Noel A Ihebuzor
Installed ignorance wafts
rancid fart fragrance
excessive in self assurance
clad in gaudy arrogance
Giving voice to my visions and views
Noel A Ihebuzor
Installed ignorance wafts
rancid fart fragrance
excessive in self assurance
clad in gaudy arrogance
Toyosi Arigbabuwo and Noel Ihebuzor
Crown, drown, clown…..”
for which town?
Abeg, chill naa, no vex
I no vex, I no frown!
Dem jus fall my hand down!
Me dey here wan wear LASTMA gown
I no know say you dey only play with noun
My fine white skin, don nearly turn to brown!
na so so frown frown
when town vex come meet crown
sake of say ogogoro wey him down
wey make dem talk of drown
E come be like this town
When dem goon
Say no be madness make the crown
Wan drown pipu for inside Lagoon
Chei, Baba God him dey frown
Him no go gree sey make clean pipu drown
na float wey eagle feather dey float for water,
leg wey waka come go waka go,
nothing do am, nothing fit do am.
**** Toyosi and I wrote this instantaneous duet as an expression of our strong disapproval of royal meddling in inter-ethnic amity! Readers in Nigeria will be familiar with the context.TA is Toyosi’s voice, NI is mine.
This link line takes you to an article in TheCable that claims to examine “a million other things that damaged President Jonathan” in his re-election bid. It is wriiten by one Chidi Chima and was uploaded on Twitter via @thecableng #2015Elections . Chidi invites his readers to also come up with and contribute their views on what they think “damaged President Jonathan”.
Rejoice with the good, celebrate the positive and come away from criticism for criticism’s sake. It is sterile and cheap – a plea for sense and moderation.
shehuspen+paper at gmail dot com, December 2014
Buba Galadima has given a world record twelve years of his life full time to the ongoing Major General Muhammadu Buhari campaign for president. He has been loud and often bombastic as the most audible voice of the campaign, and you must question his effectiveness, but he has taken on its critics frontally, directly. He has provided loyal support to Buhari: first in the erect ANPP of nine elected Governors; then in the limping ANPP reduced to just four Governors; then in the crippled CPC of a lone Governor; and now in the APC on crutches that has already lost one of its Governors since Buhari showed up there. Scratch that. Galadima is not there alongside Buhari anymore.
In radio interviews in Hausa and in a letter sent to the editor of the Daily Trust and published on 10th November, Galadima has said that “no interlocutor ever stood between him and [Major] General Buhari.” He has revealed that after the 2011 election, Buhari personally informed him that after three failed attempts at the presidency, he was not going to contest again, only for him to hear on the radio that Buhari had gone back on his word. Here is Galadima in his own words:
“Whatever anybody may say, the fact still remains that I contributed my widow’s mite towards the projection and promotion of [Major] General Buhari as a politician at a time when those ‘yan kwanta kwanta [highway robbers who command their victims to lie face down while they rob them] who for personal reasons hover around him today felt that he was an aberration and poison that could not be touched. . . . There are people who worked with [Major] General Buhari when he was in the military, public service, politics and school. Where are they in his political project today?”
They are nowhere to be found. All the politicians that were its publicly visible backers at the commencement of the campaign a dozen years ago, and the many others who gave their all to it in the sincere belief that it held a promise of a better governed country have all abandoned it. Buhari has been unable to lead a political project team and to command and retain the loyalty of its executives. He was unable to do this even as a military dictator. This is why his military regime was short-lived and why his retired military colleagues have not been found near his political project. Now aged seventy plus, it has become too late to transform him into anything other than what he is: proven incompetent as a political leader.
Galadima tried harder than most to stay committed. But it was all in vain for no interlocutor ever stood between Buhari and his zero programme for his cult following.
No interlocutor ever stood between Buhari’s backers and a misplaced hope of leadership by example. Major General Buhari has provided no true inspiration to his frenzied crowd of followers. He has failed to make them disciplined. When they took to violent protest after the last election, he neither took to the vanguard of the protest nor did he call them to order. He fled. He claimed that he too was attacked. Leader? No.
No interlocutor ever stood between Buhari and his zero ideas on what to do about the problem of corruption in a democratic setting. In twelve years of campaigning, he offered nothing at all.
Alas, no interlocutor appears able to stand between those so determined to see to the triumph of proven incompetence sure to lead to disaster, likely to end in tragedy, and the fantasy that all you need to do to make corruption fly away is to erect a scarecrow in the presidential villa. Where has a scarecrow ever scared away dark nighttime creatures like the bat that lies in bed at noon?
