Revealed: How Then Governor Goodluck Jonathan Gave Obaigbena $1 Million From Bayelsa’s Poverty Alleviation Funds For Beyonce And Jay Z's Visit To Nigeria

Beyonce and Jayzee in Nigeria in October 2006
By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters has uncovered a document indicating that a million dollars of Bayelsa State’s poverty alleviation fund was spent by then Governor Goodluck Jonathan on bringing American entertainers Beyonce and Jay Z to Nigeria in 2006.

In a letter stamped and signed by Bayelsa officials, N150 million (approximately a million dollars in 2006) was released from the state’s poverty alleviation fund for the first ThisDay Music Festival in Lagos.

The document came to light after a controversy was ignited over how much money American “reality TV” star Kim Kardashian was paid for a brief visit to Nigeria.

Ms. Kardashian, star of a US TV show about her idle rich family and who shot to international fame after a sex tape featuring her and her rapper boyfriend went viral, was reportedly paid half a million dollars for the 24-hour-visit last week.

The sources who provided the 2006 document for Beyonce and Jay Z’s visit told Saharareporters that there was a shady financial link between the producers of some high profile entertainment events and the governors and other officials who control budgets at the state and federal levels. Mr. Obaigbena’s newspaper, ThisDay, is a major sponsor of entertainment events that brings US music stars as well as top public figures for flying visits to Nigeria in exchange for gargantuan paychecks.

“Mr. Obaigbena often lines up financial bonanzas from numerous governors, ministers and other top government officials to finance his jamborees,” said one of the sources who is based in the UK and is knowledgeable about such deals.

SaharaReporters obtained a letter from Mr. Obaigbena to the Bayelsa State government soliciting funds from the oil-producing state ahead of Nigeria’s 46th independence celebrations in 2006. The publisher wrote, “We invite you to partner with us as co-hosts of the festival.” The letter added: “With a total budget of $10 million, the co-host is expected to contribute a minimum of $2.5 million (two million five hundred thousand USD).”

At the bottom of the letter, minuted by hand and signed by then Governor Jonathan’s aides as well as the Bayelsa State accountant general are the words, “Release N150,000,000.00 (One hundred and fifty million naira) only to be drawn from the poverty alleviation subhead.”

One source told SaharaReporters that Mr. Obaigbena sent similar letters to other south-south states.  

SaharaReporters could not ascertain how much of the released funds was paid directly to performers at the festival. There is no indication that Beyonce, one of the few entertainment stars internationally famous enough to only need one name, was aware that her performance was being subsidized by the poor people of Bayelsa.

But during Beyonce’s celebrated rendition of the Nigerian national anthem, pictures of Bayelsa State were projected onto the wall of the Lagos concert venue.

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 47% of Bayelsans live in poverty. The World Bank says that per capita gross domestic product in the Niger Delta is significantly below the country’s average. According to the state’s own 2005 development strategy, 80% of rural communities have no access to safe drinking water, a key indicator in judging poverty. In Yenagoa, the state capital and Bayelsa’s largest urban area, an estimated two out of every five residents do not have access to safe drinking water.

In 2005, as part of its UN-approved strategy to combat poverty, the state promised to make a fund of N100 million available as soft loans and micro-credit to Bayelsans. The allocated fund was N50 million less than Mr. Jonathan approved for Mr. Obaigbena’s music festival. That promise was made in the Bayelsa State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, published by the United Nations Development Program and signed by then Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. A civil rights activist in Yenogoa told SaharaReporters that the state “has been a woeful failure in its poverty reduction program.”

The letter from Mr. Obaigbena to then-governor Goodluck Jonathan said the concert was necessary to show that the news from Nigeria was “not just…HIV/AIDS, conflicts, poverty, kidnapping, strife and riots.”

The publisher added: “This is the longest ever period of democracy in Nigeria, over seven years and counting! And a stable democracy means more investment and economic prosperity for all.”

The publisher went on to give reasons why the state government should contribute to the concert.

The stars’ performances would “tell the world, through music, that Nigeria’s time has come,” Mr. Obaigbena wrote. The letter added, “And once the good news catches on with the young and upwardly mobile, music loving new generation it will catch on with the world of investments and bountiful opportunities.”

