Questions have always been asked, over the centuries, about the secret ingredients that make up the pot pourri of political leadership, especially with regards to those who dictate the affairs of men and materials.
While William Shakespeare, the literary icon opined that: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”, the led majority often looks out for certain outstanding character traits in people who epitomize their collective dreams.
They identify more easily with those who have the capacity and capability to articulate enduring solutions to their most nagging and intractable challenges. More so, leaders whose life trajectories have followed the inspiring path of zero-to-hero.
And those who have at one time or the other worn their tattered shoes, know where they pinch them most and are always willing to use their time, money and other resources to assuage their pains.
One man whose legion of friends, fans and political associates, here in Nigeria and beyond our shores, would today doff their hats for, click and raise their glasses to toast to his 65 chequered years in resilience and resourcefulness is none other than Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu.
As they celebrate with the man some love to call ‘the master strategist’ and others ‘the game-changer’, one cannot but take a sober moment to drink from the fountain of his illustrious life.
In so doing, one comes in humility to glean lasting lessons in character, courage, charisma, confidence, candour and compassion (the 6C principles). Others come in a mixed milieu of humility, honesty, integrity, decisiveness, responsibility, passion, reliability and dependability. Does he have all these qualities, or less, or even maybe more?
That remains the testy task for scholars in the political evolution of Nigeria to unravel. But for now, a few examples of the exhibition of these attributes would suffice. One of that is his uncanny ability or knack to identify sterling leadership qualities in people, while others grope in the darkness of doubts and don’ts.
Specifically in 2007 when the gubernatorial market din swirled in Lagos over who would be his successor, he went for his erstwhile Chief of Staff, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).
Though many analysts felt he was then a political neophyte, as the governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC), Tinubu knew that Lagos, with its increasing population and industrial/ environmental challenges needed a man who knew and stood by the rules of law like the wavy lines on his palms. History has since proved him right.
And so it has with the wave-making, Akinwunmi Ambode, the visionary, vibrant and versatile incumbent governor of the Centre of Excellence, Lagos.
When the coast was getting clear for political dreamers, jobbers and adventurers to throw their hats into the gubernatorial ring of the state in 2014 few, if any, looked the way of Ambode.
True, he may have traversed the civil service landscape as an auditor for not less than 13 local councils.
Yes, he may also have risen to the enviable posts of Accountant General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance as part of his 27 years sojourn in the civil service but what has that got to do with the nitty-gritty of riding the wave crests of the murky waters of Nigeria’s brand of power and politics. In fact, the man looked too gentle to equate to the average political aggressor.
Yet, again Tinubu saw in him, the most capable and trusted professional to lift Lagos above the rising tide of the looming economic recession. He knew that Nigeria was on the verge of that, what with the dwindling oil revenue and after the restless run of ravenous locusts of the PDP-led government at the centre.
But few did not. As recent events have proven and considering his remarkable achievements in infrastructural development, transportation, healthcare delivery, education, entertainment and tourism, within a short span of two years even Tinubu’s most critical political opponents are openly asking for the magic wand.
But as the Pidgin English parlance in Nigeria goes, ‘dey no dey buy am for market’. It is an unusual gift from God, given to few men for the benefit of all. Indeed, great political leaders “analyse problems; identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to political party, but rather on what is good and right and in the best interest of the nation as a whole”.
Again, Tinubu’s open endorsement of the then All Peoples Congress (APC) candidateand the current President Muhammadu Buhari will for eons stand him in good stead. And in the South-West, where he hails from, Tinubu has become the respected rallying point, preaching peace, even across political divides.
Little wonder that informed politicians from the wellinformed axis now speak with one voice, on burning national issues. He remains a critical catalyst for the socio-economic integration of the hugely blessed zone.
History therefore, beckons on him to continue to use his unique and uncommon political wisdom and wizardry to seek the best and the brightest, for both state and country. He deserves all the accolades showered on him.
For, anyone or group of people who ignores him as the march begins towards 2019 does so at their own peril. It is 65 big gbosas to Nigeria’s most revered political colossus, still standing tall at 65!
The Obaseki-Oshiomhole unending feud
ust as he dismissed the alleged attack on the home of the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has also waved off his reported plan to ditch the APC.
Rather, he reaffirmed, last Thursday, October 17, his commitment to the platform that brought him into office in 2016, stressing that, “If a handful of individuals start misbehaving, and feel we will leave the party for them, they will be the ones to leave.”
A few days earlier, he had denied “any knowledge” of the attack Oshiomhole said he (Obaseki) “directed.” But the Commissioner of Police, Dan Mallam Mohammed, said the assault claim was “cooked-up” by the former Edo governor. Still, CP Mohammed admitted that some persons, who camped outside the home, were “planning a protest,” and had to be dispersed. That shows something was, indeed, amiss!
These two issues, and Friday, October 18 suspension of the state secretary of the APC, Lawrence Okah, signal how far Obaseki and Oshiomhole have parted ways since their spat got into the public space in 2018.
Before their quarrel, they could fit into any of these descriptions: allies, buddies, colleagues, companions, consorts, cronies, friends, pals, partners, playmates, well-wishers.
So, as associates, Oshiomhole, as governor between 2008 and 2016, brought in Obaseki as Chairman of the Edo State Economic and Strategy Team (EST). Sources indicate that he’s a “major” financial mobiliser for Oshiomhole’s ambition, and election.
In that capacity, Obaseki was the arrowhead of the various developmental programmes of the Oshiomhole administration. And he revelled as being so identified!
Thus, it’s comfortable for Oshiomhole, against all entreaties, and threats from “core” members of the APC, to “pick and stand” by a technocratic Obaseki as his successor in 2016.
During the electioneering, Oshiomhole, as the crusader of “One man, one vote” in contemporary Nigerian politics, brought to mind the yeoman’s job that former President Olusegun Obasanjo did to elect the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2007.
With his oratorial prowess, acerbic tongue, and combative persona, Oshiomhole vigorously campaigned for Obaseki, as if he’s the one on the ballot. And Obaseki won eventually.
That’s why it’s a surprise to many how they fell apart so soon, and couldn’t reconcile their “differences” despite series of intervention by notable and respected individuals and groups.
