Monday, July 21, 2014

Bishop Kukah’s Grave Misreading By Okey Ndibe | Sahara Reporters

Of Diaspora Bashing, Naija Pessimism and Other Issues: Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah vs Prof Okey Ndibe - Part Two

"Anybody who reads Kukah’s attack on me without the benefit of reading my original piece could run away with the impression that I’m a haughty, condescending guy who regards fellow Nigerians as ants. Yet, any literate reader who reads my column would come to a different—in fact, opposite—conclusion. I had complained in an earlier column that Boko Haram was butchering Nigerians as if their victims were chickens. Rather than abate, the scale of the horrific killings continued to escalate, with little serious action by the political leaders who are paid (in fact overpaid) to protect Nigerians. That worsening tragedy forced me to bemoan the plight of Nigerians whose deaths went largely unnoticed, as if they were ants."
"That Bishop Kukah sought to mischaracterize my piece speaks volumes, I suggest, about his politics. His line of attack was certainly curious. Faced with the specter of Boko Haram, he chose, instead, to lash out at critics of the government’s inept response. For him, there was little moral distinction to be made between Boko Haram and social critics. Indeed, given the severity of his rebuke of me (and other misguided “brethren in the Diaspora”), the bishop appeared to regard me as more dangerous than Abubakar Shekau who proudly boasted of abducting and enslaving more than two hundred schoolgirls! In fact, the bishop was so vexed that he all but called on the Nigerian state to declare me persona non grata (in line with what he presumed that Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe and other African countries would do to my ilk)!"
"Curiously, nowhere in Bishop Kukah’s lengthy lecture did one find an expression of outrage about Boko Haram’s carnage to match the fury he marshaled against me. Which all betrayed a dodgy stance on the part of the bishop. I am amazed that this bishop expended so much breath to portray me as an enemy of the people precisely because I challenged the government to live up to its duty to protect Nigerians’ lives and property. How his attack must have shocked the bard he was invited to honor!"
"So here are a few questions I’d like to address to the dear bishop. The Catholic Church to which you and I belong teaches the inherent dignity of every human. What, then, accounts for your silence about the 2,053 innocents callously killed by Boko Haram? Where, in your lecture, was there that stipulation about the irreducible dignity of human lives? Are you at peace, sir, with the incessant massacre of hapless Nigerians? You were in such haste to berate me and other foreign-based critics simply because we ask more of Nigerian leaders and security agents. Are you satisfied, bishop, with what the government has done so far in response to the scourge of Boko Haram?"  By Prof Okey Ndibe

Benjamin Netanyahu and the Speech That Didn't Exist

Why Can't We All Just Get Along: The Futile Attempt to Pitch Blacks Against Jews in the Social Media Over A Non-Existent Story Credited to Bibi Netanyahu, the Prime Minster of Israel. 

The first time I saw the story on Facebook, I knew it was a hoax or a deliberate contrivance by mischief makers to evoke anti-Jews sentiments or hatred within the Arabs and African Communities in and around the social media world. Glad that someone was able to debunk the authenticity of the hate-filled speech. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wole Soyinka: 80 Years Of Genius & Prophetic Outrage By Matthew Hassan Kukah | Sahara Reporters

Of Diaspora Bashing, Naija Pessimism and Other Issues: Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah vs Prof Okey Ndibe - Part One

"The measure of the greatness of a people or even individuals is based on how or where they stand in moments of trials and tribulations. Nigeria is going through such a phase now. Since the outbreak of the tragedy that is Boko Haram, one has seen another side of our citizens that is quite tragic. Rather than trying to stand together to rise beyond this in hope together, I find some of my fellow citizens creating more confusion and using the insurgency as weapons of politics. The President and the security agencies have become the objects of attacks and vilification and yet, there is very little that is being done to point at the way forward. I know that as day follows night, we shall pull out of this tragedy that we face as a nation. But the least we can do is to stand in the comforts of highways and homes that someone else constructed and thrown stones at ourselves and our people simply because we are living off someone else’s sweat."

"In a recent piece, Okey Ndibe literally overreaches himself and engages in what is at best a verbal overkill in his Naija pessimism. He says he regrets writing and calling Nigerians chickens. Now, he realizes that chickens are better off than Nigerians. Rather, he says, Nigeria has become the federal republic of ants. Does Ndibe now imagine that he has ceased to be an ant because he resides in the comforts of the United States, a country that was constructed on the back of the same ants hundreds of years ago? This is most pathetic, despicable and grotesque to say the least."
"Can anyone in all honesty call a nation of 170 million people, doing their best despite the difficulties, a nation which has produced and parades some of the most brilliant and gifted people in the world, a nation with perhaps the most vibrant and informed media outlets in the developing world a nation of ants? If Ndibe were a Ugandan, Rwandan, Zimbabwean or indeed, from most African countries, would he write this and still come back to his country? Indeed, the answer is that there is hardly any other African that can write this rubbish about their own country, even if they had no family in the country. How much further can you overstretch logic and common sense? Do ants win Nobel Prizes or has Mr. Ndibe lost his own anthood by sojourning in America? This is my dilemma, how to recreate our new narrative." - Rev Matthew Hassan Kukah. 

Blogger's Comment:

With due respect to the Honorable Man of God, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Mr. Okey Ndibe didn't really call Nigerians ants. What he said was that, when a vehicle tramples upon a chicken or runs over one, you could at least see the cadaver of the chicken on the highway, but not exactly the same in the case of an ant. An Ant trampled upon readily disappear into oblivion - completely invisible and completely out of our consciousness as a nation. In other words, they are inconsequential - unsung heroes. That's what has become of innocent Nigerians trampled upon (murdered) in cold blood by Boko Haram and other sectarian killers. As of today, no one can possibly give an accurate account of the number of innocent Nigerians mercilessly slaughtered in and around the geographical northern region of Nigeria in the past three years. That brings us to the question: What went wrong with the global characterization of Nigerians (international news media) as the happiest people on Earth just few years ago? The Man of God did not provide an answer. He deliberately and disingenuously misinterpreted Okey's core message, with a view to discrediting him and strengthening his diaspora pessimism narrative. Yes, he did not address or provide answers or solutions to the underlying issue covered by Professor Okey Ndibe in his piece - the brutality, the savagery, and wanton killing of innocent Nigerians by band of heartless marauders masquerading as religious sects.  On that ground, I find the Bishop's mischaracterization of Okey and his work distasteful and uncharacteristic of a man I hold so much in high esteem. I beg to move.

