• David Mark: Celebrating an icon at 68

    07/Apr/2016 // 345 Viewers


    On this historic day, Sixty-Eight years ago in the ancient town of Otukpo, a child was born. As sounds of his cry echoed through the airwaves of the then county town, his mother filled with tears of Joy, smiled, looked down on him and called him ‘Alechenu’ meaning ‘I never expected this’. Names are indeed revelations from God and the true identity of man. This is epitomized by the way Mark rose from grass, went through the ranks to become a political Hercules, a priceless jewel in Idoma land and Nigeria in general.

    For young Nigerians like us who have keenly accessed the leadership acumen of Distinguished Senator (Dr.) David Alechenu Bornaventure Mark, GCON, it is semblant that recent events have only served to guaranty his position as an undisputed political leader of the Idoma nation within and outside his party and he must be encouraged to exhibit this divine anointing in the overall interest of the country. He has already written his name in inexpungible medium and if the scenario were repeated a thousand times now and in the next world, Mark’s name will be synonymous with democracy.

    Like the proverbial goldfish, that has no hiding place, Mark’s contributions to the political advancement and growth of Idoma land, Benue State and Nigeria at large have dignified him as a trailblazer, mentor and an achiever within the extinct iconoclastic colony of genuine and patriotic African leaders. Today, the harvest of political recognition, employment, educational and sports advancement that the Idoma nation has attained is greatly credited to the man with the Mark of biblical David.

    His wisdom has been brought to bear at various points of our country’s political history, prominent among which is the invocation of the “doctrine of necessity” that salvaged Nigeria of a pending political calamity. This sterling quality was further buttressed by his ability to have presided effectively over the Nigerian senate for eight (8) years, having being in the red chambers since the return to democracy in 1999, and a feat that qualifies him as one of the heroes of our nascent democracy.

    For want of time, one may not be able to chronicle the achievements of the Okpokpowulu ki’ doma. However, it is very paramount to state at this  juncture that he should not relent in his quest to emancipate the Idoma nation who have been perpetually marginalized at the state. Although, unfair and unjust criticisms are imminent, he must continue to show unprecedented capacity for tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and allow God to fulfill His promise as stated in Psalm 68:1-2. In whatever he thinks he could have done better, as a father, a leader and a representative,  he should not hesitate to make amends to enable him emerge an even better person. He must continue to give listening ears to the people. The older the wine, the better it becomes and at such, this is not the time to feel old but rather renewed for greater responsibilities which lie ahead.

     Happy birthday the Okpokpowulu Ki’ doma!

     By Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel.

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  • One country, two failures, By Debo Adesina

    07/Dec/2015 // 470 Viewers

                                   Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria

    IT is a tough time to be upbeat about Nigeria, no doubt. When the senses are assailed by the mind-boggling figures allegedly stolen through all kinds of schemes, the first reaction is disbelief and hope that another country, not yours, is the subject of discussion.

    When your incredulity is confronted with the evidence of graft at all levels on an unimaginable scale and you see poverty walking on all fours all around you in all the four corners of Nigeria, any upwardly journey of the spirit must of necessity take a downward turn.

    When all the specifics in “The trouble with Nigeria,” a correct diagnosis by the late Chinua Achebe, fail to prepare you for the metastasizing tumours in the body and soul of the country today, you almost begin to ponder a life without Nigeria.

    But Muhammadu Buhari once said and is still saying we have no other country but Nigeria. So let us stay here and salvage it together from the jaws of savagery.

    In those thoughts about salvaging Nigeria, and given the soullessness that appears to rule in high places, at least up till now, George Saunders, the writer, readily comes to mind with his exhortation that the least any man or woman can do is to ‘err in the direction of kindness’. “What I regret most in life are the failures of kindness,” he wrote. “Those moments when human beings are suffering and I respond … mildly…”

    Apparently, Saunders never imagined a specie of the Nigerian thieving elite when he penned this, oblivious of the existence of a caliber of kleptocrats for whom enough can never be enough, in whom such a thing as a thought for the people cannot be found.
    When people are put in positions of authority and power, employed or elected to make people’s lives better, how do they execute the office? When they are called to duty, how do they respond? As witnesses to the people’s suffering, what do they feel? How do they feel? This specie of the looting elite certainly defies description!

    No doubt, greed, a deficit of honour, lack of scruples and absence of principles are worn by Nigerian politicians like embroideries on their flowing gowns. Yet a modicum of decency and an appreciation of the sickness known as primitive accumulation should inoculate them against such avarice as are coming to light these days. And such decency being too much to seek in the locusts, a little thought for the people at whose pleasure offices are held and power wielded should at least mitigate this mindlessness, this total failure of kindness.

    Well, here we are. Kindness has failed. The nation is hemorrhaging. Now in intensive care unit, what would a surgeon do to save Nigeria?
    Atul Gawande, an American medical doctor and writer, once reflected on it and found no special difference between the job of a seamstress and his own sophisticated calling as a surgeon. A mender of clothes. A mender of lives. Some modesty, I must say.

    The most important skills the best surgeon needs, according to him, include the ability to handle complexities and uncertainties. A good surgeon develops a sound judgment, mastery of teamwork, and willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of his choices. Therefore, surgery, said Gawande, is not in any way different from a career in tailoring, teaching, public service, business, or leadership to the extent that everybody faces complexities and uncertainties, no matter his or her calling, meaning each person faces the risk of failure in his or her endeavours. And, consequently, what everybody needs is the same: development of a capacity for judgment, teamwork, and acceptance of responsibility.

    An epidemic of corruption enveloped the nation, afflicted its leadership recruitment processes, stunted its economic growth, crippled its fighting power and rendered the people hopeless
    Surgery, of course, is a risky business, much more complicated than anything imaginable and life can be lost with the flimsiest of errors. But in the search for reduction to the risk of things going wrong in surgery, specialization, better planning, and technology have produced remarkable changes in the field to make surgery almost routine and much safer. Yet Gawande asked all to ponder this: why are there still huge differences between hospitals in the outcomes of their operations with some places having far higher death rates than others?

    According to him, some researchers discovered the answer not too long ago, an answer which debunked the notion that the best places simply did a better job at controlling and minimising risks, that they did a better job of preventing things from going wrong. On the contrary, the complication rates after surgery were found to be almost the same as others. Instead, what the more successful hospitals proved to be adept at was rescuing people when they had complications and preventing failures from becoming catastrophic.

    Which is why scientists have given a new name to the deaths that occur in surgery: a “Failure to Rescue.”
    So, in summary, a great surgeon is distinguished from the mediocre not because he failed less. Only that he rescued more.
    On which score, it is hard to improve on Gawande’s assertion that this is, indeed, the essence of human and societal improvement. Risk is a vital part of life. Things can and will sometimes go wrong. But when the preparation for negative possibilities is there, when the capacity is strong to limit the damage and to even rescue success from the claws of failure, life from the clutches of imminent death, a super-star surgeon emerges.

