By Ayo Akinfe
(1) I must admit I am no fan of Ibrahim Gambari. He has not been made to account for his role in the Ken Saro-Wiwa murder. At the time, he defended the execution to the hilt, calling Saro-Wiwa and his co-accused common criminals
(2) Prof Gambari was General Abacha’s permanent representative to the United Nations and went about his job with fanatical gusto. He and Tom Ikime were the international faces of the Abacha regime, doing everything in their power to avert economic sanctions. Apparently they had limitless access to funds to pursue this evil agenda
(3) These days when we are receiving Abacha millions on a weekly basis, I wonder if Prof Gambari’s role in this laundering was ever investigated. Has he been probed and given a clean bill of health, absolving him of laundering any money for Abacha? In sane climes, that would be a statutory requirement before he is even considered
(4) I for one am not fooled by Prof Gambari’s UN role. Being a UN under-secretary does not absolve you of any skeletons in your cupboard and it does give you immunity from answering for your past actions
(5) Now, let us assume that Prof Gambari is cleared of any wrongdoing, he is still going to be 76 this year. Is he a lateral thinking, innovative and creative mind who can use his office to bring about the economic diversification Nigeria desperately needs at this moment in time? Or is he just a Jurassic-thinking member of the Nigerian establishment?
(6) Oil prices have totally collapsed and nobody wants to buy the stockpiles of crude currently stacked at Nigeria’s export terminals. Nigeria has about 80m barrels of oil she cannot sell for now and even if she finds buyers, the amounts they will pay for this petroleum will barely cover production costs
(7) We all know that President Buhari is not a hands-on man. He leaves the running of the government to his kitchen cabinet, which is why Mallam Abba Kyari ended up determining government policy in virtually every area. Prof Gambari will be taking over this role, so how he thinks is going to be the key to how Nigeria responds to the current global economic meltdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic
(8) Whether we like it or not, Nigeria is going to have to live without oil revenue in the immediate future. The federal allocation formula is dead because the finance minister has no money to share out among the governors. Is Ibrahim Gambari thinking about finding alternative sources of revenue?
(9) Our total dependence on crude oil for 60 years is utter criminality in my opinion. I call it economics of the gas chamber because I see it as a crime against humanity and nothing short of economic genocide and strangulation of the Nigerian people. That nonsense of selling crude oil and using the proceeds to import all our needs has to end today unless we want the bony hand of hunger to wipe us out. Will Prof Gambari herald this much-needed thunderstorm of change?
(10) I will judge Prof Gambari on how he succeeds in diversifying the Nigerian economy. If he can get manufacturing to account for 30% of our GDP, raise the tax-to-GDP ratio to 20%, generate $20bn from agri-product exports and attract $100bn in foreign direct investment annually, we might just be willing to overlook his past misdemeanours