"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A Buhari Relative is Threatening Me Over the Mamman Daura London Birthday Video

By Farooq Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

A man by the name of Dr. Bello Inua Anka, who is married into the Muhammadu Buhari family, is threatening me over the PUBLICLY available video that I—and thousands of other Nigerians—shared on social media showing de facto president Mamman Daura celebrating his 80th birthday with (more than 30!) family members and government officials in a posh London hotel while people starve to death in Nigeria. (See screenshots of his threats).

He asked me— and reached out to a valued friend of mine to prevail upon me— to take down the video on the excuse that his children are in it and that they’re being endangered. How? As I told him, I haven't seen anyone say anything about any child in the video. Everyone's focus is on the hypocrisy of closing the borders at home, insisting that traumatized, poverty-stricken people live within their means, using security agencies to physically humiliate and harass poor people for eating foreign rice, etc. while Buhari's family members, and a few favored ones, live off the fat of the land at home and abroad, even going so far as to celebrate the birthday of Buhari’s nephew in London— with ministers and senators in tow. Not even Jonathan was this insensitive and hypocritical.

I didn’t shoot the video. It isn’t exclusive to me. In fact, it had already done the social media rounds before I shared it on my social media handles. The video was shot, edited, and shared by a member of the Buhari family. Why should I edit or take it down? He said, “Your page has more exposure than most, there are security issues involved here. A lot of people with a grudge or another will always pay a visit to your page to feed off what you write.” Huh?

Anyway, if his threat is limited to suing me in US courts where I live and work, I’m waiting for him. I’ve already notified my lawyers here. But there’s something darker and more sinister in the threat “I promise you won’t get away with this.” I’ve received countless threats from supporters of Buhari’s fascist monocracy. Someone even called for my execution—along with Chidi Odinkalu andAhmed Salkida— on Twitter last week. I dismissed it as the inconsequential overzealousness of a faceless Buhari Media Center (BMC) troll.

But Dr. Bello Anka has a name, a face—and a place in the Buhari family— that can be held to account if anything happens to any member of my family in Nigeria because he knows he can’t do anything to me in the US. 

Interestingly, this same witless, power-intoxicated buffoon used to fawn over me when I held Goodluck Jonathan’s feet to the fire before 2015. Now that the “spoon” is in his mouth, he wants me to let him and his parasitic family members to get away with their unexampled corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and impunity. Ain’t gonna happen!

Related Articles:
Assassination Plot Against Me by Buhari's Agents?
Presidency Pressured Daily Trust to Discontinue My Saturday Column

Sunday, November 10, 2019

4 Blood Relatives of Buhari’s Who Officially Work in Aso Rock

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D. Twitter: @farooqkperogi
In 2015, Buhari warned his family members to steer clear of his government. He lied. His relatives, many of whom wallowed in grubby poverty before 2015, not only now work as his official assistants, they’re now multi-millionaires. Some are billionaires. Here are 4 blood relatives of his that I know for a fact work for him. There may be more. I’ve confirmed these names from multiple sources in Daura and the Presidential Villa:
1. Abdulkarim Dauda. He is Buhari’s Personal Chief Security Officer (PCSO). Like Mamman Daura, he is Buhari’s nephew. His father, Dauda Daura, is Buhari's half-brother from the same father. He is de facto president Mamman Daura’s full biological brother. I exposed a recent secret memo Buhari sent to the Nigeria Police (where Abdulkarim is officially employed as Commissioner of Police after three unnaturally rapid promotions in three years) instructing it to circumvent time-honored public service rules and extend his service till 2023 even though he should have retired this year on account of being in the police for 35 years.
Abdulkarim Dauda
2. Sabiu “Tunde” Yusuf. He is Buhari’s Private Secretary. Don’t be deceived by the “Tunde” in his name. It’s just a nickname, probably inspired by Tunde Idiagbon, Buhari’s deputy when he was a military dictator. Sabiu is the son of Mamman Daura’s full biological sister by the name of Hajia Halima (more popularly known as “Hajja Madam” in Daura) who died last year. As you should know by now, Mamman Daura’s sister is Buhari’s niece since their father (Dauda Daura) is Buhari’s much older half-brother.
Sabiu, who is in his 30s, is one of the most powerful people in Nigeria today. He determines who sees and who doesn’t see Buhari. Only Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari can overrule him. By several accounts, he is now a billionaire, although he had no formal work experience before Buhari became president. He used to sell recharge cards in Daura until 2015!
3. Dauda “Zeze” Habu. He is Senior Personal Assistant to Abba Kyari, the de facto acting president/VP. His father, Habu Kurma, is Mamman Daura's younger brother. (Kurma is the Hausa word for deaf. He’s called Kurma because he’s deaf, but this isn’t derogatory in Hausa culture where people are habitually identified by their disability).
4. Musa Haro. He is PA (Domestic Affairs) to Buhari. His mother, Hajia Kwalla, is Buhari’s biological sister. Hajia Kwalla is a twin. Her twin sister is called Hajia Amadodo. My friends from Daura told me last week that Musa “ just bribed the Emir of Daura to be conferred with the traditional title of Dan Madamin Daura.”
Musa Haro
Bonus: 5. Ahmed Rufa'i Zakari. He is Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure. He isn’t Buhari’s biological relative, but he is his relative by marriage and informal adoption. Ahmed’s mother is Mrs. Amina Zakari, the controversial INEC commissioner who, along with compromised INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, helped Buhari to rig the 2019 election. Buhari’s older sister was married to Amina Zakari’s father, the late Alhaji Hussaini Adamu. Apart from being Buhari’s in-law, the late Hussaini Adamu also raised Buhari for some time after Buhari’s father died, so he was, in a sense, Buhari’s adoptive father.
6. The House of Representatives member representing the Daura/Sandamu/MaiAdua Federal constituency by the name of Fatuhu Muhammad is the son of Buhari’s older brother by the name of Muhammadu "Mamman" Danbafale. Fatuhu became the APC candidate without “proper primary,” as a source told me.
Also remember that Buhari created an entire ministry for his dabino-stealing former mistress, Ms. Sadiya Umar Farouq. I doubt that there’s any parallel in Nigeria’s history for the magnitude and severity of nepotism and personalization of power that we’re seeing now.

