"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Ministry for the Mistress!

By Farooq Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
I'm surprised that it hasn't quite sunk in for Nigerians that Muhammadu Buhari basically created an entire ministry--the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development-- which had never existed before, for his mistress, Sadiya Umar Farouq, who also brazenly stole and resold food donated to internally displaced people by the Saudi government during the month of Ramadan in 2017.


So even in the holy month of Ramadan when Islam enjoins us to be above board in morals, to care for the needy, to be our best, etc., a self-identified Muslim woman stole food donated to fellow Muslims who are needy and less fortunate than she is, and she's rewarded with a special ministerial appointment by a Muslim president who had affairs with her! Unbelievable!
Note that the ministry created for her has taken over the government agencies that Yemi Osinbajo used to supervise. Such a nice way to minister to a mistress! That's higher than a First Lady's position, in my opinion.

I've also heard from multiple credible sources that a current minister of state who was active in the CPC (Congress for Progressive Change) and also bedeviled by a questionable moral past was Buhari's mistress. Is there any parallel for this? I mean for a "president" to appoint his (former) thieving mistresses as ministers?
Was that what he meant when he said he'd only appoint people who were "personally" known to him? Of course, we know Abba Kyari sold the other ministerial slots to people who weren't "personally" known to Buhari.
Apart from appointing his blood relatives as close aides and illegally extending the service years of some of them (such as his nephew by the name of Abdulkarim Dauda who was due to retire this year), he has at least two former mistresses that we know of as ministers.

 Yet he embodies "integrity." The world's English dictionaries need to extend the semantic boundaries of this word to take account of how Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has resemanticized it.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Buhari’s House of Commotion and Mamman Daura’s “Glass House”

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

A few days before it became grist for Nigeria’s overactive social media rumor mills, a retired general and contemporary of Muhammadu Buhari’s told me, in the course of a 30-minute phone conversation, that Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew who is nonetheless older than him by three years, had made up his mind to “get at” Aisha Buhari by arranging a quiet marriage between Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq and Muhammadu Buhari.

He mentioned this as an aside and seemed to expect me to be curious enough about what he had told me to ask further questions. But I didn’t. That appeared to have shocked him, so he asked why I wasn’t piqued by what he had told me. I said it was because it frankly didn’t interest me what Buhari did in his private space.

I'm by no means claiming any moral high grounds here. I think it’s legitimate to be curious about the private lives of public officials whose decisions have consequences for millions of people, but that’s not my own inclination. I care about the private affairs of public officials only if their private affairs impinge on public policy.

That was why, in spite of pressures from friends and social media followers, I kept a studied silence on the social media frenzy over this issue. As I told the general, it means nothing to me that “Buhari has been dating Sadiya since CPC [Congress for Progressive Change] days”; that’s his private business, which, in my opinion, we should be decent enough to respect.

I'm more worried, I told him, by the fact that Sadiya Umar Farouq is minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development even when, according to a two-year-old Daily Nigerian investigation titled “INVESTIGATION: Unmasking the real #Dabinogate beneficiaries,” she allegedly diverted and misappropriated 200 tonnes of date palms (dabino) famously donated to internally displaced persons in the northeast by the Saudi Arabian government in 2017.

She was Federal Commissioner in charge of the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons at the time. According to the Daily Nigerian, she “diverted [the 200 tonnes of date palms] to Zamfara State and kept [them] in a warehouse, while the rest was distributed to traditional rulers.”

To steal from humanitarian donations to poor, vulnerable internally displaced people is the vilest, most ignoble, least defensible form of villainy there can ever be. But Buhari has rewarded her eye-wateringly larcenous treachery with an appointment as minister of—of all ministries— Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, a previously non-existent ministry!

 Why would anyone create a ministry of “humanitarian affairs” and “disaster management” for a person who has a history of insensate cruelty toward people who are victims of disasters and who desperately need but have lacked humanitarian assistance? It’s like appointing a wolf to keep guard over sheep.

Curiously, Nigerians are more interested in her history of alleged romantic entanglements with Buhari (which should be no one’s business) than the fact of her heading a ministry which her past eminently disqualifies her for.

Anyway, why have I chosen to comment on the embarrassing public fight by Buhari’s obviously dysfunctional family even when I initially had no interest in it? Well, it’s because the way Buhari manages— or, more appropriately, mismanages—his immediate family provides insightful clues to how he “ungoverns” Nigeria.

Buhari is a feeble, indecisive, infirm, emotionally dependent person for whom the idea of taking responsibility is alien. People who know him intimately have told me that his psychological and emotional makeup is unsuited for leadership. He is not only a loner; he always relies on others to take decisions for him.

People close to him have told me long before now that Buhari has an innately and enduringly infantile craving for a paternal dictatorship. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the fact that he lost his father at an early age and didn’t quite experience sustained paternal guidance. But Mamman Daura has been Buhari’s emotional and intellectual fortress and his father figure, although they are only about three years apart in age. Daura makes momentous decisions for Buhari and rules on his behalf through Abba Kyari, his protégé.

Mamman Daura is the first son of Buhari’s oldest half-brother from a different mother. That makes Buhari his uncle, and him Buhari’s nephew. Many people, particularly from the South, have a hard time wrapping their heads around this. Well, I have a similar situation. My late father married a younger woman and had his last child when he was 80, so my first daughter is older than my youngest half-brother. My daughter still struggles to call him her uncle.

This is important because Mamman Daura and his sidekick Abba Kyari are the power behind the throne. They constitute the nucleus of the ill-famed Aso Rock cabal that acts as Buhari’s puppeteers. In my October 22, 2016 column titled “Aisha Buhari and the Evil Aso Rock Cabal,” I pointed out that “Buhari is held hostage by an evil, sneaky, corrupt, vulturous, and conniving cabal that ensures that his wife doesn’t see him even in the ‘kitchen,’ the ‘living room,’ or ‘the other room.’

