"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: 2020

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Gov. AbdulRazaq’s Odious Ilorin-centric Bigotry at KWASU

By Farooq A. Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State recently appointed a Professor Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi, said to be the son of the late Justice Mustapha Akanbi, as Vice Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU). But Akanbi’s most crucial qualification for the job is his being from Ilorin—like the governor. Here’s why.

The acting Vice Chancellor of KWASU, Professor Sakah Saidu Mahmud, who is also the school’s substantive deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), was adjudged by the search committee to be the best of all the candidates who applied for the position of Vice Chancellor. Akanbi was third.

It’s easy to see why Mahmud came out on top. He had been head of the KWASU's Social Sciences and Global Studies Department; Academic Coordinator to the VC; Provost of the College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences; and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Admin), which is next in hierarchy to the VC. In other words, he has been everything that anyone could possibly be at the university, except the position of substantive VC.

Before he was recruited to KWASU in 2009 by Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, the founding VC of the school, he taught at many US— and Japanese— universities for decades. He resigned as head of the political science department at Transylvania University in the state of Kentucky to join KWASU.

He studied at the University of Denver for his MA and PhD (after earning a BSc in Government, which is now called Political Science, from ABU in 1976.) He speaks French and Japanese, is the author of two critically acclaimed books and dozens of well-cited journal articles, and is the recipient of prestigious fellowships including the (American) National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship.

His doctoral dissertation was a comparative study of early Meiji Japan and Nigeria, which required him to live in Japan for an extended period and to learn the Japanese language well enough to read and understand archival materials written in it. So he has a broad, global vision for KWASU that is consistent with the founding VC’s idea for the university.

Why did Gov. AbdulRazaq pass over this well-published, experienced, and cosmopolitan scholar who was part of the founding professors of KWASU for Akanbi, a 1993 OAU law graduate, from the University of Ilorin who has never taught at KWASU and who has little administrative experience under his belt?

Simple: Mahmud is from Baruten, a marginal, non-Yoruba-speaking part of Kwara that is constitutive of what is called “Kwara North” in the state’s political vocabulary because of the cultural similarities between that part of the state and Nigeria’s far north.

Akanbi, who came third, is not only from Ilorin but is also the son of one of Ilorin’s prominent families. That’s the chief reason he was appointed VC. It's inter-generational perpetuation of privilege with a dash of ethnic bigotry. But this will ultimately destroy the university. We are talking of a university that has distinguished itself since its founding as a "different" Nigerian university that is modeled after American universities. Akanbi has no idea how to sustain what Na'Allah started. He has neither the experience nor the training to do so.

Elders of “Kwara North,” drawn from the non-Yoruba-speaking local governments of the state— Baruten, Kaiama, Patigi, and Edu—condemned Akanbi’s appointment in a public statement published in Premium Times yesterday, saying the appointment is “quite nauseating and very insensitive because it goes extremely against the principles of equity, justice and fairness in a symbiotic and heterogeneous political entity like our beloved Kwara State.”

The statement said the appointment follows an emerging pattern. Even though more than 80 percent of voters from “Kwara North” voted for AbdulRazaq in the governorship election, which eclipsed the percentages he got from other parts of the state, the statement claimed, his appointments have been invidiously exclusionary and Ilorin-centric.

I frankly don’t care whom the governor chooses to appoint as his political aides, but passing over the most qualified candidate for the job of Vice Chancellor for a barely qualified intellectual parvenu because of where they come from is just outright condemnable. That’s NOT how to govern a heterogenous polity—and certainly not how to run a university. I hope the governor reverses himself and apologizes.

Full disclosure: Professor Mahmud and I are from the same hometown, but I haven’t communicated with him in the last two years. When he told me in 2009 that he’d resigned from Transylvania University to help establish KWASU, I didn’t think he made a good decision, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that because he is many years my senior. Nonetheless, when he said he wanted to “give back to the community,” I thought he had his heart in the right place.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

As the World Battles COVID-19, Nigerians Confront COVIK 4-1-9

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

Amid mounting panic and uncertainties over the ravages of COVID-19 worldwide, Nigerians are wracked by the double whammy of disabling fear over the scourge of the virus and bewildering COVID-19-inspired fraud by their government.

Nigerians on social media justifiably say their country’s most pressing burden now is how to deal with the heartrending transmogrification of COVID-19 to COVIK 4-1-9 there. For those who need initiation, COVIK 4-1-9 is a jocular blend of Muhammadu Buhari’s pronunciational murder of COVID-19 (which he mispronounced as COVIK 1-9) and 419, the section of the (Southern Nigerian) Criminal Code that outlaws advanced fee fraud, but which now functions as shorthand for fraud and deception of all kinds.

COVIK 4-1-9 is a particularly imaginative coinage because it encapsulates a merger of incompetence and fraud, which defines the current government’s response to the threats of the novel coronavirus—and, for that matter, everything else.

When the perils of COVID-19 were only just emerging and clearly moving in the direction of Nigeria, Buhari didn’t deem it appropriate to address the nation and to announce measures he was putting in place to stop or minimize the effects of the virus.

When almost all African leaders had addressed citizens of their nations in national broadcasts over COVID-19 and Buhari was still missing, there was panic about his state of being. Worse still, Nigeria became the butt of jokes on social media among other Africans.

In Ugandan Twittersphere, for instance, there was a “#BuhariChallenge.” The most viral tweet from the challenge came from a Kenyangi Bale, which goes: “I know Ugandans deserves [sic] better. But, our President, Museveni, has addressed this nation the 5th time in 2 weeks on the COVID-19 pandemic. You guys needs [sic] to visit Nigerian Twitter. They are looking for their president. He is nowhere to be found.”

Other African countries’ Twitter chatter satirizing Buhari’s puzzling silence amid the rising dread of the novel coronavirus soon spilled over to Nigerian Twittersphere and actuated an intensification of calls for Buhari to address the nation.

So Buhari’s handlers caused him to make a 23-second address to the nation during which he called COVID-19 COVIK 1-9. He only needed “4” to make it COVIK 4-1-9. The phonological similitude between 1-9 and 4-1-9 was not lost on Nigerians. And after a severely scathing mockery of the 23-second COVIK 1-9 webcast, Buhari’s social media aide by the name of Bashir Ahmad took it down from his Twitter page.

