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

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Bakare Didn’t Defend Tinubu; He Defanged Him

 By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

Twitter: @farooqkperogi

Pastor Tunde Bakare’s trending video on Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for which he is receiving caustic flak from the Nigerian online commentariat, isn’t the deodorization of Tinubu’s smelly underbelly that many people say it is. It is, on the contrary, an effective denunciation of Tinubu and a deep, lasting, strategic delegitimization of his “omo Eko” bona fides. 

In the video, Bakare essentially mainstreamed reputationally deleterious information about Tinubu that had flourished on the fringes of Yoruba society, that people avoided to talk about openly in polite company, and that most people outside Yorubaland didn’t have the faintest familiarity with.

That information is that everything about Tinubu— from his very name to his claims of being from Lagos State, from his source of income to his parentage and many things in-between— is an elaborately fraudulent scheme. 

Let me narrate an anecdote to illustrate what I mean. In the over two years that my column has appeared on the back page of the Saturday Tribune, I have cultivated a vast, engaged readership in the Southwest who reach out to me to share ideas with— and confide in— me.

One of the persistent requests I’ve received from readers of my column in the Southwest has been the invitation to delve into Tinubu’s well-layered, labyrinthine network of duplicity about his origins and identity. 

A few people from his hometown of Iragbiji in Osun State offered to provide me with evidence that he is not from Lagos, that he is not from the Tinubu family in Lagos, that he was never named Bola Ahmed at birth, that he has avoided public association with his natal family in Iragbiji to sustain the fraud that he is from Lagos, and so on.

I told a particularly persistent interlocutor who wanted me to publicize what he thought was a scoop on Tinubu that I was already familiar with the information he had shared with me because I’d read most of it in Yinka Odumakin’s March 19, 2019 column titled “Dear Chief Tinubu.” Although the article went viral last year, the Iragbiji man said he hadn’t read it.

There were clearly several angles to explore about Tinubu’s vast and varied deception following Odumakin’s column, but I didn’t hop on it because, being a media law teacher, I knew it was a slippery legal slope. Although people of Iragbiji said Tinubu was born and raised in their town and has no connection with either Lagos or the Tinubu family, I can’t prove this in a court.

Similarly, although many people who knew Tinubu when he grew up in Iragbiji said he was known as Amoda Lamidi Sangodele, I can’t prove this in court. (Amoda is the Yoruba Muslim domestication of Ahmad and Lamidi is the Yoruba Muslim domestication of Abdulhamid.) And even though the current governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, is the son of Tinubu’s older sister—which calls into question Tinubu’s claims to being 69 years old since Oyetola is 67 years old—I have no DNA evidence to prove anything.

 Of course, Tinubu can’t sue anyone who brings up his forfeiture of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the US government in the early 1990s in the aftermath of circumstantial evidence that he amassed tremendous wealth from trafficking in drugs. The court document of the forfeiture is in the public domain in the U.S. and was published by Sahara Reporters on September 15, 2008.

Nor can he sue anyone for saying that all the schools he claimed to have attended in his INEC form in 1999—from primary school to university—are false because the late Gani Fawehinmi proved that in court and risked the social ostracism of the hegemonic political elites of the Southwest who now hypocritically valorize him posthumously. 

Tunde Bakare has helped to not only centralize these and other odious aspects of Tinubu’s personality; he has also (unwittingly) granted public commentators the latitude to discuss them without fear of legal consequences. In media law, opinion writers have legal cover to comment on otherwise libelous subject matters if the subject matters are in the news and are of public interest. It’s called the fair comment privilege.

In Bakare’s political homily, he basically affirmed all the hitherto fringy whispers about Tinubu: that he is from Iragbiji in Osun State; that his current name is not his original name; that he has disowned his biological parents and “adopted” the Tinubu family of Lagos with whom he has zero consanguineal affiliation; that the late legendary Alhaja Abibat Mogaji of Lagos is not Tinubu’s biological mother; that he has an odious “past”; that he is corruptly “making money from taxation” by “exploiting the system to his advantage”; and that he is “transparently corrupt.”

These are not the sorts of issues Tinubu wants Nigerians to be discussing about him as he stealthily campaigns to be Nigeria’s next president and works to fend off ferocious, multifarious challenges to his grip on Lagos and Southwest politics.

