Posts Tagged 'politicians'

Osinbajo to the rescue

By

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.

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Dr Dele Momodu and his mathematics

By

Noel Ihebuzor

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 :

  • In 2011 the GEJ presidency did not have as much successes to show as it has today, yet it could defeat GMB’s challenge in spite of that. Today, it has things to show even in GMB’s home state. Voters are not blind.
  • Recent NOI polls show an incumbent whose popularity and performance ratings are on the increase across the entire country
  • The arrival on the political scene of the APC has not worked the miracle of dramatic whittling of PDP presence and appeal in the “APC” states.
  • The experiences in Ekiti and Osun and the fortunes of the APC and PDP in the recently held Guber elections in those two states are still fresh in our memories for any intelligent student of Nigerian politics to decipher.
  • The rout of the ACN in Ondo state with Mimiko’s re-election is a knock on the myth of regional appeal of the ACN and what it has now morphed into,
  • The recent rejection of the APC in Anambra state is an indication of the unpopularity of GMB in that state,
  • The recent political upheavals in Adamawa state makes a definite statement on the popularity of the political parties, and
  • The political realignments in the North Central geo-political zone, to mention but a few.

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.

Dis Na Naija!

By

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!

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

The tweet fighter

By Noel A. Ihebuzor

Hollow head
shallow mind drowned in
emptiness,

seething rage,
hurling hate soaked rants,
gloom and doom

searching for meaning,
for self in others, drifting,
fallow, easy prey

for agile, clever
manipulators looking
for cheap tools to use.

Cycles and circles

By Noel Ihebuzor

 

The tragedy of a journey on a hunch back road,

slippery, muddy filled

with slime and grime

tired limbs trudging round

in unending cycles and circles,

on this sterile,  empty, barren highway

smeared generous with a coating

slippery,  of thick  okro sauce,

now souring

 

Truth does not walk this road any more

lies lie in wait for the unwary,

from all four winds and corners

fetid fumes and foams

frothing from ogbono coated tongues

hollow throats, mirroring hollowed consciences,

deformed by elephantiasis of the soul

 

the festering cancer enlarges

feeding off a bottomless greed

that has gripped the strong breed

ripped their souls grim

with the grim reaper’s blade

moral paralysis now spawns

new barren creeds of

chop comot make we chop

on a betrayed people,

trapped in endless cycles and circles

 

 

IDPS RDC-est

 

Mbandaka 2009

 

 

 


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