Thursday, January 3, 2019


I shared this story on Facebook sometime in October 2018. Decided to migrate it here for keeps.....

Who remembers when people used to win N250,000.00 - N1,000,000.00 on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and it looked that that amount could solve all your life's problems?
This was my thinking then and sometime in 2007, while hustling and waiting for NYSC, after graduating from UNIBEN the year before, I used ALL MY MONEY on MTN credit such that I was invited to be on the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire game show. Lol.
They had asked me to come with a friend so I went from Warri to Lagos with my main man Fufeyin Benaware.
Now, If you know Fufeyin Benaware well, then I'm sure you already know he's a genius and that's why I chose to go with him.
Benaware was going to be the guy on call for "Phone A Friend" when I get on the hot seat. I needed him close to me, man.
Another good friend, Onoge Tega Ben Otb, who was already doing NYSC in Lagos was going to meet us up. He will also be the one camera will pan to as "family" when I get on the hot seat.
So, on the bus ride from Warri to Lagos, me and Bena were just admiring cars on the road and settled on Volkswagen Golf as the car I was going to buy with my winnings. Choosing the color became the only contentious issue and we were still on this when we arrived Lagos and met with Onoge Tega Ben Otb at the hotel that we were assigned to.
In that year, I was sharing a run down Audi 80 passed down by my dad with all my siblings, so you have to understand that I had to win this money and drive back to Warri with my Volkswagen Golf.
Mind you, I didn't tell one single soul about the real reason why I was going to Lagos. Only Bena and Tega were in the know as they would be involved. I just wanted to surprise everyone with my Volkswagen Golf when I returned to Warri.
Yes, I was secretive like that.
It was a Friday night and I practiced QUESTIONS throughout the night with Bena and Tega. I only just wanted to win N1,000,000.00 and not even the grand price of N10million but with the way I aced the questions, Tega and Bena were sure that I will win the N10 million.
These guys hyped me so much that at this point I was already buying 3 Golf cars from Toyota Bus-Stop in Lagos. One for my mum, one for me, one for my girlfriend. (I can't even remember who was on board then. Lol )
Saturday morning came and 3 of us went to the studio with all the confidence in the world.
That is how I returned to Warri using Agofure Motors.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Happy new year to you.

I finished reading only three books in 2018.

1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (A memoir by the creator of NIKE)
2. Fighting Corruption is Dangerous by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (The stories behind the headlines)
3. FELA: This Bitch of A Life by Carlos Moore (The authorized biography of Africa's musical genius)

I sometimes call myself a bibliophile but as you can see my 2018 paints a very different picture. It is probably the year I have read the fewest books since I consciously decided to always read different books (2009).

.... so now I feel like a disgrace.

I do not restrict myself to these kind of 'serious' books in my quest for reading because I really love good fiction books as well but I find myself gradually avoiding fiction because I wanted stop creating fantasies in my head (Maybe it's age that is worrying me).

I usually try to know the books some prominent people would have read during the year: Barack Obama released a list of almost 30 books he read during the year 2018 and I began to wonder where a man like him with probably a really busy schedule found time to read that many books averaging two books monthly. His collection had several African titles which made me really proud.

Barack Obama's 2018 books

I consoled myself with the facts and some assumptions that he probably doesn't have to drive to Walmart to do his own shopping, he doesn't live with just his wife and two kids under four, he most importantly doesn't have to spend 9am to 5pm daily at an office to ensure his bills are paid, so I'm good.

Another prominent person whose book recommendations I try to follow is Bill Gates. The way he picks his books is very instructive and very thoughtful. I usually try to read one or two from his recommedations. He talks about the five (5) books he will be reading over the course of the holidays in this post from his GatesNotes blog.

The amount of learning you garner from books can't be obtained from lecture rooms or walled schools. I should point out at this point that I actually still have about 3 books open at different pages but the above 3 are the only ones I finished and I will try to describe.

1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (A memoir by the creator of NIKE)
This book is one very good book that has so much lessons about business and is laced with sublime humour. It is a book that young people, especially new graduates and college students should read.
It traces the author's life from his adolescent years to graduating school and how he discovered running shoes and then going on to create the brand NIKE.
He talks about his various experience traveling to several parts of the world and his several struggles across various fronts while building the brand. 
The book is also an eye-opener into how the American society mostly helps it's young people with opportunities. How a young man can just leave home, get a job that can help pay his bills and then save up to travel the world, discover new places, his passions and then a vision to build a brand. He also describes his struggles with raising capital and assessing credit as his business grew.