On March 29, 2020, Buhari was compelled to address the nation in a pre-recorded broadcast which, while admirable and praiseworthy in the policies and programs it outlined to confront COVID-19, nonetheless rendered itself vulnerable to charges of creating the basis for governmental fraud when it said it would feed school children who aren’t in school and observe social distancing while doing so.

Even the wildest stretch of fictional fantasy can’t imagine feeding school children who are out of school while maintaining physical and social distancing in the process.

The presidency attempted to delegitimize Professor Wole Soyinka’s fulmination against its national lockdown order by calling him a “fiction writer,” but not even Soyinka’s prodigious dramaturgical wizardry can conceive of feeding people in their absence while being physically and socially distant from them.

Consequent upon Buhari’s address, government also said it would embark on a program of “conditional cash transfers” to poor, vulnerable Nigerians to ease the hurt of the national lockdown order. But Nigeria doesn’t have a database to make this happen.

That’s why people suspect that most of the money will be stolen by government officials and some of it will be given to party loyalists and hangers-on of politicians in the ruling party. In fact, photos that have emerged of people who received the “cash transfers” from the minister of humanitarian affairs showed faces of well-fed, middle-class men and women who don’t fit the image of “poor” people.

Apologists of the regime insist that the government is deploying a World Bank database to identify poor Nigerians, although the government had consistently claimed in the past that the World Bank’s statistics on Nigeria were inaccurate.

For instance, on October 9, 2019, newspapers reported Buhari to have said, “Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies. Some of the statistics we get relating to Nigeria are wild estimates and bear little relation to the facts on the ground.”


How can Buhari’s government rely on the same “wild estimates [that] bear little relation to the facts on the ground” to “transfer” cash to poor people?

 Nonetheless, when the government enforces a national lockdown, which cripples the informal economy upon which a vast majority of Nigerians depend, more than 70 percent of the population is already vulnerable and in need of government’s help.

In any case, as the poverty capital of the world, most Nigerians, including people who are not party loyalists, need all the help they can get from government. For starters, the N37 billion budgeted to renovate the dysfunctional and utterly useless National Assembly Complex could be better used to secure the lives of Nigerians.

Lockdown amid hunger and lack of electricity and water is death sentence for most people. People can survive COVID-19, but no one can survive sustained starvation.

Another disturbing COVIK 4-1-9 phenomenon that may hurt the nation is the selectivity of the testing for COVID-19. Testing is still a privilege reserved for “big people.” It has become a status symbol. Plus, it doesn’t seem that government is giving a thought to the possibilities of false positives and false negatives. The BBC reported on March 30 that many Western nations have discovered that test kits from China are only 30 percent reliable.

Perhaps the most insidious COVIK 4-1-9 that no one seems to be talking about is that victims of COVID-19 are being used as a bargaining chip to get money from the federal government. The Benue index case, for instance, whom the state government identified by name against ethical guidelines, has been asymptomatic for weeks after testing positive, but has been kept in isolation in a dingy, unsanitary place. She is possibly the victim of a false positive, but she’s being kept in isolation anyway. Her request to be retested has been spurned.

 Her relatives say she is kept in isolation against her wish, and was prevented from going back to London to her family when the airspace hadn’t closed, because the state government wants to use her as a bargaining chip to get federal money since the Lagos State government, which seems to be doing remarkably well so far, got N10 billion from the federal government to fight the novel coronavirus. In how many more places is this happening?

While other nations are working day and night to reverse the effects of COVID, Nigerian governments at all levels, except for Lagos State for now, see the virus as an opportunity to perpetrate chicanery. The only silver lining in the dark clouds is that if the tragedy of the leaders’ fraud unravels, they would have nowhere to run to. We are all in this together.

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Friday, April 3, 2020

Call for Chapters: Edited Book on Social Media Censorship in Africa

Call for Chapters: Edited Book on Social Media Censorship in Africa

Editor: Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D., School of Communication and Media, Kennesaw State University, USA. Email: fkperogi@kennesaw.edu

Introduction
Africa used to be characterized as the abandoned child that vegetated on the desolate fringes of the information society. Emmanuel Castells (1998) even once characterized the continent as a constituent of the “black hole of informational capitalism.” However, the advent and democratization of the Internet and, with it, the evolution of social media have leapfrogged the continent to the global, internet-fueled network society. This fact has expanded and deepened Africa’s deliberative space, inspired digital activism, and enabled robust citizen participation in and engagement with governance. It has also animated social movements, actuated transnational connections, disrupted settled cultural certainties, and threatened the security and smug self-satisfaction of autocracies.


The centrality of social media in Africa is actuated by the enormous growth and explosion of mobile technology, particularly the rise of broadband technology, and the progressive lowering of the cost of access to the internet. Every projection for the future of Internet-ready mobile telephony in Africa points to the inexorable certainty of its continued growth and flowering and for the central role it will continue to play in powering Africa’s frenetic social media scene.

Nonetheless, amid the triumphalism that the expansion of the discursive space that social media has stirred is a potent threat from various African governments to constrict and constrain its luxuriance.  From Tanzania requiring bloggers to pay $900 a year for the privilege to blog, to Uganda imposing a tax on citizens to use social media, to Cameroon’s periodic shutting down of the internet to stall the spread of digital rebellion against the government, to various African leaders deploying surveillance technology to spy on citizens critical of governments, to restrictive laws designed to asphyxiate dissent in such countries as Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mali, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and other countries, there is a war on Internet freedom on the continent. This fact has also activated pushback against governments and has centralized a tensile push and pull between citizens and governments in the African public sphere. For instance, apart from creating transnational publicity against social media censorship, activists and everyday citizens have also embraced subversive technologies such as virtual private networks, or VPN, to circumvent government censorship.

No systematic scholarly inquiry has investigated this emergent phenomenon. An edited volume that aggregates the research of scholars from across the continent on social media uses in different African countries and the legal and extra-legal efforts governments have invented to contain the vibrance of the social media scene on the continent would be a significant contribution to the literature on social media activism, digital rebellion, discursive democracy in transitional societies, and censorship on the Internet. I invite contributions from scholars of different disciplinary and methodological orientations on various dimensions of the unfolding phenomenon of social media censorship from all regions of Africa.