“The BBC interview was Aisha’s vigorous ventilation of pent-up anguish against a cold, calculating, and corrupt cabal that has made Buhari a stranger to his own wife.” It’s the fifth most widely read article of all time on my blog because although it was cryptic, many people, particularly in the North, knew what I was talking about. I was told that the cabal actually met to discuss who divulged this information to me.

It’s supremely emblematic that Mamman Daura (along with his entire family) lives in a wing of the Presidential Villa called the “Glass House,” according to his spoilt, entitled daughter by the name of Fatima Mamman Daura.  “Glass house” is a metaphoric expression that means a position or a situation that invites critical public scrutiny. Derived from the English proverb “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones,” it calls attention to hypocrisy.

And Mamman Daura is a dyed-in-the-wool hypocrite. Although he is a monogamist, he wanted to marry a second wife for his younger uncle until he was shamed into abandoning it. Similarly, in “Editing a Government Newspaper in Nigeria,” a chapter he contributed to a book titled Reporting Africa edited by Olav Stokke, he rhapsodized over editing the New Nigerian that was “owned and subsidized by the Government yet we criticize their action.” He characterized this as an “anomaly neither properly understood by the people generally nor particularly liked by some government officials.” Yet, he is now the intellectual driver of a government that supervises one of the most brutal strangulation of the news media and of freedom of speech itself.

I'm glad that Mamman Daura, Nigeria’s de facto president, is now coming out of the shadows. You can’t live in the Glass House, throw stones at Nigerians, and continue to live in the shadows.
Nonetheless, Mrs. Aisha Buhari herself isn’t the victim— and hero of democracy— she’s positioning herself to be. Her fight against Mamman Daura (and Abba Kyari) is mostly over access to the spoils of governance.

She has been given several concessions by the cabal, but she always wants more. For instance, her older brother by the name of Ahmed Halilu was recently quietly appointed as one of only two executive directors at the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC, among several concessions she has been given. So don’t cry for her. Cry for Nigeria.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Epidemic of Plagiarism in Nigerian Traditional and Social Media

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

It used to be that intellectual thieves simply stole people's creative labor and passed them off as theirs. Well, that still happens. But in the frenetic, exhibitionistic world of social media, plagiarism is taking newer, more insidious, and less explicable forms.

Now, scores of Nigerians habitually pirate other people’s original thoughts, strip the thoughts of the names of their original authors, post them on their social media timelines (or share them on WhatsApp groups and other closed online forums), and pretend to be ethical by prefacing the word “#Copied” to their intellectual robberies.

But “Copied” doesn’t deodorize their ethical rottenness. It doesn’t minimize their dishonesty in not acknowledging the authors of the thoughts they share. It doesn’t vitiate their intellectual corruption. On the contrary, it aggrandizes their moral turpitude, their cognitive laziness, and their rank spinelessness. If your mind is too barren to conceive original, share-worthy thoughts, why deny credit to people who have taken the trouble to exert their minds and share their thoughts publicly?

An emerging, more sinister iteration of the social media virus of prefacing “copied” to stolen thoughts is the practice of falsely attributing authorship of the expression of people’s ideas to well-known people who didn’t author them. It’s a spinoff of the “Copied” intellectual roguery. People see a post that they like, which is mysteriously authored by a nameless, invisible author called “Copied.” Since “copied” isn’t the name of any human being, and they desire to associate a name to the post or article, they invent the name of any well-known personage that catches their sterile fancies and falsely give credit for the article to him or her.

I’ve been a victim of both forms of social media plagiarism. For instance, my name has been stripped from my July 27, 2019 column in the Nigerian Tribune titled “How Political Power Damages the Brain—and How to Reverse it,” where I shared psychological research on the relationship between power and brain damage. It was initially prefaced with “Copied” and is now misattributed to Pat Utomi without his consent! I hope Utomi is aware of this social media misattributed authorship fraud committed in his name and speaks up to dissociate himself from it.

 Although the very first sentence of the column says, “I was one of seven professors who facilitated a leadership training in my university here in Georgia for local government chairmen from a major Nigerian southwestern state,” which indicates that the author lives in the US state of Georgia, the vulgar, low-IQ social media herd who share the article on their timelines (and WhatsApp groups) nonetheless attribute it to Pat Utomi who lives in Lagos, Nigeria!

Before me, a young human rights activist by the name of Inibehe Effiong wrote a clever, punchy post about how one’s education is a waste if one can’t transcend narrow ethnic, religious, political, and regional loyalties. “If you are emotionally attached to your tribe [sic], religion or political leaning to the point that truth and justice become secondary considerations, your education is useless.  Your exposure is useless. If you cannot reason beyond petty sentiments, you are a liability to mankind,” he wrote on Facebook.

After initially misattributing the Facebook post to the ubiquitous “Copied,” people now misattribute it to either Dr. Yusufu Bala Usman or Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. Effiong’s protests that the quote is original to him were drowned out by the wild cacophony of misattributed social media shares.

It’s now customary for Nigerians who want to start this odious practice to seek people’s permission on Facebook to share their public posts. I’d always wondered why people would write to seek permission to share a post that is public, and that people have already shared through Facebook’s “share” button. It later dawned on me that they’re actually seeking permission to copy people’s posts, deny them authorship, and preface “Copied” to the posts. What sort of cognitive sickness makes people do that?

But what is even more disquieting is the involvement of Nigeria’s institutional news media in this practice. For instance, on Wednesday, I exclusively exposed a secret memo that Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Nigeria Police instructing it to illegally extend the years of service of his nephew by the name of Abdulkarim Dauda (who is also his Personal Chief Security Officer) who was due to retire this year after 35 years in the police.

My exposé, which I shared on Facebook and Twitter, went viral within hours. But Sahara Reporters and the Punch, two of Nigeria’s most widely read news outlets, repurposed my story without giving credit to me. To its credit, though, after I called it out on Twitter, Sahara Reporters’ editor sent me a private email to apologize for his indiscretion. He later edited the story to give me credit.