He would much rather that people think of him as a Lagosian who is a scion of the famous Tinubu family, who has always been known as Bola Ahmed, and whose biological mother was the late Alhaja Abibat Mogaji.

Even though Bakare appears to be wracked by a dissociative identity disorder (which probably explains why he evinces and embodies mutually contradictory positions), megalomania (recall his boast that he would succeed Buhari because he is “number 16” while Buhari is “number 15”), delusion (anyone who claims God communicates with him is delusional), and compulsive mendacity, he is also a skilled rhetorician who is artfully defanging Tinubu, his political opponent, using a clever rhetorical tactic. 

In rhetorical studies, there is a technique we call synchoresis, which is the intentional concession of an alternate point of view for the sake of refuting it. As rhetorical scholar Miles Coleman put it, synchoresis is the art of “conceding one point for the sake of another.”

Bakare intentionally disclosed and popularized unflattering facts about Tinubu’s life putatively to undermine them but, in reality, to mainstream them so they can be invoked to delegitimize him.

Notice that Bakare was stronger in channeling anonymous people’s claims that Tinubu is a fraud than in defending Tinubu’s fraud. For instance, his only defense against Tinubu’s fraudulent Lagos identity claim is that the truth of the claim won’t “put food on the table of the hungry or create jobs for the unemployed or the unemployable.”

 That’s a weak strawman argument. No one said it would. The self-evident implication of that fraud, of course, is that if Tinubu isn’t straight with something as basic as his origins— and even his name and ancestral pedigree— why should he be trusted with something as grave as the presidency of a country of 200 million people? Anyone who can disown his parents, his name, his hometown, etc. for power and influence can sell anyone.

Bakare’s defense for Tinubu’s false claim to being the late Abibat Mogaji’s biological son (Bakare insisted on calling him her “adopted son”) was simply to state that no one is a “self-made” man and that given what the woman did for Tinubu, it was “not only proper, it is also honorable” for Tinubu to call her his mother. “Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu did not and could not choose his biological parents, yet no one can forbid him from choosing his role models or stop him from changing his name,” he added for emphasis.

Then Bakare brought Tinubu’s legendary corruption to the center of his congregants’—and, by implication, Nigerians’-- consciousness but feebly “defended” him by quoting him as saying he learned how to be “transparently corrupt” from Olusegun Obasanjo. How is that a defense, especially given that Tinubu and Obasanjo are not political associates, and Obasanjo, being a retired two-term president, isn’t hurt by any association with corruption? 

In sum, every indication points to the conclusion that Bakare wanted to put Tinubu’s sordid deception about his origins—which people talked about in hushed tones in Yorubaland and about which most people outside Yorubaland are ignorant— in the forefront of the prevailing current of thought about him in Nigeria. The best way to do that without backlash was to appear to be censorious of the narrative while giving it publicity and currency.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Six Queries on the Kidnap and Release of the Kankara Schoolboys

 By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

Twitter: @farooqkperogi

When it emerged on Thursday that the hundreds of schoolboys that were abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, were released, I was so relieved that I gave the Buhari regime an unusual pat in the back in my social media updates.

“The release of the #KankaraBoys—I don't care at what cost—is one of the few bright spots of the Buhari regime,” I wrote. “It shows at least that the regime has learned from GEJ's lethargy and callousness when the Chibok kidnap happened. Instead of rescuing the girls, Jonathan and his officials quibbled over whether the kidnap actually took place—and helped fertilize unhealthy and unhelpful conspiracy theories. Some of the girls are still missing.”

But after my euphoria, I’ve been grappling with several troubling questions. I will highlight just six here:

1. Who really kidnapped the boys? Was it Boko Haram or so-called Fulani bandits? The initial suspicion was that they were kidnapped by the ever-present, nihilistic, and mercenary “bandits” who have been tormenting the northwest in the last few years—and who don’t seem to be animated by any overt religious ideology.

But Boko Haram, whose operations had been mostly limited to the northeast in the last five years, claimed responsibility for the kidnap. As Boko Haram experts have pointed out, it is rare for the group to claim responsibility for acts it didn’t commit. In fact, Boko Haram actually takes umbrage at being falsely associated with acts it didn’t commit.

