Transcorp, Agbani’s Breasts And Other Issues

by Uche Nworah

Transcorp and Corporate Governance

The concept and idea is good, to have a Nigerian company capable of competing across the continents with other global players. Enter Transcorp, an acronym for Transnational Corporation. On the board are Nigeria’s corporate knights, the likes of Chief Festus Odimegwu, Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Jacob Mayo Ajekigbe, Otunba Funso Lawal and Femi Otedola, Tony Elumelu, Tony Ezenna, Waziri Mohammed, Adegboyega Olulade and Nicholas Okoye, who is the Technical Secretary and Business Strategy Adviser. Mrs Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

No problem with this only that Madam is also the Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Lofty as the goals of Transcorp may be – to serve the global markets with premier products and services from world class production centres based in Nigeria and managed by Nigerians,”, however it will be difficult to convince Nigerians that there wouldn’t be any conflict of interest in Mrs Onyiuke’s dual roles and responsibilities at The Stock Exchange and at Transcorp, especially with Transcorp’s planned 40 billion Naira floatation at the stock market coming up. One is never judge and jury at the same time.

What is the problem you may ask? Well, I see risks of ‘share rigging’ and insider dealings. Can Transcorp effectively have a corporate governance regime in place with its chairman also heading the stock exchange?

Remember Martha Stewart, the American queen of home living served time because of a related felony in the Imclone scandal. The way forward now will be for Madam to resign one of her roles; not doing so would seem like opening the floodgates for other publicly quoted companies to sue either Transcorp or the exchange if they feel that their share prices are being unfairly disadvantaged in some way.

Anyway I’m forgetting that this is Nigeria, anything is possible.

Writers and their (Rights) ‘Writes’.

They call it Poetic license or the writers rights, a concept practiced the world over, it gives the writer privileges in his domain to do as he pleases, to use words and sentences in which ever way he wishes, to make arguments and state cases in a manner that Yale law graduates will envy, it empowers, liberates and encourages, it also enfranchises the writer at the expense of the readers who are sometimes disenfranchised.

The writer becomes a gatekeeper of sorts, advocating, advancing and putting forward ideas, news and information that defends and propagates his beliefs further, and also serve the wider interests of his masters, caucus, godfathers, ethnic and religious cells. The writer also is a pen pusher; he may aim to try to influence public opinion, to influence government decisions and policies, in those regards he sets for himself a Herculean task, to correct and change society, based on his innermost convictions that the pen may be and should be mightier than the sword.

To do his job, the writer resorts sometimes to emotional and intellectual blackmail, at which point he begins to distort, spin and misinform his audience, the end becomes the goal, and the means to satisfy and fulfil it becomes irrelevant, at this point also the writer becomes a propagandist, lies become half truths, paradox and ambiguity is encouraged, meanings are disjointed, symbols played up and down, confusion is deployed and arguments manipulated.

The writer abuses his privileges and access to knowledge, the media and the audience.

Poetic license becomes misconstrued with poetic justice, satire and irony are used to cover his fears, his writing becomes more emphatic, he throws caution to the winds as defeat, downfall and exposure await him. Has the writer become a victim of his conscience, or a hostage of society?

Kaavya Viswanathan, the disgraced Harvard undergraduate may have discovered too soon that writing is a moral endeavour and comes with a huge burden. She may have lost a $500,000 book deal but she still has a life ahead of her to make things right.

And so de we all who are in this writing business.

Cruising At What Altitude?

So Nigeria took delivery of a new Boeing 737-800 Presidential jet. Good for us. After all we have the money, remember we have oil. Or have you all forgotten? J P Morgan has custody of our external reserves, about $35 billion and still rising at the last count. The new jet cost a princely $72 million (N9.3 billion). I didn’t know we were such bargain hunters; the jet will also cost an additional $7.9 million annually (N1.04 billion) in maintenance costs. This makes me really to wonder the sense in all these, why now? Tony Blair flies British Airways and is not known to have any official ‘prime ministerial’ fleet, and he is one of the people we normally run to, to help us secure debt relief.What’s the sense in this I ask again, or does the Obasanjo government plan to fritter away the little external reserves it has managed to garner for Nigeria?

What ever happened to priority projects?

