Saturday, May 03, 2008

Nigeria. Sovereign Wealth Fund Star

Just spent the morning with two great financiers and got this Roland (Monzur) Sodeinde and Olumide Ajayi with their permission I will do a post on their incredible efforts to fund projects in Nigeria one of these days. Olumide turned me on to a great statistic that the fastest growing Sovereign Wealth Fund ( they are the new power replacing hedge funds and private equity funds) is the Nigerian one growing at a reported 291% over the last five years the second reported Oman is nearly 40% lower. The average growth of this powerful investment vehicle is 24% across the board. If you combine the predicted 9% growth in GDP predicted by IMF in Nigeria this year along with a $60 billion external reserve and the this figures then the macro economic position of the country is remarkable. At the very least the detractors of the Obasanjo administration should acknowledge what has been done right and maybe they will have greater credibility in challenging what the administration did wrong.

Below is the link to the source , thanks again to Olumide Ajayi


ijebuman said...

"detractors of the Obasanjo administration should acknowledge what has been done right and maybe they will have greater credibility in challenging what the administration did wrong."

Even Hitler, Stalin, Mugabe and our very own Abacha did something right, it still doesn't excuse the wrong they did.

And if you've forgotten the things Obj did wrong, i could remind you...

Onibudo said...

Feel free so long as they are based on facts that have been verified. I also agree all those people did many right things and have been oversimplified. If you go back a few years Mugabe was celebrated by the West that now equates with evil. Without Abacha neither Sierra Leone nor Liberia will be a viable state. Hitler and Stalin are of a different order in their genocide and brutal use of power almost in the same league as the Bush Administration which you somehow conveniently did not add. I wonder how Obasanjo gets listed into this group. The hyperbole discredits honest open discussion.

ijebuman said...

This is an edited version of my response to another blogger last year who asked the same question : - ) (i probably need to update it with recent revelations lol)
For all the "positive" things Obj did, it doesn't change the fact that under his watch the following happened:

The unresolved murder of the Attorney General (Bola Ige)

His disdain for the rule of law, It was under Obj's regime that Chris Uba kidnapped the governor of Anambra state. His brother Andy (Obj's henchman) even became governor of the state for a few weeks (no thanks to the SElections). Lamidi Adedibu continues to wreck havoc in Oyo state and all Obj could say was "We need his experience to win the polls"

The rot in the aviation sector (since his regime is taking credit for the GSM revolution, it might as well take credit for the rot in this sector that led to numerous plane crashes, meanwhile the families of those who died in last year's ADC crash will not get a single kobo as the airline was not insured, yet it was allowed to fly)

A privatisation policy that has seen most of the country's assets sold at ridiculous prices to his cronies.
The sacking of Odi
The electric power situation that is worse than when he took power 8 years ago

His attempts to serve a third term (now he is denying he ever wanted to run for a third term but back in early 2006 he attended a "rally" in support of his third term attempts

Abruptly declaring public holidays to frustrate the opposition's court cases (that was a new low in naija politics)
and of course the 2007 elections, the best election Nigeria never had..

EFCC, used as a tool against his opponents, while the likes of Anenih, Bode George, Gbenga Daniel, Jonathan Goodluck (and wife), Andy Uba, Femi Fani Kayode were left alone despite the corruption allegations made against them.

I know we've had a lot of bad rulers in naija and unfortunately that has meant our standards for measuring performance is extremely low but, and i'm quoting Yar'Adua here from his inaugural address "we should stop justifying every shortcoming... as if to be a Nigerian is to settle for less."

ijebuman said...

I was not comparing Obj to Hitler or Stalin (although I'm sure the people of Odi will disagree), only mentioned their names because, despite the horrible things they did, you'll still find some positive things they did for their countries (however the evil outweighs whatever good they did).

As far as you're concerned, it seems you would have us overlook Obj's "mistakes" because the economy is in 'fairly good shape' and he paid off our debts.

Onibudo said...