In 2006, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan had just become governor of Bayelsa after his boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, was impeached and convicted on corruption charges.  Mr. Jonathan was then elevated to Vice President to then President Umaru Yar’Adua. Mr. Yar’Adua's death in 2010 enabled Mr. Jonathan, a zoologist whose PhD focused on tropical fish, to assume the presidency.

Since 2006, Mr. Obaigbena’s parent company, Leaders & Company, has produced a number of high-profile events that have seen such American stars as Rihanna, R Kelly, and Usher perform for Nigerians. The ticket prices for these concerts are usually out of reach of the “average” Nigerian. The events feature tickets that cost many tens of thousands of naira, usually reserved for “VIP access.” ThisDay has also hosted political luminaries like former US President Bill Clinton and former economic adviser to the Obama presidency, Lawrence Summers. At an Africa Rising concert in London, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell came on stage and danced to the popular Naija jam “Yahooze” by Olu Maintain.
 

 

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OC is an IMBECILE

OC u'r an imbecile for that stupid n senseless coment. People like u and d rats that will never allow our leaders to see n hear d truth. Bunch of sycophants. As for Jonathhan have always know he's is clueless and his PHD is questionable. He is totally deviod of intellects and come 2015 he must vacate Aso rock with immediate alarcrity

@Obyno Nwokukwu

You can make your point or contest my views without resorting to insults or exhibiting bad behaviour and crass upbringing. If it makes you happy to believe that I eat from the President's palms, then tough! I really don't care what you believe! You are absolutely free to believe whatever innuendos and inaccuracies you want to fill your head with.

Saying something positive, to you, means abusing the President or remembering an event that occurred over 6 years ago, and where there is no evidence of corruption or malfeasance. If the then Bayelsa State Govt (including the Legislature) voted or agreed the amount, what then is your own? Or why is it your business?

I would rather a Governor spends $1million on ENTERTAINMENT than spend it on ferrying pilgrims to Mecca or Jerusalem, which does not edify the nation. And if that is not positive enough for you, then you must have your head examined.

@Obyno Nwokukwu

You can make your point or contest my views without resorting to insults or exhibiting bad behaviour and crass upbringing. If it makes you happy to believe that I eat from the President's palms, then tough! I really don't care what you believe! You are absolutely free to believe whatever innuendos and inaccuracies you want to fill your head with.

Saying something positive, to you, means abusing the President or remembering an event that occurred over 6 years ago, and where there is no evidence of corruption or malfeasance. If the then Bayelsa State Govt (including the Legislature) voted or agreed the amount, what then is your own? Or why is it your business?

I would rather a Governor spends $1million on ENTERTAINMENT than spend it on ferrying pilgrims to Mecca or Jerusalem, which does not edify the nation. And if that is not positive enough for you, then you must have your head examined.

shame on you

@OC. This OC dude must be eating straight from GEJ's palms. You are not obliged to comment. if you have nothing positive to say, pls shut your trap. Anumanu

Mentally undeveloped Nigerians.

The article is spot on regarding the current state of affairs in this nation. Corruption is now an ocean that most Nigerian take extreme delight in swimming in. There is a disconnect between our conscience and corrupt practices at all levels of our Society. What a tragedy!

Wonders In Nigeria

Nigeria as a country is in need of cleansing. Nigerians must first overcome fear before they can successfully overcome corruption because corruption would need to be confronted in the most vehement way.

THANK YOU, SR

THank you for this exposure

So how much money did the concert make?

So did the concert make any money in return?

It is ridiculous what some of

It is ridiculous what some of this so called leader do with our hard earned-tax-payers-money! They really had no agenda before assuming office, so to expect more...anything from them at all is a waste of good time.
You need to check President Obama's take on the Kardashans... these are the people Nigerian leaders parade before us as "stars"..Why am I wasting my time...it is useless throwing your pearls to the swines...

PDP Governments are Uduka Obaigbena Sources of Revenue

Obaigbena is not close to the PDP State and Federal Governments for nothing but for business. His newspaper does not sustain him but the qualitative advantage of being a publisher in Nigeria, where the corrupt PDP Governments look for cover.

The PDP Presidents and Governors have to cough out the money to take refuge from a strewed person of Obaigbena. Who could blame Obaigbena for using sense of economics to target the corrupt PDP people?