But, as of the time of writing this column on Friday, the Punch, which attributed the source of the memo to "social media," has not acknowledged its ethical infraction, much less apologize for it. As I pointed out on Twitter, it’s a good thing that the mainstream media have picked up the story and given it wings, but you can’t fight fraud with fraud. It takes nothing away from a media organization’s institutional power and professional authority if it acknowledges the source of its news. In fact, it bolsters it.

The International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), which I’ve had cause to severely censure on this page, was the most professional in reporting the Buhari nepotism scandal that I broke. It acknowledged me as the source of the memo, even linked to my blog post on its site, and went beyond what I put out to independently verify the authenticity of the memo. That’s admirable, ethical journalism.

In journalism studies, we call the phenomenon of traditional media deploying social media feeds for their news “backdraft.” It’s entirely legitimate. What isn’t legitimate, though, is intentionally concealing the source of the social media news feeds that informed their stories or being too lazy to verify the accuracy of the information on social media before publication. Those are cardinal journalistic sins that any news organization worth its name shouldn’t be caught committing.

BBC’s SexForGrades Vs Ganjude’s Bribe Videos

BBC's #SexForGrades documentary is trending and inspiring an honest national conversation about the sexual exploitation of female undergraduates in Nigerian universities for only two reasons: BBC's institutional prestige and Nigerians' instinctive, inferiority-complex-driven reverence for the foreign, which I have characterized as xenophilia in past articles.

Had the investigation been done by a Nigerian news outlet, it won't only have been a damp squib; its very authenticity and facticity would have been questioned. (Several newspapers, by the way, had done even more thorough investigative reporting of this troubling moral scourge in the past with little or no resonance with the national public sphere).

When Daily Nigerian's Jaafar Jaafar painstakingly investigated Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje for two years and captured him in 15 video scenes (nine of which clearly showed his face) collecting kickbacks from contractors, APC minions questioned the authenticity of the videos. Someone even wrote about "deepfake" technology to muddy the waters, and Buhari picked up on this to wonder "what tekenulaji was used" to show Ganduje collecting kickbacks from contractors.

Like Buhari, the man rigged himself back to power in spite of this scandal, and there's deafening silence everywhere. Had the investigation been done by the BBC, CNN, or any Western media outlet with enormous symbolic resources, and not the Daily Nigerian, I can bet my bottom dollar that there would have been no talk of "deepfake," Buhari would never have asked what "tekenulaji was used" to make the videos, and Ganduje would probably not be governor today. We're our own worst enemies.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Buhari's Nepotism on Steroids!

By Farooq Kperogi, Ph.D.
The Personal Chief Security Officer (PCSO) to Buhari by the name of Abdulkarim Dauda was supposed to retire this year, but his service has been illegally extended till 2023, as this secret memo shows. The memo suggests that he was supposed to have retired by reason of having worked for up to 35 years in the Nigeria Police even if he's not yet 60 years old. But the rules are being circumvented.

Note that Abdulkarim Dauda is Buhari's biological relative. He is Mamman Daura's biological brother. In other words, he is Buhari's nephew. Recall that Mamman Daura's father, called Dauda Daura, is Buhari's half-brother from the same father. (Mamman Daura, in case you didn't know, is Nigeria's de facto president for whom Abba Kyari acts.)
Abdulkarim Dauda has had one of the fastest promotions in the history of the Nigeria Police. In 2015 when Buhari came to power, he was only a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), but he rapidly rose to the rank of Commissioner of Police in 4 years.
That means he went from Chief Superintendent of Police to Assistant Police Commissioner, to Deputy Police Commissioner, and to Police Commissioner in the space of just 4 years! That's some extraterrestrial supersonic speed!

Update:

My friends from Daura called to say that Abdulkarim Dauda is actually Mamman Daura's blood brother and Buhari's nephew. That means, like Mamman Daura, Buhari is his uncle. "Ive updated the post to reflect this.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Comparing BBC's #SexForGrade Documentary and Jaafar's Ganduje Bribe-Taking Videos

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
BBC's #SexforGrade documentary is trending and inspiring an honest national conversation for only two reasons: BBC's institutional prestige and Nigerians' instinctive, inferiority-complex-driven reverence for the foreign, which I have characterized as xenophilia in past articles. Had the investigation been done by a Nigerian news outlet, it won't only have been a damp squib; its very authenticity and facticity would have been questioned.

When Daily Nigerian's Jaafar Jaafar painstakingly investigated Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje for two years and captured him in 15 video scenes (nine of which clearly showed his face) collecting kickbacks from contractors, APC minions questioned the authenticity of the videos. 
Someone even wrote about "deepfake" technology to muddy the waters, and Buhari picked up on this to wonder "what tekenulaji was used" to show Ganduje collecting kickbacks from contractors.
Like Buhari, the man rigged himself back to power in spite of this scandal, and there's deafening silence everywhere. 


Had the investigation been done by the BBC, CNN, or any Western media outlet with enormous symbolic resources, and not the Daily Nigerian, I can bet my bottom dollar that there would have been no talk of "deepfake," Buhari would never have asked what "tekenulaji was used" to make the videos, and he would probably never be governor today. We're our own worst enemies.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Nigeria Still a Toddler at 59

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

I have remarked several times in the past that Nigeria has had the misfortune of being stuck in an unnaturally prolonged infancy. Our country is like a baby trapped in an adult’s body. It hasn’t even been able to change its colonially inherited national flag, much less its ill-fitting, colonially given name.

It is like an adult that hasn’t learned to dress himself up, who can’t clean up his nasal discharges, who lacks the restraint and discretion that come with adulthood but who nonetheless attempts to do the things that everyday adults do.

Take Nigeria’s colonial national flag, for example. As I pointed out in an October 27, 2012 column, Nigeria has one of the world’s worst designed flags. It is unimaginative, aesthetically unpleasant, and sterile in imagery and symbolism. It is one of only few national flags I know that repeat one bland color twice and that does not faithfully depict the culture, peculiarities, and history of the people it purports to typify.

