Clueless Jonathan: Myth or fact?

9 Apr 2016

Clueless Jonathan: Myth or fact?


Clueless Jonathan: Myth or fact?
Clueless Jonathan: Myth or fact

If you analyze some of Obasanjo’s behaviours towards former President Jonathan and his family, you would agree with me that Obasanjo wanted to pass a message to the Jonathans. What was that message? Obasanjo wanted to tell them that his attack on them had nothing to do with personal grudges, but because he loved Nigeria. How else can you explain that Obasanjo attended Jonathan’s daughter’s wedding, at the peak of his attack on Jonathan, and the recent warm embrace he gave Patience Jonathan at an event, last week. Well, I know some of Obasanjo’s critics are already shaking their heads after reading the last two sentences, but, this is my view. And Obasanjo probably believed Jonathan got it wrong in some instances. Chief Obasanjo is entitled his views.

Thus, the views I am going to share in this article should not be misconstrued that I am undermining Buhari’s government or his person– I really admire him and I always put him in my prayers. Also, let me state that I wasn’t a fan of former President Jonathan while he was in office. Having said that, I strongly believe that some of the good news coming from Nigeria’s telecommunications industry, at the moment, are as a result of the strong broadband policy and strategy laid by Goodluck Jonathan’s government and not from anyone else. I will be glad if the current Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, refutes this.

Let me take you back to 2013. In 2013, the then Minister of Communications, Omobola Johnson, released a statement that internet broadband penetration in Nigeria was very low, at 6%, even though Nigeria had an internet penetration of about 33%. Thus, the government rolled out plans to increase broadband penetration to 30% and above by 2018. This policy resulted in improving the efficiency of some already laid submarine cables and fibre-optic cables within and outside Nigeria. While, some operators got incentives to embark on new cable laying. The good news we are hearing from the telecommunications sector is a result of this.

In this article, I will mention a few of these good news. I will also attribute this success to you and I. I will let you know why I have decided to give some of the glory to Nigerians as I take you through the argument.

Now let us go to the argument. Let’s look at some progress being made in Nigeria. Do you know that Netflix, an international video streaming company, has just invested massively in Nigeria? This is coming after Iroko TV, owned by Nigeria’s Jason Njoko, raised $19 million dollars from investors to expand its business. What has been Jason’s major selling point? Or rather, what will be Netflix’s major selling point? It will be their license to stream Nollywood Movies. I will not attribute the Nollywood’s success to the aids granted them by Jonathan. Saying that would make me sound sycophantic. But, remember Jonathan tried to support them more than any other government. Let me use this opportunity to congratulate the ordinary Nigerians for Nollywood’s success. They virtually made it without much government push. The point to take away here is this: efficient broadband services are what video streaming services need – companies are coming in because they can see some skeletal infrastructure on ground.

Just the other day, the French telecommunication giant, Orange, announced plans to invest 85 million dollars in a Nigeria’s e-commerce group, and in Africa by extension.  To cut the long story short, they want to pump in money into Jumia. If you have been following the government’s forex policy, you would have observed that it is hitting companies like Jumia badly. How they are surviving is still a miracle to me. With this news, we can see that Jumia is trying to expand. They are expanding because of some broadband infrastructure they see on ground and because of the shear desire from you and I to buy quality products, despite the fact that our purchasing powers are deteriorating.  Jumia’s services are based on broadband and internet services, as it were.

As if that was not enough, Ntel, the new owners of NITEL, is seeking to invest 1 billion dollars in mobile broadband by 2020 in Nigeria. If you look at the statement they just released, their motivation is that our population would hit 207 million by 2020. They know Nigerians like to talk. They are not even looking at the body language of government, as it were. They are motivated by you and I. This time let me congratulate the ordinary Nigerians for this investment. In addition, the last government’s policy encouraged this capital inflow into Nigeria, as well.

Have you heard of the company called Smile Telecoms? The other day, a young lady, who was a marketer for the company, tried to convince me to buy Smile’s modem. She talked and talked about how their network was faster than MTN and ETISALAT. Though I didn’t believe her then, she might have been saying the truth. Smile is investing over 365 million dollars to raise its wireless network services in Nigeria and other African countries. The point to take away here is that these companies didn’t make up their minds to bring in millions of dollars into Nigeria yesterday or six months ago, they probably did two years ago and the manifestation is what we are seeing now.

The Lagos based company, MainOne, had raised millions of dollars in the past and are now planning on how to raise another 300 million dollars to invest in Nigeria and Africa. These guys started building submarine cables some years ago. What gave them the incentive to do this? You guess is as good as mine.

Jonathan’s government laid the foundation for broadband telecoms growth, while Obasanjo’s government laid the foundation for telecommunications in the first place. We believe Buhari will build on the legacies he met on ground, and hopefully we will remember him for something in the telecoms industry.

Jonathan made some mistakes, no doubt. Though I called him clueless, he wasn’t really clueless. I want to also believe those calling Buhari ‘baba go slow’ will end up seeing that he isn’t, as well, three years from today.



Though government should be commended for stopping first class travels for ministers, heads of parastatals and other top government officials, I am not impressed. I am not impressed because they have been asked to travel business class, instead of economy class? In 2013, while I was doing my PhD in England, the debate then was that MPs had no justification flying business class. In fact, the rule allowed MPs to travel on business class only on special occasions. The public were outraged that MPs were using some loopholes in the rules to fly business class. Remember, some MPs are equivalent to ministers in a presidential system. If government officials are supposed to be serving us, and most of us fly economy, why shouldn’t they fly economy as well?


Few days ago, the Customs boss, Hammed Ali, cried out about how CBN’s policies were affecting Nigeria Custom Service. Please note this is government crying about how a fellow government agency is crippling it – it is not Business this time around. On the business side, the Stock Market has been going south. Last week, major portfolio investors like Bank of New York, HSBC Funds and Credit Suisse divested a large chunk of their portfolio. The implication of this is that they would be taking a huge chunk of forex out of Nigeria. I hope there are no confusions in the government polices being formulated?


The Iceland Prime Minister and a bank Chief executive in Austria, whose names appeared in the Panama Leaked Documents, have just resigned. Please note that they could argue that they are innocent because owning an offshore shell company is not an offence. I bet you if they were Nigerians they wouldn’t have resigned. They would have just kept their cool and allowed the media to make noise – the media would surely get tired and move on at some point. Most analysts have argued that offshore shell companies are mainly used for money laundry activities.

News Source, Nigeria Tales

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