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

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Oh No! Prof. Maikaba is Dead, Too?

By Farooq A. Kperogi

I just literally woke up to the deeply troubling news of the death of Bayero University Kano’s Professor Balarabe Maikaba, who taught me research methods and statistics in mass communication in the early and mid-1990s.

The frighteningly unfolding tragedy in Kano that has seen scores of people dying “mysteriously” and “suddenly” has now hit me personally.

Professor Maikaba loved the quantitative dimensions of mass communication studies, which I dreaded-- and still do. I chose to study mass communication because I’m a pathetic numerophobe who is flustered by even the littlest arithmetic complexity. I'd assumed that mass communication was all words and no numbers.

So when I realized that we had to take a third-year course called “Statistics in Mass Communication,” I knew I was going to be in some big trouble. Professor Maikaba taught the course. Every single day that I attended class, I always had a nagging headache that mysteriously disappeared after the class was over.

Maikaba’s fondest phrase in the course that I still remember more than 25 years later was “Pearsonian correlation coefficient.” I don’t remember what it means, but he loved to say it. And it aggravated my situational headaches in his class!

I managed to pass the course with the lowest possible passing grade. It was the lowest grade I ever got in my entire post-secondary school career. More than half of the class failed it.

But I suspect that Maikaba was unusually lenient in grading me because he didn’t want the best student in the cohort to fail his course. I was overwrought with emotions when I discovered that I’d passed the course.

I wanted to thank him, but I had a habit of never getting chummy with my teachers. Plus, I really didn’t know what had happened. A few days after our grades were posted, I saw him, looked at him with gratitude, and he looked back with a smile on his face (which was rare), and said, “Farooq, that was a close call! Our best student would have had a carry-over!”

Professor Maikaba’s death is particularly tragic because it came a little over a month after he announced his older brother’s death on Facebook as this screenshot shows-- and on the heels of the death of two other professors—Professor Ibrahim Ayagi and Professor Aliyu Dikko—and many prominent and not so prominent Kano people.

The federal government can’t continue to pretend that something eerily macabre isn’t going on in Kano, Nigeria’s oldest surviving city. We must not let Kano be consumed by whatever is devastating it now. I’m gutted, but may Allah accept Professor Maikaba’s soul in Aljannah Firdaus.

"Cantankerous": The Word that Got the Late Prof. Ayagi a Job

By Farooq A. Kperogi

When I worked in the Presidential Villa between the twilight of former President Olusegun Obasanjo's first term and the incipience of his second term, I was told the story, by a close Obasanjo aide, of how the late Professor Ibrahim Ayagi got appointed as chairman of the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC) in 1999.

It was said that Obasanjo asked his close advisers to suggest suitable names for the position. They reeled out several names and mentioned their strong and weak points.

When they came to Ayagi, they said he was "brilliant but cantankerous." Obasanjo, who had never known or even heard about Ayagi, jumped up from his chair, interrupted the speaker, and asked, "Did you say he is cantankerous?"

The speaker answered in the affirmative and wondered why the president was particularly interested in that word. Then Obasanjo reportedly said, "I like cantankerous people! If he is brilliant and cantankerous, I want him. This meeting is over!"

Since I heard this story in 2002, I have always mentally associated the word "cantankerous" with Professor Ayagi whenever I encounter it. I don't know why.

When I read that Professor Ayagi died yesterday in Kano at the age of 80, I remembered the story again--and of, course, the word "cantankerous." Words do indeed matter.

May Professor Ayagi's soul rest in peace and in aljannah firdaus.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Psychology Behind the Unexpected Beatification of Abba Kyari

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

Many people are troubled by what appears to be a carefully coordinated cascade of cloying, revisionist, and, in some cases, outright mendacious posthumous rhetorical rehabilitation of Abba Kyari by people who had misled their readers into seeing them as disinterested sentinels of the wielders of power.

The summary of all the gushy Kyari tributes is basically this: Abba Kyari was an uncommonly kind, deeply intellectual, obsessively bibliophilic, fiercely loyal, hardworking, cosmopolitan Nigeria who had more loyalty to Nigeria than he had to his primordial ethnic, regional, or religious constituencies, and who didn’t have even a fraction of the power and influence often attributed to him.

Every empirical evidence that contradicts the torrents of synchronized, saccharine, superhuman portraits of Kyari, his friends want the world to believe, is mere conspiratorial whisper that is wholly dissociated from reality.