Some people think this is a trivial issue. They say Nigeria is troubled by far graver existential concerns than the design of its national flag. But that’s like saying it’s trivial to obsess over whether an adult is clothed so long as he is struggling to act like other adults. If you don’t get the trivial but symbolically consequential things right, you miss the important stuff. It’s like building a structure without a foundation.

I have never been able to wrap my head around the justification for the repetition of green in our national colors. You would think the color was in danger of going out of circulation and needed to be captured and curated on a flag—or that the scores of color types that could be worthy symbols of Nigeria’s everyday realities suddenly developed wings and took a flight from the earth.

Are colors the only symbolic representations that can be invoked to depict Nigeria’s culture, peculiarities, and history? What about the awe-inspiring, time-honored rivers that course through the length and breadth of Nigeria’s landscape; the rich, labyrinthine tapestry of the country’s history; its uniquely sumptuous culinary treats; its valiant pre-colonial empires and their extravagantly elegant royalty; its creative orthographic inventions such as Ajami in northern Nigeria and Nsibidi in southeastern Nigeria?

What about Nigeria’s rich ethnic and linguistic diversity? What about the creative genius of its art and craft and the fascinating meteorological diversities of its regions? And so on and so forth. Why is none of these captured representationally on the national flag?

It takes little or no imagination to design a flag with two mind-numbingly commonsensical colors. In fact, it takes a spectacular lack of imagination to design the kind of uninspired and uninspiring flag that Nigeria hoists. It fills me with enormous shame that we call that irredeemably nondescript aesthetic embarrassment our national flag.

To be fair to the man who designed it, his original entry, according to the Wikipedia entry on the Flag of Nigeria, “had a red sun with streaming rays placed at the top of the white stripe.” But the British colonial judges, who chose his design as the best out of thousands of entries, removed the red sun. Any wonder we’ve been enveloped by metaphorical and literal darkness since independence? What could be the judges’ motivation for foisting a bland, colorless (never mind that it has two colors!), and uninspiring flag on Nigeria?

But we have been “independent” from British colonial rule for 59 years now. Isn’t it about time we rethought the colors and design of our national flag? For one, it is a holdover from colonialism; it wasn’t a product of a post-independence effort. Since we managed to change our colonially inherited national anthem (which, sadly, is worse than its predecessor in content, cadence, and creativity) we can also change our national flag. It isn’t a sacred symbol, after all.

 In any case, it’s customary for countries to redesign their national flags—if they have a reason to. Britain’s national flag, for instance, has been changed many times since 1603 when it was first designed.

And we have many good reasons to change ours. Nigeria is no longer the agricultural country it was when the flag was conceived and designed. The groundnut pyramids of the pre-independence and post-independence eras in northern Nigeria have evaporated into thin air. The cocoa farms in southwest Nigeria have been lost irretrievably. All over Nigeria, we have condemned ourselves to subsistence farming.

So agriculture—or whatever the green in our national flag represents—isn’t a faithful representation of who we are now. It’s doubly shameful that we have repeated that representation twice in our flag. If anything needs representing on our flag, it is a color that signifies our dependence on oil. Of course, that, too, would be shortsighted since oil is a fleeting natural endowment.

And peace? Oh, please! Given the mindless, ever-present, fratricidal bloodshed that has been our lot since independence—and that seems to be deepening with every passing day—we should spare the world the horror of calling ourselves a peaceful nation.

I have also several articles on the need to change Nigeria’s name. But I know that’s not going to happen in my lifetime—if it will ever happen.

Contest of Idiocy Between Buharists and Tinubuists

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
First shared on Facebook and Twitter on October 5, 2018.
I have come to realize that in today’s Nigeria, the only people more hopelessly idiotic than Buharists are Tinubuists. They have no mind or brain of their own. They unquestioningly gravitate to wherever Tinubu’s notoriously mercurial political pendulum swings. They support Buhari today ONLY because Tinubu tells them to do so. If Tinubu switches his loyalty from Buhari to Satan right at this moment, they would instantly become Satanists like pre-programmed robots. This is no vituperative hyperbole. These people are brainless automatons.

Have you had a chance to listen to Sanwo-Olu, the latest Tinubu stooge imposed on Lagos? Well, I have. The guy is a semi-literate, inarticulate, rattlebrained, brainsick buffoon. Yet he is the apple of the eyes of Tinubuists.
It’s no surprise that Buharists and Tinubuists are in a coalition of buffoonery to reelect a lifeless Buhari in 2019. When pigheaded Buhari fanaticism collides with sheepish Tinubu loyalty, it sparks the sort of combustible admixture of idiocy we’re seeing today, which disposes otherwise normal people to lend unthinking support to transparently incompetent people for political office. Thankfully, the rank of the Tinubuists is dwindling dramatically.

Buharists and Tinubuists certainly share the same slavish, uncritical, freakish mentality, but wait to see what will happen in 2023 (if Buhari wins a second term) when Buhari disappoints Tinubu by not "handing over" power to him--as he expects Buhari would. You'd be entertained by the fight that would break out between the two idiotic camps that are friends today. Save this somewhere.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Osinbajo Is Sucking Up to Buhari to Save His Job

By Farooq Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
In my Sept. 28, 2019 article, I described Yemi Osinbajo as “a groveling, cowardly toady” who, “[i]nstead of confronting the real demons that are tormenting him, … has chosen to transfer his aggression elsewhere by intimidating and overawing soft, weak targets.” That was not intended as an insult; it was merely a faithful description of his person.