Recommended topics:
Below are suggested, but by no means exhaustive, themes contributors are encouraged to explore:
·       Theoretical explorations of Internet censorship
·       Social media and government censorship
·       Case studies of anti-social media laws in African countries
·       The rhetoric of “fake news” as a smokescreen to muzzle critical voices on social media
·       Chinese influence in African governments’ clampdown on social media
·       Spyware attacks on social media activists
·       State cybersurveillance
·       Israeli NSO Group Technologies and digital espionage
·       Subversive technologies to circumvent social media censorship
·       WhatsApp as one of Africa’s most consequential social media platforms
·       Political dissidence on social media
·       Transnational social media activism
·       Bullying of voices of dissent on social media
·       State-sponsored troll factories on social media
·       The Panoptic gaze on social media
·       Social media and radical social movement

Target Audience
I solicit contributions that will deepen, broaden, and extend the disciplinary conversations on the intersections of social media use and government censorship. This volume will be helpful to scholars in communication, sociology, political science, African studies, etc., media professionals and policy makers, and everyday citizens who are interested in the emerging tensile stress between social media activism and governmental restrictions across Africa.

Timelines
Interested contributors should send a 250- to 350-word abstract of their proposed chapters and their short bios by or before May 1, 2020 to: fkperogi@kennesaw.edu

 Notification of acceptance or rejection: June 1, 2020

Submission of full chapters: September 30, 2020

Peer-review of contributions returned to authors: November 30, 2020

Revised contributions submission: January 5, 2021

The book is expected to be released in 2021

Publisher:
Routledge, a well-regarded British academic publisher, has accepted my proposal to publish the volume.


Monday, March 30, 2020

7 Coronavirus Grammar Lessons

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

I know grammar is the last thing on most people’s minds right now, but for the few people who care (and who have been sending me inquiries in private messages), here are seven coronavirus grammar lessons:

1. People test positive FOR coronavirus, not “TO” it. It is, “El-Rufai tests positive FOR coronavirus,” not “El-Rufai tests positive TO coronavirus.”

2. Quarantine is pronounced KWO-RAN-TEEN, not KWO-RAN-TAIN, in both British and American English. In other words, quarantine rhymes with "canteen," not "valentine."

3. Coronavirus is a single word, although “corona virus” is an acceptable variant.

4. People tend to use (“self-)quarantine” and “(self-)isolation” interchangeably, but they’re different. You (self-)quarantine yourself when you suspect that you may have the disease because you have come in contact with people who have tested positive for it. You go into (self-)isolation when you test positive for the disease.

If you stay home NOT because you came in contact with people who have the disease and NOT because you tested positive for it, but because your government insists you do, or you do so on your own volition just to eliminate or decrease your chances of getting the disease, it’s called “shelter in place.”

5. An epidemic is a disease that temporarily affects a large number of people in a locality while a pandemic is a disease that has spread throughout a country, a continent or the entire world. Coronavirus is obviously a pandemic.

6. You don't "contact" a disease; you "contract" it. So people can only "contract" coronavirus, not "contact" it.

7. Finally, the other name for coronavirus is COVID-19, not COVIK 1, 9.πŸ˜‚Don’t be misled by what a certain physically quarantined and mentally isolated “president,” now infamously known as “President COVIK” on social media, said a few days ago.πŸ˜€

Nor should you call COVID-19 “Code 19,” as Nigeria’s notoriously pliant rubber-stamp Senate President by the name of Ahmed Lawan did two days ago. Well, this same man told the world of a woman who “killed her husband to death”! Go figure.

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Politics of Grammar Column

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Buhari’s Only Job is to Prove He Isn’t Dead

By Farooq A. Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

Buhari has by far the cushiest job anyone can ever have in the world. He enjoys all the perks and privileges of being “president” but disappears from public view even in moments of national strife, which causes panic-stricken citizens ask to see him or hear from him.

He routinely ignores them, which causes morbid rumors about him to fester and circulate on social media. When darkly ill-natured chatter about his very life emerges, escalates, and takes roots, his handlers will post photos of him on social media to show that he’s alive, which inflames even more ghoulish speculations.

Then he finally appears or addresses the nation after hours and hours of rehearsals, which nonetheless unmasks his declining cognitive faculties, and mentally low-wattage citizens, who are the victims of his ineptitude and presidency by absenteeism, gyrate wildly in futile, impotent exultation. They even mock people who had suggested that Buhari was sick, dead, or dying.

It has been the same script since 2016. In other words, Buhari’s highest achievement is to periodically prove that he is alive after which he goes back to his habitual self-isolation and insouciance.

This well-practiced melodrama is designed to anesthetize distraught citizens in light of the progressively horrid conditions they live with and help to conceal or excuse Buhari’s incompetence for a while, and life goes on.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Yar’aduaization and Politics of Compassion in the Age of Coronavirus

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

News that Abba Kyari has contracted the novel coronavirus, and that Muhammadu Buhari might also be infected with it in spite of denials by his handlers, has centralized conversations about the propriety or lack thereof of compassion for unfeeling and soulless leaders who are ensnared by personal tragedies.  

The vast majority of Nigerians that I’ve encountered on social media seem to be enraptured by news that Kyari and Buhari—and possibly many others in the circles of political power and influence in Nigeria—have fallen victims to COVID-19. But their joy, as I understand it, doesn’t stem from a perverse delight from the misfortunes of others.

It stems, instead, from their perception of coronavirus as a social leveler, which has forced their leaders to experience the health care sector they have abandoned for years since foreign medical tourism is no longer an option at least in the foreseeable future. In other words, they see coronavirus as the karmic payback to their leaders for their enduringly criminal neglect of the health of the nation.

The overwhelming attitude of celebratory acclamation of the personal catastrophes of Kyari and possibly Buhari and others has also been met with calls for compassion from many people. Gloating and taunting over the tragedies of people, however terrible they may be, bespeaks a diminished, stunted humanity, they seem to suggest.

But here’s the deal. First, testing positive to coronavirus is not a death sentence. More than 90 percent of people who contract it recover.

Second, our compassion or ill will are totally immaterial to the resolution of the infections that afflict Nigeria’s oppressors now. Nature is insensitive to our emotions and sense of righteousness. That’s why horrible things happen to pious people and why malevolent people can be triumphant.

Coincidences are not iron-clad rules of nature. Sani Abacha’s death wasn’t a consequence of his malevolence. If that were so, to what would you attribute the death of MKO Abiola about the same time that Abacha died? The notion of karmic retribution is humanity’s quest to impose simplistic order to the chaos that is nature.