All the creatures that belong to the day who have seen the scarecrow president project for the joke it is and abandoned it have been replaced by distressed-project managers and asset liquidators that were its critics and political enemies who have seen in Buhari’s leadership incapacity and in his fanatical following that has been used by many other opportunistic politicians before them opportunity to further their own calculated objectives which, going by their records, are far removed from the blind expectations of the fanatical poor.
As devious distressed-project managers well aware that they would have recouped their investments by the time there is any buyer’s remorse, they have spent so much on imported dangerous stage-managed promotion gimmicks, scrubs, deodorants and washing up liquids in an effort to conceal the fact of his leadership incapacity so as to make him marketable to necessary but hitherto wary buyers, most recently in a scrubbed speech broadcast to a national television audience to conceal a dismal performance in an un-shepherded television interview conducted a couple of days before.
Give them this article to read and they will see in it ways to come up with more stage-managed gimmicks and they will be sure to do so by lunchtime tomorrow, perhaps even show him sporting a tattoo and sagging his sokoto as he rebukes an errant area boy; they are that shameless.
As flagrant as any asset liquidators that we have seen they have also since proceeded to ridicule him and to disrobe him of any pretended garments of integrity. They have done so on the public highway, most recently in getting him face down to issue them a dud cheque and to “just keep a straight face” and ring up his bank manager to honour it after they had left the scene, and in getting him to give a written undertaking that he will employ the resources of persons alleged corrupt in furtherance of his campaign for the presidency.
What more do you need to be able to see that Buhari is a sad joke and that any expectation that he will make a positive and lasting impact as president is fantasy?
Buhari is not a simple man. He is a simpleton. He has spent years complaining that the PDP rigged him out of victory in previous elections. It’s on his bitter lips right now. Give him the office of the president and I can assure you that he will try to kick out at those who he believes did it. Yet the architect of the 2006 PDP plan to use the security forces to its electoral advantage is his replaced Galadima, Nasir el-Rufai, the man alongside whom he cried in 2011 and who made him renege on his verbal pledge not to run again. Yet one of his managers today, Audu Ogbeh, was the Manager of the PDP of President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar men to whose homes he was led, supinely, spent, twelve years late, to beg for a piece of the action.
The desperate Major General has truly been reduced to taking commands from any and all comers. His current commanders are only the most venal of the lot: they are pitiless what’s the polite euphemism for bastards? He will try to kick out without any realisation that his long walk from failing to beat them to joining them has severely damaged his legs.
Waylay him on the private jet tarmac of his commanders and ask him to give you a written undertaking that he will kick out at el-Rufai, Ogbeh, Obasanjo and Atiku with the hard metal crutches you will supply if he wants your vote. Ask him to give you a written pledge that he will issue no cheque nor authorise any payment to any Alpha Beta or Alpha Beta disguised as Alpha Bravo or Charlie Delta if he wants you to echo a clear radio signal around the country that no Foxtrot will be issued a dud cheque either.
If he falls short of meeting these demands just laugh and dismiss the would-be scarecrow president as the joke that he is; but do help massage his legs and tuck him away in bed if, unlike his users, you are apt to pity the scarred and disfigured old man.
Noel A. Ihebuzor
By now you must have watched and analyzed that TV interview performance. I sent you the link line to it. Did you experience any jaw drop on watching it? I did! Have you tried to explain that performance to yourself? I have tried myself and I keep coming back to this explanation – the general conned us. What we saw was a deliberate charade designed to throw Nigerians off guard and to encourage any tendency in the other party to under-rate him. The ensuing complacency in that party would then play to the general’s advantage.
How else can one explain the alarming incidence of very absurd answers to very clear questions that one witnessed? Some of the responses were “Bakin Zuwoesque”, whilst others were brilliantly and blatantly Kafkaesque. I am convinced that the display was deliberate. It could not be the reflection of incompetence and ineptitude. Generals are generally not that blank. And remember that to get to the rank of general, one necessarily has to go through some very rigorous training exercises and courses both at home and abroad. A subaltern would not even have responded the way he did.
And it cannot be an indication of a series of “senior moments” that kept reoccurring throughout that interview – such an explanation would immediately show him to be unsuitable for the post he so much craves for. And it cannot be the result of PDP juju as some others have claimed either.
Which then brings me back to the feigned incompetence explanation. This feigned incompetence theory assumes further credibility when one recalls that none of his usually boisterous social media supporters has come forward to respond or defend his performance. All have kept mum.
You will be surprised by my conclusion – a man who can convincingly feign such ignorance and project such blankness must have advanced skills in the art of concealment and politics, and should thus be able to outfox all the foxes and lions in his party. He has risen very highly in my estimation since pulling off this brilliant tour de force.
