“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” Denis Waitley
Taking a cue from Waitley, it is safe to say since the soul is the power and core of who one is, fulfillment is therefore the feeling of being happy and satisfied with one’s life because of interesting, useful, or important things embarked upon.
Alhaji Awwal Garba is a major player in the global oil and gas sector whose sense of fulfillment is succinctly summed up in the above analogy, as his life for a long time, has been dedicated to meaningful and oftentimes sacrificial commitments to his fatherland as well as to the lives of his countrymen.
With particular interest in Nigeria, Alhaji Garba has been discovering untapped resources within the oil sector upon which he has over the years, successfully built his chain of business interests, under the Magma Group, thereby immensely contributing to the economic growth and development of Nigeria.
With a humble mien, a virtue instilled by his upbringing, Alhaji Garba is a highly self-motivated person with an unbridled and a fervent desire to change the oil and gas sector narratives in ways that will benefit indigenous players and the Nigerian youths.
His words; “I was motivated into the sector by the desire to make a change, especially in the upstream sector of the industry where it is believed that only the oyibos (foreigners) hold sway therein.
“Of course, also in that direction would be the desire to contribute one’s quota to the national economy, in terms of creating jobs, which of course would help in giving the youths a sense of worth and direction.”
Born into a family of affluence, Alhaji Garba may well be said to have grown up being fed with a silver spoon. His late father, a traditional title holder ‘Talban Kano’; a king maker, was also an astute businessman, with wide spread interests in commodity trading, exports and imports. It may not be out of place to say that Alhaji Garba cut his entrepreneurial teeth under the tutelage of his father.
However, with strict and disciplined parents, adherence to what is right was the only rule, and this helped in shaping his character and personality, which he himself admits was the greatest gift he received as a child.
“I thought my parents were being hard on us as children, but I have come to appreciate all those moments later in life. It actually made us humble, yet strong. This was the best gift I received as a child because it helped in shaping my character.”
The desire to discover himself spurred him to break away from the comfort and sureties that being under the umbrella of his father provided.
According to him, “I can say that I was born into privilege, but that did not stop me from finding my own niche. The most difficult thing was finding a balance by breaking away from my father’s umbrella in order to find myself. I call it the period of soul searching. It took time to find what makes me tick, and since then, it has become a passion to reach out to greater heights. More importantly, I have worked hard to create and maintain it. And I am still working hard.”
Alhaji Garba had his early education in Kano, Nigeria and spent his early years in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. A Nigerian and British trained Economist of a rare kind, Alhaji Garba attended the Bayero University Kano, Nigeria and the City University, London, United Kingdom, tucking two degrees in his kitty from these institutions.
A Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Business Management UK, Alhaji Garba also acquired a Master’s Degree in Business Economics in the UK. He has in practice been a major player in the oil and gas sector of the global business environment, with particular focus in Nigeria, since gaining his Master’s degree.
Awwal Garba is a man with very strong instincts which, interfaced with his realities have enabled him make life-changing decisions. One of the difficulties he had was deciding whether to go into private or public service. Looking back at the years of successful business entrepreneurship, his instincts to go for the former paid off handsomely, although from hindsight, it is clear to see that should he have chosen the latter, he still would have been profoundly successful.
A global oil and gas business mogul, Garba is an entrepreneur with an innate ability to sniff out business opportunities where many cannot; a rare disposition which has enabled him to excel in countless ventures and investments, especially within the oil and gas sector.
Garba’s major areas of focus cut across sectors like, Telecommunications, Power, Finance, Management Consulting, Marine, Oil and gas Exploration and Production (OEP), oil refinery and real estate development, among others. He is a consummate professional with strong interpersonal and effective communication skills, integrity, tenacity and strength of character.
Awwal Garba’s core area of specialization in the oil and gas field is Exploration, with eight assets so far. He is building a 100 thousand barrel refinery in Akwa Ibom State at the moment, on a hundred hectare land, close to Exxon Mobil, while also negotiating with 3 marginal oilfields from oil mill 370 with Exxon Mobil.
“In the gas area of the sector, we have made proposals with respect to the Brass LNG, into which my partners and I are ready to commit $1bn. This would cut the issue of oil importation and also provide 300,000 jobs for skilled and unskilled workers in Akwa Ibom.”