When they disagree or Obaigbena is avoiding them, they go about setting fire to his newspaper house, assassinating his top journalists or sending boko to bomb his media house to flog him into line. How many of our generally clean progressive State Governors Obaigbena is close?

From 2015, Obaigbena will not have any PDP Government let alone easy business and money, as their will be no corrupt and guilty progressive President and Governors looking for a publisher’s cover and public relation agency.

Breaking away from my tradition...

It isn't my style to comment on unedifying issues like this, especially one that occurred over 6 years ago. The President should now be judged on his current record as President, and not for what he did as Governor about 6 years ago. Secondly, why should this issue concern non-Bayelsans? Allow Bayelsans to complain, while the Musas, Shehus and Garubas confront their own Governors that sponsor worthless ventures like send pilgrims to Mecca.

Has anyone attempted to quantify the benefits of such visits towards tourism and our entertainment industry? At least I can see many indirect benefits, including the successes of D'Banj, P2, Whiz-kid and co in the global entertainment scene.

WELL SAID JARE

Well said@Titilola Kolade. Can't agree with u more. We can blame the "leader" until we are blue in the face, it will not change anything. The greater blame lies in the court of the people for no leader came from the sky. Out of the people come leaders. Therefore a people deserve the kind of leaders they get. Until each and everyone of us change our mentality and ways and consciously decide that we will no longer accept the mediocres and corrupt charlatans as leaders we will keep wallowing in this guagmire we are in. GOD BLESS NIGERIA

We need a military coup to

We need a military coup to kill all these idiots. Where are the military men with a heart

Nigerians are mentally un-developed

If this official stealing goes on for another 100 years Nigerians cannot do anything other than talk about it. It's as simple as that.

Nigerians feel powerless to change their own country and therefore they become paralysed as they are continuously robbed by government officials on a daily basis.

Nigerians are the least politically developed people in Africa. They have smattering education and so can receive information, but cannot process it for any meaningful concerted action, even if their lives depend on it.

Nigerians are a people custom-made for slavery.

Obaigbena 419

@Abubakar Ibrahim:Please read Nduka's letter again. Nduka promised to bring more than a dozen popular international stars to the concert. He managed to bring only two least expensive stars. This is clear misrepresentation to ensure Jonathan parted with $1 million. This is fraud or 419!!

If not 419 what is?

@Abubakar Ibrahim:Please read Nduka's letter again. Nduka promised to bring more than a dozen popular international stars to the concert. He managed to bring only two least expensive stars. This is clear misrepresentation to ensure Jonathan parted with $1 million. This is fraud or 419!!

Your writeup sounds very

Your writeup sounds very idiotic,... infact the write up is totally idiotic

Nduka just got approval for

Nduka just got approval for hundreds of million for Arise with Etisalat.Well stealing continues and Giwa Osagie is an accomplice.He has not finished paying models for last year.This is sad.

Paying The Rich With The Widow's Might ...The Aborigines!

A few days ago they demanded N200-million Naira for the foreign workers Kidnapped along Bayelsa Coastline. On a daily basis they're stealing 450,000bls of oyl from our Bayelsa Loading Terminal. Stooge Dickson just pocketed N15Bn Naira claiming he's building Flyovers while the only Bridge linking riverine communities to the capital Yenagoa, The Goodluck Jonathan Bridge sank beneath the swamp way before the floods finally buried it below the river beds. So, I'm not the least amused that Dr. Dumbo as Governor approved a Chicken Change he picked from the pockets of the poor! HE HAD A FILE WITH THE EFCC ! ...Nduka is a business man for all I care, it's called Capitalism. Afterall, Bayelsa State Logo was prominently displayed during the event, that could have attracted investors/tourists.

Where is Aborigine Deri and his troop to tell us what Buhari did as Head of PTF. Call Ibos Kidnappers. Acquit Dumbo of Stealing from the Poor to Pay for the Rich to Party Hard. Drunkards!

Who Knows What Next?

$1.0m taken from poverty alleviation to further thicken the poverty chain, $0.5m paid for leg show to further enrich the rich and enable the poor to smile for 5 minutes.

Financial poverty is even better than poverty of ideas as been displayed here, 2015 go soon reach and the world go appraise Nigeria MDGs.

