Olusegun Aganga, Abubakar Yar’Adua: Where are they now?

Since they retired from public office, nothing is heard from or about them again. ELEOJO IDACHABA in this piece wonders where they could be now.

Olusegun Aganga

Olusegun Aganga is a former minister of Industry, Trade and Investment as well as Ministry of Finance at different times. He was appointed in those capacities by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and left office in 2011. However, since then, not much has been heard about him in the public square. As finance minister, he was widely acclaimed as being responsible for many transformational milestones in Nigeria including the establishment of Sovereign Wealth Fund, issuing the first-ever Euro bond, chairing the World Bank and IMF in 2010, chairing the 8th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (MC8) in Geneva, making Nigeria the premier destination for investments in Africa and launching the country’s boldest industrialisation agenda.

Mr. Aganga remains one of the most regarded investor influencers for Nigeria based on his extensive experience both internationally & domestically and his track record in and out of government, for example, he completed the transformation of the Ministry of Trade & Investment into working in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), he also ensured the commencement of the nation’s debt resolution vehicle through the formation of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to improve liquidity and bring stability into the banking sector after the global economic crisis. As minister, in October 2011, he announced that rice importation was to end in 2014. Before then, Nigeria had used various trade policy instruments such as import restrictions and outright ban on rice importation all to no avail. Immediately he left office, it was said that Aganga was appointed as member, advisory board of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.

While speaking on the appointment, he said, “I am really excited about the idea behind the trust and goals particularly as it is targeting young social entrepreneurs in the Commonwealth. The enthusiasm and energy of the Queen Commonwealth Trust team is also infectious. I have no doubt that many young social entrepreneurs in Nigeria would benefit from the Trust.”

According to a statement from the trust on his appointment, “We want to be a platform for young change-makers across the Commonwealth; a place where smart ideas are shared, where the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of kindness can be seen and celebrated. A place where more and more people feel motivated and enabled to step up and take action, no matter how small. We find and fund young people whose bright ideas solve local problems in education, health, environment and sports. We support those who have set up their own not-for-profit organisations as well as those who have leading projects that help others.”

Aganga is one Nigerian whose contribution to the development of the country while in service cannot easily be forgotten, but it’s not clear where he could be and what he is doing at the moment.

Dauda Komo

Lt.-Col. Dauda Komo (retd.) was the military administrator of Rivers state under the late Gen. Sani Abacha, precisely from December 1993 to August 1996. One major incident that had formed part of Komo’s credential till date is that it was during his tenure that the Niger Delta environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa, was arrested and executed. He was appointed at a time of escalating violence between Ogoni and Okrika people over crowded waterfront land. This was combined with Ogoni protests against Shell activities on the environment.

Komo reacted aggressively by sending troops to break up demonstrations and in the process, arrested some leaders of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP). It was said that the restiveness in the area prevented Shell from carrying out exploration for which several millions of dollars were being lost by the government. Komo formed a task force comprising personnel of Army, Navy, Air Force, the police and state security personnel headed by one Major Paul Okutimo. In May 1994, four prominent Ogoni leaders were brutally murdered at a meeting of the Gokana Council of Chiefs and Elders. The next day, MOSOP leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight others were arrested on charges of murders. Subsequently, on October 31, 1995, a tribunal announced death sentences for Saro-Wiwa and the eight other activists and they were executed on November 10, 1995.

Komo was relieved of his appointment in 1996 and forced into retirement in 1999 following the return to democratic rule. Every attempt by this Kebbi state-born ex-military officer to bounce to political reckoning since he was forced into retirement in 1999 has not been successful.

Speaking much later after Wiwa was executed, Komo in an interview with the Cables News Network (CNN), said, “I think he was a skillful international con man who successfully conned the world and fooled everybody. They were tried purely and simply for murder according to the laws of Nigeria; were found guilty and paid the price according to our laws.” Shortly after he was pulled out of service, rumours had it that he was operating a security outfit in Kaduna and was said to be involved in the Zuru Emirate Council Development Society, but presently, it cannot be ascertained where he could be and what he is doing.

Abubakar Yar’Adua

Abubakar Yar’Adua was once a group managing director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the late president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua between 2007 and 2009. Yar’Adua, according to investigations, never worked anywhere outside the NNPC all through his working career. He joined the Corporation as a corps member at the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) in 1976. When he took over the mantle of leadership in NNPC, he declared the normal rhetoric associated with former chief executives that there would be zero tolerance for corruption during his tenure. This was during the valedictory session in honour of Dr. Funsho Kupolokun, his predecessor, who was removed from office. He admitted that the downstream sector posed a big challenge to the management of the Corporation and that little or nothing would be achieved without the support of the staff. To that extent, he pledged that should the Corporation fail to address the challenges posed by the downstream sector, he would be the first person to go.

“I believe that staffers are the greatest assets of any organisation and so we shall train and retrain our staff. Our staff remains one of our top priorities. The perception that NNPC is a black box is a hoax and we welcome anybody to confront us to know what we are doing. We believe it is the right of every Nigerian to know what we are doing,” he said.

The NNPC, he said, would contribute its quota to government’s desire to revamp the energy sector and make Nigeria one of the world’s 20 most developed economies by year 2020. In 2009, however, in what were referred to as major reforms in the oil sector, Yar’Adua was sacked along with other top management staff of the Corporation. Since then, nothing has been heard about him again.

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