The fact that the schoolkids appeared in a video pleading with the government to not deploy the military to find them and to discourage western education redounded to the evidence that they were in Boko Haram’s captivity, although some of the boys later told newsmen that “bandits” had told them to lie on camera that they were in Boko Haram’s captivity in order to aggrandize the abduction.

Or have “Fulani bandits” and “Kanuri Boko Haramists” merged? If so, that would be at once frighteningly ominous and socio-historically curious. It’s ominous because it would mean that the northwest and the northeast—and perhaps even parts of the northcentral—would be overwhelmed by unexampled terrorism in the coming months and years.

It would be socio-historically curious because the Kanuri and the Fulani are not only completely different people, they are—or used to be— “historical enemies.” Kanuris resisted Usman Dan Fodio's 19th-century Jihad because they said there was nothing about their Islam, which they'd embraced since at least the 9th century before even the Fulani, that needed Dan Fodio's "reform."

The tensile stress that the Kanem-Borno Empire’s repudiation of Dan Fodio’s jihad actuated has been somewhat resolved through a ritualized joking relationship between the Kanuri and the Fulani who now call each other "slaves" in lighthearted jest. 

But although Muslim northern Nigeria is emerging as an ethnogenesis, i.e., a new ethnic identity forged from a mishmash of multiple identities, Kanuri people still take pride in having a political identity that is independent of the Fulani-inflected caliphate. A fusion of “bandits” and Boko Haram would unleash a game-changing terroristic blitz on Nigeria.

2. How many students were kidnapped? News stories about the release of the boys quoted Governor Bello Masari as saying that 344 boys had been released. But earlier reports had said the abducted students numbered a little over 500. One of the students who escaped from his captors also said more than 500 of them had been captured. He even said some of them had been murdered by their captors. So what’s the truth?

3. Who rescued the boys? The Katsina State government said their rescue was facilitated by Miyetti Allah. But the Nigerian military on Friday contradicted the Katsina State government and insisted that the Defence Headquarters’ “Operation Hadarin Daji” was singularly responsible for the release of the boys. Since both claims can’t be simultaneously true, one is a lie.

But note that Miyetti Allah appears have officially accepted that its members are responsible for the progressive deterioration of security in the country, according to the Vanguard of December 15, which quoted the group’s president, Muhammadu Kirowa, as saying, “We cannot continue to wallow in denial when it is a fact that majority of criminals arrested across the country are from within us, our kith and kin [who] have gone into this circle because of our sheer negligence.”

If the abductors are “Fulani bandits,” it would make sense that Miyetti Allah would be more helpful in facilitating the release of the boys than the military, which is notorious for being harder on peaceful protesters than on terrorists.

4. Was ransom paid before the boys were released? The Katsina State government said no ransom was paid. It said it used moral suasion to persuade the kidnappers to release the boys. But in a rare moment of clarity on NTA on December 18, Muhammadu Buhari talked of the “settlement of the abductors.” 

We all know that “settlement” means under-the-table payment in Nigerian English. I have read online rumor mills that said the abductors were “settled” with up to $4 million. While the figure may not be accurate, the government has a history of giving enormous financial war chests to terrorists. 

On May 6, 2017, for instance, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Buhari regime delivered “a black duffel bag containing €2 million in plastic-wrapped cash” to Boko Haram for the release of 82 of the Chibok girls that were abducted in 2014.

Since ransom payment is a counterproductive and unsustainable security strategy, what is the government doing to ensure that this doesn’t happen again?  

5. If the government can identify, negotiate with, and pay abductors, why can’t it apprehend them? If Miyetti Allah has admitted that its members are responsible for the mounting insecurity in the country and has even assisted with negotiations for the release of the abducted schoolboys, why is the group not treated, at the very least, like a “group of interest” by security forces?

 Why are #EndSARS protesters, supporters, organizers, and financiers the victims of murder, bank account freezes, and continual harassment by the government while terrorists, abductors, and a self-identified association that facilitates the work of abductors featherbedded? 

6. Finally, in the Kankara abduction saga, agents of government emerged as the most vicious purveyors of transparently fake news. Garba Shehu, Buhari’s spokesman, said on December 15 that “contrary to all the fake rumors [so even rumors can be “fake”?] flying around, only 10 students were kidnapped from the school in Kankara.” 

Abike Dabiri also prematurely said on her verified Twitter handle that the kidnapped boys had been released. When she was called out, she lied that her Twitter and Instagram handles had been hacked, implying that it was a hacker who posted the false update.