 Kyari, his friends imply, was a nearly flawless saint. Lack of access to him caused some people to unjustly demonize him. But his confidence in the favorable judgement of history—and of his boss, to whom he was loyal like nobody had ever been in human history—restrained him from correcting reputationally injurious falsehoods against him that took firm roots in the media and in the national popular imagination.

If my recapitulation of the tributes strikes you as annoyingly hagiographic, exaggeratedly mawkish, and overly disingenuous, it is because they really are. And they are dangerous for at least three reasons.

One, there is no one on the surface of this earth who is that perfect. Most people are smart enough to know that. People who peddle a narrative that a human being is untouched by any stain, and that evidence to the contrary is a consequence of “sponsored attacks,” are two-bit spin doctors. It’s worse if they’re journalists.

Two, the minority of people who believe effusive, sanitized, pumped-up portraits of people often suffer self-esteem deficits. They vicariously compare themselves to the perfect person and come up short. They can’t relate to perfection because perfection is not a human quality.

Third, when unassailable and irrefutably firm evidence emerges that contradicts the unrealistic idealization and deodorization contained in posthumous tributes, the reputation of the target of such tributes falls precipitously and irrecoverably.

Nonetheless, I know why people who personally knew Abba Kyari have chosen to venerate him after death. Personal access reveals a part of people’s personality traits that is often concealed to the public.

The English proverb that says “Familiarity breeds contempt” is not always true. Familiarity can also activate warmth and deep connection. It allows some people to become captives of other people’s charm offensives.

In the late 1990s, a senior northern journalist who used to be censorious of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida finally met him for an interview. That meeting radically overhauled his opinion of the general. He told me—and other young reporters—that anyone who wanted to sustain his hatred and resentment of IBB should not get close to him. “You might go from hating him to loving him,” he said. For some reason, those words have stuck in my mind like glue.

Personal familiarity with people changes perspectives about them. I can guarantee that people who have met Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau have a view of him that departs radically from the mainstream characterizations of him.

This might seem like a wild stretch, but people who want to engage in a guilt-free denunciation of Shekau for all his atrocities should do so now while he is alive because in the aftermath of his death, we might be deluged with a cornucopia of syrupy tributes from people who had personal access to him and who can attest to his charm, warmth, humanity, faculty of humor, pan-Nigerianism, and intolerance to injustice. We might read how he was misunderstood and maligned by people who didn’t know him.

No one—not even Shekau, Hitler, Mussolini, etc.— is entirely bad. Personal, often privileged, access to otherwise notorious, reviled personages allows us to see their good sides. But should journalists court and cultivate the friendship of people in power to the point of becoming their spin doctors?

Anyone with even the most rudimentary familiarity with the ethics of journalism would know that journalists should not be chummy with the people they cover or comment on. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics enjoins journalists to “Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.”

Many of us who write critical commentaries about governance have rejected opportunities to have privileged personal access to the people we write about. For instance, between 2018 and 2019, I repulsed invitations to meet with Atiku Abubakar or to join his campaign.

Similarly, a few northern governors and a minister had told me they had arranged a meeting between Buhari and me to “reconcile” our “differences.” I politely rebuffed their overtures. Sometime last year, a friend who is close to the inner circles of power in the Villa told me Abba Kyari had proposed to give me a “juicy” appointment that I couldn’t resist but that a minister and a top Buhari aide who know me personally said I would not only reject the appointment, I might disclose it publicly.

I don’t know how true this claim is, but the minister and the presidential aide certainly know me well enough to know that my criticism of government isn’t animated by self-aggrandizement. If I wanted to be wealthy from access to people in government, the Buhari regime is one government where I would have “hit it big.”

I know more people at close quarters in the regime than I ever did in any government in Nigeria. I admit, though, that it is easy for me to sustain my independence and spurn invitations to partake in the looting of the public treasury because I have an independent source of livelihood as a university teacher in America.

You can’t say the same of journalists who work for newspapers that don’t pay salaries and that brazenly tell their reporters and editors to use their work ID cards as their “meal tickets.” For such reporters and editors, privileged personal access to people in power is an existential necessity. Their very survival depends on it.

The flurry of frenzied posthumous canonizations of Abba Kyari—and the revelations of the privileges that access to Kyari conferred— by supposedly detached, non-partisan journalists speak to the death of any pretense to ethical journalism in Nigeria.