His cringe-worthy, Independence Day sycophantic drooling to Buhari, Aisha Buhari, and Bola Tinubu— clearly designed to stave off his impending impeachment and removal—is a testament to what I said about him. “Let me first congratulate my boss, President, [sic] Muhammadu Buhari; His Excellency and our national leader, Ahmed Bola Tinubu; First Lady and mother of the nation, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari,” he wrote in absurdly syrupy, uneducated English.
He continued even more fawningly: “Fellow Nigerians, be rest assured [sic] that President Muhammadu Buhari is totally committed to his promises and the Next Level Agenda [sic]. He is the best boss and I find it thrilling to serve Nigeria under him. It is only responsible of me to give my unwavering loyalty to President Buhari…” (The grammatically correct expression, by the way, is “rest assured.”)
When was the last time you read such embarrassingly obsequious wheedling from a vice president? The CAN religious intimidation card he pulled against the cabal obviously hasn’t worked, so he is trying mawkishly saccharine flattery.
The truth is that all the leaks about Osinbajo’s eye-watering corruption were sponsored by members of the cabal in the Presidential Villa— with the active consent of Buhari himself. I’ve known about the allegations from friends close to the cabal since February, but I refused to publicize them because Osinbajo’s accusers aren’t morally superior to or distinguishable from him. They are all stained with the same inerasable ethical dirt.
Osinbajo is toadying to the very people he knows are behind the reputationally injurious leaks against him for which he is on a wildly frivolous litigious frenzy against weak, inconsequential targets.
He called Buhari his “boss” for whom he pledged “unwavering loyalty” (as if he has any other option), and sweetened his exaggerated fawning even further by calling his wife “Dr.,” even though, like him, she doesn’t have a doctoral degree, and the Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities in its October 3, 2012 “Keffi Declaration” said recipients of honorary doctorates can’t prefix “Dr.” to their names.
He called Tinubu “His Excellency” even when Tinubu holds no official position that justifies that title. He is appeasing Tinubu with cloying titular flattery because Tinubu has endorsed his humiliation and imminent removal on account of suspicion that he’s stacking up resources for a presidential run in 2023.
Osinbajo is now sufficiently chastened and may be spared the humiliation of being impeached and removed, but he’ll certainly go down in the records as Nigeria’s VP with the least sense of self-worth.

Related Article:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The First Article that Proposed the Name "Nigeria"

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D
To mark Nigeria's 59th Independence Day today, I bring you the original article Flora Shaw, Frederick Lugard's girlfriend (and later wife), wrote titled "Nigeria" in The Times (of London) on January 8, 1897 on p. 6 where she first proposed the name we are still known by. I requested my friend Professor Moses Ochonu to help me get a copy of the article when he went to the National Archives in London in May this year.

You can download the printable and enlargeable PDF version of the article by following this link. As you can see, Flora Shaw didn't intend for the name "Nigeria" to refer to all of what is now Nigeria. She proposed the name for only the area that is today known as Northern Nigeria, which makes sense since that was the only area her boyfriend administered at the time. It wasn't until 1914 that the Lagos Colony, the Southern Protectorate and the Northern Protectorate were administered as one country.
This article clearly gives the lie to the conspiracy theory popularized by one Natasha Akpoti that the name "Nigeria" is derived from "Nigger-Area." As I pointed out in two previous columns debunking this unfounded conspiracy, "nigger" was not a racial slur in 1890s England, so Flora Shaw couldn't possibly use it to intentionally insult us, although her article contains racist put-downs of the peoples of Northern Nigeria.
In 1890s England, "nigger" simply meant a black person, as it did at some point even in the US. A proof of this exists in the fact that in the same year that Flora Shaw's article was published in The Times, famous Polish-British novelist Joseph Conrad wrote a novella titled The Nigger of the 'Narcissus'. Because "nigger" was already a racial slur in America at the time (and it wasn't in England), his publisher changed the title of the American edition of the book to The Children of the Sea: A Tale of the Forecastle.
But Flora Shaw clearly showed in this article that the River Niger was the inspiration for her choice of the name Nigeria (Niger-area). She didn't invent the name Niger, either. As I showed in my columns, the name has existed in the travel notes of European explorers since at least the 1550s. In fact, Leo Africanus, whose real name was al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, was the first person on record to use "Niger" to refer to the river in his book published in 1550.

Monday, September 30, 2019

MedShare's Award to a Nigerian

By Farooq A. Kperogi, PhD
Twitter:@farooqkperogi


It's not very often, particularly in the last few years, that I've had a reason to be as proud of being a Nigerian as I was last night. I was invited to a gala where Medshare, a humanitarian organization that "recovers surplus medical supplies and equipment from U.S. hospitals and manufacturers, and redistributes them to needy hospitals in developing countries," gave its inaugural Bob Freeman Humanitarian Award to two people.



One of the two people is a Nigerian by the name of Ndagana Baba Alhaji. The other is Dr. Paul Farmer, a professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Chair of the Harvard Medical School, and UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community-based Medicine.

Alhaji has dedicated his life, according to the citation of his award, to "working to provide medical supplies and equipment to under-served communities across the African diaspora."
His medical humanitarianism started when he almost lost his life during a visit to Chicago years ago. He found out that he needed heart surgery that would cost half a million dollars (that is more than 180 million naira), which he didn't have. The Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago performed the surgery for him for free and only told him "all you owe us is the commitment to this possibility for others."
Alhaji is deeply beloved and respected by the folks at MedShare. It's clearly a product both of his consequential humanitarianism and his honesty and commitment. Congratulations, Ndagana Baba Alhaji!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Osinbajo: Unraveling of Nigeria’s Most Overrated Vice President

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

In previous columns, I have described Yemi Osinbajo as possessing social, symbolic, and political presence—qualities that, I pointed out, Muhammadu Buhari sorely lacks. It was my way of saying that Osinbajo has the capacity to initiate motions without movement, which creates the illusion of presence, particularly considering the stultifying stagnancy that characterizes Buhari’s pretense to being president of the nation.

