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Aregbe: Power Is Responsibility

Aregbe: Power Is Responsibility
  • PublishedAugust 18, 2019

By Olowogboyega Oyebade

Do you know that the commissioning of two newly renovated schools in two communities of Telemu and Iwo sent the right signals to the world about the commitment of Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, the Governor of the State of Osun, to elevate the narrative of  education in the State? Are you aware that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji  Aregbesola, the former Governor of the State of Osun will be sworn in as a full Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria this week? Do you know that people like him in the National Executive Council will elevate the narrative for better?  Do you know that we cannot afford to waste further time? Come along.    

Do you know that certain events transport in their trails multiplier effects, positively or otherwise? Do you know that Nigeria has been passing though the throes of integrity tests for quite awhile now?  How do we react to the stunts of Trump and the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa and Libya at a time that terror attacks and kidnapping are paying us unwanted visits?  And now, the worst came.  Do you know that a former Super Eagles player and coach, Samson Siasia, has been slammed with a life ban by the world football governing body, FIFA?  Are you aware that the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of the world football body found Siasia, a former official of the Nigeria Football Federation, guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics? Apart from his luxuriant exploits in football career, do you know that in 2008, he coached the Nigerian Under-23 Olympic squad to the final against Argentina, led Nigeria to a bronze medal finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics? Do you know that this is a sad news worse than public pornography?  Do you know that we have to change that narrative for better?  A statement on the FIFA website cuts in:

“The formal ethics proceedings against Mr Siasiawere initiated on 11 February 2019 and stem from an extensive investigation into matches that Mr Wilson Raj Perumal attempted to manipulate for betting purposes. This large-scale investigation was conducted by FIFA via its competent departments and in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders and authorities. In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Siasia had breached art. 11 (Bribery) of the 2009 edition of the FIFA Code of Ethics and banned him for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international levels. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 50,000 has been imposed on Mr Siasia. The decision was notified to Mr Siasia today, the date on which the ban comes into force.”

            Do you know that events inter-relate and that the good deed of an individual may spread hope or doom to others?   Can you forget in a hurry, the ‘academic’  orgy of that randy lecturer in Ife, who in his intellectual robe and ‘Christian Venerable’ cassocks succumbed to flesh by gratuitously offering five marks for five bouts of sex to spare a daughter of eve from the bitter fate of failure, a contract offered but not accepted? Do you know that the scandal affixed a worm on the collective conscience of the University, the host community at large and the students as every person connected directly or indirectly with the institution was forced, out of reflex, to wear the toga of that shame as insignias of moral standing?  Do you know that another story has come, enough good news to make all of us to pop wine and celebrate, to celebrate Great Ife, ‘Africa’s most beautiful campus’?   Do you know that similar  events of one randy investor  afflicted the economy of the world for a season? Do you remember Madoff? Come along.  

Bernie Madoff was born on 29th April, 1938 (now aged 81). He attended Hofstra University. He had two children, Mark Madoff (1964–2010) and Andrew Madoff (1966–2014). Do you know that at the time of his arrest on 11thDecember, 2008, Madoff was the chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC?   Do you know that this American former market maker, investment advisor and financier is currently serving a federal prison sentence for offences related to a massive Ponzi scheme?  Are you aware that he was the former non-executive chairman of NASDAQ stock market, but turned out to be the confessed operator of the largest Ponzi scheme in world history, and the largest financial fraud in U.S. history? Do you know that his firm was one of the top market maker businesses on Wall Street?  Are you aware that at the firm, he employed his brother, Peter Madoff as Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer, Peter’s daughter, Shana Madoff as the firm’s Rules and Compliance Officer and attorney?    

Are you aware that his two sons working with him were the ones that suspected that their father was engaging in sharp practices, an attribute that is in short supply in this clime?  Do you know that on 10th December, 2008, Madoff’s sons went straight to tell authorities that their father had confessed to them that the asset management unit of his firm was a massive Ponzi scheme, and quoted him as saying that it was “one big lie”? Do you know that just the following day, the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Madoff and charged him with one count of securities fraud despite the fact that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had previously conducted multiple investigations into his business practices but had not uncovered the massive fraud?  

Do you know that the Prosecutors estimated the fraud he committed to be worth $64.8 billion based on the amounts in the accounts of Madoff’s 4,800 clients as of 30th November,  2008?  Do you know that on 12th March,2009, he pleaded guilty to criminal charge of securities fraud, investment advisor fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements, perjury, making false filings with the SEC, theft from an employee benefit plan and the court penalized him for 150 years in prison and forfeiture of US$17.179 billion? Do you know that on 12thMarch 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies and admitted to turning his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme? Do you know that investigations revealed that the Madoff investment scandal defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars? Do you know that the shock caused panic and shook the Wall Street to its foundation and led to world recession in 2008?  

