Thursday, January 10, 2013
WHY NIGERIANS SUFFER...my case against DANGOTE, OTEDOLA and the oligarchs. By ENA OFUGARA
Everyone blames the government. Kingsley Iriogbe has tried to point out that the government is us and taken from amongst us and so whatever characteristic the government shows, that is a reflection of our psyche, ethos etc. Michael Dedon in reaction to my railing against our corrupt system which I have labelled CORRUPTISM says the reason Nigeria will not experience the revolution and cleansing it deserves is because all Nigerians aspire to be amongst that circle of the rich and corrupt and so instead of trying to change the system would rather bide their time and pray that with hardwork and luck they can join the select thieving class.
Thus when I write this, I do not canonize anyone...I leave that to the Vatican. But what I will attempt to do here is to show you the true villain in the Nigerian story, and like most villains of today like Brad Pitt in the movie "Devil's Own", the villain is one you would admire and love for their looks and modus operandi. The villain is no longer the scarred "Abacha" but the handsome Dangote and Otedola.
Now I have chosen these two....especially Dangote for very clear reasons and I ask that you sheathe your sword and let me make my case.
Obesity is now officially America's number one health problem and it comes from Sugar while monopoly is Nigeria's greatest problem and it comes from dangote's Sugar as well as his rice and cement and maybe wheat.
When there is only one store that sells things in your estate, what happens to the price? Indeed it shoots up. Now imagine there is no "I will wait till weekend to go to the market to buy" and your only alternative was that one shop, now imagine how high that price would be. That is how much you are paying for rice and cement and sugar in Dangotes estate called Nigeria.
When I said we are practising CORRUPTISM and not Capitalism, I meant every word. America practises capitalism. A certain Bill Gates by dint of his intelligence created a need called "windows" with his micro-soft. He paid every single tax, His workers were some of the highest paid workers in America. He was the single highest donor to charity and yet the minute Americans found his microsoft was practically driving the IBM's etc from the market and that there was monopoly, their "antitrustlaws" kicked in and they broke Bill Gates company and he was no longer the richest man on the planet. Now that is Capitalism.
Now compare CORRUPTISM. A certain Dangote gets loan from his uncle and with connivance of a serving president Obasanjo is given the SOLE right to import rice into Nigeria. Now rice is a staple. computer is not. Man has always lived without computers, but not rice. It is Tuwo in the north and it is the only thing people buy in 80% of eataries. No matter the price, you must eat rice and yet Dangote secured a monopoly on rice. IMAGINE!!!
Now along with rice came sugar. Huge vessels that attempted to bring in sugar into Nigeria that would have forced the price dangote was selling down were poured into the very sea that brought them. Dangote personally walks to the Apapa wharf where he has an office and ensures there is no competition.Now if you do not know, your meatpie and buns and kpofkpof and eggroll and gala and everything you eat to stave off hunger till you get home to prepare fufu, dangote's mark up hand is in it. Even your coke and beer.
Then you may want to build a house or rent one. Now dangote has a near total monopoly here as well. This monopoly is so strong that when GEJ tried to bring down the price of cement, he had to give Dangote a directive which he obeyed for a month or two and it was back to business sorry hardship as usual. So when your house rent is almost unpayable, look to Dangote and his monopoly.
When BCC (Benue Cement Company) Gboko and their staff tried to save the company and have us continue to produce cement in Nigeria, when the staff even agreed to pay cut, knowing all Dangote was interested in was not to manufacture cement....the workers would want that. But instead he desired the license to import cement which is given by law to only cement factories so as to import a percentage to meet local demand. Today, Edo State's two industries of rice (Ekpoma) and Cement (Ukpila) will remain dead to ensure Dangote's monopoly.
I can hear you say he is being a good business man and that we should blame the government. I will just tell you exactly what Dangote's co-oligarch Otedola said of Dangote during Fashola's first election. (Not exact words) Otedola said "The reason Lagos Gubernatorial election result was delayed is because Dangote was pressuring Obasanjo the then president to change the result. Obasanjo seeing the wide margin Fashola won with knew he could not do anything about the result. Still Dangote pressured him saying PDP cannot afford to lose Lagos. Obasanjo hearing dangote's "directive" to have the Lagos election cancelled screamed "Lagos? you want to put me in trouble?"
Now if it was not Lagos? If Fashola had not won by a wide margin? If Tinubu wasn't as crafty as the PDP themselves, what would have been the role of a "private business man like Dangote" in rigging an election or rubbishing democracy?
