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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I'm lucky to get Beyonce tickets from! I'm excited to see the Mrs. Carter show!

And his monster crassness joins in!

His monster crassness enters the scene with his characteristic obscenity and profanity. The hydra-headed crass monster of them all has crawled out of his pigeonhole. Crawl back into your hole, for the issues I write about are way beyond your comprehension.

But look in next door, there is a News item about the Lagos State Speaker, awaiting your contribution. Oh, no! I fogot that such News don't interest you, as long as it isn't about the President! Only News about the President recoils you from your hole, and sets your adrenalin racing, only for you to disappear back into your hole until the next President Jonathan's News.

It's easy to identify products of bad education and upbringing!

Unfortunately, there is a systemic and educational disconnect in Nigeria. Gone are the days of good or sound education. Many attended very terrible schools and received very bad education, during their formative years, hence they do not understand that 2 people can hold different views. They lack debating skills or how to put their points across unless through insults or abuse. Coupled with their crass upbringing, it makes their case very pathetic and pitiable.

I recall when schools were still schools, one used to take delight in attending Literary and Debating events during 'Lits'. Only a person from a fourth rate school would suddenly start hurling abuse at their opponents, simply because they hold a contrary view. Only a crass person would believe the best way to get their points across and debate the other person, is through insult. What can one say to such people? Nothing, I guess! It's pointless trying to argue with or convince a person who does not know enough.

@mfauma: Re: The picture is actually from

So JayZ throws away a shirt once he wears it? How close is your Tanzania picture close to this picture on SR ? How about the bottles of coke, fanta, and bitter lemon in the Nigerian picture ?

If you have got nothing sensible to add to this discussion, it would be wise you keep quiet !

The picture is actually from

The picture is actually from Jay Z and Beyonce visit to Tanzania in the same year.
Same shirt


I think you should be reasonable enough to know that the exchange rate then was N150 to $1. Do your calculation well or keep quite..... If it is someone from outside your tribe, clan, friends, he is a thief, but when he is "your people" he is smart, or bad journalism

OC is a deluded desperate fool

The OC idiot is a desperate deluded fool who will always turn logic upside down. He's no different from Ibori, also claiming to be a lawyer in London in order to ve invited to come and "chop", ofcourse that is a lie !
Thank goodness, going by this blog, I am no more the only one seeing this fool has nothing in that head of his but watery smelly ijaw water. He claimed pilgrimage sponsorship is a bigger fraud but has FG stopped sponsoring pilgrimage under this moron Jonathan ? To the fool, Jonathan stealing money meant for poverty alleviation to pay for a jamboree in Lagos is valid !
The fool wants us to attack smaller theieves but leave bigger one (President) just because Jona is from his tribe. Ole olodo !


Taking from the poor and give to the rich.Who is the fool?9ja leaders.

U are an illitrate

Have u ever heard d name misappropiation of public funds? Y wud money meant for poverty alleviation used for such frivolities and you see nothing bad in it? You suck!

discrepancy between the title of the article and the content

the title of the write up says jonathan spent one hundred million dollars of poverty alleviation fund on the concert while the body of the article says he spent 150 million naira on d same concert. This is gutter journalism

@ OC: Yes, criticise one,

@ OC: Yes, criticise one, criticise ALL we most certainly agree BUT it MUST start somewhere abi? Now, no better place to start I would say but with the nations Number ! citizen. Why would you fault that if your intentions are truly genuine?

to OC

You seem educated...But in the midst of trying to sound enlightened, your insight and views are myopic. You can say all the crap you want but you really need to have your head examined by a crazy shrink.

GOD is watching you guys

If you are not a beneficiary you would definitely complain about the Government... Immediately the largesse starts rolling towards ur corner you become like Nduka Obaigbena...Dont try to be the voice of the SUFFERING MASSES... Na $100,000 go shut u up... We know ur type, abi Reuben Abati no do pass u guys??? Clarifying things via MTN CRAPPY NETWORK

Nduka is a scam artiste

I am sure that you are disappointed that the indictment is on Nduka Obaigbena, rather than Gej. Nduka needs to go to jail really soon.


Give it up to this man he is a cat with 9 lives.He walks into a bank where he owes billions and they will still release so much money for him.Thank you sahara reporters you have become the voice of the people.Please we need you to ask Etisalat a question if they have joined the money laundering gang because this is what it seems like.Etisalat want to start the looting of funds through nduka to dubai and bello osagie will get his cut too you know america is too hot now.The plundering of this country has no end.Sahara call etisalat and ask them the main reason why they are sponsoring nduka .He still owes so many people from last year.Now he is doing tv in london through sky channel.What moral grounds is he doing this.Well, he should watch it because they will drive him out of town.IBORI is in jail and nduka is on the street what an irony.They both belong there .

@Kool - Re - 'Greater crime'?