Do you know that on 29th June, 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum allowed?  Do you know that Peter, his brother was sentenced to 10 years in prison?  Are you aware that Mark Madoff, one of his sons, committed suicide by hanging exactly two years after his father’s arrest?  Do you know that Andrew, his second son, died of lymphoma on September 3, 2014,thus crashing the empire of Madoff? The road paved with lies goes  tonowhere.   Do you know that the University where he graduated from suffered some cursory embarrassments by taking some bashing for  training a man that was able to defraud the world, a fraud that called to question the due diligence of many Central Banks of many nations, including  Bank of England and Central Bank of the United States?  Do you know that on 9th November, 2017, the U.S. government announced that it would begin paying out $772.5 million to more than 24,000 victims of the Ponzi scheme, out of whom some had died of frustration?  The statement of Madoff while apologizing  to his victims, cuts in:

“I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. This is something I will live in for the rest of my life. I’m sorry.”

In a letter to his daughter-in-law, Madoff said that he was being treated in prison like a “Mafia don”.  He wrote:

“They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can’t walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up. It’s really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well being, including the staff. It’s much safer here than walking the streets of New York.”

              Do you know that the good deed of a person can affect a generation, too?  Hurray! Have you heard the news, a news that a Nigerian medical doctor Oluyinka Olutoye has been appointed as the Surgeon-In-Chief at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ohio, United States?  Do you know that Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the largest and most comprehensive pediatric hospitals and research institutes in the United States?  And one more fact! Do you know that Dr Olutoye, graduated from the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, State of Osun, Nigeria? Are you aware that he earned his PhD in Anatomy from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, completed his residency in General Surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Commonwealth University, and his fellowships in Pediatric and Fetal Surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Philadelphia? Do you know that Olutoye is certified by the American Board of Surgery in Surgery and Paediatric Surgery, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Paediatrics and the West African College of Surgeons, a member of the American Surgical Association and past President of the International Foetal Medicine and Surgery Society?

Are you aware that prior to joining Nationwide Children’s, Hospital,  Dr. Olutoye served as co-director of the Fetal Center and the immediate past president of the medical staff at Texas Children’s Hospital?  Do you know that at Baylor College of Medicine, also in Houston, TX, he was a tenured Professor of Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Pediatrics, and chair of the Faculty Senate? Are you aware that as a pediatric and fetal surgeon, he brings specialized clinical expertise in fetal and neonatal surgery and works closely with obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine specialists to provide exceptional care for babies who need surgery in-utero and to improve outcomes for a range of conditions such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia, spina bifida and other congenital anomalies? Do you know that he leads an established research programme focused on the role of the inflammatory response in scar-less fetal wound healing, in-utero correction of severe congenital malformations, and the early detection of necrotizing enterocolitis in pre-term infants?   Do you know that he has been  appointed Professor and the E. Thomas Boles Chair of Pediatric Surgery at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine?  What were the things he did to change the world, our world, for better?  Come along.

The date was 1stNov , 2016. The place was Texas, in the United States.   Do you know that a medical team led by Dr Oluyinka Olutoye performed an operation on an unborn baby at a Texas hospital in the US?  Do you know that the unborn baby had a rare tumour called sacrococcygeal teratoma that appeared at the base of the baby’s tail-bone, the tumours that are fatal and are believed to occur in about one of 40,000 pregnancies, and if left unchecked, could continue taking the baby’s blood supply and eventually cause heart failure and eventual death? Do you know that the baby’s mother was advised by another hospital to terminate the pregnancy as the chances of carrying out an open-foetal surgery posed a great risk?  Do you know that her attempt to seek for a second opinion at the Texas Children’s Hospital where Dr Olutoye and another colleague examined the tumour offered her hope and changed the narrative?  

