9 months ago

BusinessDay 15 April 2018

26 C002D5556 Sunday

26 C002D5556 Sunday 15 April 2018 Perspective Ekiti 2018: Still on why Fayemi should not run SEGUN DIPE The first duty of a man is to think for himself” -José Martí In his classic, A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches, Martin Luther King Jr. writes: “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” The above buttresses the points I am going to make here regarding the controversies surrounding whether or not Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, immediate past governor of Ekiti State and currently the Minister of Solid Minerals, should throw himself into the ring to vie for the governorship slot in the coming election in the state. Each time I write, I never doubted the quality and competency of Fayemi to govern Ekiti State again and again, and that is never reflected in my arguments. And this is not any different. I write this as someone who admires Fayemi and thinks he has had a distinguished career in the Nigerian politics. He was certainly my choice in 2011. I also believe he has done an excellent job. But I have been particularly concerned about the timing. I see Fayemi as deeply soaked in hostilities this time around and a lot of arrows darted towards him and his ambition to govern Ekiti again. And I see Fayemi as too suave and too strategic but too naïve to face the attack. I therefore, strongly wish he doesn’t swim against the tide this time. With disquieting attention, I have read a lot of pro-Fayemi declaration articles, luring him to declare and run for the election. While the intention here is not to dwell on the vituperous nature of those articles, I must confess however, that they all lack the required conviction. I find all of them to be off the cuff. Each of the articles reads like the Ahitophelian counselling. It reeks of the fabled “Erin ka re’le ko wa joba…” Let me digress a bit here and tell the story of the biblical Ahitophel. He was a counselor of King David and a man greatly renowned for his sagacity. During Absalom’s revolt he deserted David (Psalm 41:9; 55:12–14) and supported Absalom (2 Samuel 15:12). Ahitophel had recommended to Absalom’s army an immediate attack on David’s camp at a point where David was weary and vulnerable (2 Samuel 17:1-2), whereas Hushai suggested that “the advice that Ahithophel has given is not good at this time” (2 Samuel 17:7) and recommended delay while a larger army was assembled to counter David’s alleged strength (2 Samuel 17:11-13). Perversely, “for the LORD had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel” (2 Samuel 17:14), Hushai’s advice was accepted. Fayemi Seeing that his good advice against David had not been followed due to Hushai’s influence, Ahithophel then left the camp of Absalom at once. He returned to Giloh, his native place, and after arranging his worldly affairs, hanged himself, and was buried in the sepulcher of his fathers (2 Samuel 17:23). You see, when a man suddenly starts bragging to his wife, trying to prove to her that he is the husband, then, something serious is amiss and his claim to that husband position has suffered some mishap. Otherwise, why should a person come out to write an article like Fayemi and the rest of us, or Who is afraid of Fayemi? Why should Fayemi’s wife be the one to be running from pillar to post, begging the people Fayemi once led to allow him to run? Why should a Fayemi (not a Dino Melaye) be uttering a statement like Ajekun Iya ni o je? These are murkier answers to our probing questions on how Fayemi intends to navigate the landmines without getting trapped. One of them even wrote: “For the APC faithful in Ekiti state, before you work against JKF, always ask yourself these three questions: Why am l doing it? What will the result be? and Will I be fulfilled? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.” Just because someone asks Fayemi to run does not mean he has Fayemi’s best interest at heart, and not his, and just because someone like me asks Fayemi not to run doesn’t mean that I hate Fayemi. I have no reason to. And, we, his people, should not feel pressured to prove our love to him, at the expense of the love for the party. Fayemi and the gang think they are always right and the rest of us who oppose his ambition, this time around, are always wrong. They think they know Ekiti more than us and they know what the people want better than the rest of us. They also think the only Messiah Ekiti needs after a Fayose is a Fayemi. Running for office for the right reasons is critical, not only to gain support but also to win. The questions agitating the minds of some of us include, but not limited to the following: what other factor can be pushing Fayemi to run other than to finish what he called an Unfinished Business? Why can’t he pull up one of the people he had mentored and back him/her up with all the resources at his disposal? For the APC faithful in Ekiti state, before you work against JKF, always ask yourself these three questions: Why am l doing it? What will the result be? and Will I be fulfilled? Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead What is he finding so attractive in the state pilloried by Fayose that he is ready to spend all his life savings to want to return to the seat? How will he take a defeat at the primaries? Will he still remain a party leader? How will he take another defeat by Fayose at the election proper? What will he be doing differently should he eventually get there? We now live in an extraordinary moment for democratic government, where confidence in the honesty of political leaders is seemingly at an all-time low. By announcing that he will seek a second term in the coming election, Fayemi has reduced his status from that of a leader of the party in Ekiti, to that of an aspirant, like others. And he should not think he would be accorded the same respect he was being accorded years ago or would have been accorded if he had not thrown himself into the ring. Fact of the matter is that revenge against the incumbent, because “he did something to me so I’m going to beat him” is not a good reason to begin running for office. Revenge is a horrible reason to run, no matter how bad the opponent is. Make sure there are other motivations that drive you. And this, we haven’t seen in the Fayemi renewed ambition. He should also not run because he thinks he can win, having, in his words, installed all the excos there from the ward to the state level. It is important that he should have a chance of success and carry all of us along ab initio. But having to run because he thinks he has an upper hand to force-feed everyone to win, is an invitation to failure. Fayemi should realise that 2018 is not 2011. Then, he was a dyed-inthe-wool Tinubu protégé. Today, he has fallen out of favour with Tinubu, while Tinubu has suddenly renewed his political strength. Or can anyone tell us when Fayemi last attended any of Tinubu’s functions? During his days as a governor, Fayemi would play a key role in organising the Bola Tinubu colloquium, which friends and loyalists of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) put together annually. But not in the last two years. He has been consistently absent at every of Tinubu’s events. Whether or not that represents a problem is a different matter. The obligations of being a Tinubu friend or loyalist are not comparable to being a governor of Ekiti State after a rough rider like Fayose in terms of the demands placed on the office holder. There is no reason to think that someone not backed by a Tinubu or any of the party leaders in the Southwest could not carry out the duties required of them. But this matters a lot in determining who flies the flag of the progressives. Be it now or in the time of Awo, it is held that if you are too big to follow, then you are too small to lead. Loyalty matters a lot. Of course, one does not need to be a legal expert to see that a Fayemi candidacy will cause a great sore and it will attract a lot of legal maggots towards APC. So, why must we take this risky path that will greatly bruise the party and reduce its potency towards the July 15 governorship election? We will then be left with little or no room, should a speedy trial be allowed and Fayemi fails to convince the court as to why he willfully disregarded the law passed by the lawmakers during his time as a governor. I am not also sure that the angst of the people, for no apparent reason, has subsided against Fayemi. And do we still have the same strength to cross all the legal hurdles we crossed between 2011 and 2014, at a highly prohibitive cost? Then we were the complainant, now we are likely to be the defendant. After three and a half years fighting through the legal system the appeal court sitting in Kwara State eventually on 15 October 2010 declared Fayemi the duly elected Governor of Ekiti State, marking the end of Olusegun Oni’s administration as the then governor of the state. Has the camp of Oni forgotten this? From the national level, is the party any ready to back us up to fight a war of blame, where we will be pelted with mudsling and our white and transparent clothes become soiled? Why should it be Ekiti again? Who is going to commit his resources this time around? Where are those strong warriors who fought side-by-side Fayemi in the trench for the three and a half years? Is the former governor and minister of Solid Mineral’s ambition that vital to our success at the polls to want to lose another set of arms and limbs? Ibere ogun la nmo, enikan kii mo ipari ogun… Dipe, journalist and political analyst, writes from Ado-Ekiti

