Naija Notes: Comedians For Life

by Toni Kan Onwordi

This short one first: OBJ has finally done what he ought to have done since. He has answered point for point the charges filed against him by the lawmakers. And Baba Iyabo’s aides actually burnt the midnight oil, citing references from the constitution to shoot down the charges.

This is no longer a joke o.


They say once you are a Senator you keep the title for life. Even if you were booted out of office after 3 months. Well, you could thus liken the Senator tag to a genetic problem, you know like foolishness and stupidity.

Where is this heading? Well, I don’t know how much you guys know about the Senate, but there is this very impressive guy in the senate and his name is Idris Kuta and he is from Niger state.

Articulate and savvy, he can demolish arguments with well-marshaled points. I recall watching him three weeks ago as he tried to make a case against OBJ’ on the issue of oil sales and the budget. He harassed his interlocutor with facts. Don’t ask me whether they all checked out.

Kuta was head of the panel that investigated and indicted sagacious Chuba Okadigbo leading to his ouster as Senate president and worst off all, his vacation of the Senate president’s crib. A house he had spent time and money to make fit for a king.

Well, on Wednesday, acting like Baba Sala playing out a sick, comic script the Senators decided to dump all reports presented to it by successive panels set up by the Upper House to probe indicted members. By that action, Senators like Gbenga Aluko and Richard Owei who had been are no longer liable. The clowns in the Upper House actually hugged one another to underline the spirit of reconciliation.

Well, reconciliation is good but at whose expense? They spent money setting up those panels and made so much noise when the reports were published. And then they wake up one morning and say it’s all over. Just like that.

Give me a break, will you. Now that they have dumped their reports, I want to know just one thing: are they going to let Okadigbo become the Senate president again?

At least with Baba Sala, you know where you stand.

Voters’ registration commenced September 12, 2002 after a federal high Court gave INEC the green light to proceed.

Things kicked of well with people turning out in large numbers to register even though there were hitches at the beginning with logistics getting in the way.

Stormy petrel Gani Fawehinmi who’s party failed to scale the hurdle asked Nigerians to turn out in large numbers to vote. Evil Genius IBB was amongst those who registered yesterday.

With Gani you never know where the wind blows. The man has even offered the members of the House of Reps free legal services if and when they decide to commence impeachment proceedings against OBJ. Hell hath no fury like a politician scorned.


One thing I like about Nigeria is the way we act even when we are guilty. For years now, Nigeria Airways has been comatose. Anyhow when Kema Chikwe took over there was supposed to be a JV thing with Virgin Atlantic. Branson was here but negotiations fell through.

There were others too but something kept going wrong. Yet, with the BPE preaching the sugary gospel of privatization everyone knew it was a matter of time before the gale swept over NAL.

Then one morning we woke up to hear that NAL had signed a Joint Venture agreement with Airwing Aerospace, a UK based firm.

The BPE screamed blue murder. Phrases like ‘disregard for due process’ were bandied about. Aviation workers threatened to go on strike (Infact they are supposed to embark on a warning strike as this piece was being written Friday Sept 13th). The reps summoned Minister of Aviation Kema Chikwe but she has continued to scorn them.

Well, looks like things are changing. The presidency is setting up a panel to be chaired by Minister of Finance, Adamu Ciroma while the Reps are also instituting a probe into the agreement.

What has Kema Chikwe done? Nothing, aside from granting press interviews to defend herself. I once attended a press conference with Kema Chikwe and she was quite articulate. But that is not the story. The story is that on her way to Lagos for the conference, Kema Chikwe was delayed at the airport.

Why? Well, she had boarded the only airworthy Nigerian Airways plane at the time but as they taxied for take off a flock of birds had got entangled in one of the engines, damaging it. Bad luck, abi.

Well that seems to have defined the administration of this woman who we understand entered into a JV agreement with a company that was formed specifically for the purpose of taking part in the deal. Naija!


Some people have all the luck. Bernard Longe is the immediate past MD of First Bank, Nigeria’s No1. Bank.

He lost his job following a N10bn loan granted IILL, a firm hastily tinkered to buy over 51% equity in NITEL. Well, the deal went awry and FBN almost went bankrupt, suffering a terrible blow at the NSE. Longe was sacrificed along with his treasurer because according to the CBN the loan exceeded the bank’s single obligor limit.

Most people felt something had gone wrong. They argued that no MD could grant such a loan without the consent or knowledge of the board. The case is now a subject of litigation.

But that is not the story. The story is that with the deal broken down, IILL has written the VP asking for a refund of the $187m or 10% deposit it paid. The BPE has foreclosed a refund.

Meanwhile, Longe went to court asking the judge to compel FBN not to withdraw all the perks associated with his former office. The court granted his wish. Well, what is that they say about eating your cake and having it.

Will somebody please sack this man.


Americans never cease to amaze me. When September 11th came around, they wouldn’t let us rest. The world remembers/mourns. We remember but believe me, no matter how bad we felt (I did) on that Tuesday afternoon last year, time has dulled things.

The dead have not “undied” I know, but we have those who died in Jos about the same time and who have died since then to think about. In News Writing 101 they call it proximity. That which is closer home, grabs the front page!

Anyhow, what I can surmise in all this is that America wants to attack Iraq again and all they are doing now is whipping up enough sentiments to launch their missiles. God save Saddam.

By the way something curious (to me sha) happened yesterday in Aso Rock. Before the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the members rose to observe a one-minute silence in honour of those who died in America. Nothing wrong, abi.

But someone sitting beside me said something that really made me wonder. He said the US government had complained that Nigerians did not join the world in mourning on the 11th and asked OBJ to remedy things. So the one minute silence that came 24 hours late.

There’s nothing you won’t hear in this country.

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Anonymous December 12, 2005 - 12:14 pm

Your comments on the FBn loan issue and Mr longes case in court show that you did not take time to research on the matter before posting nonsense on the website.You would do better in the future to know what you are talking about before you sit down and start typing, else you end up looking like an uneducated fool(emphasis on fool)

Anonymous December 5, 2005 - 12:15 am

Is the general condition of the airports in Nigeria better now than they were under minister Kema Chikwe The answer to this question summarizes Kema's achievement in her position as the aviation minister.



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