Poem 1 – What you saw
You say you saw
patterns heave and dance
you say you saw them
weave and leave
No one else says they saw
what you say you saw
just you with your diamond
at the three quarter corner of night
when straggler angels
flee the light of the returning day
Yours was a vision
filled with emptiness
where bleached blankness
empties all other visions
hollowing vision and vision
Poem 2 – New Jungles
The jungle always
wakes up and a new day
Sounds soon crowd out silence
prophets see dimly
but their rising voices
soon outdo agberos
In this space,
a life is worth
In this place,
men combine religion and region
creed with breed
in the service
of a contest fueled by need
and sustained by greed
Locked in their frenzied contest
the wrestlers have locked out sense
the present overwhelms the past
drowns the future
and yesterday’s smiles
wake up in today’s
self beatify, uncertain of outcomes
as uncertified foul odor
floods the present
overwhelms the air pregnant with hope
nourished by dope
while in stained corridors,
stunted elves dance and sway
waving a medley of signs and symbols
crescent, cross and stars
and I sensed I heard the moon howl
Predators now prance like Simba
the lion king
the story teller casts
his charmed beads around legs, heads
hips, feet and heels held by hope
but fettered by dope
This is just beautiful. My duet partner, Susan Daniels at one of her best! You can’t touch this!
It is not God I should accuse
We were not there
when You laid the foundation
when You set the cornerstone.
We are flawed
with our cracked clay feet,
unfit for keeping.
I read Job to understand awe:
We had no voices, yet
when the stars sang
and the angels cried out
to learn God answers
with more questions.
Worship is how we kneel
and admit it was not us
that laid the foundations,
that it is angels that shout
not us. Our brass tongues
instead of sounding joy.
We have never ordered the morning
or shown the sunrise its place.
That smith of mountains
has more patience for us
than we for Him–
how we lose that path
over and over
in that hunt for things
we think we need.
We have not traveled
to the springs of the sea.
How we tear…
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Despite manifest incongruities in the official story-line concerning Buhari’s decision to remove the Chief Justice of Nigeria in Jan 2019, I was willing to suspend my disbelief & wait for govt to present evidence to support its claims of asset malfeasance in the OnnoghenTrial
When it launched its fevered campaign against the Chief Justice before the #OnnoghenTrial in the month before #NigeriaDecides2019, the govt claimed thro its hired hands that he had money running into Billions in multiple bank accounts & over 55 houses
Hired amplifiers were procured to skewer a man who could not defend himself. In the media, he was a thief, a rogue & much worse. Digital lynch mobs, many of them amplifier bots with transparent ends to serve created a mood music with a life of its own
Given the opportunity to back up its claims, the govt’s case at the #OnnoghenTrial has turned out to be a despicable, venal fantasy. There were no billions, no 55 houses, no fantasy FOREX in make-believe domicillary accounts. A govt decided to make up lies against an innocent man
By way of a useful comparison based evidence from the #OnnoghenTrial, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who has spent a lifetime in private legal practice & judicial public service, is much poorer than Yusuf Buhari who has just been “awarded” his #NYSC discharge certificate.
If the #OnnoghenTrial showed that the Chief Justice had anything like the assets the govt originally claimed, he’d surely have had a case to answer. Now it’s clear that was all made up, the govt has a burden to investigate & explain how it chose to mislead #Nigerians & the world
In the end, it’s difficult for the Buhari govt to escape the perception that it conspired to orchestrate #OnnoghenTrial because of personal animus towards the man related to his origins & to factors that had nothing to do with his performance on his job. Govts shd not do that.
The damage done by the buhari administration in the manner that it procured the #OnnoghenTrial will take more than a generation to address. This is more than about 1 man & his fate. If a govt can conspire to pervert institutions as it has done in this case, no one is safe!
*Professor Chidi Odinkalu*
“How do you solve a problem like Buhari?” by Editi Effiong https://link.medium.com/KBrBIcBjeU
A body-bag election
Published February 10, 2019
In six days, Nigerians of voting age will clarify not only whom they are, but whom they wish to be.
Four years ago, I helped bring to the leadership of Nigeria a man I had equally endorsed at the 2011 election: General Muhammadu Buhari, as President. In 2015, there really wasn’t much of a choice.
This year, there is: Anybody Else. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo unintentionally captured the situation a few days ago during a campaign stop in Owerri.
Reaching down to his evangelical side, the pastor told the crowd: “The most important thing is that when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice.”
Then he asked, “Are you rejoicing now?”
The crowd erupted: “NOOOO!!!”
The vice-president seemed to think that he might have been misheard, or that his audience had perhaps got its cue wrong.
