Monday Lines – Tribune Online https://tribuneonlineng.com Breaking News in Nigeria Today Sun, 08 Dec 2019 16:47:26 +0100 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://tribuneonlineng.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/logo.jpg Monday Lines – Tribune Online https://tribuneonlineng.com 32 32 118125416 We are back to Abraham Adesanya https://tribuneonlineng.com/we-are-back-to-abraham-adesanya/ Mon, 09 Dec 2019 02:40:37 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=273628 Tribune Online
We are back to Abraham Adesanya

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Chief Abraham Adesanya was diligently accused by Sani Abacha of shooting himself on the streets of Lagos on January 14, 1997. Again on September 18, 1997, US ambassador, Mr. Walter Carrington’s farewell party was attacked and disrupted by soldiers and mobile policemen. The Abacha government spoke loud and clear and washed its hands clean of […]

We are back to Abraham Adesanya
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
We are back to Abraham Adesanya

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Chief Abraham Adesanya was diligently accused by Sani Abacha of shooting himself on the streets of Lagos on January 14, 1997. Again on September 18, 1997, US ambassador, Mr. Walter Carrington’s farewell party was attacked and disrupted by soldiers and mobile policemen. The Abacha government spoke loud and clear and washed its hands clean of the sacrilege. It said the ambassador organized and did the attack all by himself. Nigeria is an incredible nation.

In my country, progressivism has become the new fascism. On Saturday, the state and its security swore that their truth was the truth; that we did not see what we saw in video clips shot inside that Sowore courtroom. The state insisted that the arrested arranged the attack against himself – exactly like Adesanya and Carrington. Those who wrote the fantastic script of the Abacha years appear to be back at work. The smell is too striking in offensive similarity. Other people may live life forward; we live backwards. We are back to the past.

I am reluctant to join any fireside chat on the Omoyele Sowore shame of last Friday. I am reluctant too to ask why and how he has become the sole nut in our fire. It is golden to wail at fascism; it is godly to scream at conscienceless power wherever it reigns. But some very bad matters are beyond wailing and flailing. How should a country handle a tragedy bigger than tears? If there are still elders around, they should tell us to just blow this moment off with laughter – and wait for the end of the mad season with its sure harvest of doom.

Nigerians love distractions. There is a war raging on the internet on Sowore and his travails. I saw pro-Goodluck Jonathan troops with ‘serve him right’ placards. Sowore worked with everything, fair and foul, to see Buhari defeat Jonathan in 2015. A woodcutter is about to be eaten by the tiger he saved from death. He saw a Jackal, told his story and asked: “Is it fair that this tiger should eat the one who helped him?” Well, in power politics, kings relish renewing the potency of their throne with the prized blood of their backers. That is why we are told to be close to kings by 1,400 feet and be distant from them by 1,200. They kill.

Buharists are also on the defensive, making excuses for the evil of their deity. Politics would not let them remember that this Sowore used to be their General Officer Commanding (GOC). Yet there is the third force condemning both as two sides of same coin. Buhari’s arch critic, Farooq Kperogi, tore at Jonathan’s people on Saturday throwing at them same bad adjectives he coined for Buhari’s blind lovers. He said they should keep quiet because their Jonathan laid the foundation for today’s fascist beats of the Buhari regime. Jonathan, he said, with his Cybercrime Act 2015 “clearly prepared for what Buhari is doing now. His only luck is that Buhari is worse than him.” He said Jonathan “also ordered the invasion of the National Assembly by the police. He sent soldiers to close Daily Trust’s office in Abuja. He asked soldiers to seize newspapers that carried critical stories.”

While we waste ourselves with the inanities of who enabled today’s acid rain, the national being is fast decomposing. Why are we like this?

The one who drinks is the one who must get drunk. I don’t want to think about it. We are what we are because of who we are. I listen to the voice of the ancient chant of the bard: Somebody’s neighbour made 200 heaps and planted 200 yam seeds. Another made 200 heaps and planted 200 okra. The agent of death sweated to make 200 heaps but planted in there 200 skulls. At harvest, he complained that the skulls he planted yielded no yam. Tell him that you reap exactly what you sow. Let the head hunter ask his ancestors what profit their murderous deeds in Orwellian 1984 brought to the table of regeneration. “I was detained for three years and only released after my mother died,” Buhari repeatedly lamented this in his early years in power. He never liked it, yet he does it to others. Before all these defiant arrests, rearrests and interminable detention, I had thought mothers were the best witnesses to the pains of childbirth. The one who has suffered legal or illegal detention should know how it feels. I was wrong.

Progressives are scented arsonists. They spray petrol on naked truth, set it alight with falsehood and swear they have no hand in the ensuing fire – or that the blaze is for public good. Disease is their synonym – or their surname. So, instead of wasting our limited energy on the symptom called Sowore, we should start looking for a permanent cure for the ailment. ‘In Sickness and In Power’ is the title of a 2008 book by Lord David Owen. It is a sober narration of the queer marriage that exists between medicine and politics. Running through over a hundred years, it x-rays political, military, security and business leaders and what they contribute to societal dislocation. The book presents a study in mental and physical illnesses, in foolishness and stupidity and rash hubris – the combo that ruins leaders. Of all the ailments, Owen identifies ‘hubris syndrome’ in leadership as the greatest threat to people’s freedom and well-being. A reviewer identified the symptoms to include “patterns of reckless behaviour, bad judgment and operational incompetence, often compounded by delusions of personal infallibility and divine exemption from political accountability.” If we were a reading nation, I would recommend it to our leaders in politics and security – and to all who vote and regret so soon after dropping the ballot paper into the box.

For leaders who endorse evil, when things get pretty bad, they will be alone and lonely. Ibadan had a Baálè in 1912 whose story teaches caution. History says the kingmakers did not really want this man called Irefin but the people did. The poor especially supported him because of his actions and rhetorics against thieves. He was made Baálè amid great expectations. But he soon became a captive of his ‘boys’ who visited unimaginable wickedness on the people, beating many, forcing even many more to “dry to death in the sun.” It was widely believed that “he actually endorsed these horrible acts.” Soon, his chiefs also made him to take perilous decisions one of which proved fatal to his reign. When trouble came, what did his chiefs do? They disowned him. History says: “Ilú ko Baálè Ìréfín” (the city rejected Baálè Ìréfín). He then wandered from Ibadan to his farm and to Lagos in search of a political solution to his misfortune. He got none. The deposed ruler finally decided to go back home and do what his predecessors in similar situation did. He ended it on February 12, 1913. The fate of Ìréfín was not new. He led same process against his predecessor. His own successor also suffered same.

Governmental powers are sacred costumes fit only for the fit. When a masquerade names itself Máfojúkànmi (Do not look at me), it will dance alone, rejected, uncelebrated. There was Aláàfin Sàngó whose rage made trees fall upon trees and who forced rivers to flow backwards. As his anger set dense forests ablaze and burnt down palm trees of Oyo, the king said he was cleansing the city of warts of badness. Sango was Kìígbó, Kìígbà (Does-not-hear, Does-not-agree) – but everything ended soon for him at Koso.

Every power must expire – and this includes powers being wielded by those with life-and-death influence over their cowed worlds. For if masquerades are benign ancestors, why would they beat the world around them? Every Yoruba town has had a masquerade who was notorious for excessive wickedness. In its moment of strength, the hooded one won’t remember that no egúngún festival lasts forever. When the feast of bean cake ‘awuf’ ends – because it must end – the man behind the mask must account for all his profanities while inside the sacred costume.

A fortunate government should know the very limits of its luck and logic.

We are back to Abraham Adesanya
Tribune Online

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From Daura to Lagos, they eat up the little ones https://tribuneonlineng.com/from-daura-to-lagos-they-eat-up-the-little-ones/ Mon, 02 Dec 2019 02:19:16 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=271232 Tribune Online
From Daura to Lagos, they eat up the little ones

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

YOU were given job slots, you gave them to your children. You were given additional slots, you gave them to your mother’s children. You cannot end well…” The Muslim cleric who made this statement is the Chief Imam of one of the major towns in Kwara State. He talks straight and tough; video clips of […]

From Daura to Lagos, they eat up the little ones
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
From Daura to Lagos, they eat up the little ones

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

YOU were given job slots, you gave them to your children. You were given additional slots, you gave them to your mother’s children. You cannot end well…”

The Muslim cleric who made this statement is the Chief Imam of one of the major towns in Kwara State. He talks straight and tough; video clips of his strong views always trend. Sometimes, his voice hovers around the uncomfortably graphic. There is one clip where he asks men to go and marry “these widows” because “they are too young to be left roaming.” His latest message is a direct naming of politicians as blood-sucking leeches. First he asks his audience: “how many children of the poor smile through you?” That should be a tough question to answer in the forest of wickedness (igbó ìkà) that we call our country. The poor are not supposed to smile here, and they don›t. The rich think it is their luck. Then the cleric looks straight at where politicians sit and charges at them: “All of you, you are wrapping good fortune around yourselves …You are sharing good things among yourselves. Any good thing that is not properly spread will not bring goodness to anyone…”

I see the fat, starched ones among his audience bleeding their hand fans. His words are becoming too searing to absorb but he is not going to allow them to be cool. He says they are horrible sores and he is there to dress them with painful medications. The cleric continues: “Something more terrible is even happening in Nigeria now. Ask what it is. You were given job slots and you sell these slots to the children of the poor. You won’t end well. Even after selling each slot for N1.2 million, you tell such appointees that their first six months salaries belong to you, will be collected by you. You cannot die well, doing this. Children of the poor, trained with peanuts gathered from scavenging on refuse dumps, you sold job slots to them for N1.2 million and then insist that their first six months salaries belong to you. You will die miserably…”

He goes on and on and you wonder why God is speaking through him at this point in our lives and experience. Sadly, he may be right. Unthinkable things are happening – and we are cool about them. There is a game called Fish Eat Fishes. It is a predatory game of domination. A fish uses guile and subterfuge to hunt and eat smaller fishes. He does this repeatedly until it becomes the biggest fish in the sea. And you remember the exchange between two fishermen in Shakespeare’s Pericles: “Master, I marvel how the fishes live in the sea.”/“Why, as men do a-land – the great ones eat up the little ones.”

That is the meaning of our politics— from the deserts of Daura to the waters of Lagos.