My brother (no matter that you are Ijebu and I am Ibadan and we usually on opposite sides of debates) it is always energising to engage you. It certainly sharpens the intellect and focuses the mind. It is also great that you ring some specifics to the table although it does not really change the dynamics. If your test of a great President is that they did not make any of the mistakes that you listed then :

JFK was a bust because of the Cuban crisis and the onset of Vietnam including his lack of real courage on Civil rights;

Winston Churchill was an absolute bust because he oversaw the first gassing of the Kurds, celebrated racism and oversaw economic failure especially disdain for the working classes;

Nelson Mandela was ineffectual because he let criminals get away through the Truth ad Reconciliation process, left many Black south africans landless and entrenched white economic hegemony.

I could go on but no point since it appears that the dislike for Obasanjo is now the hallmark of Nigerian elitism.

It is true that Obasanjo got a quite a few things wrong which i put down to his paternal arrogance, a messianic delusion and a existence in a world cheerleading, ass kissing, rent seekers. This is the world of every Nigerian male with a little bit of power.

Now to your points

1) Bola Ige is the failure of the Nigerian police to have decent clear up rate. political assassinations are notoriously difficult to resolve there is still debate on JFK, MLK amongst others. The incompetence of the Nigerian police can be laid at the foot of successive government and the Obasanjo administrations share in this .

2) The rule of law in Nigeria is not one that can be denigrated by limited acts of government when the law itself is a complex mix of many jurisprudence which increasingly bears no effect on the transaction of the governed and the governing. It is not been seen that similar acts by the Blair government in UK denigrated the rule of law either in the Diego Garcia case when they did not implement the judgement of the House of Lords on n the Bae bribery case amongst other. I however concede that the government in a open and uncouth way did damage to the process of seeing law enforced openly. I agree on the Adedibu and the whole Godfather debacle that plagues Nigerian politics . It is firmly an Obasanjo debauchery.

3) the Aviation industry was privatised and as was seen in Russia these operators initially cut corners. It takes time for a culture of maintenance and management to take hold. I dispute this as one that can be fixed. In fact the GSM systems have exactly the same failings with insignificant consequences.

4) The privatisation policy is one of the reasons the economy is expanding the way it is. government has no business running businesses and make a complete mess of it when it does. Nuff said

5) EFCC started where it did . I see no conspiracy just expediency. The organisation cannot prosecute all cases and can only take those where it has evidence.Is the EFCC now less political than it was alleged to be under Obasanjo?

6) Odi was Soja come Soja go!

7) Power is one of those things Nigerian never review rationally. The last time before 1998 when there was any investment in power in Nigeria of any consequence was in 1979 under Obasanjo. In the period that followed the capacity had eroded and population had exploded. Since 1998 there has been explosion in power demand as well not least being advent of millions of GSM phones, a resurgence of air condition living middle class amongst many other lifestyle changes. It takes at least 10 years to build substantial new capacity and it is no surprise things et worse before they get better. Please review the recent events in South Africa for some perspective.

8) The elections of 2007 was an organisational rather than a conspired failure. I have posted extensively on this subject. One forgets that the CIA predicted that the Country would not survive the transition. When compared to the resolution of similar problem in Kenya the judicial process involved in reviewing elections builds institutions and progresses accountability. Democracy does not end at the ballot box.

I am no apologist for OBJ but think he has been the best in a long line of dubious leaders and deserves recognition for it. Good does not need to be the enemy of better. We can and will do better it remains to be seen when this will happen but Obasanjo was not bad all things considered.

ijebuman said...

Great come back my Ibadan brother : - )

A test of a great president is not the lack of mistakes, but they are defined by the way they handle great events thrust upon them by history. In the first coming of Obj the great historical event was the way he kept on course and handed over to a civilian government (when such things were not in vogue in Africa).
All the other leaders you mentioned faced such a test, Churchill (the second world war), Mandela (he might not have done anything spectacular, but considering all the scenarios, he ensured there was none of the revenge attacks/economic chaos many had predicted for SA's first post apatheid government, and then he stepped aside after one term, a very unsual move in Africa)

In the same vein, IBB's regime would probably have been remembered differently (despite his many mistakes) if not for the annulment of the June 12 elections. Like Obj he had some great ideas too, but his selfish interest derailed most of them.
The one opportunity Obj should have used to ensure his place in history was the 2007 elections and he blew it big time.

