ANNUITY is a term Investment Bankers, Financial Consultants, Economists, Accountants, Insurers, and Estate Surveyors can relate to. It is a basic tool of investment and development analysis. It is a term they employ in their daily business activities. It is a key to their work; their life source.
Annuity is something you put by, from year to year towards an anticipated end. It is a Sinking Fund towards replacing an asset as its lifespan dwindles from year to year. Annuity is the result, on an annual basis of a sum, or set of sums ploughed into something in order to command envisaged, potential returns on investment.
Annuity, to the Estate Surveyor, is the consideration paid for a property, or an estate, for a given year. Annuity also, to the Insurance Practitioner is a sum invested on a given asset for a specific year. Annuity could be that rent paid for that property for a specific time period, usually a year. Annuity could also be the premium paid on an asset, say a property for a specific period also, usually a year.
Annuity serves the specific purpose of ensuring that the potentials in an asset are brought to play in an economy within specific times, usually a year, or any other specified period. Annuity ensures that the latent values in any asset are realized within a specific period, usually a year.
When, owing either to ignorance, carelessness, or neglect, annuity is ignored, and is therefore not brought to play, the asset suffers. With continued ignorance, carelessness, and neglect, an asset, say, a property, eventually “dies,” usually a slow but gradual death.
Without accruing annuity or rentals, property enjoys zero maintenance, and with time, falls into ultimate disrepair and obsolescence, or “death.” Without premium, an asset gradually dies or disappears, in the sense of obsolescence, destruction or theft. With premium, on the other hand, assets could be restored, rebuilt, replaced, reinvented or reconstituted.
Without premium on any specific asset or property, the said asset plays no part in an economy. The payment of annual premium, based or anchored on an insurance policy enables a property to “live” and play a role in any economy in which it situates. With so many assets or properties simply standing by, and not playing any part, significant or otherwise in any given economy, the cumulative effect is that the said economy is prevailed on by such ignorance, carelessness or neglect to perform, economically, at less than its full potential.
The total unrealized premium in an under-insured economy represents the extent of the loss to that economy of the economic potentials that would have contributed to the growth and development of that economy. In other words, growth and development potentials can never be fully realized in an under insured economy. Wherever the insurance penetration is low, a proportionate growth and development potential is apparently wasted, or lost.
The Nigerian situation is typical of an economy in which so much potential is sacrificed on the altar of low insurance penetration. For any economy to truly work, everything which takes up some space on the productive earth must generate its own contribution (rental, annuity, etc,) towards the realization of its full growth and development potentials. In the developed economies of the West, everything is covered by insurance against that day of uncertainty. By so doing, when that day dawns, the annuity paid on the insured property or asset ensures that an aggregate of the multiples of the said annuity, which constitute the insured sum, is paid to the one who has or holds the insurance cover.
Given that this system has long been in operation in such economies over time, the relatively high rates of annuity or premium being paid for insurance coverage in such economies could be adjudged justifiable. However, it would amount to shooting one’s-self in the foot for an economy such as Nigeria’s which has a very low insurance penetration to continue to charge the same, or correspondingly close annuity or premium on similar insurance coverage as Western economies. It stands to reason that in an economy ravaged by persistent economic recession and even depression, lower premium would be expected to engender a very high insurance penetration, with economic growth and development as the primary objective. Furthermore, it bears no emphasis that lower premium, would, of necessity, generate a correspondingly higher insurance volume, and hence an equally higher economic growth and development.
I am absolutely convinced that any set of serious managers of an economy such as ours would need to tinker with her insurance premium policy, like the managers of the fiscal policy do. It is foolhardy for our insurance policy managers to insist on charging high premium rates with correspondingly low insurance penetration and volume, while foregoing the available option of lower premium policy with a correspondingly higher penetration, volume and ultimately, a Gross Annual Premium.
