Posted in Prose

Osinbajo to the rescue


Noel A.Ihebuzor

I stayed up to watch the Osinbajo interview on @Channelstv last night 04/01/2015.

The professor was brilliant, articulate and fluent. At some point, it looked like he had taken over the interview from the interviewer. By most standards, that was a good outing for the APC. The Professor Pastor succeeded in rescuing the APC from the media disaster that was GMB’s (its flag bearer and presidential candidate) outing on the same channel a few weeks back when GMB conveyed the impression of a man who was lost and out of his depths even in the shallowest of waters. GMB had projected an image of a disturbing shallowness during much of that interview. It was a sad performance, painful to watch for both audiences at home and for the interviewer. At the end of the interview, most watchers concluded that the man who had demonstrated such ineptitude on such a simple interview was not fit to lead Nigeria. Some even wondered how such a person ever made it through the ranks in the army. Osinbajo has wiped that disgrace from the face of his boss and from the face of the APC. But his success also further accentuates the perception that his principal is starkly deficient.

The Osinbajo interview holds another interest for me though. And it is that Osinbajo, without wanting to, almost ended up endorsing Jonathan’s transformation agenda in the energy sector. Take out the deliberate evasiveness, acquired no doubt, over years of legal practice. Cut through the eloquence and oratory, polished no doubt, by years of preaching and teaching,  and ask yourself what Osinbajo said about power sector reform that is really new? I hope I am being fair but what I heard him saying amounts to this – “We will do the same as GEJ and team are doing but we will also privatize transmission”. What are we to make of such a plan when we know that TCN is already privatized via a management agreement. We must do well to remind ourselves at this point that privatization is a continuum that encompasses management agreement, concession and sale of assets, a fact that which Professor Osinbajo’s suggestion’s of an APC led privatization of transmission as an innovation fails to bring out. The planned innovation is already on-going! He also says that an APC administration would streamline gas supply to power the turbines and bring more  IPPs on stream. How different is this from what is going on currently? Is APC’s change not PDP transformation dressed up as a synonym? To be credible change must be real and not a convenient buzz word.

On dealing with insurgency, Osinbajo nearly allowed his eloquence to dribble him into trouble when he almost suggested that the  entire country was not behind the efforts  to defeat BH. Almost trapped, Osinbajo beat a hasty retreat and sought refuge in a sound byte “leading from the the front”  and in the platitude of preaching a “bipartisan approach”, conveniently forgetting that his  principal had earlier rebuffed efforts by GEJ in this same direction. Who does not remember that GMB refused to serve on a task team set up by Jonathan to address and resolve the insurgency?

Finally, that Osinbajo cleverly avoided answering the question of near identity of persons and characters in APC and PDP (given the dominant  recruitment and resourcing strategy of defection in the two parties) says a lot about him. It says something about an emergent personality trait that can only come from acquiring the third P of politician. Only a politician too can choose to gloss over severe human rights abuses in GMB’s first coming and seek to justify these by claims that the administration was hailed and welcomed by all on arrival. A pastor would have shown some remorse over the gross human rights abuses that were associated with Buhari/Idiagbon regime and apologized to Nigerians on behalf of his principal for these. But not this eloquent professor of law and pastor turned politician.

So, as we admire his impressive outing, let us welcome Osinbajo, Pastor, Professor and Politician and pray that the occupational hazards from his latest P do not drown out or crowd out the fine attributes from the first two Ps.

Posted in Prose

The General outsmarted us all!


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.