Well, that’s the nature of politics, in which there’re no permanent friends or enemies, but permanent interests. Isn’t this true of the “perceived” intimacy between Obaseki and Oshiomhole?
As the relationship nosedived, the first to weigh in was His Royal Majesty, Omo N’Oba Nedo, Ukuakpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II of Benin. To the natives and residents of the famous Benin Kingdom, and Edo State in general, the revered Oba’s word is law.
If he intervenes in a dispute between his subjects, the matter is settled, dead and buried, and the subjects savour the royal engagement, and go home happily, and quarrel no more.
But this isn’t the case with Obaseki and Oshiomhole, prompting the Omo N’Oba to “report” them to President Muhammadu Buhari, as the leader of the APC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
They honoured the “summons” by the president, who asked them to reconcile, if for nothing else, but for the interest of the APC, due to the 2020 poll: the source of the current intrigues in Edo State.
There’s also a reported “peace mission” by the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who doubles as the Chair of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), and an apolitical personality and renowned industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
Both “common friends” to the quarrelsome duo were recent “peacemakers” who, perhaps, thought that their closeness and camaraderie could do the magic. But no way!
Another reconciliation committee is assertedly being considered by the APC governors and other stakeholders. Will it succeed where the urging of Oba Ewuare II, and the Commander-in-Chief failed to sway Obaseki and Oshiomhole?
Recall there’s a ray of hope in August 2019, when Governor Obaseki paid a “surprise” visit to Comrade Oshiomhole at his country-home in Etsako, Edo State.
Coming out of a closed-door parley, accompanied by a retinue of applauding aides, they back-slapped each other, and debunked their alleged feud, blaming it on “mischief makers.”
But from the latest fissure, it appears the touted Obaseki-Oshiomhole “rapprochement” was for the cameras, as events prior to, and after that visit, portrayed a hardening of positions.
So far in the “power struggle,” Obaseki has the upper hand over Oshiomhole, as shown in these outcomes:
*He has refused to re-proclaim the Edo State House of Assembly (ESHA), as “ordered” by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, and the two Chambers of the National Assembly.
*Rejigged his administration, weeding from the cabinet, and the 18 local government council areas, political appointees regarded as “loyal” to Oshiomhole.
*Received the supports of APC state and council chapters, political groups and high-profile individuals, and Edo teachers; and a stream of declarations, and solidarity rallies across the state.
And as he looks set to remove all vestiges of Oshiomhole’s in his administration, and, maybe in the APC, as he assuredly vowed, the governor attempts to label the regime he headed its “Think Tank,” as a failure in the delivery of dividend of democracy.
Which beggars the question: Was Obaseki “actually” part of the Oshiomhole government that he’s credited to have drawn huge investments, and numerous projects to?
Did he close his eyes to the alleged “rot” in the administration, while projecting himself as Oshiomhole’s right-hand man, and biding his time to be anointed successor in 2016?
Lest we forget! Oshiomhole, no matter how battered politically in Edo State, is still the sure bet for an Obaseki encore in 2020.
Those hailing the governor are fair-weather friends; members of Any Government in Power (AGIP), who “fought” Oshiomhole when he “anointed” Obaseki for governor. They deserted the APC, only to return, to destabilise the party, for their interests.
With Oshiomhole beside him, the powers against Obaseki’s re-election would fail. That’s why the governor should remember “where the rain beat him, and where the sun dried him.”
No matter the provocation, he shouldn’t humiliate Oshiomhole, but continue to extend all courtesies to him when he visits Edo State. But it would be unstatesmanlike for the APC Chair to “sneak” in, and holds meetings with his allies, without putting Governor Obaseki on notice.
It’s time to cut the antics, and locate the “real enemies” in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which, sensing a blowout in the “fight-to-finish” in the Edo chapter of the APC, is having a ball, as it savours its “chances” at the poll next year.
Ekiti: From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained
English poet, John Milton wrote both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained as epic poems of blank verses. Milton wrote Paradise Lost in 1667 and Paradise Regained in 1671. An interval of four years.
Both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained border on the fall and rise (again) of man. Paradise Lost is about the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen Angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Paradise Regained, on the other hand, is the story of Christ, who came to rescue man, from his earlier work, his temptations through his eventual triumph to give man hope.
According to Milton, his purpose for writing the two epic poems as clearly stated in the books was to justify the ways of God to man. If the writer were to be living today, he could be accused of having Ekiti State in mind while writing the two poems. The people of the state actually lost their Paradise in 2014 and regained it in 2018, exactly four years after. In other words, Ekiti experienced both the Paradise Lost and the Paradise Regained as played out in the administration of two successive governors.
Prior to 16 October 2018, the paradise of Ekiti was actually lost in the hands of those who treated its values with impunity. They turned back its fortune by light years. But on that day, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi took the bull by the horn and no sooner had he got sworn in as the governor of the state for the second term than he reeled out what he would do in the short term during the first year. He then rolled up his sleeves and started walking his talk.
In his speech of the day, Fayemi instilled a sense of hope and belief in the people, that good would always triumph over bad, and good governance and development would be back on track. The return to power was also described by Most Rev. Felix Ajakaiye, the Bishop of Roman Catholic Church of Ekiti, as the second missionary journey of Governor Fayemi. We know what a missionary journey is: to rescue a people.
Fayemi first governed Ekiti State between 2010 and 2014, courtesy of the victory he won after three and a half years fighting through a legal system. If you think such a harrowing experience, coupled with the manner in which he was cheated out of power in 2014, ought to have deterred him from governing the state the second time, then you have no understanding of what stuff the doctor of war studies is made of.
An undeterred Fayemi resigned as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development to re-contest for a second term on 14th July 2018 and was officially declared as the winner of the governorship election in Ekiti State by INEC on 15th July 2018. He mounted the saddle three months after, on 16th October 2018 and he has just spent one year in office now.
This looks like a pre-written script or a predetermined scenario. Yet it is not. Like a super sub in a game of football, Fayemi must have watched clinically from the sideline and must have decided on the steps he would take should he have the opportunity of being called in to come and strike for Team Ekiti again.