2. Fighting Corruption is Dangerous by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (The stories behind the headlines)
I was jolted to read this book when an excerpt of it revealing that former governor Donald Duke had persuaded Ms. Iweala not to take a job in GEJ's government was posted on social media.
It is book that talks about the high level scams and pilferage that goes on in Nigeria's top governmental hierachy. I wrote a proper review here.

3. FELA: This Bitch of A Life by Carlos Moore (The authorized biography of Africa's musical genius)
The first time I bought this book to read was in 2009. I was driving in Warri one day when the police stopped me at a check point and the officer immediately saw the book in the car and asked/begged for it. It was a very painful decision then but I gave him the book and pleaded with him to ensure to read it.
The book is Fela's only authorized biography and was in his direct words as the author, a journalist, was Fela's friend who visited Nigeria to live and interview Fela as he wrote it.
At some point while reading this book, tear drops would escape from my eyes feeling the pain and sacrifices Fela made to make government work for his people. He used his music to call attention to the ills of society, government mismanagement and call-out individual corrupt politicians. His house was raided, his mother thrown from upstairs, his wives raped and beaten so badly that some came back with mental issues.
Fela is about the last real activist alongside Gani Fewehinmi, Nigeria had.
He wasn't able to father any children with any of his 27 wives after the raid on his premises due to the brutality he experienced on that occasion.

Myself or my wife strive to read to our 3-yr old daughter everyday before bedtime. It has now come to the point that if you don't read to her then you probably don't want her to sleep. If you're tired and dare sleep off before her while reading to her, you will find that she's forcing/beating you to wake up and continue the reading. My brothers and sisters come and see me see BIG PROBLEM oh, BIG GOOD PROBLEM.

If you have kids, please encourage them to read by buying good books for them, reading to them and most importantly showing them the example of reading. Letting them see you read is the best way to boost the desire and love for books in them as well.

So, now you know that I feel like a disgrace reading only 3 books in one year. These books were very impactful and I would recommend them to you too.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful, book-reading 2019.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Book Review: Fighting Corruption is Dangerous by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Sometime in late April, 2018 I stumbled on a 2page extract of Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala's (NOI) book on twitter and was absolutely stunned by its contents.

Ms. Ngozi, Nigeria's two-time minister of finance and former Managing Director of the World Bank in that extract had stated that Mr. Donald Duke, a "progressive" former governor of Cross-River State in South-South Nigeria, had called and visited her in Washington, trying to convince her not to accept serving in the newly elected government of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).
I have put the extract that stunned me here but I immediately went on Amazon to order the book.

Page 17

In this book Ms. Ngozi or NOI as her initials spell, tries to inform her readers about happenings, achievements, corrupt practices and how it was curtailed; and relationships to other government personalities in and around government during her tenure from 2011 - 2015 as it relates to her office as Minister of Finance and Coordination Minister of the Economy.
Some have posited that she is only trying to launder her image seeing that general elections are slated for February 2019 and she could be considered by any of the foremost presidential candidates as a running mate others think she released the book so as to expose the current president and possibly damage his chances at re-election. Which is it really? That’s why I read the book and wrote this review.
Did NOI convince anyone that she wasn't corrupt and fought against corruption in this book?

NOI goes straight into the book talking about the two events that concern her personally borne out of how she carried out her job and affected her ability to do the job.
One was the kidnap of her mother on December 9, 2012 and the other was getting information that a meeting was held where it was agreed that she should be maimed so she would "leave office in a wheel chair". While she captured reader’s attention with these stories in the very first chapter, I believe she should have written the book in a certain chronological order as these events happened almost two years into her tenure.
I see that as trying to hold the reader’s attention as well as build sentiments around her so one would know how difficult it was to hold that office and the various threats faced. Not that any of it was a lie because it surely is very difficult to hold such an office in a country like Nigeria.

In Chapter two she writes about how she got recommended for the job and several attempts to discourage her from taking the job. It was such an extract of page seventeen where she described how Donald Duke called and visited her giving her "friendly advice" not to take the job that made me buy this book. Donald Duke's attempt to discourage and his half-witted response to NOI's book just show the reader that Nigeria's politics is about "self-interest" and NEVER about the country's development. I have inserted Donald Duke's response here as well. If Donald Duke's presidential ambition was figuratively already a teenager in the University, NOI's revelation sent it back to being a diaper-wearing 3-month old baby. He can as well just forget about it now. **laughs scornfully**
While it is funny now, the revelation wasn't funny to me at all when I first read it. I couldn't believe that Donald Duke was capable of that but I guess that explains the selfishness of Nigeria's politicians.

