This Media Guidance Note has become necessary to ensure that the media capture in proper context the views I am expressing on the possibility of stabilizing the Nigerian Naira (NGN / N) against the US Dollar and other international currencies in the Foreign Exchange Market. This has become necessary since my appearance and feature on Channels TV program Sunday Politics of Sunday, February 21, 2016. This impromptu appearance has led to other similar media engagements often too short to allow me provide detailed, structured and contextual answers. Media men and organizations have inundated me with requests for other engagements on views expressed on the subject matter, which, equally, have continued to attract comments in the conventional and new media. I have herein provided my views on the subject and allied matters for your consideration and use.
1. REINVIGORATING THE ECONOMY AND STABILIZING THE NAIRA AGAINST INTERNATIONAL CURRENCIES
In the course of my interactions with Seun Okinbaloye of Channels during Sunday Politics I noted that there were things that we could do to help stabilize, reinvigorate, and redeem the fate of the naira. I stand by those statements. The time was short and I could not fully contextualize my views, which is a product of years of brainstorming and scenarios building. The current economic situation did not happen by accident. The likelihood and probability of it occurring had been “crystal clear to the blind and audible to the deaf”.
We need to correct some of the erroneous impressions making the rounds and again change the negative narratives making the rounds concerning the genuine efforts of the President Buhari led government. For example, some opine that the short fall in naira was because of the activities of the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators. Others feel it simply has to do with our consumption pattern, what we import into the country and weak export profile. The truth is that it is inclusive of all of these and more. I have developed, with my team, a deep understanding of the subject matter from a patriotic perspective. I am therefore very serious when I said “Look at the economy, look at the position of the naira today; some of us have ideas on how we can restore this.”
When called upon, we shall be willing to share and participate in the concerted efforts. I am not speaking just as a businessperson. We are addressing it with theoretical and empirical processes; introducing measures that will enhance sustainability. The thought-formation is crosscutting, multidisciplinary, and multi stakeholders involving. We are maintaining a safe “theory – research –policy – legal – marketplace practice – patriotism” balance in what we have proposed.
2. METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH (Appreciative Inquiry, Critical and Creative Thinking)
The proposed possibility is firmly rooted in our ability to combine the rich elements of Appreciative Inquiry with positive elements of Critical and Creative Thinking. Permit me to stress, again, I am not alone in this matter – “a tree does not make a forest”. I belong to a class of patriotic Nigerians who are committed to brainstorming and thinking out of the box in search of solutions that can help move Nigeria forward. The team I belong to has Nigerians from diverse backgrounds and persuasions often concerned about the fate of Nigerians and keenly desirous of creating the Nigeria of our dreams.
What we have done over the years concerning the stabilization of the Nigerian Naira is seek avenues of maintaining a safe “theory – research –policy – legal – marketplace practice – patriotism” balance in what we are proposing. We have taken the pains to interrogate the attendant issues and circumstances within the context of global dynamics and elite conspiracy theses desirous of bringing Nigeria an economic crisis aimed at further pauperizing Nigerians.
The choice open to us is simple. As a country, we must unite to confront the forex challenge together because of the negative multiplier effects. We must challenge the cabal behind the current trend, serve the forces of darkness the required ‘quit notice’ and commence the required revolution against them. President Buhari has said “NO TO DEVALUATION OF NAIRA” and we stand by him on this. We shall support the CBN measures aimed at mitigating the forex challenge.
For the avoidance of doubt and in response to those who have sought to know what we shall do. It is no ‘voodoo science’. It is a principle we have tagged the “SIR Principle”. Being the acronym for Strategy, Implementation and Results.
On Sunday, February 21, 2016, we commenced the first component of our strategic options and methodological approach followed by the boldness of challenging the cabal. The efforts as envisaged by “SIR Principle” is yielding dividends. Since my TV appearance and statement on Sunday night on Channels TV, the Dollar crashed from about N400/$1 to a year-low of N220/$1 before stabilizing at N290-N300/$1 currently. Is this not enough evidence that we can arrest this artificial freefall of the Naira with honesty and ingenuity?