He tried again: “Under this government…are you rejoicing?” Louder came a thunderous tumult, as if the crowd thought Osinbajo was hard of hearing: “NOOOO!!!”
But here is the punchline, and I am going to quote the vice-president comma by comma in a statement he made as if it were 2015 and he was waxing delirious about the Goodluck Jonathan administration his APC presidential ticket was trying to defeat:
“Very good. The reason, the reason, the reason why we cannot rejoice under this government is because the Scripture says, ‘when the righteous are in power, the people rejoice.’”
I don’t know who wrote the screenplay of Osinbajo’s Nollywood appearance at that Owerri rally. Clearly, the answer to his question was supposed to have been a resounding “YES!”
In which case his conclusion, something about righteousness and political power, was supposed to be that Nigerians are happy today because the right people are in power and should be re-elected.
The louder rejection of his proposal the second time appeared to have thrown the vice-president out of his tradermoni heart and the law professor adlibbed into a verdict against his very purpose.
Now, I believe that Osinbajo, speaking before an audience he understood to be mainly Christians, had hoped to take advantage of their faith. In which case it is wise to look at the segment of the Holy Book he unwisely—but incompletely—drew from: Proverbs 29:2.
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn,” it says.
It is not surprising that the vice-president avoided that second part, but his conclusion was unavoidable: Nigerians are suffering because its rulers—whatever they think of themselves—are wicked.
Osinbajo’s testimony against his own cause says almost everything anyone would like to know about where Nigerians find themselves this week as they vote.
Buhari himself continued the effort to market the same theme three days ago, calling on the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria to stand for righteousness and truth, and preach against all forms of corruption, as “only righteousness” can elevate Nigeria.
Mercifully, he was not standing before an incredulous crowd to preach righteousness. But before Osinbajo spoke, Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai had inflicted a different kind of righteousness.
I have praised el-Rufai in this column for what seemed to be his clarity of vision, notably in March 2017 when the second of two powerful memos he sent to Buhari, leaked. The first was in April 2015, before Buhari took his oath of office, and the other in September 2016.
Citing “the progress of our party, our president, our government and our country,” the governor offered Buhari a 30-page, well-reasoned strategic plan in which he challenged the president to revamp the entire apparatus of government so that APC would not leave Nigeria worse than it had met it.
Stressing that the Buhari administration had so far failed to manage the “change” expectations of Nigerians or ‘to deliver even mundane matters of governance’ outside of fighting Boko Haram and corruption, he urged him to “act decisively.”
“Overall, the feeling even among our supporters today is that the APC government is not doing well,” the governor observed. He encouraged Buhari to consider communicating actively and directly with the Nigerian public to enunciate the government’s plans, strategy and road map to take Nigeria out of her economic mess.
For that purpose, he suggested that Buhari use a mechanism “akin to a State of the Union address…preferably in a joint session of the National Assembly,” during which he would explain some perceptions and lay out his vision.
Among others, he pointed out that APC could shape Nigeria’s political culture in (Buhari’s) image through active stakeholders and process engagement, saying, “We are not engaging at all, and (are) taking things and important matters for granted.”
El-Rufai counselled that the institutional weaknesses that enabled corruption to thrive under Jonathan and the persons involved, were still very much in control, “and many are around you.”
He wanted stronger hands and minds closer to the president, describing (former SGF Babachir Lawal) as “inexperienced, lacking in humility, (and) insensitive and rude to most VIPs,” and Chief of Staff Abba Kyari as “totally clueless.”
El-Rufai then spelled to Buhari the time: “You have both a crisis and opportunity in your hands to turn around our country in the right direction.”
But APC and Buhari’s ineptitude were just fermenting. They ignored all progressive voices inside and outside the party, and rotted in ambition, focus and performance. Buhari, for his part, never read any of el-Rufai’s memos: he handed them to the same key officials the governor had criticised, who shredded them and demonised him.
Last week, with days before the election, a key measure of the depth of the Buhari rot emerged: the same el-Rufai appearing on television to threaten the massacre of foreigners who “intervene” to disrupt Buhari’s desperation to remain in office.
“Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that will come and intervene,” he said, threatening: “They will go back in body bags.”
It was a strange response to international expressions of concern about the elections being free and fair. Ambition and power clearly overrunning good judgement, el-Rufai threw away every benefit of the doubt.
But he illustrates what faces voters in Saturday’s ballot: the mind-boggling reality that a government that was enthroned with such overwhelming support is baying for blood for re-election.
Sadly, Buhari has been fully exposed as fickle of conviction, frail of body and fragile of mind. To say that he will rise beyond himself to inspire and elevate Nigeria is to bathe our children in sewage.
