• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024


Jun 23, 2024


…. Onyibe Magnus, former Commissioner in Delta State Affirms

…. Backs Call For State Police

,,,,,Calls On FG To Communicate Effectively With The Masses


Onyibe Magnus, former Commissioner in Delta State government, has affirmed that it is not government responsibility to create jobs, adding that provision of enabling environment for business to thrive is the responsibility of government at all levels.

The former Commissioner who is also an entrepreneur, public policy analyst, Author and development strategist stated this recently in Lagos during an exclusive interview with Ika Weekly Newspaper.

While he insists that creation of an enabling environment and level playing field are the responsibilities of the government, the alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Massachusetts, United States of America (USA), further argued that all the reputable businesses doing very well and recording successes across the globe are mostly privately owned.

In his word, it’s not the government responsibility to create jobs. Government creating jobs is a centralized government. Change has happened. You know America is the richest country in the world, right? Do you know the biggest hero in my evaluation of the world? Microsoft! It’s not the government. The second one is Nvidia; the one that created AI., it’s not the government. Caterpillars are not governments. Facebook is not the government. Tesla is not a government. Government creates an enabling environment for these things to happen.

Back here in Nigeria, Zenith Bank is creating employment, it is not the government. Government that creates employment. It creates an enabling environment. It is the level playing field. There was a time in Nigeria; the government was at the commanding height of business. But that’s gone. Government creates an enabling environment.

He, however, added that there’s something else that the government does; Like in Korea, the government looks at industrial sectors that they need to have mega investments. So, they identified aggressive successful businesses that were able to do things and the government put in money for them to expand. When they expanded and became robust, they became international icons. That’s why Samsung is selling here and so many others. The Korean government put money inside. That is why I was laughing at people when they were complaining that the government under Godwin Emefiele, immediate past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, took a 20 percent stake in Dangote refinery.

In Korea, the government put in money and when the companies grow, they start to generate income for the government. What that means is that anytime you and I buy Samsung, LG or whatever, we’re supporting the Korean economy. So, if they didn’t support them when they were small to become big, they wouldn’t have reached like this.


‘The business people are innocent but people in government are seeing them as enemies. Somebody that speaks for the National Assembly, when they asked him why did the National Assembly not buy vehicles from Innoson for Senators, he said the roads are not good so they need Toyota Land Cruiser, to be able to pass through the roads. Chicken and egg, which comes first? Is it not them that are responsible for making good roads? So, we must come out with this patriotic approach to things and not our personal interest’.

‘We know the difference between selfishness and patriotism. They’re opposite. They’re both different. What they’re doing is selfishness. They’re looking at themselves only.

Looking at it, they would have said let us adopt a Nigerian make. That is what they did in India. Can you go to the United States and see an American government official driving an official vehicle that’s not an American vehicle? It can’t happen. Even in India, it doesn’t happen. In the U.K, you cannot. But we’re not doing that. We sit down here and we spend a hundred and sixty million naira each to buy a jeep for whatever. So, we’re exporting Capital. But if we were to do those things, use our own things, we would be building capital and building wealth. That’s the philosophy. Those are the mindsets that we’ll have to change; that we’ll have to adopt’.

Asked by Ika Weekly Newspaper to comment on the state of insecurity and state police, he responded this way; yes, I cited at the beginning of this conversation, instances in the past where we have advocated seriously and government listened. And I also cited instances that government did not listen. If they had listened to our admonition on security, it would not have become this bad.

Let me give you an instance. In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo proposed the State Police. It did not come through because the states said they couldn’t afford it. Back in those days that democratic government emerged in Nigeria, the biggest weapon then was impeachment. You will be threatened with impeachment. And once you’re threatened with impeachment, you back down. Dapo Sarumi was minister of information at that time. We talked about it. They said they were about to do it but they backed off. And nothing happened.

‘In 2016, I wrote copiously about it. I can’t remember the full title but that’s what I dwelt on. And they didn’t do anything about it. Do you know that it is the present insecurity in the country that Obasanjo wanted to use state police to address? If this insecurity was nipped in the bud, in 1999 when Obasanjo first mooted it, or 2016 when I stated all the reasons why they should, it would not snowball to this level right now. It is just now, 2024, almost 25 years after it was mooted by Obasanjo that they are now bringing up state police because they have seen that that is what we should have done a long time ago’.

Take for instance, in the United States of America, the equivalent of State police, the Sheriff. The Sheriff is a local. He comes up from the people. He lives with the people. Basically, he’s an equivalent of community police, not state police. So, he lives in that community, he knows everybody there. So, if a stranger walks into that community, he would know. If there were community police in the rural areas, in the zones where Boko Haram is, they would have known. Boko Haram lives in our society. The local Sheriff would have known who they are. But we didn’t do that. We kept happening on it until they made the decision that they have made now to address it.

Like I said, Kidnapping and insecurity did not start today. If you go and read the story of Brazil, most South American countries, that was obtainable but over time, they dealt with it.

That is what Boko Haram, Isis, Iswan are doing to us right now. People don’t tend to think very fast. That is why I say there is nothing that is happening that has never happened before. If we were smart enough to look at the experience, or if we do a lot of critical thinking, go back to what happened in those days, how they took care of those things, maybe pick one or two things from them, we’ll be able to deal with these issues. He concluded.

Moving away from analysis to finding a solution, he stated thus; Nigerians should exercise patience. I said the president spent the first-year planting. I’m not saying they should allow him to do what he wants to do; we’re giving him time to plant these seeds. And we know how long it will take for seeds to germinate and bear fruits. If that doesn’t happen, we will hold his feet to the fire. But for now, from my perspective, I’m looking at everything from my perspective.

Fortunately, I have multi-dimensional training. I’m not just a journalist that I went to study mass communication. I also read economics. I also read business administration. I also did law and diplomacy and it is high level training for people who become leaders of the world. So, I read finance, I read accounting, I read philosophy, I read arts. It’s all encompassing. So, I can see everything from every perspective. That’s why when I write and I take these postures, people are wondering whether the CBN governor talked to me or the Finance Minister talk to me. No, I can analyze. I can understand these things. I was trained. I’m an analyst. That’s my job. I pick a situation and analyze it. These situations I’m giving you, nobody in government has done so. So, the government is not talking. They’re not communicating with the people.

Lack of proper communication on the part of those in government is a challenge. It’s in my article. If Nigerians are carried along, they’ll buy into it. If they believe that they are part of the process, that the policy formulation is coming from them, this book is called leading from the streets. And I say that we all should lead in our own small areas. And by the time you aggregate everything, it will become a force. But we’re not doing so. This time, I’m talking to the government directly. You are not communicating enough with the masses. He submitted.