Our media appearances constitute another component that will galvanize and mobilize Nigerians for proactive measures, which include shunning, ignoring and rejecting the Dollar until it crashes to N200! We are calling upon Nigerians to demystify our demand for this commodity - THE DOLLAR – and stop patronizing products that drain Nigerian forex reserves. You can now observe that this is not a POLITICAL STUNT, as some quarters would want well-meaning Nigerians to believe.
When we intervened concerning the fuel scarcity situation of the country, and I wish to ask, what political gains have I achieved by defying the strike action? My actions are born out of sheer and deep love for country, something I have proven repeatedly despite being highly misunderstood – a perception I pay dearly for sometimes. I may not be Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg but I believe I am the David that will face and defeat Nigeria's Goliath (Naira vs Dollar).
3. STAKING OF ASSETS WORTH OVER N500BILLION
The need to clearly draw attention to the fact that what we present is possible informed staking of my over N500billion assets. It is firmly rooted in the realm of the empirical – it is that which is possible. If the country is not willing to listen to the bright minds am working with as individuals or as a collective they should at least listen to me based on what the Bible even noted:
“Once I saw what people really think of wisdom, and it made an impression on me. It happened when a powerful ruler surrounded and attacked a small city where only a few people lived. The enemy army was getting ready to break through the city walls. But the city was saved by the wisdom of a poor person who was soon forgotten. (He was only a poor man, after all.) Therefore, I decided that wisdom is better than strength. Yet if you are poor, no one pays any attention to you, no matter how smart you are. Words of wisdom spoken softly make much more sense than the shouts of a ruler to a crowd of fools. Wisdom is more powerful than weapons, yet one mistake can destroy all the good you have done.” Ecclesiastes 9:13-18
To God’s glory, I am the arrowhead of the team of patriotic Nigerians brimming with confidence and ideas, which is why I would dare to make such an audacious wager now to save the Nigerian economy and douse the suffering of the masses. It is with the same ingenuity of Appreciative Inquiry, Critical and Creative Thinking that I hinged the conceptualization and building of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Nigeria Limited (one of my companies). A company that until date, contributes above 35% of Nigeria's daily petroleum consumption, is a feat that has remained unparalleled industry wide. This fact is verifiable through NNPC/PPMC and DPR/PPPRA. A simple Google search will validate this or better still through NNPC's twitter handle @NNPCgroup. Achieving this feat, by neither waiver nor any form of grant or concession from the government, means that with God’s help and the interest of suffering masses of Nigeria in focus, then this task which I have said and set my heart to do is possible!
We call this “putting your money where your mouth is”. Nigerians should keep the faith with me. How else do we define patriotism? What patriotism or sacrifice could be greater than this? By the grace of God, I have a 75% success rate in all I set out to achieve and I thank God immensely for this gift.
4. WHAT BENEFITS ARE YOU SEEKING?
My benefit in this is simply the satisfaction that we can move Nigeria forward. I am wholly Nigerian, I have an unfathomable passion for the masses, and downtrodden as I was once part of them before God turned my water to wine. Nevertheless, I still feel my yesterday in all that I do today and tomorrow by God's grace.
My belief and faith in GOD has made me to understand that “the poor we will always have with us” but we need to understand and practice what the Bible expects of us in Deuteronomy 15: 11, which says, “Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites (Nigerians) who are poor and needy in your land”. This is why it is not philanthropy or corporate social responsibility when I pursue pro-poor agenda. For example, to the glory of God, I singlehandedly built the best street in Lagos and continue to give uninterrupted power supply to my entire neighborhood in Lagos, a responsibility I took up and have been fulfilling for a decade now. I have never spoken about this before and I am thankful to my neighbors for their prayers that is the most I need from them.
The over two thousand employed Nigerians in our corporate concerns have a deep affection and respect for me against all odds, even when we find ourselves in the murkiest of waters. This is despite the frustration we seldom face from many quarters, including the government as epitomized by our travails with AMCON that has not helped matters, however we remain happy at all times. Therefore, we continue to create businesses that provides gainful employment opportunities for Nigerians and to the glory of God, we are surviving despite having to make a huge sacrifice.