Video of Mamman Daura Celebrating 80th Birthday in London

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

Here's a video of Mamman Daura, Nigeria's de facto president, celebrating his 80th birthday in LONDON with his children, grandchildren, and political associates, including Senator Amosun and Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika. 

His uncle, Muhammadu Buhari, is also in London on a "private visit" with public funds. They luxuriate in sybaritic pleasures abroad, close the borders at home, inflict hardship on people, and tell the poor to eat only local rice.  Apparently, the good things of life are the exclusive preserve of Buhari, his family, and a select favored few.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Lionheart’s Oscar Rejection and Place of English in Nigerian Identity

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

News of the disqualification of the Nollywood movie “Lionheart” from contention in Oscar’s “International Feature Film” category for this year on account of its use of English in most of its dialogue has once again centralized conversations about the role of English in the constitution of the modern Nigerian identity.

But, first, the outrage over Lionheart’s disqualification is, in my opinion, unwarranted since the rules clearly state that to be eligible to vie for that category, a film must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track,” and Lionheart’s dialogue is predominantly English.

Nor is “Lionheart” the only—or, for that matter, the first— English-language international film to be disqualified from the Oscars because of its use of English.  The New York Times of November 5, 2019 reported that “The 2015 Afghanistan entry ‘Utopia’ and the 2007 Israeli film ‘The Band’s Visit’ were both likewise declared ineligible” because the dialogues in them are predominantly English.

Nonetheless, I’ve read several Nigerians vent their frustration over the fate “Lionheart” has suffered at the Oscars by suggesting that Nigeria should abandon English as its official language and adopt one of its more than 500 languages as its lingua franca. Of course, that’s sheer wishful thinking.

As I’ve argued many times in the past, the English language is at the core in the constitution of the modern Nigerian identity. Without it, Nigeria in its present form would cease to exist. 

In an April 24, 2010 article, I argued that “English is the linguistic glue that holds our disparate, unnaturally evolved nation together. Although Nigeria has three dominant languages, it also has over 400 mutually unintelligible languages. And given the perpetual battles of supremacy between the three major languages in Nigeria—indeed among all the languages in the country—it is practically impossible to impose any native language as a national language. So, in more ways than one, English is crucial to Nigeria's survival as a nation. Without it, it will disintegrate!”

Another reason it makes no sense to replace English as our official language is that English is now the de facto lingua franca of global scholarship, and we would be shutting ourselves off from the global scholarly community if we shut out English. This is how I captured it in my 2015 book titled “Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World”:

 “Most importantly, [English] is the language of scholarship and learning. The Science Citation Index, for instance, revealed in a 1997 report that 95 percent of scholarly articles in its corpus were written in English, even though only half of these scientific articles came from authors whose first language is English (Garfield, 1998). Scores of universities in Europe, Africa, and Asia are switching to English as the preferred language of instruction.

“As Germany’s Technical University president Wolfgang Hermann said when his university ditched German and switched to English as the language of instruction for most of the school’s master’s degree programs, ‘English is the lingua franca [of the] academia and of the economy’ (The Local, 2014). His assertion has support in the findings of a study in Germany that discovered that publishing in English is ‘often the only way to be noticed by the international scientific community’ (The Local, 2014).

“So most academics in the world either have to publish in English or perish in their native tongues. In addition, it has been noted in many places that between 70 and 80 percent of information stored in the world's computers is in English, leading a technology writer to describe the English language as ‘the lingua franca of the wired world’ (Bowen, 2001).”