Nonetheless, I’m generally an advocate for posthumous kindness to the dead, not so much because of the dead for whom such kindness is actually pointless but for the survivors of the dead. I lost my wife to a car crash in 2010. I can’t tell you how much the kind words written about her sustained me in my most difficult moments.

Whatever Abba Kyari was, he left behind a wife and children who didn’t make for him the choices that made him a byword for scorn and opprobrium. His family members deserve to read celebrations of his good deeds from people who are familiar with them.

In my December 3, 2011 column titled “Femi Kusa’s Perverse Dance on Ibru’s Grave,” I wrote that “it's distasteful and insensitive to the survivors of the dead to so carelessly traduce their departed kin just days after his passing. Of course, clearly evil people who brought death and misery to large swaths of people are exempt from this consideration.”

Abba Kyari was a public official who directly influenced public policy, whose choices had consequences for millions of Nigerians. I have no problems with people who traduced him in death even though I wouldn’t do that, but I also have no problems with people who have chosen to celebrate the good sides of him that weren’t available to the public.

What I have a lot of problems with is bending the truth to defend him, such as saying he had no influence in the Buhari regime, which is undermined by the fact that even serving governors, ministers, and senators want to occupy his position.

I also have problems with the demonization of people who are giving expression to their genuine angst over the untoward choices he made when he was alive. Kyari might not have been the devil, but he was no saint either.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Chief of Staff as President Without Title and Buhari’s Babysitter

By Farooq A. Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

The Daily Trust of April 22 reported that there are at least “37 APC top shots” competing for the position of the Chief of Staff to Buhari. The names include serving governors and ministers. There’s no precedent for this in Nigeria’s history.

Now, ask yourself: why would governors and ministers want to give up all their guaranteed privileges for a position that isn’t even recognized by the constitution?

The answer lies in what I’ve been saying about Buhari for the last few years: that people close to him know that he is an infirm, diffident, intellectually insecure, and congenitally inept person who needs someone to do his job for him.

In other words, he has no capacity to perform the functions his position requires of him, but because he loves the title, attention, and perks that the position confers on him, he needs a babysitter, a political and intellectual babysitter.

Between December 1983 and August 1985 when he was a military dictator, that babysitter was Tunde Idiagbon. From May 2015 until this month, that babysitter was mostly Abba Kyari. In other words, these 37 APC top shots vying to be his Chief of Staff are positioning themselves to be president without portfolio. That’s as good as being president without standing for an election.

In my October 19, 2019 Saturday Tribune back-page column titled “Buhari’s House of Commotion and Mamman Daura’s ‘Glass House’,” I pointed out that Buhari has an enduringly infantile craving for a paternal dictatorship.

I chalked up Buhari’s primal longing for babysitting to the fact that he lost his father at an early age and didn’t quite experience sustained paternal guidance. He reminds me of a scholar I met here in the US who has never published a single-authored article or book even when he can. Because of a psychic lack in his formative years, he said, he feels vulnerable and inadequate without at least a second author.

For years, Mamman Daura served as Buhari’s emotional and intellectual fortress and father figure, although they are only about three years apart in age.

Daura introduced Buhari to the Kaduna Mafia, according to Professor Stephen Ellis’ book titled “This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organized Crime,” which I referenced in my February 22, 2020 column titled “The Tragedy of the Abba Kyari Surrogate Presidency.”

If Buhari is sentient enough to make his own choice, which no one can guarantee at this time, he would most likely defer to Mamman Daura who is likely to recommend Education Minister Adamu Adamu, Buhari’s long-time associate and speechwriter who co-babysat him intellectually during his previous unsuccessful runs for president.

Bottomline: People in the inner circles of power in Nigeria know that Buhari is a barely living airhead who needs someone to make decisions for him.

How to Know if Aisha Buhari Takes Charge of Nigeria

First shared on Facebook and Twitter on April 21, 2020

There're two ways to know if Mrs Aisha Buhari, rather than members of the cabal, is wearing the trousers of the Buhari regime.

1) If Buba Marwa gets appointed as Chief of Staff to the President.

2) If my former teacher Garba Shehu is fired.

If only 1 of 2 above happens, it means Aisha and the cabal are sharing the trousers. If none happens, it means the cabal is still intact and in control.