I sincerely feel the pains of the ordinary Nigerian concerning the freefall of the value of Naira. I have prayed and consulted my God, who has led me to offer the solution, to help in any way I can and to tell all I know. I decided to stake the entirety of my asset to my assertion, in order to save the common Nigerian, many of which suffer the ripple effect of the slide in the value of Naira, a slide that has been inexplicably detrimental to the livelihood of Nigerians by way of inflation.
The benefit desired is a stable and virile Nigeria that the people are self-reliant; contributing to the national development and growth not as mere statistics but valuable human resources.
As a conflict management practitioner, we did our patriotic and nationalistic intervention when the country was at the brink of economic collapse due to the sabotage by those who executed the strike action in the petroleum sector. That strike action was a move that would have scuttled the May 29 handover ceremony, a move that made telecommunication companies, hospital and banks shutdown, I singlehandedly defied the strike by opening up Capital Oil and Gas' massive facility for round-the-clock loadout to all parts of the country. I supplied products to hospitals and telecommunication companies without payment. I also supplied the Lagos State Government House and major political actors across the major political divide of the All Progressives Congress' and the PDP. This singular gesture consequently induced the striking parties to call off the strike, as they were well aware that my actions had brought their strike action to nullity
5. RELATIONSHIP WITH AMCON
Our experience with AMCON is an interesting one. We know the forces that motivated some of their actions and are very grateful to GOD for the wisdom and grace to cope with the subject matter. It is on record that they managed Capital Oil and Gas Industries Limited for two years as part of the challenges. They failed and nearly ruined the company before returning it. The core of the challenge remains our zealous investments and capitalization based on federal government policy and the desire of some unscrupulous elements to divest us for being proactive. We are back to the courts on some of the issues so it will be prejudicial to discuss details. Nevertheless, we are on course and all the challenges will soon be over.
6. HISTORY, MOTIVATION AND PHILOSOPHY OF TAN
The Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN) was borne out of genuine acts of patriotism. I belong to a class of patriotic Nigerians who are committed to brainstorming and thinking out of the box in search of solutions that can help move Nigeria forward. TAN emerged out of such a process. The team I belong to has Nigerians from diverse backgrounds and persuasions, often, concerned about the fate of Nigerians and keenly desirous of creating the Nigeria of our dreams.
You will recall that early in 2012, we experienced the series of protest marches that nearly paralyzed the economy of the country and actually threatened Nigeria’s nascent democracy and could have led to the truncating of our democracy again. President Jonathan suddenly became the most vilified Head of the Nigerian-state in history. Anywhere you turned from then on, commentaries on him were negative. The political class embarked upon a process of “embalming his presidency alive”. In addition, members of his political party, the executive council, the legislature, organized labor, civil society and the academia were throwing all manner of objects at his presidency that was struggling for life. Ideas on way forward came up in the course of our unending brainstorming sessions.
Interestingly, a number of the eggheads with whom I join in brainstorming came up with the notion of “positive narrative advocacy” with concerted youth mobilization and empowerment as the way forward. Fortunately, I was in a position to help put some seed money where our minds indicated as the way forward. Others contributed their wealth of experiences, ideas and time. TAN system had patriotic Nigerian men and women deeply willing to take risks, work odd hours and without serious considerations on their remuneration. TAN did a lot of research to get our facts right about the activities of the then federal government and packaged materials for media blitz through jingles for radio and television broadcast. We published pamphlets and handbills to project the achievements of the federal government under President Jonathan. We changed the narrative!
7. FUNDING OF TAN
This is the question everyone is always interested in asking because of the positive impact of TAN and levels of success recorded within the shortest possible time. The then opposition political party, APC, became jittery, very jittery and the then ruling party, PDP, became uncomfortable. Simply because, we reconstructed the political elite “embalming machine” attached to the President Jonathan presidency into a life giving and life-support machine.
In specific terms, TAN had the following levels of funding and resourcing for its activities. They are:
(i) Freewill Human Resource Contributions of intellectual, time, physical and material resources --- as pro bono contributions, others at marginal allowances, non-economic rates;
(ii) Personal Financial Contributions from me as part of my patriotic, philanthropic agenda and those from the corporate concerns under my purview as part of corporate social responsibility of my businesses to Nigeria.
(iii) Self-sponsorship, mobilization and participation by groups and individuals at the public events, rallies, etc.