As for 'greater crime', sponsoring pilgrimage to Mecca or Jerusalem, is the greatest fraud and failing of Government. Btw, you won't find any advanced country indulge in such wasteful ventures. That is the worst crime by a mile, to sponsor a batch of people on pilgrimage, and waste millions on them, while the vast majority of their people languish in poverty! Many of these pilgrims return more dangerous human beings and more fanatical. Such venture does not edify the nation in any way or form. It doesn't help the country morally, as many are still morally bankrupt.

But if your comparison is with SPONSORING GOOD CAUSES, like creating or bringing awareness to the country, rebranding the country, boosting tourism and selling Nigeria to the international market, polishing the image of the country and supporting her entertainment industry, which has given the country a brand new image globally, etc, etc, of course, you should know what my sound choice would be!

@Kool - I have never made such 'claim'!

I don't recall telling you, I 'claim to know more than everyone'. Your words, not mine. I wasn't the one that touted about attending 'Premier Universities'. If you are developing some complex, then tough! I can't help you with that and I don't take prisoners!

You don't have any FACTS about the DONATION, and, therefore, cannot allude to corruption OR A CRIME! If you have concerns and it bothers you to know more, direct your concerns to Bayelsa State. Period!

As for your ignorant claim and lack of knowledge about UK Government's support for GOOD CAUSES, including aid to Africa, you need to get some enlightenment. Local Authorities support similar Youth empowerment activities in their boroughs. Some even support events like Nigeria's Independence Day celebration and Black History Month. These events are marked by cultural activities, entertainment and fiesta. You have no clue! Yet, you know a President that is 'clueless' and a 'dumbo'. How ironic!

@Temi - Who will cast the first stone!

A crime is what the Law says it is, and not what you believe or anybody thinks is a crime. If former Governor Jonathan's DONATION in then Bayelsa State is a crime, applying the principles of EQUITY and FAIRNESS, and treating everyone the same, SO IS THE ACT OF DONATION BY FASHOLA TO THE SUPER EAGLES! One act of DONATION cannot be a crime, and not the other!

Equally, all the State Governors that squander States resources on worthless ventures, like paying for people to go on pilgrimage to Mecca and Jerusalem, commit far greater crimes, as that act does not benefit the States in any form, and neither does it edify the State. It also does not create jobs in the States or help the youths.

Stone one, stone them all! Also, cast the stones on any Nigerian leader that has ever made DONATIONS, since any act of DONATION, in your book, is a crime. How about that? EFCC and the Police have a lot of work to do!

@OC... your problem remains

@OC... your problem remains your claim to know more than everyone. You miss the point that extra-budgetary expenditure in a proper democacracy is an offence that is sanctionable. Donations outside the budget such as the one in reference made by GEJ falls into this category unlike pilgrimages that have budgets approved by the legislature.

F.y.i, I am averse to all the waste by governments whether on pilgrimages or musical jamborees in a country raged by poverty and hunger. Tell me a greater crime against the people. I was in the Nigerian civil service and watched at very close quarters stealing in the name of "corporate social responsibility" you claim to defend.

Can you give one example in the UK where you reside of governments giving $1m to the entertainment industry to promote the so called "well-being, wellness, youth development and empowerment, nation and capacity building"? What a bogus phrase ! OC..what you want or hope to eat is blocking your path unto wisdom. Nuff said.

why is it so easy for you not

why is it so easy for you not to see the offence. he used the money that was meant to alleviate poverty to benefit who again? dbanj who has access to clean water? and doesnt live in fear of poverty? how exactly did their visit benefit bayelsa as a whole? did they donate this money to lets say orphans? to give clean water to the community? oh no, they helped promote a healthy image of nigeria right? because people went for that concert and danced, and were happy and the next day returned to their miserable lives? FYI it is an offence to move funds set aside for a specific purpose for something as countless as this.. well i do not know how the law works in Nigeria, but if you say its no legal offence i will take your word for it.. doesnt mean it isnt a deficient reasoning, doesnt mean this government did not act in bad faith. This is 150 million that should have gone towards more substantial development than enriching stars who do not need it. That is the offence.

@Kool - Equal Opps and not Double-standards!

It is laughable, when you compare oranges and apples. You compare the case of a CRIME OF PERJURY and PERVERTING JUSTICE committed by a former British MP/Minister with a non-crime of DONATIONS. By your logic, it means the largess of CASH DONATIONS GIVEN BY PRESIDENT JONATHAN TO THE SUPER EAGLES ALSO AMOUNT TO A CRIME. Perhaps, it's also a CRIME, the DONATION MADE BY GOVERNOR FASHOLA.