But anyone who is malicious enough to hack anyone’s social media account won’t post from the same device and location as the original account owner and would post something more vicious than sterile government propaganda. 

Since the regime, particularly its chief lying officer Lai Mohammed, is obsessed with stamping out “fake news,” what is the punishment for its agents that shared literal fake news, although Garba Shehu has apologized for his? 

The absence of unambiguous answers to these queries is the biggest driver of conspiracy theories about the abduction. People who disagreed with my initial social media update claimed that the abduction was contrived to lend unearned veneer of competence to the Buhari regime.

This is, of course, silly conspiratorial reasoning. Had the regime been unable to rescue the boys, Buhari would have been justifiably excoriated for incompetence and insensitivity, which are his trademarks. In fact, he was accused precisely of that in the six days that the boys were in captivity. But having rescued them, the regime is now being accused of staging the kidnap. 

Praiseworthy as the saving of the boys from captivity is—from the perspective of a parent—the fact that questions and mutually contradictory claims from the same government linger on after their rescue is more evidence of incompetence than a conspiracy. 


A commenter on this blog by the name of Mohammed Bello called my attention to the fact I misheard Buhari when I transcribed what he said in his NTA interview as "settlement." He insisted that what Buhari actually said was "encirclement."

 I watched the video again and listened more attentively and found out that he was right. I think I was predisposed to hear "settlement" instead of "encirclement" for two reasons. One, "encirclement" is an unusual word for Buhari given his well-known limited vocabulary. Second, the story I linked to in the article, which quoted him as saying "settled," primed me to hear "settlement."

Saturday, December 12, 2020

To Secure Northern Lives, First Secure Northern Brains

By Farooq A. Kperogi

Twitter: @farooqkperogi

More northern Muslims are suddenly concerned about the unending carnage and kidnapping in the region than has ever been the case in the last five years. Many people have reached out to me to request that I lend my voice to the #SecureNorth social media campaign. But what would my voice or even the social media campaign do to change anything?

There's nothing that's happening today in the region that hasn't been happening since at least 2017, which northern victims ignored, excused, explained away, or defended. I used to be one of the few northern voices that called attention to the sanguinary insecurity that drenches the region in oceans of blood, but I always got aggressed by the same northerners I thought I was fighting for.

The emotional dislocation I feel over Boko Haram’s relentless mass slaughters in Borno isn’t merely roused by humanitarian concerns; it is also personal. As I’ve pointed out in many columns and social media posts, part of my mother’s distant ancestry is traceable to Borno.

When she went to Mecca on Hajj in 2012, she was overcome with tender emotions for having the privilege to go through the Maiduguri international airport in spite of the risks. Going to Maiduguri was a consequential pre-Mecca, domestic, emotional pilgrimage for her. Although she couldn’t get out of the hotel to enjoy the sights, sounds, and vibes of a city whose ancestral reminiscences she nourishes through the folk songs handed down to her by her grandmother and her mother, she was fulfilled.

She expended outsized spiritual energies praying for the end of the carnage in Borno while in Mecca and always wanted to know if there had been any improvements in the state’s security situation. Sometimes, she would hear of mind-numbing mass slaughters that would leave her crying. Each time she called and cried on the phone because of news of savage slaughters of innocents, I was always distressed.

I wished I could just lie to her that peace had returned to Borno. Then the Buhari regime came, claimed to have “defeated” or “ended” Boko Haram in six months, muzzled the press, and threatened everyday folks with dire consequences for publicizing news of Boko Haram mass slaughters.

To be frank, I was relieved because the absence of news of Boko Haram’s spectacular homicidal furies gave my mother some peace. She no longer called to cry on the phone over the terrorist group’s mass murders. But I also have friends and relatives in Borno who shared worrying news of Boko Haram’s escalating but unreported ferocity.

Although I never shared this news with my mother, I occasionally shared them on social media just so that people weren’t comforted into a delusive sense of safety. I also hoped that it would jolt the government to act. But I became the object of attacks from northerners—and even from people in Borno. Protecting Buhari’s image—and sustaining the delusory narrative that he had “ended” Boko Haram— was more important to them than saving their lives.