If you're using economic indices (standard of living etc), then Gowon's regime was probably the best in Nigeria's history, not because he was a great leader, but because we had loads of petro dollars flowing in (kind of like what’s happening now).

I have not seen the "lifestyle changes" you mentioned, in fact life expectancy has dropped to 47 from 51 in 2003 (
That people can afford to buy a few "electrical devices" does not mean there is a "middle class" resurgence. If there's a resurgence, how come there is a big market for second hand goods in practically everything in Nigeria? how come the country is a dumping ground for old computers, TVs, clothes etc? How come people will do absolutely anything to get visas so they can 'check out' of the country?

Regarding your answers

1.) Bola Ige is not just a failure of the Nigerian police but a failure that extends right to the top. The buck has to end somewhere, and it should be Obj's desk. Bola Ige was the chief law officer of the country, every resource should have been thrown at the case to ensure the killers were found. It's interesting to note that in the twilight of his regime, he came up with some lame "theory" about who killed Ige.

2.) Your excuses about the rule of law is quite funny, forget about international standards, even by Nigerian standards (comparing to a civilian NOT a military government), Obj's government was lawless. a few examples off the top of my head, withholding Lagos state's funds even when a court ruled it illegal, his disdain for court rulings, his interference in legislative matters...

meanwhile, the current resident of Aso rock doesn't seem to have much difficulty adhering to the rule of law.

3) Aviation, ‘It takes time for a culture of maintenance and management to take hold.’
True, if you put the right people in charge, you can't honestly tell me that Borishade and Fani kayode were the right people for that job..

4) The privatisation policy is one of the reasons the economy is expanding the way it is. Agreed, but our assets should be sold at market rate not at ridiculously low prices to his cronies

5) EFCC, strange that it was only his opponents, the EFCC had time for when he was in power.
Well I guess it's only normal for them to now chase his own family now that he no longer has "political control".
The whole thing reminds me of George Orwell's ‘Animal Farm’

6) “Odi was Soja come Soja go!”
Except this was not 1978 when we were ruled by the military and "unknown soldiers" destroyed Fela's house, this was under Obj's civilian regime.
If it was your home town destroyed like Odi, i don't think you'll be saying 'soja come soja go'..
He should have apologised and ensured the culprits were bought to justice.

7) He did make a LOT of promises about the power situation, promising to get it up to 10,000MW. If it takes 10 years to build up capacity and we assume Obj started in '99, we should start seeing some of that extra capacity now, 8 to 9 years later..instead power generation has actually dropped from 1999 levels...

Unlike South Africa, hardly anyone relies on NEPA or whatever it is called now, most companies in Nigeria already generate their own power and your so called 'middle class' will have a diesel generator behind the house, the only people left relying on NEPA are the poor souls, too poor to afford a cheap Chinese generator..

8) "The election of 2007 was an organisational rather than a conspired failure."
how can you say it was an 'organisational failure' when Obj himself said the election was a "do or die affair"

Who appointed Maurice Iwu ? a discredited "professor" who lied about his "qualifications"
In January 2007 (4 months before the so called "elections") six voter registration machines were discovered in Adedibu's house, and i'm quite sure other PDP big wigs had machines too.

Obj's military government organised the 1979 elections and even though there might have been some irregularities it was still considered free and fair, so it's not as if Obj had no experience of organising successful elections, he was just hell bent on ensuring that his chosen candidate won.

Onibudo said...

Ba Ijebu my response will be a full post in itself over the next few days. I hope you read something of OBJs response to the Power committee.

Ire O

ijebuman said...

I eagerly await your response. I read Obj's response, sebi he dey 'Kampe' before, it seems the barrage of attacks is begining to hurt lol.