    As an almost empty treasury occasioned by profligacy of the past on the one hand and current poor oil prices on the other threaten the nation with failure, the surgeon’s story should indeed be the story of Nigeria today. The challenge before the leadership is to avoid a failure to rescue.

    Stretching the Gawande surgery parallel further, in governance, in such a situation as Nigeria is in now when there is little money, high expectation, only a few good men and no time; when everything that can go wrong is going wrong, there are three main mistakes to avoid or three ways in which a leader may record a “Failure to Rescue:” a wrong plan, an inadequate plan, or no plan at all.

    When this government assumed office, it certainly gave the impression of having no plan, appeared surprised at its own luck in winning the office and, in belated, even retrospective, preparation for the job now at hand, it has since set up committees and a cabinet which, hopefully, would redound into a good plan.

    Any plan, whether in surgery or governance, can fail but the certainty of failure when there is no plan is all too assured. With the realities of the office making a mess of all projections, however, what a good leader does is not to whine but re-calibrate, to acknowledge the wrong turn of events so that the failure of his plan has no chance of becoming catastrophic.

    So, it is very important to lay out a grand vision and draw up clear policy plans, if Buhari’s committees and kitchen or lounge cabinet have done any such thing. It is equally important to stay alert to twists and turns which may require adjustments to the plans without compromising the ultimate goal.

    That is the only way to succeed at the rescue operation at hand.
    Certainly, these times call for unusual courage and boldness. Nigeria is like a patient in the theatre for a life-saving surgery. Risky business. And as Gawande testified, to take a risk, especially in surgery, the surgeon must have confidence, faith in abundance. “You are imperfect. Your knowledge is never complete. The science is never certain. Your skills are never infallible. Yet you must act. You cannot let yourself become paralyzed by fear.”

    This must be the mindset of the Muhammadu Buhari Administration if anything would be rescued from the economic wreckage or financial mess of Nigeria.

    There has been a terrible wave of consciencelessness over the years, leading to an unprecedented impoverishment of Nigerians, their helplessness in the hands of insurgents who abduct, maim, rape, kill as well as occupy their territory. An epidemic of corruption enveloped the nation, afflicted its leadership recruitment processes, stunted its economic growth, crippled its fighting power and rendered the people hopeless.
    A Failure of Kindness brought Nigeria to this sorry pass. A Failure to Rescue should not even be contemplated.


    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not refelct the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

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  • Why pro-Biafran protests are actually anti-Buhari protests, By Onyedimmakachukwu Obiukwu

    07/Dec/2015 // 591 Viewers


    Heightened pro-Biafra protests in Southeast Nigeria are largely a byproduct of the political insensitivity of the ruling APC in selecting a heavily divisive flag bearer- President Buhari. How can Buhari be more effective at addressing the ethnic and religious sentiments in the country?

    They may be draped in its flag and chanting its songs of liberation, but Biafra is not what fires the protests in Southeast Nigeria. It is only the smoke. The fire is President Muhammadu Buhari. Apart from their hackneyed demand for secession and the racist diatribes of their leader Nnamdi Kanu, the pro-Biafra agitators in Nigeria’s Southeast are not propelled by any coherent ideology or comprehensive plan to form a sovereign Biafra. What they share is an intense loathing of the current President of Nigeria. It is this deep dislike for the man, the frustration with the fact that he became president and the wish to make the country ungovernable for him (as they believe “he and his people” did the Jonathan’s regime), that drives the pro-Biafra protesters.

    While there has always been a strong sentimental attachment to the idea of a sovereign state of Biafra among the Igbo people of Nigeria’s Southeast, it has never been this vocal since the end of the Nigerian Civil War four decades ago. And while the infamous Nnamdi Kanu has been spewing his vitriol for several years now, it has only gained traction after president Buhari’s victory at the last presidential election. It is not hard to see why. President Muhammadu Buhari is not liked in the southeast, to put it mildly. He did not gain up to 10 percent of the region’s total votes in the polls that brought him to office. He didn’t also fare much better in his three previous unsuccessful attempts even though he ran twice with Igbo men as his running mates.

    The reasons offered by the Igbos who dislike Buhari—and they are indeed in the majority as shown by the March 28 presidential election results—are as many as they are different and with varying levels of veracity. However, they can be grouped into two broad narratives: the first is that he is historically anti-Igbo, evident from his participation in the 1966 counter-coup in which Nigeria’s first military Head of State General Aguiyi Ironsi, an ethnic Igbo, and several other Igbo military officers were assassinated. This led to the anti-Igbo pogrom in the north that would eventually lead to the Nigerian Civil War in which an estimated 3 million Igbos died—and Buhari’s military rule two decades later during which he was accused of marginalizing the Igbos. The second narrative is that he is the ringleader of some sort of Hausa/Fulani Muslim-dominated northern political caucus hell-bent on seizing political power for their interests alone. For this, the cult-status he enjoys in the north is always pointed to, as is the several controversial statements that has been attributed to him—in support of violence and Islamic Fundamentalism—accusations which he denies. Both narratives are encased with half-truths, biased inferences and wild-eyed conspiracy theories, but at their foundation is the indisputable fact that Buhari’s public image is deeply divisive, and therein lies the contribution of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and his presidency to the pro-Biafra protests.

    The APC prides itself as a coalition of progressive forces across the country, and it did begin as such. But after it failed to generate significant grassroot excitement in the Southeast, it became anything but. While the party campaigned on a large banner of change, with political leaders from across the country as its bearers, it was perceived in the southeast as only a machinery for the actualization of a Buhari presidency. The Igbo political leaders whom the party had sought to help tone down these ethnic sentiments were only seen as conscripts to the Hausa/Fulani-led northern cause. The APC was of course not oblivious of this fact- its South-eastern members struggled to shed these negative and bigoted perceptions back home, but the party machinery did not care. It marched on tone deaf with Buhari as its presidential flag bearer even when it was obvious that he had the most divisive image among all national politicians. In a country desperately in need of political gestures that weaken ethnic and religious sentiments, the APC’s choice of Buhari achieved the opposite as proven by the presidential election results in which the party won the election with an almost insignificant support from the Southeast. If the new President noticed from his victory that a whole region did not like him, he did not show it, and thus far he has not tried to address it.

    Since his victory at the polls President Buhari has visited nearly a dozen countries to canvas support for his government but he is yet to set foot in the southeast whose support is even more crucial for the success of his tenure. His political appointments have in fact exacerbated the ethnic sentiments against him while his explanation of them (that constituencies that gave him 97% cannot be expected to be treated equally with those who gave him 5 percent) has only made things worse. It is this sense of political isolation, the perception that a northern hegemony has seized power with the collusion of the Yoruba-dominated Southwest (an allusion to their Nigerian Civil War coalition) and the desire to avenge the northern struggles of former President Goodluck Jonathan that incenses the pro-Biafra protesters on the streets. Of course their reasons are heavily bigoted and their campaign misguided, but they are largely fueled by the political insensitivity of the party in power. The APC selected a divisive flag bearer, and continues to remain silent as Buhari fails to attempt to address this alienation. Some might suggest the bridge is there for Buhari to walk and extend a hand, but it’s clear to see the President is thousands of miles away.