Note, though, that Aisha, in spite of what she wants you to believe, isn't better than members of the cabal. They're all greedy power mongers who don't give a hang about everyday Nigerians.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Abba Kyari's Death, End of a Surrogate Presidency, and the Coming Chaos

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

To say I was shocked by Abba Kyari's death would be to tell a lie. Being an asthmatic patient who routinely had "breathing problems" that necessitated periodic trips to London hospitals—in addition to being a diabetic who was older than 65—it would have been nothing short of miraculous if he survived COVID-19.

In spite of who he was, especially the last five years of his life on earth, as a Muslim, I won't speak ill of him in death. But I won't write undeserving and deodorizing posthumous extolments of him, either. That would be as bad as, or even worse than, celebrating his death.

With Kyari's death, Nigeria is now truly leaderless. Buhari is practically in the land of the living dead. He's a breathing mannequin whose only reason for living is to prove he isn't dead in order to justify the continuity of the rule in his name.

Abba Kyari ruled the country on Buhari's behalf. In my viral February 22, 2020 column titled, "The Tragedy of the Abba Kyari Surrogate Presidency," this line appeared: "Sometime in the midpoint of last year, a northern retired general told me Abba Kyari said in private that people who vilify him don’t realize that without him Nigeria would be rudderless and descend into chaos."

Now, he is gone, and the chaos he talked about would start in the coming days and weeks. Mamman Daura, Buhari's nephew who introduced Kyari to Buhari, isn't only old (he is now in his early 80's) he is also now isolated from Buhari thanks to Kyari.

Babagana Kingibe who has been acting on Kyari's behalf and who will probably formally replace him, doesn't quite know Buhari in the same way that Abba Kyari did.

There is a yawning, potentially disorienting power vacuum in the presidential villa now, which actually emerged really visibly since Kyari went out of circulation before his eventual death.

Watch out for Aisha Buhari to assert herself more aggressively and to work to grab power in the fashion that Turai Yar'adua did. In fact, she already started this the moment Kyari took ill.

One of the first things Aisha did was to cause Jalal Arabi, Permanent Secretary of the State House and Kyari's dutiful protege, to be redeployed from the Villa.

The remnants of the cabal will, of course, fight back. But the fight between Aisha and members of the cabal who are merely Kyari's proteges, would be a fight in the dark because Buhari who is supposed to intervene is an insentient being who's barely aware he's alive.

The in-fighting will create noticeable cracks in the Buhari group that Osinbajo, Tinubu, and other interest groups would exploit to feather their nests and advance their interests. In other words, in the coming days and months, expect the cessation of any pretense to governance and an unprecedentedly factious, dog-eat-dog, recriminatory fight between competing power blocs.

Related Article:
The Tragedy of the Abba Kyari Surrogate Presidency

Fraud, Revolt, and Impossible Coronavirus Choices Before Nigeria

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

Should Nigeria lock down and risk mass deaths from hunger and, worse, the cruelly fatal irony of security operatives killing people in the bid to save them from themselves? (The National Human Rights Commission said security operatives have killed more Nigerians than COVID-19 has.) Or should Nigeria open its economy and hope against hope that the virus won’t infect and kill enough people to warrant a total lockdown?

Both options are fraught with potentially tragic consequences. The nature of the Nigerian social structure makes a total lockdown of the country a herculean task. Nigerian residential areas that are home to poor people are often overly crowded. In big cities like Lagos and Kano, underclass men, women, and children who are not necessarily family members share common rooms and other interactional spaces, which makes social and physical distancing impossible to observe.
Photo credit: Sahara Reporters

As I indicated last week, informal, day-to-day, hand-to-mouth transactions are the pulse of the Nigerian economy. Stopping these without providing an alternative is nothing but slow, painful mass slaughter by default.

So far, governments at all levels have shown themselves to be fatally incompetent at giving relief to those who need it the most, which is more than 70 percent of the Nigerian population. The Lagos State government that I commended last week has turned out to be disastrously inept at taking care of its citizens.

 It’s no surprise that there is violent rebellion in Lagos now. Expect the democratization of citizen insurgence all over the country if relief isn’t forthcoming amid the starvation brought about by government-enforced shuttering of the economy.

Citizen resentment isn’t actuated by just the hunkering down of the economy, but also by the naked fraud being perpetrated by agents of government in the name of providing “palliatives” to the weakest members of the society.

The minister of humanitarian affairs who, giving her history of stealing food donated to helpless IDPs, is like a wolf guarding over sheep in her current role as the chief distributor of relief money to “poor and vulnerable” people, can’t tell a consistent lie about how she’s distributing money to the “poor.”