Disclosure: I love and admire Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah more than I love or admire most of his peers in the media or religious cycle. I came to know him many years ago as a fearless scholar, a real patriot based on his numerous essays covering national issues on the pages of the Guardian Newspaper of Nigeria. And on numerous occasions I have mentioned his name as someone I would readily vote for to be the President of Nigeria. I still hold him in high esteem, his instant views about Okey and other social media commentators in the diaspora notwithstanding.
Please find Below The Professor Okey Ndibe's Contentious Piece in Its Entirety. Do Consider The Context in Which The Comparison (Nigerians and Ants) was Made, and be the Judge.
Something really, really dangerous has happened in Nigeria. It is the reduction of human life to the scale of an ant. It is not about to happen; it has happened already. 
Forget all the talk about 2015 and the coming general elections. Forget the debate about the PDP and the APC. Ignore the news that Nigeria has vaulted into the largest economy in Africa. Don’t bother about the bloated national conference and its tiresome deliberations. The most urgent issue in Nigeria, the issue that ought to keep Nigerians awake, is the evident abrogation (not devaluation) of human life.
The evidence stares us in the face each passing day. Day after day, Nigerians are massacred in some savage attack. Nigeria is a country in the grips of a blood lust. It’s as if, every waking day, there’s a promise of senseless death coming the way of some hapless Nigerians. Death or bereavement by Boko Haram has become a daily occurrence, even a guarantee.
In the last week and a half, Israeli authorities spared no resource to find three missing, abducted schoolchildren. When their remains were discovered, apparent victims of murder, the Israeli government stepped up reprisals against their suspected killers. Human rights organizations have flayed Israel’s excessive and indiscriminate use of violence against Palestinians. I’m troubled by such overreach. But the lesson is not lost on me: Israel reminds us how a nation-state behaves when any of its citizens is killed or even put in harm’s way.
From the explosive, strife-torn Middle East to the streets of Philadelphia in the United States.
Last Saturday, a roaring fire consumed residential blocks in Philadelphia. The deaths of four children in the fire brought home the gravity of the tragedy. The horrid event was near the top of radio, television, online and print news coverage. Driving last Saturday, my radio tuned to National Public Radio, I heard a local public official say, “A very, very tragic thing has happened to the city of Philadelphia today. We lost four beautiful children.”
I didn’t get the official’s name, but his voice carried a stamp of conviction. His words moved me. And then, suddenly, a deep sadness settled over me.
Here’s why. It occurred to me that, in Nigeria, no government official talks like that about children. No, they don’t think that children are beautiful, their lives precious, and their death—whether in a fire or human-made bomb explosion—a tragedy. If a Nigerian official describes children as “beautiful” or their death as tragic, it’s hardly ever from the heart, hardly a heartfelt sentiment. Instead, it’s likely because some speechwriter smuggled the words onto a written text. 
I did argue in a previous piece that Nigerians had been reduced to the level of animals, their death at the hands of vile, callous terrorists eliciting little outrage and no reaction. I had contended that Nigerian lives were so thoroughly discounted that the killing of a Nigerian hardly carries more weight than the killing of a chicken.
Then it recently struck me, quite suddenly, that I had exaggerated. I had erred in lifting the Nigerian to the level of a chicken. I’m afraid that the Nigerian has been so dehumanized, so terribly debased, that s/he invites comparison, not so much to a chicken as to an ant.
Here’s the difference. Chickens have a visibility that ants don’t. If a car runs over a chicken, there’s a carcass to remind onlookers of what happened. Not so an ant. The death of an ant is often invisible because ants are, on the whole, too small to be noticed. Even when we walk, we often step on and squelch many ants without taking place.
This sense of dying unremarked, I’m afraid, has become the lot of the Nigerian. Nigerians appear oblivious to the parade of tragedy stalking their land, to the unceasing line-up of lives sacrificed daily on the altar of sectarian violence.
Somebody could argue that Nigeria’s media feast on reports of terrorist attacks and their maimed or murdered victims. But that’s hardly a refutation of my point. Nigerians are slaughtered in massive numbers, every single day, so that the victims’ lives no longer count, even when some newspaper brings us the news.
There’s sheer fatigue in the international media about Nigeria. Boko Haram would have to top its continued abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls to awake the curiosity of the battery of foreign media correspondents covering West Africa. Were it not for the presence of American operatives, I would have been willing to bet that the search for the missing Chibok schoolgirls had been suspended. In the Nigerian imagination, more than 200 abducted schoolgirls might as well be 200 crawling ants!
Nigeria has become a Federal Republic of Ants ruled (note the word “ruled”—not governed or led) by a greedy, grasping bunch of politicians with insatiable appetites. In this misshapen republic, every thing, every value and every human presence, is subordinated to the rulers’ relentless pursuit of lucre. The rulers are too busy, too focused on looting, to notice the ants they trample underfoot. The ants are too riveted by the ardor of scrambling for the crumbs that they pay no heed to those of their number ground to death both by the rulers and those who presume a divine mandate to kill.
For me, all the talk about fashioning a new Nigeria, all the stipulation about new terms of office and the creation of new states, all the celebration of Nigeria’s stride to the position of Africa’s top economy is poppy cock. A nation must have citizens to make sense at all. Nigeria has humans scaled down to ants, instead.
That’s the dangerous thing happening in Nigeria. The first, most urgent order of business in Nigeria is to recreate its people into dignified humans. Unless this is done—until this task is accomplished—the space called Nigeria doesn’t even begin to make sense. - 

Something Really, Really Dangerous By Okey Ndibe

Monday, July 14, 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Terrorism: Nigeria Has No Territorial Ambition, Sambo [the National Security Adviser to President Jonathan of Nigeria] Assures Cameroon - THISDAY LIVE : A Rejoinder


Yes, we do not have any ambition to acquire any territory in Cameroon, but certainly not with respect to the Bakassi territory - a Nigerian territory that The Obasanjo Administration ceded to the Cameroonian Government on a platter of gold.  It is our land, our territory, our home, and a central component of our inalienable rights as a sovereign nation-state. And when the time comes, we will secure it, recover it, and reclaim every bit of it. So, speak only for your administration. You cannot force a given people out of their traditional God given land within a given sovereign nation and handed it over to aliens to assume ownership and control based on some vacuous and convoluted decisions that do not hold substance or support in fact, reality or precedent.  

Don't tell me it was not just that simple. It was. Did anyone, the UN, The Hague, Vienna, or any international organization involved in the settlement of the dispute seek audience with the affected people (the owners and age-old inhabitants of the land) or their concerns or their consent before the forced relocation and alteration of citizenship? How come there was no plebiscite, a vote, or an opinion poll? This is a question of ethics and values.

Obasanjo gambled with our territorial integrity/sovereignty, because he wanted to be the good boy of western leaders and in the good book of western international institutions/organizations in view of his aborted third term ambition. Resolving ownership of Bakassi Peninsular shouldn't be a "Hague" affair, and it shouldn't have been. You don't cede land voluntarily by arbitration. You cede or acquire land by conquest. That is a universal historical fact. 

What took place at Bakassi Peninsular was an aberration. It was inhuman and a deprivation of one’s inherent right, a sheer betrayal of a group of people by a nation-state they so much loved and believed in, and look up to for support and protection.

The Obasanjo administration gave the Bakassi people two options: If you choose or elect to stay behind in your house or in your land, you automatically rescinded your Nigerian citizenship and become Cameroonians. On the other hand, if you choose to retain your Nigerian citizenship, you MUST evacuate yourself and your belongings; abandon your house, your land, your culture and your age-old traditional heritage for a new settlement and culture to be created for you in the image and likeness of Obasanjo and his thoroughly passionless presidency and advisers. Majority of those who stay behind, did so, not necessarily because they love and cherish Cameroonian citizenship, but for the uncertainties that shrouded their exodus and new settlements in Nigeria, especially in regards to jobs and sustainability. 

Obasanjo and his advisers stay in the comfort of their Abuja mansions and stay blinded to the plight and anguish of a people who did not choose to be Nigerians, but are Nigerians by birth and by inheritance, and therefore, entitled to every right, privilege and protection deserving of a full blooded Nigerian.

In the words of Mario Balotelli, the Italian soccer star: "I'm Mario Balotelli. I'm 23 years old and I didn't choose to be Italian. I strongly wanted to be Italian because I was born in Italy ..." Every resident of Bakassi Peninsular has every right to declare like Mr. Mario Balotelli: I didn't choose to be Nigerian. I strongly wanted to be Nigerian because I was born in Nigeria. And Nigerian I shall be.

