CNN’s Richard Quest talks Buhari, Ikoyi Money, and handling complains about his style

The famed Richard Quest of the ‘Quest Means Business’ show on CNN is in Nigeria to broadcast an edition of one of his shows. Known for his squeaky tone and the bell, the veteran whose career spans over 30 years including the BBC, has covered some of the most pivotal political moments of the past 18 months – Trump, Brexit, the most significant.

In a Monday Morning chat with radio hosts Tolu and Onome at the Lagos studios Nigeria Info 999.3 FM, he bares his thoughts on issues ranging from the economy, his presentation and motivation. Here are excerpts, as heard on the live broadcast from the radio’s channels.

How did he come about his decision to come to Nigeria this time?

“Some months ago, last year, we did Around the World in low cost. We went round the world; it was ten countries, nine airlines, eight days. We didn’t come to Africa, and I got a huge amount of criticisms, and people were suggesting that I was somehow anti-African, that there was a motive – an agenda – (but there’s) not a bit of it!. We didn’t come to Africa because we couldn’t find low cost carriers that would get us in and get us out in reasonable time. We would have had to torture the schedule to put Africa in. And that sparked me thinking; why is it so difficult? Why hasn’t Nigeria – huge country, enormous potential, great wealth at certain levels – why hasn’t it got an airline that can fly, not only within the country, but within the continent? Why isn’t there a pan-african equivalent of EasyJet, AirAsia, SouthWest, JetBlue. It is no good people telling me ‘Africa Rising! Africa Rising! Africa Rising!’. I’ll turn around and say to you, ‘Well, you’ve risen so far you haven’t even got an airline that will go across the continent’” [shots fired!]

What defined his appealing style of presenting business news and have there been push-backs?

“If you spend your time worrying about what other people think of you, you wouldn’t get out of bed. It doesn’t mean to say I ignore the criticism. if I start seeing a lot of criticism, saying I am too loud, or interrupting guests, when I see this repeatedly, I take notice, I’ll listen. I get excited!”

Was there a particular time in his career when he felt insecure?

[with a pause and calm] “Every morning. Anyone of us that does this, you think to yourself, ‘is it going to be a good show? is it going to work? are the listeners going to be there? are we going to be number one in the ratings?’ and someone else comes on another network and they are pretty good, and people start saying, “oh, he’s finished, he’s over the hill”. But you don’t live your life worrying about it; you do the best you can, and you just get on with it.”

Where does he think Nigeria fit is in at the moment in global business trends?

“Where Nigeria fits into it, is fascinating. At one point, you are the largest economy in Africa – and you still are in the sense that you will be again depending on the price of oil. But, it is this ability to handle the difficulties, the challenges. You had the new President coming into office, with great fanfare; it’s not for me to say if he’s succeeding or not. I’ve always made it a point, never go into somebody else’s house and criticize the wallpaper. It’s up to Nigerians to say. The shift of power from the incumbent to this President, was such an amazing achievement in this country, that was worth celebrating and it was celebrated. What’s the next thing that has t happen?”

What did he make of the money discovered at Osborne estate?

“The best story of the day, besides [Emmanuel] Macron, has to be the money found in the apartment. First of all, I nearly pulled all the panels in my hotel room, checking the mattress just on the off chance that I might find a couple of millions. There are legitimate and very serious questions. [unless] they spark a debate, that goes further than the usual debate – “oh we must clean up this, and clean up that” – then, you’ve wasted a good crisis. But if it sparks a real debate about transparency, and where money is spent, and accountability, then it is to the good.”

Please Note: Quotes have been not been represented in full, for brevity and project the main point of his sentences.
See the full interview from Nigeria Info 99.3 FM’s Facebook page.

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