So what people wish and don’t wish their leaders—and others— is wholly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Plus, however hard you try, you simply can’t legislate people’s emotion or determine for them how they should feel about people and events.

In any case, everyday Nigerians increasingly realize that the compassion they feel for their leaders when they are afflicted with personal catastrophes is hardly requited. For instance, in April 2017, then governor of Zamfara, Abdul’aziz Yari, said the meningitis that devastated thousands of people in his state was “divine” punishment for their moral transgressions.

And in the aftermath of the horrendous mass massacre of poor people in Borno by Boko Haram early this year, Buhari, as always, was unconcerned. When he was, as is now customary, compelled by deafening public outcry to visit Borno, he showed zero empathy for the people.

He never uttered a single word of comfort to the people and never even visited the real theater of bloodshed in the town of Auno. Instead, he blamed the people, as he has done elsewhere whenever he is forced to pay visits, for their sorrows. “This Boko Haram or whoever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or its environs to attack without the local leadership knowing,” he said on February 13, 2020.

While he blames the poor for their personal tragedies and does absolutely nothing to attenuate their hurt, he goes to London to treat his illnesses, including even mere ear infections.

Abba Kyari was reported to have gone to London on December 2, 2016 to treat “breathing problems” at taxpayers’ expense, and Punch reported on March 25, 2020 that “Doctors attending to the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, have obtained his medical records from Wellington Hospital, St. John’s Wood, London,” suggesting that none of Kyari’s medical records exist in any Nigerian hospital.

And while northern Nigerian Muslim masses were slaughtering rams and getting rapturous in prayers for Buhari’s recovery when he fell critically ill in 2017, the man was receiving modern, world-class treatment in London at the cost of millions of dollars from the public treasury. He didn’t attribute his sickness to divine affliction. In fact, when he returned home, he rhapsodized over the medical advances in UK hospitals, as if to mock everyday Nigerians who couldn’t afford to go to London to treat their illnesses.

In Nigeria, before coronavirus, when the rich were sick, they sought the best medical treatment abroad while the poor at home prayed for them to recover, but when the poor are sick, the rich tell them they are suffering divine punishment for their moral failings.

Why should ordinary people who are the victims of the callous ineptitude and lack of empathy of their leaders be invited to show compassion to their leaders now in their moment of helplessness? Why shouldn’t the poor celebrate that the rich are also crying and have nowhere to go but the same hospitals they allowed to rot for years?

At the same time, hate and other kinds of toxic emotions do more violence to the people who harbor them than they do to people to whom they are directed.  While I won’t tell anyone to love people who hate them, I’d only counsel that hate is both ineffective and self-annihilating.

Nonetheless, there is an additional reason why people are antsy about Buhari’s health, particularly in light of his suspicious seclusion from the public: it uncannily evokes memories of how the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s health was managed.

This is not the first time this is being done. In my June 11, 2016 column titled “The Yar’aduaization of Buhari’s Health by His Media Adviser,” I pointed out that, “In more ways than one, the media handling of [Buhari’s] health eerily recalls how former presidential spokesman Segun Adeniyi and what infamously came to be known as ‘the Yar’adua cabal’ managed the late President Yar’adua’s health and robbed him of the sympathy he deserved from Nigerians.

“Everything about his health was cloaked in secrecy and doublespeak. The truth and the Nigerian nation also became casualties of the president’s sickness. (I’m not by any means implying that the same fate that befell Yar’adua would befall Buhari; I am only comparing the media handling of the health of the two leaders).

“There is nothing to be ashamed of in sickness. It’s a garment we all must periodically wear in the course of our ephemeral earthly existence.”

The exact same thing is happening again. Nigerians suspect that Buhari has contracted coronavirus and is probably in a bad shape now, made even worse by the fact that he can’t go abroad, as he always does, for medical treatment. Wildly morbid rumors and disconcerting conspiracy theories are being spun daily on social media.

Instead of telling the truth, or getting Buhari to address the nation in a live broadcast, his media team posted a still photo of him looking blankly at a piece of paper on social media as evidence that he is strong, healthy, and working hard in his office. Never mind that they had said the entire presidential villa had been evacuated and was being fumigated.

The current senseless, unintelligent lies and propaganda are a replay of the Yar’adua saga. But when government information managers lie this shamelessly, they rob their principals of compassion from the governed when tragedy befalls them.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Buhari’s “Kovik One Nine” Pronunciational Mishap Proves My Saturday Column

By Farooq A. Kperogi
Twitter:@farooqkperogi

After so much pressure, which my widely shared Saturday Tribune back-page column added to, the Aso Rock cabal finally forced Buhari, a dementia-plagued, insentient old geezer who masquerades as "president," to address the nation today on the new Coronavirus.

Although his speech was pre-recorded, (which means it wasn't live), his handlers couldn't get him to retake the portion where he mispronounced COVID-19 as "Kovik one nine"! And the video clip of the mortifying pronunciational disaster was shared on social media by Buhari's paid social media aide by the name of Bashir Ahmad.

Incompetence is supposed to be the strong suit of the Buhari regime, but they've shown themselves to be incredibly incompetent at even being incompetent!

More crucially, though, the video is powerful, irrefutable evidentiary proof of my assertions (which I repeated in my Saturday Tribune column) that Buhari is too wracked by the ravages of dementia to even know what's happening around him, much less in the world.

There’s no sentient, living being on this earth today— and certainly no world leader—who doesn’t know that there’s a global pandemic tipping over the world that is called the new coronavirus or COVID-19. Watch the video below:

Apparently, his speech writer avoided “coronavirus” because Buhari’s dementia-inspired speech impediment would make him slur the word. COVID-19 is easier to say, yet Buhari bungled it. He obviously had never heard it said anywhere even when it's the most commonly heard word on earth now.

That is all the evidence you need to know that Buhari is practically in the land of the living dead. As I said in my Saturday column, Nigeria is currently presidentless.

Postscript:
Buhari's social media aide, Bashir Ahmad, took down the video clip of Buhari's 27-second broadcast a few hours after this post, which went viral on social media. But the video has already been downloaded and shared by millions of people. As usual, Buhari's handlers chose to close the stable door after the horse has bolted!