Oh! I forgot, the president has a penchant for global junketing, and so needs to arrive in style. Next topic please.

Rising Action

How innocuous that within the same period that Nigerians were thumping their chests that we have finally extricated ourselves from the debt web of the Paris Club, who came calling with his Greek (sorry, Chinese) gift but the Chinese President (Hu Jintao). Bilateral cooperation and so on was well on the cards during his stately visit, but not before the Chinese big man promised Nigeria a loan of $3 Billion for infrastructural development. Oh please! Not again.

Do we really need such loan now? Would it not have been better to let things settle down first, get 2007 out of the way, and let the new government plan a long term economic strategy for Nigeria? Or will the loan amount go towards funding the third term project?

That’s the way it starts, a little loan here, another there, and by the time we all know it, we are back where we started. I hope that 10 years from now, I won’t be attending any more debt relief meetings in Camberwell.

Feeding Off Agbani’s Breasts

I wish we didn’t have other more pressing matters, but on the day that Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye’s tirade on Agbani Darego broke, I was holed up in a useless meeting, but managed to browse the net on my mobile phone sandwiched comfortably

between my laps. Seeing me, you would think that I was turning tricks with my fingers (guys, you know what I mean).

When I finally had time, I scurried the internet for hours and tried every IT skills I could muster to turn up the image, but I couldn’t. My quest wasn’t so much to satisfy my voyeurism, but so that I could make informed comments on the matter. I failed.

I am a fan of Agbani, and will always be. She represents the spirit of the outsider, and showed how triumph is inexplicably linked to faith and destiny. I watched her on the night that she was crowned Miss World in 2001, and was impressed by her answers to the question on what she would be found clutching if marooned in an island, she said the Bible.

I guess the issue of her breast baring, just like the infamous Janet Jackson ploy hinges on morality and it’s quite interesting to see the different shades of morality that Nigerians exhibit. Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye comes across as a born-again christian and will therefore abhor nudity in all its ramifications. Sabella Abide on the other hand is an avowed atheist but still manages to argue a non-faith based version of morality in his rejoinder to Ugochukwu’s article. All interesting.

My own take; The rumours of the au pair job are still unconfirmed, but like Sabella argued, there is dignity in labour. We all gotta do what we gotta do to survive.

Agbani hasn’t been so unproductive in the international model circuits; she fronted a national UK campaign for L’Oreal in 2004/2005.

In the final analyses, every adult is responsible for his or her own actions.

These Jokes Are On Ladi Mohammed

My friend Ladi used to email jokes like these to me, loads of them, suddenly she stopped. Ladi where are you? If you are reading this, please holla.

There once was a very good old barber in London. One day a florist goes to him for a haircut. After the cut, he goes to pay the barber and the

barber replies:

“I am sorry. I cannot accept money from you. I am doing community service.”

The Florist is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the barber goes to open his shop, there is a thank you card and a dozen roses waiting at his door. A policeman goes for a haircut and he also goes to pay the after the cut. But the barber replies:

“I am sorry. I cannot accept money from you. I am doing community service. “

The cop is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning the barber goes to open his shop; there is a thank you card and a dozen donuts waiting at his door. A Nigerian software engineer goes for a haircut and he also goes to pay the barber after the cut. But the barber replies:

“I am sorry. I cannot accept money from you. I am doing community service.”

The Nigerian software engineer is happy and leaves. The next morning when the barber goes to open his shop, A dozen Nigerians were waiting for a free haircut!

Plantain lesson

Teacher:          You Boy, spell plantain

Boy:                  Whish one? The lipe one or the unlipe one?

Teacher:          What difference does it make? Just spell
 Boy:                  Teasha, If you fly the lipe one na ‘DODO’,
                           if you fly the unlipe one na ‘SHIPS’
                           if you loast am, na ‘BOLI’ All of
them na plantain,
                           so whish one you wan make I spell?

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Multioption May 31, 2006 - 10:44 am

For Agbani's controversial catwalk picture, click

Major May 16, 2006 - 10:06 am

Mr. Uche, until you post here a chest-bare pix of your wife or sister, spare us the sophistry. We can all afford to encourage others to wallow in filth while we protect all of our own. Or is it a complex thing — flowing with the crowd, lest we be called primitive?


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