Olusegun Adeniyi: The Voice of Reason!

Al Barney, Herman Radnitz, Mark Girland, Malik, Tom Lepsky, Maddux, Joe Biegler, Helga Rolf. Do these names ring a bell?

Any avid reader will readily profess to having favourite authors. In my early days in secondary school, I can stay glued for 15 hours stretch gulping every page of virtually every available title of James Hadley Chase Novel. Do those names now ring a bell? Yes they definitely do, if you you were a fan of Chase. Those names were the recurring characters in some of the hit tiltes of James Hadley Chase that kept me glued for those 15 hours stretch in such hit titles as ” The Wiff of Money,” “Want to stay Alive,” “Try this one for sure,” “An Ear to the Ground” etc.

Chase was unarguably my favourite author then. With Pride and Prejudice, Gulliver’s travel (and Oliver Twist), Dogs of War (and Emeka) etc, Jane Austin (perhaps for sharing the same name with me), Charles Dickens and Frederick Forseth (perhaps for the fact that the book Emeka was the first written account of the Nigeria Civil war that I read as well as the fact that the movie adaption of the Dogs of War featured Olu Jacobs whose character – Odafein(?) Idafa, in the 90s TV series, THIRD EYE fascinated me) respectively, also became my favourite authors.

As I began to consume more non fictional and professional materials, my lists of several authors continued to swell. One of such authors in this category is Olusegun Adeniyi, the one time spokesman of President Musa Yar’Adua who authored the incisive book, Against the Run of Play.

I have ran into Segun a few times. During one of the editions of ‘The Platform’ at the National Theater Iganmu, Lagos, he alongside Peter Obi mesmirized me and the audience generally with facts and figures. I was to have the chance to meet Segun directly when, he showed up surprisingly at a public engagement we held in one LGA in Imo State last month. In that event, It was my official responsibility to assure appropriate profiling and corresponding seating of attendants. As much as I tried to provide Segun a vintage sitting position, he politely declined and took up a back row position. This happened in a gathering of respected traditional rulers having in audience highly placed government funtionaries both past and present.

From my experience holding the saud position with the responsibility of scheduling, institutional itinerary, profiling personalities and interfacing with private and public entities on behalf of my principal, I have observed that a lot of people see themselves as important when they are seated in ‘vintage positions.’ Thier confidence and perceived status rests on superficial attachment to appendages to present or former titles held. They go to great extents (including fighting and intimidation ) to ensure that they are accorded that status.

By that singular act of comportment, Segun Adeniyi further validates that he is an authentic brand. The authencity of brands are derived by there consistency and endurance over long periods. Segun’s sense of worth derives not on sitting position but from his innate assurance of his personality and accomplishments.

Perhaps one of such Segun’s accomplishments is his enduring analysis and expose of the state of Nigeria through his widely acclaimed master piece, ” The Verdict” published every single week in Thisday Newspaper. Segun is one of my favorite authors, on account of his authentic submissions in “The Verdict” The topic of this week’s edition – The State of the 36 States! – (https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2019/03/07/the-state-of-the-36-states/?amp) is as catchy as it is topical. I read the submission with rapt attention.

The staggering revelation from that piece is that as at September 25, 2018 “EACH of the 36 states in Nigeria, owed in salaries, gratuity, pension and other allowances. More revealing is that the total Domestic Debt accumulated in 33 states are in excess of a whopping NGN3.2 Trillion.

The top 10 domestic debt being Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Osun, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Ekiti, Plateau, Kano and Imo in that order. A breakdown shows that of the top 10 debtors, South South has 4 states, South West 3 states, North Central, North West and South East have 1 state each.

The 10 states with the least Domestic Debts which are Anambra, Delta, Sokoto, Ondo, Enugu, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kwara, Yobe and Zamfara in that order owed a significant sum. Further breakdown shows that in this category, South East has 3 states, North East has 2 states, North West has 2 states, while South West, South South and North Central has 1 state each.

The ray of sun in this expose is that there are 5 states which are not currently owing workers as at September 2018, namely, Katsina, Niger, Jigawa, Yobe and Lagos.

Again, it is cheering to note that Anambra, the least owing state in Nigeria owed a comparatively paltry sum of about NGN2.6b in Domestic Debt as at September 25, 2018.

As a Nigerian of South East extraction from Imo State, I am on one hand intrigued that 3 out of the 5 South East states are among the top 10 states with the least debt ( infact the other state – Abia – is among the top 12 with the least debt). On the other hand I am miffed that Imo state, my state of origin being in the same region with Anambra (the state with the least accumulated domestic debt in Nigeria) having the same culture, the same terrain, having better FAAC allocation, endowed with more natural resources than Anambra is the No 1 state in South East with the MOST Domestic Debt and is also among the top 10 states with the MOST Domestic debt in Nigeria.

This sort of implicit manifestations in Segun Adeniyi’s expose, is one of the reasons he is one of my favorite authors. Segun Adeniyi’s voice is the Voice of Reason. Hear him in this week’s edition of “The Verdict” titled ‘The State of the 36 States.’

“With over NGN101b in debts, IMO state is among the most notorious in Domestic debt”

“In IMO state, “The current government has neither paid gratuity nor pension in the last seven years.”

Segun’s voice of reason also reverberates thus: “What we need in the states are governors who can think outside the box.”

“There are also outgoing governors who are scheming to install successors after bagging tickets to the Senate that has become their retirement home.”

And I add my voice in saying “those who know how to pound, would pound inside the mortar, but those who do not know how to pound, will pound on the ground.”

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