After government’s social media’s defenders’ lie that a World Bank/IMF database was being used to determine poor people in need of government handouts was exposed, the minister said she was dependent on “community leaders” to identify people in dire straits in their localities.

But who determines who a community leader is? And how are we sure local politics won’t determine whom these so-called community leaders include and exclude for government’s cash handouts? It has already come to light that people are being shortchanged in many parts of the country.

In a chat with State House correspondents on April 15, the humanitarian affairs minister again changed the criteria she said she will use to share the additional funds approved by Buhari in his last nationwide broadcast.

“One, we are going to use the national social register that we already have,” she said. “Two, we are also going to focus on the urban poor as I mentioned, by using their verified BVN accounts to get them, that is, people that have an account balance of N5,000 and below. We are also using the mobile networks to know people that top up the credit units for their phones with maybe N100 or less.”

When you shut down an economy whose engine is fired by poor, daily income earners, you need to send money to at least 70 percent of the population. This is no longer just about “poor and vulnerable people”; it’s about almost everybody whose source of livelihood has been frozen by the shut down of the economy.

I know the predictable retort would be that Nigeria isn’t wealthy enough to give cash to most of its citizens like advanced economies are doing. My response is, if the Nigerian political elite would give up just an inch of their greed, there would be enough for everyone’s need in these difficult times.

Plus, several countries, organizations, and people have donated large sums of money to the Nigerian government to help it fight COVID-19. For instance, several wealthy Nigerians have been reported to have collectively donated billions of naira to the federal government. The European Union also supported Nigeria’s COVID-19 fight with a 50-million-euros donation, which is equivalent to about 21 billion naira.

But Lai Mohammed said donations to the government to fight COVID-19 won’t be shared with people whose lives have ground to a halt because of the lockdown of the economy. So should the economy be opened since government is both unwilling and unable to assist people whose source of livelihood has been cut off by the lockdown?

Well, the example from Sweden, which has defied global practice by refusing to shutter its economy in response to COVID-19, is frightening. The country of some 10 million people has one of the world’s worst escalating climbs in the number of COVID-19 infections and by far the worst mortality in percentage terms.

While the mortality rate from COVID-19 is between 1 and 5 percent in most parts of the world, it is well over 10 percent in Sweden. As of April 17, of the country’s 13,216 cases, 1,400 have died and only 550 have recovered. Imagine this happening in a country of 200 million people. That would amount to at least 2 million deaths.

We like to comfort ourselves by thinking— and saying—that tragedies are things that happen to “other” people. We started out by saying black people are immune from the coronavirus. When it emerged that about 70 percent of Americans who have died from the virus are black, the narrative has now changed to Africa is immune from the virus because of its hot weather.

I also want to believe that, but the example of Saudi Arabia, which is hotter than most countries in Africa, should serve as a cautionary tale. It is always better to err on the side of caution. But I also know that Nigeria is confronted by uneasy, impossible choices.

The Coming Post-COVID-19 Rebranding
Many organizations, products, people, and even language choices will need rebranding in the aftermath of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. I will only highlight a few because of the constraints of space.

The first is the beer brand called Corona Extra. No one will ever want to drink that beer again. In fact, as of April 3, the company that produces it stopped production entirely. Of course, Virus Vodka, a type of beer that is popular in the United States, is toast, too.

A viral social media meme puts bottles of Corona Extra and Virus Vodka side by side and jokes that the new coronavirus was caused by a cocktail of Corona Extra and Virus Vodka! I doubt that these products can survive the brand-annihilating jokes about them in the world now.

Corona Secondary School near Lagos, one of the country’s oldest and finest high schools, may also have to rebrand. No one would be comfortable sending their children to a school named “Corona,” however good and storied the school might be.

But while products and organizations can change their names to avoid association with the coronavirus, people can’t. For instance, what can people who bear Obanikoro do? There are already Nigerian social media jokes that translate the name from Yoruba to English as “Oba has koro” [I.e., the king has coronavirus]. (“Koro” has emerged as the preferred short form for the novel coronavirus in Nigeria’s vernacular registers).

This is particularly bad for popular Lagos politician Musiliu Obanikoro whose nickname is, in fact, “Koro”! His political opponents will most probably mine his nickname for all manner of devious rhetorical contortions.

Finally, the Nigerian Pidgin English expression “I see am with my koro-koro eyes” [I saw it with the naked eye] will now have a whole other meaning. It might cause people to bolt in terror when someone utters it because “koro-koro” eyes could be mistaken for eyes that are infected with the coronavirus!