The maxim which posits that “insurance is the backbone of the economy,” comes from the fact that “matter,” as elementary chemistry tells us, “can neither be created nor destroyed.” Matter can be transformed from one state to the other, but it simply just doesn’t disappear. It still exists in one form or the other. Insurance plays the role of ensuring that objects, ideas, properties, estates, etc, command a value within any economy, which value is manifested when such objects, ideas, properties, or estates are threatened with liquidation, or are out rightly destroyed. Insurance therefore, in the sense of restoring that which, otherwise, would have been considered as ceasing to exist, serves as the backbone of the economy in the sense that it ensures the continued existence of “matter,” property, means of production, going concerns or business, etc.
In the year 2002, we registered LandAssets Consult Limited, with the primary objective of promoting the universal insurance of landed assets or properties. Shortly after incorporating LandAssets, the Obasanjo administration signed Insurance Act 2003 into law. The object of Insurance Act 2003 is the compulsory insurance of all public buildings and buildings under construction. Given the current rates for insurance of properties, and given a situation in which all such properties envisaged by insurance Act 2003 are insured, the resultant premium would amount to well over one Trillion Naira(N1,000,000,000,000).
That is the truth of the matter. However, the reality which confronts the insurance sector of the economy is 180 degrees removed from the objective envisaged by insurance Act 2003. Nine years after the said Act was enacted, (basing one’s assumptions on 2010 figures), the Annual Premium realized in the Nigerian economy for all classes and types of insurance is still in the neighbourhood of N200 billion (two hundred billion Naira) only. In fairness to Mr. Fola Daniels and the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), National insurance Association (NIA), the National Commission of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), and other insurance associations and brokerage firms which have been involved in the process of ensuring that insurance becomes the backbone of the economy, we say, well done. And to Mr. Daniels, for doing such a wonderful job thus far, our sincere congratulations, sir. Furthermore, I just learnt that the National Gross Premium estimate is N500 – N600 billion for 2012.
The truth however, is that insurance practice, within the Nigerian economy, owing to the way its been done over the years, has created the scenario in which people have become averse to taking on insurance policies, except when coerced by law to take on such policies. We could name some of them – Motor Vehicle Insurance, Insurance of Public Buildings, Workmen Compensation Insurance, etc.
Insurance coverage is supposed to wear the garb of a friend, next only to God, in the sense of taking care of the beneficiaries of the insured, when the inevitable occurs. Tales of insurance companies resisting the payment of the assured sum on policies over the years abound, with the result that people merely see the insurance cover on their vehicles, for instance, as a piece of paper which ensures that they can move about in their vehicles without molestation by the Nigeria police, and no more. In truth, how many people ever bother to apply to the insurance companies for repairs to or restoration of their accident vehicles? If the Statistics can be made available, I am certain they can’t exceed ten percent.
The average Nigerian doesn’t want to have anything to do with the insurance sector of the economy, and this accounts for why the economy is in the current state of decay. The annual renewal that insurance coverage would have guaranteed is simply lacking, and this accounts for why infrastructure is in the sorry state in which we find it. In other words, lack of annuity over our infrastructure has attracted decay to the economy.
Economic Realities of Contemporary Nigeria
In 2003 or thereabouts, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the erstwhile governor of Lagos State made a very profound statement, to the effect that what the economy needs is “an innovative and people-friendly method of generating Revenue” for executing policies towards the capital formation process. However, neither Tinubu nor any other politician or government, federal or state has come up with such a method, other than the Federal Government’s phantom “subsidy removal.” I wish the Federal government good luck, but I do believe that someone in that government, from the Central Bank, to the Ministry of Finance, and on to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is aware that “Petroleum Subsidy” is indeed a phantom phenomenon or concept. An erstwhile petroleum minister, Professor Tam David West had long said so. And the recent revelations regarding the N2.6 trillion subsidy scam evidently proves it.
In the Guardian edition of Wednesday, December 28, 2011 one Dr. Izielen Agbon, a petroleum engineer/economist, in an expose captioned, “The cost of one litre of petrol,” posited that there is no subsidy on petrol; rather, Nigerian petrol is over prized at N65 per litre. Reproduced hereunder are his postulations:
“What is the true cost of a litre of petrol in Nigeria? The Nigerian government has set aside 445,000 barrels per day throughput for meeting domestic refinery products demands. These volumes are not for export. They are public goods reserved for internal consumption. At the refinery gate in Port Harcourt, the cost of a barrel of Qua Iboe crude oil is made up of the finding/development cost ($3.5 bbl) and a production/storage/transportation cost of $1.50 per barrel. Thus, at $5 per barrel, we can get Nigerian Qua Iboe crude to the refining gates at Port Harcourt and Warri. One barrel is 42 gallons or 159 litres.
