Most of the wealthy Nigerians who own private jets and attended the daughter’s wedding of former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, have no visible source of wealth in Nigeria, according to Reno Omokri, former Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
He lamented that many of them cannot boast of business ventures in Nigeria where they can employ Nigerians.
In an article on Saturday, Omokri said Nigeria has a long way to go if some set of people make easy billions despite doing little or nothing to contribute to Nigeria’s growth and ease the alarming unemployment rate.
“Let me start this piece by congratulating former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida on the marriage of his daughter, Halima, to her beau, Auwal Abdullahi.
In case you missed the news, let me inform you that no fewer than thirty private jets landed at Minna airport last weekend on account of this wedding that locked down Nigeria!
Thirty private jets. I do not even know what to exclaim! This is more than wow! Gosh does not even come close to the exclamation I wanted to express when I first read of this private jet convention in Minna! Gobsmacked is the only word that comes close, but even it does not quite capture the reaction I had.
Thank God former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was amongst the wedding guests, does not have a private jet, because that would have been the major topic of the day.
The propaganda loving All Progressive Congress would have capitalized on that to rubbish Jonathan. Lai Mohammed would have been hyper ventilating with excitement at the character assassination possibilities if such had been the case.
But the lesson Nigerians may want to take from this is that few, very few of those who arrived Minna in private jets have any sort of productive business venture that generates and sustains jobs in Nigeria.
Yes, there were a couple of folks made rich by oil and gas at the Minna private jet convention, but these are not people that did anything constructive, productive or job creating that gave them wealth.
Some were given oil blocks or allocations, others were given allocations to import petroleum products. Even a monkey would prosper if given such oligarchic opportunities. But how does that sort of business create jobs or adds value to Nigerians?
Others amongst them are government contractors, supplying sundry items to the various governments at federal, state and local government level. They are basically suppliers. They buy and resell to the government. But how does that sort of business create jobs and adds value to Nigerians?
Yet, they have private jets, private jetties, private yachts and even private body guards!
Nigeria has one of the lowest, if not the lowest, tax to GDP ratio in the world. In a country of 190 million people, only 214 individuals in the entire country pay tax of 20 million naira or more. This is according to the very latest official figures from the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
Norway has a population of just 5.2 million people yet they have more than 100 times the amount of people paying tax of $65,000 of more (the equivalent of 20 million naira).
But the story does not end there. Norway has never had a private party or private wedding or any private celebration that attracted 30 private jets! The funniest thing is that Norway gives Nigeria financial aid every year!
Norway is number 1 on that list. Nigeria is 152 out of 188 nations. Libya (102) and Iraq (121) both of which are war torn nations, outrank Nigeria. But most embarrassingly, Syria that has been enmeshed in probably the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in at least 10 years also outranks Nigeria (149)!
And almost all our elites are involved in this. President Muhammadu Buhari likes to be seen as the only good person in Nigeria but we have not forgotten so soon how, according to Daily Trust (which also happens to be the President’s favorite paper) his own daughter, Zahra Buhari, received pre wedding gifts worth 47 million Naira from her then suitor and now husband, Ahmed Indimi.
This same Ahmed Indimi likes to fly in private jets, pictures of which dot Nigeria’s social media landscape. I can assure you that Ahmed Indimi is not one of the 214 Nigerians who pay tax of over 20 million Naira.
It is this same Indimi family that likes to marry and be married to Nigeria’s high and mighty (President Ibrahim Babangida was also once their in-law via the marriage of Mohammed Babangida, his first son, to Rahama Indimi).
Many Nigerians are not aware that if you isolate Borno state from the rest of Nigeria, that state becomes the poorest region on planet earth BAR NONE!
Borno has the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria and the second lowest primary school enrollment rate in Nigeria. What has her private jet loving, high and mighty marrying elite done to change that?
I was in Anambra once and the type of community spirit I saw there impressed me. They may not have a lot of private jets in Anambra, but in Anambra, they have community associations that give scholarships and business grants to those who are commercially inclined. There is NO poverty in Nnewi, one of the communities where this community spirit is most prevalent.
They build their own primary and secondary schools through community effort. I am dead serious. If you go there you will not believe your eyes! They have well tarred modern roads that were built through their private efforts. All over Anambra, the various towns and villages copy the Nnewi model.
I daresay that there is more evidence of private and community development in Anambra than there is of any type of federal government presence. Anambra does not even have an airport! Borno does. Anambra does not even have a publicly built federal university!
The only so called Federal University in Anambra, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, was built by the state government with contributions from private citizens and then compulsorily taken over by the military government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida via Decree No. 34 of July 15, 1992. But in Borno, they have a massive federal university WHOLLY built with Federal Government funds.
If any state deserves to be poor from lack of Federal Government presence, that state is Anambra. If any state deserves to be rich by reason of the existence of Federal Government presence, that state is Borno. But Borno is poor while Anambra is rich! Why?
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are sponsoring immunization and other medical interventions in Borno state. They are together the richest people on earth. Yet their life styles is nowhere near as lavish as Nigeria’s private jet loving parasitic elite.
If those thirty private jet owners or leasers could do in their communities what Nnewi people do in theirs, then most assuredly Nigeria would not be in recession today”.