English has moved beyond being imperialistic; it's now hegemonic. That is, its dominance isn’t a consequence of forceful imposition; it’s now entirely voluntary. When German, Italian, Israeli, Asian etc. universities switched to English as their medium of instruction, they didn't do so because they were conquered by Britain or the US.

When millions of Chinese people spend time and resources to learn English, they do so because they want to be competitive in the global market. When South Koreans go to the ridiculous extremes of spending thousands of dollars to perform surgery on their tongues so they can speak English with native-like proficiency, they do it of their own volition. (In South Korea, professors can’t be tenured, i.e., granted permanent employment status, if they don’t demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English).

When poor, struggling Indians spend scarce resources to acquire proficiency in English and to “dilute” their accents so they can approximate native-speaker oral fluency preparatory to call-center jobs, they do so because they think it offers a passport to a better life.

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek once argued that people who are targets of hegemonic cooptation only voluntarily agree to this process if they believe that, in accepting it, they are giving expression to their free subjectivity. That's effective hegemony.

If English ceases to be the receptacle of vast systems of knowledge that it is now and goes the way of Latin, everyone would drop it like it's hot. This isn't about "race," "inferiority," "superiority," or such other piteous vocabulary of the weak. It's plain pragmatism.

This isn't about English as a language of culture, or as a symbol of colonial domination; it's about the fact that it is the depository of contemporary epistemic production and circulation. You shut it out at your own expense. It is hard-nosed pragmatism to embrace its epistemic resources both for development and for subversion.

Of course, English won't always be the language of scholarship. Like Latin, Arabic, Greek, etc., it would wane at some point, especially when America ceases to be the main character in the movie of world politics and economy, which Trump's emerging fascism is helping to hasten faster than anyone had imagined. It could be succeeded by Mandarin. Should that happen, it would be counterproductive for any country in the world to, in the name of nativist linguistic self-ghettoization ignore Mandarin.

I have argued elsewhere that there is no truth to the oft-quoted claim that no society develops on the basis of a foreign language. On the contrary, it is misguided nativist linguistic self-isolationism that actually hurts development.

Rift in the Presidency
Yemi Osinbajo's media aide, Laolu Akande, tweeted that "a list circulating in the media on... so-called sacked presidential aides is not genuine and ought to be ignored.” Hours later, Buhari's media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, counter-tweeted that, "The Presidency wishes to confirm" that the list was genuine and that it was "not personal or targeted to undermine the Vice President’s office."

Yet they both insist that there's "no rift" between Buhari and Osinbajo! What else must exist to show proof of a “rift”? Fisticuffs between Buhari and Osinbajo? Or a slugfest between Buhari’s aides and Osinbajo’s aides? The Buhari regime obviously needs its own English dictionary to accommodate the unending schizophrenic quirks it evinces in the usage of English words by its propaganda honchos.

Even when you do your darndest to keep Nigeria's official idiocy out of your life for your own sanity, it keeps coming at you with pigheaded insistence.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Never Tell a Past Student You Don't Remember Them

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D. Twitter: @farooqkperogi
I first learned this lesson from my wife's mother, who is American and who taught mathematics in Nigeria for nearly three decades before she relocated to her home country after retirement.
She taught at (and later became the principal of) Borgu Secondary School in New Bussa, which is now in Niger State. New Bussa used to be my local government headquarters until 1988. So several people from my part of Borgu (which is in Kwara State) attended Borgu Secondary School and were taught by my mother-in-law whom I never knew until I came to America.
My mother-in-law Mrs. Cecilia Crump Erinne

She was an inspirational teacher who produced generations of doctors, engineers, professors, etc. She was particularly popular with students because, being American, she never physically hit a student--like other teachers did. Plus, students loved her American accent and her self-conscious efforts to speak like Nigerians.

Anyway, many people from my area who discover that I'm married to her daughter always ask to speak with her through me, and on no occasion did she ever say she didn't recognize a past student. So I told her she must have an uncommonly capacious memory to remember all her former students, given that she taught almost every student in the school from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
She admitted that it was not humanly possible to remember all her former students and added, "Don't ever tell a past student you don't remember them." You may mess up with their most cherished school memories, she said.
I had a recent experience that materialized this priceless pedagogical wisdom for me. I had an influential Ghanaian teacher in my secondary school that I couldn't stop to think about more than 30 years after he was forced back to his country by the infamous "Ghana-Must-Go" madness. He not only molded me at the inchoate stage of my intellectual development, he was also like a father to me.

