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The Gatwick Story! By Val Obienyem

Gatwick Airpot, London
Adebayo Ogunlesi
We landed at London Gatwick Airport this morning. After we entered the taxi at the Car Park, my boss, Mr. Peter Obi, though he had the choice of leaving the trolley at the point we entered the taxi, made sure he returned it to the collection point. Being a thoroughly organized and fantastically neat man, mad in love with order, I thought his action was in line with his inclination. Behold, he told me that once one returned the trolley, one’s money for the usage of the trolley would be refunded. Indeed, I saw him clutching the coins in the conscious grandeur of one who had made business gain.

Lest you think about what he can do even to get the smallest amount others of his stature will ordinarily ignore, the next Mall we entered, he put exactly the same money into charity collection box. For him, money should always be spent for right purposes and in the interest of those that need it.

He spent time discussing Nigeria with me. I have never seen any man that is passionate about the good of the country as he is.

He told me that Gatwick Airport in London, as neat and well organized as it is, is managed by a Nigerian. Consciously or unconsciously delving into his field: global finance and management, he told me that the Nigerian in question was Adebayo Ogunlesi.

He said the man was the Chairman of Global Infrastructure Partners, which sat atop over 40 billion Dollars portfolio with annual revenue of over 5 billion dollars.

He also told me of how the man, intoxicated by patriotism, wanted to take over and manage Lagos and Abuja airports, but could not pull through.

As I write, I have been pondering this revelation. After travelling out of this country, one’s conviction that we were not ripe for independence is reinforced. Nigeria cannot, for all the teas in China, achieve Oyibos level of development in our life time.

When one sees the mismanagement that has become our nemesis, one believes that Nigeria should be loaned to good leaders/managers to handle her for fifty years.

How can an Ogunlesi, who manages Gatwick and other critical infrastructure in many parts of the world not be begged to come and manage all the airports in Nigeria? For our country to develop, we must learn to use our best in various fields.

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