    Source: EIN

     Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we published are entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

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  • The Supreme Court and the ordinary man

    07/Feb/2016 // 279 Viewers

    By Tonie Iredia

    Not many people know my uncle, Sir Ajayi Edobor that I often refer to in this column because of his impact on me as a young man. It was from him I learnt the technique of the communication of the deaf which I later found to be popular in government which behaves as if it does not hear what the people say. He has in earnest always served as my ever-ready barometer for measuring how the ordinary man sees every government policy.

     A casual phone call yesterday to Uncle Ajayi automatically modified the envisaged topic of this week’s article into a look at the series of election petitions handled by our Supreme Court. His answer to hello uncle was; is every judge in this country now mad? Although I was myself slightly jolted over the series of decisions by the apex court concerning governorship elections in some states, I imagined that the speed with which the decisions were made was helpful to the polity as it could mitigate the distraction to governance which prolonged litigation often caused. When I canvassed this in our telephone chat, the following questions which uncle Ajayi asked showed he was just not impressed.

    The first question was: my boy as he still calls me, are you sure the judges who decided the governorship election cases are Nigerians? I confirmed that they all are. Second, do the judges live in this country? Again I said yes. Third, could it then be that they delivered the judgments to satisfy the wish of the President? When I explained that the decisions were not in favour of the President’s political party, he concluded that the justices must have been materially influenced. I couldn’t answer that because I won’t be able to prove that the judges accepted or rejected bribe.

    In fact since the case of Justice Salami over the Sokoto governorship case, I have learnt not to be involved. Another question I could not answer was whether or not the judges have television sets in their homes and whether they watched media coverage of the elections in which all types of electoral malpractices were televised. Whereas, I can imagine that a judge can afford a television set, whether judges watched the 2015 election coverage or not is a different ball game. Indeed, I don’t know any Supreme Court justice, let alone where they leave or their television viewership profile.

    What I know however is that judges are not expected to deliver spectator judgments; rather they are to deal with issues as formulated and canvassed by the parties who bring up such issues before them for resolution. So, it is probably unfair to expect them to make decisions which rationalize what the ordinary man feels, knows and thinks. As if I am part of the judiciary, this last explanation annoyed uncle Ajayi so much that he banged the phone on me with the exclamation: why then do you educated people say the judiciary is the last hope of the common man?

    If the truth must be told, many ordinary folks like my uncle have a right to be upset not because of who lost or won cases as decided but because of the awkwardness of our inherited justice system that heals no wounds. Besides, the impact which our hopeless election process imposes on the ordinary man is unquantifiable as many families lost their loved ones to election violence. Can anyone convince such families that the quantum of electoral malpractices which always occur in the presence of our armed security operatives during elections do not matter?

    While it is true that politicians tell so much lies about the conduct of an election to suit themselves, we all saw the charade in states like Akwa Ibom and Rivers that INEC ended up accepting as elections. How can anyone be allowed to become a winner of such bedeviled contests? It is patently unfair to blame the ordinary man for having no faith in judgments at whatever level that purport to resolve the disputes. Those were no elections and someone needs to tell our judges that they can convince neither the common man nor the elite to the contrary.

    Instead, the decisions are awkward and at best meet technical justice which our judiciary often says is unacceptable. Indeed, we already have evidence that many ‘Ogas’ are astonished by the latest judicial pronouncements on elections. Chief John Odigie Oyegun, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) said so point blank a few days ago. Speaking at a meeting with a delegation of his party from Rivers state, Oyegun, who expressed shock over the ruling of the Supreme Court, said there was “something fundamentally wrong in the judiciary” which ought to be investigated.

    In earnest, the fundamental issue has to be resolved before it consumes us. Today, everyone seems to have put behind him the story of how Rotimi Amaechi our present Minister of Transport was elected Governor of Rivers State by the Supreme Court. The latter had its way without explaining to us how voters cast their ballots for Amaechi who did not contest the election.

    We were told that because Amaechi ought to have been the rightful candidate, those who voted for Celestine Omehia imagined that it was Amaechi’s name and photographs they saw while voting. That the contraption can consume us easily lies in the fact that people are being encouraged to win an election by any means and then proceed to validate it in the courts in due course. What this suggests is that perhaps there is merit in the argument of those who feel that our courts are incapable of resolving disputes when they concern elections.

    Perhaps, it is time to listen to those who feel the judiciary is due for investigation because even among its own members, there are certain issues that ought not to be overlooked. The other day, a retiring judge, the Hon. Justice Okechukwu Okeke said he would “like to be remembered as a victim of injustice in the Nigerian Judiciary.” Hmmm!!!


    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain solely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

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  • # We Ain't Criminals, Your Excellency

    07/Feb/2016 // 793 Viewers

    By Iyoha John Darlington

    ''Nigeria's president has warned his fellow citizens to stop trying to make asylum claims in Britain, saying that their reputation for criminality has made it hard for them to be "accepted" abroad'' reported The Telegraph on February 5, 2016.
    I am so disheartened at the slur that reportedly emanated from Nigeria's Ethics Policeman and Commander-in-Chief,  our chief representative to the whole world. In a comparative analysis, crime is a behaviour in which individual obtain resources from others by use of brute force, fraud, or stealth. People who commit these despicable acts, doubtless, intentionally harm others for their own gain whilst certain crimes bring about one's elevation to the social stratum.

    Read Also: Nigerian asylum seekers not in danger at home; they are economic migrants - Buhari

    We shall now identify the root causes of crime. According to the former New York Police Department Commissioner, Patrick V. Murphy, the root causes of crime are poverty, unemployment, racism, poor health care, bad housing, weak schools, mental illness, alcoholism, single-parent families, teenage pregnancy and a society of selfishness and greed. These social maladies, amid others, are all byproducts of misgovernance which are prevalent in our society today.
    As some African leaders ascend the social ladder by 'intentionally harming others', it is considered not a crime. While some say It is daring to steal a fortune, some say it is a mark of greatness to steal a crown; fortunately or unfortunately, the blame diminishes as the guilt increases. I am doubly sure Nigeria's Ethics Policeman would fail every integrity test in this regard though often whitewashed by his apologists and partisans.
    He has been in one way or the other involved in crimes and criminal conspiracies. To violently overthrow a democratically elected government, the law says, anywhere under the sun is high treason, actionable and consequently punishable. He led a ''successful'' coup at the tail end of 1983; like a marriage that has been annulled had the sovereign wishes of over 170 million Nigerians bastardised. On December 31, 1983, Buhari, an accessory after the fact of treason stole a crown and thus rode to greatness. The life of that junta was cut short in 1985 via a putsch that had  his name faded into oblivion for nearly three decades.
    In the interim, Buhari's behaviour and remarks were characterized by violently obtaining resources from others by use of brute force, ''if what happened (nothing unusual did) in 2011 repeats itself, the dogs and the baboons will be soaked in blood'' With this remark, Africa's most populous nation sat on the keg of a gunpowder as chaos ominously hung in the air, the atmosphere reek of violence and blood, Africa and indeed the world waited for the worst human catastrophe in history which the violence he threatened would spark off in the run up to the 2015 presidential election, but the wisdom of his predecessor saved Nigeria  and indeed the West African subregion from degenerating into another Syria.
    Buhari never won the 2015 presidential election after all. His 'victory' was nothing short of a criminal conspiracy likened to the Sicilian Mafia bound by oath of omerta calling to mind the gross electoral malpractices and irregularities that took place in the desert northern city-states of Bauchi, Kano, and Sokoto where polling stations swarm with underaged voters, the camera, it is said, cannot lie; they were caught in the act. This would have made enough evidence to have the victory of Muhammadu Buhari upturned had the incumbent President gone progressively to contest the results in the nation's apex court in Abuja.
    Against all odds, he was allowed to assume the reins of power. All criminal behaviours involve the use of force, fraud, or stealth to obtain material or symbolic resources. Self-styled grandees who commit white collar crimes, like he did, appear more self-centered and indifferent to the sufferings of other people. The President did say Nigerians' propensity for criminality has made it hard for them to be accepted abroad.
    Focusing on criminality in this regard rather than political-legal definitions also allows us to finesse the perplexing problem of why some acts are defined as crimes while similar arguably more damaging acts - white collar crimes which he has been traced to him and his cohorts -  are not. Evidence abound where Buhari shields his cronies and party partisans from criminal persecution and these, I dare say, are the real criminals. Does that not make him an accomplice? Then why on earth would one throw stones while one lives in a glass house?