Alhaji Garba’s companies include Magma Petroleum Investment Limited; Magma Exploration Production Limited, which is working on a JVU with Total Upstream, and also working with MPDC. His other companies include Magma Agro-Allied Limited; Magma Logistics Limited; Magma Gas and Power Spectrum Limited; Magma Pipe and Coating Limited, Rhone Petroleum Limited and H. Oil Limited, among others, all of which are aiding the economy of the country in terms of investment.
“We have Magma Exploration which is working on a JVU with Total Upstream, and also working with MPDC. We have Magma Gas and Power Spectrum working on acquiring the Brass LNG. It is a $1bn project, and already the funds are available.
“We have H-Oil Limited which has assets in Angola as well as South Sudan and Liberia, with offices in Paris and headquarters in Madrid, Spain. Magma Logistics works with the Department of Petroleum Resources. We also have Magma Petroleum Investment in the downstream sector with our downstream partners, having facility in Amsterdam and distributing finished products all over the world.”
With this wide spectrum of business concerns, there are bound to be challenges. These however, are usually viewed by the astute businessman in the context of growth opportunities.
” The challenge of prospecting for and then drilling of oil is something we enjoy doing. On the exploration side especially, we want to expand and never get tired, that is why we are on the brink of acquiring more assets. We love the challenge. To get in there, prospect and drill the oil is something we just enjoy doing.
“Today, what kills the exploration business is greed. Many want to have everything and there’s no way you could do that when it comes to exploration. We engage partners from all over the world and our logic is that ‘half bread is better than none’. We can give out an asset with 5% interest, an asset with 2%, it does not matter. What matters is that when you multiply the 2% x 10, you get 20%. This is our logic.”
It is not really commonplace to find the virtue of humility in the lives of many of the affluent. The life of Awwal Garba is a marked exception because it is the way he was brought up. Whether it was his father or friends of his father, who included the MKO Abiola’s, the Maitama’s and the Babangida’s, they all pointed to the importance of the virtue and instilled that in him. He also admits that life itself also taught him about humility.
“Life has taught me to be absolutely humble. Life has taught me to be analytical as well as critical with myself in my everyday dealings. My heart will never deceive me into thinking I am anything different or special. Ego is a recipe for failure in life.
“I mean all you have to do is to look around you. The seven-year-old selling sachet water or Moi-Moi on the streets of Lagos in the early morning rush hour could have been you. He, also given your opportunity, could perform as good or even better. There are always two sides of a coin.”
Patriotic Fervor, Leadership and Game Changer
Alhaji Awwal Garba is a de-tribalised Nigerian who sees his country as his constituency. Through his investments, he has been building bridges.
A unique vehicle with which he is stoking the embers of patriotism is ‘Game Changer’, a media established to ensure that the Muhammadu Buhari administration continues to change the whole game; from Agriculture, Corruption to Healthcare and very importantly, to unite Nigerians and give them a sense of belonging.
He uses Ghana as a yardstick in buttressing the importance of patriotism. “You will be shocked to realise the level of their patriotism. A taxi driver always has the Ghanaian flag in his cab as with every household, like it was in America perhaps before the Trump era when American schools taught American history, the need to be patriotic and love for country. So patriotism is very important. Game Changer is here to bring awareness about patriotism.”
His friends call him the preacher and this is not just based on his knowledge and adherence to the tenets postulated by the Quran, but because he never stops preaching the gospel of unity among Nigerians, believing in the oneness of the country as a pathway to wealth creation in a more sustainable way, strength and endless possibilities. No wonder his house is always like a beehive or a Mecca of some kind.
Garba sees leadership as the ability to see beyond tomorrow and to commit to that vision totally, when those around you follow you with absolute commitment even when they do not see what you see.
“Those who do not remember history are certainly bound to be consumed by it. It has happened in many countries before. The Asian tigers, from Singapore to Malaysia, Thailand to China, they have all gone through what we are going through. Mao Zedong closed up China for 50 years before opening up. America’s democracy took over 200 years to get to where they are now. Ours is only 50+ and with such multi ethnic groups, patience is the key.”
Philanthropy and Titles
Awwal Garba is a man with a heart of gold, compassionate, kind and in tune with his people. He believes in creating high-points in his life each day and one of those is the opportunity to make someone happy.
“There are just countless moments with that, but what you can do is to create one every day. Most importantly, put a smile on someone’s face and the picture stays with you permanently.”