The Imam did well. Did you notice the barrel bomb in his “any good thing that is not properly spread will not bring goodness to anyone…”? Barrel bombs are unguided improvised explosive devices. They are powered to deliver trauma in devastating multiples in all directions. Imagine the launch of a salad of “oil drums”, fuel tanks and gas cylinders filled with explosives and metal fragments.” A surgeon who witnessed the direct effect of a barrel bomb in Aleppo, Syria, told Amnesty International: “so many amputations, intestines out of the body…it is too horrible.” Words, sometimes, can deliver unpleasantness with the same degree of lethality. That, precisely, is what the Muslim cleric did with his allegations, curses and expletives.

When you wrap every good thing around yourself or around your children or your mother›s children or your clan— excluding the unprivileged, how do you think it will end? I wish someone would forward the words of the cleric to our president who is in his Daura hometown this morning to launch a University of Transportation (whatever that means). Remember that three months ago, the Federal Ministry of Education inaugurated a committee for the takeoff of a brand new Federal Polytechnic for that same Daura. Remember again that four months ago, an Air Force Reference Hospital was inaugurated there too by our nationalist president. When a leader sets standards in anything, he gets disciples who are fiercely loyal to his ways. You remember that the Federal Government recently approved N2 billion for the establishment of the Nigerian Army University in Biu, Borno State. The head of our army is from Biu Local Government. I am sure you are also following the news of a Nigerian Air Force University to be sited in Bauchi. Just like the army example, the head of our Air Force is from that lucky Bauchi State that will host the ‘citadel’. I wonder when the Chief of Naval Staff will announce Navy’s own university for his hometown. Or he can just take it to Daura; it shouldn›t be difficult to channel the sea to the campus through the deserts of the North-West. When every good thing in a village goes home with the village head, just sit back and watch how goodness finds a seat in such a place. I wish the cleric’s video clip is given to our men of power to watch. It may give them an idea of the taste of their future.

Photographs of the president hosting the Emir of Daura at the weekend in his Daura home drove some haters crazy. Children of anger are always angry. They said the reception venue shames the Aso Rock Villa in opulence. But just as our Senate President said, anything our president does is for the good of the country. So, in vain our cleric sends coarse warnings to men who have climbed the tree of life to the very top. Falcons who have conquered the earth and its elements hardly hear the falconer. They are birds of prey; they rule the world with armoured confidence. That is why it is said that unchallengeable power corrupts absolutely. You know when sheer luck pushes a laggard to the mountain top, he mocks the humble steps of the past. He tells the struggling others that from his vantage position, he is already seeing the end of the world. And when you can see the farthest end of a perilous journey, there is no more fear. So, tell the cleric to please stop looking at the honey in power. He should stop his cruise-missile curses against the chosen. Gifted leaders fear neither the people nor the future. There is no reason for fear.

The preacher has a colleague in the wife of the president. Aisha Buhari added her own shrill voice at another gathering of Muslim leaders on Friday. She told her husband’s ‘brigade commanders’ that the chickens of injuries repeatedly done to the poor had started coming home to roost: “As a result of a long time of injustice done to others, most of us today cannot go to our villages and sleep with our two eyes closed. We all know that and it is moving forward and forward. My husband has three years to go. We should fasten our seat belts (or) get up and do the needful or we will all regret it very soon, because at the rate which things are going, things are completely out of hand. The vice president is here; ministers are here. They are supposed to do justice to whatever. People cannot afford potable, drinking water in this country. We have ministers, we have governors.”

It is good and cool to have a warning cleric and a speaking First Lady agreeing. But doing the talking has consequences. There was a loud US First Lady who was derided with as many negative names as the public could coin. Eleanor Roosevelt was called ‘Madam President’, ‘Lenin in skirts’, ‘Stalin in petticoats’, ‘Empress Eleanor’, — even “the most dangerous individual in the United States today” — all because she broke the hymen of silence and stillness around the president’s wife. Even the New York Times would write a whole editorial on her outspokenness with the remonstration that “the very best helpers of a president are those who do all they can for him, but keep still about it.” Before her, there was Abigail, President John Adam’s wife, who saw her husband writing the US Declaration of Independence in 1776 and told him point blank to “remember the ladies.”

So, like that fiery cleric, the president’s wife is not just a trumpeting warner, but also a prophet. Aisha won’t be the first First Lady to repeatedly sense and warn. Shakespeare insistently shows us Julius Caesar’s third (or fourth) wife, Calpurnia, as a worthy seer in the bosom of power.

 

From Daura to Lagos, they eat up the little ones
Tribune Online

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Tribune at 70: Even Babatunde Idiagbon was here https://tribuneonlineng.com/tribune-at-70-even-babatunde-idiagbon-was-here/ Sun, 24 Nov 2019 23:20:28 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=268714 Tribune Online
Tribune at 70: Even Babatunde Idiagbon was here

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Perhaps one day, an ex-Tribune person will become the president of Nigeria. When that day breaks, the cycle will be perfect in its completeness. A political newspaper manifesting its name in real practical terms will be an experience to feel. From about midnight of 1949 to date, the Nigerian Tribune has seen it all. Its […]

Tribune at 70: Even Babatunde Idiagbon was here
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Tribune Online
Tribune at 70: Even Babatunde Idiagbon was here

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Perhaps one day, an ex-Tribune person will become the president of Nigeria. When that day breaks, the cycle will be perfect in its completeness. A political newspaper manifesting its name in real practical terms will be an experience to feel. From about midnight of 1949 to date, the Nigerian Tribune has seen it all. Its story has been an example in how to make the years count.

A child’s head may swell with the size of his very rich wardrobe, but can he have as many old, priceless wears as the elderly? I am taking my eyes off the dirt in sweet-smelling places from Abuja to everywhere. I want to speak here about the human and value contents of the 70 years of existence of the Nigerian Tribune. Nigeria’s oldest newspaper has produced leaders in virtually all spheres of the Nigerian life – except having a Nigerian president in its kitty. And I look forward to that happening.

Before you ask what difference such a president would make in a challenged environment, take a look at this list: In the second republic, the Tribune celebrated its 40th anniversary with the production of a governor in Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande who was editor of the Nigerian Tribune in 1953 and, later, editor-in-chief till he left for the Lagos House in 1979. The following year, it produced an Ooni of Ife. The late Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II worked in the commercial department of the Tribune in his formative years. Now, this should interest you. I know you can’t forget the no-nonsense Major General Babatunde Idiagbon. He was General Muhammadu Buhari’s deputy when he was our military head of state. Idiagbon was in Tribune as a journalist on the streets of Ilorin. Imagine stoic General Idiagbon as an ace court and crime reporter. That is what he was for the Tribune in Ilorin before he joined the army. If you doubt my claims, go and read the records of the grand old journalist and once-upon-a-time president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chief Michael Bolorunduro Asaju, who recruited and supervised Idiagbon’s reportorial works for the Tribune.

On November 16, 2019, the Nigerian Tribune turned 70. In the long years from 1949 to date is packed history in its most intriguing details. When an Iroko’s luck and toughness make it escape wanton woodmen and their murderous chain saws, its roots will firmly intermarry with those of others in the forest. Tribune’s vital fluid flows in veins across key newsrooms in Nigeria. The current managing director of The Punch, Mr Ademola Osinubi, started his career as a Tribune reporter/sub-editor. He left in September 1974 because he needed to go back to school. Until a few months ago, two out of the three editors of The Punch were ex-Tribune journalists. Elsewhere, it gets even more interesting. Intellectual journalist, master prosaist and columnist with The Nation newspaper, Professor Adebayo Williams, was also here in Tribune as a reporter. I move from him to count one, two, three, four, five other professors who were here as reporters and writers. Chief Ebenezer Babatope was the very first university graduate to work in the Nigerian Tribune as a journalist. Since his coming about 50 years ago, there has been no looking back in knowledge acquisition. Today, 95 per cent of Tribune journalists have at least a Master’s degree. The list is long and lengthening moving forward. There are currently four Ph.Ds inside that newspaper house with a promise of at least two more in the next 12 months.

It is not everyone who wants to live long and well who has his prayer answered. The long years of the Tribune endure with unusual memories. A commissioner of police was posted to Oyo State a few years ago. He came visiting the Tribune House and searched the depth of the library there for his news stories and cartoons. He was there thirty-something years ago as a reporter. There are many more in high places with stories to tell in varying tastes and textures. The cemetery is a huge container of dreams and destinies buried in seasons of bloom and youth.

Tribune’s founder celebrated it as Apamaku (survivor of murderous schemes); its old enemies called it Tetebuyan (quick to abuse people). You remember what Buhari said last week about Awo’s newspaper and its role in Nigeria, past and present? Buhari said it was a key decolonization agent. He added for effects that it has remained an activist newspaper “holding leaders to account” and empowering citizens “to demand accountability in all spheres of national life.” You also read the verdicts of Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida. President Goodluck Jonathan added his voice too. They all spoke of the courage, the resilience and the pro-people stance and content of the 70-year-old newspaper. Each of them knew the full meaning and import of what they said. He who feels it knows it. When fortune smiles on a man and he escapes dying young, his mortal enemies of a million years will become his friends. That is the story of the Nigerian Tribune.

The Tribune ran an editorial on its 70th birthday promising “to stay with the people.” This is a dangerous time to live in Nigeria and make a solemn promise of courage. There is a government here that dishes hateful actions to whomever it fancies. The same government hints the hurt not to dare flinch or he becomes guilty of hate speech punishable by death. Visceral intolerance and insults rule our public space and they say we must live with them. You saw how fourteen Assistant Inspectors-General of Police were appointed last month, and 13 of them came from the North. The gasps and murmurs of disbelief at such audacity have since been swept away by this season’s unceasing rains of disaster. We run a government of three masquerades managing six bean cakes for the nation. One takes two, the other two masquerades have shared the remaining four cakes between themselves. The people’s plate is empty. And there is peace. The nation can sleep empty and hungry. It is the luck of the multitude to thirst endlessly for justice. Around the power in our country is the aura and mantle of the Third Reich. The copyright of today’s eerily dense don’t-talk rhetoric belongs to Benito Mussolini. His descendants must sue the copycats in Nigeria for plagiarism on behalf of their long-gone fascist patriarch. The Abuja orchestra plays for a dance of darkness – and it cannot end in what is not disastrous.

