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Okonjo-Iweala has said a lot, but told us nothing – and more, in today’s news round-up with Cheta Nwanze

by Cheta Nwanze

“I believe he has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous.” — school report about John B Gurdon during his time at Eton College. He would later go on to win the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Depending on who you listen to, the helicopter that was involved in Saturday’s tragedy was either shot down, or cursed by almajiri boys in Kaduna. What is undoubted is that a helicopter belonging to our Navy, one that is meant to be deployed in either search and rescue operations, or outright military manoeuvres, was being used as a ferry service for VIPs. Yes, let’s face it, Nigeria’s Navy operates a kabu-kabu service for private citizens who happen to have direct access to the corridors of power. Said helicopter was on its 15th drop of the day when it went down.

It is precisely to avoid the Office of President, Federal Republic of Nigeria from being brought to disrepute that two new luxury helicopters and a new private jet have been ordered for the President. I mean, what effrontery to have a whole President and C-in-C sitting in on a helicopter which could have been used to ferry Timi Dakolo over a few creeks. As it were, the plane is tied up in a New York court, but the helicopters are well on their way.

Not that the Minister of Trade would do anything about it if he had a say. But he claims that from next month, Nigerian MDAs would stop patronising foreign made cars. According to Don Aganga, this effort is aimed at jump starting the affairs of PAN, Anamco and Innoson Motors. Sadly, he was silent on two very salient points. First, who will stop our legislators from ordering brand new Toyota Camry cars from KwaZulu-Natal, while PAN lays off more workers. Secondly, since we are on the road to encouraging local content, maybe he should whisper in the President’s ear that Dornier once had a facility in Nigeria, and they manufactured an aeroplane used by our Air Force, the Air Beetle.

Oops! The Air Beetles are probably being used as taxis.

Drivers of taxis, and other assorted vehicles can breathe a bit easier as LASTMA has chopped off 174 operatives in Lagos for corruption and indiscipline. A good thing on the surface of it, but I wonder what the 34 who were fired for overzealousness would take to their new jobs. Lethargy?

Well, maybe they would be absorbed by the police who just reduced their pool of talent. Henceforth, Third Class degree holders and SSCE holders would be barred from recruitment into the Nigeria Police. To a lot of people that might sound like a good thing, but I assure you it is not.

The only argument that can be brought forward in support of this move is that Lucky Igbinedion holds just SSCE. However, on the opposing side of the fence, it can be pointed out that Wole Soyinka had a third class while GEJ is a Ph.D holder. In any event, the quote that begain this treatise is proof that teachers can get it wrong.

In my view, what this move by the police will only do is to swell the already swollen ranks of the unemployed even further. But then again, maybe the police are just trying to tell us something about the quality of the stuff we pass off as education nowadays…

Bits and bobs

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has said a lot and said nothing in telling us that her mummy was kidnapped for political reasons. Name and shame Ngozi, name and shame. What you have simply done is added more fuel to the fire of conspiracy theorists.

Don Aganga has completed plans to create another Dangote. In exactly 12 days, the importation of raw sugar will cease to be legal.

A high powered team has arrived in Bayelsa to probe Saturday’s crash. The team is led by the Chief of Naval staff who also happens not to be an aircraft specialist.


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