It is not surprising then that he has been honored with the prestigious traditional titles of ‘Galadima Talban’, and ‘Talban Dan Hausa Daura’.
Alhaji Awwal Garba maintains a closely knit family even as a very busy person, understanding the importance of family. Despite his busy schedule, which has shrunken some social activities, he still finds time to spend with his family.
“The pressure of work increased with growth, so whatever time I can squeeze out now for personal issues, I spend it with my family. We take the children to game parks when they are on holidays and try to have a feel of their minds by coming down to their level and appreciating them. My biggest fear is not being able to meet up with the expectations of my family and my loved ones.”
Even though Awwal Garba a fulfilled man, he believes in breaking new grounds as long as life permits him.
“I feel fulfilled in life, all the time. Yet, life itself is like sweet nectar from the most beautiful thorny fruit bearing tree. Once you taste it, you cannot but go back for another bite. I am always setting new goals to conquer.”
As Eleanor Roosevelt aptly puts it, “Happiness is not a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
It is from that standpoint that Alhaji Awwal Garba says,” I believe in what life has dished out my way and believe me when I say if I have to do it all over again, I would not change a thing.”
Indeed, there must be some unique feeling that comes with blazing trails and impacting lives.
Ibrahim Magu: The Rise and Fall Of The “almighty” EFCC Boss
After five years as the public face of the federal government’s anti-graft crusade, the suspension and arrest of Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who is being investigated for corruption is a major blight on the toga of President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption that reinforces the public perception that the whole anti-graft war is just a smokescreen to harass and intimidate perceived opponents of the regime. Notwithstanding his offense, the public drama in which a combined team of policemen and officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the office of the EFCC to arrest Magu; whisked him off manu militari to face a presidential panel investigating allegations of corruption against him is shameful and most embarrassing to Nigerians. It is a debasement of Nigerian democracy and a sad manifestation of the rule of force over the rule of law. Although the Presidency touted the incident as an affirmation that no one under the Buhari administration is above the law, such brigandage lowers the country’s image before the comity of nations. This is the tragedy of Nigeria.
After over 20 years of democracy, there should be no more room for such conduct. The situation could have been handled more professionally without portraying the DSS as a Gestapo organization. This must never be allowed to repeat itself. Magu has been reportedly detained at the Police Force Criminal Investigation Department in Area 10, Abuja, on the orders of the presidential panel, which continue to question him over “weighty” allegations of misconduct. This is an insult to the Nigerian people carried too far, which does little credit to the image of President Buhari, whose promise of a new dawn in democratic governance and respect for the rule of law formed the plank of his political covenant with the people prior to his electoral mandate in 2015.
To begin with, a person of Magu’s status ought to be treated with dignity and respect in a democratic dispensation. The cavalier manner, in which he was arrested from his office after Buhari had recently applauded his services to the country and personally assented to Magu’s plan to auction over 400 luxury cars forfeited by internet fraudsters, was most undeserving. Without prejudice to any investigation, it is worth noting that it is not within the remit of the presidential panel to probe acts of corruption by public officials. The arrest and detention of Magu certainly need to be justified, but such justification cannot be in violation of due process and the right of presumption of innocence until proven guilty, which Magu is entitled to as a Nigerian citizen. That the presidential panel is treating Magu as if he is a convicted felon is most unfortunate. What if Magu ends up being exonerated?
Besides, a presidential panel is not a court of law and has no authority to order Magu to be detained without bail. In fact, Magu has the right to bail while the investigation is conducted. To subject him to questioning and remanding him in detention even when no competent authority or jurisdiction has established that he is a flight risk; are clear violations of Magu’s fundamental rights, and respect for the dignity of his person and personal liberty as guaranteed by Sections 31 and 35 of the Constitution. Such barefaced violation of the right to privacy and dignity cannot be in the best interest of democracy; it is lawlessness. The president on whose authority the panel is acting must guard against repeating such lawlessness and acting in a manner suggesting a disdain for due process. As for Magu, he should be released immediately or charged in court.
For the avoidance of doubt, the official narrative that the panel is probing allegations of corruption against Magu following a damning memo by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) is laughable and defies logic. Nigerians have not forgotten the brazen show of megalomania, when as acting President, Yemi Osinbajo sent a letter to the Senate re-nominating Magu as EFCC chairman, after the Senate had rejected his candidacy, citing a DSS security report with the same corruption allegations, which the same AGF, Malami, later claimed to have investigated and cleared Magu of any wrongdoing.