Someone looked at the struggling media in Nigeria and quipped that you can choose to stay with the people and their aspirations but what if they do not stand with you? There are duties which may or may not have benefits. Fighting evil on behalf of a people is one of such duties. Never trust the people with your freedom. They worship their tormentors – to your shock and misfortune. That is true. But do your part and leave the rest to fate is a cliche that comforts the unsure navigator. Seven years ago in this column, I wrote what I thought a newspaper should be in the hands of its minder. I said an editor should know that a newspaper is a rare combination of the fine qualities of a civilian aircraft and the rugged determination of a fighter plane. He should know that he pilots the plane for God and humanity. And in doing that, the plane should not just be for dropping humanitarian aids on the hapless below. It should also be used to interrogate the environment that creates the privileged and the helpless, the bloated and the haggard, the overfed and the starving. It must competently do air-to-air combat and attack ground targets who are almost always potent enemies of public good.

Yet, the editor holds the promise to maximise the strength of the plane in its speed and manoeuvrability for maximum impact. While there should be no indiscriminate shelling of civilian targets, he should, at all times, watch out for enemy fires. And in the 70 years of Nigerian Tribune journalism, those fires came repeatedly from men of power and means, scarring man and machine in its newsroom. From its editor being accused of and summoned for sedition by the colonial government just a month after its debut in 1949 over its shrill condemnation of the killing of coal miners in Enugu, to its newsroom and editor being searched for Indian hemp in one of the very bad, mad days of the first republic, to one of its editors being jailed by Abacha for publishing the ‘Genesis of Ibadan bloodbath’ on May 3, 1998, this newspaper has had more than a million years of experience in state harassment. Yet, it is soldiering on because it is its lot (and destiny) to plough the difficult field of Nigeria. That is the path it chose when it got christened ‘Tribune.’ A child’s name rules his stars is key in the belief system of the black man. And he is right most of the time. The Tribunes of Ancient Rome fought principalities for the people, paying the price many times. They existed to protect the plebs (commoners) from magisterial abuses. But that duty of care was not one-way; it was reciprocal. Historian Mark Cartwright says the plebs, in return, also “swore an oath (lex sacrata) which gave the Tribunes a sacred inviolability (sacrosanctitas) and a guarantee that the plebs would protect them with their own lives.” The experiences were not always pleasant.

When a wise man clocks 70, he starts packing and preparing for the inevitable departure. The years ahead are fewer than the ones behind him. But for an institution such as a newspaper, every addition in years is an opportunity for rebirth and reinvention, an additional plate in its armour. Today’s newspaper fights very many wars at the same time. There is the digital onslaught that mutates against every counter-measure. There is the sly, evil state ever scheming to ruin the media and rule people’s mind unchallenged. There is the future, ever creepy, unknown, unsteady and untrustworthy. With plagiarized bills of hate speech and fake news seeking to mute critical voices in the land; with the judiciary sinking in incestuous sleaze with money and position, and the legislature signing blank, postdated cheques for the presidency, the future can only be difficult and dangerous for the media and its operators. But for the tested, the approaching minefields of power should be conquerable familiar terrains. Wise, trained eyes do not get lost in the woods where dusk met them – no matter how treacherous the night is. The mouth that will tell the story of our ongoing (and oncoming) wars won’t be on its casualty list. History has no record of the palace outliving the people.

Tribune at 70: Even Babatunde Idiagbon was here
Tribune Online

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Fire in Bayelsa, death in Kogi https://tribuneonlineng.com/fire-in-bayelsa-death-in-kogi/ Sun, 17 Nov 2019 23:44:15 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=266151 Tribune Online
Fire in Bayelsa, death in Kogi

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilt by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they can become the momentary masters of a fraction of dot…” I do not know the maker of the viral video from which I […]

Fire in Bayelsa, death in Kogi
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
Fire in Bayelsa, death in Kogi

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilt by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they can become the momentary masters of a fraction of dot…”

I do not know the maker of the viral video from which I picked the words above, but I found it to be in agreement with my thoughts as I looked at what we do with ourselves voting in elections. It speaks to humanity’s eagerness to kill one another for empty, fleeting power. It speaks to man’s fervent love in hatred and his delusional self-importance in a world that will soon spin out of his control. It speaks to the powerlessness of the strongman.

National Assembly members not elected to fight Buhari ― Lawan

After watching videos of the Kogi and Bayelsa wars of last Saturday, I asked myself why we had to go through those harrowing moments to choose governors who will soon become wicked gods of thunder – hideous fire in their mouths, hateful fury from their nostrils. Why not just ask our president to choose for us his governors as he did in 1984? When General Muhammadu Buhari decided who would be state governors in 1984, he quietly did it without bloodshed. He carefully selected those he could work with, swore them in in his office and dispatched them to the states to do as he commanded. There was no spending N10 billion to buy the votes and corrupt the land; there were no gunshots harrying cities and villages into orgies of fear and violence. There were no monkeys and baboons swimming in blood because of votes and voting. Buhari can start doing exactly what he did in 1984 from now on since he is the super elector whose choice must be the people’s choice. Let him start doing it. It is bloodless, painless, cashless and deathless.

The results won’t be different; so, why kill and maim? Whatever we do, we are certain to get the same result our genial general gave us in 1984; so, let him pick for us as he did then. We are supposed to be in the 21st century, better educated, better informed on how to go back to the past, surrender and submit to power and worship the powerful without querying the potentate.

We will reap bountifully from this Option Buhari. There will be no need for foreign observers who would sink daggers in our backs after we have graciously permitted them to enter our country. There will be no insults from foreigners who always think we do not know how to rule ourselves. If the choice is for the president to make, governors of faith will no longer suffer the humiliation of kneeling before pagans to beg for votes. Wives of powerful people won’t kneel again in appeasement of ungrateful people who would scorn them at the polling booth. There will be fewer insults from persons whose lot it is to lose elections to the president’s party. Above all, mothers of youth corps members won’t have to bury their precious sons and daughters after every election. Electoral officers won’t get missing or found killed again in the line of duty. The nation will be at peace with its choices.

When I said mothers would stop burying their children because of elections, I did not make it up. You remember three corps members were murdered in Jos, Plateau State, in November 2008 because of local government elections? Yes, local government elections! If you don’t believe me, let me refresh your memory with a slain corps member’s family’s horrible experience as reported by a newspaper. His father spoke:  “Ibukun had reported for the NYSC on August 26, 2008. We were in constant touch with him because mine is a very closely-knit family. He would have actually returned to Lagos on Thursday but could not because it was rather late. So, I called him around 6.20 a.m. on Friday morning and he said he was on his way to the park. Then later, he called that he was going back to his uncle’s home because the riot going on in Jos was quite heated. I said it was a good decision. So, he ran back into the house and we remained in touch.

“From that time, there were several calls and it was as if he was giving us situation reports. Then, his elder brother took over from me and kept monitoring his brother. He started asking for prayers. ‘Please start praying for us,’ he had begged. ‘They are moving towards our side of the town. In fact, they seem to be getting close to our gate. Please, pray. They are outside our house now. I don’t know why they came to us, but they are here.’”

His brother took over, giving reporters a narration of what then became of the NYSC member:  ‘Now, our gates are down,’ were the last direct words the young man could say to me. Then I started hearing him beg them. Later, there seemed to be some struggles but my younger brother was still pleading. Then, I heard cries and I was afraid while at the same time shouting his name. I heard the voices of women screaming and praying to God for help. For some time, everything seemed to get silent but by this time, I was almost running crazy when my colleagues in the office grabbed my phone from me to calm me down. A few minutes later, after I had regained my composure, I picked my phone to call my younger brother. But it was a Hausa man that replied me. And he said in Hausa tone and seemed to be mocking us at the same time: ‘Ya broda, Im don die, Im don die…Ha ha; now, Im don die’. And at that point, the phone went dead. And that was when I blacked out too.”

That was in 2008. In 2011, it happened to another set of corps members in Bauchi. Six of them died because someone lost a presidential election. Nobody was prosecuted for these cases.

You wonder how many more families have had to go through such horrific tragedies. How many more wept yesterday and are in mourning in Kogi and Bayelsa because the law says there must be elections? Did you not hear agonising cries of mothers drowned in gunshots in the videos trending online since Saturday, November 16? All because of elections! We are not well. Let no one inflict further elections on me. Let the president vote in whoever he likes in his party and let us be at peace with his choice.

There is a shortcut to the truth of what we have today: Let the president choose the governors and the lawmakers exactly the way he chose the head of our courts and the head of our Customs without looking at what the law says. And it is working for him.

The Kogi and Bayelsa elections of blood and death were unnecessary distractions from more important matters. The most demanding issues of the moment are rice and border closures. Did you not see the disciplinary measures we are meting out to smugglers in the West of the country? Have you watched videos of miserable Yoruba women using their bras and wigs and earrings to smuggle rice into Nigeria? Now, what can you really do if the Customs decides to storm your kitchens and pots in search of illicit rice? You would say it is illegal? We are almost there. In 1984, it was the Head of State who ordered the land borders closed and threw the keys into one of the canals inside Dodan Barracks. This time, because of civilization, it is the head of Customs who did it. The border keys have been dissolved in acid – exactly like Ken Saro Wiwa’s corpse. While the Head of State banned petrol 10 kilometres radius of the borders in 1984, the head of Customs in 2019 made it 20 kilometres radius. That is an improvement. Twenty years from today, the radius will cover the whole of Lagos and all other complicit empires.

And do not say the border closure directly self-indicts the Customs CG whose duty it is to keep smugglers away. When a gateman permanently locks the gate and swallows the key, why do you need him to man the gate again? You really think that with all the unpunished infractions in our elections, in our complicit courts and extending to our borders, the law is dead here?

You remember rich, loud, Yoruba lawyers who asked the president to suspend the rule of law four years ago? Why are they complaining now that the hearer of prayers is answering them? We do not really need the law or lawmakers or the courts to rule well. There was nothing like the Senate or the House of Representatives when Buhari ruled in 1984. Even the courts had their powers ousted by decrees and they trembled. Buhari was the lawmaker in his 20-month rule and he did it so well that we brought him back into our lives 30 years after. So, what are we saying? We don’t need laws to be effective; and that should tell you why the Customs will not have to cite any law to back whatever it is doing. If your neighbour’s wife was frisked head to toe in search of hidden grains of rice and you think the Customs is being rude or crude the way it is carrying out its mandate, go and read history. The Customs was crude and rude even to the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello. In a January 7, 1963 letter to his friend, the finance minister, Chief Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh, the Sadauna complained about the lack of courtesy to him by the Customs service: “I need hardly point out to you that whatever I import into this country is not for sale but for my own personal use or to give to my friends or colleagues…While I appreciate that it is right and proper for the Customs officials to do their duty according to law, I cannot understand why in cases that concern me, they behave in such a discourteous and disrespectful manner…”

So, you can see it is not today that the rains started beating Nigeria. Even the leader who made our president what he is today was also a victim. Let us, therefore, cooperate with the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court as they empower the president with their own powers. The way to go is to stop the law from breathing. We need it.