    ''We will make the country ungovernable for President Jonathan'' - a statement which reeks of criminality credited to certain grandees of northern extraction on whose backs he rode to power. This is a crime that has its high cost with direct physical, material, and emotional injury, perhaps even more tragic, however, is the indirect damage to society. Contentious as these issues seem are central to conflict theories of crime. The sad events that characterised this period in our nation's history saw the mass exodus of Nigerians abroad from their homelands.

    Buhari as Nigeria's number one citizen, went to England, granted a press interview and told the world that Nigerians he rules over with a caprice have a propensity for criminality! Soon after the interview was published in The Telegraph it went viral and made news headlines around the world thereby setting us on a collision course with our host communities. This is real bad! President Buhari must tender an unreserved apology for this slur on the  reputation of Nigerians and especially on Nigerians in the Diaspora who have managed to escape from the harsh effects of bad governance at home.  His administration is not better after all!
     It is not only undeniable but also, incontrovertible that the present Abuja regime has no clue to the hydra-headed problems bedevilling Nigeria but only  focuses on systematically deeper power relations between competing interest groups with little or no  feasible policy alternative to regenerate the country. So why in the name of ten devils would Your Excellency label us as Homo sapiens with a propensity for criminality before our host communities  knowing full well what that will amount to in the long run? Have you come with a solution or still a part of our problems?
    Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain solely the author"s and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch.

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  • It's naira or never: Nigeria needs decisive action on its currency

    07/Jan/2016 // 431 Viewers

    The visit of International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has placed an uncomfortable spotlight on the fiscal woes of Africa’s biggest oil producer


    By Oluseun Onigbinde

    When Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, visited Nigeria this week, she called for more flexibility on the exchange rate, encouraging those who believe the naira could be devalued again very soon.

    Her visit placed an uncomfortable spotlight on the fiscal woes of Africa’s biggest oil producer. Many Nigerians feel we are in a tough corner, and concern is growing over what President Muhammadu Buhari will do to plug the foreign exchange gap, boost revenues and diversify an economy that Lagarde said is too reliant on oil.

    Before Lagarde touched down in Abuja, Nigeria’s central bank had been struggling to meet demand for forex while maintaining adequate reserves. The country’s external reserves dipped from $43.5bn (£30bn) in January 2014 to $29.4bn at the end of 2015.

    About 90% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange income is tied to oil revenues, and the drop in prices to below $35 a barrel has resulted in forex earnings from this commodity tumbling from $20bn in the third quarter of 2014 to $11.6bn in the third quarter last year (pdf).

    The central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, has so far imposed controls, drawing up a list of items that cannot be imported with officially sourced foreign currency. Banks are no longer taking forex at the counter, and Nigerians are allowed to withdraw no more than $300 a day at channels located abroad with their naira-denominated cards. There are also limits on how much foreign currency they can spend online.

    These measures have enraged Nigerians, with some finding themselves stranded on holiday or in cyberspace, unable to pay for hotels or shopping. Businesses have to wait weeks to liquidate foreign exchange orders, hurting capital mobility.

    And still the demand outstrips supply. The central bank was able to meet only a 10th of orders for foreign exchange in the third quarter (pdf), with demand rising to $61bn, while supply to banks and other licensed operators stood at $6bn, ultimately fuelling the parallel “black” market.

    The disparity between the official exchange rate and black market rates has risen to more than 35%, but the central bank is still insisting it will not officially devalue the currency. Its determination to maintain this tough grip on the exchange rate is already affecting gross domestic product, with growth down to 2.84% in the third quarter of last year compared with 6.23% a year earlier.

    The wider picture is that investor appetite remains weak compared with levels seen before Buhari’s election in March. Foreign investors are worried about the risk of devaluation but also affected by the wider withdrawal of funds from emerging markets because of the US Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates last month.

    The central bank has tried to use monetary easing to spark credit growth inside Nigeria. It has reduced the benchmark interest rate to 11%, and cut lending controls on deposits to 20%, specifically targeting lending to manufacturing and infrastructure.

    But Nigerian market leaders are worried, despite the easier access to credit: if it takes weeks for them to get forex through official sources, it hurts their ability to operate and could lead to significant job losses. Banks trying to hedge their risks have shown greater interest in government debt, which is projected to reach $4.7bn this year.

    For now, Nigeria has three choices. The central bank could continue its selective supply of dollars – a policy that is hurting growth, slowing forex supply from non-oil sources and complicating importers’ ability to access foreign exchange. Already, airlines are finding it hard to repatriate revenue from tickets sold abroad.

    The problem is that with little forex coming in, and with reserves already standing at just $29bn, the central bank could soon find itself hitting the reserve adequacy prescription, under which it must hold forex reserves to cover six months of imports, or $27bn.

     The second option could be to adjust the “price” of the naira. This devaluation is keenly anticipated by many foreign investors, but some analysts have warned it could lead to more speculative trade, and have questioned how the naira’s “fair value” will be determined. Until now, the government has rejected this course of action, but it may be forced to reconsider.

    Buhari’s final option is to float the currency, allowing markets to determine the exchange rate. The current managed float system, which pegs the official rate at N197 to $1, has created opportunities for people to profit from the margin between the official rate and black market rates.

    But allowing the naira to float could also result in a sharp jump in the cost of household items or energy, and boost inflation. That seems unthinkable, because sudden price increases could erode the credibility of Nigeria’s political leaders.