IS THERE ANY BENEFIT? YES OF COURSE!!

Even if Jonathan released 150million naira for this kind of a concert. DO you know what investment this has attracted to Nigeria?
Have you asked what the presence of former US President, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and former Prime Minster of the UK and other big global investment drivers have brought to Nigeria throught occasions like this, organized by THis Day?
I can tell you, YES, it has brought investments of more than one billion dollars to Nigeria shores!!
We need to always thinks outside of the box!!!

No be today yansh dey for back....e don tay.

I am not surprised to hear any of this. Nigeria is such a funny country. Big boyism in Nigeria includes activities such as paying an overhyped 'Ashewo' $500 k just to hype something. I am 95% sure that DBanj had a connection to this. Anyways, this is just one aspect. NOBODY is asking the governors of past and present where they get the money they use to "shower" non-development related activities. A good example is this: Our Super eagles won the 2013 AFCON: Govs of V,W,X,Y,Z States in Nigeria showered cash prizes on them. Where is this rain money coming from? The way we lay our bed is how we should lay on it. Let the corruption culture continue till the day when Nigerians realize that God is not going to leave Heaven just because of Nigeria. The day we realize that; We Nigerians will start reacting to our government. Till then, let's continue with the "God will judge them" way of thinking.

Federal Government committee to investigate $500000 paid to Kim

Federal Government committee to investigate $500000 paid to Kim Kardashian

http://www.wazobiareport.com/reports/Federal-Government-committee-to-investigate-$500000-paid-to-Kim-Kardashian

THERE IS A REVOLUTION COMING

THERE IS A REVOLUTION COMING TO NAIJA SOON. THIEVES AND CORRUPT POLITICIANS WILL NOT BE SPARED.

2015, WE AWAIT YOU...IT IS OUR TIME...SNP!!

Lagbaja's 200million Mumus

Nduka is a complete businessman who understands the business terrain of our country and really knows how to milk the corrupt politicians of our commonwealth.
The mumu(fool) that diverted $1million knew that the people would NEVER question him because they are all mumus(fools).
The blame can go round if well-shared but we(masses) own the largest share of this blame. For how long will blind men continue to lead an army of partially-blind and blind people? Until we start asking questions and our leaders are held accountable for their past misdeeds, Nigeria cannot move forward.
The onus is on us all to push for that change we really desire. May GOD help this generation. 2015 is another chance to get it right, let's join the change movement and participate actively in the processes. Enough of our siddon-look attitude like mumu.

IS THIS NOT INTERESTING???????? $500,000 & N150Million

Is this not sounding interesting? We just live in this country, sleep & wake up only to find our Leaders, over the nite, when we were asleep have sold away our dear country, Nigeria and they are telling us to believe them and give them a chance.
Nigerians are greedy!!!!!! I am sure that some of us commenting might do worse if this opportunities are presented before us; why?
Because we ALL lost our values long ago.
May God help and Heal Nigeria!!!!!! May He put His Almighty surgical knife and yank off ALL these.

Jona,Jona,Jona now that is

Jona,Jona,Jona now that is what i call WASTE..what were you dreaming of? getting to do kim or beyonce? come on..the pple of your state should actually squeeze your dirty old randy balls for that but again i would rather see you waste "your oil money" on those yankees than  building madrasas, financing mass marriages or kalokalo normadic "education" with it.

Common" This is TOTAL

Common" This is TOTAL BLACKMAIL ON GEJ.. how can that kind of money be paid for a concert that was held in Lagos.. This is total rubbish.. why not accuse the Gov of Lagos state as the concert was held in Lagos and not Bayelsa...Something is not right about this story.. Open your eyes my fellow Nigerians.

Revealed: How Then Governor Goodluck Jonathan Gave Obaigbena $1

What else would one expect from Jonadumbecile with forged certificates! He should be castrated for his stupidity and drunkenness.

where is Deri and Sultanofsokoto?

I cant seem to see any comment from those two tongue wagging illeterate fools! What happend? Thats is why you people would live in poverty, your leaders are your problems. Poverty alleviation funds for entertainment! Come on, who would do such a thing to humanity especially to his own state people. The scanned copy of the doccument is displayed here, yet you'd be fighting for someone who doesnt care of your exsitance! Shame on you both...

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