My Ghanaian teacher Mr. Selby Lewis
He taught me karate and soccer outside school and often visited my family house. He praised my littlest accomplishments to high heavens and explained away my failings. He was also a philosopher whose delicate words of wisdom still abide with me today.
One day, on a whim, I decided to use by cyber-sleuthing skills to look for him. After days of search, I found him! He was excited to hear from a former student of his, but he said he had not the faintest recollection of me and what we did together. I was incredibly heartbroken and went into a mild situational depression for at least a week.
I still cherish him and nurse no hard feelings toward him for not remembering me. He told me the "Ghana-Must-Go" immigration purge was a traumatic experience for him. He probably chose to wipe clean his memories of Nigeria in order to cope with the emotional aftermath of the purge.
But my experience dramatizes the truism of my mother-in-law's exhortation that, if you can help it, don't ever tell a past student that you don't remember them.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Google as "goggle" and WhatsApp as "whatsUp": Illiterate Pronunciations in Nigeria

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

Why do most Nigerians, including educated Nigerians, pronounce Google as "goggle" and WhatsApp as "WhatsUp"?

As I pointed out in my 2015 book titled Glocal English: The Changing Face and Forms of Nigerian English in a Global World, two "O's" always make the long "uu" sound; that's why we pronounce book as "buuk," good as "guud," hood as "huud," etc. 

What explains the choice of Nigerians to pronounce Google as "goggle," which, among other things, means to look stupidly? I'm sorry, but people sound really stupid and illiterate when they call Google "goggle."
And WhatsApp as "WhatsUP"? What's up with that? Who comes up with these grating, uneducated pronunciational habits in Nigeria? Since Nigerians don't call phone apps "ups," why do they call WhatsApp "WhatsUP"?
Yes, the inventors of WhatsApp were clearly creatively playing on the informal American English expression "what's up?" (i.e., "how are you?") in the choice of the name for the app, but the name clearly has "app," not "up," in it.
Nigerians are the only people in the whole world who call WhatsApp "whatsUp." Did people miss the letter "a" in the name of the app? What sort of mass carelessness is that? Who did this to us? Before anyone says it's about differences in accents, this isn't an accent issue. It's simply carelessness. What's difficult in saying "whatsApp" and "Guugul?

Related Articles:
Top 50 Words Nigerians Mispronounce (I)
Top 50 Words Nigerians Mispronounce (II)
Top 50 Words Nigerians Mispronounce (III)
More Words Nigerians Commonly Mispronounce

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Assassination Plot Against Me by Buhari’s Agents?

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
This was first shared on my Facebook and Twitter handles on August 2, 2019.
Someone close to the powers that be in Abuja who occasionally shares credible, privileged insider information with me sent me a message this evening (see screenshot) that henchmen of the Buhari regime might be planning to send assassins to murder me in America.

My first inclination was to dismiss this as mere alarmism. But when I recall that Buhari had sent Israeli mercenaries to kidnap Umaru Dikko from London on July 5, 1984 and that his regime hired Israeli agents for a social media dissemination and propaganda campaign this year, according to a May 17, 2019 Associated Press news story titled “Israeli Disinformation Campaign Targeted Nigerian Election,” I realize that the regime is capable of the vilest malevolence imaginable to protect and conceal the unprecedented criminality it’s perpetrating every day in Nigeria.

Several top-level security operatives have told me since 2017 that I would be “toast” if I travel to Nigeria while Buhari is in power. I’ve come to peace with that. But plotting to assassinate me in America just because, out of a patriotic duty to my home country, I've chosen to become the vault of critical news about the Buhari regime’s consuming fascism is beyond the pale—if it’s true.
Agents, friends, and sympathizers of the regime have thrown everything at me—personal attacks, smears, libelous falsehoods, etc. in newspapers and on different websites--and even instructed the management of Daily Trust to stop my Saturday column, but they were like water off a duck's back to me. Their last propaganda effort against me was to commission some fraudsters from Lagos who masqueraded as reporters to claim, without evidence, that I shared false videos during the last election. (The videos were factual even by their own so-called fact-check, so they chose instead to “fact-check” my intentions😂.)
Only numerically inferior bands of nitwitted ethno-regional bigots and government agents believe their smears against me. They are now obviously at their wit’s end and think the only way to silence me is to assassinate me. I hear they’ve arrested Omoyele Sowore tonight for planning mass protests against the incompetence of the regime. I hope they don’t kill him.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Buhari’s Obsessive Compulsive Runawayism

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

Muhammadu Buhari’s inexplicably frenzied globetrotting at a time when his government proclaimed a new policy that reduced the frequency and duration of foreign travels by ministers reputedly as a “cost-saving measure” recalls my September 16, 2017 column where I wondered if Buhari’s wanderlust is actuated by his resentment of Nigeria itself. I’ve reproduced a slightly reworked version of the column here:

Muhammadu Buhari is held prisoner by what appears to be an obsessive-compulsive impulse to desert Nigeria when the going gets tough. On at least two occasions, he has publicly confessed to feeling the urge to abandon his job in midstream.