Friday, April 17, 2020

It is “as of” NOT “as at”

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

Many reporters in Nigeria have asked me privately if the phrase “as at,” which many Nigerian newspapers deploy to indicate a specific time frame, is grammatical. I’ve chosen to make the answer public and hope that prospective questioners will see it, which should obviate the need to ask me again.

The conventional prepositional phrase used in Standard English to indicate a specific date or time is “as of,” as in, “As of April 17, 2020, 430 people have tested positive for COVID-19.” Or "As of today, 50 people have died from COVID-19."

The phrase “as at” is used only in the idiosyncratic phraseology of (British) accountants to mean “as of.” Because "as at" isn't in general use outside accounting, you won’t find it in many conventional dictionaries. Most everyday native English speakers would, in fact, probably be mystified by it.

In other words, “as at” is almost entirely absent in the demotic speech of native speakers, although it has emerged as a part of the lexical repertoire of Nigerian journalese.

In my December 17, 2009 grammar column titled, “10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions,” the phrase “as at the time of filing this report” was number 3.

I wrote: “Well, the correct expression, which is actually a fixed prepositional phrase, is ‘AS OF,’ not ‘as at.’ So that sentence should read: ‘As of the time of filing this report.’ This solecism has sadly percolated deep into the conventions of Nigerian English in general.”

Related Articles:
10 Most Annoying Nigerian Media English Expressions
Politics of Grammar Column

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Why Do Nigerians Call "Fufu" "Swallow"?

By Farooq A. Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

My all-American teenage daughter asked me from what Nigerian language "swolo" was derived. I had no idea what she was talking about.

"Swolo? What's that?" I asked.

"Swolo like pounded yam, fufu, bataru [amala] that you love so much!" she said.

"Oh! So you meant to say "swallow?" I said, thinking I was correcting her.

It turned out that she had never imagined that the dough-like west African staple food we mold into morsels, mix with soup, and swallow without chewing was called "swallow." She didn't think it was an English word, and misheard it as "swolo."

"Why is it called swallow in Nigeria?" she asked.

"It's because, unlike other foods, we swallow it without chewing it," I said.

That didn't make any sense to her. She said, for starters, when we "force" her to eat fufu, she chews it before swallowing it. So the justification for calling it "swallow" didn't apply to her--and her siblings.

And this is the one that got me: since we swallow water without chewing it first, she asked, why don't Nigerians call water "swallow." Ha!

In any case, she insisted, after all is said and done, all food is ultimately swallowed. Why do Nigerians reserve "swallow" only for fufu and its gastronomic kindred like pounded yam and amala to the exclusion of other foods?

I frankly hadn't thought of it that way, but it does make sense from a literal point of view. Of course, language, stripped of culture, is useless.

I'm certain that "swallow" is a calque formation (i.e., a direct, unidiomatic translation from one language to another) from a Nigeria language, but I don't know what language it is.

In my native Baatonu language, "swallow" is called doka, which directly translates as morsel in English. From which Nigerian language(s) did we get the qalque formation "swallow"?

Comments from my Facebook friend conclusively show that "swallow" is a calque from Igbo. Specifically, its derived from the Igbo ''nni onuno,'' which translates as "swallowed food" in English. Apparently, there are dialectal variations in the way it's called in Igbo.

It's nni olulo in the Imo dialect of the Igbo language and nni onuno in the Anambra dialect. In some other dialects of the language, it is nri olulo or nni onunu, but they all denote the same thing: food that is swallowed.

I also learned that the Ibibio people Akwa Ibom State call it ume-men, which also translates as "food that is swallowed."

Related Articles:
When Food and Grammar Mix
Q and A on the Grammar of Food, Usage and Nigerian English
Politics of Grammar Column

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Social Media, Mental Health, and Nigerian Trumpists

By Farooq Kperogi
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

A consensus has emerged in the scholarly literature that social media has tremendous influence on people’s emotional and mental health.

The existing literature talks about the human impulse for favorable self-presentation, which leads people to put out only sanitized versions of themselves on social media. Because most people are wired to compare and compete, they always come up short against the carefully packaged versions of other people on social media. So they feel inadequate, and this hurts their mental health.

But an even more insidious source of emotional and mental stress on social media is the quality of friends you have— and what they post. A famous internet meme says, “The most common cause of stress these days is dealing with idiots.” Social media has become the marketplace for all kinds of idiots.