America own Alaska and Hawaii - thousands of miles away from Washington State. In 1982, the United Kingdom invaded and sacrificed their lives and blood to force the Argentine Military Forces out of the British Falkland Islands, thousands of miles away from Great Britain. No, not Nigeria; we took counsel with foreigners and foreign institutions and agreed to abdicate our sovereign right over Bakassi Peninsular. Same people who will readily sacrifice anything to hold on to any territory they considered part of their extended family or of any strategic or economic advantage/importance. Yes, we provided them the opportunity to dictate to us what to make of our own territory, our inheritance, our heritage, our own Bakassi Peninsular. It is a shame. And it is patently inhuman. It should not have happened. We should fight to reclaim it, if we have to; every bit of it - Hague or no Hague, or Vienna or no Vienna. Mark my word. I would like to round up by reinstating the fact that no nation cede land or territory voluntarily or by arbitration. You cede or acquire land by conquest. That is a universal historical fact.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Are the Recent Economic Numbers Stupid?: Democrats and the Failure To Spin and Celebrate Success in the Face of Unprecedented Accomplishments.
Hardball with Chris Matthews. Please highlight the link above, right-click on it, and click on Go to ...

Blogger's Comment:

It is Deja vu all over again. Mrs. Hilary Clinton and most Democrats running for reelection for Congress are acting evasively amidst fantastic and unprecedented accomplishments of The Obama Administration - talking and walking defeatist instead of triumphantly. They are unwilling to celebrate success or identify with President Obama and his record of achievement in the past six years. Vice President Al Gore exhibited the same level of naiveté during his 2000 Presidential race with then Governor George Bush of Texas. Al Gore ran away from a huge success story of The Clinton Administration in order to be "his own man." And at the end, he paid for it. He was defeated, in spite of the fact that he was a viable component of the President Clinton's miracle team of eight years. Yes, the same Vice President Al Gore who debated and flawed the irrepressible Ross Perot on CNN Larry King Live on behalf of the Clinton's administration in their first year in office. Sadly, when his appointed time came, he miscalculated: It was the House Republican Managers who wanted President Clinton impeached. Not the American voters.

About a month ago, I had my mind made up to send a brief message through this Blog and on my Facebook Timeline to Democrats and Hilary to remind them that playing Al Gore in the face of glaring improvements in the unemployment rate as well as in the housing market and on Wall Street is not the right way to win election. Problem was, I didn't have the time to develop or expand on the framework of the essay. However, watching Hardball with Mr. Chris Matthews this evening, I realized that I am not the only one wondering why Democrats are unwilling to spin and celebrate their achievements under President Barack Obama. They are watching while Republicans are spinning their success story into failure.

About fourteen years ago, Vice President Al Gore deliberately distanced himself and his campaign team from President Bill Clinton, because of the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. Mr. Al Gore wanted to be "I am my own man" by all means. To consolidate that objective, he settled for a running-mate who brought nothing of electoral value to the ticket, except for the fact that the guy was the first, and if I am not mistaken, the only USA Senator, and a Democrat for that matter, to rise up on the Senate floor to lampoon President Bill Clinton for a conduct that was not an offence or impeachable when it happened. At the end, though Al Gore succeeded in being "I am my own man" to the delight of Clinton's adversaries and antagonists, he woefully failed to integrate Clinton's unprecedented performance - performance that he was part of - into his presidential campaign.

Disappointingly, Al Gore didn't win in Arkansas (President Bill Clinton's own State). And he didn't win in Tennessee, either - his own State. If Al Gore had collaborated with President Bill Clinton in the campaign and won in either of the two States, electoral college vote counts or not; Florida or no Florida; intervention of the Supreme Court or not, Vice President Al Gore would have defeated then Governor George Bush for the November 2000 USA Presidential election. He succeeded in being "I am my own man", but failed to be the President of the United States of America – a position he rightly deserved and earned more than any candidate at that point in time.

Presently, Democrats, especially those running for re-election as well as Mrs. Hilary Clinton (a leading candidate for the Democratic ticket in the next Presidential election) are making the same mistake that Vice President Al Gore made. The reason for that is quite obvious: President Obama is not doing so well at the poll. And Republicans have succeeded in spinning the Affordable Healthcare Law into something of a voodoo policy or job killer. However, the job reality on the ground does not support their diabolical mudslinging. The unemployment rate has dropped down considerably to about 6 percent under President Obama. Yet, Democrats running for Congress are finding it difficult to rebut Republicans campaign of calumny or craft a pragmatic narrative for re-election. If the Affordable Healthcare Act is a job killer as Republicans want Americans to believe, why then the noticeable improvements in the unemployment rate? I do not have much to say or write about the political harms that Hillary and Democrats are inflicting on themselves presently.

Suffice it to say that they have forgotten what the situation was on Wall Street and on Main Streets when Obama took over from President George Bush Jr. They have forgotten the unemployment rate then. They have forgotten that bonus and end-of-year partying and packages were alien on Wall Street then. They have forgotten the name Osama Bin Laden. They have forgotten the two wars. They have failed to realize that Arlington National Cemetery is more peaceful now than seven years ago. They have forgotten the unprecedented breakthrough in health care coverage for the poor and the middle-class as well as the resuscitation of the auto industry. And they are not seeing the bubble in the Banking and Housing sectors.

As usual, Republicans are wining in spinning failure and socialism. President Obama doesn't need any talking points from his speech writers, from me or from his special advisers to market his performance to the America people. He has the talking points right in front of him. He was - and still is - the major player: the main character in the unfolding events. He should take his performance and ongoing programs to the road right now for the sake of posterity. No one knows it better than the King.

Finally, Mrs. Hilary Clinton should not run from her record - Benghazi or no Benghazi. She should strive to celebrate her accomplishments as Secretary of State and don't turn her back on the President under whose administration she did so much for so many all around the World. And she should never contemplate playing Al Gore. The attacks on her from GOP shouldn't be unexpected. She is a formidable candidate and a dreaded opponent. Mrs. Hilary Clinton is electable and more pragmatic than any presidential candidate we have seen in generations. Run, Hilary, Run.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Apc, Please Get Serious, Articles | THISDAY LIVE

"APC must kill all sentiments and return to the path of sanity. Its leaders must be prepared to sacrifice individual ambitions and support their best materials to succeed. The next Presidential election is not going to be easy. The Party stands no chance unless it fields a Presidential candidate and Vice who can ignite the passion of novelty and freshness in our youths. Its general candidates at the other polls must also fire the same imagination and innovation.  The traditional voters are too few and totally rigid to give APC the required figures to win at the polls. The Party should search far and wide for accomplished and respectable Nigerians and give us a semi-shadow cabinet to look forward to. With the right balance, APC will be able to galvanise first time voters into coming out en masse. Over 70 percent of them are still floating and undecided at this moment." - Dele Momodu

Friday, July 4, 2014

Uproar as delegate faults Northern census figures - Vanguard News

"The delegate, who urged his fellow delegates to address the injustice that led to the creation of more states and local government areas in the North, however   made a specific reference to the disparity in the number of local governments in Kano and Lagos states, adding that while Lagos with the highest number of people in Nigeria has only 20 local government areas, Kano state with a population close to   that of Lagos, has 44 local government areas."
"This led to uproar on the floor apparently from the Northern delegates who were not comfortable with his submission."
"Refusing to be intimidated by the uproar, Agbonmwanegbe said that Nigerians do not have the capacity to conduct a free and credible census."
"He therefore called on the United Nations to assist in conducting Nigeria’s census if the country must have credible results."
"All their efforts to shout him down proved abortive, as the conference chairman, Justice Idris  Kutigi ignored their calls."
"A Kano state delegate and former Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Ibrahim Baba Ahmed who could not hold back his anger flouted the procedure rules of the Conference where screamed, saying, “Arrest him! Arrest him now!”
"Agbonmwanegbe continued “I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in the north. So, I know what I saw during my service years. I can authoritatively tell you that there is injustice in this country. How can a state like Katsina or Kano have more local government areas than Lagos which has the highest population? It is obvious that there is injustice and this should be addressed?"