The governor, while bidding his time on the sideline, must have uncomfortably observed that the reputation of the state he had once painstakingly governed was being mindlessly blown to smithereens and must have concluded in his mind to embrace good governance on his second journey. He must have seen how agriculture, the economic mainstay of the state was being relegated to the background and must have concluded to give agriculture and grassroots development a place of priority. He must have watched helplessly how education was being tampered with and the school children were being taxed and resolved that scrapping of such tax would be immediately done. He must have hollered seeing how the infrastructure he laboured to build in his first four years were decaying and resolved to put them back in shape as soon as he mounted the saddle. He must have left his mouth agape for too long when he learnt that the Owo Arugbo and other social investments he laboured to institute had been rubbished, abandoned and set aside for a scam-venture called stomach infrastructure, thus resolved to restore it within the first year in office during his second term.
The Paradise was no doubt lost and has now been regained.
In the words of Narendra Modi, “Good governance is not fire-fighting or crisis-management. Instead of opting for ad-hoc solutions the need of the hour is to tackle the root cause of the problems.”
Fayemi saw all of the above as enough challenges for him to return to administer Ekiti again. He built his promises on five pillars, viz: Good governance, agriculture and grassroots development, social investment, knowledge economy and infrastructure development. And he has ensured that he touched on all the five pillars
It is in this light, therefore, that people should regard the first year of Fayemi’s second term in office along *7Rs.* These are restoration of values, repositioning of the state from the political back burner to the front burner among comity of states in Nigeria, reformation of the people’s mindset about governance, reconstruction of the abandoned structures, redistribution of the collective patrimony from what is appropriated by a single person to what the entire people would benefit from. Of course, the state has also witnessed a rebirth during the first year. Well, the seventh “R” is the reaffirmation of Fayemi’s avowed promise that his JKF 2.0 was for the restoration of values and enhancement of impact.
The theme of Fayemi’s first year in office is thus well-conceived. Fayemi is no doubt walking his talk to regain the lost Paradise for Ekiti.
• Dipe is the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Fayemi on Public Communications
Keyamo’s knack and knuckles
The ministerial screening of Abubakar Malami and Festus Keyamo at the Nigeria’s Senate on July 26, 2019 was reminiscence of the formative kingship of Rehoboam and Jeroboam in the ancient Israel.
Rehoboam, who succeeded his father, the legendary King Solomon, was counseled by elders to lighten the burden inflicted on the people by his father through heavy taxes and forced labour. The young Rehoboam jettisoned the advice after consulting with his peers, who advised him otherwise. He was unpretentious and unequivocal on how he would run his government. The Bible, quoted him saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to it. He flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions.”
The reaction of the people was not docile but rebellious. As it is usually the case with rebellion, life was lost – Adoram, the officer in charge of the forced labour was stoned to death – and the kingdom was divided. The people of the northern tribe seceded but retained the name, Israel and Jeroboam was chosen as their king.
On policies that had bearing on the people, Jeroboam was opposite of Rehoboam. In fact, it was after the death of Solomon that he returned from exile in Egypt, where he had found refuge from the philosopher-king’s persecution following his rebellious act against the anti-people rule of the Solomon administration.
At the ministerial screening at the Senate chambers, Malami was Rehoboam. With Senate Minority Leader Eyinnaya Abaribe’s question on alleged failure of the office of the Attorney General to protect the rights of individual Nigerians, Malami was afforded ample opportunity of responding to public outcry of violation of human rights and flouting of the rule of law by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It was a chance to hear from Malami, who has been reappointed Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, whether Buhari’s second term would mark next level of desecration of the rule of law or whether Nigeria would work again or start working.
Like Rehoboam, Malami was unpretentious. He saw nothing wrong with fragrant disobedience of court orders that the Buhari administrations – military and civilian eras – have achieved dubious reputation of beating every other government in Nigeria. Typical of a “learned” person that he is, he made reference to certain portions of the Constitution and other authorities to buttress that his office is at liberty to disobey certain court orders in the interest of the public.
With countenance, tone and boisterousness of whether-you-like-it-or-not, Malami had quipped: “where the individual interest conflict with the public interest, the interest of 180 million Nigerians that are interested in having this country integrated must naturally prevail.”
It was a simple but authoritative way of telling the world that as long as Buhari remains Nigeria’s president, court decisions would only be obeyed when it is in conformity with the wishes of the Commander-in-chief.
Like Jeroboam, Keyamo was opposite of Malami, at least at the ministerial screening. True to his background in rights activism, and against the position of successive establishments at the federal level, Keyamo bemoaned, and expressed his displeasure on, the status quo, particularly on the justice sector. He did not stopped at decrying what is currently obtained in the system, but like every responsible and constructive critic, he proffered his perspectives on how to put paid to what he called “scandalous” in the Nigerian justice sector.
Keyamo said: “If I am AGF (Attorney General of the Federation), I have the idea I call the three ‘Ds’ that would be at the heart of judicial reforms. The first D is the decongestion of the Supreme Court, the second will be the decongestion of the prisons and the third one will be the decongestion of court lists”. He clamoured that every Divisional Police Officer should open detention cells to the nearest magistrate to ascertain why suspects are detained. He also called for the amendment of the criminal laws across the states, particularly calling for the review of the powers of the director of public prosecution and the attorneys-general, to avoid abuse of office.
That was not the first time someone called for radical restructuring of hierarchy of courts in Nigeria. Chief Ladi Williams (SAN) among few others have time and again been clamouring for unbundling of the Supreme Court to ease quick and quality dispensation of justice. That of Keyamo was irresistibly newsworthy since he was coming from a man who was about becoming an official of the federal government.
Keyamo was calling for devolution of power at the centre but deliberately avoided the use of the word, “restructuring”, which has become offensive to reactionary guardians of Nigeria’s fake federalism. Restructuring was the central message of Buhari’s main challenger, Atiku Abubakar of PDP in the 2019 presidential election. The senior advocate of Nigeria was also condemning the act of doing things the same way, year in year out, and expects different result, hence calling for different approach to achieve deservingly different result. It was also an attempt by the spokesperson of the Buhari-Osinbajo 2019 presidential campaign to infuse workability formula into the blood stream of Buhari’s next level in order to get Nigeria working.
It was not surprising. After all, Keyamo’s knack for advocacy and finesse footing on law is commonplace. However, as things stand today, Keyamo’s knack would have a hard nut to crack given inherent knuckles in his new duty post as minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Firstly, he is not assigned to the ministry he was drilled on at the Senate and of which he has comparative advantage of expertise. If what happens at ministerial screening in Nigeria has a scintilla of worthiness it is most likely that Keyamo would have been Nigeria’s current Attorney General.