The first time he gave public expression to this runawayist emotion was in November 2016 when he addressed senior management staff members and “Senior Executive Course 38” graduates of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies who paid him a visit at the Presidential Villa. “Actually, I felt like absconding because 27 out of 36 states in Nigeria cannot pay salaries and we know they have no other source than to depend on salaries to pay rent and do other things,” he said.

He expressed another urge for runawayism when he met with traditional rulers in the Presidential Villa on September 11, 2017. “We are lucky this year that last year and this year the rainy season is good,” he said. “If it were not good, I must confide in you that I was considering which country to run to. But God answered the prayers of many Nigerians.”

Buhari might very well have been joking. But it is also true that human beings ventilate uncomfortable truths through humor. In fact, an English proverb says, “Many a true word is spoken in jest.” So it’s fair game to interrogate Buhari’s predilection for wanting to abandon the nation in moments of strife and uncertainty.

This is particularly troubling seeing that Buhari appears to be more comfortable outside Nigeria than he is inside it. This is a man who will leave Nigeria for anywhere at the drop of a hat. He spent most of 2015 and 2016 traveling the world (for no justifiable reason, in retrospect) and a good bit of this year on “medical vacation” in London.

So when he said (or, if you will, joked) that he felt like “absconding” after the enormity of the task he was obligated to do stared him in the face, he wasn’t being faithful to the facts. He actually did abscond. How else would anyone characterize failing to appoint ministers six months after being sworn in—and leaving most governing councils of government agencies unfilled more than two years after— while aimlessly traveling the world?

And when he said he was “considering which country to run to” if the rains weren’t forthcoming, he also forgot that he actually did “run to” another country for more than 100 days for a different reason. He went to London to get UK doctors’ second opinion on his already treated ear infection and, thereafter, to treat an undisclosed ailment—exposing Nigeria, in the process, to one of the worst possible international embarrassments any nation could face.

Given Buhari’s penchant for runawayism, it’s hard to tell if his long stays in London were indeed medically warranted or if he was just “absconding” or choosing to “run to” other people’s country because he couldn’t take the heat of governing, which, in any case, he has illegally entrusted to Abba Kyari.

Plus, his health has now become an effective national emotional blackmail tool: he “absconds” for days on end without communication with the people he is supposed to be ruling, allows morbidly ill-natured rumors about him to fester, then causes photos of him to be posted on social media, which inflames more ghoulish speculations, and then a stream of extortionately costly but pointless visits by government officials to London ensues, and, of course, the nation is whipped into a frenzy of prayers for his convalescence.

When he returns, poor, mentally low-wattage citizens, who are the victims of his government by “abscondment,” gyrate wildly in futile, impotent exultation. This melodrama anesthetizes the citizens and helps to conceal or excuse the man’s incompetence for a while, and life goes on.

This is particularly interesting because more than three decades ago, Buhari famously said, “This generation and indeed future generations of Nigerians have no other country they can call their own. We must stay here and salvage it together.”

Apparently, he never believed a word of what he said because in February 2016, Buhari told Nigerians in the UK that he had been using his UK doctors “since 1978 when I was in Petroleum” [i.e., when he was Petroleum Minister. His daughter also recently told BBC Hausa that she doesn’t speak fluent Hausa because she lived mostly abroad “with white people” when she was growing up.]

 You can’t “stay and salvage” your country, especially as a high-ranking government official or a president, by perpetually disdaining your “country's best hospital for medical care in Britain,” as the Los Angeles Times of February 20, 2017 said of Buhari, perpetually vacationing abroad, and sending all your children to school in the UK.

Given what we now know of Buhari, it’s evident that his 1980s patriotic proclamation was just hollow sloganeering. Recall that on April 27, 2016, he also said, “While this administration will not deny anyone of his or her fundamental human rights, we will certainly not encourage expending Nigerian hard earned resources on any government official seeking medical care abroad, when such can be handled in Nigeria.”

Less than one month after this “patriotic” declaration, Buhari went to London, not to treat his ear infection (because, according to a news release signed by Femi Adesina, it had already been “treated” in Nigeria), but to have UK doctors examine his already “treated” ear “purely out of precaution.” Can you beat that quantum of hypocrisy and insensitivity?

What does it say about Buhari’s interest in, and preparedness for, leading Nigeria that he loves to make glib remarks about wanting to run away from the country he actively sought to rule four times in a row? What sort of leader tells (or jokes to) his followers that he almost ran away—and actually does run away— when the country he is mandated to rule gets hot?

Buhari won election in 2015 precisely because the country was in a terrible shape and people thought he truly meant it when he said he would turn things around if he was given the chance to rule again. If the country wasn’t as bad as it was in 2015, he wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating an incumbent. That was why he lost against Obasanjo in 2003, against the late Yar’adua in 2007, and against Jonathan in 2011.

To have expected that he wouldn’t contend with the depth of the rot he interminably whines about betrays a sad, embarrassing, and disquieting naivety that shows that he wasn’t worthy of his 2015 mandate. And that’s why he lost reelection in 2019 but rigged the process before, during, and after the fact to illegitimately hang on to power.