(iv) Goodwill Donations from some well-meaning Nigerians who were encouraged by what we were doing and felt compelled to chip in something.
In the light of revelations associated with some of the pro-President Jonathan projects ahead of the 2015 Presidential Election, many have insinuated the probable involvement of TAN; expecting the mention of TAN as a probable beneficiary of the now commonly referred to #Dasukigate! Others are even waiting for the probe of the oil sector (petroleum industry), hoping to get a glimpse of what it will reveal. They are expecting some form of scandal. Thank God, there is none and there will be none. It should interest you to know that we never sourced money from the government. As a matter of policy, we do not do government contracts. I do not have any oil bloc….
In order to give a figure to the total amount we committed to the TAN project, the Finance and Administration component is working with a firm of Financial Consultants and External Auditors to conduct the post-project Audit. It is after this that we shall publish as expected by extant regulations and legal framework governing the registration of TAN. We shall invite you then and even make copies available for your library.
8. RELATIONSHIP WITH PRESIDENT JONATHAN
It is on record that it is providence based on the positive record of TAN products – jingles, etc. that drew President Jonathan our way. I believe he used instrumentalities of state at his behest to verify who we were and that we were genuine patriots working in the interest of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Some people spoke positively about our activities; I believe he was further convinced about us amongst the many organizations seeking his attention even as they campaigned for him. TAN is unique and our media campaign world class. His recognition of TAN and visits served as the required motivation to do more. We had opportunities to interact with him to clarifying our motivation, goal and objectives. The sessions provided us the required understanding and shared vision for his presidency. Our hearing directly from him provided us with the impetus to do more even much more than agencies of government because we saw in him a “meek”, “humble” and “sincere” man wanting to transform Nigeria.
As they say, the rest is history. Notwithstanding that, we should commit the rest to history; I must disclose that originally TAN did not intend to cross the “partisan political line” we eventually did by circumstances. We were compelled to do so! In order to retain the life-giving support to the Jonathan presidency until his last day in office.
No doubt, in crossing the line we incurred some people’s wrath and garnered the “misunderstood label”. Nigeria remains our focus. Stabilizing the Nigerian-state our concern. President Jonathan as then incumbent President was our champion and the symbol of our national sovereignty. We are glad we contributed to his appreciating that within the period he served Nigeria he could achieve so much and that there was no need to hold on tightly to reins of public office and power. We salute him! We are glad to have had the privilege of working with him so closely; affecting his presidency in the twilight positively to allow him navigate the political landmines. Given the same circumstances, we should gladly work with him for Nigeria’s sake!
9. PROBABILITY OF WORKING WITH PRESIDENT BUHARI
I just mentioned to you that Nigeria remains our focus. Stabilizing the Nigerian-state our concern. The interest of the group of Nigerians I belong to remain constant, NIGERIA! Pan-Nigerian! Nigeria must survive. Nigeria must make progress! We must achieve with concerted efforts the development and growth of Nigeria as a task that must be done.
Today, the Nigerian presidency, the sovereign of our country is President M. Buhari. In order for Nigeria to move forward and get things resolved in favor of Nigeria and Nigerians, it is through the person of President Muhammadu Buhari. Our successes as Nigerian hinges on his success as the President, C-in-C.
As a businessperson and a ‘political animal’, Ifeanyi Ubah, is aware that the 1999 Constitution in Section 14 stipulates that Nigeria shall exist “on the principle of democracy and social justice”. In addition, the section provides that “sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this constitution derives all its power and authority” and that the primary reason of government is “security and welfare of the people”. In conclusion, that same section assures “the participation by the people in their government…according to the provisions of the (1999) Constitution, as amended.
President Buhari emerged as the President of Nigeria through a valid democratic process. I remain a Nigerian. TAN is Nigerian. TAN members are Nigerians. Nigerians are to participate in the democratic space as a collective with concerted efforts. It is therefore given that all Nigerians should participate in government. We will therefore continue to participate positively in the affairs of Nigeria. Nigeria’s nascent democracy is our own. We are all going to be involved.
We shall utilize the human and material resources at our disposal to support Nigeria and the government in office whichever party holds sway. Our support is for the common good. TAN membership, of close to six million, is bigger in size than many political parties and have a presence in virtually all the nook and crannies of Nigeria.