Like other discerning Nigerians, Keyamo knew from the beginning that he would not be assigned to the Justice ministry. At the Senate screening and swearing-in ceremony he did not put on a piece of suit, which is the trademark of those in the legal profession; he wore native attire called “senator”, to depict a Nigerian career politician.
Keyamo was first assigned to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs as a junior minister with euphemistical nomenclature of Minister of State. Within a space of about five weeks he had been redeployed to Ministry of Labour and Employment, still as junior minister. So, Keyamo is a minister without really being in charge of a ministry. Keyamo sees his portfolios in other ministries other than that of the Ministry of Justice as a testimony of his versatility. It would not be surprising, therefore, if his versatility takes him to ministries such as Women Affairs or Humanitarian Affairs.
Given his antecedent, Keyamo is also having a burden of role reversal; and to worsen matters, he is working under a system that is diametrically opposed to what he is perceived to believe in. But while standing before the senators, the 49-year old lawyer assured: “I don’t want to die without making a loud statement for the poor and downtrodden.”
This writer considers that Keyamo had already made a bold statement before the Nigerian senators. Attempt to make further statement laced with truism could make him reenact the Jeroboam episode of rebelling against his principal, King Solomon, whom he had served as officer in charge of the forced labour before plotting against the regime, resulting in his self-exile in in Egypt.
Ekanem sent this piece from Lagos through email@example.com
Calabar stands still for late Major Eyo Esua
October 12, was one day that Calabar stood still for one departed soul. The very large number of personalities that flooded the city to commiserate with the family of the late Major Eyo Ita Esua (retired) during funeral activities marking his departure confirmed that he touched many lives in his life time. Human and vehicular movement were practically shutdown around Beecroft Street, where the funeral service held at Wesley Cathedral of Methodist Church, Nigeria; Esua’s compound on Oma Street and Marian Road, which passes by the “Dome” reception venue on Calabar Municipal Council premises.
“Having passed away 45 days short of his 92nd birthday, he was not young but we know that you will all miss him – his voice, his mannerisms and his good judgement. His was a prominent name in Lagos medical circles, especially Surulere, Lagos Mainland where he tended to the health needs of a horde of people as the sympathetic physician, who lived up to the Hippocratic oath.”
That was part of the brief but very touching condolence letter that Baptist Academy Old Students Association (BAOSA) Obanikoro, Lagos, sent to Esua’s family. Titled “An illustrious old student”, the letter spoke the minds of thousands.
They said he was their doctor, their model, their judge and one that provided them with living water – a reference to his Blue Rose Water Project. The story of his life and times is interesting. The late Eyo Ita Eyo, chairman of Federal Electoral Commission 1964/1965 and secretary of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) was his father.
His mother’s name was Ada. Born on October 12, 1927, he began his kindergarten education in 1933 after which he attended Baptist Academy on Broad Street, Lagos, for his primary and secondary education. In 1950, he sailed in a mail boat to United Kingdom for the pre-medical programme of University of Durham.
His successful performance there helped him to proceed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne Medical School, which was then a college of the University of Durham. He later in 1957 undertook his housemanship in Surgery at the Park Hospital, Davyhume, Manchester University and in Medicine at the General Hospital, Altrincham. Esua returned to Nigeria in 1959 and worked with the Federal Ministry of Health, which posted him to Apapa Dispensary, General Hospital, Creek Hospital and Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
In 1962, he joined the Nigerian Army Medical Corps in the rank of a captain but left as a Major in 1965 to establish Ada Hospital in Surulere area of Lagos. The hospital became one of the most famous privatelyowned medical facilities in Lagos on account of his commitment to efficient medical care, availability of competent workers and consultants and willingness to treat some very poor people who could not settle their bills.
However, the brilliant doctor was compelled by advancing age and the fact that none of his children followed his footsteps into the medical profession, to retire from active medical practice and to sell Ada Hospital franchise to a younger doctor in his employ. On his return to Calabar, he decided to contribute to development of Cottage industry in Cross River State by establishing Blue Rose Water in 1996 – the first brand of table and sachet water in the state.
The product became very popular in homes, workplaces and hotels. “If you have not drank Blue Rose Water, then you don’t know Calabar or even Cross River State”, Pastor Okon Ndiok, a staff of University of Calabar, told this writer. Luckily, his widow Theresa has assured that the water project will continue.
“By God’s grace, we will maintain your wish to provide good clean water for human consumption and also provide jobs for our youths”, she said in her tribute to the husband. Late Dr. Esua was also a good judge. One of his relations, the proprietor of Ikpeme Medical Centre on Ambo Street, Calabar, recounts when one-time head of Central Bank of Nigeria, Calabar, wanted to cause another medical facility to take over the retainership he had with the CBN over “some trivial matter” and he informed Dr. Esua, who contacted the chief medical director of CBN that arrived Calabar to handle the investigation himself and he got back his retainership.
Dr. Esua was also known to be a devout Christian and a pillar both in the Wesley Cathedral, Olowogbowo, Lagos, where his father is said to have been instrumental to the establishment of English Language Service and the Calabar branch where he had the position of patron of the church and of the men and women fellowships. A lover of Christian music and hymns, the last song Major Esua was heard humming before his passing on August 28, was “Lead, kindly Light, and the encircling gloom”
- Akpaekong wrote in from Calabar
Of journalist, journalism, grateful and ‘greatful’
Two incidents aroused my interest of recent: the first was the banner carried by some officials of the Federal Ministry of Education during a march past to mark Teachers’ Day last Saturday. The banner reads: ‘FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY MATCH PAST.
The problem is the word “MATCH.” The appropriate word is MARCH not MATCH.A lot of Nigerians were taken aback by this error and wondered why nobody in the ministry that supervises and perhaps formulates our education policies did not spot the error before it became a national embarrassment on a day meant to celebrate teachers worldwide. Just a few days after the ministry’s World Teachers’ Day banner with the error went viral on the internet with its attendant backlashes, came another one from the judiciary workers in Akwa Ibom State.
