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Column No.6: Yachts, CBN, Ganduje, Natasha and other things on my mind

Right now there are over fifty major things on my Nigerian mind. I know without counting, that the number is just an estimate. But some…

Right now there are over fifty major things on my Nigerian mind. I know without counting, that the number is just an estimate. But some things poke at me more than others, which is why I have decided to write about the ones that are currently more glaring. Mind you, this is not some sort of exercise in ranking issues, or of outrage, back-slapping, or commendation. It is simply a collation – for better or worse – of what the title of this piece says. Here we go:

  1. Rough waters for ‘presidential Yacht’:

I read somewhere that lawmakers have patched-in the money requested for a ‘presidential yacht’ into that for student loans, and it made me very happy. But I still cannot fathom why it was an issue in the first place, as in why did the question of such a frivolous luxury that makes no sense come up at all? As if I could not be more disconcerted, Senator Ali Ndume in the news said the agreement, signature, and delivery of the N5 billion nautical nonsense provided in the supplementary budget was perfected before the outrage from Nigerians. But President Bola Tinubu’s aides insist he did not request for the outrageously expensive yacht. The question, then, is how did it make its way onto the supplementary budget?

  1. At least the CBN is up-and-doing:

Erosion damaging Toro General Hospital – Bauchi youths

Tinubu lauds France’s move to return $150m Abacha loot

There is some hope in the air, that Nigeria’s foreign exchange market may soon experience some liquidity as the Central Bank of Nigeria has begun clearing the backlog of foreign exchange obligations, as the apex bank has reportedly taken steps to douse the tension generated by forex backlog plaguing banks and airlines, to the tune of a princely $7bn. This may cause many business people to smile, as it was reported that UAE carrier, Emirates, may soon resume flights to Nigeria as both countries finalise agreements which may see the Arab country lift its visa and work permit bans on Nigerians. Will the CBN’s vow to inject $10bn into the forex market – which has been under severe pressure in recent times with the dollar exchanging for over N1,200 in the parallel market – save the day? That is the hope. The same hope bolsteredby cheering news that the naira’s official price is steadily improving. Now, if only the pesky black market would follow suit.

  1. The Ganduje Imgroglio:

From day one, I have followed the political drama kick-started by ex-Kano governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje when he was in power. From the borderline self-destructive actions, to the alienation of important possible-allies and many more missteps, I would wince many times as they unfold. I truly don’t have enough space to detail the drama, but the latest one just left me dumbfounded. The NNPP-led government of Kano State has alleged that the immediate-past government of Ganduje left the state with a debt burden of over N500 billion. Deputy Governor Aminu Abdussalam Gwarzo reportedly dropped this bombshell of a revelation in Kaduna at a political event. Of course what would follow next is to claim the huge debt has thus far impeded the smooth take-off of the NNPP’s run in Kano. And would anyone blame them? Any and all issues to do with Kano’s past government – and its effect on the current one – appear to be ignored to fester and grow rancid. Something needs to be done right now.

  1. Natasha’s ‘Funny’ Victory:

I strongly believe that Kogi Central Senatorial District senator-elect, Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan,  has every right to, for whatever reason, refuse to respond to any congratulatory messages, even if it is from Governor Yahaya Bello. The political drama between the two is, after all, well-documented. So, the description of her choice to disregard the congratulatory message as “very funny” by Kogi State Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fanwo, is also very funny. Governor Bello had congratulated the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate in the last general election, Akpoti-Uduaghan, shortly after the Court of Appeal declared her the original winner of the said election. But the PDP senator-elect declined to acknowledge it, while speaking on TV, attributing her refusal (surprise, surprise!) to incidents of the past. ‘Natasha’, as she is popularly called by her legion of supporters, added that she had enough evidence to show that the governor did not mean well for her all this while, giving instances in her response. My advice to the victorious senator-elect? If you find it in your heart to accept the congratulations, do so. If you decide not to, just face your front and the major task of helping Kogi State on the federal level, and leave the “very funny” stuff to comedians.

I have many other things on my mind, but space will not allow me to touch on them, even if briefly. But Nigeria being Nigeria, there will be more than enough things on my mind come next week. I will stop here, with the following question to you, readers: What’s on your own mind?


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