“The price of one barrel of petrol at the depot gate is the sum of the cost of crude oil, the refining cost, and the pipeline transportation cost. Refining costs are $12.6 per barrel, and pipeline distribution costs are $1.50 per barrel. The distribution margins (retailers, transporters, dealers, bridging funds, administrative charges, etc) are N15.49 per litre or $15.69 per barrel. The true cost of one litre of petrol at the Mobil filling station in Port Harcourt or anywhere else in Nigeria is therefore ($5 +$12.6 +$1.5 +$15.7) or $34.8 per barrel. This is equal to N34.36 per litre compared to the official price of N65 per litre.”
In the NEEDS document, one of the best policy and development articulations by the federal government to date, the Economic think tank in the then administration of President Obasanjo, (chaired by professor Soludo) remarked that there was a “Residual Financing Gap” in its envisaged development projections which should be filled by the Federal Government, the States, and the Private Sector of the economy. In the absence of figuring out how to bridge/meet this residual financing gap, the equivalent of Tinubu’s people-friendly method, government finds it convenient to conjure up the phantom petroleum subsidies, which are then endlessly removed at the detriment of the poor in the economy, who constitute over 90 per cent of the populace.
Put in proper perspective, this is being done in an economy which moved into recession way back in the early 1980s during the Shagari Administration. By 1985, when General Babangida introduced his Structural Adjustment Programme, (SAP) the economy was sapped into full blown depression from which it is yet to recover. The fact that majority of Nigerians are merely living sub-normal existence, explains why our young people go through the indignities of emigrating to the West at all costs, or die in the process, if need be, as many have.
In the years 2008 through 2009, the Global Economic Recession which was induced by the United States of America’s sub-prime mortgage burst upon and decimated stock markets the world over. This was worsened, in the Nigeria context, by “Margin Financing” by some bankers and stock market traders, which almost crippled the economy but for the 2004 Banking Consolidation of the Central Bank under Prof. Chukwuma Soludo. (By crediting Prof Soludo, I am not trying to give anyone a bad name. I just love those who can apply themselves to the thinking process. And, believe me, Soludo thinks).
In the immediate aftermath of the Global Economic Recession, which wiped out the wealth of many, especially stock based wealth the world over, some global leaders, ex-President Sarkozy of France notably, remarked that with the failure of the Capitalist System as we know it, the world needs to evolve a new system. Hardly had the voices of well meaning leaders the world over, who had joined in echoing the same sentiment abated than the Arab Spring erupted. Coming on the heels of the Arab Spring, a new development known as the “Occupy” phenomenon emerged. In New York, USA where the phenomenon took off, it was known as the “Occupy Wall Street,” movement, a movement which seeks, primarily, to put an end to the greed of the major players in world economy; the one percent who stole everything in the American economy to the detriment of the 99 per cent who are left unemployed, underemployed and poor by the privileged one per cent.
As the Arab Spring began with the self immolation of the young Tunisian who was frustrated by the system the “Occupy movement” truly commenced in London, when the marginalized in the UK rioted to protest the killing of an immigrant by the police. The ensuing riots, no doubt, encouraged the commencement of the occupy phenomenon.
At last count, Syria, China, and Russia (where Vladimir Putin) has basically constituted himself into a modern day Stalin), are experiencing their own versions of the occupy phenomenon. Protesters are demanding so many things which, I bet, would culminate in the Russian context, in the ouster of Putin, like Egypt’s Mubarak, or Libya’s Gaddafi. As for Syria’s Assad, it is only a matter of time.