The plaque on the wall of the staff clinic “commissioned by His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom, on Tuesday, the 8th of October, 2019, has Judiciary spelt as ‘Juduciary.’ Surprisingly, nobody saw it before the clinic was commissioned by the governor.
Expectedly, Nigerians feasted on it on social media. Some even blamed the governor for the error. But for me, that is politics. But if I were the governor and saw the error, I would have pointed it out and possibly give a short deadline for it to be corrected. It may be the fault of the sign writer and it is possible that the ‘Juduciary’ workers did not pay attention to the embarrassing error and got carried away by the frenzy of the governor coming to commission the project and preferred to dissipate energy on how to impress the governor as good hosts.
The problem might have been caused by a man who dropped out of school and found a vocation in sign writing or the plaque was made by somebody who assumes he knows when he is only intoxicated by his half knowledge. This may even be the case with the maker of the Ministry of Education’s banner.
I often tell people that as second language speakers of English Language, we are bound to make errors due to a lot of factors, which have been highlighted by socio- linguistics experts. But some errors should get us worried if they are made by university graduates or people in some professions who use English language as a mode of communication. It’s even more worrisome when such people assume they know when in actual fact they are ignoramuses. I cannot forget in a hurry the experiences I had with two ladies at different places last year.
I went for an event somewhere on the Lagos Island. A lady was asked to register attendees. She had a paper and a pen to register us. There was a column where occupations of attendees should be written, she asked for my occupation and I told her ‘journalism.’ She gave me a disdainful look and shook her head.
I couldn’t fathom what she was up to. I initially thought may be journalists were not expected at the event. I quickly checked my phone to be sure I was invited for the event since the invitation was sent to my phone. But before I could stop fiddling with my phone, she yelled at me:
“Oga, your occupation?” I responded:”journalism.” She rudely interrupted me and yelled again: Journalist not journalism. I did all I could to differentiate between journalism and journalist. I even used some other professions to explain the differences between occupations and those who practice them. I remember talking about teacher and teaching, police and policing, nurse and nursing etc. however, she had made up her mind she was right and I was wrong.
Perhaps, she would have rated me as the worst “Alakowe” (educated person) she had ever seen in her entire life. Since she had the yam and knife, in form of the paper and pen, she had her way and wrote that my occupation is journalist. She missed the opportunity of learning what she didn’t know.
Such person won’t get home and check the dictionary to know if she was right or wrong because she assumed she knew what she was talking about. Last year, I went to a fast food place and asked that a cake should be made to celebrate my birthday.
After making payment, the cashier, a young lady, asked if I wanted to inscribe words on the cake. She later handed a paper and a pen to me. I wrote: ‘A grateful heart’ on the paper. After reading it, her countenance changed. But I already knew where the problem was.
As I was descending the staircase with my wife, who had accompanied me to the place, I told her that the word ‘grateful’ would be misspelt and I gave her my reasons. I knew she didn’t believe me and might have felt I was unnecessarily underrating the girl. In fairness to my wife, she didn’t overtly say she doubted my rating of the girl.
However, when I went to pick the cake a day after, ‘grateful’ has been changed to ‘greatful’ boldly inscribed on the cake. I screamed and this attracted the manager of the eatery. He approached me and wanted to know what the problem was.
I demanded to see the girl whom I gave what I wanted written on the cake so as to compare my ‘grateful’ with her ‘greatful.’ But she wasn’t on duty. After the manager apologised, I suggested that the inscription should be scrapped from the cake.
However, I was convinced that doing so would deface the cake. I was confused because I didn’t want to take it to the newsroom. I was afraid some of my subordinates might think their editor didn’t know the spelling of ‘grateful’. I grudgingly took the cake with the error. What saved the day was that my colleagues in the office made another cake for me.
This was the cake I eventually cut in the office. So, I took my ‘greatful’ cake home where I knew I can have the luxury of explaining the error if I was asked. My wife was shocked that what I envisaged truly happened. But I wasn’t surprised because I am a journalist and my profession is journalism.
So, I often come across situations like that. I witnessed another one a few days ago on a WhatsApp platform group. A colleague mixed up “tasking” and “taxing.” He wrongly assumed that the correct word in the context was “tasking” and not “taxing” as correctly used by the writer. He thought and even argued that “taxing” is about “tax” and “taxation.”
When he was told the writer was right and he was wrong. He wouldn’t take such. When he was advised to check the dictionary for the meanings and usages of the closely related words in sound and written forms. His response was that at ‘his level’, he should not be checking the dictionary for such words. Of all my English Language teachers, Prof. Oko Okoro of the University of Lagos, stands out. But at his level, he didn’t enter our class as ‘Masters students’ without coming with his dictionary.
On a few occasions he forgot, he would ask one of us to go to his office and bring his dictionary before teaching. He said one thing he discovered was that he learnt new things each time he opened the dictionary. So, when in doubt, checking the dictionary is not a bad idea instead of assumption. It wasn’t a surprise that whenever a student said anything that sounded strange, Prof. Okoro would always insist on using the dictionary to either fault or corroborate that “strange” thing said by a student in the class. He always advised that we should not assume we know but should always rely on the dictionary.
Abia North; Senator Kalu, employing utilitarian jurisprudence to reform representation to the right perspective
Majority of Abia North constituents no longer swallow any narrative, hook, line and sinker, without efforts at fact- checking same, our people now live by rational, objective and empirical observation therefore efforts at hoodwinking and bamboozling us shall surely prove abortive.
One does not even need to go very close to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to understand that he is a social utilitarian who is always seeking the greatest happiness of the greatest number of persons and any person who understands his believe system also should expect his style of law making to be embedded in the jurisprudence of utilitarianism, given also his non- elitist, listening and open door nature.
While appreciating the fact that many of our people are now waking up to the fundamental and common obligation of general political cognizance which is what some of us have prayed as this shows we are now ready to come out of legislative obscurity with Kalu, some of us who have been in this field for long and are well acquainted with important and verifiable facts concerning the representation of Abia North, shall always offer to decorously and respectfully ensure that people are properly guided so that no person misrepresents salient facts as a result of inadequate knowledge and or misconstruement of issues, as this may be misleading those who rely on such persons for proper guidance and political decisions,we shall always seek to represent facts correctly for the overriding general interest of our people.