 But there is always something uncannily vacuous and pretentious about Yemi Osinbajo that is just now bubbling to the surface. His smooth, debonair exterior conceals a troubling inner emptiness and a barely detectable but nonetheless strongly diffident disposition. It is the reason he unquestioningly accepted to debase the worth of his office—and his person—by becoming the conduit for the distribution of N10,000 “Tradermoni” to induce poor, traumatized, disaffiliated electorate into voting for the failed government he is a pitiful appendage to.

The cabal of farouche, provincial power brokers in the presidency that habitually belittles him and visits symbolic violence on him no longer has any use for him and has not only denuded him of the crumbs he was allowed access to, it also wants to get rid of him.

The tensile stress that the coordinated assault on him by his Aso Rock masters has activated has caused him to unravel quickly. We now know that Osinbajo isn’t just a groveling, cowardly toady, he also isn’t the smart lawyer he has been cracked up to be.

Instead of confronting the real demons that are tormenting him, he has chosen to transfer his aggression elsewhere by intimidating and overawing soft, weak targets. In the process, he has exposed just how little he remembers of the law he says he is a professor of.

He is now on a wildly frivolous litigation spree. As of the time of writing this column, he has sued—or has threatened to sue—"one Timi Frank and another Katch Ononuju” whom he said have “put their names to” what he said are “odious falsehoods” against him. He also threatened to sue RootsTV and Google over a YouTube video he said injured his reputation.

He curiously added, “I will waive my constitutional immunity to enable the most robust adjudication of these claims of libel and malicious falsehood.”  That’s obviously a poorly worded attempt to say he will waive his constitutional immunity to allow for a fair investigation of the allegations of corruption against him.

But, as I pointed out in my September 25 social media updates, that is not only disingenuous, it also betrays how utterly little Osinbajo remembers about law, which he studied up to the master’s degree level. (There’s a popular misconception that because rose to the position of professor of law, he also earned a research doctorate in law. No, he didn’t. A Master of Laws is his highest academic qualification.)

Legal experts have pointed out that Osinabjo cannot validly relinquish his constitutional immunity against prosecution by mere self-indulgent Twitter proclamation while he still holds on to his office. If he were serious about giving up his immunity from prosecution to clear his name, he would have offered to resign while he is prosecuted-- on condition that he would be reinstated after he is found innocent. That was what the government he is an appendicular component of said to CJN Walter Onnoghen.

Most importantly, though, a Supreme Court precedent has established that presidents, vice presidents, governors, and deputy governors cannot voluntarily waive their immunity. As human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong pointed out, "The Supreme Court decided in 2001 in the case of Tinubu v. I. M. B. Securities Plc that the constitutional immunity under Section 308 of the Constitution cannot be waived. In the said Tinubu's case, former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu decided to waive his immunity to defend a civil claim initiated against him. The Supreme Court barred the then gov of Lagos State from proceeding with the suit.”

Incidentally, Osinbajo was Lagos State’s Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice when this case was adjudicated. It makes you wonder what he really remembers about law. Outside of law, though, this is also about power asymmetry. Osinbajo is the second highest office holder in the land. Everyone who can conceivably probe him is below him in the bureaucratic pecking order. Waiving his immunity by mere verbal proclamation while he is still in office is both insincere and invalid.

Perhaps the most laughable of Osinbajo’s litigious antics is his threat to sue Google (which owns YouTube) for hosting an alleged libelous news video by RootsTV. It betrays his double-dyed ignorance of US media law, which has jurisdiction over Google.

 I teach media law at an American university and can bet my bottom dollar that any US judge will dismiss Osinbajo’s suit with the Latin legal maxim de minimis no curat lex, which means, “the law does not concern itself with trifles.”

For starters, as I said of Abba Kyari in a September 15, 2018 column when he sued the Punch, Osinbajo is a public official whose conduct—both in public and in private—the public is justified to be inquisitive about and to scrutinize. Being a public official comes with a lot of perquisites and privileges, including being in the public consciousness, being able to influence the direction of national conversations, and having the symbolic resources to counter, or at least respond to, injurious information.

In recognition of the influence and power that public officials—and public figures—wield, US courts impose a higher burden of proof on them to prove a case of libel against the media and the public. What would be libelous if written about a private figure isn’t libelous if written about a public official.

Private citizens (who also aren’t public figures) have no symbolic resources to robustly respond to injurious falsehoods against them. That’s why they need the protection of the law. But public officials and public figures have the social and symbolic capital to respond to any libel against them.

For instance, Osinbajo’s tweet denying the allegations of corruption against him and threatening to sue the purveyors of the allegation was headline news in all Nigerian news outlets. It also dominated social media chatter for days. That’s a lot of power. That’s why it’s almost impossible for public officials and public figures to win libel cases in the US.

 In my forthcoming book, I pointed to several suits that were filed against Sahara Reporters in US courts by Nigerian government officials, all of which were dismissed. Osinbajo’s case against RootsTV and Google will suffer a similar fate.

But it’s obvious that Osinbajo is pursuing a legal intimidation tactic that we call SLAPP in American media law. The acronym stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” It’s a type of flippant lawsuit whose purpose is to terrorize critics into self-censorship, not necessarily to seek redress for injury to reputation.

Like Abba Kyari in 2018, Osinbajo wants to cower people into silence and muzzle public conversation about an issue that has tickled the sensation of vast swathes of Nigerians. The tactic seems to be working. The Vanguard has retracted an unfavorable story about him and apologized. RootsTV has also deleted the video that got his hackles up. Newspapers and social media commentators are now guarded.

But this tactic dramatizes Osinbajo’s powerlessness. When he imagined himself to be powerful, he didn’t sue his critics. He caused them to be imprisoned or fired from their jobs. Deji Adeyanju was arrested and jailed for calling Osinbajo “Ole!” on Twitter.

 In a June 2, 2018 story titled “Nigerian Woman Loses Job after Criticizing Vice President Osinbajo Online,” Premium Times reported that a young lady by the name of Bolouere Opukiri was fired from the presidential amnesty office because she wrote tweets that were critical of Osinbajo.