It would seem to me that if the occupy phenomenon should be adjudged relevant, Nigeria, which in many ways, is the heart of Black Africa, should be the home of the “Occupy” movement. Interestingly, from the Labour Unions to the Staff Unions of the Universities, from Civil Society groups to the myriad of the unemployed and the poor, no one seems prepared to replicate the occupy phenomenon here, despite the fact that, unlike the situation in Western nations, where politicians condemned the methods of the business executives who allot unheard of bonuses to themselves, our politicians are the core thieves here. With the removal of its phantom subsidy on petroleum on the first day of the year, the Jonathan administration just doubled the misery index of, and showed its contempt for the feelings of the average Nigerian. Surely, there will be dire consequences and repercussions over that insensitive action of government. Seems to me that President, Jonathan has himself courted the occupy phenomenon.
However, one is convinced that President Jonathan has not only gotten away with what would have become our own Egypt, or even Libya, but could well restore his administration’s subsidy removal later in the year without a whimper from anybody. The culture of unselfish, civic minded protest simply doesn’t exist in Nigeria. How else can one account for how every thing seemingly vapourised as soon as labour called off its subsidy strike and the troops took over Lagos?
The Unexplored Potentials in the Insurance Industry
“Thinking out of the box,” is a term people mouth at almost every opportunity. Truth be told, there has never been a time like this in the history, not just of Nigeria, but of the entire world when innovation is called for, in order that nations may survive, or go the way of the Arab Spring.
Let me take a moment here to briefly talk about the potentials in the insurance industry before returning to the Landassets plan. In 2001, I consulted for an organization which had some extensive property holdings. Towards the end of my affiliation with the organization, I traveled to Ibadan and had a brief encounter with an executive of an insurance company. On the way back to Lagos from Ibadan, I spent time thinking about some of the things the man had said, and gradually, my thought processes pointed me to what has become the LandAssets plan.
Whilst the LandAssets plan is anchored on the universal insurance of landed assets, which is to be achieved by having property owners voluntarily take on policies on their properties (and not by coercion), the following insurance portfolios could be developed on a mass basis, with would-be policy takers/holders willingly coming to take such policies (not by coercion):
(i) Employment Insurance: Insurance companies could develop policies that would compensate job holders for loss of jobs over time. Such policies, for a minimal sum, may not attract full (100%) compensation within the first two years, consistent with when a job is considered secured, after which, providing the insured consistently pays his/her annual premium, could receive an insured sum that could be worth his/her three years salary. The reasoning behind this, based on a win-win assumption, is that firstly; there is no way up to 5% of all the insured would/suffer job losses at the same time, and 3 years salary is something one can use to face life after the loss of one’s job.
(ii) Contract Insurance
In the Nigeria context, a number of individuals, companies, corporations, institutions and even governments award contracts which they, after execution, do not pay for. Having such contracts insured would guarantee that the issuing authority would be minded to pay, since the insurance company would be empowered by such policies to go to court on behalf of the insured, not only to wrest payment, but to seek and receive compensation for non payment as, and at when due. Conversely, the party that awards the contract could have itself indemnified by taking on an insurance policy to ensure execution.
(iii) Content Insurance
To a large extent, I know there are pockets of policies here and there for the coverage of contents of residential apartments, houses, business units, offices, factories, warehouses, etc. If the insurance companies could embark on executing policies with very minimal premium payment for the contents of properties in this economy as things are at present, not less than N500 billion would be realized as Annual premium payments by policy holders. Matter of fact, the Landassets plan covers some aspects of Content Insurance.
(iv) Business Insurance
Business owners should be encouraged to under take Going Concern valuations of their businesses, and to subsequently take on polices to cover such businesses from the vagaries of nature and the business environment. Again, at minimal rates, a huge annual premium would be generated from such classes of insurance.
(v) Travel Insurance
In the early 1980’s, I recall that NICON Ltd used to have a Journey or Travel Insurance which attracted something like N1,000 premium for a coverage of about N100,000 per person. Imagine for a moment that the Insurance companies would have representatives all over the airports, railway stations, inter-state motor parks, etc, who cover one-half of all travelers on a daily basis. The premium from that class of insurance would exceed N100 billion per annum, and I am certain that the claims may never exceed N20 billion per annum. And, imagine for a moment also how many jobs would be created in the process.