- See more at:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jonathan’s re-election remains unassailable — Akin Osuntokun - Vanguard News

Jonathan’s re-election remains unassailable — Akin Osuntokun - Vanguard News

"I will issue an ultimatum of one month for them to disarm. I will relocate all the far flung villages in the affected axis to fortified central locations. I will declare that Nigeria is formally at war and put the country on a war footing. I will make the neighbouring countries alive to their responsibility – with substantial covert pressure if need be. I will hire foreign mercenaries and seek military support from where ever I can get it to supplement the Nigeria Army. I will make it clear that careless and subversive talks impugning the credibility of the Nigerian military are answerable under the War Powers Act. I think the insurgents have so far been defiant for a number of reasons."  

"The day APC resolves to pick Adams Oshiomhole, Rotimi Amaechi, Peter Obi, Audu Ogbeh or even Dangiwa Umar, Nuhu Ribadu as presidential candidate, then you can persuade me to see some merit in replacing the incumbent president. Otherwise, those who are pushing the logic of power politics should please themselves. Nigerians should learn to purge themselves of the politics of arrogance and intimidation." - Akin Osuntokun

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Osaze Came, He Played, He Scored, and Nigeria Defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina

Few days ago, I made a case for Odemwingie's inclusion in the coming match between Nigeria and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Surprisingly, and in fact, unlike before, Odemwingie was featured for the full ninety minutes as I argued. And at the end, he delivered - he scored the winning goal. It is official; Mr. Osaze Peterr Odemwingie, representing the Nigerian national team (The Green Eagle), scored the winning and only goal against Bosnia-Herzegovina's national team. 

On my part, it was not a prediction per se - far from it -  but knowing what works and the ability to visualize the make up of the team and identify the player or players that will make the most immediate  impact when push comes to shove. I am glad that Mr. Stephen Keshi, the National Chief Coach, did the right thing. 

Most people dwell on the problem, while only very few focus on the solution - the way out of the problem. And I am glad of being part of the latter category. As we have proven over and over again on this Blog, it's all about the solution and moving forward - knowing what works, and the ability to articulate it succinctly, without fear or favor. Know it, publish it and be damned.  See  Of Osaze Odemwingie and the Nigeria vs Iran Lackluster Opening Match.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Of Osaze's absence, and the Nigeria vs Iran Lackluster Opening Match

When I Googled the Nigerian team in the opening match against Iran at the on-going World Cup Soccer event yesterday, Osaze Odemwingie's name was listed as one of the eleven players. However, when the real game started, Odemwingie was benched. From the very first minute of the game I started asking: where is Odemwingie. Where is the light skin dude? I asked and asked and asked throughout the first 45 minutes of the first half, without an answer. When Mr. Keshi eventually brought him in towards the mid-section of the second half, there was a noticeable change – there was real hunger for goals. And the guys who were watching the match with me saw why I asked about Odemwingie repeatedly throughout the first half.

Right now the damage has been done and Nigeria exhibited a second-eleven, or aptly put, a lack luster performance. I want to ask the question again: Why was Osaze Odemwingie not featured for the full 90 minutes? I am feeling disappointed, not necessarily because we did not win, but for the fact that a trusted striker, a quality player was undeservedly benched and prevented from doing what he knows how to do: score goals. If Mr. Keshi is reading this: Please do not equivocate on featuring ODEMWINGIE for the full ninety minutes in your next match. A word is enough for the wise. He is a STAR PLAYER you cannot afford to trade for other players. His disallowed goal speaks volumes. If allowed, that goal would have been classified as one of the best goal in the tournament. He has energy. He has drive. He has rhythm. He has confident. He is creative. Above all, he can read game like a real pro. He is a natural leader - a guy you cannot push around. I saw that in him long ago. Give him a chance. Fifteen minutes of play is not good enough. This is no time for affirmative action or trial and error. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The National Conference And The Explosive Words of Dr. Junaid Mohammed, By Femi Fani-Kayode

The National Conference And The Explosive Words of Dr. Junaid Mohammed, By Femi Fani-Kayode

FFK vs. Junaid the Terrible (Round One)

Blogger's Comment: It's all about the Dr. Junaids and the Professor Yadudus.

I am not for war, and I am not for disintegration. Nevertheless, given the fact that other regions do not have an Enfant Terrible Dr Junaid Mohammed and the highly educated smooth operator Professor Yadudu at the ongoing Confab, I do not consider Mr. Femi Fani Kayode's rebuttal divisive. A rebuttal is always necessary. Therefore, taking the fight to the Junaids' face is the right approach. That is where southern academics and intellectuals have failed the nation woefully. The only two southerners they respect or dread are dead: Pa Awo and Dr Akinola Aguda.  

I am not against the northern region - I have no need to - but I do in my heart abhor the Junaids of the geographical north and their retrogressive antics. My reason for that is not that obvious. Do your research; it is the few Dr. Junaids and the Professor Yadudus of the northern region, operating under cover or directly with successive military governments headed by northerners who determines what to make of Nigeria - the June 12 debacle, creation of States and Local Governments, the 1999 Constitution, just to name a few.

You don't watch and allow ethnic chauvinists to go unchallenged. Because at the end of the day, it is their views that most often carry the day - defining the evolution of the Nigerian project. Not the views of the progressive northerners that are in love with their colleagues from the south. They are highly educated, very vocal and authoritative. And there are always one or two of them in every Government. These Junaids and the Yadudus of the north do not belong to any political party. They belong to northern region of their imagination. In their actions and utterances, Nigeria is British invention.

You cannot succeed in your quest for fiscal restructuring or for true federalism, without a corresponding narrative for restructuring and for true federalism. Just don't say it in a sentence. Make it a project. Therefore, you must be willing to rumble with the vocal Junaids and the smooth operator Yadudus, if you want and end to status quo. Yes, rebuttal is very necessary.

In spite of everything, it is not yet time - and the time may never come - for Dr. Junaid Mohammed to start popping champagne for decimating the advocates of true federalism and resource control at the ongoing National Conference. His adversaries are not yet in the known. For now, FFK is starting a process - a voice of one crying in the wilderness - that will mushroom in a very short time. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Where Are the President's Men: The Challenges President Jonathan of Nigeria Cannot Ignore. Written May 14, 2012

First Published on this Blog on May 14, 2012. 

President George Bush ruled America for eight years, in spite of the much satirized communication deficiencies. President Bush had the ultra-partisan Vice President (Dick Cheney), a man full of bile and venom and a team of White House operatives who do not have problem slamming members of the opposition and the news media below the belt. And of course, the unconditional support of FOX News Network - the mouth piece of the conservatives and by extension, the Republican Party. They succeeded in convincing the America people and Congress that Millionaires deserve tax break even when America was fighting two wars. And they made Senator John Kerry - a man who fought for his country and was awarded Purple Heart - to defend his patriotism when he ran unsuccessfully against President Bush in the 2004 Presidential election.

President Clinton had Paul Begala, George Stephanopoulos, Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta, Erskine Bowles, Dee Dee Myers, James Carville, just to name a few. These guys were not Ministers, PhDs or Professors while serving under President Clinton. They were highly dedicated Technocrats and policy wonks who - as die hard supporters of the President - spit fire and brimstone at political opponents systematically and with devastating precision. They had a firm grasp of how President Clinton’s mind works, his vision for American people and where he is going. They know the issues, they have the facts, and they were on top of the game. In the height of President Clinton impeachment trial, Mr. James Carville came out on TV to declare war on Kenneth Star - the Independent Counsel who shamelessly turned White Water investigation into a sex scandal.

