Tuesday, May 20, 2008


After a somewhat long silence, Yar'Adua speaks! Unfortunately, it wasn't to a local newspaper, but to the Financial Times of LONDON! Hopefully, a local 1-year anniversary interview will be granted to the Nigerian media so that those who can't get access to this prestigious London daily can hear what Baba Rule of Law has to say on his first year as President. Nonetheless, the FT interview touches on the issues on the mind of foreign investors and some of the Nigerian people's concerns. He seems to acknowledge that he really hasn't done anything this year besides preserve the rule of law in Aso Rock (if only this would extend to the police force country-wide, we would all shut up about his baba go slow-ness). He does however claim that Nigerians will reap the benefits of his inactivity in the 2nd year of his administration. About his frequent health visits to Germany, the President unashamedly admits:

I am not a super-human being, I don't know one yet, but certainly I'm not one. I am a normal human being who can fall sick, who can recover, who can die, who can have feelings, who can be angered, who can laugh…

FT: And who is fit enough to be president?

YAR'ADUA: Yes, and who is fit enough to be president, and who can have headaches, and can have fever. You see…all my medical records are in Germany, and I have been going to Germany since 1986, and I do my check-ups in Germany every year. In fact sometimes every six months, and this has been going since 1986…Now the fact that I'm president today, doesn't mean that when I feel there's something that I think is wrong and needs to checked I shouldn't go to my doctors, where all my records for the past 22 years are there. It is the most practical things to do…They know the background of everything about me medically.

Looking ahead,

FT: What else do you think we're going to see in terms of economic reforms going forward into your second year? What's next on your list of priorities?
YAR'ADUA: Power. We are working out, I have said we will declare a national emergency in the power sector, which we are working out the programmes to do that. The restructuring of NNPC, which is aimed at making NNPC a national oil company that will go out and compete with another oil companies like IOCs, use its assets to access funds from the capital market, it is going to be quite a major shift in policy and restructuring. This will mean that the national budget will be freed from the joint venture cash calls, which will make funds available to put into security, which is one of our key agendas, into providing adequate security, maintenance of law and order, education and health. The other thing that we are doing is ensuring that we bring in the private sector to invest in infrastructure. We are working out the regulatory framework so that major infrastructure, private sector can come in and provide infrastructure, railways, waterways, take over the running of airports, sea ports, major trunk roads, so that they provide services, they charge for these services, and that will relieve government from heavy investment.

FT: When do you think we will see these regulations?
YAR'ADUA: They are almost completed. Since we came we have been working on hem. And I think we are almost finished now. Next year will be really a very, very interesting year for this country, very interesting.

FT: It's interesting you say that. A lot of Nigerians I speak to say you have been very slow in your reform programme? What do you say when you hear Nigerians saying that you are moving slowly?

YAR'ADUA: I smile, because I know, I have been a governor for eight years, I have also had some challenges to sort out, some problems. Because I know the quality of what you can achieve depends on how you plan a programme. You cannot make major achievements by just trying to rush things. The quality of your planning, the quality of your programmes, determine the nature of their achievements…What we have to learn to know is that you cannot achieve anything without planning, and planning is a long-term process. That is why I am saying that we need to produce a national plan to the year 2020.

To be fair, I've spent most of my life hearing Nigerians complain about one of the root causes of Nigeria's infrastructure is LACK OF PLANNING. So shouldn't we be overjoyed that we finally have a President who's all about due process and planning? With the President's new 12-month reform plan (Which I trust he will be publishing soon), we shall finally have some milestones by which to judge his (in)actions. I hate to say it, but in this case (moreso than usual), ONLY TIME WILL TELL.



I only wish that Yardy had given this interview to a Nigerian journalist and shared his ideas on specific change with the Nigerian public before talking to this foreign publication.

Like you said, only time will tell and i personally wish him and the Nigerian people the best.

Naapali said...

I read the piece yesterday and considered pasting it on my blog. I have no position on his talking to FT and not to a Nigerian daily. The reality is the FT reaches more people that can have a more direct impact on the economy of Nigeria than any single Nigerian daily can. Also what quality of questions would you expect from the Naija daily?

