by Cheta Nwanze
Arisekola Alao, was to run into trouble many times in the future, quite notably in 2011, when one of Nigeria’s biggest banks, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc filed a lawsuit seeking an order to declare him bankrupt over a N7 billion loan which to put it succinctly, Mr. Alao had refused to pay.
I’ve never killed a man, but I’ve read many obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow
In May 1997 a group of army officers in Sierra Leone staged a coup. The country had been in a civil war for six years, and the rebels joined the coupists to capture the capital, Freetown, with little resistance. Reflecting international will, ECOMOG forces led by Nigeria, intervened and retook Freetown on behalf of the government, but they found the outlying regions more difficult to pacify. One of the reasons was that the Nigerian troops were poorly equipped. There was a scandal about equipment flown in from Bulgaria not finding their way to the troops. Most embarrassingly, helmets purchased for the troops were found to be made of plastic.
The man responsible for the supply of these plastic helmets, was a man called Abdulazeez Arisekola-Alao. A prominent businessman back in his home country, and a friend of the country’s dictator at the time, Sani Abacha. Arisekola Alao, was to run into trouble many times in the future, quite notably in 2011, when one of Nigeria’s biggest banks, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc filed a lawsuit seeking an order to declare him bankrupt over a N7 billion loan which to put it succinctly, Mr. Alao had refused to pay.
The man died a few days ago, and as is usual, the plaudits are coming in from all over the place. One of those, which I will quote verbatim, says, “I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing on of Alhaji Arisekola-Alao. He was a great mentor.” This quote, from our current Minister of State for Defence, about a man who deliberately put Nigerian troops in harm’s way, says a lot about why we probably cannot win the current fight against #BokoHaram.
At this rate, when Arthur Nzeribe, the man who sold arms to both sides during our Civil War, sashays away from this mortal coil, some lunatic is going to tell me that “he was a good man”. Tufia!
Bits and Bobs
Some Nigerian fans who made the journey to Brazil are threatening not to attend tomorrow’s thrashing at the hands of Bosnia’s Dragons because the Supporters Club and the NFF sold non-existent jerseys to them at double the price. I think they should be flogged for gross stupidity.
Yet another committee has been set up. This time to follow the Abacha money as it goes into a few other pockets. As for me, since the man’s son is no longer being charged with anything, please return his father’s money to him.
Osama bin Laden’s wife has just been appointed to head the American Department of Homeland Security.
But hey, even the opposition themselves are known to partake in the finer arts of being Pinocchio.
Right of Reply
Joseph Omon wrote,
Once again i beg to differ, the censorship board may be over stepping their mandate with the continued stopping of showing of HOAYS but it is essential. Having seen the movie, i personally fear that this is not the right time to have this screening of this movie. For perspective, in investment this is known as external environmental forces – the polity is just too heated to screen this movie. We are currently experiencing a confluence of forces threatening the unity of this fragile nation- the growing,unbridled growth of the boko haram madness, increased gyrations from the misguided MASSOB goons and the unprofessional profiling of northern Nigerians in the south. The movie shares a well screened graphic representation of the events that led to the civil war in the 60s and i fear that versus serving as entertainment in 2014, it may just be catalyze more divisive sentiments.
It is shameful that after 40years, we are still afraid of our past but this is a time when it important to note that cowardice is a better option to War. I think the censorship board can be more tactful, carry out a focus group screening to understand the flash points of this movie and offer the producers a financial incentive to delay the screening till after the elections. The current President has no plan to cool the polity till the elections and this movie has the potential to further heat up the polity ahead of the elections. For the love of God and country it is important that we make some sacrifices to protect this fragile polity we call home – Nigeria.
We’ve buried our heads in the sand like ostriches on this topic for far too long. Counter-intuitively, I will say that there is no better time than now to screen the HOAYS movie. The reason is simple: all of the mistakes that our politicians made in the build up to the January 1966 coup are being repeated. What is even more scary, is the fact that they are being repeated on an even grander scale than originally done, and more lunacy is being added to it.
Again, and I won’t stop flogging this horse even if it gives up the ghost, the economic value. $8 million is a tenth of Ebonyi state’s budget. Nowhere on this planet is such money just allowed to literally waste away. Except Nigeria of course.
Bunmi Isijola wrote,
Why are they returning the money?
It will just end up in some peoples private coffers and rerouted right back to them with no accountability on what it was used for.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.
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