Granted, President Jonathan cannot be President Clinton, but his administration certainly needs a mature voice and not press releases - a policy wonk who has a firm grasp of what PDP wants to accomplish and where President Jonathan is taking the country.  I want to read Vice President Sambo's view and his position on specific issues. I want to read from his Political and Economic Advisers. I want to see the face of the President's Energy czar on TV, explaining before the nation how the scam that depleted the subsidy funds was so easy to consummate. We want to know how the President and his administration want to fix the problems. Nigerians are tired of Press Releases by the Media Adviser to the President. They want to see action, because it speaks louder than words.

The Chief Press Secretary or Media Adviser to the President is what it says it is – he is not a politician or a policy person. He is the voice and spokesperson of the President on developing issues. He is not the economic adviser, and certainly not the energy adviser or energy czar of the administration.

The Director of Communication is the politician, the policy guru – who knows the nitty-gritty of governance and the position of the party on specific issues. He or she manages the flow of information, the talking points within and outside of Aso Rock. Mr. Abati is doing a good job as a media adviser. He is a news analyst – a writer; he is not your Odia Ofeinmu, Duro Onabule, Chinweizu, Stanley Macebuh, Paul Begala, or James Carville.  He is certainly not your Chuba Okadigbo or Uba Ahmed. You don’t have to like these two guys, but they served President Shehu Shagari very well in dealing with members of the opposition. So, where are President Jonathan's men?

Loyalty to the Brand:

In 1992, not wanting to be left out of the Bill Clinton's phenomenon, I had to risk my School fees to buy a Satellite Cable Receiver at Alaba International Market and had it installed in my elder brother's house in Lagos, Nigeria. In that case, anytime I am home on weekends or during holidays, I always have President Clinton on top of my hand, relishing his smooth talk and policy initiatives. All I wanted was to be part of his new world in my Nigerian world. Call it fanaticism, if you want, but I call it loyalty and education by other means. Nigerians must feel that you care.

In similar vein, in 1993 when President Bill Clinton had to send his Vice President, Al Gore to CNN Larry King Live to debate the garrulous Ross Perot, I stayed awake until 3 a. m. Nigeria time to be able to watch the debate live in our living room in Lagos, Nigeria, along with American East Coast audience at 9 p.m. Eastern time, USA. I was a student then, living in Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. Yet, I took the risk to travel to Ijeshatedo (my brother's residence), knowing full well that the debate is 3 a.m Nigeria time and that I must be at the lecture hall unfailingly at exactly 7 a.m in Victoria Island, Lagos the same morning.

As an unrepentant admirer and supporter of President Bill Clinton, I didn't want to miss any bit of the debate. So I went home to watch the debate live and to root for Al Gore. I was apprehensive. I honestly thought that President Clinton was committing political suicide for allowing Al Gore to debate Mr. Perot, given what Mr. Perot did to President George Bush Sr in the 1992 Presidential 3-way debates. As calculated by President Clinton and his new administration, the debate was the best thing that happened to them in their first year in office. Al Gore decimated Ross Perot beyond redemption. As I predicted, Mr. Perot disappeared, not only from American politics, but from the news media as well.  Not surprising, President Clinton and his administration had a fulfilled first term in office.

I am not asking for President Jonathan's men  to descend on their political opponents and decimate them, but to strive to raise public awareness regarding what the administration is doing and where it is going on specific issues that matter to Nigerians the most. Enough of Press Releases. It manifests naivete in public policy deliberations.

Follower-ship is about trust. People must believe in you. Without that, no amount of paid ads or press releases will buy public sympathy and acceptance. Even in faraway Nigeria and in the very first year of President Bill Clinton in the US, I could feel his passion for real leadership and his genuine commitment to do good for his people, judging by what I was reading about him every morning in the Guardian Newspaper of Nigeria and from my Satellite Cable Receiver.

In similar vein, growing up, I had to buy every book, magazine, article, journal, etc., written by Chief Obafemi Awolowo as well as those written  by other people about him in order to have an independent knowledge of [the sage] besides his accomplishments and public service credentials as told by my Mother - a huge fan and supporter of Pa Awo. I became an admirer of Awo in no time - not letting any opportunity slip by without standing for him, defending him, or setting the record straight, or injecting stories of his accomplishments into discussions, with a convincing pride. It is not fanaticism; it is trust in the man and trust in his leadership.

Governance is a fiduciary responsibility – it connotes a duty of care - an utmost good faith on the part of the elected representatives and their paid special advisers. The President should look inward and ask his men the simple question: are we living up to our promise, and are we serving the Presidency and the people as expected of a prudent fiduciary? Of what political merit is retaining a Special Adviser, if his or her counsel is of little or no relevance in your decision making process?

This administration has communication problem, and that to a significant degree is responsible for the unguided utterances often credited to the President. Adding to that, President Jonathan does not command the sort of media respect and support that President Obama has. Therefore, it is left to him and his administration to find their voice and find it fast in the crazy cacophony occasioned by Rep Lawan's report on the petroleum subsidy scam.


Granted it is not humanly possible to guide against gaffe at impromptu press briefings, but only the President, by himself, and himself only, can develop the craftsmanship of President Bill Clinton and the eloquence and audacity of President Barack Obama. It requires constant reading. And it is about knowledge. The New York Times is a must read for every American President first thing in the morning.

President Jonathan can elevate his game and relevance by skimming at least three Nigerian national newspapers every morning before proceeding to work. Adding to that, a copy of The Economist magazine must always be by his bedside. Not just to keep abreast of the latest development in the business World at home and abroad, but for an overall philosophical and intellectual enrichment.  The President can also arrange for mock debates at least once every two months with his closest confidants on both domestic and international issues as if he is preparing to debate President Barack Obama or planning a tete-a-tete with his number one nemesis - Mr. Sonala Olumhense. I am not being sarcastic here; the President should endeavor to embrace the concept of content management and transcribe it into politics and governance; enmesh himself in philosophical reawakening, focusing on the nitty-gritty of political economy and public affairs.

When the President's men are missing, only the President can [step] up his game. There is no short cut to vision. Right now, something isn't right in Nigeria. And the people are yearning for a change, looking for a great leader to lead and restore hope in a dispirited populace.

It’s all about knowing little about most things; how to communicate it, improve on what you know and express yourself in simple, yet mature syntax. It's all about awareness of your surrounding, of what great leaders do and what they read. Ask President Bill Clinton [or study his part to greatness]. President Jonathan has the resources to transform himself and he has the men and women [of Nigeria] to help him execute the mission of his administration, and do for Nigeria what President Bill Clinton did for American people or what Pa Awo did for [the old] Western Region of Nigeria. It's all about the reading, because it makes the man. [You can't say it, if you don't know it. Mission statement is idea based. Indeed, idea is paramount - it comes first, from curiosity - a willingness to read and learn. You cannot govern from nothing. Communication is complementary].

May 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reflection and Regeneration: A Compendium of Thoughts on Thought Leadership

As deliberations at the ongoing National Conference continue, I want to thank Nigeria Village Square for making it possible for me to make my voice heard outside of this Blog following the publication of three of my articles in the past few weeks. The instant piece is going to be my last major piece on this Blog until further notice. I have done considerably well beyond my expectations at the inception of this Blog on January 02, 2012. And it is time to move on. Before I proceed further, I would like to express, with heavy heart, my continued interest in the search and rescue of the kidnapped teenage "Chibok Girls" in Borno State, Nigeria. My heart goes out to you and your family members. You deserve our unflinching support and attention. The World is on your side.