For political junkies like me, they will remember that Lagos election result of 2007was indeed delayed and considering the millions Dangote always donates as PDP's largest contributor, do you doubt that this took place?
Indeed big business controls governments. The KOCH brothers here in America vowed to remove Obama and spent millions in trying to make that happen. I do not hate when a business man tries to influence government. But when it is to have government hand him monopolies which is frowned upon in every capitalism, when it includes being the biggest sponsor of the most corrupt party in Africa, when a close ally in the person of Otedola testifies to your role in election manipulation, then indeed you are an enemy of the people.
As for Otedola and his ilk, NNPC continues to be vandalized and domestic production of fuel remains a mirage so as to continue to have the contracts to import fuel. What Otedola did to Farouk in offering him a bribe and only speaking of the bribe a couple of days or weeks later is proof that that has been their modus operandi.
Now if between Dangote and Otedola price of fuel (petrol, kerosine etc) Rice, Sugar, Cement and flour go up, who is ruining Nigeria? who is responsible for the hardship?
Now imagine a situation where every Ibo man is free to go to Thailand and negotiate with Kuung Li on importation of rice or a Yoruba man can go to france and have St Louis give him shiploads of Sugar and imagine the deltan who has Portland cement being able to import cement and sell according to his price indices. Imagine Ekenedilichukwu and Dangote battling to outsell each other. I am a betting man. My money is on the Ibos turning Alaba to a rice market with the rice and sugar and cement at rock bottom competitive prices....the type that has made DVD so cheap people no longer repair but throw away defective DVDs. Also imagine government being free to pursue domestic production of all these....rice, cement, petrol, kerosine without saboteurs and oligarchs stopping it and sabotaging it just to continue to guarantee their profits.
Otedola really bought NNPC. CAN YOU IMAGINE!!! I was just waiting for when they would tell all Bayelsans and Deltans to pack from our states and relocate to Taraba and that via free enterprise, they now own the states...after all "all lands belong to the Federal Government".
Now people will say "why can't GEJ and EFCC punish Otedola? Or why can't GEJ stop Dangote's monopoly? because if he rocks the boat too much, he will be impeached. Dangote is responsible for electing a large enough number of senators and house members to impeach a president. GEJ is in power by virtue and benevolence of these oligarchs and though he has rebeled against the powers that put him like Obasanjo (which i predicted on this page when i said "an Ijaw man's quietness is mistaken for stupidity and their minds when made up is one of the most difficult mind to change") the truth is that he cannot rebel too much.
This article i am writing you will not see in any daily or television news show. That is how much Dangote has everyone in his pockets and Otedola had the negative press he got because he dared the media doyen himself Dangote. Have you not seen Dangote on MTV Base like he is Mark Cuba the Texas Millionaire and owner of Mavericks. Only difference is Mark Cuba actually manufacture something as opposed to the middle-man that Dangote is.
Thus as Nigerians we must really know what the real cause of our health issue is. Sugar is indeed killing us. For hardship to lesson, the monopoly must stop. Whatever deals dangote has struck with every sugar, cement and and rice factories in Europe, America and Asia, it must be broken. IT IS MADNESS FOR ONE MAN TO IMPORT ALL THE RICE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DEPEND ON and ALSO HAVE MONOPOLY ON SUGAR and CEMENT. THIS IS MADNESSSSSSSSSS.
The masses and the bourgeosie are at war. Dangote and the Oligarchs have us at gunpoint and they are pulling the trigger killing us one by one through hardship. The government may not be able to help. He who pays the piper calls the tune it is said.
It is why I read longingly about what happened to those who oppressed the proletariat in Russia and France. It is why I half wish it on Nigeria as the days go by. It is why I even still admire Rawlings of Ghana. Sometimes the pincers and talons of the wealthy and powerful have sunk in too deep to make a legal change. And like they say, when the poor have nothing to eat, they will eat the rich, I told Tom Lawyer that Alhaji Alhaji's flesh with the right curry and pepper will be delicious.
So when you read that Dangote has 12 billion dollars, ask him what it is he manufactures and also remember he can make another billion by drinking burukutu and arbitarily ordering the increase of twenty naira on each bag of cement, rice, sugar and perhaps wheat and we all will still pay as we have no alternatives.
And again, how much do they pay as tax? Bill Gates is still the one funding malaria vaccine in Nigeria. Really which oligarch has gone to jail for tax evasion as happens in other climes?