 

Nigerian Tribune

Fire in Bayelsa, death in Kogi
Tribune Online

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‘Look at all the vice presidents in history; where are they?’ https://tribuneonlineng.com/look-at-all-the-vice-presidents-in-history-where-are-they/ Sun, 10 Nov 2019 23:20:05 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=263495 Tribune Online
‘Look at all the vice presidents in history; where are they?’

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Chief Bisi Akande was the governor of Osun State between 1999 and 2003. Otunba Iyiola Omisore was his deputy for most of that tenure. Akande was old, austere, heady, vocal and popular; his deputy was young, intrepid, loud, colourful and popular too. In them was a pair of contradictions and extremes. They were classical Thomas […]

‘Look at all the vice presidents in history; where are they?’
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
‘Look at all the vice presidents in history; where are they?’

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Chief Bisi Akande was the governor of Osun State between 1999 and 2003. Otunba Iyiola Omisore was his deputy for most of that tenure. Akande was old, austere, heady, vocal and popular; his deputy was young, intrepid, loud, colourful and popular too. In them was a pair of contradictions and extremes. They were classical Thomas Hardy’s ‘sinister’ mates in the ‘Convergence of the Twain’, his poem on the sinking of the Titanic. One was a ship, confident in his invincible hull, royally ruling his hemisphere. And on the other side was the huge, polar iceberg, deadly,  lurking “in shadowy, silent distance.”  The state soon became a street of bloody fights; broken limbs and lost heads became signposts to its health; the victim was everybody. Even the governor abandoned the physical governor’s office space for the deputy to rule. Akande withdrew into the Government House and planted a ‘Situation Office’ there where real power resided. At the height of that crisis with Omisore, Governor Akande went poetic:  he said deputies anywhere were spare tyres.

If you are to choose between your spare tyre and the car’s brain box, which would you pamper? At the time Akande employed that metaphor for his deputy, the most powerful person in his government was his Chief Personal Assistant, a very brilliant, cold, gentleman. Persons who run governments are rarely seen; they are the brain boxes of governmental engines. The boss trusts them absolutely because they are no direct threats and no potential widow inheritor in the marriage of power. No one, apart from the boss, likes them but, just as your brain is encased in a bony box, they are always well protected from the shocks of bumpy rides. The power of metaphor can be awesome. It is the jewel carefully wrought “to ravish the sensuous mind.” Sometimes metaphor comes disguised as in Peter van der Coelen’s ‘Imagery of Proverbs.’

Akande did not (and does not) disguise his own jabs and darts. He is a verbal pugilist almost of the Mohammed Ali school. So, if the deputy is a spare tyre, think about what you do with your car’s spare tyre. Where do you keep it, how and for how long? The white man who designed the spare tyre had his purpose. It is to save the vehicle and its users from accidental paralysis occasioned by burst or flat tyres. But that is where it appears to end. Blow-outs are metaphors for fatal occurrences. Except the immanent let them happen, the spare is useless.

No one is too powerful for me to control — Buhari

The United States Senate has an interesting view on the vice presidency of that country. In a most elegant prose, it x-rays what the office has been and the characters of those who had been there: “Holding the least understood, most ridiculed, and most often ignored constitutional office in the federal government, American vice presidents have included some remarkable individuals. Fourteen of the former vice presidents became president of the United States—more than half of them after a president had died. One defeated the sitting president with whom he served. One murdered a man and became a fugitive. One joined the Confederate army and led an invasion of Washington, D.C. One was the wealthiest banker of his era. Three received the Nobel Peace Prize and one composed a popular melody. One served as a corporal in the Coast Guard while vice president. One had cities in Oregon and Texas named after him. Two resigned from the office. Two were never elected by the people. One was the target of a failed assassination plot. Another was mobbed in his car while on a goodwill mission. Seven died in office—one in his room in the U.S. Capitol and two fatally stricken while on their way to preside over the Senate. And one piano-playing vice president suffered political repercussions from a photograph showing him playing that instrument while a famous movie actress posed seductively on top of it.”

Think of our own Atiku Abubakar and how he ended his vice presidency. Think of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan whose wife reportedly complained that newspaper reading was his only schedule while he lasted there. Think of Namadi Sambo who was President Goodluck Jonathan’s generally blurry deputy. Do not bother to think of today; the sun is searing enough for all to feel the unwantedness.

Those who copied the American presidentialism for Nigeria did not do a good job. Why didn’t they create a good, secure job for the vice president? They caused the mess presently assailing our nostrils. At least, in the United States, if the president does not like the smell of the vice president, he cannot stop him from performing his duties as the president of the Senate. Roger Sherman, one of the framers of the American constitution, noted this fact in his famous argument for giving a role to the vice president. He said starkly: “If the vice president were not to be president of the Senate, he would be without employment.” 

But despite having employment in the Senate, what has been the experience of previous holders of that office? US presidential historian, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., once described the country’s vice presidency as “a resting place for mediocrities.” As uncharitable as that is, he would appear to be echoing the frustration of the past and the hopeless apprehension of the future. I will quote a few of these US vice presidents. America’s first vice president, John Adams, famously said: “My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived…I am vice president. In this I am nothing, but I may be everything…” Another Vice President, Thomas Marshall, added his voice, telling a morbid story: “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected vice president of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again.” Harry Truman, another VP said: “Look at all the vice presidents in history. Where are they? They were about as useful as a cow’s fifth teat.” And Dan Quayle who was vice president to George H. W. Bush said “the job is just awkward, an awkward job.” Indeed, to Theodore Roosevelt who was vice president in 1901 before moving up later to be president, it was a matter of regrets: “I would a great deal rather be anything, say professor of history, than vice president…” it is “not a steppingstone to anything except oblivion.”

He was not entirely correct. He stepped on that stone to become president in 1905 – just like his predecessor, William McKinley. Yet another vice president, John Nance Garner, in regrets said: “The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm piss.” For him, taking the job was “the worst damn fool mistake I ever made.” Joe Biden was Obama’s Vice President. Early October, 2014, he was at Harvard, Massachusetts, taking questions from students. Then a young man got up, introduced himself as the vice president of the students’ body. The man asked his question. Biden looked intently at him and said: “Isn’t it a bitch, I mean … that vice president thing?” When he saw the audience erupting with laughter, he readjusted himself and added: “I’m joking. I’m joking. I’m joking. The best decision I ever made.”

Nigeria’s presidential democracy is funny and befuddling. It post-answers many bad questions so much it endangers the deputy. When do you think the spare tyre becomes useful? Is it at all times when a working tyre is found flat? You know it is not in all cases. You know that if a vulcanizer – its doctor –  is nearby, except the damage is severe, the sensible thing to do is to just mend the flat tyre and re-commence the journey. In that case, the spare tyre can continue its rest, its sleep and its snore in its redundant pouch. It enjoys the coziness of its oft forgotten room. Stress and strains from brakes and clutches are rarely its portion. Don’t ask the spare tyre to give evidence on any minister’s claim that very bad roads are not as bad as wailers shout. The spare tyre’s evidence will be a pure hearsay. It can’t help because falling into craters and gullies is not its portion; it has never been.

All the disabilities around the office of the vice president of Nigeria become uglier when dipped in the shit of ethnic conspiracies and treacheries. A Fulani president versus a Yoruba vice president is what we are grappling with. We saw the flipside of this championship between 1999 and 2007: A foxy, alert Yoruba president versus a serpentine Fulani vice president. The result was an explosion. Unlike that time, there are no floodlights beaming on this 2019 boxing ring. I am speaking of the Abuja stories, the denials, the confirmation; the known and the unsaid. A former US president is said to have declared that he hated “all vices, including the vice president.” We have not heard that here and we won’t hear it. Americans are blunt in saying the truth and in throwing verbal bombs. The current Fulani gene here is different in its ravishing nimbleness. A Yoruba lineage with an intriguing cross-cultural praise name always gets me thinking:

Tééré bíi Fúlàní, Isán, arewà ejò

Fúlàní tííse bí òkùnrùn wò’lú

Ògìdán tííse bí òle w’àjo

[Meaning:

Slim like Fulani, Isan, pretty snake

Fulani that enters town feigning sickness

Tiger that infiltrates with the gait of a weakling.]

Those images are very vivid enough as alerts and warnings to anyone who wants to deputize anyone. Our presidential palace politics is about preys and predators. A wise person knows that snakes and tigers are stealth hunters. They stalk, ambush, move swiftly, quietly to maul their preys. These Fulani sleeping with Nigeria are neither lousy nor are they louts. That is why they almost always win and don’t go to bed hungry. They are lined up, looking forward to taking turns on the victim. You won’t hear any noise from the Villa that is beyond deniable speculations. Whatever they do, their prey won’t play activist politics; won’t shout or struggle with anyone. How does the powerless fight strong men who bite and soothe with fresh air? How?

 

Nigerian Tribune

‘Look at all the vice presidents in history; where are they?’
Tribune Online

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Lai Mohammed and fake news https://tribuneonlineng.com/lai-mohammed-and-fake-news/ Sun, 03 Nov 2019 23:10:57 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=261095 Tribune Online
Lai Mohammed and fake news

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Nazis called it ‘Lügenpresse;’ here, it is ‘fake news’ or ‘hate speech’ or both. It can be used by anybody to deal with anybody – and it is in use. Adolf Hitler wielded it as a double-edged sword to destroy his ‘enemies’ – the free press. Both sides of our own political aisle haul it […]

Lai Mohammed and fake news
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
Lai Mohammed and fake news

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Nazis called it ‘Lügenpresse;’ here, it is ‘fake news’ or ‘hate speech’ or both. It can be used by anybody to deal with anybody – and it is in use. Adolf Hitler wielded it as a double-edged sword to destroy his ‘enemies’ – the free press. Both sides of our own political aisle haul it – and deny it. With untruth soaking official and private spaces like the triumphant floods of Lagos, shall we not start calling it folk news since information fakery is now the fad, a craze? You remember that when the Federal Government charged Omoyele Sowore with treason, Professor Wole Soyinka said when he first heard it, he thought it was yet another “grotesque product of fake news.” He had earlier warned that the Third World War might be caused by fake news – and a Nigerian would author that lethal lie.

Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday that “many Nigerians” had reached out to the Federal Government demanding that it looked into “how to sanitise the social media space.” How many are the ‘many’ who approached our government to act against the social media? Who are they? Can we hope that the claim in itself wasn’t fake news? The minister said “the social media space” had gone “totally out of control.”  I agree. He vowed that the government he serves would add this enemy to its list of casualties. How?

He explains: “No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to dominate its media space because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration. That is why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both.”

They told me that they wanted me to have children for them, so that the children can be brought up to become jihadists like them —Phoebe Musa

And he was right. But where will he start? From the government and its fake news mill or with the miserable other side? Beyond deploying crude state power, how much control does his government have over “its (social) media space?”

It is good that our government is determined to fight fake news and its creators. We need that war now! But government lies too – competes with liars –  in ways that take ‘vicious’ and ‘insulting’ as adjectives. It, in fact, does it as a matter of duty, injecting lies repeatedly into the nation’s blood stream. We have a government that announced a cashless policy but quietly slammed fines (charges) on persons dumb enough to trust it and go that way. We have a government that won’t stop telling us it has defeated Boko Haram but would go to Russia to buy fighter jets to fight the same Boko Haram. So, how do we (and why should we) trust this monster that is roaring to equity with soiled hands?

Robert Reich, a former US Secretary of Labor and currently a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, asked a key question in The Guardian (US) on Sunday (yesterday): “Who is responsible for protecting democracy from big, dangerous lies?” He asked and added a probable but imprecise solution: “If a president and his enablers are peddling vicious and dangerous lies, we need reliable intermediaries that help us see them.” He sees there what we see here: a government whose lies “have grown more vicious and dangerous,” a government that “conjures up conspiracies, spews hate and says established facts are lies and lies are truths.”

Lying as an official policy did not start with Buhari’s regime. Our governments, since independence, have always been the ultimate dissimulator. When was the last time anyone believed official casualty figures of tragedies – and of our war against terror? We run our country on two levels of truth. My generation grew up to meet a nation that gives and sanctions two versions of any public occurrence: the official angle and the ‘other’ angle. The public is left forever bewildered, groping for where the truth lies. Someone said a lie doesn’t necessarily mean not telling the truth – when you hide the truth, you are a peddler of fake news. It is a big task to confront “big, dangerous lies” because they are almost always babies of government. You listen to our government sometimes and feel like asking them if news is no longer fact-based, factually-accurate and truthfully-presented reports of recent events or of previously unknown information. You feel like asking them what to call official reports that fail the test of factuality, and which is also deficient in structural credibility. So, as government rolls out the tanks against small men with small and big lies, who helps us confront the lions of government which scent deadly lies and feed everyone with sweetened faeces?

There is a film titled: ‘All Governments Lie…’ True, they all do. The difference is in how people manage their lying regimes. The Washington Post said three weeks ago that by his 1,000th day in office, President Donald Trump had told 13,435 lies. That gives them how many lies per day? We have them too but we don’t count their lies here -because we must not. Doing that is as dangerous as stepping on a viper’s tale. We simply listen to the lies, clap for the gifted liars and wait for the next and the next. Now, the regime wants to assist us to fight lies and hate speech.

When a third world government vows to deal with fake news, the logical thing to infer is that it has fighting its opponents in mind. Its definition of fake news may be right and may be very different from the universal. We wait to see who the first Nigerian culprits will be. What is certain, however, is that this government will use police of all colours and uniforms to deal with anyone whose definition of terms differs from its own. But between deploying bouncers at gates and erecting smart doors, which one works better? The global gnomes called Facebook and Twitter are genies out of their creators’ bottles. They are poisonous snakes in the wild, untamable; not even their minders are safe. Whatever defies mediation cannot truthfully be called media. I have friends who dread Facebook like death. That Asian country called China does too. And Mark Zuckerberg would lament three weeks ago that despite his efforts to take his freedom technology to China, “they never let us in.” Is China right or wrong to slam its door against Facebook and others of same blood? Yet we see how these platforms sweat to shoot down or shut out bad customers and bad contents. And in doing that, they are fighting their own war too. Twitter last week announced a ban on political adverts because it believed “political message reach should be earned, not bought.” But Facebook said it won’t ban political adverts  – with all the lies and half truths – because it is about free speech and empowering the powerless: “Banning political ads favors incumbents and whoever the media covers.” Both sides know that carefully packaged lies are the tyres that wheel political adverts yet they won’t agree on how to end untruths on their platforms without injuring democracy.

I agree with Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the social media has “gone totally out of hand.” I once saw online a completely fake column purportedly written by me. A lawyer who said he was a fan of my column, in total innocence, saw it and shared it on Facebook. I read it and yelled. The embarrassed lawyer got in touch with me privately and quickly pulled it down. I still wonder what the motive of the author(s) of that concoction was. I may never know. I wonder still how many persons around the world have been in trouble over online stuffs they knew nothing about. So, I am with government in its war against fake news – but we must agree first on the determination of what fake news is. It must not be every news report that is against the interest of government and its operatives.

The war against fake news must be fought on all mountains and down all valleys – and must be won. The first step is for the physician to heal himself before coming out to deliver this health talk about the evil twins of fake news and hate speech. You cannot be hawking insecticides and yet claim you cannot hurt flies. The government must stop baking big, poisonous loaves of fake news daily if it will end small, medium and big lies online. It importantly needs education and knowledge, not rude and crude policing and prison cells, to fight this war if it really desires a win. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and all others are not weak, feeble, rebellious AIT that can be closed down with stained, whimsical press releases. They are global behemoths that need informed engagements if we truly desire deliverance.

Instead of issuing threats, our government can learn from the British government which, three months ago, announced plans to call a summit of social media companies to “discuss what more they can do to fight online misinformation.”  It had, earlier, in April this year hinted of a slew of new rules under which social media tech companies could be fined or blocked if they did not protect users from harmful content. Nigeria, with 123,486,615 people online (as of 30 June, 2019) can use its huge data to make social media companies work for everybody while maintaining the delicate balance between “protecting society and supporting innovation and free speech.”

Significantly, government must stop ruling with lies; fighting darkness with darkness won’t give light. It must know that lie begets lies. It must win the confidence of all for there to be a common ground on which we fight. Today, the sharp divisions between us won’t let us believe anything or agree on anything. Even colours as basic as white and black evoke debates and inflame passions. There are persons – in their millions- who would join this fake news war with their party membership card dictating the direction of their weapons. We have persons who would argue that “it is not a lie if no one (around them) is hurt.” Yet there are others – cynics, who would wonder why anyone would bother at all about truth in today’s world of profitable lies.

 

Nigerian Tribune

Lai Mohammed and fake news
Tribune Online

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Fani-Kayode, Kperogi and ‘Yoruba’ https://tribuneonlineng.com/fani-kayode-kperogi-and-yoruba/ Sun, 27 Oct 2019 23:25:19 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=258750 Tribune Online
Fani-Kayode, Kperogi and ‘Yoruba’

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Some people love controversies for the sake of controversies. They are like one Aare Ona kakanfo who wanted a war desperately but found none. The Aare then stoked a rebellion against himself at home and scrambled to crush it. Lawyer, son of a lawyer and a former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, last week […]

Fani-Kayode, Kperogi and ‘Yoruba’
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Tribune Online
Fani-Kayode, Kperogi and ‘Yoruba’

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Some people love controversies for the sake of controversies. They are like one Aare Ona kakanfo who wanted a war desperately but found none. The Aare then stoked a rebellion against himself at home and scrambled to crush it. Lawyer, son of a lawyer and a former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, last week mounted the social media horse to launch an all-out attack on ‘Yoruba’ as a name and as a concept. He said he was no longer a Yoruba because he had discovered that the name was given to his people by the Fulani and it was negative. Hear him: “The name ‘Yoruba’ derives from ‘Yariba’ and it means ‘shady and unreliable.’ I reject that strange name and label and I hope and pray that the good people of southwestern Nigeria will see the wisdom in doing so too. I am not a ‘Yariba’ or ‘Yoruba’ but an ‘Omo Karo Jire’ or an ‘Ooduwan’ and my language is not ‘Yoruba’ but ‘Anago.’” He named Uthman Dan Fodio’s son and successor, Sultan Mohammed Bello, as that Fulani who first used ‘Yoruba’ as the collective name for the people of western Nigeria.

Fani-Kayode did not disclose the source of his newfound ‘facts.’ He probably thought he needed not prove his claims since his social media followers trusted his judgement. They won’t ask him why the sudden disclaimer. And they didn’t. He was hailed. A huge chunk of those who agree(d) with him online are southerners but who do not bear Yoruba names. Instructively, one of the first challengers he got is US Professor and Saturday Tribune columnist, Farooq Kperogi, who said his claims were wrong and gave what he called preliminary reasons. I have read Fani-Kayode’s defiant follow-up reposte of October 23, 2019 where he said, without reasons, that he stood “by every word” he wrote in that article titled ‘We are sons and daughters of Oduduwa and not Yorubas’. One is tempted to ask the motive for his fire and what usefulness the controversy would serve as we roll in the mud of 21st century challenges of existence in Nigeria.

Fulani and origin of the names “Yoruba” and “Yamiri”

I am sure Fani-Kayode has read the very detailed 24 October, 2019 intervention by respected professor of history, Banji Akintoye, author of A History of the Yoruba People, a monumental book. And did he read Kperogi’s calm, incisive 1,400-word article of 26 October, 2019 on the back page of the Saturday Tribune? What does he think of the Kperogi facts which lead to his conclusion that the word ‘Yoruba’ likely came from the Baatonu (Baruba) ‘Yorubu’ for Oyo Ile people and that it has no historical link with the Fulani? Kperogi’s article is a valuable contribution to the conversation on the history of ethnic relations in Nigeria and, in particular, the root and meaning of ‘Yoruba’ as an ethnic identity and marker. As seminal as that Kperogi piece is, however, the talk must still continue since research is a continuous process. I intend to challenge his thesis by asking if he does not think the existence of Yoru or Yorubu in his Baatonu (Baruba) language could be as a result of the very long history of interaction between Baruba and the Yoruba dating back to the sack of Oyo Ile by the Nupe and the exile of the Alaafin to Borgu in about 1535 (See Richard Smith’s The Alaafin in Exile: A Study of the Igboho Period in Oyo History published in The Journal of African History, Vol. 6, Issue 1, March 1965 from pages 57 – 77). Could it be that the word was an export that accompanied the Alaafin to Baruba’s Borgu which then became corrupted to Yoru/Yorubu?