Related Articles:
Coronavirus: Why Buhari Won't Address Nigerians

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Coronavirus: Why Buhari Won’t Address Nigerians

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

In most parts of the world, it feels like the world has come to, or is coming to, an end. Routines have been displaced. Familiar reality has been ruptured. Even habitual perceptions of the world around us are being disrupted. And people are gripped by immobilizing panic and anxiety.

In stressful, uncertain moments like this, people look up to their national leaders for assurance, for psychological comfort, for emotional stability, for guidance, for good cheer. Most leaders have lived up to this expectation. They have addressed their compatriots in national broadcasts and become consolers in chief. Well, except Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari.

Amid spiraling apprehension about the new coronavirus and the uptick in the number of infections in the country, there has been unnervingly loud silence from the man who calls himself Nigeria’s “president.”

The quietude from the Presidential Villa in the midst of potentially one of the world’s worst pandemics has been so disturbing that citizens have been literally pleading to hear from the man who claims to be their president.

Even Nigeria’s infamously pliant, “rubber-stamp” Senate, which takes pride in being at the beck and call of the executive, has called on Buhari to address the nation. But one of Buhari’s media aides said such calls from the senate amounted to “populism and cheap politics”!

Why can’t Buhari address the nation? What’s the big deal about a 5-minute (or less) televised address to the nation that someone will write for him? Well, the truth, which I’ve been pointing out since 2018, is that Buhari is too steeped in battles with his own personal demons to care about Nigerians.

Buhari is not well. A televised broadcast, however short, might expose and aggrandize this fact more forcefully than ever before. Notice that in previous broadcasts that his handlers felt compelled to ask him to make, he evinced noticeably low energy and slurred his speech.

On November 23, 2018, I tweeted about my encounter with a doctor who met Buhari in a non-medical context and told me, based on his treatment of and interactions with dementia patients, he was convinced that Buhari has dementia which, as I’ve pointed out before, is often characterized by repetitiveness, unawareness, mental deterioration, impaired memory, diminished quality of thought, slurred speech, and finally complete helplessness.

When I first pointed this out, a few people thought I was being malicious in the service of my opposition to his reelection. Now even close aides of Buhari admit in private that I was right. People who have had a chance to interact with him recently also concede that Buhari appears to be wracked by an irreversible mental decline and loss of control.

He stays no longer than 10 minutes at Federal Executive Council meetings and goes there only for photo ops to deceive Nigerians into thinking that he is in charge when, in fact, he is a sick puppy. It isn’t his fault that he is sick. Anyone, including me, can fall ill. I concede that. But Nigeria is too complex to be governed by a sick, insentient person.

If Buhari had any honor, he would have declined to seek a second term on account of his health and for the love of the people of Nigeria. But his ambition and greed are greater than his patriotism and integrity.

Now, Nigeria is officially “presidentless” not just because Buhari’s current mandate is brazenly rigged and therefore illegitimate but because Buhari has no mental presence to rule. Abba Kyari, his Chief of Staff, no longer conceals the fact that he is the one who calls the shots in the Presidential Villa—and in Nigeria. A March 10, 2020 news report in ThisDay, for instance, said Kyari was in Germany on behalf of Nigeria to hold talks with Siemens “on improved power” in the country.

That’s not the duty of a chief of staff. But anyone who doesn’t know by now that Abba Kyari is Nigeria’s unelected (perhaps unelectable) surrogate president must be living under the rock. But because he isn’t officially the president, not to mention the fact that he has severe speech impediments, he can’t address the nation.

 So the first reason Buhari won’t address the nation is that doing so would expose his state of mental and physical health. A sick, ghostly “president” slurring his speech in a televised national broadcast would probably spook the nation more ominously than coronavirus can.

The second reason is that Buhari is in a grievous bind now. He was supposed to go to London for a medical checkup in February, but the leak of this information on social media and on fringe news websites caused his handlers to postpone it by a few weeks— after, as usual, declaring that the leak was “fake news.”

The halt of all air travel to the UK—and, of course, the fear of contracting coronavirus in London—has ensured that Buhari can’t go to London. This must be one moment when he wished he built at least one state-of-the-art hospital in Abuja.

Given the horrible state of healthcare in Nigeria (which was made even worse by Buhari’s serial neglect of the sector in the time he has been “president”) and the inability to go on medical tourism anywhere else in the world, I would be shocked if Buhari is even remotely in a position to address the nation.

So Nigerians eager to hear from the man who says he is their president will have to contend with dishonest presidential press releases that purport to emanate from Buhari’s words, but which are actually ordered by Abba Kyari. Yemi Osinbajo is of no consequence any more.

Of course, even when Buhari was healthy and mentally alert, empathy, compassion, and fellow feeling were not his strong suits. He is a solipsistic narcissist who has no capacity for vicarious identification with the plight of people who are not directly related to him.

So it’s unfair to implicate only his physiological and mental decline in his insensitivity to the anxieties and dread of everyday people. His ill health only brought his cold detachment from people into bolder, more visible relief.

To be fair to him, though, people who are worshipped by as many stupid people as Buhari has been worshipped most of his adult life tend to suffer compassion deficit. A lot of his worshippers are now realizing that they wasted their emotions on a man who doesn’t care a tinker’s damn about them. But the most hopeless of them persist in their folly.

In Nigeria, the new coronavirus isn’t just threatening people and upending their ways of life, it is also exposing the crying leadership deficit in the country and the fraud that is packaged as the country’s “president.” I hope we all come out of this alive.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ganduje is a Monster, But Sanusi Is Not a Victim

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

Governor Abdullahi “Gandollar” Ganduje is no doubt a contemptibly philistine monster of avarice and debauchery who dethroned Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Emir of Kano because he couldn’t stomach the former emir’s disapproval of the electoral fraud that brought him to power.

There is also no doubt that Sanusi’s unrelenting public censures of the rotten, if time-honored, cultural quiddities of the Muslim North discomfited many people who are invested in the status quo, and this became one of the convenient bases for his ouster.

But Sanusi isn’t nearly the victim he has been cracked up to be by his admirers and defenders. First, he rode to the Kano emirship in 2014 on the crest of a wave of emotions stirred by partisan politics and came down from it the same way.

Even though he wasn’t initially on the shortlist of Kano’s kingmakers, APC's Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso (who is now in PDP) made Sanusi emir in 2014 to spite PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan and shield Sanusi from the consequences of his unmasking of multi-billion-dollar corruption at the NNPC. Apart from his unceremonious removal as CBN governor for his whistle blowing, he was going to face other untoward retributions from the Jonathan administration, but his appointment as emir put paid to it.

