Posts Tagged 'bigotry'

General Buhari and P-Square

By 

Noel Ihebuzor

Who would ever have believed that the Okoye Brothers (Paul and Peter – PSquare) had this amount of influence, and that the influence extended even to the highest citizen of the land? That is the power of artists – their influence can be so insidious that we often internalize their messages without our being conscious that such internalization is going on. General Buhari’s recent 97% and 5% talk is a classic example.

PSquare sang: “if you do me, I do you, God no go vex” and the General must have taken the message in this modern day rendition of a mosaic injunction to heart as a guiding philosophy of life. This guiding philosophy then found a convenient outlet in the 97% and 5% comment. Never mind that the mathematics is wrong. Never mind that the forum chosen to express this personal philosophy of governance and political payback (with commonly owned assets) was the worst. The comment is no slip of the tongue. It is a comment that swells from deep within. It defines the man and it tells us what to expect in the coming months and years. Such a comment is most unworthy of any statesman or national leader. It betrays pettiness. It betrays vengefulness. It also betrays a regrettable and fundamental sectionalism. It is thus a public relations and governance disaster. It is a tasteless howler. The timing for this latest howler is also most appropriate. It happened in the public glare of spectators who had come to watch a sales and image laundering exercise. The gaffe turned it indirectly into a media disaster, apt self revelation and commentary and thus gave a lie to all the hype and posturing.

The French novelist, Victor Hugo said–“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come”. Let me end this short piece by inflicting on the reader a very mischievous adaptation of that same saying. Here goes – “Nothing is as inevitable as a disaster whose time has come”.  I am sure that Mr. Hugo would agree that this adaptation rhymes well with our present charade and that it fits the current parade of governance clumsiness like a glove.

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D is for Drown and more – an instantaneous duet

By

Toyosi Arigbabuwo and Noel Ihebuzor

NI

Crown, drown, clown…..”

TA

for which town?

Abeg, chill naa, no vex

NI

I no vex, I no frown!

Dem jus fall my hand down!

TA

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!

NI

na so so frown frown

when town vex come meet crown

sake of say ogogoro wey him down

wey make dem talk of drown

TA

E come be like this town

When dem goon

Say no be madness make the crown

Wan drown pipu for inside Lagoon

NI

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.

TA/NI 

Iseeeee! Aseeee!

**** 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.

Jonathan, the real change!

My cousin and friend, Reg Ihebuzor,  with whom I regularly engage in discussions on development and politics, pointed out to me today that President Jonathan by his utterances and actions represents real change and that indeed the mantra of real change fits him like a glove. He reminded me of the following products of President Jonathan as proof of this real change mantra.

  1. Almajari Schools – never been done before
    2. Stopping corruption in fertiliser – never been done before
    3. Starting 2nd Niger Bridge – never been done before
    4. Revamping railways – never been done for 20 years
    5. Revamping 14 airport terminals – not been done
    6. Appointing more women in responsible positions – never been done
    7. National conference for effective federalism – never been done before
    8. You-win for youths – never been done before
    9. Reform of power sector – never been done
    10.Reform payment system in public sector to stop corruption – never been done.

He contrasts these evidences of real change with startling evidence of the rigidity of Buhari, of Buhari’s incapacity for change and his inflexibility, all the more startling given Buhari’s change campaign slogan. He cited the following as evidence of inability to understand change and to change :

  1. Arrogant Dictator – unchanged. “If you do not like Me, go and vote for the other party”
  2. Unchanging attitude towards his role in the PTF heist and the gross management ineptitude he displayed
  3. Unrepentant and unchanging attitude towards the post election violence by his supporters in 2011
  4. Unrepentant and unchanging attitude towards his current association with politicians with shady and corrupt pasts.
  5. Unchanging attitude towards retroactive laws that resulted in deaths. So, no apologies for retroactive laws
  6. Unchanging arrogance –  “I can’t change the past” and unwillingness to retract utterances he made in the past which are indicative of outright religious bigotry
  7. Unchanging attitude towards decrees 2 and 4
  8. No change in attitude towards his overthrow of a democratically elected government.
  9. No apologies for jailing democratically elected political leaders.
  10. No change in his attitude towards the unresolved certificate issue.

Whatever Buhari is, he certainly is not change. Buyer, beware! Choose wisely.