Duke's Response

The underlying reason why NOI's mum was kidnapped on that December morning is the main subject of chapter 3: Confronting the Oil Scammers.
In it she describes how funds were being looted by certain companies/individuals who submitted subsidy claims of petroleum products not imported or used in Nigeria but expected the government to pay. Her team audited the claims and discovered that only about 30% of them were genuine and so they suspended the payments which resulted to her mother's kidnap and threat to her life. In my opinion it is clear that NOI was trying to be thorough with her audit and also supported discussing the "subsidy removal" in town hall meetings around the country before its eventual removal.
She also revealed here how GEJ was "convinced/rail-roaded" to announce the removal on January 1, 2012 by Babangida Aliyu, the governor of Niger state.
She also talked about the circumstances that led to the CBN governor's outburst that $50billion was missing from Nigeria's oil accounts.
She painted a picture that she was already aware of missing monies and auditing/investigating it when the news broke out that Sanusi Lamido has leaked a letter he sent to the president concerning the missing funds. How does one confirm that was true? She sure was been very sleek in those pages.

NOI, in the chapter about Nigeria's twisted budget process, writes about how the corruption around allocating funds to projects from Ministries, Agencies and Department to collusion with members of the National Assembly who then arbitrarily add funds and projects to the budget which they then siphon through disbursements. This has even become more terrible in the last two years resulting in the "Budget Padding" scandal as well as causing serious delays in the passage of budgets. As I type this on May 22nd 2018, Nigeria's 2018 budget hasn't been passed or signed.

Nigeria has gained a reputation the world over for being the base of "African Princes" who try to scam foreigners out of their hard-earned cash but in Chapter five NOI describes several scams/proposals that came from foreign lands and persons abroad trying to hoodwink the government into one deal or another.
These deals would have been bad for Nigeria and increased her debt profile if not for her vigilance/expertise and the democratic nature of GEJ who always sought her opinion when such proposals are brought to him. This brings to mind the need to have very intelligent and smart people in the corridors of power or else ineffectual leaders with sign away the entire country and people will think they still have a country.

One particular one that struck me was one where the foreigners came with the chief of Naval Staff and their unbelievably juicy proposal for a dockyard for all our naval ships. Upon further scrutiny and interviews it was all hogwash. So I ask myself, was the Naval Boss in on the scam from the get go or he himself just almost fell for it. Well the same naval boss was later arrested for misappropriation of funds with billions found in several of his bank accounts. My people, Ngozi was very 'woke'. She really helped to mitigate the scams that would have flown past GEJ's desk.

She then went on write about "Ghost Workers, Ghost Pensioners" within government payables and how she eliminated several during her first outing and now again during GEJ's government. As I read, all I could think of was that this "Ghost Worker" industry is probably the largest employer of labour in Nigeria. She wrote on the various resistances to her reforms and how she was only able to achieve deploying technology to stem all these due to the backing she got from the president.

As a female, Ngozi faced the challenge of being disrespected by several top politicians and presidential aides because of her gender. Some were even more envious just because she was named as 'Coordinating Minister of the Economy'. She writes about this and describes verbal assaults on her by the uncouth Osun state governor, Rauf Aregbesola and the pint-sized Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomole, who particularly started verbal attacks in the media against her person just because she refused to give her backing to loans he wanted. These loans would have further impoverished their states especially with their inability to pay.

Finally, this excerpt of the last chapter of the book gives a good idea of the circumstances just before GEJ called and congratulated PMB even before the results had been completely announced.

Page 127

The book is actually an eye opener on the inner workings of high levels of government and the high-wire politics that come with it. I believe it serves two purposes for her, which is to launder her image and nail the coffin of other politician’s ambitions, something I believe would have appalled her seeing that she knew the characters very well. She convinced me that she is smart, intelligent, and incorruptible and loves Nigeria. The book also does nothing to dent PMB's re-election chances as she didn’t knock the sitting government in anyway. It is quite objective in its language and delivery.

I will score the book a 7 over 10 overall and I recommend that young aspiring politicians and everyone interested in our National development read it to learn how to navigate their ways past corrupt bureaucracy and vested interests. It serves as encouragement as well to those who hold office to stand their ground against all corrupt odds.