Now, Sanusi lost his emirship to the same partisan politics that got it for him in the first place. In an ironic twist, he was made emir by an APC government for making privileged revelations that disadvantaged a PDP government, and was removed as an emir by an APC government for his overt and covert acts that could have benefited the PDP in 2019.

In other words, Sanusi’s emirship was molded in the crucible of partisan politics and was dissolved in it.

Nonetheless, Sanusi, given his intellectual sophistication and pretenses to being an advocate of egalitarianism, had no business being an emir. Monarchy is way past its sell-by date not just in Nigeria but everywhere. It’s an anachronistic, vestigial remnant of a primitive past that invests authority on people by mere accident of heredity. Any authority that is inherited and not earned, in my opinion, is beneath contempt.

Emirship isn’t only a primeval anomaly in a modern world, it is, in fact, un-Islamic. In Islam, leadership is derived from knowledge and the consensus of consultative assemblies of communities called the Shura, not from heredity.

 Monarchies in the Muslim North, which have constituted themselves into parasitic, decadent drains on the society but which pretend to be Islamic, are grotesque perversions of the religion they purport to represent. Anyone, not least one who makes pious noises about equality, that is denied the unfair privileges of monarchy is no victim.

Most importantly, though, Sanusi embodies a jarring disconnect between high-minded ideals and lived reality. He rails against child marriage in public but married a teenager upon becoming an emir. When the late Pius Adesanmi called him out, he told him to “grow a brain.” He suddenly became the patron saint of conservative Muslim cultural values.

He expended considerable intellectual energies critiquing polygamy among poor Muslim men, but he is married to four wives. His defense, of course, would be that he can afford it, and poor Muslim men can’t. Fair enough. But transaction-oriented reformists lead by example.

Fidel Castro, for example, stopped smoking when he campaigned against it. It would be nice to say to poor, polygamous Muslim men, “Why are you, a poor man, married to four wives when Sanusi, a wealthy man and an emir, is married to just one wife?”

That would have had a much higher impact than his preachments. In spite of their moral failings, Buhari, Abba Kyari, and Mamman Daura would be much more effective campaigners against disabling polygamy by poor Muslim men than Sanusi can ever be because they are monogamists even when they can afford to marry four wives.

This is a legitimate critique since Sanusi has a choice to not call out poor Muslim men who marry more wives than they can afford since polygamy is animated by libidinal greed, which is insensitive to financial means.

Sanusi habitually fulminates against the enormous and inexorably escalating poverty in the north, but even though he is an immensely affluent person, he has not instituted any systematic mechanism to tackle the scourge of poverty in the region in his own little way.

Instead, he spends hundreds of billions of naira to decorate the emir’s palace, buy exotic horses, and luxuriate in opulent sartorial regality.

And, although, he exposed humongous corruption during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and dollar racketeering during Buhari’s regime, he is himself an indefensibly corrupt and profligate person. In two well-researched investigative pieces in 2017, Daily Nigeria’s Jaafar Jaafar chronicled Sanusi’s mind-boggling corruption as emir of Kano, which apparently didn’t abate until he was dethroned.

Sanusi was ostensibly a Marxist when he studied economics at ABU, which explains why he exhibits flashes of radicalism in his public oratory, but he is, in reality, an out-of-touch, unfeeling, feudal, neoliberal elitist who is contemptuous, and insensitive to the suffering, of poor people.

He supported Jonathan’s petrol price hike in 2012 and even wondered why poor people were protesting since they had no cars, and generators, according to him, were powered by diesel, not petrol! 

When his attention was brought to the fact that only “subsidized” and privileged “big men” like him use diesel-powered generators, he backed down and apologized. But I found it remarkably telling that until 2012 Sanusi had no clue that the majority of Nigerians used petrol-powered generators to get electricity.

In a September 1, 2012 column titled, "Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Unwanted 5000 Naira Notes," I noted that Sanusi was "one of the most insensitive, out-of-touch bureaucrats to ever walk Nigeria’s corridors of power."

Again, in my December 10, 2016 article titled, "Dangerous Fine Print in Emir Sanusi's Prescription for Buhari," I wrote: "If you are a poor or economically insecure middle-class person who is writhing in pain amid this economic downturn, don’t be deceived into thinking that Emir Sanusi is on your side. He is not. His disagreements with Buhari have nothing to do with you or your plight. If he has his way, you would be dead by now because the IMF/World Bank neoliberal theology he evangelizes has no care for poor, vulnerable people."

On April 6, 2017, I wrote a Facebook status update that anticipated Sanusi’s dethronement and predicted that he might be president after his dethronement. I wrote:

“Did you pick up on the cryptic but devastating critique of Kano State Governor Ganduje’s government in Emir Sanusi’s wildly trending Kaduna speech? That’s gotta hurt. Remember that the power to appoint and dethrone traditional rulers rests exclusively with state governors. Now, pissing off the federal government AND the state government AND an entire region’s conservative cultural elites with bitter, uncomfortable truth-telling is a lethally combustible mix.

“I make no pretenses to possessing oracular powers (because I don't), but I predict that, like his grandfather, Emir Sanusi II will be deposed. But, unlike his grandfather, he may end up becoming Nigeria’s president after his dethronement. Kano’s loss would then be Nigeria’s gain which, in a strangely circuitous way, would also be Kano’s gain since Kano is part of Nigeria.

“Sanusi shouldn’t be Kano’s emir; he should be Nigeria’s president. I have strong disagreements with the neoliberal orthodoxy he subscribes to, but it would be nice to have a truly informed and educated man as president for once.”

Now, do I still want Sanusi to be Nigeria’s president? I am not too sure anymore. First, I doubt that the forces that got him out of the throne would allow him to become president, but should he decide to run for president in 2023, people who will vote for him should realize that he is neither a saint nor a victim.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Nigerian Trumptards Are the World’s Most Annoying Humans

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

There's nothing more annoying in the world right now than reading intellectually impoverished Nigerian Trump supporters writing puke-inducing, ill-informed garbage on American politics about which they have zero understanding.

Trump is an out-and-out, in-your-face, scorn-worthy racist who thinks black people, including his clueless Nigerian supporters, are subhumans. His immigrant visa ban on Nigeria is simultaneously designed to halt the growing population of black Africans in the United States, which Nigeria leads, and appeal to his xenophobic conservative base.