I did not take into writing because I write for a living. It wasn't in satisfaction or in pursuit of passion, either. I write because I know I am blessed with unparalleled foresight and invaluable lessons in humanity, leadership, governance and change management that I wanted to share. It is all about common sense ideas based on prudent judgment anchored on Awoism, innate intelligence, leadership tutorials from my Mother, and reading through the years. Yes, I write because I know I am simply the best in what I write about - insightful, visionary, creative, more daring and audacious than those in the field as well as those managing our public institutions. Like President Bill Clinton, I know little about everything. And I write what leaders read, or should read.  I am a total package - a one of a kind God's creation, with rare insights and foresight on most issues. Yes, I said it.

I speak and write the minds of the people, especially those who seemingly know what is wrong with the system, but do not have the time to write about it or the vocabulary to put them in proper perspective for maximum effect. "For instance, petroleum marketers who scammed our petroleum subsidy funds should be made to show proof of their supply and concrete evidence of overseas dealers and how and where they deliver their petroleum products in Nigeria." That was exactly what the Subsidy Review Committee chaired by Mr Aigbojie Imoukhuede did to nail bogus petroleum marketers. You did not read those lines elsewhere, but only on this Blog. See "The Need for a “Civil Asset Forfeiture Law”, posted on May 25, 2012.

Thanks to the internet and social media for making it possible for me to do that - write, get published and be heard, without pandering or adjusting my language to the whims and caprices of editors of newspapers and proprietors of online news outlets. We are not investigatory; we are fact finders and public affairs detail oriented, focused on solutions. Like a light shining through the murky night, we see what others don't see, and build a case for strategic approach. And 100% of the time, we have been vindicated.

Once, I opined on this Blog that an Obama School of Thought is emerging with respect to the global war against terrorism. And I defined the School of Thought and stated unequivocally that no one has written about it or talked about it anywhere. Three days later, I repeat, three days later, President Obama held a news briefing where he succinctly articulated his administration new approach to the global war against terrorism. His philosophy was on all four (totally in sync) with my hypothesis. That is rare, very rare. It is like wining a Multi-Million Dollar jackpot. See "Nigeria is at War: We Must Stand up and Support our President", posted May 17, 2013.

It is about ideas and the ability to articulate them, without leaving in the minds of the readers any doubt about where I stand and what I stand for and what the goals are. It is not about semantics. It is about the message. After all, English is an elastic language. I write not to entertain or to impress the literati of the Nigerian journalism, but to create real impact and catalyze the target audience to action. The intensity in my language is real. Not borne out of hatred or animosity towards other people, tribes or regions, but to create awareness, new thinking in the body politic in other to avoid the mistakes of the past. It is all about common sense and moving forward.

Take for instance, the nation-wide protest that took place on January 2013, popularly referred to as Occupy Nigeria, over the proposed removal of petroleum subsidy by President Jonathan. I was the only voice outside the government who supported the removal. Not that I like high cost of fuel products or because I was doing some PR work for the Government. I did because the subsidy wasn't creating lower prices at home. My argument then was that it is very likely that some Nigerians are scheming or scamming the subsidy regime; otherwise, Nigerians would have been enjoying affordable petrol and kerosene at petrol stations. I suggested that until government takes care of the loopholes in the subsidy regime, they should take control of the importation of fuel products and reinvest the accruing profits into the system instead of subsidizing the process for fraudulent and bogus petroleum marketers. At the end, I recommended the Obama formula in the disbursement of student loans to the students via the Department of Education, dispensing with the services of Commercial Banks that were reaping where they did not sow.

Few months later, Representative Farouk Lawan and his investigatory committee came out with a damning report, detailing how some politically connected and not so connected bogus petroleum marketers cooked up figures and cooked up documents to scam the subsidy regime of needed funds - being paid for products they didn't supply. That was my fear when I supported the removal. I knew that the subsidy fund was going into wrong hands and not into petroleum products. And you know the rest of the story.

I gave life to the call for "True Federalism and Decentralization of the National Government", making them the most talked about issues at the on-going National Conference and in the news media in the past two years. Today, most commentators in the social media as well as those in public sector can now discuss with erudition the major topics of the moment: "Devolution of Power", "Restructuring and Decentralization of the Central Government", "Federalism", "Unitary System", and "Confederal option". It all began with the "The Search for True Federalism: Balancing Feudal Interests with Southern Greed and Opportunism." Followed by  "Federalism, Presidential Succession, and Marginalization" written at the beginning of this Blog about two years ago. And the last but not the least in that category is "Of Distorted Federalism, Structural Problems, and Leadership Crisis in Nigeria: A Case for Decentralization of the National Government", which appeared on this Blog on March 25, 2014 and on Nigeria Village Square on March 29, 2014.

I no be follow follow. I don't react to news or topics. I define and create topics - those issues that are important and deserving of unqualified attention. has been the defining moment, the starting point of what is to become of a new Nigeria. It is vibrant, refresh, aggressive and easy to read and digest. Most often, I see my ideas on this Blog in the opinions of other writers as well as in the policy and programs of the government. And it’s all good. It's all about spreading the message, helping to shape the future of this country, focusing on commonsense solutions for the benefit of all.

This Blog was opened to the public on January 02, 2012, with the flagship article: "The Search for True Federalism: Balancing Feudal Interests with Southern Greed and Opportunism." That piece defined the Nigerian Story, the Nigerian Problem, and the Nigerian Solution. It gave a new meaning to the call for Sovereign National Conference, and catalyzes the demand for true federalism. We challenged southern political leaders to be more assertive on national issues. We indicted southern columnists for devoting too much time and space dwelling on polemics and stale news. That article was all I wanted to publish when I set up this Blog. My prayer now is that the selected delegates presently deliberating at the Nation Conference do the right thing and come out with a document we can all be proud of.

On this Blog, you will find very thought provoking articles that made great changes in the political system of great nations.  From the urban development protest in Turkey (see Stabilization Clause vs. Human Rights and Sustainable Development), to the exercise of state power and control by the government of Argentina and Brazil over their petroleum resources (see Bonga Oil Spillage, Niger Delta and Sustainable Development). Also, we developed or defined the new approach to the unrest in the Muslim world by Western Governments/Nations (see Overcoming the Crisis in the Muslim World, published September 22, 20120). Last, but not the list, we wrote an all-encompassing treatise/work on the last US Presidential campaign/election - later to be labeled "the definition of Obama's opponent" by the media.

It all began in May and June 2012, when some highly visible Democrats in and out of government as well as some celebrated pundits in the news media were breathing down on President Obama's campaign team, warning them not to mention Wall Street and Bain Capital in the Presidential campaign, I took a firm stand, arguing that the campaign team do the exact opposite. I opined that it is strategically suicidal and counterproductive for the campaign team to do what the pundits are saying. I stated on this Blog and on my Facebook Timeline that the campaign team should disregard the advice and place Bain Capital and Wall Street on full blast. My position was that given the fact that the President's opponent is campaigning on his Wall Street experience and his ability to create jobs, then his exploits on Wall Street as well as his stewardship at Bain Capital are automatically on issue as well as records of job creation in Massachusetts should be on the table. Thank God, they did not equivocate on my position. And the rest is now history. See "Obama: Citizen United, Invisible Resistance and the Hacking of American Democracy" published on the Blog on June 8, 2012.