In fact, May – July 2015, weeks after the inauguration of President Buhari, breaking ranks with the oil majors, we availed Nigerians, the government the required lifeline by releasing the petroleum products in our “tank farms” to contribute our own quota to removing the fuel queues around the country.
In concrete and direct terms, we are willing and already working with the government of President M. Buhari. As corporate concerns, we pay tax, etc. and are willing to provide some out of the box suggestive thinking and scenarios building of our brainstorming group. Yes, our think-tank is available for serious constructive engagement and consultation. The novelty is that at times once we are convinced with issues, we are willing to mobilize and execute the pilot with required approvals of government so they can consolidate upon the gains and our success stories. You need to recall the number of MDAs that published reports and records of achievements that TAN did not cover in our series of publications.
We can provide the current federal government of Nigeria to help out of the globally induced domestic challenges. That is, contribute our own quota to navigate the many political landmines.
10. POLITICAL STATUS AND IDEOLOGY
I am not a politician in the crude Nigerian definition of the term politician. I am an Aristotle “Political Animal”. I have viable vocation and ongoing business concerns that is the source of livelihood of which am grateful to God and from which any probing eye can ascertain verify or validate my incomes on which I pay tax without seeking patronizing waivers should I have to import anything.
I am equally a student of the social sciences and history. As a practical student of social sciences of which political science is an integral part, my past time is inclusive of experimenting and setting the pace or agenda for paradigm shift in doing things and making political moves. Bringing lessons learned from history to realities, I am interested in confirming what the outcomes would or could be if some political or economic actors had pursued issues differently.
I got involved in the politics of Anambra State Governorship to heighten the stakes and convert the governorship elections in the state to the level of “issues-based campaign” on the one hand. On the other hand, my involvement was to sound a note of caution to my privileged kit and kin financially endowed by God to leave politics alone if they are personally not the ones contesting. You know before then, the negative story of “godfathers” involvement in Anambra politics. How godfathers crippled the tenure of Dr. Mbadinuju, truncated the tenure of Dr. Chris Ngige and challenged Mr. Peter Obi. Therefore, by coming on board for the governorship election directly I initiated a paradigm shift. It is all about the people! I am committed to serving for the common good!
11. POLITICAL POSSIBILITIES AND CHARTING OF NEW FRONTIERS
As a student of history and politics, in the team I lead, we are convinced that there are political possibilities even as we chart new frontiers. For example, we joined forces with others for the 2015 General Elections to reinforce the credible records of the metro-cosmopolitan nature of Lagos as a melting pot and the history of being a “Home-for-All”.
This contributed to the emergence of some non-Yorubas as representatives into the legislative assemblies at the State and National levels. We achieved this in concert with the pan-Nigerian focused Yorubas who were convinced of the need to reinforce the traditional hospitality of the Lagos people and reaffirm with double reassurance the security of investments in Lagos. We proved that it was possible to rekindle the trust of the nationalist movement era in Lagos beyond mere political appointments and the ceremonial one-day Governor. Breaking a 70 years old jinx in Lagos in campaigning and facilitating the election of eight non-indigenes into the Lagos State House of Assembly and six into the Federal House of Representatives, we have strategically elevated public service away from primordial sentiments to concern strictly with qualitative and efficiently effective representations.
12. WHO IS IFEANYI UBAH?
Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah is a Nigerian who incidentally was born to Alphonsus Ubah of Nnewi, Anambra State on September 3, 1971. Grateful to God, I am married to my heartthrob, Uchenna - a God sent helpmate. A businessperson, an entrepreneur to the core involved in the petroleum sector and other viable areas of our national economy. A committed and patriotic Nigerian. Patrick Ubah is a Christian of the Roman Catholic faith. He is the Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas, First Nigerian Independent Oil Company, Oil Force Nigeria Limited, the Publisher of The Authority Newspapers and the President of FC Ifeanyi Ubah.
By the way, Capital Oil and Gas, is a company with a massive facility that contributes over 35% of Nigeria's daily petroleum consumption, loading out an average of 15million litres daily.
The Authority Newspapers is the only newspaper that publishes two different editions daily: The National Edition and The South-East Edition. Authority Newspapers is currently the fastest growing newspaper in the country, doing tremendously well in the market.