Does Buhari, perhaps, imagine that the presidency is some sort of a retirement gift to him? Or that he is doing the nation a favor by agreeing to be a “president”—a weak, bumbling, divisive, ineffective, and hypocritical “president”?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Fulani and Origin of the Names “Yoruba” and “Yamuri”

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

Former Minister of Culture Femi Fani-Kayode started a healthy national conversation about the constructedness of collective identities in Nigeria when he repudiated his “Yoruba” identity because he said the name owes etymological debts to the Fulani and that it has pejorative denotations and connotations. This is, of course, both ahistorical and factually inaccurate.

As I pointed out in my preliminary intervention on his claims on social media, the name “Yariba” was first attested in a treatise by a 16th-century Songhai Islamic scholar by the name of Ahmad Baba to refer to the people of the ancient Oyo Empire, which included all of present-day Oyo State, most of Osun State—and parts of Kwara and some western Nigerian states.

Ahmad Baba’s 1613 essay, titled “Al-kashf wa-l-bayān li-aṣnāfmajlūb al-Sūdān” (translated into English as “The Exposition and Explanation Concerning the Varieties of Transported Black Africans”), mentioned “Yariba” among ethnic groups Muslims were justified to enslave.

In his 1806 treatise titled "Bayan Wujub Al-Hijra,Ala L-Ibad,” Sheikh Usmanu Dan Fodiyo referenced Ahmad Baba’s essay and contested some of its claims. Ahmad Baba had written that “the people of Kano, some of Zakzak [Zaria?], the people of Katsina, the people of Gobir, and all of the Songhay” were Muslims who could never be enslaved.

Since Dan Fodio didn’t think the Islam in Hausaland at the time was authentic, he needed to justify his jihad, so he responded to Ahmad Baba posthumously by asserting that what was true of Ahmadu Baba’s claims 200 years ago, “might not necessarily be true at all other times, since every scholar relates what he sees in his own days.”

Dan Fodio’s son, Muhammad Bello, wrote Infaq al-mansur in 1813 where he also responded to Ahmad Baba’s 1613 essay, and had cause to mention “Yariba.” In other words, the name “Yariba” had been used to refer to people of the ancient Oyo Empire at least 200 years before Dan Fodio and his son, Muhammad Bello, used it. That invalidates the claim that it was the “Fulani” who “gave” the name “Yariba” to people in today’s western Nigeria. In any case, “Yariba” doesn’t mean anything in Fulfulde.

As etymologists remind us, before a word is attested in writing, it must have existed several years in demotic speech. That means “Yariba” had been in use much earlier than 1613 when it first appeared in writing—which is hundreds of years before the Fulani encountered the Yoruba.

Now that we have established that it is chronologically impossible for the Fulani to have “given” the name “Yariba” to Oyo people, where did the name come from? It’s obvious that Songhai people (who are now found in Niger Republic, parts of Benin Republic, and parts of Mali as Zarma and Dendi) have called Oyo people some version of “Yariba” since at least the 1500s. But the name may not be original to them, either.

Dr. Hussaini Abdu, in his forthcoming book titled Partitioned Borgu: State, Society and Politics in a West African Border Region, makes the persuasive case that the name “Yoruba” owes lexical provenance to the Baatonu people of Borgu, Oyo’s immediate northern neighbors, whom contemporary Yoruba people call Bariba, Baruba or Ibariba. The Baatonu word for Oyo people is “Yoru” (singular), “Yorubu” (plural). The third person reference to the people is “Yoruba.”

“The name was probably sourced from Songhay contact with Borgu, later reinforced through interviews with Baatonu slaves in Sierra Leone and popularised by European travellers like Clapperton and missionary documentation, such as the works of Samuel Johnson in the nineteenth century,” he wrote.

This isn’t a far-fetched proposition because Songhai, Borgu, and Oyo had deep cultural and historical ties. For one, it was Songhai-speaking Mande people from ancient Mali who brought Islam to Borgu and to Yoruba land, which explains why Islam is called “imale” in the Yoruba language.

Two, the three polities share several common cultural vocabularies. For instance, recently, Professor Oyeronke Oyewumi of New York’s Stony Brook University and daughter of the current Soun of Ogbomoso, asked me if the term wundia, which means a young unmarried woman in Yoruba, had origins in the Baatonu language because, as she said, “it is clear to me that it’s not an original Yoruba word.”

Well, the Yoruba wundia occurs in the Baatonu language as “wondia,” but it turns out that the word is originally Songhai where it occurs as “wondia” in both Dendi and Zarma—with the same meaning. This is just one of several vocabularies shared by Yoruba, Songhai, and Borgu people. In fact, as I showed in my May 13, 2012 article titled “The Arabic Origins of Common Yoruba Words,” several Arabic words in Yoruba such as “alafia,” “alufa,” “borokini,”  “tobi,” “suuru,” “wahala,” “faari,” “anfani,” etc., which also occur in the Baatonu language in the same lexical forms, came to the language by way of the Songhai.