The dimming of the “star boy’s” lights is nothing short of karmic retribution. He deserves no pity.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sowore in Jail for "Causing Insult" to Buhari?

By Farooq Kperogi, Ph.D.
When I saw the story that one of the reasons Omoyele Sowore is in jail was that he caused "insult" to Buhari, I thought, like Professor Wole Soyinka said, it was a made-up story.


Even when I saw the headline in TheCable, one of Nigeria's most credible news platforms, I didn't read it. For some reason, I thought, as irredeemably stupid and intolerant as Buhari and his minions are, they won't descend to this nadir of stupidity and intolerance. Besides, a horde of two-bit, braindead Buhari Twitter bots went into overdrive yesterday to deny the accuracy of the story.
It turned out that it's actually true, as this screenshot shows. When has "causing insult" (whatever in the word that idiotic expression means) to an inept, illegitimate, corrupt, insult-worthy dissembler like Buhari become a state crime? Where in Nigeria's laws is it a crime to insult an incompetent fool who rigged an election, who is inflicting incalculable hardship on people, who can't perform the basic function of securing the nation, who fritters billions to keep himself alive while people die and keep being kidnapped in their hundreds every day?

Buhari spent the greater part of his time between 2003 and 2015 insulting his predecessors who are light years better than him, who did an infinitely better job of governing than he could ever do in a million lifetimes. If he was jailed for what he did, he won't be "president" today
This is the unravelling of full-blow dictatorship. And the country is carrying on as if nothing happened? Wow!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Why Bola Tinubu Can Never Be Nigeria’s President

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

I admit that it’s always ill-advised to use the word “never” when you prognosticate the outcome of a future event. The vagaries of life can throw a wrench to the works of the most auspicious auguries. I know that. Nevertheless, I am prepared to go out on a limb and proclaim that in spite of his feverishly desperate, frenzied, backstabbing machinations, Bola Ahmed Tinubu can never be Nigeria’s president. Here’s why.

Tinubu isn’t electable in any region of Nigeria outside the Southwest, his natal region. Even in the Southwest, his political capital has suffered incalculable diminution over the years, particularly because of the growing perception in the region that he is now a mindless minion of a morally maggoty, Machiavellian, and no-good northern cabal.

His callous, injudicious, not to mention misguided and evidence-free, exculpation of the alleged murderers of the daughter of Afenifere leader Reuben Fasoranti rankled many people in the region and helped seal the notion that he is now no more than a fawning, unthinking automaton for hostile political forces outside his region.

It is entirely possible that Fasoranti’s daughter wasn’t murdered by Fulani herders, but saying so without firm, foolproof evidence—and when raw passions were still inflamed—betrayed his lack of scruples and independence of thought. That is why an increasing number of people in the Southwest now see Tinubu as an unreliable, out-of-touch, self-absorbed, power-hungry, and treacherous narcissist.

Among the electorate in the Southeast and the South-south, he is seen as one of the principal architects in the emergence of the unrelieved disaster that is Buhari whose regime has taken the humiliation and alienation of the two regions as an article of statecraft. Tinubu also infamously sanctioned the systematic, state-sponsored, and thugs-executed disenfranchisement of Igbo voters in Lagos in 2019. His wife, Remi Tinubu, was, in fact, caught on camera lamenting that the Igbo are untrustworthy (Her exact words were, “Igbo, we no dey trust una again!”) Most Igbos and Southern ethnic minorities would rather be dead than vote for Tinubu.

Christian ethnic minorities in the North, for whom religious identity is an important instrument of political mobilization, deeply distrust, even resent, Tinubu and his politics. Although Northern Nigerian Christians tend to be largely indifferent to Southern (that is, Yoruba and Edo) Muslims, they nonetheless nurse deep-seated animus toward Tinubu because of the roles he is perceived to have played in propping up the fiendish monster of depravity that the Buhari regime has become.

You would think the Muslim North, particularly the Hausaphone Muslim North, would requite Tinubu’s support for Buhari in 2015 and 2019 by supporting his presidential aspiration in 2023. That is precisely what Tinubu himself, in his blissful naivety, expects. Well, as I pointed out many times before the 2019 election, this is where Tinubu will get the biggest shock of his life.

If Tinubu were lucky to clinch the nomination of the APC (as unlikely as this is), he would need to nominate a Christian, preferably a Northern Christian, politician to “balance” his ticket since he is a Muslim—or self-identifies as a Muslim—from the South. And that’s where the problem would start for him. In the North, there is an enduring distrust of the authenticity of the Islam of Yoruba Muslims.

There is even a Hausa phrase that encapsulates this distrust: adinin Yarbawa. It literally translates as the religion, i.e., Islam of the Yoruba. But it means more than that. It is often uttered to suggest that the Islam of Yoruba people is fickle, inauthentic, meretricious, syncretic, and untrustworthy. So, as far as most Northern Muslims are concerned, a Yoruba Muslim/Northern Christian ticket is as good as a Christian/Christian ticket.

Well, some Yoruba Muslims have been able to overcome this visceral Northern Muslim perceptual bias against their Islam. A good example is the late MKO Abiola. And it was because he did more for the cause of Islam than any Nigerian of his time. You can’t say that of Tinubu who, apart from the rampant northern Muslim perception that he isn’t a practicing Muslim, always looks drugged and drunk in TV interviews. Even Abiola had to choose a Northern Muslim running mate to earn the trust of the Northern Muslim political elite.

Nonetheless, if Tinubu chooses a running mate from the Muslim North to compensate for his lack of sufficient Muslim bona fides, he would alienate Igbo, Southern ethnic minority, and Northern Christian voters, the very people who distrust and resent him in the first place. Contemporary Nigeria is way more sensitive to the politics of religious representation than 1990s Nigeria was when Abiola ran for president.

The rise of politically tinged Pentecostalism in the South has made even the religiously liberal Southwest a hotbed for religious particularism, even though ethnic solidarity is still a more potent instrument for mobilization in the region than religion.