My venture into the Nigerian Football scene and the innovative ideas that I brought to Nigerian Professional Football League has turned the tide, bringing a long overdue excitement and panache to a league of over 30 years old. Our Brazilian and other imports are currently attracting over 60% of the total spectators coming to the stadium to watch football matches, both home and away. I have managed to rejig the league in less than a year. FC Ifeanyi Ubah stands atop the list of the most sought after Nigerian clubs by international football clubs seeking to establish positive and long-standing partnerships with a view to scouting and harnessing budding local talents as well as exchange of strategy/ideas.
I must quickly add, “Ifeanyi Ubah" remains a man perceived as controversial and is often misunderstood. This is because of the will and strong desire to stay with and protect the interest of masses according to divine injunctions contrary to the exploitative wish and machinations of political and economic elite. This erroneous perception is the steep price I have to pay for being an incorruptible Nigerian and clear mirror to the nefarious elite who often collude to hatch, over the years, series of unfounded allegations leveled against me and circulated using the media but to the glory of God, none has been either proven or substantiated.
Ifeanyi Ubah, as an investor, in over two decades has made some mark for which he has received some public recognition and awards. The Federal University of Owerri, Nigeria awarded him a Doctorate degree in Management Technology (DMT), in appreciation of the depth of his understanding of Strategic Management and the possession of a "can do" mentality. Similarly, Montclair State University, New Jersey, United States awarded me with a Doctorate degree in Critical and Creative Thinking for ingenuity in conflict resolution and management.
13. CLOSING REMARKS
I wish to reiterate that I am doing this for sake of posterity and in the interest of all Nigerians. I have no reason to seek for anything more in life as I am highly blessed by the grace of God. I also have no reason to seek for attention or popularity because I am a contented man. I am a product of humble beginnings and a modest background. However, my desire/motivation to intervene in the current state of affairs in the country emanates from the deep concern I have for the masses and I remain resolutely committed to the Nigerian people, whom I pursue this genuine cause for. Permit me to state unequivocally that I do not have much need for the dollar in carrying out my businesses. My loyalty rests with those traders who cannot import anymore because of this outrageous hike in the exchange rate. My concern lies with those parents who cannot afford to pay the school fees of their children studying abroad or the sick, who on health grounds travel abroad, but find the prices to be paid for treatment too steep as a result of the exchange rate. I am worried for those ICT professionals who need software from foreign countries but have to pay double as a result of the freefall of the Naira.
I have always volunteered in the past, to intervene in issues of this magnitude without proper consultation, acknowledgement or appreciation from the relevant authorities. I seek a change from the norm. It would do no one any harm if the relevant authorities showed a little bit of gratitude for my timely interventions as it concerns matters of national interest. However, if we desire to successfully execute the strategies and systems we will propose, the government must be fully involved as the powers to implement our proposed strategies fully lies with them.
My pertinent question remains: If the current leadership really care about Nigeria and Nigerians, why haven't sincere efforts been made to curb this menace? I have volunteered to serve and vowed to commit everything I have and posses to the success of this cause. However, it is distasteful to note that ever since I made an appearance on Channels TV on the 21st of February, 2016, the relevant authorities saddled with the responsibility of saving our economy would rather play politics with the issue - an occurrence that is far too frequent and way too detrimental.
May I use this medium to debunk a certain rumour currently making the rounds on social media asserting that I have been contacted and contracted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to consult on the FOREX issue. I wish to categorically state that as at 4:00PM (WAT), Sunday, 28th of February, 2016, neither I nor any member of my team has been contacted/contracted by the Federal Government or any of her representatives/proxies to consult on the FOREX issue. If and when contact is made, I will personally inform the media about the development to avoid misinformation which our media space is frequently awash with.
It may also interest Nigerians to know that my team and I have also been working tirelessly on a number of issues aimed at fostering the growth and development of Nigeria and her economy. We have designed 2 templates/systems on how Nigeria's IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) can be grown by 30% - GUARANTEED. However, we have decided to push our concepts and strategies out in phases. This will come in the next phase of our intervention scheme.
I leave this in the hands of Nigerians and for posterity to judge.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dr. Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah
Sunday, February 28, 2016