    We are still waiting to see what the monetary authorities will do, but the current approach is not working, and the central bank’s independence appears in danger. We see central bank leaders seemingly bowing to political pressures. This will hurt the economy and eventually force the inevitable: the naira will have to be adjusted, either through a sequenced float or free float.

    Maybe the government is waiting for a miracle, such as a sudden jump in oil prices. Lagarde has emphasised the need for fiscal discipline, but Nigeria’s political elite tend to turn a deaf ear to such pleas: witness parliament’s plans to spend $20m on cars, or the executive’s intention to spend another $18m on BMWs.

    Nigeria’s leaders will need to show uncharacteristic, ruthless efficiency if the country is to get through this difficult period.


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  • The Corruption and Evil of Employment Scams in Nigeria

    07/Jan/2016 // 609 Viewers

    By Akintokunbo A. Adejumo

     This article has been written in sad response to two recent “employment advertisement” scandals that have involved (or, rather, been repudiated) by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Guaranty Trust Bank respectively. I am particularly annoyed as I sincerely send such job alerts, recruitment adverts, etc. to hundreds of young people in Nigeria I feel that I can help, even though I cannot personally provide jobs for them, or influence their chances of getting jobs; all I can do is make job opportunities accessible to them by informing them of these adverts. I now find myself in the very awkward and uncomfortable situation that I may have been inadvertently sending false recruitment and employment news to these young people. I am sorry.

    I have always affirmed that we are a very bad, irredeemably corrupt and evil society (and I remain convinced that is so). See some my articles on this (Nigeriavillagesquare.com and other online and newspaper publications):
    *A people beyond redemption?;
    *A Peoples Aversion to the Truth is their Undoing;
    *Our Own Worst Enemy: The Iniquities of a People; 
    *A Virulent Form of Absurdity: When Society and Politics Go Insane; 
    *A problem with the Truth: Of Certificates and No Certificates; 
    *A Flawed and Vague Sense of Morality and Conscience; 
    *Transforming Ibadan: A Study in Resistance to Change; etc.

    A very wicked people to ourselves!! I don't know why we are like this. Is it because of the hard times we are going through that has turned us into obtuse, conscienceless monsters; against each other; taking advantage of each other, cutting corners to acquire wealth and power by all means? Or is it in our culture and tradition? What do these fake news apostles have to gain – money, power, notoriety? Sometimes, money is not even involved, maybe just a warped sense of humour or sadism at its worst.
    Apart from being notorious specialists in official and government corruption, we are also known the entire world over as fraudsters and drug smugglers. The foul smell of corruption and crime follow Nigeria’s citizens everywhere we go in the world and show our green passport or our names.

    Now we are gradually becoming notorious for creating and spreading false and fake news to distract and confuse the government and the public in general.
    Things were not like this when Nigeria was "good"; when we were growing up with a deep sense and upbringing of decency and morality, as well as the teaching and tenet of “Love – and take good care of - thy neighbour”, up till the 1980's. What happened to us? Can we get out of this quagmire of hopelessness, poverty, despair, desperation, deceit, deception, insecurity, conscienceless impunity and insensitivity that we have found ourselves trapped in though decades of poor, vision-less and focus-less leadership, exacerbated by dogmatic and blind follower-ship that is leading us every day to the edge of a chasm of bankruptcy and non-nation?

    What have we done to ourselves? And we keep praising bad governments (federal and state) and celebrating corrupt politicians, civil servants and selfish, dodgy business moguls? And queuing behind regional, tribal, religious, political and selfish interests?

    Some of us do not see anything wrong in some retarded and murderous opportunists looting and sharing our commonwealth? In fact, we celebrate them and sing their praises to high heaven.

    The alarming and shameful thing about this is that even the official government is, was, or has been involved. For example, the Immigration recruitment scam of 2014. And now the fake Federal Government directive asking our young people to troop en masse to federal secretariats to submit their CVs. Whoever thought of such a fraud or fake mass news should be shot! Banks and companies are also involved in denying advertising for recruitment after such adverts have gone viral. The poor, hopeless, hapless young graduates of Nigeria are the vulnerable victims! 

    It is a sad fact that in Nigeria of today, the unemployed youth and graduate face an uphill task in surviving in their own country and society. This is mainly due to leadership deficiency which has no clue as to how to solve the problem of unemployment and creating jobs in the country. The evidence are there to see littered all over the national landscape – abandoned factories and moribund infrastructure, while people in government are able to spend money of new, useless and economically unviable projects, just to satisfy their ego, and this is apart from directly stealing money that could have been used to generate or create employment.

    This is compounded by a noxious environment of inordinate and wicked corruption. Apart from candidates facing discrimination due to their ethnicity, religion and regionalism, they also face bribery and corruption from officials. It is a well-known fact that many government agencies, institution, ministries and departments actually demand huge sums of money from candidates in order to be employed. The same also obtains in some banks, industrial companies and even private employers all over Nigeria. Also, these employers are known to have asked candidates to buy employment application forms, and these include federal and state governments (Shame!). Female applicants are even more vulnerable as they sometimes have to succumb to sexual demands in order to secure employment. Shame on all those degenerate old men !

    In many cases, it is the existing staff of these organisations that benefit, as they corner the application forms and procedures and inform only their family members or friends. Nepotism and corruption go together. I learnt that in a particular case with the Civil Service Commission employment exercise, where candidates were asked to apply online, parts of the forms did not even exist or could not be downloaded, but the real forms were known only to existing senior staff to direct to their friends’ children and their own families. I am not even going to write about the notorious Immigration scam that led to several deaths sometime in 2014. It is happening in all government departments and agencies. It is impossible for one to be employed in most government – federal, state and local - positions nowadays unless you know somebody or you are ready to bribe or grant sexual favours. And of course, many jobs in government are never advertised; the senior staff just hand employment letters to their own family and friends. 

    This is not a cause to be making humour of. It is pure wickedness, evil and is a reflection of our depravity and moral decadence; our downward spiral as a people and society. It is man’s inhumanity against man.

    So what solutions do we have to overcome this problem, which is getting worse by the day? The government must not only intervene but our orientation, mind-set, moral perception need to change or we are doomed. It must be a collective effort to start fighting this evil perpetration on our youth. There must be a viable, enforceable employment laws, regulations and bye-laws. The governments must create jobs and make employment accessible to all, free of charge and without discrimination to all Nigerians. Of course, governments must also create environment for self-employment as it cannot employ everybody, nor is it a good idea for any government to employ everybody anyway. 

    The government must also NOT be the largest employer of labour, and so it must start shedding and diversifying its operations, e.g. outsourcing, public private partnerships (PPP), etc. It is directly because in Nigeria, the governments are the largest employer of labour that we have the largest incidences and levels of corruption in government – everybody wants to work in government to access the loot.

    My suggestions are by no means exhaustive. 

    Tell the Truth always!

    *Adetokunbo A. Adejumo, a commentator on current affairs  writes from London, United Kingdom.