(vi) Construction Insurance
Under this class of insurance there would be an “Indemnity insurance”, which the contract awardee would take out in the process of the “Awarder” failing to pay the contract sum post-execution. Secondly, a second insurance policy could cover the process of execution of the subject contract and personnel involved in the execution thereof. There is no way this class of insurance would not attract over N200 billion in premium payment per annum for all building/construction contracts, be they government generated or private sector generated.
I believe that if one seriously applies oneself to it, one could rake up other classes of insurance to cover things like Movie production, Schools, Churches, etc. What I am certain about is that the insurance industry is a mine that should be excavated with earth boring equipment. Stretching that metaphor a bit, no insult intended, what we are currently doing is like trying to affect that mining process with bare hands.
Finally, before addressing the core issue here, the Landassets plan, imagine that for once, the insurance companies would decide, in this year of our Lord, (2012) to situate small offices in the 774 Local government council offices, with the sole objective of selling motor vehicle insurance to vehicle owners, instead of expecting them to troop to their offices in Lagos and Victoria Island in the Lagos context, as policy holders are wont to. Imagine what the resultant effect would be: thousands of jobs would be created, and billions in premium payment generated.
For one, all the fake insurance policies that are sold in such licensing offices would be eliminated and the number of comprehensive covers would increase astronomically. From all the types of insurance covers afore listed, there is no way over N1 trillion cannot be realized in annual premium this fiscal year.
The LandAssets Plan
As has been remarked elsewhere in this treatise, the encounter with an insurance executive at Ibadan in 2001, and my fixation with the NEEDS document of the Obasanjo presidency, got me on the trail which has culminated in what has become the Landassets plan. In the said NEEDS Document, it was observed that the implementation of NEEDS “will require a heavy investment programme to jump start the economy in a manner that is pro-poor and poverty reducing.” Moreover, it further observed that, “Aside from the projected investment by the Federal and State Government as well as the private sector, there is still a “Residual Financing Gap” which requires special efforts to mobilize the required finance. Although NEEDS has been long abandoned, the necessity to generate the “Residual Financing Gap” is a fact we can’t still avoid.
Since neither the Federal Government, State Governments nor Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu could come up with their own aspects of the said projected “Residual Financing Gap” instead of the “pro-poor and poverty reducing” concept of the NEEDS Document, the Federal Government, in tandem with State Governments, have now resorted to wringing the poor absolutely dry to fund the said investments – read, execute the supposed or projected benefits of subsidy removal. Could the LandAssets plan serve the purpose of meeting the Residual Financing Gap?
The Landassets plan is essentially a multi-faceted insurance scheme which seeks to use the dormant wealth of the rich and the wealthy to create more wealth in the economy, and in the process, create millions of enduring jobs. It would involve evolving a UNIVERSAL INSURANCE COVERAGE for all landed properties (Real Estate) situate in the Urban and Semi-urban Areas of the economy.
When we began to examine the probability of establishing such a scheme, we realized immediately, as the NEEDS document had observed, that there has been a long standing “revelation that the growth of the industry has been stunted by poor insurance awareness”, and that the sector was “mired by lingering credibility stigma.” Moreover, insurance practice in Nigeria has been all “sticks” and no “carrots.” The LandAssets plan seeks to provide the missing carrots in insurance practice in the Nigerian economy.
We resolved that the “Lingering Credibility Stigma” could be blotted out in no time if the sector would be made to adopt transparent claims procedures with the insuring public which didn’t take advantage of well meaning policy holders who come to their insurance companies for help in their time of need. Meeting claims transparently and being there for policy holders would reverse greatly, such credibility stigma.
The details of the arguments, reasons and resolutions which added up to the establishment of the LANDASSETS PLAN, have been published on the web, via the “Advertorial” contained in this maiden edition of The Property Gazette online.
Given our view to attract higher insurance volume, penetration and premium, our projections on premiums were considerably lower than what currently obtains in the industry. Based therefore on premium anyone could derisively refer to as “peppercorn,” the sum of N2.7 trillion would be realized as Gross Premium in the first year of implementation of the scheme. Over a ten-year period, with a gradual upward review every 5th year; the projected Gross Premium receivable would be at least N13.5 trillions.