Reviewed by:
Ukpetenan Frank Obehi

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


On Sunday 5th June, 2016, I and a few friends [L-R: Nosa Ogbemudia, Dipo Adesina, Ahmed Saliu and myself] went to the Liberation Stadium in Port-Harcourt to watch the NPFL match between Rivers United of Port-Harcourt and Lobi Stars of Makurdi. The game ended with the home team winning by a lone goal.

It was my first time watching a live NPFL match at a stadium so during the match and on the way back home my mind was restless with thoughts of the numerous opportunities having a very functional and properly-run Nigeria would bring to its teeming population.

Thoughts of how teams could and would perform better and be properly funded if sponsorship and advertisement were gotten right crossed my mind. I thought about how each team in the NPFL could have really robust football academies, giving young and vulnerable teenagers the opportunity to channel their talents before they’re caught between joining Boko Haram, MEND or Niger Delta Avengers.

My mind also dwelt on transportation and how with a good and solid road, air and train network around Nigeria, fans could travel with their teams to watch, support and cheer them. Coincidentally, the Rivers United side was billed to play against Enyimba FC of Aba at mid-week but unfortunately, that PH-Aba road is so bad that a journey of 30mins would take 2hrs to complete. Now imagine the road was fantastic or the train really functional; I would close from work at 4pm quickly hop on the train to Aba, watch my ‘newly-beloved’ Rivers United and return home to my wife and daughter in PH before 7pm, like it’s NOTHING!

During the game at the stadium, a player from Rivers United took a knock on the head which had to be bandaged. While there was a stand-by ambulance with Rivers Government House inscription at the stadium, I began to imagine the opportunities for numerous first-aiders, nurses and doctors all over the country during periods when the NPFL would be ongoing and even much later after matches.

Lo, I even dreamt about sports medicine and research centers for sports related medical issues after all it was a Nigerian Doctor, Bennet Omalu who was the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by examining American football players NFL. Now imagine that doctor didn’t have to travel out of Nigeria and utilizes his skills to bring about such discoveries and their solutions here in this our land!

I didn’t stop dreaming.

The stadium was half-full but I imagined what a full stadium would mean in terms of increased trade after matches have been properly advertised and security of attendees assured. The gate takings would sky-rocket and the facility managers would generate more money by leasing out spaces for shops and other activities within the complex.

The opportunities that abound only in sports are even beyond my imagination but ultimately I thought about the urgent need for Nigeria to wake up and make sure these opportunities don’t go to waste and are properly harnessed by putting in place the right environment.

It brought me back to our political leadership and how they all need to realize that putting these infrastructure in place: ROADS, AIRPORTS, TRAINS and POWER, would create more prosperity for the people thereby increasing opportunity again for increased tax revenues and even slightly more money for ‘stealing’ and diversion later, if that happens to be their calling. Basically, the more infrastructure, the more opportunities the people can create, the better prosperous they become and the more tax revenues government is able to accrue and make available to do MORE.

Having lived a greater part of my life in Warri, Delta state, I would use the government of James Ibori as an example because I find a similarity of ideas. Now, as governor of oil-rich Delta state, James Ibori, created so much opportunities for the state to develop with roads, schools and other projects. He empowered so many people, old and young with contracts and jobs such that till today he is seen as god-sent. Albeit, we all didn’t know that he was stealing so much too because we were blinded by the opportunities he was creating until he was arrested tried and convicted.

The same cannot be said of the government of his cousin that came after him. That government held on to most of the money claiming to be paying off debts incurred by Ibori, while creating opportunities for only very few people. If Ibori didn’t default on the loans he may have taken to execute those projects why not continue on that path and then the sustained and increased prosperity of the populace would generate more tax revenues to meet up with loan and interest repayments over time.

Back to the football match at the Liberation Stadium which brought about all this thinking; the stadium wasn’t looking it’s best but any effort to refurbish it by government would probably be priced at five times the ‘real’ cost, which will set the stage for waste and continued corruption down the chain to even the football kits that have to be replaced.

In conclusion, we see that the Nigerian politician is so selfish and greedy not realizing that his ability to delay gratification while actually doing the right things and putting the appropriate infrastructure in place would result to increased prosperity for ALL thereby making more money and power available to him to continue to dispense with as he/she pleases.

This is the school of thought we need to convince our politicians to move to, that a more prosperous population would ultimately translate to a wealthier and more powerful him. We need to teach our politicians and in fact teach ALL NIGERIANS that when we create opportunities for others to be prosperous we are actually creating opportunities for ourselves to become wealthier, happier and at peace with our environment.