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  • Anything can happen in America

    07/Mar/2016 // 437 Viewers


    This is really exciting time in America; watching the drama of the 2016 Presidential nomination process from a distance, I find the contests, the debates, the arguments, the hustling and jostling on both sides of the mainstream political aisle, most instructive, and intriguing. The world's most advanced democracy is proving once again that freedom is a golden ideal and that anyone who seeks to lead it, must undergo a rigorous test of leadership and courage. So far, the presidential primaries have proven to be a sifting process, and after last Tuesday, better known as Super Tuesday, many of the otherwise promising candidates have dropped out of the race, leaving the field to just a few survivors.

    But the prospects are clear: Senator Hillary Clinton seems a sure bet on the Democratic side, with Senator Bernie Sanders still trailing behind. The Republicans too may well end up with Donald Trump. The other contenders: Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich may not succeed in displacing Trump. And this in itself is a source of anxiety, to both Americans and non-Americans alike. If the race gets down to a Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump scenario, we all have every reason to be anxious. Suppose Trump wins and becomes America's President?

    Donald Trump is a snarling insurgent and a nativist. He has said all the worse things that should never be uttered by anyone seeking to lead a responsible and diverse nation. His campaign has been marked by insults, anger, put downs, bully tactics, rants and unapologetic immaturity. He has not been able to articulate any coherent policy, but he has proved to be very creative with populist histrionics. The list of Trumpisms is so frighteningly long and embarrassing. He recommends torture, and the killing of families of terrorists. He has been endorsed by white supremacists and he doesn't quite seem to mind being labeled a racist. He threatens violence and on one occasion, he almost punched a protester in the face. He even got into an altercation with the Pope. He wants to barricade the American South border, and build a wall to shut out Mexico, because according to him, the Mexicans who cross the border into America are “rapists.” And when that wall is built, he insists Mexico must pick up the bill.

    He doesn't want Muslims inside America either, and he has dismissed Africans as unwanted and Nigerians as a problem. He says:

    “We need to get the Africans out. Not the blacks, the Africans. Especially the Nigerians. They're everywhere. I went for a rally in Alaska and met just one African in the entire state. Where was he from? Nigeria! He's in Alaska taking our jobs. They're in Houston taking our jobs. Why can't they stay in their own country? Why? I'll tell you why. Because they are corrupt. Their Governments are so corrupt, they rob the people blind and bring it all here to spend. And their people run away and come down here and take our jobs! We can't have that! If I become president, we'll send them all home. We'll build a wall at the Atlantic Shore. Then maybe we'll re-colonize them because obviously they did not learn a damn thing from the British!”

    This certainly cannot be the temperament of a man who wants to be President. Indeed, one of the most amazing things that has happened in the on-going process is how a real estate and reality television celebrity, whose best achievement is inheriting wealth, and turning around a family business, more by instinct rather than any special technocratic ability, has ended up, getting close to winning the Presidential nomination of the Republican Party, with the frightening prospect of becoming President of the United States on January 20, 2017.

    The irony is that everyone underestimated him. The media loved the headlines that he offered with his many offensive remarks. He was regarded in many quarters as a comical distraction, and a bubble that may soon burst. There were pictures of his current wife, looking like a siren, with her drop-dead gorgeous figure, and skimpy dressing that belongs more to Hollywood rather than the White House. When Ted Cruz upstaged him in the Iowa caucuses, there were sighs of relief, but since then The Donald has won every other primary, and on March 1, he won in seven of the 11 states. He is also likely to do better than his closest rivals in the coming caucuses. Except a miracle happens, Donald Trump will be the Republican flagbearer for the 2016 Presidential election. He has received endorsements from key members of the Republican establishment, something that was thought unlikely. In a recent debate, his fiercest opponents even said they would support anyone that wins the GOP nomination. It may be too late to “dump Trump.”

    He did not invent the votes that have put him comfortably in the lead. Republican voters actually gave him the votes. While voters at party primaries do not represent the general voting population, they are nevertheless saying something about the American mind at this moment. Trump's message of xenophobia, protectionism and isolationism attracts large followership and excites the conservative crowd. The average American is angry: angry with his circumstances, with the establishment, with the lack of jobs, with the economy, with politicians, with foreigners. Trump shapes all that anger into rhetoric and he offers himself as an alternative. He is not part of the establishment; he is against it. He calls himself a “common sense conservative” but he is actually a political insurgent. The only time he has said anything that sounded Presidential was after Super Tuesday, when he departed from his usual script.

    This has been taken as a sign that perhaps Trump will re-brand, and that his style so far has been nothing but populist gimmickry. As President of the United States, he would probably change that style, recruit experts to handle state affairs, and restrain himself. But can America afford to vote on the basis of that possibility? Can America afford to gamble? Trump is impulsive and non-conventional; there is no guarantee that his Presidency will not trump America and embarrass the party of Abraham Lincoln. The character of the leader affects nearly everything else. It will be too much to believe that Donald Trump is merely acting, given his surplus confidence.

    Mrs. Hillary Clinton is a better choice, but going into a general election, she would have to deal with the division within the Democratic fold. Bernie Sanders, her leading rival, has such a devoted grassroots followership that has divided the Democrats into the pro- and anti-establishment wings. Sanders has mobilized such a fanatical political base within the party and on social media that does not trust Mrs Clinton. She has been branded a friend of Wall Street and the status quo, whereas Sanders and his supporters insist that the best way forward is to change how Washington works, and they do not believe Mrs Clinton can do that.

    Despite her attempts to move a little to the left in recent times, the insurgents running a “Bernie or Bust” campaign may move to the Trump side during the general elections because they are convinced she is play-acting, just to win the nomination. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is admired for his progressive, liberal ideas. But again, just as in Trump's case, his mostly young supporters are motivated by anger and insecurity. Sanders wants to redistribute wealth, checkmate Wall Street, and revolutionize health care. The young and the angry are excited but those ideas are not properly articulated in policy terms. And in any case, will the American voter be willing to have as President a man who says he is a “socialist?”

    Mrs Clinton's big challenge is to play the role of a unifier and take steps to unite the party, after winning the Democratic nomination. She will definitely need that “Bernie or Bust” crowd. She struck the right chord when she spoke recently about love and unity, quoting the Scriptures. “Love never fails. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (I Corinthians 13),” she said.

    “These are words to live by, not only for ourselves, but also for our country. I know it sometimes seems a little odd for someone running for president in these days, in this time, to say we need more love and kindness in America. But I'm telling you from the bottom of my heart we do. We do.

    “There is no doubt in my mind that America's best years can be ahead of us. We have got to believe that. We've got to work for that. We have to stand with each other. We have to hold each other up, lift each other up, move together into the future that we will make.”

    These are wise, consolatory words. Mrs Clinton has her heart in the right place and has both the experience and the maturity to lead America. Senator, former Secretary of State, and 42nd First Lady of the United States, more than 25 years in the limelight has exposed Hillary Rodham Clinton to intense media scrutiny, creating what many consider an image problem. But whatever that is, it can be surmounted. A Presidential contest between her and Trump will amount to a choice between love and hate, between the sober and the outrageous, between the respectable and the grossly self-contradictory. America needs to encourage love and kindness within its borders and also stand with the rest of the world. The angry American voter who feels under-represented, alienated, jobless and unfulfilled, and who desperately wants to punish the establishment, may be making a comment on mainstream politics, orthodoxy and the performance of the Obama administration. But that anger should not be turned against the rest of the world by putting a xenophobe and closet dictator in the White House.