Without equivocation, Nigerians were deeply concerned about the wide-reaching implications of the president acting like defense attorney and holding brief for a man indicted for corruption by the legislative arm of government after the Senate deemed Magu unfit to hold public office. In civilized democracies, Magu himself, seeing that the matter was getting out of hand could have voluntarily withdrawn his nomination. This would certainly have fetched him accolades and leave Nigerians to fight the battle for him in the court of public opinion. But thanks to Buhari’s nonchalance, Magu stayed on for five years. In all, maintaining Magu as acting EFCC chair only authenticated impunity. With Buhari’s total backing, Magu wage a political vendetta and witch-hunt against Buhari’s perceived opponents, including loyalists of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. In the process, Magu stepped on many toes and made many enemies. The list is long and endless.
Former Defence Minister, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd) recently visited Buhari. The billionaire oil mogul was seething with rage and anger that the check he issued to purchase an aircraft bounced! Danjuma was informed by his bankers that the order to withhold payment came from Magu! Aso Villa sources said Buhari bent over backward to convince Danjuma that he knew nothing about the incident but the sources also pointed out that Magu read the president’s mind and picked up the signal to finger Danjuma when Buhari dropped Danjuma’s protégé, Ibe Kachikwu from his cabinet. A few weeks before that incident, the Minna home of former military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar was raided and ransacked by EFCC operatives. Buhari also got to know only after the event had happened.
While neither Danjuma nor Abdulsalami is above the law, the instruments of state power should never be used to harass and ridicule citizens. Besides, a man who would take on the high and mighty, including members of the president’s immediate family, must be above board both in his private thinking and public action. Magu failed on both counts: in the past five years, Magu has made many conflicting claims about hundreds of billions of recovered looted funds and assets but subsequent auctions for recovered assets, resulted in choice properties being doled out to his cronies. Since in Abuja, like Washington DC, everything leaks and everyone knows which skeleton is in which cupboard (including who is sleeping with whose spouse), it didn’t take long for Buhari to become inundated with petitions how Magu and his cronies were re-looting the recovered looted funds.
Surprisingly, on November 22, 2017, Buhari appointed a three-member committee to audit all assets recovered by agencies of the federal government from May 29, 2015. Headed by Olufemi Lijadu, who later became chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the panel was given four months to complete their assignment but ended up spending ten months. But even before they submitted their report, then Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, noticed discrepancies from the figures that were emerging and sent Magu a memo seeking clarification on the recoveries “based on the information available to the Office of Accountant-General of the Federation.” According to Adeosun, the attention of her ministry had been drawn to “recovery figures in media reports by the EFCC that do not reconcile with the records of the ministry” asking Magu to “clarify where this cash recoveries have been deposited and provide accompanying evidence.” Magu ignored the memo.
Meanwhile, the AGF to whose office Magu should ordinarily report (but doesn’t out of sheer arrogance) bided his time before writing a damning memo to Buhari regarding the report on recovered assets, which became the basis for Magu’s suspension and arrest. All that notwithstanding, Buhari’s volte-face after keeping Magu in office for five years is the hypocrisy that reduces the presidency to one that will go to any length to pander to the ego-tripping of the president’s men, even at the risk of compromising Buhari’s own integrity. It needs also to be stated that at the topmost management of the public, respect is mutual and reciprocal for the smooth running of the state. Such mutuality is dictated by the decorum exercised by authorities in the discharge of their duties. The government should treat the office of people like Magu with some dignity. They should be treated at their exit, in the same manner, they were treated when they held office. Magu’s office invasion and arrest fell short of this required decorum, for it diminishes the office of the EFCC chairman and debases the ethos and values of Nigeria’s preeminent anti-graft agency. By elimination, it is an index of what Nigeria does not value.
Against a man who prosecuted Buhari’s war on corruption with such messianic zeal, the barbaric arrest was nothing more than whimsical and disdainful impunity, which left much to be desired about the cantankerous temperament of the president himself. Like Nuhu Ribadu, Magu’s ongoing ordeal to the detriment of his office merely advertises the culture of impunity that holds the nation up to public ridicule and does little credit to the President’s image as a statesman. But far more than anything else it engendered, the indecorous public humiliation of Magu remains a national embarrassment and an imprudent display of statecraft.