Sunday 15 April 2018 C002D5556 27 Perspective Educational trust and lasting legacy for children, the Stanbic IBTC example BINTA MAX-GBINIJE The desire of all parents is to give their children the best in life: the best upbringing, education, exposure, life experiences, and so on. Of these, however, perhaps the greatest legacy a parent can bequeath to a child is sound and qualitative education. Education gives a child a sound footing in life, which explains why as parents we continue to seek out the best education opportunities for our children worldwide. From neighbouring Benin Republic, South Africa to far away Japan, Australia, and even Iceland, Nigerians pay billions of dollars to ensure their children are properly educated. Qualitative education, unfortunately, does not come cheap. The average tuition in Nigeria, excluding feeding, boarding, books, and others, to train a child through 12 years of schooling (primary and secondary schooling) in an average private school is about N12 million and about N5 million through university. These figures, it must be said, are conservative and they continue to rise to reflect inflation. Financing foreign education is far pricier. The total yearly average cost of studying in a UK university, for instance, is roughly N8 million. This comes to N24 million for the three years it takes to earn a degree in that country. For parents who cannot afford foreign education for their children, the situation in local schools is not much different as school and other sundry fees continue to rise faster than family income, in line with inflation and other macroeconomic factors. Due to regular disruptions in academic calendar of public schools in the country from strikes and protests, and the perception of low quality, private schools are preferred by parents. Quality education for children, even for the wealthy or comfortable, could sometimes be daunting. And the reality for many other parents is that their desire for the best education for their children is often unmatched by their financial power. This mismatch is often a painful challenge. However, with proper planning and smart investments in educational trusts, training our children in the best schools anywhere in the world, even for the average-income family can be achieved. Unfortunately, many of us still do not appreciate the astonishing power a Trust has to help smoothen the rough financial edges and make the attainment of family goals and aspirations, including qualitative education for our children, almost painless and seamless. To give a proper perspective, let us examine Trust. Trust is an arrangement between two persons/entities whereby one entity agrees to hold assets for the benefit of other person(s) who may include the person with which the arrangement was entered into. The initiator of the Trust is called the ‘Settlor’ or ‘Grantor’, the entity agreeing to hold the assets for the benefit of another is called the ‘Trustee’ and the person for whose benefit the asset is being held is called the ‘Beneficiary’. Put differently, a Trust is an arrangement whereby assets are transferred by an individual or a corporate, known as the ‘settlor’, to a trustee, to be held by the trustee for the benefit of certain beneficiaries. A Trust is an estate planning tool which helps an individual plan his estate in such a way as to protect his or her wealth and eventually pass it on in a smooth inter-generational transfer. A parent may have the wherewithal to adequately provide quality education for the Boko Haram Binta child but the unfortunate incident of death with no planning in place may sometimes scuttle even the best of intentions. An Educational Trust comes in handy in such situations. A typical example of an education trust is the Stanbic IBTC Educational Trust called SET, which is specifically designed to address such and many other needs. For instance, SET translates intentions to concrete actions by ensuring continuity of the educational trust objectives, which include uninterrupted schooling and qualitative education for the beneficiary through an education protection plan. Such a plan includes ensuring the Trust is well funded by the settlor and making direct payments to the beneficiary’s school by Stanbic IBTC Trustees to negate diversion of funds in any form. If you ever wondered how some families remain perpetually wealthy generations after the original creator of the wealth – unfortunately, it is hard to find many examples in Nigeria – look no further than Trust. The Rockefeller family in the US is a famous example of how Trust can help create, preserve and protect wealth. The Rockefeller progenitor, John D. Rockefeller, became the first American billionaire in 1914. Several generations later and over 104 years after the first billion, the Rockefeller family is still in the billionaire bracket today, according to Forbes’ American Wealthiest families, thanks to a number of Trust Funds John D. Rockefeller Jr. established for his children in 1934. The late pop-star, Michael Jackson, was reported to have left almost half of his assets in a Trust for his three children. Jackson’s assets, estimated to be worth billions of dollars, are held in a Trust. His reported $400 million debt at death could not be deducted from the assets in his Trust. That is one of the beauties of a Trust; it can only be used for the purpose it was meant for. So, an Educational Trust for a child can only be used by the trustees for the child’s education and nothing else. An Educational Trust like SET is also a particularly useful estate planning tool every parent needs to sign up for. While we all hope to live to be very old and