The beauty of numbers

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

Numbers have this quality and attraction of precision, indeed of elegant precision. “70 people were employed” is more elegant and more precise than saying a number of persons were employed. A large number of us are thus fascinated and attracted by numbers. Honest men and women lace their public utterances with numbers because they are verifiable. But, and alas, because claims made with numbers are verifiable, they are also falsifiable.

 

Remember the 97% and 5% inclusive development wahala? It was about numbers and precision. Lately I hear that some senior official of this government was quoted as saying that 70% of Nigerians are satisfied with this administration. That statement has the elegance of elegant precision, that is until you start querying how the 70% was arrived at in the first place. Was a study conducted? If yes, where and when and by whom? If yes, how was the sampling done? And what tools were used? And what steps were taken to ensure the validity and reliability of the tools so used? In the absence of valid answers to such questions, such use of numbers in public statements lurches to imprecision and to the abuse and misuse of numbers. I hear one other official said the other day that only a few Nigerians are complaining of hardship in our current situation. Now that is imprecision as the adjective few is not precise. One man’s few is another woman’s many. But the type of imprecision in claim implied by the use of few is honest imprecision because the speaker is also revealing that he does not have precise data to back up his claim. I prefer it to the use of numbers without empirical backing. Yes, it is “fuzzy-speek”, but at least, it is honest. Use of numbers without empirical backing is not and actually amounts to abuse and misuse of numbers, and we must all realize that numbers too have feelings and should be treated with some respect.

 

Incidentally, the assays of these two officials were indeed unnecessary as their principal had in a recent message appealed to Nigerians to bear the present hardships (which was caused by the last administration) with forbearance, implying that indeed, ground no level but say no be him cause am!! So, why these officials would be tearing their Christmas or Sallah dresses when their principal has owned up is something that beats me a 100% of the time!

A Tribute for Mohammed Ali – The champ is gone, long live the champ!

by

Noel Ihebuzor

 
I just learnt of the passing of this great man, this super athlete, this wonderful fellow who contributed in raising the status of boxing from that of brute pugilism to that of an art comparable to ballet. Yes, it is to Ali’s credit that he was able to transform what was before him an ugly physical sport into a delicately executed dance form with its beauty, its engaging fluidity, its glides and slides and its captivating elegance. Ali had this ability to execute what was a complex move with speed and grace and make it look simple!

The king is gone, long live the king! Here was a man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. Here was the athlete’s poet to whom poetry came naturally and instantly and who bequeathed the world with strings of unforgettable lines. He sang and danced as he demolished Liston…he jabbed, jibed, jived and joked as he took out Foreman. With him boxing was art, it was fun, it was movement, it was strategy. And like all great people, he did great things and made them look simple.
He was the best, the prettiest, the smartest and the fastest. He even used his art, yes that was what his boxing skills became, to combat racism in his country and around the world. And this was no easy task – just read “To kill a mocking bird” to get a sense of the weight of racism that African Americans had to contend with in the states and which Ali (then Cassius M Clay) had to deal with as a young person. He refused to be put down by it, and even challenged it. When Parkinson’s disease assailed him, he parked it je-je in one corner and I remember watching him with moisture clouding my vision as he struggled bravely to carry the Olympic flame during the LA games!
Champ, gaa na udo! Iwu dimpka asato, okunrin mewa, iroko tree, gaa gaa na ogwu! You were that brave candle that defied the wind and whose flame shone in the worst of storms showing light to others and brightening lives.
Gaa na udo, Nwoke omam. The champ is gone but he lives on!
++ My unworthy tribute for one of the world’s greats!

 

Bright Eyed Monks

By

Noel Ihebuzor

 

When monks develop blurred visions,

their world also narrows,

shrinking, thoughts wrinkle

faces furrow with frowns,

consciences sorrow

at the dimming of the eyes

at the fading of sight ‪https://twitter.com/Anabagail/status/737032387863928834 …

On Michael Peel’s A Swamp Full of Dollars

A review done with great brilliance! Well done, Ikhide!

Ikhide

Reproduced here for archival purposes only. First published October 2009 on the Internet.

Given the opportunity to read Michael Peel’s new book about Nigeria A Swamp Full of Dollars I groaned inwardly. Oh no, not another condescending, smirking tome written by a white man about Nigeria, corruption, decay, injustice, crude oil, blah, blah, blah.  I remembered painfully reading Karl Maier’s This House Has Fallen and that was the best of them. As I held the book, wondering whether to toss it into the heap of “I go read am” books, inside me, Esu-Elegbara, the god of my impish spirit roared, “Man Up! Read the book! If you don’t like it drop it like the dozens of other books littering your life!” I give thanks to Esu for making me read the book. I could not drop this book. It was written with respect, and it turned out to be a…

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freeminds.blogs.com: Avoiding corrupting practices in anti-corruption campaigns

http://freeandagile.blogspot.com.ng/2015/10/avoiding-corrupting-practices-in-anti.html?m=1

freeminds.blogs.com: Should politicians be held accountable to deliver on promises they made during campaigns?

http://freeandagile.blogspot.com.ng/2015/06/should-politicians-be-held-accountable.html?m=1

freeminds.blogs.com: Achievements and their claimants

http://freeandagile.blogspot.com.ng/2015/07/achievements-and-their-claimants.html?m=1


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