Notably, in the first year of implementation, Estate Surveying and Valuation firms, who would be engaged by LandAssets Corporation, (into which LandAssets Consult would transform) would receive a projected total sum of N45 billions in valuation fees. Other professionals such as Engineering, Architectural, Building, Law, Management and other firms would be paid an estimated N100 billions. Whilst valuation firms would receive a projected N50 billions again in the sixth year after commencement of the scheme, the other firms as scheduled above, would receive the same N100 billions annually for the first five years, until the sixth year, after revaluation, when their fees would increase to N135 billions per annum for the succeeding five years (i.e. from the 6th to the 10th year). Such annuities would be made from construction of water hydrants, execution of “as built” architectural plans of buildings, redevelopment of covered properties, etc.
The Projected Results from the Institution of the LandAssets Plan
(The value we have placed on the properties which are the subject matter of this scheme is N900 trillion, and they command an annuity or rental of N45 trillion)
1. A projected Annual Premium of N2.7 trillions per annum for the first five years and N3.00 trillions per annum for the succeeding five years.
- An aggregate premium of N 28.5 trillion over a ten year period, by which time LandAssets Corporation would voluntarily disengage its services to the insurance companies as Broker and Co-coordinator of the LandAssets Plan;
LandAssets would have become a multi-faceted organization with interests in Re-insurance, Insurance, Insurance Brokerage, Property development, Oil and Gas Refining and Marketing, Telecommunications, Manufacturing and industrialization, etc.
LandAssets Corporation, on its part would guarantee and voluntarily provide 10 percent reinsurance coverage for every property covered under this scheme to meet 10 percent of the resulting annual claims under the scheme;
LandAssets Corporation would by the third year become a publicly quoted company with a net worth of N2 trillions to be subscribed to by the general public, with a view to wealth redistribution;
LandAssets Corporation would create:
A Construction Subsidiary;
Property Development Subsidiary;
A Reinsurance Subsidiary;
A Manufacturing Subsidiary with manufacturing outfits in the six geo-political zones of the economy;
A Mortgage Company, with branches al over the Federation and,
An Investment Subsidiary that would invest in other companies via the stock market;
LandAssets Corporation would encourage the participating insurance companies to float an INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT FUND (IDMF) with 10 percent of their Receivable Premium from the subject scheme, which we estimate at N 233.0 billions, and to subscribe a further 10 per cent per annum for a further four years; amounting cumulatively to N932.0 billions.
The insurance companies would be well advised to invest some own funds on property development, industrialization, manufacturing, etc.
The LandAssets Plan and Job Creation
From the foregoing projected results from the implementation of the scheme, we expect the insurance companies to increase their existing man power base, to properly situate the expansion an additional premium income of N 2.7 trillion should add to the present N200 billion premium base, which the present manpower base in turn, would account for. We expect that this, country wide, shouldn’t be less than five hundred thousand new jobs in the insurance industry, consisting of insurance and insurance brokerage firms.
In addition, given the take off requirements of the plan in all the states of the Federation, and the additional requirements by subsidiaries LandAssets Corporation would create, it would be safe to say that we expect to create about one million, five hundred thousand jobs at the end of the second year of implementation. Finally, we would not be expecting too much of our partner firms:
The Estate Surveying firms;
The Construction companies;
The Architectural firms;
The Engineering firms;
The Law firms; and,
The Management firms that would inevitably be hired to assist LandAssets Corporation in capacities in which the company cannot be physically present, to assist in depleting the rank of the unemployed by employing more hands.
Five years from inception of the scheme, I can see the Motor Manufacturing subsidiary of LandAssets Corporation, manufacturing vehicles (saloon cars) for the lower middle class in the Nigerian economy, and taking it further down the class rung as the year’s role by. I see the property development subsidiary developing properties in all the states of the Federation for owner occupants who would only pay their monthly mortgages towards owning their own moderately priced properties, not the exorbitant properties that are being developed for the rich only.
The Boko Haram phenomenon has found fertile ground amongst the rank of the angry and bitter unemployed. Since our governments are not doing anything significant about reducing the rank of the jobless, it would take innovation and effort by some people of integrity to reverse the self destruct focused direction of our governments.
