Archive | July, 2017

Nigerians Must Boycott MTN

31 Jul

David O. Kuranga, Ph.D.

The author is the Managing Director and Principal of Kuranga and Associates, a full-service investment, political and economic risk consultancy, and asset management firm that specializes in Africa. He is also the author of The Power of Interdependence with Palgrave Macmillan Press.

Recently the Nigerian Senate began a probe over MTN Nigeria an the repatriation of some $14 Billion US Dollars out of Nigeria over a period of 10 years. If these foreign reserves were still in the Nigerian central bank today, Nigeria would have almost 50 billion in foreign reserve capital. It is likely that the Naira would also still be trading at at least 200 to 1 dollar. Thus this staggering amount taken out of Nigeria’s foreign reserves for just 1 company is in part responsible for the collapse of the Nigerian national currency and the massive inflation that has occurred since. The naira collapse also primarily caused Nigeria to slip into a crushing recession for quite some time. Accordingly, addressing this matter, of foreign exchange hemorrhaging out of Nigeria is among the most paramount issues facing the Nigerian economy today. Since the naira collapse the CBN has put in place strict restrictions on foreign exchange usage and has even limited access to foreign capital for manufactures like Innoson, the Nigerian automaker.

One would think that a competent legislative body would forcefully deal with the matter. Instead, a report released by a committee of the senate called for almost nothing. Further, the rest of the body, while they rejected the report, have done nothing to address this matter. Instead they are seemingly more preoccupied with their ongoing feud with the presidency, that appears to be functioning, or supporting seperatists, than they are with addressing this paramount matter involving MTN and lost foreign reserve capital. We have seen Senators dancing, begging for rice, displaying their cars, and foreign travel, yet we have not seen any tangible leadership on the matter of MTN and its theft of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves over a 10-year period.

Needless to say, this worthless, time-consuming “probe” and report from the senate, is not worth the paper that its written on. Neither are the people responsible for it, or the entire legislative body that is wasting time revising it. It does not appear that they have any desire to act as a professional government body worthy of being taken seriously. As even this worthless report shows, it is known fact that MTN Nigeria willfully removed $14 billion US Dollars out of Nigeria over a period of ten years. Nobody is disputing this. The real question now is, what is Nigeria collectively going to do about this? What is this Senate going to do about it? What about the House of Reps? The rest of the Federal government? All the state governments? All the local governments? Finally, WHAT ARE THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Shockingly so far, the answer is nothing.

As any good parent knows, when a child misbehaves, and you observe them, yet do nothing, you are in fact endorsing and encouraging this misbehavior. Further, when the other behaved children witness this, you also then encourage them to copy and commence the same misbehaving. So when a child misbehaves, their must be consequences, and they must be disciplined. In the same manner, for willfully moving $14 billion US Dollars outside of Nigeria, (regardless of all the corrupt CBN governors that no doubt aided and abetted them) on principle MTN themselves must face swift an dire consequences, and they must be disciplined, severely. Otherwise, others operating in Nigeria, like the notorious airline industry, and others, will follow their lead. Contrary to the nauseating, infantile approach of the Nigerian Senate, it is not really that complex to figure out what Nigeria’s “leaders” should be doing in response to MTNs misbehavior.

Since clearly none of them have the sense and/or patriotic mindset required to be “leaders” of a Great Nigeria, as a patriotic citizen, I must do my duty and spell it out for them:

*******No self-respecting Nigerian government official, their subordinates, or even immediate family, at the national, state, and local government level should be an active user, or be in procession of a mobile phone, or mobile data service, provided by or linked with the MTN network. Accordingly, as a matter of principle, every singly Nigerian government official, from the national-level to the local-level, without exception, should by boycotting MTN, its network, and all its ancillary services.*******

The mere fact that this has not happened to date and there have been literally no calls whatsoever for it in the halls of government of any level, speaks volumes about the sheer stupidity, obscene levels of incompetence, and total absence of patriotism that exist today among government officials and political “leaders” at all levels in Nigeria. Even with the xenophobic killings Nigerians in South Africa, expelling of Nigerian nationals from South Africa, Nigerians of recent appear more preoccupied with lashing-out at each other than addressing a serious offense committed by this foreign company that has cut in half the value of the naira and halved the average Nigerians purchasing power. A governor even erected a statue of the South African President in Nigeria recently! Do you think a Nigerian company could go to South Africa (or any country), withdraw $14 billion US Dollars leaving their local currency in crisis and economy recession, while at the same time Nigerians kill the nationals of that country in mobs on the streets of Lagos, and expel them at the airport, that the leaders of any country would treat that same Nigerian company with same level of indifference we now see among Nigeria’s “leaders”? Do you think they would be patronizing that same Nigerian company, buying their products and using its services? While in Nigeria, we erect statues to their leader, use their products, and ignore the cataclysmic damage they have caused to our economy and well being of our people as a whole. Even elite companies in Nigeria have lost tens of millions due to this issue of currency collapse.

Contrary to the media hype, the problem with Nigeria today is not its structuring and the solution is not its disintegration or reorganization. Equally to blame are all Nigerian elite from every region. Who among these regional leaders calling for restructuring or succession has condemned MTN for what it has done to undermine Nigeria’s economy and the well being of ALL NIGERIANS? The Biafra IPOB leaders? They have all been silent and said nothing, because they too are just as worthless and incompetent. Perhaps the Northern leaders or Youths as they call themselves? They too have been silent and said nothing, because they too are just as worthless and incompetent. The Yoruba Oduduwa leaders? They too have said nothing because, because they too are just as worthless and incompetent. The fact is, all our elite have sat silent (both government, regional, and otherwise) because they do not care, yet they have distracted the masses with regionalism to mask that plain and ugly truth.

No amount of restructuring or disintegration will change this. The Nigerian masses need to realize that nobody among the regional elite calling for restructuring or succession is worthy of your trust or support. They do not feel your suffering and they will never fight for you no matter what happens. If they cared about the plight of Nigeria’s people, or the people in their regions, there is no way any of them could sit silent and watch South Africa’s MTN exploit Nigerians with impunity. If Biafran leaders cared 1 iota about Biafran Nigerians, they would have no choice but to vigorously fight MTN on their behalf, yet they have not. If the Northern Youths and leaders cared 1 iota about plight of Northern Nigerians, they too would be vigorously fighting MTN on their behalf. If the Yoruba Oduduwa leaders cared 1 iota about Yoruba Nigerians, they too would be in total war with MTN on their behalf. Yet, they are not. Their collective total apathy is one thing they all have in common! Let their collective inaction serve as a reminder to all Nigerians, who these people truly are, and who they truly represent with their calls for restructuring and succession.

Ultimately we as Nigerians are the ones who accept this. It is time for a Nationwide boycott of MTN, and I call on all true Nigerian patriots who actually care about common Nigerian people no matter where they are from, to join me.

Kuranga and Associates Limited is an investment management advisory firm and an asset manager with a principle practice area of Africa. To learn more about Kuranga and Associates go to © Copyright 2017 David Kuranga. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

David O. Kuranga; Ph.D.
Managing Director
Kuranga & Associates Limited
Phone: 646.481.6263