Again, can Fani Kayode and Kperogi examine Sultan Bello’s and other researchers’ findings which indicate that the word ‘Yarba’ or ‘Yaarba’ may have existed outside sub-Sahara Africa long before Yoruba-Baruba and Yoruba-Hausa/Fulani interactions?

Sultan Bello in his Infaku’l Maisuri told what he believed was the migration history of the Yoruba. He wrote: “The people of Yarba are descended from the Kanaana and the kindred of Nimrod. Now, the reason of their having settled in the West, according to what we are told, is that Yaarubu, son of Kalitou, drove them out of Irak to westwards and they travelled between Masar and Habsa until they reached Yarba…”(See Arnett, E.J. 1930, page 16).

The statement from Sultan Bello could not have meant that some people were “shady and unreliable.” Fortunately, some scholars have subjected the Sultan’s claims to scrupulous validation scrutiny, pursuing his words along the route he named. They probed into the accuracy of his geographical and anthropological claims. Their facts are worth examining. Jeffrey’s (1959) finding shows that Masar, mentioned by Bello, “is Egypt and Habsa is Abyssinia.” Tracing that route further, he says: “Turning to Arabia, one finds that there was there a tribe by the name Yaarba.” Yet there is this further claim by Wilson (1954), referenced by Jeffrey, who notes that the earliest settlers of Oman appear to have been of Euro-African stock who were “displaced or absorbed by a great Semitic immigration from the North, the invaders being composed of two main stocks – the Qalitani who colonized Yemen and the Adnani who peopled that part of the peninsula farther to the north…the earliest settlers from Yemen were the Yaariba of Qalitani origin.” (See Jeffreys, M.D.W. 1959.  Braima alias Abraham: A study in Diffusion, in Folklore, Vol. 70, No. 1, pages 323-333).

See also Denham and Clapperton, 1826, page 22 (quoted in Samuel Johnson, 1921) where the Sultan, as host of the explorers, spoke of the ‘Yarba’ as an extensive province of prosperous traders. There is no mention of ‘shady and unreliable’ in those statements.

Some Yoruba who are sympathetic to Fani-Kayode’s position have demanded the meaning of the word ‘Yoruba’ in Yoruba language? That sounds like asking for the meaning of ‘meaning’. We may go round and round but we shall get there. There has also been a claim that since we are all from Ile Ife, the race ought to be bearing the name ‘Ife.’ I read that and told myself that one day we would drag the argument to the point where we will ask ourselves what language Oduduwa spoke before landing in Ile Ife with his party.

The Yoruba are liberal enough to say orúko tóba wu ni ni à njé léyìn odi (a man is at liberty to bear any name while abroad). Fani-Kayode should understand my drift if I say that a man can wake up midnight and shout that he has changed his surname for whatever reasons. He once did that – and no one said he was wrong. I will, however, be surprised if he does not know that no Yoruba person has the right to slam untrue, negative meanings on the collective identity of the race without a proof. No one should, for whatever reasons, arm the enemy with the brush of infamy to taint all of us now or in the future. That is the point. And from all we have seen and read, it is clear that ‘Yoruba’ may have its root in the word  ‘Yarba’ or ‘Yariba,’ but none of the variants means those terrible things the former minister said it meant. Fulani did not ‘give’ the  name ‘Yoruba’ to the people of western Nigeria and the name does not share meanings with anything bad, awful, “shady and unreliable.”

Was Sultan Bello the first person to call the Yoruba of western Nigeria by that name as claimed by Fani-Kayode? Sultan Bello’s ‘Infakul Maisuri’ has been described as his  “definitive history of the Fulani war and his father’s rule.” This means that it was written after the Fulani War and after the reign of Uthman Dan Fodio. Arnet (1930) on page 322 gives an insight into when the book was written with the clue that “some extracts  from the Arabic original were brought to England by Captain Clapperton in 1825…” The Fulani war took place from 1804 to 1810 while Dan Fodio died on April 20, 1817. In 1819, just two years after Dan Fodio’s death and years before Bello wrote his book, Thomas Edward Bowdich in his book, ‘Mission from Cape Coast’, wrote of “a large kingdom called Yariba by the Moors but Yarba by the natives.” (See Bowdich, 1819, page 208). Moors were a people of mixed Arab, Spanish and Berber origins. Bowdich also gives at least an instance of the use of the term ‘Yarba’ by Muslim residents of Kumasi in 1817 (See Andrew Apter, Oduduwa’s Chain: Location of Culture in the Yoruba Atlantic, 2017 at page 123). The Encyclopedia of Geography etc by Thomas T. Smiley published in 1839 says also on page 250 that “the banks of the Niger, below Boussa are occupied by two great and flourishing kingdoms” one of them being “Eyeo also called Yariba, on the West..” The Encyclopedia speaks further of “Eyeo (Oyo), the capital of Yariba” and names Bokoo, Alorie (Ilorin), Jenna and Chaki (Shaki) as “large and populous cities” in the “kingdom of Yariba.”

Two hundred years before Sultan Bello wrote his book, there was the Songhai Arabic scholar, Ahmad Baba, who was credited to have, in his 1615 Mi’raj al-su’ud, called today’s Yoruba ‘Yariba.’ So, what did he mean by Yariba? The Platform Nigeria in October 2017 held a talk on what it themed ‘Putting together the Jigsaw pieces that form Nigeria’. At the event, highly cerebral Reverend Father Mathew Kukah spoke very eloquently on the origin and meaning of the names of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria. Hear him: “The word (Yoruba) was given to them by Ahmad Baba of Songhai and Ahmad Baba used the word ‘Yariba’ not even ‘The Yorubas’ to describe the people who live in what is now modern day Oyo, Osun, Lagos and Kwara states but it simply meant ‘people living in the south’. In the same way that the word ‘Hausa’ is not a Hausa word and the Hausas didn’t give themselves the name. It was simply given by, again, the same Ahmad Baba who was living in Songhai…He just used the word to refer to the people who were living to the south of the Niger.” Kukah spoke also on the word/name Ibo/Igbo and the interesting place and context it came from. “Ibo is not an Ibo word,” he said while explaining that the word was coined by “the largely monarchical” Onitsha people to describe ‘the others.’ But now, everyone in the East is an Ibo, including those who invented the word, to look down on ‘the others.’ (See Facebook page post of The Platform Nigeria on October 4, 2017).

I have not heard a Hausa person or an Igbo person repudiating his/her ethnic identity because  it is a xenonym. So, why this Yoruba noise in the year of the Lord 2019 and what is the motive behind it? How is this conversation going to feed the hungry and stop Nigeria from making its poor poorer and the sad sadder?

The noise can only complicate issues for everybody. Identities – especially ethnic identity – once constructed, take a life of their own – notwithstanding their history. We should also know that identity politics – including identity repudiation – can be destructive and unraveling. It is like bartering your dog for a monkey because you think the dog squats too much. That is what I see in Fani-Kayode’s adoption of ‘Anago’ as his preferred language and ethnic identity. If the name ‘Yoruba’, to him, came from an unwanted outside, did he do some simple searches on his ‘Anago’ before cuddling it? And is he convinced that it is a word and name completely indigenous and positive to his people? Well, William Megenney was professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Riverside, United States in 1992 when he explained that “The Brazilians refer to the Yoruba as ‘Nago,’ a word taken from the Ewe language in which it is Anago, meaning ‘Yoruba’.” (See Megenney, W.W. (1992). West Africa in Brazil: The case of Ewe-Yoruba Syncretism, published in Anthropos, vol. 87, pages 459-474). Like the Fulani, the Ewe people also have a history of tension and war with the Yoruba. And Anago is their name for the Yoruba.

So, ‘Anago’ is not just a foreign word; its direct meaning is ‘Yoruba’ – exactly what Fani-Kayode is running away from. To be back to square one as in a situation like this can be very painful, unsettling and upsetting. Ethnic identities are a cul de sac, bottom of the sack. They are a dead-end street, an alley with only one entrance. Once you are born into a language group, it is futile and self-distracting seeking an exit – because an escape route does not exist.

Let us hope our former aviation minister will accept this and let us continue our journey of hope, deviance and deliverance.

 

Nigerian Tribune

Fani-Kayode, Kperogi and ‘Yoruba’
Tribune Online

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For Aisha and her in-laws https://tribuneonlineng.com/for-aisha-and-her-in-laws/ Mon, 21 Oct 2019 02:36:56 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=256246 Tribune Online
For Aisha and her in-laws

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Your office is not recognised by law. Funds not approved.” A former Aso Rock official told me last week that President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote this in a file in response to intense pressures from his wife, Stella, that she must ‘work’ as the First Lady. But the matter did not die there.  For women, there […]

For Aisha and her in-laws
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
For Aisha and her in-laws

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Your office is not recognised by law. Funds not approved.” A former Aso Rock official told me last week that President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote this in a file in response to intense pressures from his wife, Stella, that she must ‘work’ as the First Lady. But the matter did not die there.  For women, there is no end to a demand until it is met. There must always be a way through any iron curtain. The spirit of women walks on rivers and runs through canals to get at anything and anyone. My people praise them as the silence of the day, the noisemaker of the night. The silence that followed Obasanjo’s opposition to his wife’s request was so loud that one old General had to arrange for some ministries and agencies to fund the activities of the First Lady- without the knowledge of the president. The official told me this.

Escaped Kano lion yet to be returned to cage — Zoo boss

President Muhammadu Buhari at the beginning also vowed, like Obasanjo, that he would not have a functional First Lady. His wife would just be his wife, he promised. But like all men, the stoic, old soldier has caved in finally to the charm of his wife. A man is free to choose what he wants from his woman: Either the one who gingerly walks into the bedroom or the howling whirlwind of the parlour – the one who eats the head via the armpit, the wolf that devours the heart through the liver. We knew the wall of Jericho had fallen last week when we saw a roll call of special assistants and personal assistants to the First Lady. That peace gesture came shortly after an eruption in the Villa between Hajia and her in-laws. It was very eye-opening.