I came across an article written by Dr. Dele Momodu titled “Buhari or Jonathan, let’s do some mathematics” two days ago. The title immediately caught my attention and interest. I like mathematics though I am no good at it but the thought that a well known Nigerian columnist was going to use mathematics to make some informed commentary on the possible electoral fortunes of GMB and GEJ, should these two men each win their party presidential nominations, was rather exciting and enticing.
So, I literally jumped on the said article. I refused to let my interest be dampened by content of the first three paragraphs. Indeed, the first two paragraphs were a classic in self indictment and political hara-kiri. In these paragraphs, Dr Momodu unwittingly sells himself as someone who as recently as 2011 formed judgments based on superficial considerations and also as someone who could be very easily brainwashed by propaganda. But let us leave those two troubled early paragraphs alone – it is not for us to tell Dr Momodu that such self presentation, no matter its present motivation, no matter its projected potential rewards and benefits, also produces very grievous and long lasting self damage. Any sensible cost benefit analysis should have advised Dr. Momodu not to write those early paragraphs the way he did.
Let us return to Dr. Dele Momodu’s election mathematics. It is built largely on the results of 2011 presidential elections upon which projections for voter behavior in 2015 are then insinuated. In making these insinuated projections, Dr Momodu fails to reflect all relevant contexts and developments in Nigeria since 2011 which should inform his “modeling”. The emergence of the APC is one which he correctly identifies, but the rest of the time in this article, Dr Momodu is mainly engaged in wishful thinking conveyed in rather fuzzy sentences at the end of most his paragraphs. Mathematical modeling is based on facts coupled with some reasonable assumptions about the behavior of the subject under analysis. Such assumptions are usually unpacked and made explicit. When mathematical modeling is used to predict behavior, the predictions are more likely to turn out to be true, the more social developments which have a bearing on the behavior being predicted are recognized as parameters in such modeling. Relevant social developments which Dr. Momodu’s model should have recognized include the following :
Dr. Momodu failed to carry these on board in his electioneering mathematics, a failure that then deeply flaws his projections. Luckily, Dr Momodu informs us that he scored an F9 in mathematics but one needs to remind Dr Momodu that maths is not so much about adding and subtracting, mechanical process for which a calculator would do just fine. No, maths is more about thinking and making justifiable inferences based on logical manipulation of numbers. Persons who demonstrate deficits in such processes do not deserve to be taken seriously. Dr. Momodu’s maths is clearly weak as are his unconvincing efforts at Buhari image laundering. Where he is strongest in this article is in self damage – a man who can say this of himself “And I actually found him more charismatic than my jaundiced eyes could have permitted” is certainly well set and an expert in self bashing.
Noel A. Ihebuzor
I visited my archives and found a rejoinder I wrote to this article by Malam Nasir El-Rufai. It is still worth reading for two reasons. The first is the persisting BH scourge which has been marked lately by the increasing savagery, mindlessness and bestiality of their attacks. The kidnapping of innocent schools in Chibok and the earlier slaughter of school children outside their dormitory represent the high point of this campaign of sadistic and mindless savagery. The second reason to read the article again is related to recent attempts to firm up, embellish and market a four variants model of Boko Haram by Mr El-Rufai. How solid is the evidence for such a model? How good is a model building that picks, chooses and stretches evidence at the whims of convenience? What levels in frequency of occurrence justify inferences and conclusions on which such a bold four variant models is built? Such questions are worth asking as the country struggles to separate fact from fiction and facts from faction-driven twists and distortions. Model building is a serious business and is different from an exercise embarked upon out of spite and bitterness and in a style characterized by malicious flippancy. In its present form, Mr El-Rufai’s four variants model is not very persuasive. Its intentions are not to clarify issues but to obfuscate and to divert attention and public wrath from the sponsors and apologists of BH. The reader will recall that Malam El-Rufai had in the recent past, with plenty of characteristic indecent haste, given great publicity to an interview granted by Dr. Davis which had suggested, by implication, that Gen Ihejirika was a BH sponsor. Gen Ihejirika has since replied and the reader is advised to read all three sources – the Davis interview, the El-Rufai uncritical publicity blitz of the same and the General’s Response and make up his/her mind as to where truth, sanity and decency lie.
Click here for the El-Rufai article – and read my rejoinder below. At the end, ask yourself this question, in consideration of the said article, my rejoinder and recent outbursts by Malam El-Rufai whether we are dealing with a BH apologist, a political opportunist, a verbal contortionist or simply with a man in acute need of help.