Can you believe that the baby which was 23-week-old was removed from her mother’s womb by Olutoye’s team, operated on her and then returned her to the womb where the injuries from her surgery healed while she continued to grow until she was born again at 36 weeks?  Do you know that in his role as the Surgeon-In-Chief, Olutoye will lead one of the largest children’s hospital  with surgery departments in the world? Do you know that the academic exploits and the professional competence of this rare Nigerian  have combined to make Obafemi Awolowo University and indeed our State great again, washing us clean from the maggots sprayed on us as  alumni of Obafemi Awolowo University by the conduct of the randy fellow in our rank? Do you know that this is a rebirth of sort, clinically delivered and making all Great Ife to be great again?   Do you know that the excellence of Dr Olutoye throws up certain questions?  Where are the other Dr Olutoyes in Agriculture, Engineering, Technology, Administration, Law, Politics  fromUnilag, ABU, UniIbadan and Nsukka located in different corners of the world?  When will our country hunt for them to interrogate issues of poverty, poor health, food and general security, unemployment and epileptic power supply through Talent Management?  What is Talent Management?  Come along, please.  The statement of Richard Brilli, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital cuts in:

“We are tremendously delighted to welcome Dr. Olutoye to Nationwide Children’s Hospital to further elevate the visibility and reputation of one of the best overall children’s surgical programs in the country that, through its clinical care and research, is forging the future of children’s surgery. Having a world-renowned fetal and pediatric surgeon join our leadership team will further advance Nationwide Children’s commitment to establishing a preeminent fetal surgery programme.”

Have you read “The War for Talent” by McKinsey? Do you know that Talent management does not refer to the management of entertainers or sportsmen?  Do you know that it is the science of using strategic human resource planning to improve value and to make it possible for countries and organizations to reach their goals?  Do you know that it involves everything done to recruit, retain, develop, reward and make people perform in extra-ordinary manner to create value?  Do you know that the in-coming Minister of Education should undergo this course to wean lecturers from incessant strikes and to woo them for inventions and researches?  Do you know that the in-coming Minister of Health needs this course to wean Health workers to emulate the virtues of Dr Olutoye? Do you know that all workers of Nigeria have to undergo this training in Talent Management to put our collective potentials together to fix  Nigeria?  Do you know that this is the “Revolution Now”?

Do you know that Talent Management consistently uncovers benefits in critical economic areas: revenue, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity, cost, cycle time, and market capitalization to make decisions? Do you know that these are critical areas through which our public service should be measured in terms of due diligence to them? Do you know that the public service can no longer sustain mediocrity or relegate revenue, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity and cost to the background? Do you know that we spend more money on football than we spend on inventors and researchers?  Do you know that part of the billions we grant as emergency funds to INEC to conduct complicated elections after we had confirmed on June 12, 1993, (a day now hallowed as a national public holiday) that  Option A-4 had been tested and confirmed to have the capacity to do it rightly and cost-effectively? Why are we not spending the surplus saved on  election to fix education and stop using Nigerians to test the voting techniques designed in research dissertations of Political Science students ritually every four years, which eventually will end in litigations in courts?  

Do you know that we need to create a caucus of think-tank of  Olutoyes of this world to spend some time with us during their annual vacations to revive some ailing aspects of our lives?  Do you know that we pay more attention to elections financially speaking, than the emphasis we place on general development? Do you know that Talent Management de-emphasises power and encourages team-building? Do you know that Ghana seems to be getting it right better that us now because of the use of Talent Management?  Have you heard of the slogan: “One Community! One Dam!”?  You care to know?  Come along.  

The date was 20th March,2018. During the address at the annual “Paarigbielle” festival of the chiefs and people of the Tumu Traditional Area in the Upper West Region of Ghana, the Vice President of Ghana announced a new Government Policy of One-Village One-Dam Project.  According to him, the project is part of the NPP Government’s manifesto pledge to facilitate community-owned and managed small-scale irrigation facilities across the country, especially in northern Ghana. Do you know that  570Dams were estimated to be constructed to address the issue of drought and farmers/herdsmen clashes?  Do you know that dam construction is one of the major undertakings with the most deep-seated environmental modification against nature in the history and civilization of human beings? Are you aware that water regulated by and stored in dams is crucial to meet the development needs of water supply, agriculture (irrigation and livestock), industrial use and energy generation? Do you know that these dams, together with other interventions in the agricultural sector, are expected to have a great impact on Ghana’s food security and improve the lives of farming communities?  Do you know that very soon, Ghana will be exporting food to Nigeria? Do you know that various countries have certified this initiative as having the mechanism of reducing conflicts relating to pastoralism, a problem that is preponderant in Nigeria? Do you know that Ghana has followed this initiative up further by the implementation of the Free Senior High School Programme, Planting for Food and Jobs, restoration of Teacher and Nursing Trainee allowances, and the reduction in electricity bills? Do you know that these initiatives are green signs of the Akufo-Addo government’s commitment to fulfilling the promises it made  ahead of the 2016 elections?