    Democracy is tricky; it sometimes ends up as a parody of itself. When the people clamour for change, they can vote with their hearts, and prove impervious to plain sight reason, and overlook likely pitfalls. We can only hope that Donald Trump does not become the symbol of the change that Americans are seeking. That would be sad indeed for the free world.

    Dr. Reuben Abati  was the special adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan


    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

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  • They want to kill President Buhari

    07/May/2017 // 839 Viewers


    Following my inability to get out of bed early today, I tossed my books aside, pick up my phone and dashed off to social media. After a while of reading some news feeds (react to some that caught my fancy), I turned on my browser to read Newspapers (online) and blogs (for gossips – base on doctors recommendations). One cannot help but sigh and shake head at the various issues, news and articles published on the numerous newspaper websites this morning. Some were build-up stories of numerous sagas and face-off, while few others are just new to the public domain.

    In much grief and concern, I dropped my phone for a while and was lost in thought for some minutes. I was thinking about the ‘state of health of the Aso Villa and her chief occupant’. For three weeks now President Muhammadu Buhari has been absent from several regular meetings which he chairs, official and state functions. He has consecutively missed the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings and was not seen last Friday for the Juma’at service – this is quite unusual!
    Last week the honorable Minister of (propaganda) Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was quick and ill-advised to informed worried country-men about the health condition of the President. In his words, the “President is fine… he just decides to work from home” – well, being fine is relative. For weeks now (aside from the manage appearance on Tuesday) the President has not been to his office – No one has seen the President in public. It is now clear as day, even ‘the lame in the head’ knows that all is not well or ‘fine’ with our President. It is either the ‘enemy of the state or the beneficiaries of his state of health that will not tell the truth now because no true friends lie to each other- no matter what!

    Few Nigerians that have been privileged to either be or work in the Villa knows it take just about 5 minutes for the President to walk from his apartment to his office. So if the Minister was true to his words and we are to believe them, why can’t the ‘fine’ (Healthy) man take just a five minute walk?This calls for serious concern!

    Expectedly, the degree of sycophancy in the Villa has been heightened like never before. The enemy of Buhari who portray themselves as friends swoops in day in day out, not to tell him the truth but to secure their interest. The ‘presidency’ is a cabal that is headed by the most powerful man in Aso Rock Mamman Daura, an uncle to President and the controversial Chief of (stay) Staff, Abba Kyari. The cabals that flood the villa know what the stand to gain if Buhari remain in Nigeria, sick or healthy.

    The last time Buhari was gone for 59 days they knew what loss they suffered. The power structure shifted from the cabal and some few northern elements to Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. They were temporarily out of job and business as a result of the President’s absence in the villa. So instead of saving this man they would rather let him ‘import the best brains and equipment’ to the villa for treatment – good riddance!

    The President is suspected to be suffering from diseases affecting his digestive system which makes him feeble and not active enough for the vigorous workload embedded with the office of the President. These people as against advice of his British doctors frustrated plans to make him travel to complete his treatment abroad. The cabals, who are rather interested in taking the life of the President, orchestrated a cover-up so as to ensure the true state of the President health is kept secret, because if this is made public, Buhari will be advise (if not coerce) to seek medical attention immediately and they will lose grip of power once again.

    Few days ago, the overzealous CSO to the President singlehandedlyexpelled the Punch reporter attached to the villa because he was allegedly trying to raise brows on the state of the President’s health. What he failed to know was that, rather than sweeping the matter under the carpet (a routine duty) he raised dust on the issue. The controversy trailing the Punchman exit of the villa made Nigerians more inquisitive as to what this man (CSO) stand to gain if they (Nigerians) don’t know the truth and or what is really the true state of health of our President.Earlier this week, insiders in the presidency hinted SaharaReporters that the President is having serious difficulty in eating and drinking.

    “three insiders in the presidency have told SaharaReporters that President Muhammadu Buhari is being fed intravenously as he has had severe difficulty eating and drinking fluids for several days” as published on Sahara Reporters website. Due to this new development, the President is too weak to leave his official residence to attend official functions.
    In consonance with my earlier stance, even the ‘lame in the head’ knows that all is not well with the President!

    As a result of this development, the cabal comprising of aides, family members and party giants (leaders) has taken up the structure indirectly issuing presidential orders and directives, ensuring their business is alive. Majority of them are now known as the Presidency, which is why the embattled SGF sarcastically quizzed,‘who is the presidency?’

    There is nothing to be ashamed of if the President handlers can come out and tell Nigerians the truth; enough with slim-fitted truth. Nigerians handle it quite alright when he left the shores of this country for 59days when they initially told us he went for holiday (the story later changed anyways). There is no crime in falling sick; everyone does at one time or the other. So Nigerians will move on rather than castigate him for taking ill – who don’t fall sick?

    It is believed in some quarters that both the polity and the economy fared better when the President was away and the qualified Vice President took on the mantle of leadership. In acting capacity, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo did quite alright; everyone (except the cabals of course!) was impressed by the way he handled the affairs of the country and the way he never kept President Buhari in the dark on issues.

    I know the President cannot see or read this, but the (presidency) movers and shakers of the polity can and will. So I advise rather than continue to allow some few privileged Nigerians act in his stead, the President should write to the National Assembly about the state of his health (and be sincere about it), informing them of his plans to travel to seek medical treatment as well as handing over the ‘Presidencyin acting capacity’ to the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Let Buhari go and take care of himself. If they truly love him, let them seek ways for him to go abroad to see his doctors and return in due time when he is ‘fine’ – no matter how short or long that may be.

    Nigeria needs Buhari now than ever. He has started this reformation he must surely see it to a logical end. Yes! I have my reservations by the process he handled issues but if this man never became the President, all we’ll do is to keep assuming and imagining the kind of mess we are in as a Nation. The world is watching in anticipation of the true change he and his party promised Nigeria about two years ago. He can’t do this on a sick bed or in the hospital, not even indirectly with the help of cronies and cabal. WE NEED OUR PRESIDENT BACK ON HIS FEET.

    Asojo Olasunkanmi Samuel is a social commentator, writes from Oyo Town.

    The post 'They Want To Kill Buhari appeared first on PM News

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  • A sojourner among liars, By Reuben Abati

    07/Nov/2015 // 385 Viewers

    Professor Wole Soyinka was quoted saying his latest book is the “nastiest” that he has written so far. InterInventions: Between Defective Memory and the Public Lie- A Personal Odyssey in The Republic of Liars (Ibadan: Bookcraft, 2015, 136pp) is quite close to being just that. But who knows if an even nastier book may follow as Soyinka embarks on the task of exposing lies in our Republic as he has promised that InterInventions, a follow up to Interventions series (I-IV) will be dedicated solely to the dismantling of lies in the public space: malicious and non-malicious lies, lies told, lies magnified, lies fraudulent, murderous lies, accidental lies, uttered from depraved minds whose sole intention is to create burdens for their victims, malign, impugn and lower the other so they can be raised or their stomachs can be nourished at other's expense.