I will continue to dream of a Nigeria where prosperity for ALL is possible because it truly is.

God Bless Nigeria....

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rivers crisis: The Nigerian police and professionalism

Mbu Joseph Mbu

Nigeria has experienced a lot of bad times and seasons but one perpetually bad season she has continued to experience is called the Nigerian Police Force. While I would love to include all the Nigerian security/intelligence forces in this bad season category it would be a good start point to just consider the police force as one bad season too many and I would stick with writing about them.
The conflicting roles played by police officers attached to different characters during the day of the Rivers State House of Assembly mayhem is very telling and instructive of the lessons that should be learnt and taught to the police hierarchy.
In the video in which Chidi Llyod was seen “macing” a colleague, I saw a police officer join his SSS colleagues (guys with belted guns) beat up a lawmaker within the chambers of the RSHA and in another video you could see a mobile police officer accompany Evans Bipi and was basically assisting Evans and his thugs seeking to gain entry into the chambers.
In the first case I was shocked beyond words to see a policeman beat up a lawmaker. While assault and battery should be a crime, it becomes even more insane when the individual who should enforce that law preventing indiscriminate assault and battery and possibly broker peace take sides and unleash the same crime on a properly elected official of the state, a LAWMAKER!
In the second instance, the mobile policeman that accompanied Evans Bipi and his thugs was trying to assist them gain entry into the chambers of the RSHA. He was even being advised by his colleagues guarding the doors to back down and behave professionally but he would have none of it.
Those scenes tell tales of how unprofessional the Nigerian Police Force have become and the need to quickly nip this unprofessionalism in the bud. The willingness of members of the police force to do the bidding of their immediate benefactors has become too easy and to think they do it without shame is very worrisome.
Moving around Nigeria, you will observe how the mobile police unit of the NPF has become the private security of individuals, banks and other private institutions. As a Port-Harcourt resident, you see them minute-by-minute blaring sirens and flouting the state’s traffic laws as they create routes in traffic while guarding foreign nationals. One 4WD vehicle carrying an expatriate could have as many as eight (8) mobile policemen in two (2) pick-up trucks guarding him/her. Matter of factly, I now regard the mobile police force as the commercialized part of the force generating revenue for the pockets of the various Ogas At The Top.
The speeches, actions and inactions of both the Rivers State commissioner of police and the IG also speaks volumes of where allegiance lie and path they would kow-tow  in a bid to perform their duties going forward.
I once read a Jeffrey Archer novel where the US attorney-general through the FBI was investigating the presidency for a murder and preparing charges to arrest the president before a breakthrough in the case revealed the Chief of Staff as the prime suspect who was then indicted and arrested. Here in Nigeria the body language of the presidency is one of “Above-the-Law”. You are seemingly untouchable once you get a presidential appointment.
Have you ever seen the NPF comb a crime scene for clues and evidence or even do something close to that like it is done in western movies? Here in Nigeria, the police appear hours or even days after the crime and then arrest anyone and everyone in sight so as reap bail money from them and their families. It is fantasy to ask for presidential investigation or that the police comb a crime scene properly in Nigeria because the mind can only conceive that in an environment where it is closely possible.
The other day it was revealed how decrepit and run-down the Ikeja Police Training College had become but instead of investigating how the funds for maintaining the institution was mis-managed and mis-appropriated, how the place for training criminal-catchers had become worse than where criminals are punished, the government (through the president for that matter) came out defending the police hierarchy and blamed the opposition for the revelation. That just trivialised the issues and showed us government-police relationship already skewed to ensure that the police doesn’t work independently, sincerely and with integrity.
In light of our “nascent” democracy and civilian rule what efforts have been made to ensure that members of the police force are trained on how to respect the rights and priviledges of civilian members of the society to whom they owe a duty of protection? Do Nigerian police officers and men know their responsibilities before and during elections and through the period of our democratic practice? Are they fully aware of the position they hold in society and need to be apolitical and unbiased when carrying-out these responsities? The response to these questions will be in the negative when you consider the examples of the two police officers described earlier as well as their bosses, the Rivers CP and the IG.
This sorry state of the Nigerian Police Force should be a serious bother to all well-meaning Nigerians who want to see a new, prosperous and truly democratic Nigeria. We can go no-where with this swinging, biased, ill-trained and un-professional police force.
A radical change needs to birth in the Nigerian Police Force and quickly too.