Do you know that in order to change the narratives of unemployment and restiveness, we have to go back to the idea of farm settlements as conceived by Chief Awolowo to create optimum farming communities where the basic necessities of life were available? Do you know that in addition to the land they were going to farm on, there was the provision of housing, water supply,  light and schools and other basic amenities within that farming communities?  Do you know that when the idea came about, Nigeria’s population was under 50 million but now we have about 201 million people?  Are you aware that the Governor of the State of Osun has put machinery in motion to reactivate the nine farm settlements in the State and create more, to motivate the youths to take to agriculture?  Do you know that the Federal Government may copy the Osun Farm Settlement Initiative and hybrids it with Ghana’s  “one community, one dam initiative”? Do you know that it will shut up the controversy trailing RUGA?  Are you aware that  thousands of hectares of land in government-owned farm settlements are going into extinction while Nigeria spends about N7.9 trillion annually on food importation?

Do you know that Awolowo Farm Settlements were designed to employ and pay initial amount of capital to the young graduates from the farm institutes to discourage the movement of those young people to urban areas to seek white collar jobs as well as develop the agricultural sector, which was projected to be the only solution to economic growth?  Do you know that Chief Awolowo copied the idea of Farm Settlement from Israel’s  Kibbutz system? Are you aware that a Kibbutz is a collective community in Israel that was traditionally based on agriculture? Do you know  that corridor is a harsh environment?  Do you know that the Galilee corridor is a  swamp, the Judaean Mountains are rocky, and the south of the country, the Negev, is a desert?  Do you know that all parts of Israel have been turned to rich agricultural land?  Do you know that this is the idea that Ghana is trying to replicate?   Do you know that the first Kibbutz was established in 1909 in Degania before the State of Israel was proclaimed? Do you know that a member of a Kibbutz is called a Kibbutznik?  Are you aware that in 2010, there were 270 Kibbutzim in Israel?  Do you know that their factories and farms account for 9% of Israel’s industrial output, worth US$8 billion, and 40% of its agricultural output, worth over $1.7 billion?  Are you aware that some Kibbutzim had also developed substantial high-tech and military industries, and still enjoying all parts of the wider communal settlement movement as agricultural settlements?

Do you know that in the 1960s when the farm settlements were in vogue in Nigeria, agriculture was the mainstay of the nation’s economy and contributed about 60 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), unlike the paltry 29.25 percent overall declared by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in the third quarter of 2018?  Do you know that according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), only 34 million hectares of Nigeria’s 72 million hectares of agricultural land is cultivated, leaving 38 million hectares lying fallow?  Do you know that  the country relies on massive importation of food and among food items imported are wheat, corn, rice, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, processed meat and dairy products including frozen turkey and chicken embalmed with toxic Formalin? Do you know that  according to the Economic Complexity Index, Nigeria imported $35.1 billion worth of food  in 2016, making it the 57th largest importer in the world?  Do you know that  AuduOgbeh, former Minister of Agriculture, once announced that Nigeria spent $22 billion (N7.2trillion) annually on food importation and lamented that the situation was unsustainable, as it posed danger to the nation’s economy as many thriving local factories are folding up? The statement of Auducuts in: “Nigeria spends almost $22 billion every year on food importation. If we don’t fix agricultural problems in the country where families can feed on less than 15 percent of their budget, then the country is in trouble”.

Do you know that we must fix the issue of Agriculture now?  Are you aware that a recent data from the NBS showed that the number of unemployed Nigerians has risen to 20.9 million from 17.6 million in August 2018?  Do you know that of the 20.9 million unemployed people, 8 million are classified as unemployed because they work less than 20 hours a week?  Do you know that lack of development in  agriculture means that it will continue to be a source of seasonal work and inscribes  a dent on Nigeria’s unemployment image? Do you know that the issues with Agriculture are no longer lack of interest on the part of the youths or lack of capital but land?  Do you know that we need to look at our Land Use Act, 1978 again so that those vacant lands can be made available to farmers and small scale producers to use to reduce unemployment? Do you know that in most cases, access to land is not easy for women and out of every 10 people that apply for government farmlands, you can hardly see two women selected?  

Do you know that while the existing farm settlements are in rotten state, the National Assembly, in November 2017, amended the National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Act, 2004, to give room for the establishment of more farm settlements across the 36 States of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the aim of attaining food sufficiency, the Act that is waiting to be implemented?  As we congratulate all the in-coming members of the National Executive Council and the State Executive Council, we seize this medium to urge everyone to prepare to change the narratives for better in terms of signature performances in all sectors of our national life, currently begging for attention.  The statement of Rauf  Aregbesola cuts in: “ Power is responsibility.”

*Oyebade is the current Head of Service in the State Government of Osun*

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