A blast from a not-distant past: Airlines cannot make profit “without cutting corners”! – Retd. Col. Marwa by Tola Adenle

With the recent horrible mishap of the plane carrying late Dr. Agagu and others that led to many deaths, a plane belonging to Associated  Airlines which is purportedly owned by former Governor Igbinedion, a remark reportedly made by retired Governor Marwa comes to haunt us.  Marwa, we remember. was a Lagos State military governor.  He was/is not the only governor to have owned or who owns a Nigerian airline.

How are Nigerian governors able to own such capital-intensive industry as airlines, in particular, and other huge cash-rich ventures like real estate in Nigeria’s major cities and overseas, in general?

How are airline owners able to sidestep rules governing airplane maintenance if not for the fact that they are top people in governance or those aligned with them – a fact directly rooted in Nigeria’s corruption?

While I am unable to yet find the original essay in which the following was quoted at the moment, suffice for now are the chilling words from Marwa who, whatever relationship he might have had with the airline owners association, did perhaps, say what must lie at the bottom of planes often falling from Nigeria’s skies when he reportedly spoke on behalf of the association some years ago.

My opinion on “Public Service” as a motivating factor for elective offices in Nigeria?  Rarely in these parts.  TOLA, October 6, 2013.

“May I state categorically that I do not owe Unity Bank Plc. or any other bank any sum of money whatsoever.  The Central Bank of Nigeria’s advertorial from where you alleged to be the source of your information simply claims that Albarka Air owes Unity Bank Plc. N1,066,240,164.19 and mentioned my name as a director of Albarka. I am not Albarka Air …”  Retd. Col. Marwa, Nigeria’s envoy to South Africa on his over one-billion naira not-indebtedness. 

Officer, I wondered aloud here some years ago when, as spokesperson for private airlines, you were quoted as saying something to the effect that you – airline owners – could not make profit “without cutting corners” when airlines kept falling from the skies.

 

EXCERPTED FROM:

“I do not owe anybody”: bank debtors’ semantic gymnastics, etcetera – Tola Adenle

The Nation on Sunday, December 6, 2009.


With only four Sundays left in the year – counting today – I’m summarizing some essays that I had planned to get in before the year runs out.  I may come back to them at a later date.

CBN lists bank debtors

The CBN list of bank “debtors” led to a flurry of advertorials in which the not-debtors gave bizarre – at times, juvenile – interpretations of ownership, liability and accepting responsibility for one’s actions.  Here are a few that should make readers laugh – not for joy – from the carry-go atmosphere when “big men” walked into banks and collected “loans as high as as N14 billion … N18 billion, no security.” N14 billion was over a hundred million dollars!

 “May I state categorically that I do not owe Unity Bank Plc. or any other bank any sum of money whatsoever.  The Central Bank of Nigeria’s advertorial from where you alleged to be the source of your information simply claims that Albarka Air owes Unity Bank Plc. N1,066,240,164.19 and mentioned my name as a director of Albarka. I am not Albarka Air …”  Retd. Col. Marwa, Nigeria’s envoy to South Africa on his over one-billion naira not-indebtedness.  Officer, I wondered aloud here some years ago when, as spokesperson for private airlines, you were quoted as saying something to the effect that you – airline owners – could not make profit “without cutting corners” when airlines kept falling from the skies.

“… I have never in my life entered any branch of Spring Bank to transact business …” Chief Anenih, current Chairman, Nigeria Ports Authority and retd. General Obasanjo’s “Mr. Fix-It”/Works Minister who expended 300 billion naira to “fix” Nigerian roads.  The blood of thousands who perish on our roads are crying to heaven for vengeance.  Bank ‘not-debtors’ have also sent many to early graves.

“I’m not owing the bank.  … They offered N80m to buy shares.  I paid 20% of the loan.  Ever since, I have not seen a share certificate not to talk of dividend …” Ondo State tokenism in Yar Adua’s cabinet, Prince Kayode of Labor Ministry.  Prince did not tell us what collateral he put down to qualify for a share certificate or “dividends” from PHB. 