APC Chairman Arrested For Raping Two Girls
The Nasarawa State police command has arrested the All Progressive Congress ward chairman in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Christopher Ogah, for allegedly defiling two girls in his house in Obi town.
Alhaji Mohammad Oyimoga Oyigye, Chairman of the Local Government Area, said he saved Ogah from being lynched by angry youth, who caught him and immediately handed him over to the police.
A witness said the APC chairman lured the girls when they entered his house to fetch water, adding that it was not his first time of committing such crime.
He said the two girls were 12 and 13-respectively.
Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police, Bola Longe, said he had directed that the case be transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department in Lafia for a discreet investigation after which the suspect will be charged to court.
“The police under my watch want to warn would-be rapist to have a rethink or face the wrath of the law.
IT’S THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA IN IRU KINGDOM, THE EARLIER ADESEGUN ABIODUN-ONIRU REALIZES THIS, THE BETTER
People fight realities in different ways but for Adesegun Abiodun-Oniru, the Aremo of the past Oniru of Iru Kingdom, it appears the reality is just settling in that not only is he no longer the Aremo to the throne, but the fact that he isn’t the man chosen for the throne is just beginning to become a reality he is being confronted with.
During the reign of their father, the immediate past Oniru, Adesegun and his siblings and friends lived like kings, they lived it to the very hilt, a life of opulence and royalty, with undisguised disdain for the indigenes and residents of the kingdom.
Even the other princes and princesses of the other royal families were seen as lesser being to the sons and daughters of the then reigning king, this particular perception of the other princes may just be the reason Prince Tijani Oniru could raise his hands to slap a prince on official duties from the palace, Prince Murisiku Ajasa. The face-off between Prince Murisiku and Prince Tijani Oniru ultimately led to the invasion of the palace Sunday, July 5, 2020.
It is important to note that the faceoff yesterday between a prince of the Iru royal family of the Akiogun branch, Prince Tijani Oniru and some members of the enumeration committee led by Prince Murisiku Ajasa on the duty of enumerating the properties of the kingdom on the instruction of the new Oniru, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal is rather unfortunate.
As a father to all, the doors to the palace is open to all, especially to the princes and princesses of the kingdom, and should they have any grievance on any ongoing project, they ought to approach the palace and seek clarification, rather than engage the committee members who were carrying out their duties.
While there may have been a misunderstanding between Prince Tijani Abiodun-Oniru and Prince Murisiku Ajasa and the committee members, in the course of carrying out their duties, it is expected that as a prince of the royal Iru family, Prince Tijani ought to have handled the situation better and not resort to physically engaging his fellow prince and the committee.
Invading the palace in the company of policemen is an action unbecoming of princes of the kingdom but it can be understood that it may be actions taken in the spur of the moment, but speak very poorly of them. Oba Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal has maintained an open door policy since ascending the throne and enjoys a very cordial relationship with all the princes of the land. Adesegun Abiodun-Oniru should have put a call through to Kabiyesi and make his grievances known, rather than invade the palace with his brother and policemen.
As a former law enforcement officer and a well read and traveled individual, Kabiyesi Abdulwasiu Gbolahan Lawal abhors violence and will never subscribe to the use of brute force or thugs in carrying out any of his plans for Iru kingdom, rather engagement and dialogues has been the route of choice since his ascension.
The ongoing enumeration exercise being carried out by the new Oniru is for the benefit of all the three branches of the royal families, i.e the Akiogun, Abisogun and Ogunyemi families. In collaboration with consultants, the palace is working assiduously to collate information and create a database of all assets, information and properties of the kingdom for records of the Oniru Royal Family. There are no malevolent intentions to the project whatsoever as far as we have seen.
The Oniru as the custodian of the heritage, values and assets of the kingdom knows that a proper documentation of everything being held in trust by the throne, will go a long way in creating accountability and equity within the kingdom, for generations unborn.
As a father to all, Kabiyesi Gbolahan Lawal has reiterated that a peaceful coexistence between all and sundry within the kingdom is his number one priority, as well as redeveloping and rebranding the kingdom for the benefit of the indigenes, residents and businesses within the kingdom.
The sons of the former Oniru should accord the new custodian of their heritage the deserved respect and should conduct themselves in manners consistent with royal upbringing. The Hausas have an adage, ‘seriki goma, sanmoni goma’ which translates to 10 kings and 10 reigns. It is the reign of a new king and the early they embrace the realities, the better.
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