With most due respect, it totally fails the objective test of ripeness, and rather inchoate, premature and unwarranted given the fact that Senator Kalu has just spent about four months in office out of four years, it is also unfair,imbalanced,biased,prejudiced and unarguably incorrect for anyone to begin to make averrments of improper and or inadequate representation or begin to draw a comparator between him and his predecessors given the fact that within this short period senator Kalu has made very remarkable contributions that are already being felt in Abia North and Nigeria as a whole, inter alia, towards the revival of the oil palm industry in Nigeria which is the greatest endowment in Abia North and at present among the most needed commodities all over the world following more discoveries on the usefulness of the product,he has also made a laudable, bold and giant move to tackle the ecological issues that had been challenging Abia North which the other senators before him were not able to attract proportionate remedies, if they did their supporters will not be representing the problems in the manner they are doing, as if they started to exist in this current tenure which is targeted at evading the negligence and blameworthiness of their masters, the African Continental Free Trade Area(AFCTA), the Deplorable state of Akwa-Ibom and Abia State link-high way, Domestic Refining of Petroleum Products,need to check illegal mining activities, it is very rare to achieve this within this short period this shows vigilance and proactiveness.
It is beyond reasonable doubt that we have gotten it right this time. We have already departed from the era of permutations, probabilities, imprecision and uncertainties in relationships with our Senators to the era of certainty, predictability and stability.
From the era of elitist, toffee-nosed and inaccessible senators to the era of egalitarianism, accessibility and easily approachable senator for the first time, this is what our people had craved for, and without this no person can validly lay claim to Senators knowing the problems of their constituents and making laws that positively affect their lives, nemo dat quod non habeat, no one can give what he does not have. Nothing can be farther from the truth, any person making allusions that any of our former Senators had any better approach than Senator Kalu is obviously standing facts on their heads and taking the wrong position,how could they had spoken or worked satisfactorily for those they severed common fraternization with as almighty senators in their display of classical egoistic and elitist character? which was evidently and conspicuously displayed and imposed on us as the norm.
It may also be viewed by rational thinkers as an effort to hoodwink gullible persons, if any person should hold the opinion that past senators attracted whatever eldorado projects in Abia North, we should be able to point at them without scratching beyond the surface,if they did our people could not have overwhelmingly, vigorously and massively clamored for Kalu who we believe so much in his abilities to command changes in the system and our people stopped at nothing to effectuate their desires at the polls, at least we are reasonable enough.
Talking about attracting projects by past senators seems vague as such projects are not built in abstractism and illusionment rather in the physical for the use of the people except we are talking of stomach projects. While I totally agree that Abia North is the primary constituency of Senator Kalu, I also know, it is not correct and a bit myopic expecting that the only thing our Senator will give attention to must be problems domiciled only within Abia North as if we exist in isolation, this is because of some undeniable facts,(1) there are problems our district also share in common with other Nigerians (2) we should consider the level of political exposure of our Senator (3) being the Chief Whip means he is a principal officer of the Nigerian Senate and has a wider jurisdiction (4) that he is standing in the gap for the entire southeast from the governing APC (5) that he is under a constitutional obligation to legislate for all Nigerians, referencing section 4(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended) which we are also beneficiaries, vibrancy and being vocal must not denote sectional and tribal aggressiveness.
Our major concern should be whether he is attending to our problems? the answer is a conspicuous YES, and every unbiased person in the world is attesting to this fact. What he requires from Abia North constituents is to make every possible and relevant information available to him, he is sure to deliver and he has reiterated this severally, every person in this world who knows Senator Orji Uzor Kalu knows that he has the capacity in all ramifications to deliver and he shall surely deliver.
Abia North Constituent.
Have you forgotten what your spouse did?
Are you one of those who have come to perceive your spouse as a devil just a few years after marriage?
Some years ago when you met, your current spouse (or the one you pushed away) was a darling indeed. Your then fiancée or fiancé did just whatever you wished and you acted the same way. Your wish was his or her command. You could not sleep without speaking on phone (if it was post mobile-phone period). You cherished hanging out with him or her. Life with the person was just fun. You were ready to sacrifice anything to make him or her happy. The person had brought a long desired peace into your life suddenly.
Of particular importance was the fact that this person sponsored your education, helped you get a job, made your family happier, comfortable, gave you economic empowerment or helped you acquire a skill. The person picked you up from the gutter financially and made you a palace occupant, restored your lost self esteem or gave you a non-existent one. Maybe he or she gave you children, a lacked care and love or gave you hope and courage to move beyond your premarital financial, social, spiritual or psychological status.
Today, for whatever reasons, you are wishing you never married this person. You are even blaming all your perceived failures in life on this person. You have forgotten your spouse’s contributions to your personal development years ago. You have forgotten anything positive about your spouse.
My dear, you are in error. Forgetting the good that your spouse has done to your life is an error.
“But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATION, though we thus speak. For GOD IS NOT UNRIGHTEOUS TO FORGET YOUR WORK AND LABOUR OF LOVE, WHICH YOU HAVE SHEWED toward his name in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister” (Hebrews 6:9-10).
“God is not unrighteous to forget” means that forgetting good deed that was done to you by someone is an act of unrighteousness. Forgetting the good deed that your spouse has done to your life and destiny is an act of unrighteousness.
The work and labour of love that your spouse has offered to your life must always be remembered to renew your passion for your spouse. Forgetting those good deeds is an act of unrighteousness. This explains why the Bible talks about God remembering people because of their good works. For instance, God remembered Abraham because of his display of faith, counted unto him for righteousness. God remembered dead Dorcas for her good works and Jesus brought her back to life based on mercy, after testimonies from people she blessed while alive.
My brother! My sister! I want you to recall all the good works and labour of love that your spouse has offered to your life. You have to constantly do so because it is part of the “THINGS THAT ACCOMPANY SALVATION” (if you are or claim to be born again). You are not permitted to forget about your spouse’s good works.
There are actually things that you are permitted to forget about your spouse. Every act of your spouse that upset you since you married him or her must be forgiven. After forgiveness, efforts should be made to forget offenses. This is what makes any marriage work.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: But until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22).
“So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses” (Matthew 18:35).
“But if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
“Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself, a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hateth his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church” (Ephesians 5:21-29 KJV).
Forgetting the positive contributions of your spouse to whatever good personality you have become today is an act of unrighteousness. So, don’t ever forget the blessings that your spouse has brought to your life, your history, your destiny, your character, your personality.