Chief among them are Trump supporters, particularly his horde of clueless, ignorant, self-hating supporters in Nigeria who naively regurgitate American right-wing fanatics’ dishonest talking points. I even read one talking of the “deep state”! I don’t know how I ended up with such contemptible mental cripples in my friend list here.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing myself a favor and unfriending (and in some cases blocking) Trumpists from my list. I’ve had peace after I got rid of Buharists— only to unwittingly attract braindead Nigerian Trumptards.

If you’re a Nigerian Trumptard, do me a favor and unfriend or block me because, for my mental and emotional health, I want to have no truck with anyone who supports a compulsively lying, racist,  sexist, incompetent and narcissistic vulgarian who poses a grave danger not just to America but to the entire world. I’m de-Trumping my friend list now.

I can understand why a white American conservative would support Trump, but I know many decent white conservatives who resent him and are embarrassed by his egotism, infantilism, immorality, and ineptitude.

Only thoughtless Nigerians who have taken leave of their senses love and defend a man who hates them. I discovered that most Nigerian Trumpists are Talibangelical Christians (who are the opposite number of Muslim fanatics, proving the theory that extremes are closer to each other than they realize) who love Trump because he hates the people they hate, too: Muslims and sexual minorities.

But Trump hates them, too! Only fools love a man because he hates certain people that they also hate even though the man they love also hates them. For my mental health, I don’t want such fools as friends on social media.

Your freedom of speech as a Trumptard stops where my freedom of association starts.

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Friday, April 10, 2020

Coronavirus and Exploding Conspiracy Theories of Religious Crackpots

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

The novel coronavirus is not only devastating humankind, it is also disrupting the settled certainties and spiritual verities of religious fanatics for whom atavistic and superstitious frames of reference are the only ways to make sense of the world around them.

I’ll start from fringe members of my own religious community. When the new coronavirus first emerged in China, a lunatic fringe of the Nigerian Muslim community celebrated it and said it was Allah’s punishment against China for mistreating its Muslim minority population.

They said the clearest indication that it was divine pestilence to avenge the persecution of Chinese Muslims could be seen in the fact that all Chinese people were compelled to cover their whole bodies in ways that were reminiscent of the sartorial choices Allah enjoined Muslims, especially Muslim women, to make, which China denies its Muslim minority.

I recall telling a religious crackpot who made this silly argument early this year that it wasn’t the first time that people had covered their bodies in response to a pandemic. The 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed nearly half a million Nigerians and more than 50 million people worldwide, caused people to wear face masks.

I added that his theory would fall apart if the virus made its way to Muslim communities. But, like other simpleminded, delusory loonies, he was certain that Muslims were providentially inoculated against Allah’s pandemic for infidels.

Shortly after, Iran became one of the epicenters of the new coronavirus. It killed people, including political and religious leaders, with the same viciousness that it did Chinese atheists, Buddhists, and Taoists.

Then Sunni zealots among the conspiracy theorists changed tack and said Iranians became susceptible to the virus because, being Shiites, they are not real Muslims, and that the Hazrat Masumeh Shrine in Qom, Iran, which was the principal way by which the virus spread in the country, isn’t “Islamic.”

Of course, we all know the virus has infected Sunni Muslim strongholds in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. For the first time in decades, al-Masjid al-Ḥarām in Mecca and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, Islam’s two holiest mosques, were closed to worshippers because of COVID-19.

As of the time of writing this column, there were 3,651 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 47 deaths in Saudi Arabia. An April 8, 2020 New York Times report said up to 150 members of the Saudi Royal family have been infected with the virus and that Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud, the king’s nephew, is in intensive care unit arising from COVID-19.

The tenor of the conspiracy theory has changed again. Coronavirus is now a grand plot by “Jews” to halt the inexorable march of Islam, to disrupt Muslim rituals in Mecca, and to dominate the world to the exclusion of Muslims!

There are different Christian versions of this superstitious lunacy. Enoch Adeboye, the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), for instance, said the new coronavirus would not infect, much less kill, people “who serve God wholeheartedly.”

Since thousands of Christians, including medical professionals who were on the front lines in the service of humanity, were killed by the disease, Adeboyean logic would have us believe that they died because they didn’t “serve God wholeheartedly.”

