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Square Pegs and Round Holes

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February 2016

Words on marble from Ifeanyi Ubah’s letter to Nigerians

I woke up this morning and my friend, Aijay the Cyberagbero, pointed me to this gem of a letter from Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, titled “Hour of Truth – Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah’s Economic/Financial Intervention (N200 per Dollar) – Volume I”.

As is my wont, I tend to forgo the substance for more important matters of “serious national importance” like these gems of quotable quotes from the long treatise.

I have numbered them serially just for reference. Let us know which one is your best quote in the comments section.

Enjoy.

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1. “I have always volunteered in the past, to intervene in issues of this magnitude without proper consultation, acknowledgement or appreciation from the relevant authorities. I seek a change from the norm. It would do no one any harm if the relevant authorities showed a little bit of gratitude for my timely interventions as it concerns matters of national interest. “
 
2. “I must quickly add, “Ifeanyi Ubah” remains a man perceived as controversial and is often misunderstood. This is because of the will and strong desire to stay with and protect the interest of masses according to divine injunctions contrary to the exploitative wish and machinations of political and economic elite. This erroneous perception is the steep price I have to pay for being an incorruptible Nigerian and clear mirror to the nefarious elite who often collude to hatch, over the years, series of unfounded allegations leveled against me and circulated using the media but to the glory of God, none has been either proven or substantiated.”
 
3. “My belief and faith in GOD has made me to understand that “the poor we will always have with us” but we need to understand and practice what the Bible expects of us in Deuteronomy 15: 11, which says, “Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites (Nigerians) who are poor and needy in your land”. This is why it is not philanthropy or corporate social responsibility when I pursue pro-poor agenda. For example, to the glory of God, I singlehandedly built the best street in Lagos and continue to give uninterrupted power supply to my entire neighborhood in Lagos, a responsibility I took up and have been fulfilling for a decade now. I have never spoken about this before and I am thankful to my neighbors for their prayers that is the most I need from them.”
 
4. ” Since my TV appearance and statement on Sunday night on Channels TV, the Dollar crashed from about N400/$1 to a year-low of N220/$1 before stabilizing at N290-N300/$1 currently. Is this not enough evidence that we can arrest this artificial freefall of the Naira with honesty and ingenuity?
 
Our media appearances constitute another component that will galvanize and mobilize Nigerians for proactive measures, which include shunning, ignoring and rejecting the Dollar until it crashes to N200! We are calling upon Nigerians to demystify our demand for this commodity – THE DOLLAR – and stop patronizing products that drain Nigerian forex reserves. You can now observe that this is not a POLITICAL STUNT, as some quarters would want well-meaning Nigerians to believe.”
 
5. “I sincerely feel the pains of the ordinary Nigerian concerning the freefall of the value of Naira. I have prayed and consulted my God, who has led me to offer the solution, to help in any way I can and to tell all I know. I decided to stake the entirety of my asset to my assertion, in order to save the common Nigerian, many of which suffer the ripple effect of the slide in the value of Naira, a slide that has been inexplicably detrimental to the livelihood of Nigerians by way of inflation.”
 
6. ” My loyalty rests with those traders who cannot import anymore because of this outrageous hike in the exchange rate. My concern lies with those parents who cannot afford to pay the school fees of their children studying abroad or the sick, who on health grounds travel abroad, but find the prices to be paid for treatment too steep as a result of the exchange rate. I am worried for those ICT professionals who need software from foreign countries but have to pay double as a result of the freefall of the Naira.”
 
7. “It may also interest Nigerians to know that my team and I have also been working tirelessly on a number of issues aimed at fostering the growth and development of Nigeria and her economy. We have designed 2 templates/systems on how Nigeria’s IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) can be grown by 30% – GUARANTEED. However, we have decided to push our concepts and strategies out in phases. This will come in the next phase of our intervention scheme.
 
I leave this in the hands of Nigerians and for posterity to judge.
 
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
 
Dr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah
Abuja, Nigeria
Sunday, February 28, 2016
You can find the full text of the communication here  on his Facebook page.
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SAN
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On what Change is…

Change must be holistic and systemic; with its result being the pulling down of paradigms and establishment of new ways that enable the corporate vision to be achieved in a sustainable manner. Change must be endearing and capable of building institutions that not only replicate themselves across diverse spheres of the polity and endeavour , but grow and improve continually through different situations and times whilst gathering champions from among the citizens in its wake.

So before speaking of change, leaders have to see and communicate a vision, assemble a competent team of believers who can chart strategies and execute tactical plans towards achieving this vision and be the face of this change as champions displaying exemplary conduct.

Also, the citizens must see what’s in it for them, buy into and sustain the vision through their own day to day actions.

This is when change is complete.

SAN

The Vatican, Donald Trump and Walls

The Pope recently was quoted as saying anyone who builds walls to separate families and people is not a Christian as this was not what Christ preached, etc.

Donald Trump responded by saying it was disgraceful for the The Pope to be questioning his faith. 

The US Catholic spokesman also clarified the Pope’s comment and responded to questions around the poser raised on the Vatican’s own walls with the comment below:

“The walls at the Vatican were built in the 1800s to keep out Barbarians from the city”.

