the Minister as collateral to raise start-up funds from Nigerian banks.


To be continued…

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Peter Obi and the Passion That Drives Him



“Tai, the mind retains whatever you want it to, and rejects whatever you don’t care about,” – HE Peter Obi.

By Tai Emeka Obasi

The master was teaching me the ingredients of passion. It was sometime in 2018. He was the guest speaker at a Dinner-time Conference organised by the Association of All Federal Government/Unity Schools in Nigeria. I can’t recall the theme appropriately but it was basically about the importance of Education in the development of mankind.

That was the first day I witnessed him bring in the Human Development Index, HDI to illustrate the importance of Education and of course, compared many nations’ HDI to Nigeria’s in the major departments of determination – Education, Income Per Capita and Life Expectancy.

Of course, our country was, and still is, languishing so pathetically down the ladder than her evident human potentials deserved. Another very demoralising pointer to very bad leadership.

We arrived Port Harcourt late. The event was slated to take off by 10.00 pm. We barely made it. He arrived via Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu early enough but he had some burials to attend in Anambra State before we headed to Port Harcourt by road.

The hall was already filled to capacity when he entered. About twenty minutes later he took the stage. I knew what he was capable of but even I was truly amazed at the way he reeled out figures upon figures of comparisons which involved digits of less than whole numbers of over 15 nations from memory.

So, on the way from the event hall to the hotel, I was forced to ask him, “how do you retain all these figures from memory, Sir?”

I had to ask because I was with him from around 10 a.m he arrived via Enugu until he delivered that mind-blowing speech and I never saw him looking at any typed paper all the way. If he prepared any notes, he must have done that earlier and left the notes behind before arrival. Geniuses come in different spheres.

“Tai, the mind retains whatever you want it to and doesn’t bother with whatever you’re not interested in. It has a lot to do with passion,” he responded. He went on to express more.

When we entered the hotel, a football match was going on. It was one of the matches of the Russia 2018 World Cup finals being replayed. The date was June 30, same day both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were sent packing from Russia by Kylian Mbappe’s France and Luis Suarez’s Uruguay respectively.The master took one look at the screen and asked me, “what happened at the World Cup today?”

“Both Messi and Ronaldo were knocked out today,” I responded.

“What? Oh, no. The World Cup is over then,” he returned as we entered the lift.

Yes, he barely has time to sit down and watch but he loves football. He has great respect for both Messi and Ronaldo. When pushed to compare the duo he prefers one over the other and has his specific reasons. If you listen to why he does you’ll be convinced but that is a matter for another day.

Today, we’re discussing passion. That night, early morning really, because we arrived late, it dawned on me that he was spot-on as always. The word is passion. He knew that I would always follow World Cup matches via the Internet, wherever I was, however tight the functions. He knew if there was any person to ask anything about football that he had me handy.


Yes, I started listening to radio football commentaries before I was 10, as a child growing up in the village. I can recall many of Ernest Okonkwo’s commentaries and not be too far from the original. I can recall scores and even scorers of some matches of then great Rangers International of Enugu, Nigerian national teams and also of Arsenal’s football club of England.

I can recall stories, plots and even dialogues of many of the James Hadley Chase’s novels I read over 30 years ago. I can recall same about most, if not all, of Frederick Forsyth’s great works, particularly The Devil’s Alternative.

I can recall many dialogues of good movies particularly as delivered by Al Pacino. When it comes to Scarface and Devil’s Advocate, I can recall almost all.

Now, it’s all about what I want my brain to retain. That’s why such passion diverted me after being trained five years as an engineer into writing. But this is not about me.

This is about the master. While I search the internet for Arsenal results and scorers, he searches for new population of China, India, etc and compares it to Nigeria’s. While I search to know other results to compare Arsenal’s standing on the League table, he searches for LNG potentials of Nigeria compared to those of Egypt, Russia and how best to maximise the enormous potentials for the future of Nigerian youths.

While I search to check how many copies of the latest Frederick Forsyth novel sold in the past week, he searches for the projected prices of crude oil in the next decade and the cumulative impact in Nigeria’s and world economy. He searches for the current GDP of Apple Company and the importance of the new order called Knowledge Economy. And how his dear country should depend less on fading oil, direct her very talented youths towards Science, Technology, Mathematics and Science, STEM education that will be the catalyst of employment and lifting millions out of poverty.

If I search today for the names of writers of the movies nominated for this year’s Oscar, be assured he will be searching the internet for possible companies that can effectively provide expertise and the financial institutions that can provide appropriate loans at best interest rates to move Nigeria’s electric power generation from the pathetic 4000 mega watts to 20,000 mega watts within four years of his presidency if Nigerians give him the mandate.

If I search for the bestselling thriller on, he’ll most likely be searching to know exactly how Bangladesh assisted SMEs to be able to lift millions out of poverty and then be thinking of how to apply Nigeria’s peculiarities to lift at least 50 million people out of poverty in four years.


If riches become horses, Nobel Prize will be the ultimate reward.

I certainly will be overreaching my bounds to dream of a Nobel Prize for Literature when Prof Chinua Achebe didn’t get one. But thinking of a Nobel Prize for the master for Good and Effective Leadership will not be an overstatement. He lives and dreams of how to improve mankind. And take this from me, if HE Peter Gregory Obi becomes the president of Nigeria and has the opportunity of delivering what is presently in his brain for the country, a Nobel Prize will be his parting gift.

Don’t think I am just writing for the pleasure of my readers. I’m just telling you about the man I know and the passion that drives him. He doesn’t do anything having awards in mind but his best will always attract top awards because his bests are always excellent. And more – HE GIVES HIS BEST IN WHATEVER HE CHOOSES TO DO.

Just get your PVC.


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