    This is nevertheless, a publication in which Professor Soyinka settles strictly personal scores, but this is no pamphleteering that he modestly alludes to, but a fine, extended essay in the distinguished tradition of that form. He is polemical, punchy and critical – without mercy or measure! There is no deceit, no pulling of punches, not much of deliberate concealment; it is Soyinka wielding a Bazooka in one hand, and a gilt-edged knife in the other, shooting down the hypocrisy and pretensions of representative figures in a Republic of Liars, where defective memory, an affliction worse than amnesia, but much closer to dementia, and psychosis, is standard fare. He deploys language dramatically and draws blood even if his mood remains charismatic and entertaining as he laughs at human folly, and the verminous antics of his named and shamed traducers.

    The writer focuses on his personal experiences as a victim of the burden of being lied to, being lied against and being pushed to defend his right not to be lied against, but his theme is probably far more important than his content and mood. He ends up inviting us to think further about a social malaise, a missing, distorted, disjointed ethical link, and so his subjects – including Obasanjo, Chinweizu, Adewale Maja-Pearce, Peter Enahoro, Major Salawu, Gbenga Daniel, Abiola Ogundokun, Olagunsoye Oyinlola – rise off the pages, as illustrative archetypes of a hydra-headed crisis at the heart of society, namely how self-delusion, ego, power and an obsessive, compulsive, alimentary propensity turns adults into liars. Other associated themes along this line of moral exhortation will include the sheer uncertainty of life, the unpredictability of human character, and the near-helplessness of victims in a nation of fabulists.

    Thus, the entire narrative is organic, with the humanistic import of the content, imbued with a personal orientation as it were, taking us closer to larger questions of ethics, humanity, the inviolability of truth. Man and his foibles is the central subject of inquiry invariably; there is a certain universality in the tendency of man, including those who quote the Bible with practised ease, to be nasty and brutish. I recommend this book for everyone's reading pleasure and instruction. It is quite affordable, only N1, 000 per copy, and certainly, a temptingly quotable book – more so as the reader is reassured by the author's statement of indemnity. Here goes: “My publishers are hereby fully indemnified by me against court processes, as well as the consequences of any libel suits that may arise from this maiden number of the InterInventions series” (p.93). The stoutly flagellated figures in the book, who are described as “the greatest public liars I have ever known”, thus ridiculed have every reason to be angry but obviously, Soyinka in taking his pound of flesh cannot be bothered.

    There can be no greater denigration to be sought beyond his depiction of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as the philosopher-king who is “an overgrown child of circumstance;” “Double-O-Seven”, “an infliction”, “a hypocrite”, and “irredeemable egomaniac” or Chinweizu as “Chichidodo”, a bird that feeds on shit, or Adewale Maja-Peace as “the area-boy of letters”; or Peter Pan as “lying, opportunistic, contemptible”; Olagunsoye Oyinlola as “the Prince of Darkness”; Gbenga Daniel as “DaaniElebo”. Professor, ki lo de? Or when of Maja-Pearce, whom he calls “Ade-Boy!”, the writer says: “It is a time to remind him that the stern rod of Ogun awaits all lying tongues.” (p.38). Professor, ewo ni t'epe!

    Of Abiola Ogundokun, Soyinka thunders: “Of all the loathsome lumps of slime that ever oozed from the sump of human depravity to aspire to human form, none comes close to the two-legged parasite that goes by the name of Abiola Ogundokun”. Whaa-a-t? And in taking on Major Rasaki Salawu, he says “Howu Salawu” – a vocalic alliteration which cryptically summarises the subject-matter;  a considerable part of the book is devoted to a profiling of the self-same Salawu in a manner that evokes shame or the equivalent of a mortal decapitation. Soyinka's anti-heroes owe themselves a duty to say something in self-defence, for the naming and shaming tends to stick, with all the stamp and authoritativeness of the inimitable WS. Audi alteram  partem.

    Which is why I was surprised that President Olusegun Obasanjo in a reported interview with The Punch, made light of it:

    Reporter: While you were away from the country, your friend Prof. Wole Soyinka inaugurated (sic) a book in which he called you a child of circumstance.

    OBJ: (Talking in Yoruba: Se o so be?) Meaning: Did he say so?

    Reporter: He even said he won't eat any food you give him without you eating from the food first.
    OBJ: (Continues in Yoruba: Mi o mo o) Ehnhenhn? I don't know.

    Obasanjo irritated by the Soyinka questions, gets up and walks out of his study during the interview…but the reporter keeps throwing questions at him.

    Reporter: Why are the two of you always quarrelling?

    OBJ: Kini wahala yin? (What is your problem?)

    Indeed, what is our problem? But just in case President Obasanjo has not read the book, I recommend that he should especially as Soyinka has promised a follow-up shake down edition: “a collective effort, a corroborative-or self-cancelling-anthology by many long-suffering victims…dedicated solely to the Otta phenomenon.” (p. 53). Our Republic of Liars is a temporary space for Soyinka; his reputation in the world of letters places him historically, in the long run, beyond local dog-fights; but as for this book, emotional responses to the vengeful biographical dimensions cannot be unexpected.

    Take-away, though: our problem – we do have a problem as a collective – is the sobering realization that Nigerians enjoy telling lies, much more than any other community that we know, and that we are indeed, a Republic of Liars.  We are a nation of fabulists, richly imaginative, when that asset is well-conditioned, it produces excellence, but misapplied, the tale bearer becomes a professional aproko, as they say, a self-made radio station, transmitter, booster, conditioned to promote untruths, and as the tale travels from one mouth to another, new layers are invented and added, often so viciously that the original source often finds it unrecognizable. But much damage is done, and it is this wickedness of man to man – as theme and principle- that Soyinka deplores.

    The rise of the internet has even made lying so easy and convenient, the anonymity that the social media offers allows a lie to grow until its continued affirmation imposes it on public memory as received wisdom. Lies pollute the public mind; they damage relationships and destroy a sense of community. Soyinka insists on the inviolability of the truth and decent conduct, but the rot is widespread, the phenomenon is a new normal reality. Politicians lie to the electorate, win the votes and turn around shamefacedly to say they never said whatever even in the face of concrete evidence made possible by electronic reproduce-ability. This culture of deception remains unchecked because the institutions for seeking redress remain inchoate: libel cases can go on forever, or they may run into a technical hitch concocted by lawyers, requiring that they be started de novo. And to worsen it all, the followership enjoys the lies and the lying, compelling an assessment of our Republic in real and fictive representations as the biggest lie in search of truth.

    Soyinka does not recommend a resort to self-help; but he inflicts punishment with his pen, and laments in a memorable instance: “Chei! There is Death o!”  Let's add: “Chei! There is God o!…”- the ultimate judge.

    Reuben Abati, special adviser on media to former President Jonathan

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