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Between Dino’s and Adeyemi’s theatrics



Senators Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi, of Aiyetoro and Iyara, neighbouring villages of Ijumu Local Government of Kogi State are masters of the theatrics with their now very familiar display of excessively emotional and dramatic behaviour in and outside the floor of the National Assembly. Nigerians missed the theatrics of the former who, when not adorning a PhD academic gown to the National Assembly to justify his third class B.Sc. certificate in Geography form ABU, he was being wheeled from police station to court room or taking a flight from the police by hiding on top of a tree for a night with his car parked at the foot of the same tree.


What Nigerians missed in the former, they gain in the later that has now turned weeping on the floor of the assembly or during interaction with journalists to an art. Both love youths and know how to inflame passion. They are leaders the leaderless EndSARS that the “soro soke’ (say it loud) generation never had.


As proof of absence of deep philosophical belief or even the usual politicians’ versatility or brinkmanship, when asked why he was in politics, Dino Melaye who probably has never read about President Kennedy’s admonition to American youths – “Ask not for what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” said without much reflection that he “was in politics to ensure the youths of Nigeria get their own fair share of national resources”.


If any proof is needed to show Adeyemi, his Ijumu compatriot, who also claims to be in politics “to talk truth to power” is an actor, his interventions on the floor of the senate during which he has chosen to weep over poverty, unemployment and general insecurity, problems he and his APC party were elected to resolve or his recent lamentation over the fate of Ajaokuta Steel Complex during which he avoided all the facts presented to the public by his party, is all that is needed.


His latest interaction with reporters which has since gone viral on social media was in form of a melodrama. For the fate that befell the Ajaokuta’s derailed project, he started by blaming Ministry of Health for no other reason that it budgeted N200m to procure mosquito nets; then it was the turn of those who favoured infrastructure to wealth creation during the budget preparation, and finally, President Buhari’s economic team whose competence and loyalty he questioned. And forgetting he is part of government, he wants all of us to join his crusade to fight the government in which he is an integral part.


But assaulting our sensibilities, Senator Adeyemi pretended Nigerians do not know that, of all arms of government, executive, legislative, judiciary and the press, the fourth estate of the realm, the legislature without which funds cannot be spent is the most important. Believing Nigerians suffer from collective amnesia, he assumed Nigerians have forgotten that not long ago, the chairman of appropriation committee of the House had accused leadership of the assembly of diverting money from national projects to sink boreholes in their farms, that the House threatened Works and Housing Minister Raji Fashola and even the vice president for reminding them that it was unpatriotic to divert funds budgeted for the reconstruction of the all-important Lagos-Ibadan express-way that has been on since 1999 to their pet community projects and that Nigerians, victims of their years of abuse of their oversight functions, will no more know that the legislature know what to do if it disagrees with budget from ministry of health or from any other ministry for that matter without resorting to drama or playing to the gallery.


And as part of the drama, Smart Adeyemi who along with his colleagues earn between N8million and N12 million monthly in form of salaries and other allowances making them the highest paid lawmakers in the world, after his crocodile tears want short-changed Nigerians including the poor, the unemployed and unpaid pensioners to join overpaid lawmakers, who move around in bullet proof SUVs protected by lorry load of security men in the crusade to bring down the government in which they are an integral part.


Senator Smart Adeyemi was right about the duplicitous role his fellow political elite members played in the tragedy of the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, incorporated in 1979, and whose steel mill was said to have reached 98% completion in 1994, with 40 of the 43 plants having been built. He was also right that the project was embarked upon as a strategic industry, a job creator that would directly employ about 10,000 staff at the first phase of commissioning and with the upstream and downstream industries engaging not less than 500,000 employees. But he was wrong for trying to distance himself from the conspiracy of our self-serving politicians who derailed the project in order to continue importation of steel into the country.


A part can’t be holier than the whole. It is on record that the National Assembly played a leading role in the war against Nigeria during which Nigeria’s total investment of over $100b was ‘dashed’ out according to a House probe report in the name of Obasanjo and PDP’s mismanaged privatization programme. Like many thriving companies including in the manufacturing, banking and hospitality sectors in which government had controlling shares, sold at next to nothing to members of the political, economic and military class, the Ajaokuta on which government had sunk $5b was ceded to a concessioner without conditions.


The scandal forced President Umaru Yar’Adua government to cancel the 10-year concession granted Global Steel Holding Company, three years into the agreement. GSHC then took Nigeria to the London Court of Arbitration where the case dragged on for eight years.


Resolution came in 2016 with the signing of the Modified NIOMCO Agreement, which ceded the complex back to the federal government and NIOMCO to Global Steel with the then Minister Fayemi saying “Now there is seven years left of the concession and all that we have done is to allow Global Steel come and complete the concession.”


President Buhari, we were told seized opportunity of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi to discuss the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant with President Vladimir Putin on the basis of a Government-to-Government agreement with funding from the Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre. The agreement was said to have led to the inauguration of the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Inauguration Team APPIT in May 2020 by Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Boss Mustapha. Under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Russia and Nigeria, the resuscitation will be financed by state-owned development institution, Russian Export Centre, to the tune of $460million, while Cairo-based, African Export-Import Bank (AfreximBank), is expected to commit about $1 billion


The minister for mines and steel development is on record as saying that everything to get it running is already in place, including all the raw materials required for its production process and that barring unforeseen circumstances, the federal government is hopeful that the Ajaokuta Steel Mill will become operational by 2022, after many decades of inactivity and over $6 billion in investment.


Senator Smart Adeyemi last week ignored the above information presented to Nigerians by his APC party while calling on Nigerians to join him in his crusade against those who took Nigerian government to court. If the senator disagrees with his party, instead of theatrics, he, as one of the highest paid lawmakers in the world, can take up the battle on behalf of Nigerians who do not know those behind Global Steel Holding Company.

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