Our delectable First Lady, Aisha Buhari, loves walking on water no matter its depth. She was recently involved in interviews and counter interviews on the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) with her Daura in-laws on the other side. They fought openly over Villa space, doors, keys, locks and knobs and who controlled them. The spectacle tutored all of us on what it really takes to run Nigeria’s presidential palace. Every close and distant relation of the President of Nigeria and relations of relatives enjoy the honey of that borderless office. Living in the Villa with the president is a key benefit. It didn’t start today. All others -military and civilian – did it. When next you have a president who budgets billions for meals in the Villa, don’t shout about fraud, wastes and wastage. There are billions of mouths there to feed. If your great grandmother was a second cousin to the great grandfather of a president in Nigeria, go to Abuja- you are entitled to a Glass House inside our Villa. Inside that fortress, you are free to do anything- eat, fart, shit, behave, misbehave – do anything, including throwing stones. It is your right to live in that Glass House; it is also your right to break any glass – and record it on video.

The Buhari people have shown us now that presidential relations are very difficult to please and expensive to keep. They are the reason the Villa’s kitchen is busy all the time. Check the palace’s annual budgets. What can you infer from the figures? They are the reason we budget millions every year for cooking gas. They are the real reason the golden plates, spoons and forks get replaced every year. You know Nigerian Presidents don’t really eat much – because work and women won’t let them. In any case, when was the last time we elected an energetic president whose meals would be a threat to the national purse? So, why the hefty allocation to food and meals and drinks and refreshment? You can understand the huge budget for clinics, drugs and medical supplies. And that is because they always come old and fragile; sick and sickly. They need extra efforts to keep them running and walking. But the meals. Why? Well, we now know that families of ancestors and their descendants live in our State House at our expense. That is why for next year, 2020, State House foodstuffs and catering materials will cost our country N145,143,963 and refreshment and meals will gulp N135,668,651. That is Buhari’s budget; it is his Villa provision for next year. It didn’t start with Muhammadu Buhari. It won’t end with him. The only difference Buhari has made in this case is that his relations spilled the beans. Where I come from, when we see palace people tearing the veil of royalty in the marketplace we would gasp and say: won si’so l’oju eegun (they yanked the costume off the masquerade’s face).

Ministry of water resources to spend N200m on tracking SDG projects

If you invest so much in buying dizziness, it must make you dizzy. You cannot have so many residents, spend so much on food and drinks and not block the sewage with shit and trash. I will not complain that sewerage in the State House has a 2020 budget of N45,418,735. I do not think it will be good manners to join wailers and merchants of mischief to ask how many people eat the golden foods, litter the Villa and drop the expensive wastes. The drains must work this year as they did last year. Except you are a living dead, you would know now that the president’s village has emptied its contents into the Villa. Was that not the case too with Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan? Obasanjo even had someone who designated himself Friend of the President (FOP). In that compound of free everything, there are seen and unseen mouths in their millions who eat and fire buttock shots. For them, the Villa is home, their fortress from the tempests and buffetings of life. That is one big reason why you must never think negative again about budget allocations to basic things in the Villa. Do not wail because in the 2020 budget, the presidency (aka Aso Rock) has a total budget of N9,580,286,358? Do not complain because the State House Clinic has a budget of N723,003,927; drugs and medical supplies has N36,787,354 and there is another entry called Medical Expenses with an allocation of N51,821,160.

We copied the presidential system from the Americans. With the clone came things they don’t do but which we like because they are sweet. Housing and feeding hordes of hangers on in the Villa is one of our costly presidential innovations. We ignored the Americans’ table manners because they don’t have desirable bottom lines. If we played the game the way it should be played, there would be no outsiders in the Villa to contest beds and beddings with the first family. The American White House is free – but not totally free. No one would tell Muhammadu Buhari not to bring the whole of Daura and their cousins and nephews in Niger Republic into the Villa if he had to pay for their meals and security from his pocket. From 2001 to 2009, Laura Bush was in the White House with her husband, President George W. Bush. The CNN reported her writing after office that as First Lady, a bill came monthly, itemizing everything she and her family owed, including food, dry cleaning and hourly wages for waiters and cleanup crews at private parties. “There were some costs that I was not prepared for,” Bush wrote. “I was amazed by the sheer number of designer clothes that I was expected to buy, like the women before me, to meet the expectations for a First Lady.” Her predecessor, Hillary Clinton, lamented that her own family left the White House “dead broke.” She said they were in “something like $12 million in debt.” At the root of the political practice of a nation is its creation. Check how and who created the United States and you will understand why no president is allowed to kit his relations from the public till.

Our own ways always lead to very dark moral alleys. With us, the aged died and we said we’ve had enough of tears in the palace. We then changed our focus and enthroned the sickly. You can’t make that choice and not have repeated noise and cries from the palace.

 

 

For Aisha and her in-laws
Tribune Online

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Northern Nigeria’s sweet crude https://tribuneonlineng.com/northern-nigerias-sweet-crude/ Mon, 14 Oct 2019 02:42:38 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=253672 Tribune Online
Northern Nigeria’s sweet crude

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

The Nigeria of the future belongs to the past which the world is leaving behind. The Buhari administration through our opaque state oil company on Friday announced crude oil find in the North-East. Cynical Thomases in the South laughed at the announcement. To such unbelievers, the oil find and the fake presidential marriage of same […]

Northern Nigeria’s sweet crude
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
Northern Nigeria’s sweet crude

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

The Nigeria of the future belongs to the past which the world is leaving behind. The Buhari administration through our opaque state oil company on Friday announced crude oil find in the North-East. Cynical Thomases in the South laughed at the announcement. To such unbelievers, the oil find and the fake presidential marriage of same day occupy the same comical seat in our national train. They see both incidents as masturbatory. And what good does masturbation do to the actor beyond its being a ‘solitary vice’? The one who does it thinks it is both therapeutic and self-satisfying. But that is where it ends. The crude discovery has got to be true beyond the announcement. It must put money in the pocket of the desperate North for its story to be truly victorious. It is not enough to yell eureka at the nation; the nation must feel what has been found in concrete terms.

My people say that in the homestead of the strong, you find all sorts of children. Southern Nigeria has various kinds of people. There are fools who take any bait as food. There are cynics like the doubting dudes who take the oil finder as a vector of sectional lies. They think it is a ponzi scheme carefully designed to pump derivation funds to the arid North. There are also some who want the Northern oil dream to come true so that the abuse in the marriage called Nigeria can stop. Or that the overbearing husband may now be financially independent enough to have pity on the miserable, overworked wife and let her go. Such persons won’t forget the 1914 marriage drama- the procession, the metaphors and the characterization. They remember that the North was described as a poor, well behaved young man who needed to marry the rich South to live. What is that thing my people call a husband who lives on the endowments of his wife?

History won’t forget the hazy harmattan morning of January 1, 1914 when the Colonial Secretary hit his huge gavel and bellowed: “The promising and well conducted youth is now on an allowance on his own and is about to effect an alliance with a southern lady of means. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ceremony. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant.” That was how the officiating minister, Sir Lewis Harcourt, conducted the wedding of Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914. It was the first ‘marriage’ conducted in Nigeria. The priest prayed for the union to be “fruitful” and for the couple to be “constant.” How well has the prayer been answered? Chief Richard Akinjide, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, in a newspaper article about ten years ago said “the situation in Nigeria today is like a marriage and threatened divorce.” No marriage having the husband as a leech sponging off the wife can be peaceful. It is worse where the poor party insists on everything happening on his own terms.

Back to the Gongola Basin oil find. How much good money has been thrown at the North prospecting for oil? Like all our adventures and expenditures, there won’t be records. But there are media reports quoting popular Professor Jerry Gana, with some sorry figures. In 2013, while serving as chairman of the Northern Nigeria Economic Summit, Gana reportedly disclosed that N27 billion had been spent on oil and gas exploration in the North as of that time with additional $340 million budgeted for same purpose. Do not ask how many millions of Nigerian kids that amount would have educated. Do not ask any question. Oil is sweeter and more lucrative than education. In any case, who has education really helped?

Yet, there are people who would insist that this latest discovery is real and has made our investment worth its value. Have such people heard of fool’s gold before? They can read about a certain Jacques Cartier who led an expedition into then New France (today’s Canada) in 1536 and found huge amounts of what he thought were ‘diamonds and gold.’ Back in France, his ‘diamond and gold’ turned out to be what experts call ‘fool’s gold.’ It is a mineral that is golden without being gold. Even if this discovery is truly a discovery, what is the value of what we have? How much will it cost us to make it lucrative and profitable? And can the viability come before dusk descends on the world of petroleum?

The much-feared post-oil future appears here already. It is not funny that now is the time that the North is balancing its oil equation with the South. We do not ask the right questions – and we should. Why are European oil companies diversifying into non-fossil fuel energy businesses? Why is their investment in electric-car charging startups surging? What is Total doing with Saft, a battery company? Shell bought and rebranded First Utility as Shell Energy and “switched all of its British residential customers to 100% renewable electricity.” Why? Good old British Petroleum bought Lightsource, “the largest solar developer in Europe, and third largest in the world outside of China.” Why? There is also Equinor which is investing heavily in alternative energy by building and commissioning “the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in 2017 off the coast of Scotland.” Equinor says with pride that it “now powers more than one million European homes with renewable offshore wind from four offshore wind farms in the United Kingdom and Germany…building material offshore wind clusters in the UK, the US North East and in the Baltics.” It says it is “positioned for future floating wind options in several geographies, including UK, Norway and Asia.” Almost all of these oil firms operate in Nigeria. Why are they not investing heavily in new oil wells here or anywhere? They are all slowly turning off the taps, taking sometimes noisy, sometimes quiet long jumps to the future. Their list is long and lengthening. Their countries are investing heavily in education to further make their future better. We are spending money too – putting N58 billion in State House budget and voting N51 billion as proposed capital expenditure for education in the 2020 budget. The world is talking to us but we are not listening.