This is a very revealing write-up. Though well researched, the findings of the research are selectively used and herein lies its major flaw. Malam El-Rufai may not want to be seen as apologist and spokesperson for the BH but this is the impression that stays with one as one goes through much of this article. Let me illustrate with one or two examples.
I will be drawing excerpts liberally from the write up by Mr Nasir El-Rufai (NER for short in the rest of this comment) as I make my long comment, with advance apologies to NER for any plagiarism.
NER describes BH as peaceful in origin. But read below –
“In April 2007, Sheikh Jaafar was murdered in cold blood while praying in his mosque in Kano by assailants that years later turned out to be suspected members of a sect to be known as Boko Haram, operating out of Bauchi State”.
Can such a group be correctly described as “largely peaceful”. Largely peaceful should be made of more peace conducing acts!
NER affirms “Many in the North see the patent inaction of the authorities as the advancement of a sinister agenda to destroy an already near prostate northern economy through occupation, militarization and disruption of socio-economic activities. The federal government has done nothing to deny these or indicate otherwise, and the state governments have acquiesced to the cavalier attitude of the Villa.”
This is mischievous, inaccurate, unhelpful and is deliberately crafted to further incite a section of the country against the rest. NER knows that action has been engaged and is on-going yet NER finds it convenient and expedient to the advancement of the agenda he defends to deny these.
NER also tries to distinguish between what he calls variants of BH – “Many of us believe that there are at least four variants of Boko Haram – the real BH and three other fakes – sponsored by the government, politicians and criminal groups – that use the brand to advance their own self-centered agendas”. Questions for NER – who is this “Many of us” and where is the evidence base for this belief? Unless substantiated, such sweeping statements are simply exercises in sensationalism and are very unhelpful.
NER says nothing in this write up of the consistent targeting of symbols or institutions of Christianity by the BH. This is a deliberate omission that weakens the credibility of his analysis of the causes of the BH terrorism. Rather, NER is at pains to point out greater northern and Muslim casualties as a result of BH terrorism. Here, he creates the unfortunate impression that his primary concern is with the lives of northerners and Muslims, a focus which I believe betrays a mind-set we should all condemn. One also notices with great concern the very subtle manner NER tries to elevate BH terrorism to the level of an insurgency challenge.
NER appears to know what does not motivate BH and can thus advise those thinking of an amnesty type program to go back to the drawing board! To what does NER owe this knowledge? Yet NER recommends dialogue and “honest discussions” between government and BH, and with that the implicit that either that there have not been such dialogues or that discussions that have taken place so far have not been honest!
NER’s section where he mentions the Maitatsine is particularly worrying since it could be read to mean that persisting difficulties with unearthing BH in the north could reflect surrounding community acceptance and admiration of this group. If this is true, then there is indeed great cause for worry. If it is not then NER’s “the current situation in Kano and Borno States is one in which the military occupiers are killing more innocent people than Boko Haram, which injustice is creating resentment against the Army” should be read as unfortunate attempt at creating resentment against law enforcement agencies carrying out a difficult national assignment against a terrorist group that vanishes into and blends with the crowd.
NER’s last paragraph reads like a recommendation and endorsement of terror tactics and he achieves this through very crafty paragraph editing. The paragraph commences with an argument that military solutions alone against terrorists do not work, and then shifts to a case for government to act to stop the loss of lives and to deliver a country that works for all. He then ends by urging government to bend over backwards to make this happen. Implicit in all of this is that things are not working well for portions of the country who are now up in arms. This way, NER hopes to reposition and brand the BH terror campaign as a crusade for social justice and not as a manifestation of religious fanaticism, extremism and intolerance which has now been tapped into by a bigoted political elite. And by the way, is the implied threat in NER’s last sentence really necessary?
Noel A. Ihebuzor
Every age deserves a show. For some the show could come packaged as comedy, full of boom, bloom and blossom. For others, it could come served as tragedy overflowing with gloom and doom. Since we are special in Naija, we often get treated to shows in quick successions – and each one, a blend of comedy and tragedy, leaving the watcher bemused but confused. We have had some very good shows lately, all blending the comic and the tragic, and all portending the coming of more shows.
SLS’s letter and its confutation by the NNPC is a tragi-comedy. How can the governor of the CBN be ignorant of these details if the NNPC’s explanation is indeed true? If the explanation is true, we have a tragedy that arises because arms of government are not talking to one another and a comedy because they choose to come to the public gallery to display such a dysfunction. I simply hope that the NNPC explanation is wrong, since I hold SLS in very high esteem. When technocrats opt to play politics, they should be kind enough to serve the public notice in bold strokes that says “Buyer, beware”.