in good health, some- times people inexplicably suffer ill health or death suddenly strikes. When such happens, the Educational Trust immediately kicks in to ensure that the child does not miss a day of schooling in the event the parent is incapacitated or gone. Trust kicks in immediately because unlike Wills Trust assets do not go through the probate process/courts, which could be cumbersome and time consuming. And what is the role of a trustee in the process and beyond? A trustee has the competence to assess individual situations and then determine how best to structure an Educational Trust or a General Trust in a way to benefit the settlor and his loved ones, particularly the children, while the settlor is alive as well as when he is gone. To establish a General Trust or an Edu- Unfortunately, many of us still do not appreciate the astonishing power a Trust has to help smoothen the rough financial edges and make the attainment of family goals and aspirations, including qualitative education for our children, almost painless and seamless cational Trust for a child, a parent/guardian needs to take stock of his or her assets and then determine which asset(s) will be put in the Trust. One can then approach a trustee, a corporate organisation. Interestingly, Trust is not new in the country; informally, trusteeship is an old practice among various ethnic groups in Nigeria. For instance, it is common practice for a man with young children to put his property in the care of a trusted friend or family member for onward transfer to his children, in the event he dies before the children come of age. This is Trusteeship. However, while a corporate trustee basically performs a similar role, trusteeship services provided by legal entities such as Stanbic IBTC Trustees adhere to strict corporate governance rules and practices. It is usually advised that a corporate entity like Stanbic IBTC Trustees be engaged to establish the Trust because it has competent professionals who are experienced and knowledgeable in these matters, and they are regulated by a government agency, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and a self-regulating organisation, the Association of Corporate Trustees, to ensure ethical practices. Another unique benefit of SET is that it is covered by insurance via an education protection plan, to cover death or incapacitation of the settler. Estate planning is a very important matter and one which people are highly encouraged to attend to. Awareness is gradually catching on, particularly with global and national events such as air crashes and the like. These events bring the issue of our mortality to mind as people are reminded that death is inevitable and no respecter of persons. Though slow going, people are realising the benefits and importance of trusteeship services; with more people buying into the idea and consequently doing the right thing. An important aspect of Trust, however, is funding and or the asset transfer. The Trust is expected to own something so having done the necessary background work, documentations and having obtained all the proper sign-offs, it is very important that the settlor transfers assets to the Trust because if a Trust is unfunded or does not hold any assets, it is not an executable legal entity. It is like opening a bank account to save money and yet the account remains empty as funds are not being deposited. Too many people struggle to do the hard work but end up not activating the Trust by transferring assets to it. A settlor must determine how the Trust will be funded and then it is imperative that he transfers the most significant assets into the Trust as soon as he can. If we truly desire that our children should have the best education, preferably from Ivy League schools, to give them the best chance at succeeding in life, then what we do now will determine that. It is a simple process of determining the cost of such education now, factoring in inflation for when the children will be ready for university education and putting the funding or asset equivalent in a Trust if you have such available, and if not readily available, the settlor can consistently fund the Trust as the years go by. A SET calculator will be useful in helping you know how much will be needed to train the child through school. Not many approved the lifestyle of Michael Jackson but it is hard to fault his love and dedication to his children when we consider that he was smart enough to think beyond the immediate by establishing a Trust that will help guarantee a level of comfort and financial stability for his children. Many of us tend to be too focused on the here and now that we sometimes inadvertently jeopardise the future of the very children we claim to love. You certainly don’t want to jeopardise the future of your children by leaving it to chance. Now is the time to do the smart and responsible thing by initiating the Educational Trust process. Binta Max-Gbinije is the chief executive of Stanbic IBTC Trustees Limited, a member of the Stanbic IBTC Group.

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