Many praised Alhaji Atiku for owning up to his indebtedness when he said “it is an old dormant account” that he would correct as soon as the bank and his lawyers work out figures.  Well, Alhaji has turned out to be not as forthcoming as he would want Nigerians to believe.  A news report two weeks ago traced the former VP’s debt to what I’ll call a “grandfathered” loan:  Atiku wrote cheques given him for being the special guest at the opening of the head office of Citizens Bank when he was VP and immediately got busy writing cheques after cheques.  Okay, he did NOT open any account!  “Luckily” for him, the unapplied-for N100 million-plus “loans” got grandfathered to Spring Bank which swallowed Citizens during Soludo’s insane era of “mega banks”.  Alhaji’s attorneys are reportedly playing legal games. Okay, why/how did Citizens give the “gift” of a cheque-book to someone with no accounts?  Go figure.  Did I hear, “how did Nigeria beat twenty-nine countries in the latest corruption ranking?”

One more:  The king of the no-debtors – get me off the list; I’m a genuine bizman who deposit tons and borrow less than tons – has to be Alhaji Jimo, who was a Nigerian press darling.  He did not issue sound-bite pronouncements but went to town with supplements /advertorials including the infamous – in the world of international newspaper publishing – wraparounds:  front, inside front, outside back and inside back covers, spilling over to several pages inside.  It must have cost tens of millions of naira but Alhaji was a.ka.  “whiz kid”; I agree.  My Math, though, has always been poor and my interest in spreadsheets, even poorer but from the bottom line of his expensive ads in this paper, he DOES seem to owe.

 

AMMA OGAN & offended onlookers!  Journalistic fads – like all fads – come and go in Nigeria but some stay and become ‘styles’.  I’ve long accepted that I’m probably a masochist as far as reading is concerned because I would read – or at least glance – things I know I shouldn’t read because the writers are either known through previous writings or the subjects well known as one on which certain writers are not informed, a fact that does not dissuade them from writing, anyway!  Examples are the fawning or those who ask downright rude or inappropriate questions that go beyond decency.  A couple of months ago, I read an interview a reporter had with Ms. Ogan, one of Nigeria’s finest writers in which the reporter wondered aloud why she does not use her husband’s name!  Within a week, I read a feature about the Ghanaian matriarchal system which contained shallow-on-fact claims, outright put-down of women as villains, etcetera.

 

        The only comment I have is that the so-called “tradition” of women taking men’s names at marriage is colonial/Christian – at least in the part of Yorubaland I come from.  In the 1950s in my local ANGLICAN Church which was in the old Ondo/Benin Diocese, I remember that when women’s names were called out, or when receipts were issued – I have some that belonged to my mother – they were all addressed to ‘Comfort Famuse’.  The names of my two godmothers, both already married with children, are still evident on my 1947 baptismal certificate: ‘Beatrice Atanlae’, and ‘Dorcas Afun’ – of blessed memories.  They later became “civilized” and miraculously started getting addressed and receiving receipts as ‘Comfort Adamolekun’, Beatrice Majasan and Dorcas Adamolekun! 

 

A “cuckoo’s egg tradition”?  Allow  Dele and Amma to live their lives as they like.

 

Tell your Mama she’s got only nine fingers!  Two pieces of recent advice from [Omo Kehinde gb’egbon] Ghana to [bigger-in-size-only] Nigeria:  “make power a priority … take electricity supply out of party politics”, Ghana’s Energy Minister.

The second, though paradoxical was from Ghana’s electoral boss, Mr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan who chided Nigerians that Iwu “should not be blamed for the abuses in the nation’s electoral system … it is not only Iwu who has the responsibility for free and fair election.  …”  

The Yoruba caution that a smaller ailment generally invites bigger illness!

IJU FORUM PUBLIC AFFAIRS FORUM, Post Script that could not fit in:  After sixteen consecutive sessions, the Forum will become an annual event from November 2010.  The new format will be for a whole day which the convener and regular attendees believe would enable deeper deliberations of subject matters.

Some of those whose complaints led to last week’s Telecomms Ripoff have sent texts/phone calls informing me they have gotten rid of their sim cards!  I hope issue will soon be amicably resolved.

Ambrose Akinmusire:  A few readers have asked how they can access Akinmusire’s Kennedy Center performance: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114315190 Click on ‘listen now’.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2013.  11:53 a.m. [GMT]

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