Everything about Nigeria and how to make it a great country as God divined it to be are available on this Blog - written exclusively by me and me only, without any outside editorial or proof-reading support. And I take full responsibility for any typographical and semantic errors you may come across on the Blog. Yes, I am tested. And my ideas work. Therein, lies my confidence. I thank every one of you for coming this far with me and for being a part of this Blog. It has been a wonderful twenty-eight months of intense brain work and invaluable lesson in vocabulary and public affairs. Please do not feel despaired and despondent about the Nigerian project. We shall definitely overcome the madness of the moment.  And when we do, the best and the brightest among us will emerge at the center  stage - not on the basis of who our godfathers are or on the basis of our last names, but on the spirit and genuineness of what we stand for and hope for in our beloved nation - Nigeria. That is the next chapter - the beginning of redemption and regeneration. 

The "Cluelessness" of the Progressives

I wrote on this Blog more than a year ago that the fact that Nigerians are seemingly dissatisfied with PDP, does not automatically translate to acceptance of APC or any of the other political parties as the better alternative for Aso Rock. Each has to make its own case for acceptance.

Is APC making a case for acceptance or for a better alternative since registration? No. They ran after the Femi Fani-Kayodes and the uncontrollable rebels within the PDP. Where is Femi Fani-Kayode today? He might not have completely relocated to PDP, but he is certainly not with APC. What about notable figures like Babangida Aliyu, and Lamido? They are back to PDP unconditionally.

Most vocal progressive commentators in the social media saw it coming, and they wrote copiously about the urgency for APC leadership to embark on speech making tour round the country - propagating a refined progressive narrative that will sync with the desires and aspirations within the heart and soul of every Nigerian. But Tinubu and Buhari didn't see it that way. And disappointingly, not even El'Rufai saw the need to embark on a grass-root campaign - lecture tour. 

For instance, Governor Fashola's speech at the Abuja APC Conference is more appropriate for a neutral audience. It's all about progressive narrative, which presently, is missing. Who was at the Guide of Editors recently? Senator Jubrin Aminu was. That would have been an appropriate forum for an El'Rufai or Fashola to make a good presence - making a case for a new direction in our political system.

Few days ago, I published an article on this Blog following the massacre at Nyanya Bus Stop, in it; I made a call for a Mandela and a Martin Luther King Jr. in the Nigerian polity to advance peace and tolerance. Few days later, some group decided that indeed we have a Mandela managing our political system as per the commercial some group ran on NTA.

Several times, I have seen my statements on this Blog repackaged to suit the philosophy and goal of the President's speech writers. It is a new world. In 2012, I wrote a piece on the Blog, titled “Where are the President Men”, in the piece I argued that Dr. Ruben Abati, standing alone and with his Press Releases cannot withstand the onslaught of the media – both print and social – on President Jonathan and his Presidency. Immediately that piece came out, they went for Dr. Doyin Okupe. Now they have Reno Omokri, Gulak, Maku, and Olisa Metuh engaging on aggressive PR campaign, taking APC and its leadership apart with enthusiastic abandon. Yes, Mr. President and his boys are winning, when it comes to taking advantage of the free materials available in the social medial.

In the beginning, APC could boast of more followers and sympathizers than any other political parties in Nigeria in the social media. The resentment towards PDP was real. Way back in 2012, I initiated the call for a hand shake across the Niger and Benue between southern progressives and northern mavericks and intellectuals. Thank God it happened, and a party was registered. However, what we have today is a political party dominated by individuals who are not known to be progressives in their actions or utterances. The emerging southern progressives and northern mavericks and intellectuals are visibly absent within the new coalition.

Once, a social media commentator/columnist questioned the reasonableness of APC aggressive pursuit of PDP rebels. Few days later, in a long rebuttal, a writer, writing as an insider argued that APC needs these established rebels from PDP because of their established supporters. My position is that PDP rebels are nothing, but rebels. They are not progressives. You do not need them to build the great progressive grass-root political party most of us have in mind. They left PDP, not on the basis of disagreements arsing from how to make things better for Nigerians, but simply on the basis of their defeat in the power game within the party. Its all about Jonathan, and how to kick him out of Aso Rock.

Take Jonathan out of the picture: What makes you different from PDP? What are they doing wrong now that you want to do differently? Take that message directly to the people, campuses and public places. Not PDP rebels.

Today, APC has less new followers and sympathizers than when it was newly registered. A situation where most commentators in the social media only criticize PDP and President Jonathan, without actually supporting APC is very troubling. In the absence of credible candidates and refined messages, the incumbent is sure of victory.

Here is the deal: If APC cannot get their act together soon, and overcome the tag of a Muslim or Islamic party that the indefatigable Professor Emeritus Femi Fani-Kayode clandestinely attached on them in his two-part series, come 2015, Nigerians will rally round a sitting President and overwhelmingly vote him back into office. At that time all of you bloggers, commentators, pundits, glorified advisers and wordsmiths propagating shoelessness and cluelessness would realize that you are the naive and clueless bunch, after all. 

Disclosure: I like Mallam El'Rufai - he is creative and pragmatic. He is tested, and without any doubt, an achiever. I do believe that given the chance, he would make a great President. About two years ago, I devoted about two thousand words to endorse him as a candidate for the Progressives for the 2015 Presidential race. However, I pulled the endorsement a year later, when I realized that Mr. Rufai is seemingly not ready for prime time. That was how my involvement in the Progressive Movement frizzled.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jonathan's Legitimacy and the Absence of Value Judgment in the Polity.

Boko Haram's demands are not new to us. For a start, Nigeria is a secular state; therefore, any form of extorted or forceful religious indoctrination of the unaffiliated is treasonable - an act of war against the sovereign. And it should be treated as such. Two, President Jonathan was duly elected, and as the Vice President, he has every right to step into the vacated office that came up following the death of President Musa Yar’Adua. His legitimacy is unequivocally unquestioned.

The truth is that the zoning formula adopted by the PDP during the primaries, ceased to be of any legal or logical relevance once President Yar’Adua and Vice President Good Luck Jonathan ran, won, and sworn in as President and Vice President respectively. So, on the death of either the President or Vice President; it is the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that defines succession process, not the zoning law or formula that was adopted by PDP during the primaries. President Jonathan's right to worship or serve his God the way he chooses is a protected right. Three, demanding that the President must convert to Islam and that Sharia Law should supersede any other law in the land are rickety and ridiculous at best.

Four, President Jonathan yielded to the demands of the northern elders and made Sambo Dasuki, a distinguished retired Military Officer, and infect, one of their own, his Security Adviser. Then he agreed to dialogue with leadership of the sect. In addition, and contrary to all expectations, he dangled offer of amnesty before the sect and their sponsors. Yet, nothing could avail them to disarm. And in the process, millions of Naira was squandered romanticizing with bogus groups masquerading as Boko Haram or its affiliates.

Five, there is no similarity between Boko Haram insurgency and militant activities in the Niger Delta as some maverick/intellectuals want the world to believe. With respect to the militants’ activities in the Niger Delta, late President Musa Yar’Adua and his emissaries were able to meet with ascertainable names and identifiable personalities to negotiate agreements that were mutually beneficial to all parties involved.

So, as we move towards a new era in the war against Boko Haram, Boko Haram sympathizers should stop the comparison. One is fighting a just and legitimate battle following years of neglect and desecration of their environment by careless multi-national oil companies and by Federal Institutions dominated by Nigerians who do not know what it takes to survive on contaminated water and polluted air. The other is waging a war of attrition, diabolical and unfathomable, hiding under the cover of darkness, killing and maiming defenseless Nigerians mercilessly.

And six, 2015 is around the corner; lets the voters make their voice heard. It is high time credible candidates – if there are any out there - stand head and shoulder high and step into the scene for a run against President Jonathan in 2015. Until he is defeated at a popular election, he is our President, imbued with all the respect and perquisites deserving of that office. Anything to the contrary is a call for anarchy.