But I wager that Northern Muslim voters would rather vote for a party that fields a Northern Muslim candidate—even if that party is the PDP—than vote for Tinubu even if he chooses a Northern Muslim running mate. So, heads or tails, Tinubu will lose.

Nevertheless, the most important reason Tinubu can never be present is that the people who currently wield political power, to whom he is a witlessly obsequious bootlicker, won’t hand over power to him—or to anybody—in 2023.   

Members of the cold, calculating, and conniving Buhari cabal have chosen Babagana Kingibe as Buhari's successor. As I pointed out in previous columns and social media updates, in the privacy of their conclaves, members of the cabal snigger at Tinubu for naively imagining that Buhari will hand over power to him. In the service of this self-delusion, he is bending over backwards, including throwing his loyal lieutenants under the bus, for the cabal in the presidency. But all this will come to naught.

Before the 2019 election, a friend of mine who is close to Abba Kyari confided in me that after the election they would “deal with Tinubu and his people.” He bragged that by the time they are done with him and his underlings, he would be so damaged that he won’t even be an option for the 2023 presidency. It’s already starting.

Of course, the cabal isn't banking on any legitimate election to get Kingibe into power; INEC, which is now in their begrimed pockets, will just pluck imaginary figures from the air, ignore actual votes, and declare him "winner"—like it did Buhari this year. And the Presidential Election and Petitions Tribunal and the Supreme Court will uphold the travesty.

However, I predict that should Buhari survive until 2023, he won't hand over power to anyone, including Kingibe. Apart from his hopeless love of power for the hell of it, Buhari needs power to stay alive—literally. The obscene amount of money Nigeria habitually fritters away in medical bills to keep him alive can only be sustained if he is in power. He won't get that sort of money outside power.

Only sustained, nationwide, pan-Nigerian civic insurrection can save Nigeria from the current fatal grip on it by Buhari and his cabal of ruthless power mongers. Tinubu has contributed to killing the culture of civil disobedience because of his inordinate, unrealizable political ambition. When the cabal finally comes for his neck, there will be no pan-Nigerian coalition to save him.

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Friday, September 20, 2019

Nasir El-Rufai: Nigeria's Most Dangerous Politician Alive

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter:@farooqkperogi
Kaduna's Governor Nasir El-Rufai is straight-up Nigeria's most bigoted and most dangerous public official alive. In a Nov. 9, 2013 tweet, he called Goodluck Jonathan a "lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless, useless leader" using a photo of him praying at a church in Israel for illustration.


Yet this man detains and torments people who criticize him. Abu Hanifa Dadiyata, a critic of his, just disappeared in Kaduna without a trace. Several other critics are in detention. And he recently threatened: "If you want to tweet anything about Kaduna be very careful because I'm watching..."

By the way, would he also use a photo of Buhari praying in a mosque in Saudi Arabia to call attention to Buhari's own quality of being a "lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless, useless leader"? Buhari is certainly a far more "lazy, docile, incompetent, clueless, hopeless, useless leader" than Jonathan ever was. There's a consensus among all right-thinking people that Buhari is Nigeria's absolute worst leader since independence.
The worrying thing is that El-Rufai wants to be Nigeria's president someday. Given that elections no longer matter even in the slightest, he just might be.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

The "#Copied" Social Media Plagiarism Plague in Nigeria

By Farooq Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
It used to be that intellectual thieves simply stole people's creative labor and passed them off as theirs. Well, that still happens. But in the frenetic, exhibitionistic world of social media, plagiarism is taking newer, more insidious, and less explicable forms.
Now, people shamelessly pirate other people’s original thoughts, strip the thoughts of the names of their original authors, post them on their timelines (or share them on WhatsApp and other closed forums), and pretend to be ethical by prefacing the word “#Copied” to their intellectual robbery.

But “Copied” doesn’t deodorize your ethical rottenness. It doesn’t minimize your dishonesty in not acknowledging the author of the thoughts you shared. It doesn’t vitiate your intellectual corruption. On the contrary, it aggrandizes your moral turpitude, your cognitive laziness, and your utter spinelessness. If your mind is too barren to conceive original, share-worthy thoughts, why do you deny credit to people who have taken the trouble to exert their minds and share their thoughts publicly?
An emerging and more sinister iteration of this social media virus is the practice of falsely attributing authorship of people’s thoughts and ideas to well-known people who didn’t author them. It’s a spinoff of the “Copied” intellectual roguery. People see a post that they like, which is authored by “Copied.” Since “copied” is not the name of any human being, they invent the name of any well-known personage that catches their sterile fancy and falsely give credit to him or her.
I’ve been a victim of both forms of social media plagiarism. For instance, my name has been stripped from my July 27, 2019 column in the Nigerian Tribune titled “How Political Power Damages the Brain—and How to Reverse it.” It was initially prefaced with “Copied” and is now attributed to Pat Utomi. Although the very first sentence of the column says “I was one of seven professors who facilitated a leadership training in my university here in Georgia for local government chairmen from a major Nigerian southwestern state,” which indicates that the author lives in the US state of Georgia, the vulgar, low-IQ herd who shared the article on their timelines (and WhatsApp) nonetheless attributed it to Pat Utomi who lives in Lagos, Nigeria!
Before me, Inibehe Effiong wrote a clever, punchy post about how one’s education is a waste if one can’t transcend narrow ethnic, religious, and regional loyalties. After first stealing it with “Copied,” people now attribute it to either Dr. Yusufu Bala Usman or Dr. Chuba Okadigbo.

It’s now customary for Nigerians to seek people’s permission on Facebook to share their public posts. I’d always wondered why people would seek permission to share a post that's already public and that people have already shared through Facebook’s “share” button. It later dawned on me that they’re seeking permission to copy people’s posts, deny them authorship, and preface “Copied” to the posts. What sort of cognitive sickness makes people do that?