Frame and Focus – #ReturnOurGirls

By

Noel Ihebuzor

The   campaign has been a huge success in calling the attention of Nigerians and the international community to the abduction of Nigerian school children from their school in Chibok. Thanks to this campaign and to its organizers, the world is now aware of what, in reality, is a savage affront to human dignity, decency and freedoms, symbolized by this act of terrorism against innocent and defenseless school girls!  Global reaction to this dastardly act by Boko Haram, a group born from religious extremism and bigotry has been one of shock and outrage. President Obama expressed that sense of outrage and shock clearly in his TV interview on the abduction. Expressions of shock and outrage continue to be heard from all around the world, and understandably too. The abduction and continued captivity of the girls are in utter violation of all international human rights conventions. They also violate all the provisions regarding the protection of civilians in general, and women and children in particular, in situations of conflict. The abduction shocks. The continuing captivity  of these innocent girls is both agonizing and sickening. Their captors should hear this loud and clear – all well meaning Nigerians are united with the rest of the world in wanting these girls returned, safe and sound

Like I said at the start of this write up, the campaign and its hashtag  have been successful but I believe that time has come now for another hashtag  to be added to the existing hashtag. The reason is simple. Both in Framing and Focus, the  hashtag fixes attention and minds on government’s (federal and state, but largely federal) responsibility to do all in its power to bring back the girls. There is also the hint of frustration and anger at government’s slow and ineffective response in the immediate aftermath of the abduction, emotions which are also largely understandable and justifiable. However, the largely government focus of the hashtag takes minds and attention away from the perpetrators of this infamy. It takes attention away from this violation of rights, from this act of sheer terror by a bunch of extremists, the Boko Haram, who are willing to burn and butcher and who will stop at nothing to advance a religious agenda.

It is now time for attention to be turned to and focused on this Boko Haram group too. They invaded and took away the girls. We and the entire world shall hold them together with their sponsors, supporters and apologists responsible for any damage done to any of these girls. They should therefore return them, safe and intact. Returning the girls may even obviate the need for any military engagement and any fire fights that may arise in any efforts to secure the release of these girls.  Military engagement is a strong option in a # mode. Such a mode leans more towards a “search and rescue” mission approach. Such missions have inherent risks of casualties and collateral damage and history is replete with examples of such consequences and societal reactions to them. We want the girls back, safe and alive. Appealing to their captors to return our girls presents therefore a safer option. Incidentally, It is also a strategically more beneficial route for Boko Haram in the long term in terms of image redemption, pardon and possible reintegration into society.

So whilst we encourage our security forces to , we should also frame and focus our tweets on Boko Haram and their sympathisers, sponsors and supporters and ask them to . Let us then adopt this additional hashtag  today and use it not only to appeal to Boko Haram but also to apply pressure on it!

NAI

Achilles unchained

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

 

Achilles rode headlong into

headlong battle,

riding in a cranky chariot of straw and smoke

vision dim and dimming,

still he charged into the fray,

in loosening losing circles

against imagined enemies

 

And in the ever widening void of his mind

he battled them all,

he disgraced them all,

he speared them all

with his blunt sword

soaked in the iron oxide

that dripped from him,

he spared none

He staked all,

the impostors, the stateless,  stake-less stakeholders,

pretenders, false claimants, heritage grabbers,

ingrates and gate crashers,

the uncultured, the crude,

their women, his “claimed wenches”

 

Their battered remains,

he drags in rags round his city walls

a conjecture and structure,

spawns of a fertile but fetid imagination,

where truth is tried, tied down, tortured

and twisted tall tales are told and sold

 

The blue sheen of the filling up moon,

Blending with a seething red and

a sickening dull green,

swirling and swelling within him

fill his mind, dulling and lulling his thoughts

 

The battle words he froths now,

the battle incantations he speaks

are all whisperings from what he hears

the moon speak to his dangling mind

the enemies he sees outside are from within him

sad but gleeful denizens of the forest and bush

he carries in his darkening soul, demons –

a thousand and one of them

who prey on, void in and void his mind

and put his own heel in his mouth

The precursors of Boko Haram

The article here by Professor Wole Soyinka

Prof Wole Soyinka

 

see link was written in 2009 but the contents are still very relevant to the challenges we face today. The article is long but it is worth reading in its entirety.

Here is a very revealing excerpt from the paper –

Boko Haram is not really about a detestation of Western or other forms of education, but the expression of a malignant outcrop of fanaticism, intolerance. It is, above all, the will to dominate, to control, to enforce conformity – in this instance, conformity of the most sterile, uncreative kind.

Enjoy the rest of the article.

Noel


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