He is clueless, so goes the popular saying in and around the social media. If that is the case, one would have thought that by now, given his vulnerability, the political environment would be abuzz with campaign slogans and names of potential Presidential candidates from the other political parties. In other words, he is an easy target - one very easy to take down. Surprisingly, none of that is happening. So far, the field is bereft of quality candidates. The Presidential election is about a year from now, and the only Presidential candidate standing is President Jonathan.

Anything but Jonathan as most commentators want us to swallow is not good enough. Nigerians want to see credible and quality candidates ready to fight a good fight. This is no time for ad hoc leadership and management.  

His major critics as well as those who should be in the race right now - meeting with potential voters, interest groups and supporters, and delivering speeches all over the country - are not doing so for obvious reasons: They are stupendously rich and stupendously corrupt. They would rather gang up against President Jonathan, than enter the Presidential race and run on their list of accomplishments. It is all about credibility. And as Jesus Christ would say, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone." The Presidential election is less than a year, in spite of that, none of the more than twenty six registered political parties is yet to produce a credible candidate capable of taking down PDP. Nigerians know who President Jonathan is, but they don't know who you are and what you are bringing to the table. It is time you start making a case for acceptance. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Of Real Heroes, Nyanya Massacre, and Presidential Indiscretion

The massacre at Nyanya Bus-Stop is a declaration of war on the sovereign nation of Nigeria. Boko Haram and their sponsors and their financiers are enemy combatants; therefore, they should be treated as such.

At the scene of the bomb blast, the President was reported as saying:  “I am also commending security services for their prompt action. Though we lost quite a number of people, we condole with our countrymen and women. We will continue to work very hard." Punch, April 15, 2014. Mr. President, with due respect, on what basis did you commend the security services? About 89 Nigerian died undeserving death. About 200 hospitalized, and vehicles and merchandise worth millions of Naira burnt to ashes. And you are commending the security services for their prompt action! Prompt action about what? For infiltrating the leadership of the bombers, and consequently, averting the bombing and the accompanied bloodshed? Or was Mr. President simply commending them for arriving at the scene of the accident on time to ferry the victims to hospital?

To say I am flabbergasted is saying the least. This picture is analogous to President George Bush coming to the scene of hurricane Karina and commending Mr. Brown, his FEMA Director, for doing a hell of a job, when helpless African Americans and their New Orleans homes were complete submerged in water. Mr. President, Nigerians deserve better from you and your security team.  I am not passing judgment, but your statement is unacceptable, judging from the position of a reasonable man. It is unfortunate, and it's all part of the pervading culture of low expectations.

Granted, I have no background in military training or security training, but as a reasonable and well-informed observer, I respectfully suggest that it is high time the President review his security team. Dasuki has no reason and cannot afford to be complacent with our national security. Right now his reputation or his good name is not just at stake; it is irredeemably dented. Yes, I know Nigeria is at war with unknown enemies. Yes, I know the spirit of patriotism demands of us to rally round our President and members of our Armed Forces in time like this. In the same vein, the spirit of patriotism also demands we speak truth to power, not just in the face of tyranny, but also in the face of complacency. I beg to move

The Pikin wey say 'im Mama no go sleep, 'im too no go sleep. It is high time the President and his security team resort to the nuclear option - adopt the Obama strategy at full blast. Take the fight straight to the bedrooms of known and perceived enemies as well as to the bedrooms and places of business of known and perceived sponsors and financiers of the sect. That’s not negotiable. They are individually and collectively enemy combatants.

The mangled cadavers at Nyanya Bust Stop were once those of dear fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers. Until Boko Haram, their sponsors and their financiers surrender and disarmed; they deserve no less decapitation than what we saw at Nyanya Bus Stop and all over Middle-Belt and North East in recent times.

Few years ago, Nigerians at home and abroad were branded by the international media as the happiest people on earth. Not anymore. In recent times, peace has eluded us at a level unprecedented in the history of our creation as a nation-state. Kidnapping for ransom is now one of the most lucrative professions in the South-East and in the South-South regions of Nigeria. In the South-West, cultism and marketing of human parts, grotesque and repulsive as that may sound, are now the order of the day. In the Middle Belt and in the southern part of Kaduna, counting cadavers has become a daily routine. In and around Borno State, it is completely a different story: A war of attrition at its ugliest form.

The once metropolitan Maiduguri is now in total ruin - a once vibrant and welcoming city, reputed as the epic center of the famous Kanem-Bornu Empire is now in total ruin and deserted. That Empire, that vast geographical landscape is now at war with itself - at war with civilization, at war with tolerance, at war with peaceful co-existence, and at war with everything that their worthy son, Idris Alooma, labored relentlessly, through war, commerce and diplomacy, to build to international standard.

Indeed Mohammed Yusuf, the leader or founder of the sect died mysteriously while in the Police custody. And I wholeheartedly empathize with the sect for his death. Unresolved as the circumstances surrounding his death are, what is not in doubt is the fact that two wrongs don’t make a right. That being said, there is no justification, legal or ethical, moral, conventional or customary; to explain or justify the wanton brutality and gruesome death visited on innocent commuters at Nyaya Bus Stop.

Of Heroes and Redemption:

As the security situation deteriorates, we should not allow partisan political expediency to cloud our sense of judgment, pretending that all is well. All is not well. Nigerian is at war with unknown enemies. We must stand together and fight together and take the fight straight to Chad and Cameroon borders. There is a general perception that the military and the Presidency are complacent in the face of unbridled slaughtering of defenseless Nigerians by the sect. A development that seemingly emboldened the sect. 

Nigeria deserves better and the Muslim faith deserves better. It is time we seek redemption and embrace tolerance and forgiveness or step up and fight a just war. It is time real people with genuine intent for peace stand up, talk peace, and be counted.

President Nelson Mandela was locked out of civilization for the better part of his adult life by the Apartheid Government in South Africa, but when he came out, rather than agitate for retribution for members of the apartheid government, he asked for truth and reconciliation.

Every politics, the saying goes, is local. Nigeria fought a bloody civil, and at the end, there was no victor and there was no vanquished. There was the unreasonable treasonable felony trial, and at the end, Nigeria was still standing.

Nigeria needs great men and women right now - serious thinkers and real leaders like Sadat, Martin Luther King Jr., Mandela, and Begin - to seek consensus and restore peace to troubled spots.

Sadly, the struggle and the accompanying narrative are not in any shape or form about freedom or consistent with political or economic emancipation movement championed by Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. It is something different.

It is not what Mahatma Gandhi lived and died for. It is not what Mother Teresa preached. And it is not what President Nelson Mandela suffered for and went to jail for. It is something else – something fundamentally and radically different in scope, style, and goal. That is our dilemma. We don't even know who we are fighting. Nevertheless, one thing remains clear: Those who live by the sword die by the sword. The earlier the leadership of the sect and their sponsors surrender and make atonement for the innocent blood they shed the better it is for everyone. Sooner or later the whole truth will be out.

That being said, any extorted religious indoctrination of the unaffiliated should be treated the way it is - an act of war against the Sovereign. For Nigeria to live up to its promise of one nation one destiny, it must be willing to mobilize every resources at its disposal to defend threatened rights. Our desire and our love for the good life, intellectual and educational pursuit, freedom of worship, and the pursuit of happiness shall not be compromised. 

Never, never; we will never compromise on those things that we hold dear to our heart. We will never bargain away our fundamental rights to associate and worship the way we want, or bargain away our inherent rights to educate our kids in any part of Nigeria that we chose, and the way we want. Not now, not any time. We will never surrender in our search for equal rights and justice – an egalitarian society where economic drive and social welfare initiatives are as relevant as religion and ethnic considerations. Let’s get to work, guys. We deserve better.

Happy Easter to everyone.

April 14, 2014.