So it’s no surprise that there is a vast circulation of cultural and ethnonymic registers between these polities. Interestingly, the Baatonu people (more than 80 percent of whom are now in Benin Republic) don’t call other Yoruba groups “Yoruba.” For instance, they call the Yoruboid groups in Benin Republic Kawo (plural Kaabu or Kawobu). “Yorubu” is reserved only for Oyo Yoruba.
It’s obvious that Ahmad Baba wrote “Yoruba” as “Yariba” in his 1613 essay because Arabic, the language in which he wrote, does not have the vowel “o.” The three dominant vowels in Arabic are “a,” “I,” and “u.”

Obviously, both the Fulani and the Hausa copied the name “Yariba” from the Songhai who in turn copied it from the Baatonu people of Borgu. I speak the Baatonu language natively; if the name “Yoru” had a meaning in the language, that meaning is lost now. But there is not the faintest whiff of derogation in the name when the Baatonu people use it to refer to Oyo people. Nor does it mean anything even in Songhai, which my mother’s relatives speak natively.

What is significant, however, is that people of Western Nigeria aren’t called “Yoruba” today because the Borgu people called them so, or because they were identified by a version of that name by Songhai, Hausa, and Fulani people. They self-identify as “Yoruba” precisely because returnee slaves of Yoruba descent chose the name, popularized it, and encouraged people in the region to embrace it.

John Raban’s 1832 book titled The Vocabulary of the Eyo, or Aku, a Dialect of West Africa is perhaps the first to mention the name “Yoruba” in writing. Then in 1843, Samuel Ajayi Crowther published A Vocabulary of the Yoruba Language. Raban, like Crowther, was a reverend gentleman and returnee Yoruba slave in Sierra Leone.

 In 1859, Nigeria’s first modern newspaper, called Iwe Irohin fun awon Egba ati Yoruba (Yoruba for “newspaper for the Egba and Yoruba people”) hit the newsstands. The name of the paper suggests that when the newspaper was founded, the “Yoruba” (read: Oyo people) were regarded as different from the Egba and other Yoruba subgroups, although the language was considered similar enough to have one newspaper for all of them.

It was Samuel Ajayi Crowther who in the nineteenth century actively worked to encourage the amalgam of related linguistic groups in western Nigeria to adopt the name “Yoruba” as their endonym. So an exonym (name given to a people by others) was adopted as an endonym (name by which a group self-identifies) through the instrumentality of an outsider who made himself an insider. Of course, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group continued and strengthened Crowther’s initiative.

Professor Stephen Akintoye has also done a wonderful job of exploding Chief Fani-Kayode’s claims in his short article titled “About the Name ‘Yoruba’.” Nevertheless, he misstated a few facts. He said it is Arabs who call Yoruba people “Yarbawa” and that only Yoruba people call Arabs “Larubawa.”

"Larubawa" is actually a Hausa word. It's the plural form for Arabs in the Hausa language. The singular form is Balarabe. Yarbawa is also the plural form for Yoruba people in the Hausa language (the singular is Bayarbe, which some Yoruba people mispronounce as “Berebe”). It's not an Arabic word. Note that "awa" is the lexeme for the plural forms of ethnonyms in the Hausa language. That's why the plural for even the Hausa people themselves in their language is also Hausawa (singular: Bahause).

And “yamiri”? The Fulani didn’t “give” that name to the Igbo. The Hausa did, and it’s derived from an imitation of yem mmiri, Igbo for “give me water.”

Related Articles:
Fulani Did NOT Invent "Yoruba" and "Yamuri"
"Yariba," "Nyamiri," and "Sons and Daughters of Oduduwa"
The Arabic Origins of Common Yoruba Words
Top 10 Yoruba Names You Never Guessed Were Arabic Names
Of Yoruba, Arabic, and Origin of Nigerian Names
Language Families in Nigeria
Mesu Jamba, a Slur Against Ilorin People, is a Linguistic Fraud
Ooni of Ife's Strange Theory of the Yoruba Origins of English
"Mesu Jamba," the Question of Etymological Fallacy, and Other Reactions
Ilorin is an Ethnogenesis: Response to Kawu's Anti-Saraki Ilorin Purism (I)
Ilorin is an Ethnogenesis: Response to Kawu's Anti-Saraki Ilorin Purism (II)

Friday, October 25, 2019

Fulani Did NOT Invent “Yoruba” and “Yamuri”

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

This was first published on Facebook and Twitter on October 22, 2019.
Femi Fani-Kayode was reported to have said that he isn't “Yoruba” because “The name ‘Yoruba’ derives from ‘Yariba’ and it means ‘shady and unreliable’” in the Fulani language. That’s not true.