For instance, “Nigeria had the biggest drop in visitors to the US” in the world in 2019, according to data from National Travel & Tourism Office. This has roots in Trump’s racial animus against Nigerians (and, of course, other non-white people who come to or live in America).

Trump was widely quoted in January 2018 to have said he didn’t want immigration into the US from “shithole countries” like Nigeria and Haiti and instead wanted “more people coming in from places like Norway.” In other words, he wants only white immigrants.

In December 23, 2017, he was reported to have said people from Haiti and Nigeria should be denied visas because “15,000 Haitians who received US visas ‘all have AIDS’ and 40,000 Nigerians [who visited the US on tourist visas that year] would never ‘go back to their huts’ after seeing the US.”

And in 2016, Trump praised and promoted a book titled “Adios America” by American conservative activist Ann Coulter which, among other wild claims, said, “There were almost no Nigerians in the United States until the 1970s. Today there are 380,000,” which she said was a problem because “in Nigeria, every level of society is criminal.”

Trump’s claim that Nigeria was included in the immigrant visa ban because of “security” concerns is asinine at best. More than 90 percent of the terrorists who murdered Americans on September 11, 2001 were from Saudi Arabia. In fact, as recently as December 2019, a Saudi military trainee killed three Americans and wounded eight others in Florida.

No Nigerian has ever killed an American on American soil. Why is Saudi Arabia excluded from the list? Why are Nigerians, whom several surveys have shown as having one of the most favorable views of America in the world, excluded from gaining immigrant visas? Anti-black bigotry. Nothing more.

When you find Africans whose countries Trump, out of undisguised racial animus, called "shitholes" and "huts" and whom he has vowed to shut out of the US, praising and defending him, you know ignorance and internalized self-hatred run deep in the psyche of our people.

The worst part is that Nigerian Trumptards tend to be anti-Buhari. How can you love Trump and hate Buhari when they are more alike than unlike? If you defend Trump and attack Buhari, you need to see a psychiatrist and an educationist because you are both schizophrenic and uneducated.

Re: True Ethnic Origins of Nigeria’s Past Presidents and Heads of State
My February 15, 2020 column with the above title attracted more attention than I thought it would.  First, readers drew my attention to the omission of Sani Abacha’s name from the list of past heads of state. The omission was inadvertent. Abacha was a Kanuri man who was raised in Kano. His prominent Kanuri facial marks were the most visible stamps of his Kanuri ethnic identity.

Although Nnamdi Azikiwe was Nigeria’s first president, he had no executive powers. It would have been duplicative to list his name along with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa’s as Nigeria’s heads of state between 1960 and 1963.

 I regard Ernest Shonekan as an extension of IBB's regime. He neither won (or even rigged) an election nor staged a coup—the two primary ways people got/get to power in Nigeria—and merely ruled for IBB by proxy. In any case, the Igbo and Egba/Yoruba identities of Azikiwe and Shonekan are not in doubt.

So I'd rephrase the first paragraph of my concluding thoughts to, "A distribution of the paternal ethnic identities of Nigeria’s presidents and heads of state shows that the Hausa and the Fulani each had two, and Yoruba, Igbo, Gere, Angas, Kanuri, Ogbia, Tuareg, and Etsako (or Afenmai) each had one.

There was also a lot of controversy regarding the paternal identity of Murtala Mohammed. One reader from Kano wrote to say that “Murtala is not from Auchi but rather a Fulani of Gyanawa clan in Kano. You may wish to refer to a biography of the Gyanawa written by Ibrahim Ado Kurawa, titled 'GENEALOGY OF THE GYANAWA.”

Yet another reader from Kano rehabilitated the old myth that Murtala’s father was a Berom from Plateau State. 

And someone sent me a scanned copy of a June 10, 2007 Sun Newspaper interview where the late Major General David Ejoor claimed on page 13 of the paper that Murtala was Urhobo on his paternal side. “When he was head of state, his father came to see him,” he claimed. “Then he told his father, ‘All these years, you did not care for me. Now that I am head of state, you come. Go away. If I come down, I will kill you and I don’t want to commit murder.”

He claimed that Murtala’s father, who was supposedly called Irue, was a railway worker in Kano who married a Kano woman with whom he went to his hometown but whom he later divorced after marrying another woman. Murtala’s mother, he claimed, went back to Kano.

“After Murtala had finished primary school, he left for Kano to meet his mother. From there, he changed his surname to Muhammed, which is his mother’s father’s name,” he claimed. “So Murtala was an Urhobo man and that is why in his coup, he did not do anything against me. He knew we share the same Urhobo blood.”

I had never read this nor heard anyone even remotely suggest that Murtala Mohammed was paternally Urhobo. But it’s highly implausible that a Christian from the south would be allowed to “marry” a Muslim woman from Kano in the 1930s when Murtala was born.

Murtala Mohammed obviously doesn’t have the phenotypical features of a Fulani person, and could easily pass for a member of any of the ethnic groups often attributed to him. What is indisputable, though, is that, having been born and raised in Kano, he was culturally Hausa. I hope a living relative of his can intervene to put the question of his paternal ancestry to rest.

Lastly, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, whose family I referenced tangentially in the article, wrote to say that although the paternal ancestry of the Baba-Ahmed family in Zaria is indeed traceable to Mauritania where Tuaregs (also called Moors or Berbers) are more than half of the population, they are actually Arabs. Read his response below:

My name is Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed. I just read your column in Tribune on the ethnic origins of Nigeria’s past heads of state. You made reference to our family, Baba-Ahmed of Zaria, asserting that it is Tuareg, not Fulani as is mistakenly generally assumed.

I thought I should correct the error, believing that it was a genuine mistake on your part. Our father was Arab from the Talaba Clan and Shingit in Mauritania. Most people familiar with centuries of history of Arabs in Mauritania and their origins in Saudi Arabia will recognize this description.

 It is important to make this correction because, as you are aware, it is wrong in Islam to attribute wrong paternity or identity if the facts to avoid doing this are available. This is an ancestry we are both humbled by, and grateful for, the same way we are proud of our Nigerian nationality and identity.

The Tuaregs are a great people, and we would have been just as proud of a Tuareg ancestry if it was ours. But it is not, and it will be wrong to let go a major mis-classification of our family without an effort to correct it.