Naija Reporter: "Good Morning Sah! I want to thank His Excellency for taking time out of his incredibly busy schedule to give this insignificant reporter an interview"

Yardie *mumbles under his breath
*: "Idiot"

Reporter: "Yes sah! Let me start by saying what an homor it is for me to be sitting in this opulent yet tastefully furnished room with many pictures of you and your wives. I take it you are a family man sah?"

Yardie *puzzled frown on his face as he wonders if this is a question*: "Idiot"

Reporter: "Sah! There have been rumors about your health, what do you have to say about those wicked, jealous unpatriotic people that do not know that the magnitude of the presidential health requires German Excellence?"

Yardie *no longer able to mask his boredom, yawns and gets up signaling the end of the interview*: "Idiot"

Reporter: "Yes Sah! Thank you once again for the magnanimous gesture of spending an iota of your infinitesimally limited time to talk to your undeserving nation"

tAB I agree with you that time may tell but the weakening of the EFCC and time spent chasing misdeeds of Obasanjo's regime without equal effort on improving current standards is disturbing. What I find beguiling is the fact that a barrel of crude has risen from $26/barrel in 2001 to $126/barrel now and Nigeria does not have basic infrastructure to show for this near 500% increase in revenue. In that same time Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar have used the profits from oil to grow other sectors of their economies and reduced their reliance on income from crude oil. They are now in the enviable position of bailing out cash strapped western banks, extending their influence beyond the gas pumps. All this while my people go without electricity on a daily basis.

O ma se o!

For the love of me said...

@Naapali, I think that was a very unfair attack on Nigerian dailies. I read almost all the local papers everyday and I do not find what you have described above. It is this disregard for all things Nigerian that have perhaps placed us where we are.
Yaradua is the president of Nigeria, his first responsibility is to Nigerians.It is Nigerians at home that need change the most and they do not not read FT.


for the love of me; be easy...Nigeria gotta take a jab sometimes!

TheAfroBeat said...

@ Brother Naaps, i have been laughing my head off at your enactment! Classic! (and probably not too far from what may have transpired if he'd been interviewed by some unserious psychophant of a journalist). I do still think that Baba R-O-L could have made the effort (and I hope he still does) to address HIS people's concerns through the most appropriate local media. I do understand that the FT interview angle was geared towards reassuring foreign investors that Nigeria is still the promise (ROR) land of SSA, but as Solo and ForTheLove have pointed out here, he does owe his people an update on what in the world he's been doing for the past year.

I was wondering after reading this, what exactly is the President's job description? To oversee the running of the country or to RUN it? If the former, then perhaps he could be scored something more than an Odo, but i'm really curious to find out. any ideas of a good source - the constitution?

@ Naija Politricks, LONG TIME NOW!! i'm off to go and check your blog for updates!

guerreiranigeriana said...

i am beginning to like yard-head less and less...what sort of pathetic excuse was that for utilizing the german healthcare system?...so what made him leave the healthcare system he was using prior to the last 22 years?...so if germany went to war and no planes could land there, and yard-head had a medical emergency, he would die, because God forbid he go somewhere else where they don't have all his medical records?!...please o!...don't bullshit me...pathetic...

...and regardless of how wack the naija dailies may be (i am not saying they are...for arguments sake, we'll assume that yard-head has a preference for things that are european), he most definitely owes it to the naija public to report his progress/plans/ideas first...even bobo-head bush knows to speak to the pathetic and joke of a press in the us first...time will tell, but i am not holding my breath...

guerreiranigeriana said...

@ naapali: that exchange was damn funny...you know you're wrong for that right?!...haha...

Anonymous said...

I dont know if most of you who comment on this forum are actually in Nigeria or live overseas.

I live and work in Nigeria and although there is no tension in the polity, Yar'Adua really has no clue. He said we would have National Emergency on power in the first 100days of his reign and it is almost a year and NEPA is worse than Yaddy met it.

I saw the Minister of Power (Fatima something) on AIT a few days ago and she said Nigerians should expect the power situation to worsen. Apparently, Obasanjo's govt did not really do much on power and right now there is no water/gas to generate sufficient power for Nigeria.

So what can we do without power

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