The truth is that the very deficiencies identified by el-Rufai in 2016 were not symptoms but chronic diseases that have now mutated, with APC politicians now contradicting everything they said in 2015. This has nothing to do with PDP, but everything to do with Buhari’s character and poverty as a man.
In the real world, when there is an infectious disease, you flee. This week, Nigerians should free themselves by voting for Nigeria.
The link line below takes us to today’s readings in the Catholic liturgy
A number of the themes and points in today’s readings resonate with ongoing events in Nigeria, especially the suspension from office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) by the president who said he was acting on an order of the Code of Conduct of Bureau (CCB). There appears to be almost unanimity of views concerning the unconstitutionality and thus the illegality of the president’s action in this regard. The dominant view is that the president’s action violates sections 292 and 157 of the 1999 constitutions of the FRN, a constitution the president swore to defend.
Supporters of the president’s action have tried to justify his action by claiming that the CJN had admitted to making incomplete assets declaration before the CCB, this failure being a sign of corruption, and that the president was thus right in the taking the action he took to deal with the wrong that the CJN had admitted to doing. This type of argument amounts to saying that an illegality is justified if it is perpetrated to deal with an illegality, never mind if that illegality in question is still an allegation. A president is thus justified to flout the constitution according to the dictates of his sense of what is right and not what is constitutional or legal. An argument of this nature is dangerous in that it amounts to saying that the personal whims and leanings of a president supersede the provisions of a country’s constitution. But worse still, an argument like that could lead to a situation where one person becomes judge, jury, and hangman at the same time a situation that violates the principle of separation of powers, a principle upon which modern democracies rest. For democracies to survive and thrive, the three arms of Government must be separate, with no arm encroaching on the duties and functions of the other, with no arm thinking that it has the right to lord it over the others or that it has a monopoly of moral consciousness or of overbrimming patriotism. Relations between the three parts must be governed by respect and recognition of interdependence. The constitution clearly spells out the ways and manners that these three arms of government are to interact. Processes enshrined in the constitution and stipulations on the limits to the role and powers of each arm of government must also be respected by all.
Today’s readings, especially the first and the second readings, illustrate the spirit of such recognition of role scope and limits as well the interdependence of functions. In the first reading (Nehemiah 8: 2-10), Ezra brought the law before all the people. The message here is full transparency before all, no opacity, no hanky-panky. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people. Again, nothing is hidden. Was the process for the suspension of CJN undertaken with the same transparency? The answer is NO! The process is shrouded in opacity and smirks of an operation carried out with indecent haste with the head of the executive stooping to some low practice such as by-passing laid down processes. When you stoop to such practices, you lose respect. Recall too that in the first reading, Ezra stands above the people as he read to them – proxemics, height in this case, being used to symbolize the moral authority of Ezra on matters of the law. Notice here that Nehemiah, the executive head, recognizes and respects this separation of powers between him and Ezra.
The second reading is a classic text in systems thinking and functional interdependence. No part of the body can exist in isolation from the other parts, none can claim that it is the most important, none can carry on in a spirit of arrogance. Each must recognize its limits as well as respect the roles and limits of other organs. No role usurpation, no shortcuts to laid down processes or self-promotion at the expense of other parts are allowed. As with the body, so with the principle of the separation of powers in democratic governance. And governance is at its best when this principle of separation of powers but functional interdependence is maintained and respect. Sadly in the suspension of CJN, the president neither kept faith nor respected this principle. Even when one concedes to arguments that seek to justify the president’s actions by appeals to the goodness of his intentions, the point needs to be made that respect of the constitution is superior to an admiration of intentions, whether such intentions are real or imagined. Corruption should be fought but the fight must be within the limits of legality. Adopting or advancing an approach to deal with corruption that suggests the subversion of laid down laws and processes is dangerous not because it reveals a flawed and corrupted mindset but also it can launch the whole country down the slippery road to tyranny and anarchy
The third reading enjoins us as children of God upon whom His spirit rests to speak up against injustice, against the abuse of power and against all gimmicks by which persons in power who seek to hold others in bondage and mental enslavement. The good news of the gospel is a message of freedom, a message that is designed to restore sight to the blind and to restore liberty to all those who are held in shackles by the demagogy of power-hungry persons and their allies who are willing to subvert laid down processes for political gains. The duty of all on whom the spirit of God rests is thus to proclaim the truth which will set captives free and break the chains and limitations that ignorance and fear cast on such persons. The word of God speaks to us every day and has relevance to each challenge that life throws at us. May we be open to His words and may His spirit illumine us to derive meaning from his words which are truth and life and to share these with others..
Source: January 27 2019