The name “Yoruba” was first attested in a treatise by a 16th-century Songhai scholar by the name of Ahmad Baba al-Massufi al-Timbukti to refer to the people of the ancient Oyo Empire, which included present-day Oyo and Osun states—and parts of Kwara and Lagos states.

The name was adopted and adapted by Muhammad Bello (who later became the Sultan of Sokoto). He referred to Oyo people as “Yariba” in his article on the Oyo Empire. In time, Yariba became the word by which Hausa people called the people of Oyo. The people didn’t have a common collective name for themselves; they self-identified by such names as “Oyo,” Ogbomosho,” “Ife,” “Ijesa,” "Igbomina," etc.
It was Samuel Ajayi Crowther, a returnee slave who claimed to be descended from Yoruba people, who in the nineteenth century actively worked to encourage the amalgam of related linguistic groups in western Nigeria to adopt the name “Yoruba” as their endonym. So an exonym (name given to a people by others) was adopted as an endonym (name by which a group self-identifies) through the instrumentality of an outsider who made himself an insider.
“Yariba” is not a word— and doesn’t mean anything— in either the Fulani language (also called Fulfulde) or the Hausa language. Nor does it mean anything even in Songhai, as I’ll show in my Saturday column. By the way, the Fulani don’t refer to themselves by that name, either. That’s the Hausa exonym for them. They call themselves by some version of "Fulbe." “Hausa” itself, interestingly, is not native to the Hausa! It's the Songhai word for "southerner."
And “yamiri”? It’s also not a Fulani word. It’s a relatively recent Hausa word for the Igbo, and it’s derived from an imitation of mmiri, the Igbo word for water. During the Civil War, Hausa soldiers reported Biafrans as universally asking for “mmiri,” which sounded to their ears as “yamiri.” In time, it became the name for the people. I’ll say more on this in my column next Saturday.

Several people pointed out that the name "yamiri" predated the Nigerian Civil War.

"Yariba," "Nyamuri," and "Sons and Daughters of Oduduwa"

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
I've been deluged with so much work these past few days that I've not had the time to come on social media. I just became aware of Femi Fani-Kayode's response to my preliminary response to his claims about how the names "Yoruba" and "Yamuri" came about.

My Saturday column in the Nigerian Tribune will respond, with facts, not emotions, to his totally ahistorical claim that the Fulani "gave" the names "Yariba" and "Nyamiri" to Yoruba and Igbo people. They did NOT!
Nonetheless, I'm glad we're having this conversation. When I wrote in 2005 that most contemporary collective identities in Nigeria, including the "Yoruba" identity, are as constructed and as relatively recent as Nigeria itself, I got a lot of predictable pushback from some of the same people who're now recognizing this fact. That's progress.
Fani-Kayode talks of the "sons and daughters of Oduduwa" as if this were an unproblematized identity category. It's not. As my friend Professor Moses Ochonu showed in his work, even the Oduduwa myth of origin for Yoruba people—along with other popular myths of origin such as the Bayajidda myth for Hausa people, the Kisra myth for Borgu people, etc.—was a colonial project.
Colonialists commissioned folklorists, Ochonu pointed out, to record myths of origins of different Nigerian communities. They then isolated and privileged some myths and suppressed others. The Oduduwa myth of origin wasn't the only myth of origin in Western Nigeria and wasn't originally shared by everyone in the region. Nor was the Bayajidda myth by everyone in Hausaland.
This fact doesn't, of course, invalidate the utility of the myths. Every society needs its myths for internal cohesion and for the politics of group and inter-group identity.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Buhari's Reputation for Philandering

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi
I honestly wouldn't have bothered with this issue but for the number of well-meaning people who seem genuinely incredulous that Buhari could have extramarital affairs (as if he were some unerring saint) and, worse, reward his mistresses with appointments. Buhari's womanizing is well-known to both his former military colleagues and people who have been politically associated with him since 2003.
It doesn't bother me, frankly, because we all have our weaknesses. I'm only concerned because he allowed his weakness to influence his politics and policies.

Someone who knows Buhari intimately shared this excerpt of page 10 of Dr. Dele Sobowale's book titled, LETTING A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM (IBRAHIM B. BABANGIDA 1985 – 1992) and added that it faithfully captured Buhari.

Sobowale wrote: “Buhari never drank nor smoked. His only known vice was women. He must have been some sort of a sexual athlete. One officer who served with him in two stations had this to say: ‘You can leave your money, bottle of hot drinks or packets of cigarettes with Buhari, go away for several months and return and find nothing would be missing. But leave your girlfriend or sister with him and you might return to find her pregnant.’ That might be an exaggeration but he had that reputation.”

Related Articles:
A Ministry for the Mistress
Buhari's House of Commotion and Mamman Daura's "Glass House"

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.