As an ordained Pastor in the service of the Lord, I am in this scheme to make a very noteworthy contribution to the development of the Nigerian nation. Over time too, I have observed some honourable Nigerians whom I believe have the integrity to drive the LANDASSETS dream and bring it to reality. I would therefore be highly gratified if the following highly esteemed Nigerians would consent to be drafted into the Board of LandAssets Consult Ltd; (soon to be LandAssets Corporation Ltd):
- Pastor Felix Ohiwerei; (to serve as Chairman);
- Prof. Ben Nwabueze;
- Colonel Abubakar Umar (Rtd);
- Pastor Ayo Adeloye;
- Chief (Colonel) M. Morah (Rtd); and,
- Mr. Fola Daniel (of NAICOM).
Mr. Fola Daniel’s inclusion would however only be possible if the NAICOM Act would allow such inclusion. Otherwise, any other insurance executive he nominates would serve the required purpose. Well over two years after the Jonathan presidency came into office, we are at a loss as to where we are being led. The imposition of the “petroleum subsidy removal, last January on a citizenry which had been terrorized by the Boko Haram phenomenon, seems to me, highly insensitive.
Most of the above personages have been selected for their leadership qualities, moral direction and the integrity they would bring to the LandAssets project. It would be alright by us if Messrs Nwabueze, and Morah because of their ages, would nominate representatives. In addition to the foregoing, a couple or more technocrats would be added to the board, with Pastor Ohiwerei as chairman.
Over two years after this regime came into power, how many jobs have been created, both by the governments and the private sector? In my considered opinion, the Jonathan presidency has seen more job losses than jobs created, though, one must add, he can’t, in all honesty, be held accountable for all our economic ills.
I challenge the Insurance Commissioner, Mr. Fola Daniels to see this proposal for what it is – a scheme that would propel the Insurance sub-sector under his watch, into a new orbit. I challenge anybody to show me anything else that is workable, implementable, and viable, and at zero cost to the Federal Government. I challenge President Jonathan to lend all the assistance his presidency can to this scheme, as it would be a great arsenal in making his Presidency stand out. I challenge the about 500 plus men and women in the National Assembly to lend their voices to this project that would impact their constituencies in ways their constituency votes have never impacted them; and at no cost to government whatsoever. I equally challenge all property owners in this nation to insure their properties under this scheme under which they would have to pay less than 10 percent of what they currently have to pay to have their properties insured, with the dual guarantee that no fuss would be made before their claims are met, and that the driver and manager of the scheme, LANDASSETS CONSULT, would construct water hydrants, on a continual basis, in every urban and semi-urban area within the economy, at no cost to either themselves or government, in order to ensure that their properties would not go up in flames whenever the public utility decides to misbehave, due to power surges. Finally, I challenge all practicing politicians, the impoverished, the dispossessed, the unemployed, the underemployed, and the poor to force the hands of their representatives to think about them for just this once.
In closing, let me restate that the LandAssets plan is about “thinking out of the box;” it’s about innovation. In his state of the Union address of 2011, President Barack Obama said: “Innovation is not just how we change our lives; it is how we live… We must reinvent ourselves… we must knock down barriers… our destiny remains our choice.”
The LandAssets plan is a very radical and innovative scheme. We
admit that. But, as late Teddy Pendergrass said in the lyrics of the hit song, “Wake up Everybody,” ”The world will get no better, if we just let it be… We must change it, yeah, you and me.”
Finally, the eminent jurist, Lord Denning MR, said, “If we never do anything which has not been done before, we shall never get anywhere. The law will stand still while the rest of the world goes on: and that will be bad for both.”
Management experts talk a great deal about ‘innovation,’ ‘change,’ ‘paradigm shift’ and all that, but most people, especially those at the top neither recognize innovation nor embrace it, even when change is obvious and inevitable.
Let’s innovate. Let’s create jobs. Let’s create wealth. Let’s redistribute wealth. Let the one percent open the door for the rest 99 percent. Let’s avoid violent change. Lets avoid the occupy phenomenon, even though we seem to have courted it.