Malta is a brilliantly beautiful island paradise. I have never been there but stories and images of the excitingly wonderful Island assail my mind, puling and dragging me towards it’s obviously alluring offering. But today, Malta for me remains a sign post of a seeming international conspiracy to further weave a shameful bind around an otherwise very hardworking young man, Ken Etete.
While surfing news sites on the internet like I always do, I stumbled on a Maltese website where an article was published on the seeming establishment of a firm and registered on the Island by Mr. Etete. The writer painfully attempted to tie this event to the ongoing rapacious incident around the very controversial Malabu oil block which has outlived three Nigerian administrations and engaged investigators from three continents with some other top international oil industry professionals facing trial in Italy I suppose.
This write up caught my attention and made me read it a little bit more carefully. I had met Ken severally and he created a deserving impression on me over a one year period, hence my interest in the article.
As I skinned through it, I realised that this was a vacuous attempt at tying this young fella to an issue that continues to defy common sense. An issue that has seen victory on several platforms by the defendants but with its traducers pushing much more aggressively at every defeat. The article I was looking at had only one paragraph describing the setting up of a Century franchise and registered on the Island and immediately tied it to the erstwhile Oil Minister, Dan Etete, who is at the centre of it all, and from there went straight into regurgitating seeming facts that the reading public is now becoming tired and bored with.
Basically, there was no fresh insight on the job, but a work from a rogue reporter.
For me, I immediately refused to dwell on the article, which in my mind’s eye fired blank missiles reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s scud missiles which came with a lot of noise but inflicted minimal damage. This was bland.
Ken remains an enigma to me and to those who really know him. He had walked into a theatre project I was involved in and with rapt attention watched the production with so much concentration that amazed me. After that particular production, he had wanted to know how we could work together in building a structure that would put more youths to gainful employment using the entertainment industry as the veritable to deliver on this promise.
He was soft spoken but very clear about his thoughts. As an oil industry player, he didn’t believe the sector with its limited potentials viz the shifting global energy paradigm would be able to secure the future of the teeming youths. His vision is to redirect the enormous but shrinking resources garnered from the Oil Industry towards the much more viable growth sectors with vast potentials of securing legitimate livelihoods for our teeming youths.
He wanted to concentrate on the entertainment industry hence his support for theatre and other known initiatives.
Ken, walks around with a pain. A pain borne out of the continual lost opportunities that comes within the ironic plumage of huge resources. He sees wasted chances effected by castrated leadership and a very strong reluctance of the system to throw up responsive arrowheads as a major set back in fulfilling our collective destinies.
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He walks around with the weight of a surname that means different things to different people. A surname in his own estimation that midwifed the indigenous player In the lucrative upstream oil sector which has thrown up many Nigerians including the richest black woman in the world but today in equal terms have led to the soiling of the name by an ungrateful nation.
He remains undeterred as he continues on the pathway he has strewn for himself, building and cementing not only his future but that of thousands who latch on and plug on to his template of sustainable co-existence.
Is he bothered by the Malabu conundrum? What does articles like this one from Malta do to him or his person? He is soft spoken and barely audible at most times but then again he assumes the Martin Luther King, ‘I have a dream’ posture and attempts an exploratory excursion into oratory which always amuses me. But it’s not in the way he is saying it but what he is saying.
Spewing with rapid fire, he unfolds a vision for the Nigerian youth, a platform for the building of hopes and the pragmatic engagement of our young ones into not only finding themselves but also positively engaging their talents. For him it is not only in the talking, but also in the doing and that is why today, this conversation is being held at the fringes of a Ken Etete-supported theatre production that has put over 300 youths to work.
Let’s just say for this person, Malta would not be the next holiday destination.