Abia State governor Okezie Ikpeazu upped the ante of religious irrationality when he said, “Abia is the only state [in Nigeria] that is mentioned in the Bible. We have been promised by God that none of these diseases will get to us. We saw Ebola and pox. Even this one [COVID-19) it won’t get to us.”

If Abia State is immune from COVID-19 because of the phonological accident that caused the word “Abia” to appear once in the Bible, why is the virus running riot in Israel, the very scene of the Bible?

As of Friday when this column was written, more than 10,000 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in Israel, and nearly 100 people have died from it. But Israel was mentioned countless times in the Bible.

Italy, the headquarters of Catholicism and of Christianity for centuries, has been one of the worst-hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with 147,577 infections and nearly 20,000 deaths as of April 10.

What is so special about Abia that God would spare it of the coronavirus but let it fatally maraud Italy and Israel? Even the United States that Nigerians like to call “God’s own country” and whose motto is “In God we trust” is now the epicenter of the coronavirus.

The unvarnished, unsentimental truth is that COVID-19—and other natural calamities that periodically befall humankind—isn’t a providential, celestial missile that faith can give us cover from. Nature is insensitive to our emotions and sensibilities. Our piety, prayers, and religious affiliations can never provide us with safeguards against the ruthlessly unstoppable march of nature.

A rational, scientific mindset free of the encumbrances of silly, retarded superstitions is what we need. And that’s precisely what is lacking in Nigeria—and many developing countries.

The vast majority of our people stand in uncomprehending awe before the littlest natural complexity and quickly take recourse to mythic, superstitious explanations for confounding but knowable phenomena. It is this mindset that explains why Nigerians give “testimonies” of “God’s mercies” on them for surviving car crashes in which others perished. They imply that God hates the people who die in car accidents.

This is a country where many people still believe that one can become wealthy through the ritual murders of other humans, where deaths, including car accidents, are attributed to witchcraft and sorcery, where the ability to perform cheap magic tricks is invariably associated with the possession of supernatural powers.

Sadly, in Nigeria, superstition and anti-scientific attitudes often take refuge under religion so that an attack on superstition and pre-scientific attitudes is usually mistaken for an attack on religion. But that’s a fallacious association. Both historical and contemporary examples show that religion and science can co-exist.

Religion isn’t necessarily synonymous with superstition, nor is science necessarily the anti-thesis of religion. Superstition, belief in witchcraft and sorcery, and a disdain for the scientific method represent the infancy of human reasoning. It’s sad that many Nigerians have not evolved from this.

I have no doubt that unthinking obsession with supernaturalism and metaphysical claptrap is Nigeria’s, nay Africa’s, biggest stumbling-block to progress.

Maryam Uwais and COVIK 419 Writ Large
"Those who benefit from the conditional cash transfer of the Federal Government as palliative to cushion the effects of the lockdown caused by the deadly Coronavirus don't want to be addressed as poor people. That is why we can't publish their names.

"Also, the beneficiaries of the Federal Government's gesture are invisible and dwell where the conventional society cannot see them, and carrying journalists along to investigate the authenticity of the payments to the target persons will be cost implicative to the scheme because the funds at hand can't pay for extra burden as we are only managing what we have."

Maryam Uwais
Special Adviser to the President on Social Investment on Channels TV Sunrise Daily.

When I received the above text on WhatsApp on April 10, 2020 from several people, I thought someone initially just made it up for comic relief and that it was being shared by people on social media in ignorance.

In fact, I persuaded an older friend that the quote couldn't be real, based on what I’d read of Maryam Uwais who strikes me as an extremely smart woman. But after watching the video clip of her interview a few hours after I’d read the text, where I heard her express sentiments that were consistent with the first sentence, I was compelled to go back to WhatsApp and retract what I said to my older friend about the quote.

Anyone who is too proud to be called poor is clearly not poor. The pangs of hunger are stronger than the vanity of self-esteem. That’s why there are hordes of Nigerian “e-beggars” who drop their names and account numbers on social media without shame during social media “giveaways”—and sometimes without “giveaways.”

But the whole point of asking for the identity of the people who benefited from the government’s “palliatives” is to be able to authenticate government’s claims.

In any case, the minister of humanitarian affairs, who supervises the disbursement of the “palliatives,” was reported by the Daily Nigerian to have stolen 200 tonnes of date palms (dabino) donated to internally displaced persons in the northeast by the Saudi Arabian government in 2017. This is COVIK 4-1-9 writ large!

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

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.

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

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