You people come up with all sorts and call a dog a bad name, just because you want to hang it! And it is because of people like you with ulterior agenda and inconsistent principles, that cause me to occasionally defend the President, as an individual. I criticise the President, when required or necessary. But, unlike you, I also DO NOT SPARE OTHERS! This is why we can never be on the same page. No GUINEA PIGS or SACRED COWS in my book. CRITICISE ONE CRITICISE ALL, is my mantra! No scapegoats and no sacred cows!

where did the money come from?

in as much as we should encourage entertainment and our culture, i think we should not overlook the fact that money meant for POVERTY ALLEVATION was SPENT or wasted, i think we should be reasonable stop giving stupid credit when money is diverted wrongly. Pls let us be wise will the American govt. Divert money meant for poverty allevation for such?

GEJ shud apologise.

Ferrying pilgrims abroad wit millions of naira is quit painfull, bt hostin Beyounce, Jay Z and co sourcing d cost frm money mearnt for poverty allievation is a sin to humanity. Jonathan shud beg for 4givness.

Nigerians never cease to

Nigerians never cease to amaze me! People are busy trading insults over the story but no one has tried to determine the veracity of the purported document!

@Kool - Embrace EQUALITY and eschew Double-Standards!

FYI, the tradition I broke away from, if you must know it, is commenting on issues that are unedifying and do not add or contribute to national development. But I'm glad that I looked in, and was able to gauge the mindsets of people like you that find joy and excitement in an event that occurred over 6 years ago. An event that isn't a CRIME! An event that has boosted and benefitted the Nigeria's entertainment industry, which now represents the new face of Nigeria globally. Funny that you can't see the benefits of Jay-z and Beyonce's visits to Nigeria. Need I remind you that D'banj, P2 & co are direct beneficiaries. D'Banj is indirectly signed up to him.

And why is it so easy for you to see the 'offence' of a Governor supporting Nigeria's entertainment industry, but you cannot see THE BIGGER OFFENCE OF GOVERNORS WASTING MILLIONS SENDING PILGRIMS TO MECCA! That is the Double-Standards I talk about. I save or spare no COWS! That is the difference between us!

In an article entitled “A

In an article entitled “A Guide to the World’s Best Music Festivals” (SEE BELOW), CNN describes the festival as the biggest in Africa.

“The THISDAY festival in Nigeria, launched in 2006 by the editor-in-chief of THISDAY newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery, is the biggest music and fashion festival in Africa,” it said, while rating it No. 6 in list of the top 12 in the world.

It highlighted the fact that Obaigbena said: “The festival is meant to highlight the positive progress being made in Africa, and find sustainable solutions for the continent's problems.”

CNN also acknowledged that some of the world’s biggest artistes had been showcased at the event over the years.

In 2006, the list of artistes that performed represented the who-is-who in world music, namely Jay-Z, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Ciara, Busta Rhymes and En Vogue.

@Kool - Pardon me, but I missed the CRIME committed!

You must pardon me for failing to see the CRIME that the PRESIDENT COMMITTED IN THE AFFAIR. Maybe you should take your time and go through the alleged pitch that was sequel to the alleged donation. It seemed a very good and convincing proposal, which had very good sound bites and held out hope and opportunities for well-being, wellness, youth development and empowerment, nation and capacity building for Nigeria. I have noted some indirect benefits already!

All over the world, including Nigeria, private concerns, Corporate organisations and Governments support such ventures as GOOD CAUSES. I didn't realise they were CRIMINAL in nature, and that it was a crime to support such! With all your education, you should know that no crime has been alleged.

Btw, there is report on the Speaker of the Lagos State Assembly awaiting your comment. You conveniently and conspicuously avoided that because it did not have the usual Jonathan's attack stamp?

‎​​i think OC u r d one who

‎​​i think OC u r d one who is really deluded and stupid to say the least. How dare u ?! U really disgust me. Why bring religion into this u shortsighted deranged rhinocerpus weesel? Mind u am a christian so don't think my comment is about Islam. How dare u? Idiots like u with their shortsightedness and myopic views D̶̲̥̅̊α̲̅τ̲̅ are running our nation down and wots left of it.

Re: Breaking away from my tradition

@OC ... breaking away from which tradition on SR? I dey laugh oh !!! Is it that of turning logic upside down or making dodgy legal conjectures? So if GEJ committed a crime 6 years ago and the evidence just came to light now, it should be overlooked eh? Secondly, the crime should not be of any concern to non-Balyesans even though the culprit is now the president of the whole country?

You never cease to amaze me with your inverted logic and deceitful postulations. So, dashing away $1m from the coffers of a state that failed to build road network which made Gen Azzazi to be buried outside his village should not be of any concern?

An MP in the UK, the country where you reside recently resigned and is waiting for a likely custodian sentence for an offence that will bother no one in Nigeria. Recall that the crime was committed more than 6 years ago but the proof just came to light through the wife's confession. are yet to break away from your known SR tradition.

Bros, its u who is not

Bros, its u who is not thinking out side the box. These leaders are all here to protect their own interest. Note that the western world never want Africa librated otherwise they would loose out. Do you know how much they generate from Niger delta alone? Exxon mobil, shell etc these company are of major interest to these western leaders.

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