Trending: Blair hits gold with Jonathan, steel wall with Buhari

Trending: Blair hits gold with Jonathan, steel wall with Buhari

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 8:57 am


Tony Blair, with Buhari and Osinbajo in May 2015

Tony Blair, with Buhari and Osinbajo in May 2015

A new book by British investigative writer, Tom Bower has revealed in vivid details how former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair  has been making millions of dollars brokering deals in many parts of the world. The book depicts Blair as a man without morals who does not care a hoot about  dirty deals, even  with dictators, so far it fattens his bank account.

Published today is an excerpt from the book, Tony Blair: The Tragedy of Power. It  reveals Blair’s contrasting experience with two Nigerian leaders.  Former President Goodluck Jonathan was so mesmerised by Tony Blair’s charm that he gave Nigeria’s $1billion Sovereign Wealth Fund to JP Morgan, a company that pays wages to Blair.

Five years after, Blair met Jonathan’s successor, Muhammadu Buhari, who was able to see through the mercantilism and buccaneering facade of the former British prime minister, described by Professor Olatunji Dare as ‘Phony Tony’  and ‘Tony Bliar’  in The Nation  article titled: An Unwelcome visitor…

There was an omission in the book: Blair’s return to Nigeria last December to offer ‘assistance’ to Nigerian governors deliver on their electoral promises. He said that his ‘’Tony Blair Foundation’’ was open to the cry for help from any state in need of assistance to enable it to deliver democratic dividends to its people.Offer to Nigerian governors

Here is the excerpt from Tom Bower’s book:

In May 2015, Blair flew to Nigeria to meet the new president, Muhammadu Buhari, on a jet chartered by Evgeny Lebedev, who owns the London Evening Standard with his father, a former KGB colonel.

After a night at the Hilton Hotel, Blair called the following morning on the British High Commissioner.

Dropping in on British embassies had by then become a familiar routine: in every country Blair visits, he expects the embassy to provide him with a comprehensive security briefing and occasionally even overnight accommodation.

But although he was advising sovereign governments in ways that could conflict with British interests, no one at Whitehall had dared to end this perk.

At the Nigerian embassy, Blair was keen to discover more about the threat posed by Boko Haram, the Islamic terror group murdering hundreds of civilians in the north of the country.

Then, armed with the classified information, he sped in a motor cavalcade to the president’s office. It was their first meeting. Blair introduced himself grandly as ‘Britain’s most successful Prime Minister’ and then launched into his practised sales pitch.

‘I pioneered the skills to make government work effectively,’ he told the president. ‘The Delivery Unit is the leader’s weapon to make his government effective across the civil service and country.’

He offered to establish a delivery unit within Buhari’s government, with paid staff. But the president — a former army general and military dictator famous for imprisoning his opponents without trial — looked bored.

He offered to establish a delivery unit within Buhari’s government, with paid staff. But the president — a former army general and military dictator famous for imprisoning his opponents without trial — looked bored.

So did Lebedev, who had only come along because he was interested in Blair’s charity work fighting the Ebola virus.

‘Could you all leave us alone now?’ Blair announced suddenly. ‘I have a personal message for the president from David Cameron.’

But it was nothing of the kind.

Twenty minutes later, Buhari emerged looking noticeably disgruntled.

Jonathan:seduced by Blair

Jonathan:seduced by Blair

Blair, he told an aide, had used his access to tout for business on behalf of his private company, Tony Blair Associates.

Without so much as a blush, he had offered to sell the president Israeli drones and other military equipment to help defeat the Boko Haram uprising. ‘Blair is just after business,’ muttered Buhari.

During the drive back to the airport, the local organiser for Blair’s AGI charity asked whether he was mixing charity and business. ‘We don’t do business in Africa,’ Blair replied.

‘Don’t worry. Only AGI and charitable work. We only do business in the Middle East and Asia.’

Two weeks later, the local AGI organiser called Buhari’s office to ask whether the president wanted to go ahead with a delivery unit. He was rebuffed.

‘The president was not happy with Blair pushing the Israeli business,’ Buhari’s office warned him.

Anyone else might have desisted; not the eternally optimistic Blair.

Six weeks later, in London, he met Bukola Saraki, the president of the Nigerian senate and third most powerful person in the country.

This time, as he discussed opportunities to introduce investors from the Middle East to Nigeria, he was more successful. ‘We’d like that,’ said Saraki — who was fully aware that Blair now also represented a wealth fund based in Abu Dhabi.

While expanding his empire, Blair has also added greatly to the fortunes of his original employer, J.P. Morgan.

But having charmed the president and — in the words of Jonathan’s staff — satisfied his ego, Blair then introduced him to J.P. Morgan chief Jamie Dimon.The banker offered to manage Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund — and Jonathan agreed. No other bank in the world was asked to tender for this profitable work

Back in 2010, he asked for a one-on-one meeting with the then Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan — ostensibly to offer the services of AGI and the Faith Foundation to help reconcile the country’s Muslims and Christians.

Again, he was given an intelligence briefing by the British embassy in advance.

But having charmed the president and — in the words of Jonathan’s staff — satisfied his ego, Blair then introduced him to J.P. Morgan chief Jamie Dimon.

From Nigeria, Blair flew with Dimon to Liberia, where he already had a charity AGI team in place to advise the president. The upshot? J.P. Morgan invested in a commercial project in Liberia.

*Blair’s reaction: 

Last night a spokeswoman for Mr Blair said the claim he used classified security information to tout for business was ‘utterly without substance’.

She said Mr Blair’s work in Nigeria was for his charities, adding: ‘He has never sought a business contract from the government of Nigeria.

‘Yes, he certainly has had briefings on Boko Haram. He is very interested in Boko Haram because it concerns directly the work of his foundation which is about countering extremism.

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