Your marriage shall be a blessing and a testimony in Jesus name.
Police corruption expose: A recurring decibel in Nigeria
During the week, online newspaper, TheCable published an expose on the rot and other shady deals that take place at police stations.
Although they zeroed in on a particular police station in Lagos, however, what they exposed is what is happing at the various other police stations dotted across the length and breadth of this country.
In the story, captioned: ‘UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION (I): Bribery, bail for sale… Lagos police station where innocent civilians are held and criminals are recycled’, TheCable wrote in their intro to the piece: “Investigative journalist ‘FISAYO SOYOMBO spent two weeks in detention — five days in a Police cell and eight as an inmate in Ikoyi Prison — to track corruption in Nigeria’s criminal justice system, beginning from the moment of arrest by the Police to the point of release from prison.
“To experience the workings of the system in its raw state, Soyombo — adopting the pseudonym Ojo Olajumoke — feigned an offence for which he was arrested and detained in police custody; arraigned in court and eventually remanded in Prison…he uncovers how the Police pervert the course of justice in their quest for ill-gotten money.”
TheCable then goes on to give a vivid account of what transpires at the Pedro Police Station and even Ikoyi Prison through the first-hand experience of their undercover reporter.
In one instance, ‘Ojo Olajumoke’ wrote: “The complainant was already registering the case with a policewoman by the time we returned, and soon after they were haggling over the fees. Chigozie Odo, the policewoman, had rejected his offer of N500. After some five minutes of talking, he handed her a N1, 000 note.
“Odo stripped me of my shirt, singlet, belt, wristwatch, shoes and cash. ‘Look at his hair; na you gangan be Ruggedy Baba,’ she said as she unlocked the cell and bundled me in.”
This report was only published during the week, but sadly, I can point out that this has been the pattern for decades; because I have also personally experienced it.
In my own case, it was not an attempt to expose the rot through fine investigative reporting, but rather I was a forced participant because a then military governor wanted to “deal” with my then medium, The Guardian.
I have actually written the story before in a piece I titled “How Champions League landed me in Kirikiri Prison”, which I wrote to commemorate the 25th year that I and three other colleagues, Bayo Oguntimehin, Taiwo Akerele and Ben Akparanta (now late) were hounded into detention for about 16 days, first at Alausa Police Station and then Motor Traffic Division (MTD), both in Ikeja, Lagos, before ending up in Kirikiri Medium Prisons, just because the then governor Col, Raji Rasaki (rtd) had some bones to pick with the ‘flagship’ over The Guardian’s critical position on some of his actions as governor of Lagos.
Our ordeal began on May 29, 1991 when the then governor made his move leading to the closure of The Guardian by the state government.
At both Alausa and MTD, we witnessed first-hand how the police who claim to be “our friends” interact with those who come to the station to either lodge complaints or are brought in for allegedly committing and offence.
They (police officers) were mostly unfriendly towards such people and more often than not were ready to either bend the law or dish out favours following the receipt of some form of gratification.
For instance, on the first night of our detention after our management had “spoken” to the officers on duty, we were not immediately shoved into the detention cells with other suspects.
Instead, we were kept outside until about midnight before we were told we had to be put into the cell because it was against the law to allow suspects spend a whole night outside the holding bay.
But of course, before sending us into the cell, they (police) had spoken to the “president” to ensure that we (journalists) were not given the traditional “welcoming” which is often a severe beating.
And just like Ojo Olajumoke wrote, I still recall having to remove my belt, watch and other valuables on me and when I jokingly asked what would happen should my trousers not stay up without a belt, I was told if that be the case, then I would have to hold my ‘sokoto’ because I could not enter the cell with a belt so that I don’t use it to commit suicide or as a weapon!
Those in the holding cells were a sorry sight to behold with many of them complaining that they had been thrown in on trumped up charges and would only regain their freedoms as soon as they “settled”.
Many of them were brought in for “wandering”, which was then an “offence” that the police exploited very well in apprehending people.
Although it is often said lightening does not strike twice, however, I have been an exception; and six years after my Kirikiri trip, I was again a forced guest of the police, after I and my two other co-tenants were arrested for armed robbery and gun running.
Incidentally, I had just arrived in the country from Egypt, where I had gone to cover the FIFA U17 World Cup when this fresh incident occurred.
This time we were “lodged” at the Adeniji Adele Police Station, while we battled to extradite ourselves from the case, which if not properly handled could see me face the death penalty.
Sadly, during the course of our investigation, we were told by our fellow detainees, that we had actually been setup by one of our fellow tenants, who was the only one not with us in detention.
We were told that he (the tenant) had come to the police that he could make money for them by writing a petition that he knew of some armed robbery suspects who once caught would be ready to cough up money in order to free themselves and it was this money that they (the tenant and police) would share.
Unfortunately in the end, the police doubled crossed him on the grounds that the money they made was not as much as he had claimed they would make.
Both stories were subsequently written, but here more than two decades after, we are reading the same story all over – a clear indication that absolutely nothing had changed!
And this sadly is one of the biggest problems we face in this country – failure to tackle issues head on in order to improve as a nation.
Instead we will all complain about poor governance and yet still vote for the same people that are the hindrance to the nation having decent governance.
At the end of the day, the path to a decent society lies with us as a people, who must then decide once and for all that enough is enough and we are now ready for real change and not just “mouth change”.
Unless this happens, I can bet that two decades down the line another “Ojo Olajumoke” will write another expose on virtually the same issue.
Convulsion caused by a fever; the harmless horror
She has been coughing over the last 5 days with the nose runny and recurrent sneezing. 2 years old OZK has also been having a running battle with fever which has been on and off in pattern. For each time the fever spikes, her eyes were red and she was restless. On the evening of a particular day, she went into a fit, people around thought she was dying, then within 1-2 hours she was up and about again!
10 months old Baby LTF was born in the slum to artisan parents. He has been having foul smelling yellowish discharge from the left ear for the past 2 months. This was associated with fever. He threw a fit during breast feeding and narrowly escaped been choked. The neighbours came, alerted by the cry for help; some shook him, some drenched him in water, another used an adult sized spoon to gag his mouth. In came an elderly woman with a burning stove and a liquid (which later turned out to be cow urine!). She grabbed the boy’s foot and held it over the flame and at the same time got someone to pour the cow urine in his mouth, the poor young man screamed in horror. After the dust had settled, he had multiple lacerations to the mouth and severe burns injury to the right foot in the short term but in the long term, disability and loss of function of same.