Why did the NNPC announce its Gongola Basin discovery as if it was another Oloibiri? Nigeria, with a bang, struck crude oil for the first time on January 15,1956 in Oloibiri, a village in present Bayelsa state. I was not around then to compare the noise to the loud fart of last Friday. A voice I heard asked questions which I cannot answer: How far can this crude oil power the old, smoky vehicle of the North? Will this expensive crude oil educate the uncontrollable almajirai of the North?  I do not have the answers, but I believe the magicians working on everything for the North must have factored those into their investments. There are others in the South who think it is foolish for the North to celebrate crude oil discovery in 2019. These ones wonder how late in thinking – and in luck- the North is with this stunt. They feel the world and its technology are already moving fast away from fossil fuel. They point at the evolving world of electric planes, electric vehicles and self-driven, autonomous cars. They insist that self-driven vehicles would “reduce personal ownership of cars” while “technology-driven models in mass transport such as Ola and Uber can lead to shared transport further reducing demand for oil.” They quote those from the Economic Times of India, which in a 2017 report warned that “the future of oil is almost here and it doesn’t look very pretty.” The report said experts had “predicted that by 2030, ninety five per cent of people won’t own private cars. The battery-driven small planes will become yet another disruption. Since they are going to be cheaper than the current planes on smaller routes, they might get hugely popular. That’s how global oil demand will go down and so will the prices. The global oil demand will peak at 100 million barrels per day by 2020, dropping to 70 million barrels per day by 2030. This would mean…the price of oil plummeting to $25 a barrel. India has declared it would allow manufacturing of only electric cars by 2030. Not a single petrol or diesel car would be sold in the country after 13 years.” It is not only India that is talking down on petrol cars. All serious countries have set timelines and deadlines for the closure.

The joyous among us over the Northern black gold would frown at any Nigerian thinking like those anti-petrol souls. They would feel that those who think this way suffer foolishness in great measures. Those not celebrating with us do not know what our government knows about the future. Whatever is happening on the global stage is not our challenge. We invest today’s money in the past – and we mean it. The world is not building today’s technology for Nigeria. The Nigeria of the future belongs to the past which the world is leaving behind. Here, with our North in the driver’s seat, petrol and its other siblings will be here to serve Nigeria till eternity. Ancient Egyptians used hydrocarbons to preserve their corpses; we will do same if the world won’t buy our excess oil at our price. Like the Babylonians, we will scoop crude oil for waterproofing our boats in the Lake Chad area and as mortar to build our thatched castles…

More importantly, it is time to rejoice with our North, a husband that has finally found its mojo in the bowels of Gongola Basin.

Northern Nigeria’s sweet crude
Tribune Online

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Nigeria’s sick doctors https://tribuneonlineng.com/nigerias-sick-doctors/ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 02:18:36 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=251343 Tribune Online
Nigeria’s sick doctors

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Nigeria is a mental case and its doctors are busy working on it. The prescriptions are a perfect match for the competence of the physicians. Because Boko Haram remains deadly 10 years after its debut, our army has gone on its knees, deploying prayer ballistic missiles against bombs and tanks. A governor followed suit in […]

Nigeria’s sick doctors
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
Nigeria’s sick doctors

Bayelsa, blood, at, fire, death, Kogi, Lasisi Olagunju , Vice president, Bisi Akande, social media, hate speech, fake news, Fani-Kayode, Kperogi, Aare Ona Kakanfo, western nigeria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Fulani, Oyo, Yoruba, Office, Aso Rock, First Lady, Villa, Aisha Buhari, Office, Aso Rock, Nigeria, Mugabe , Ojude Oba, Sowore, Chief Justice, minister, senate Obasanjo ship of fools, Tonto Dike, kidnap, rivers Pius Adesanmi, elections, body bags

Nigeria is a mental case and its doctors are busy working on it. The prescriptions are a perfect match for the competence of the physicians. Because Boko Haram remains deadly 10 years after its debut, our army has gone on its knees, deploying prayer ballistic missiles against bombs and tanks. A governor followed suit in Mecca clutching prescription notes to buy expensive prayers for the defeat of terrorism in North East Nigeria. We have closed the borders so that our Customs will stop collecting bribes. We are storming garages and parks for cars smuggled into our country by spirits when our hardworking border officers were asleep. We are befriending bandits, wedding robbers and kidnappers and jailing critics so that the nation can be safe. We are doing many more great things to get the nation going – like mercy-killing the sick so that he can live. We will soon sack workers so that we can pay them the new minimum wage. It is not wickedness. It is love uncommon; we do it all the time.

William Blake, 18th century English poet and master of oxymoron, told us that “cruelty has a human heart.” He was also the one who wrote in his ‘Proverbs of Hell’ that “If the fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise.” Blake was not the only one who pilloried idiocy with sneering praise. There is a people in Eastern Europe who speak of themselves as becoming wise only “when the damage is done.” Those ones must be Nigerians born in another continent. We are ruled by soldiers who gas us repeatedly so as to save us. You remember that American officer who told his general that he had to destroy a town in order to save it? That is what we get from our loving leaders all the time. And we are all guilty. We can never have enough of the benevolence of leaders who fail and tell us fools that they have passed. We keep taking our ailments to their hospital because they are our saviours; we trust them. Yet, one historian would sneer at our commitment and tell us that “real folly consists of making the same mistake twice.” You remember that anecdote of the woman who laments that a man tricked her into exposing her nakedness twice? With us and the leaders, seeing the expose is in orgasmic multiples.

Beyond sarcasm and satire, our case is a scary mix of grave and dire. One poor man in a corner of Nigeria complained of critical illness, his family said he needed a doctor to triumph over his health troubles. He found a physician who said he needed surgery to get well. Even in his poverty, he managed to raise the huge money demanded by his doctor. On the surgery table, he laid dreaming of life more abundant. But this doctor who wanted to help the sick to get well saw in his inside two ‘things’ which he did not understand. A report said the doctor opened the supine patient and saw those ‘things’ which he believed “ought not to be in the stomach.” He removed the ‘things’ and handed the stuffs over to the patient’s relative for burial. Well, the severed organs turned out to be the patient’s kidneys and the removal marked the beginning of the patient’s journey to his Maker. This is a true life story which happened very recently. The setting was Nigeria’s Adamawa State.

Mismanaging Nigeria as a medical case may not have any consequence for the bumbling leadership. Muhammadu Buhari is not the first – and won’t be the last doctor to collect his fees and leave the patient sicker than he met him. Wickedness, stupidity and crass incompetence in public office attract no fine. However, for the poor Adamawa doctor, there were consequences for playing Nigerian with a poor man’s life. The Nigerian Medical and Dental Council Tribunal reacted promptly with a trial of the physician. It entered a guilty verdict and deregistered the doctor. Chairman of the tribunal, Professor Abba Hassan, while delivering the tribunal verdict reportedly held that “the respondent exhibited incompetence in the assessment of Hamma. He failed to correctly diagnose the illness of Hamma and advise him. He undertook a surgical operation on the patient and removed an organ he could not identify. The respondent failed to refer Hamma in good time when such referral was necessary. He failed to do all that he reasonably ought to have done under the circumstances in the treatment of the patient.” That was how he judged the case. Fair?

Now, I ask: Why should that doctor suffer for doing what our leaders do daily and repeatedly with the sick body of Nigeria – without consequences? Why deregister him when we have in Abuja – and in all state capitals – untouchable doctors who, with impunity and relish, eat the heart of Nigeria, their patient? If we’ve been doing with failed leaders what the system did to that doctor, would you and I be gasping for breath as we are today? Nigeria’s history is a celebration of mismanagement, regrets and blames. Nigerians entrust births to murderous midwives then wail almost immediately later that the baby has turned out not a child. I see a clear parallel in what our leaders do to the country and what happened between that helpless man and his doctor in Adamawa. Following every failure is the excuse of good intention. Even with the sack of that doctor, unless he is tired of treating patients, he will continue to be patronized by sick Nigerians. Nigeria does that all the time; it goes back to recycle failures and expect sparkling success. Incompetence recommends relics to the country as leaders, then the hungry becomes hungrier, the angry angrier, the sick sicker. We reinforce failure, empower and reward calamities with leadership prizes – then we start grumbling that the country is on a free fall.

The government says it is serious about bailing 10 million poor people out of poverty this year, 100 million in 10 years. Then in quick succession, it increased VAT from five per cent to seven and a half per cent. Nothing spoil; it is just a 50 per cent increment. It also announced that toll gates will return to our collapsed roads. You and I will be paying tolls for using extremely bad roads – and by so doing, their voodoo regime says the poor will become rich. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced what it called processing fees for withdrawals and lodgments. You lodge above N500,000, you pay two per cent; your company does same and pays three per cent. You withdraw above N500,000 from your account, you pay them three per cent; your company does same and pays them five. Our CBN said the policy is to encourage our people to stop messing around with dirty cash. All those are in addition to existing charges. In Buhari’s era, bank charges have become like police criminal charges – countless, illiterate and whimsical. It is as if Nigeria was created for its people to suffer. But we – they – are not tired. Nigerians know they need help, yet their spring water sees no existential harm in flowing into death’s molten lava. What should we expect from a river that pours its waters into hell’s sea of sands? It is death – like the lot of that patient whose head took him to the wrong hospital, paid dearly for life but got cheap death from his overrated doctor.

I listened to the president’s October 1 speech. He asked Nigerians to “join hands (with him) to defend and protect our nation from all those who would wish us ill.” Did the ill-willers include xenophobic South Africans? South Africans insulted, assaulted and killed your people, then you went there to befriend their complicit president. Should it not have been the other way round – the aggressor appeasing the victim and his abused spirit? But it was you who went there and you did not leave the place without telling your injured people to do what Romans do as long as they want to live in Rome. Was that the right thing for the leader of a victimized people to say in that circumstance?

What exactly did our president want his countrymen to learn from South Africans that would cure the xenophobic fiends of their hatred for the other man?  Some wailers, supported by irreverent children of anger, would vow that to ask Nigerians to do in South Africa what South Africans do was to incite them to violence – pay bad with bad. Something like a fundamentalist reading of Robert Burton’s 1621 book, The Anatomy of Melancholy. Robert, miming the Catholic saint who invented the Roman phrase, said that “…like Mercury, the planets are good with good, bad with bad. When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done, puritans with puritans, papists with papists.” In Buhari’s Nigeria, that statement (doing bad to bad persons) would be treasonable felony punishable with detention without trial. And the detained would remain unreleased for as long as the courts, scared by the skeletons in their cupboard, play ball…

The president is back from his friend’s South Africa. He is deep at work in his monastery, praying and fasting hard to create a hundred million billionaires in 10 years. I know that wailers would say “welcome to our president” while awaiting the next charges from the CBN – and the police.

Nigeria’s sick doctors
Tribune Online

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