Tambuwal’s recent corruption song is as comic as it is tragic.. It is comic because he was playing to the gallery and knew he was doing precisely that. It is tragic because he too is a product of that same corruption he talks about and that the House he serves as speaker is not corruption free. What has he done to address that corruption in the House? What has he done to sweep his own stables? The sad truth of life is that the beam in the other fellow’s eye is always larger than the one protrudes from our own eyes. The bathos of Dambuwal’s situation is that he comes away from the speech feeling he has barbed the presidency and forgets to notice how much he has bloodied himself in the effort. The tragedy in pyrrhic victories replays ever so often with presumed victors often overlooking how much they may have sullied themselves in their vain efforts to score cheap victories.
OBJ’s letter is the tragi-comedy of squandered good will and eroded credibility. I have always argued that credibility becomes a depleting asset once its use has been abused three times – the magic number 3! OBJ could be saying correct things about GEJ but nobody takes him seriously any more. I am even distancing myself from “the kettle call pot black” type of reaction that dominated the media since his missive-missile became public. I prefer to focus on the content of some of his accusations and his seeming inability to understand that assertion is not the same thing as proof. Old folks do not waste soup – agadi adighi agwo ofe – the Igbos say. Thus when respected old men succumb to the temptation of treating with flippancy and levity that which is serious, when respected elder statesmen start making wild accusations without bothering to substantiate them, then you start to wonder what these same old men expect of our 20 million youths. Snipers under training and 1000 persons under surveillance and this said in the most cavalier of manners. In some other climes, Baba would have been invited to explain but this is Naija, a country where it is sometimes difficult to separate the venerable from the venal! How could Baba, in every seriousness, write thus? Has Baba’s mind been influenced by the propensities of one of his famous “oti mpkus” whose reckless excesses are such as even to make the extremes of lunacy look somber and sober? Even Baba’s attack on GEJ’s second term ambitions are built essentially on claims he is unable to prove convincingly and conclusively, some even bordering on hearsay and thus bringing his entire intentions and emotional state when he wrote the piece into question. Some of the content were in particular bad taste, his take on the interanl PDP palaver being a good example! Nigerians needed to be spared the long narration on the internal squabbles in the PDP, and it needs a sense of statesmanship and fine sense of judgment to guide OBJ not to tread that path. Not everything that one sees and knows should be inflicted on the public. Not everything an elder sees and knows is discussed in the market place, the Igbos say! Nzu rules supreme! Statesmen do not come to the public to wash dirty linen and underwear! Knowing what and when to share is an art. It demands an awareness of the nature and needs of the target audience; It demands good judgment of what is relevant. It demands sensitivity, tact and Nzu, qualities that statesmen are also assumed to possess in abundance. In failing to apply the right level of selectivity in the choice of what he divulged, OBJ may have betrayed a drop in his level of tact and statesmanship. It is this sad drop that explains why he could have inflicted such a narration on us and why he could also do so with the clumsiness one normally associates with a young elephant. In the democracies we aspire to, it is considered to be in extreme bad faith and taste for an ex-president or ex-prime minister to make such disparaging and destructive remarks on the rule of a sitting president or prime minister. It is considered as bad manners and hardly ever happens. But not in our Naija – Everything goes.
Abati’s response is tragic and comic at the same time. “I am not to reply but yet you reply” – haba, which kine one be dat? And his reaction was as predictable as his line of attack. Trying to dismiss grave accusations of the type that Baba Iyabo made with emotive language is not always very convincing. When confronted with accusations against my person or against my principal, my attitude has always been to kill my emotions and do a blow by blow clinical response, accepting where I am wrong and using evidence to challenge and refute assertions that derive from either spite, ignorance, greed, ambition, misplaced ideology, immaturity, vacuous knowledge base or an over-inflated ego. I should commend this modus operandi to Reuben Abati, but Dr Abati is a guru and veteran of the media and I, alas, I am nothing but a lay reader.
The dress rehearsal for 2015 has commenced in earnest. Generals, who wrongly believe that this country is theirs to manipulate at will, are watching which way the political wind is blowing and are doing their best to adjust their tattered sails to benefit maximally from it. Self-interest is being packaged and sold as commitment to the nation. The over-riding intention is power grab! Any and every method is allowed. Decency, truth and common sense will be early victims. Hot air will triumph and lunatics will have their field days – unrestrained, and their unrestraint will be our constraint. Loud mouthed Achilles will visit us with their empty and rumbustious swagger and little men will act out their smallness to its fullest. God save us!