What it is
Febrile convulsion aka febrile seizures aka febrile fit are caused by a fever, usually those greater than 38 °C. A high temperature is a sign of infection somewhere in the body and is often caused by a virus or bacteria. A high fever does not necessarily mean the child has a serious illness. Fever is not known to cause damage to the brain or other organs. Most children with fever suffer only minor discomfort, however one child in 30 will have a febrile convulsion at one time or another. This usually happens between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. Febrile convulsions are not harmful to the child and do not cause brain damage (a harmless horror!)
Most children who have a febrile convulsion will only ever have just one. Some children will have one or more seizures, usually during illnesses which cause a fever. However, febrile fits are usually harmless and almost all children make a complete recovery afterwards. It is not the same as an epileptic seizure.
The cause of the fever is often a viral illness. In most cases, the high temperature is caused by an infection. Common examples are chickenpox, flu, a middle ear infection or tonsillitis. It has also been associated with vaccination such as measles/mumps/rubella/varicella, diphtheria etc. There may also be a genetic link.
What may give it out
A febrile seizure usually lasts for less than five minutes, the child will:
become stiff and their arms and legs may begin to twitch
lose consciousness and may wet or soil themselves
may go red or blue in the face
They may also vomit and foam at the mouth, and their eyes may roll back.
After the seizure, the child may be sleepy for up to an hour or two. A straightforward febrile seizure like this will only happen once during the child’s illness. Occasionally, febrile seizures can last longer than 15 minutes and symptoms may only affect one area of the child’s body. These are known as complex febrile seizures. The seizure sometimes happens again within 24 hours or during the period in which the child is ill.
What to do
The parent may not be able to make the convulsion stop.
The most important thing is to stay calm – don’t panic.
Place the child on a soft surface, lying on his or her side or back.
Do not restrain the child from convulsing
Do not put anything in their mouth, including sticks, spoons or your fingers. Your child will not choke or swallow their tongue.
Remove or move any objects that might harm them during the convulsions (furniture, sharp items, etc.)
Try to watch exactly what happens, so that you can describe it to the doctor later.
Time how long the convulsion lasts.
Do not put a child who is having a convulsion in the bath he may drown being bathed for because he is not in control.
Care after the convulsion
Occasionally, children who have long convulsions need to be watched in hospital for a while afterwards. This is usually to work out the cause of the fever and watch the course of your child’s illness. The child may be a little cranky for a day or so, but this will pass. Put the child to sleep at the usual time, in his or her own bed. Most children who have febrile convulsions do not have any long term health problems. They are normally healthy and grow out of them by the age of six.
Adequate history taking, examination and investigation appropriately directed.
Treatment of the fever
Once fever is noticed it is appropriate to expose the child and tepid sponge (wipe their skin with a washcloth or sponge soaked in water at room temperature to cool them down), paracetamol may further help.
See a doctor as soon as any fever causing ailment is noticed.
Can a cabal against Aisha Buhari be for President?
I have always assumed that “the cabal” or the kitchen cabinet in any administration exists at the pleasure of the president or the leadership; hence members of this clique owe him and everything that comes with him, unsoiled loyalty.
My assumption was underpinned by some classical examples. In 2010, the kitchen cabinet was Turai Yar’Adua’s bulwark when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was in a vegetative state. In fact, the first lady was the head of that cabal which went overboard in seeking to hold on to power.
In Taraba State in 2013, a reprise of the Yar’Adua saga happened with Danbaba Suntai, who became impaired after an air crash, and whose wife in cahoots with the cabal in the state puppeteered until the end of his term.
Also, I recall that allusions of “cabal honcho” were made to the late Stella Obasanjo, whom former President Olusegun Obasanjo described as a “sage”.
Really, perhaps in my ignorance, I have never imagined that a cabal will be crossed with someone so close to the president like his wife on this path where sycophancy is an art. The upshots at the presidency have caused a digital switch-over to my analogue thinking.
But can the cabal love the president more than his wife? Can the kitchen cabinet be for the president but against his wife? Does loyalty not come with full compliments? Is disloyalty to the wife of the president, loyalty to the president?
The president and his wife are one by dint of marriage. In fact, she should naturally be his biggest influencer; whispering sweet “nothings and somethings” in his ear during pillow talk.
I have read the interview of Fatima Mamman Daura, daughter of Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew and confidant, where she admitted leaking a video recording showing Aisha Buhari in a fit of rage, and alleged she attacked them.
I have also read the first lady’s response to the accusations. But how did things go off the deep end, to the point of violence and breaking doors? It is obvious there is internecine acrimony at the presidency.
But does this family feud affect governance? Yes and no. Yes, because the president naturally will be distracted; instead of concentrating on putting out the fire in the country, he will have to spare time quenching the inferno in his ‘parlour’. And no, because governance is already at an abysmal level so what could get worse?
Yet, ‘No one wins when the family feuds’.
This brings me to the concept of the ‘kitchen cabinet’ or ‘cabalism’. Though, it was a term that was first used to describe the collection of unofficial advisers President Andrew Jackson of the United States consulted in parallel to the United States cabinet, ‘the cabal’ in Nigeria is an extraordinary institution.
The cabal is the second “organ” of government; after the executive, then the cabal. The legislature comes next, then the judiciary, in that order.
If I may add again, the kitchen cabinet is the oxygen of the government of the day in Nigeria. It is that unconstitutional organ on which the decisions of the president pivot.
As a matter of fact, citizens can locate the fount of the bad policies that come from the government if they look a bit closer – at the cabal. A government that has no head to bear its own mysteries will be in the thrall of the cabal.
Really, the overwhelming influence of the kitchen cabinet on the government is symptomatic of irresponsible leadership. Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is stewing in his own juice at the presidency for reportedly sacking Lawal Daura as director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), a principal officer of the cabal whom Mamman Daura brought into the government.
Everything rises and falls on leadership, but in the case of Nigeria, everything rises and falls on the cabal.
λNwabufo writes via @FredrickNwabufo
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