I hope you will be kind enough to correct this error, which, on the basis of the limited knowledge I have of you, I am sure was not intended.
 Thank you, and best regards.
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Supreme Court as Graveyard of Electoral Mandates

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

Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad’s Supreme Court will go down in history as easily Nigeria’s most blatant bastion of supreme injustice. In the last one year, it has shaped up to be the graveyard of electoral mandates.

It either sanctifies transparent electoral heists, such as Buhari’s blazing mandate theft, using the most astonishingly illogical arguments or reverses approximations of people’s choices such as in Zamfara, Imo, and Bayelsa. In inflicting legal violence on people’s choices, the Supreme Court appears to have no care for basic consistency.

In what seems like an attempt to compensate for its disastrously indefensible usurpation of the electoral mandate of former Imo State governor Emeka Ihedioha, the Supreme Court on February 13 overturned the mandate of  former Bayelsa State governor-elect David Lyon and his deputy governor-elect Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo because some names in the credentials the former deputy governor-elect presented to INEC have changed over time and have inconsistent spellings.

I initially thought Degi-Eremieoyo forged his certificates—like many Nigerian politicians do. But he apparently didn’t. He only changed his names—and the spellings of some—in the course of his life, and supported some of the changes with sworn affidavits. But the Supreme Court was persuaded that those changes were sufficient grounds to invalidate the legitimate votes he and his boss earned from Bayelsa voters.

This is both culturally insensitive and a violation of the sanctity of the vote. I will only discuss the cultural insensitivity of the judgment because it has implications for a whole host of Nigerians. Because there’s a vast disconnect between the colonially inherited orthography we use and the sound systems of our indigenous (and, in some cases, borrowed precolonial) languages, it’s impossible to maintain consistent spellings for all our names.

For instance, my credentials have many variants of the spelling of my first name. In my primary school certificate, my teacher spelled it as “Faruk,” and there’s nothing I can do about that. When I got to secondary school, I realized that the correct orthographic rendition of the name from Arabic is “Farooq,” so I adopted that spelling.

However, when Bayero University issued me my certificate, I saw that my name was spelled as “Farouk” even though I’ve never spelled it that way. Should I be held responsible for this? But it gets worse: my transcript spells my first name as “Farooq.” In other words, my certificate and my transcript have different spellings of the same name.

To make matters even more complicated, a few years after my graduation from the university, I changed my last name from Adamu, which is my father’s first name, to Kperogi, which is my family name that my father, uncles, and cousins, bear (bore in the case of my dad) as their last name.  Is the Supreme Court suggesting that I can’t win an election because of the differences in the spellings of my names and because I changed my last name to my family name?

The inconsistencies in the names we bear in Nigeria can sometimes start from our birth certificates. For instance, when I was born in a Baptist missionary hospital in my hometown, a white American nurse by the name of Miss Masters who delivered me and who could speak, read, and write my native Baatonu language, wrote my name as “Imoru Sabi” in my hospital birth certificate.

Apparently, my father told her my name was “Umar Farooq.” But she used her judgment to take only “Umar,” which she chose to write as “Imoru”—exactly the same way an uneducated Borgu person would pronounce Umar—and added “Sabi,” the generic name for every second son in Borgu, as my middle name.

For some reason, she entirely omitted “Farooq” (which she might have spelled as “Faruku” given her penchant for Borgu phonological fidelity) from my name, but that was the name by which I was known and called when I grew older. No one called me Umar or Sabi.

That was why when I came of age and my father handed my birth certificate to me, I told him it wasn’t mine. I knew I was Sabi by default since I am my parent’s second son, but no one ever called me that, and “Imoru” totally threw me off until my dad explained to me what had happened.

Muhammadu Buhari had similar issues. His father was called Adamu Bafale. His primary school certificate probably either lists Adamu or Danbafale as his last name. I say this because his late older brother, Mamman, was formally called Mamman Danbafale (Danbafale means “son of Bafale” in Hausa), so I won’t be surprised if either Adamu or Danbafale appears in Buhari’s primary school certificate.

In any case, Muhammadu and Buhari are his first and middle names. By the way, why doesn’t he bear a surname? Most importantly, though, the British colonial educators who registered Buhari at the Provincial Secondary School in Katsina spelled his name as “Mohamed,” and it’s that variant of his name’s spelling that still appears in his school certificate, which I am now convinced he actually has, contrary to widespread notions that he doesn’t.

However, although the official records of his secondary school spell his first name as “Mohamed,” he prefers to spell it as “Muhammadu.” In spite of the discrepancy between the official spelling of his name in his school certificate, about which he lied under oath that it was with military authorities instead of admitting that he had lost it, the Supreme Court said he was “eminently qualified” to stand for election.

If Buhari was “eminently qualified” in spite of the different spellings of and possible inconsistencies in his name from primary school to now, why should Degi-Eremienyo be disqualified? Why is what is good for Buhari bad for Degi-Eremienyo?

Now the elephant in the room is that Degi-Eremienyo is still a senator. If he was unqualified to be a deputy governor by reason of the inconsistent spellings of and changes to his name, can he be qualified to be a senator? Can his opponent sue to be declared the rightful senator of Bayelsa East Senatorial District even though he lost the election?

This goes to the heart of the doctrine of judicial precedent, which the Oxford Dictionary of Law defines as “judgement or decision of a Court used as an authority for reaching the same decision in subsequent cases.”

Clearly, Tanko’s Supreme Court, as I pointed out in my July 20, 2019 column titled “A‘Technically’ Incompetent Chief Justice of Nigeria,” doesn’t give a thought to precedents. That’s why its judgements are characterized by inconsistencies, and why there’s a spike in the number of lawyers who are asking the Court to review its judgements.

 “All over the world, courts rely on precedents to adjudicate current cases,” I wrote in my July 20, 2019 column. “Precedents may be modified, but they are rarely overturned without a compelling reason, certainly not within a few years after they were established. That is what legal scholars call stare decisis, that is, the doctrine that courts should follow precedent. A Chief Justice that is ignorant about something as basic as ‘technicality’ is unlikely to know what ‘precedent’ means, much less something as rarefied as the doctrine of stare decisis.”

If Nigeria had a real parliament, I would have suggested that the National Assembly pass a law to undo the judicial violence of Tanko’s Supreme Court. Well, this is what you get when every branch of government is an extension of a confused and feuding executive branch.