Compare this with Trump’s statement on building a wall: 

“I would build a wall around the US borders to keep out murderers, drug dealers and rapists from coming to the US”.

What’s the difference?

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Watch video from CNN here:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/02/18/politics/pope-francis-trump-christian-wall/index.html

SAN

Between Faith and Medicine – Citizen Mercy’s Story

In the course of interviewing and screening several candidates for the position of domestic helper in my home, we requested medical test results for some basic communicable medical conditions from the candidates. These tests are usually carried out at a reputable private hospital not far from our home.

One candidate came back with a test result that had hepatitis B as positive. As is routine, we approached the doctor, with the candidate, for a proper interpretation of the results. We were told her sample showed a strong strain of hepatitis B that was active and easily communicable. On interviewing the young lady further she told us she had been suffering some of the symptoms for some time now. This was further confirmed by the doctor after a brief examination. He told us about her discoloured skin, etc.

We decided we could not hire her as a domestic helper in this present condition, as working in the kitchen and sharing utensils, etc., might expose our household to this illness. We communicated our decision, counselled her and gave her enough money to visit the general hospital in her neighbourhood, carry out a repeat test, commence treatment, buy drugs and get by for a while.

Visibly disappointed, she thanked us and left for home. She sent my wife the text message, in the screenshot below, a day later.

 

Msg 1

 

Msg 2

The summary of it is that she thanked us for the money and kindness and also rejected the notion that she was ill. By faith, He that is in her is greater than whatever sickness the devil has thrown her way. Well, true.

However, we sensed some form of denial  and decided to call her. We observed she was still adamant on her stand that the test results (and even symptoms) did not really prove she was ill, ascribing it to the enemy trying to prevent her from getting a job and things along those lines.
We managed to counsel her by giving several examples and that even pastors still went to hospitals for check ups, treatment, surgeries and other medical interventions.  We told her it was not necessarily a judgement on her faith and that the Christian faith recognizes the position of physicians in the society, etc. In the end, she agreed to visit the local general hospital for another test and consultation, etc. On a subsequent call she confirmed she had commenced consultations at the general hospital in. We shall be calling her later to get an update.

SAN


Epilogue – February 25, 2016 

It’s now been about three weeks since our encounter with “Mercy” (the meaning of her name in English). We hired one of the candidates from the pack about a week ago. We tried calling Mercy without any success. Yesterday, my wife enquired about her well being from the lady who referred her. She said she believed that the prophetess at Mercy’s Church told her to disregard the medical tests as false witness from the devil. She has since been hired by a local eatery.

Be rest assured that I’ll follow up on the location and engage in the best interest of Mercy and the public and within the bounds of empathy and ethical consideration. I’ll do an update post on it in future. .

But, what laws/regulations do we have in place for public or municipal health and how are they enforced? Also, If a private citizen can carry out this basic rigour as a pre-requisite for employing domestic help, how come some public eateries don’t do same? What if she’s actually working for a mama-put? Do these ones even fall under these regulations, or are our civil servants more interested in inspecting the shiny restaurants and eateries? As a citizen, can you ask to see the health certificates of the staff of the next place you go to eat? Do you even know your local government public health office? What is your role?

Budget Debacle: where are the perm secs?

  
Truth be told, the “I am (not) a criminal” saga was a welcome distraction for many Buharists and informal presidential mouthpieces. It trended just as another piece of news snuck into the stands and disappeared in a hale of English comprehension lessons and different versions of that (London) Telegraph interview.

Lucky folks. For how would they have come back from their initial defense of the budget to Buhari now sacking all those senior civil servants for bungling the budget and padding it with a record N1.7T in pork chops or is it yams now? Same budget that “we did not understand” as we are not trained economists but empty vessel armchair critics? Same one that zero budgeting would have taken care of? Same one that had a multi billion Naira state house hospital capital expenditure that was ok, as it would stop medical tourism by the state house residents? Same budget that the health minister has now denied as not being his???

The most interesting part for me was our conversations before ministers were appointed. You know…when all those nice pictures of Mr.P breaking bread at Ramadan, with all those perm secs at the villa, was shared with glee across our online space. 

The refrain then was: 

“what do ministers do sef?”

“Perm secs do all the work”

“Ministers only drive convoys and blow sirens”

“Yes, they are noisemakers!”

“Buhari can run the government without ministers”

“Perm secs are responsible for the budget…they write it after all”

On the note of who is responsible for the budget, they did not care about our argument of responsible Vs accountable and task doer Vs task owner. They also turned a deaf ear when we told them how same perm secs must have been part of the rot of the Jonathan years, as signatories to release of illicit funds, etc. So now, how many perm secs did you call out for the budget scandal? Do you even know the name of the perm secs for any of Fashola’s or Fayemi’s ministries? Yet you went to town on these two ministers and their billion naira pork chopped official residence and bogus N800m website line items? Not perm Sec anymore?

Anyhow, you did the right thing. Fashola is accountable and even responsible and Mr. P is ultimately responsible and owns the outcomes, good or bad.

And perm secs? Well, on behalf of the ministers, they run and administer the  bureaucratic apparatus and structure that carries out actions ranging from strategy to planning and execution, in the delivery of the ends of governance. 

Opinions that will enrich my learning are welcome.

SAN

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