My February 24, 2018 column titled "Bursting the Myth of Buhari’s Boko Haram 'Success'," for instance, got the hackles of many northern Muslims up, and I was used for target practice by headless twerps who wanted to bolster their Buharist bona fides. 

They delegitimized my concerns by calling attention to my American location. They insisted Buhari was an impeccably guiltless saint who had secured the North like no one had ever done in Nigeria’s entire history and that only hypercritical, geographically dislocated diasporans like me didn’t see that.

The government, of course, also actively bought the silence of the news media and intimidated those it couldn't buy. Now their fraud, ineptitude, and lack of compassion are unravelling once again.

Scores of people in the North, even in Buhari’s home state of Katsina, have been protesting his blithe unconcern as hundreds of men, women, and children are senselessly murdered or kidnapped for ransom every week in the region.

People who had said Buhari was an irreproachable demi-god who could do no wrong suddenly now see wisdom in protesting physically or on social media. People who once protested in SUPPORT of Buhari’s petrol price hikes that smolder them and AGAINST people who opposed it are suddenly waking up to the realization that Buhari has nothing but stone-cold disdain for them.

People who'd cursed and insulted us for calling out Buhari’s ineptitude and fraud have now become emergency social critics because the regime’s unrelieved incompetence now threatens their very survival.

As I’ve repeatedly said, I have no respect for people whose moral conscience is so feeble that they protest injustice and governmental ineptitude only when they’re personally affected. Martin Luther King famously said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. If it happens there, it can happen here.

Even the best-intentioned governments need the periodic nudges of a critical democratic citizenry. To not demand action and accountability from a government, any government, is to give that government a blank check to be irresponsible.

I wish I could say this is the beginning of the awakening of the northern masses. Sadly, I can’t. As I pointed out in June this year, docility appears to be specially wired in our DNAs. 

And Borno State governor Babagana Zulum, who came within a hair's breadth of losing his life to Boko Haram’s attacks several times, is leading the charge to once again exculpate Buhari of any responsibility for the insecurity in his state—and the region— and to go back to the same escapism and denialism that allowed Buhari to get away with murder since 2015.

He is doing this by callously hierarchizing killings in his state and suggesting that more people died before Buhari became “president” than after. Even if this were true (it is not), what purpose does it serve in the face of the mass deaths that is the fate of many everyday folks in the region? What comfort does that give to people who are grieving the loss of their loved ones?

Sadly, I haven’t seen a robust pushback against Zulum from northerners campaigning for #SecureNorth over his casual insensitivity and rhetorical downplaying of the mass slaughters in the region.

I have also not seen any response to Lai Mohammed’s continued repetition of the odious description of the latest victims of Boko Haram’s mass massacres as mere “soft targets.” We all know that if it were Lai’s children who were murdered by Boko Haram, he not only would not have called them “soft targets” (or even “hard targets”), he’d go to war with anyone who does. His children are human, but other people are just “soft targets.”

 The description of victims of Boko Haram victims as “soft targets,” as I pointed out in October 2018, is a distastefully deceitful rhetorical strategy of the Buhari regime to minimize the horrors of Boko Haram’s atrocities against ordinary people. “Soft target” is a euphemism for poor people who, in the estimation of the regime, are inconsequential and worthless.

To call victims of murderous terrorist brutality mere “soft targets” is to dehumanize them even in death. That’s why no one even bothers to know the names of the victims of Boko Haram massacres. Unfortunately, many people, particularly from the northeast, have accepted this linguistic dehumanization of people at the bottom of the social ladder.

Before we secure the North, we need to secure the brains of its people so that when they don’t invest unrequited love in deodorized frauds like Buhari to the point of living in self-destructive denial about his dreadful ineptitude. Or sing the praises of people like Zulum who mesmerizes them with showy but empty symbolism while being indistinguishable from other callous, out-of-touch elites. 

Related Articles:

Borno’s New Boko Haram-Loving Governor

The Boko Haram “Technical Defeat” Ruse is Unraveling

Why Buhari Can’t and Won’t Solve the North’s Growing Security Crisis

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Ganduje and Fraudulent American “Professorships” for Nigerian Politicians

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

Twitter: @farooqkperogi

On December 1, many Nigerian newspapers published the story of East Carolina University’s appointment of Kano State’s dollar-stuffing governor Abdullahi “Gandollar” Ganduje “as a visiting full professor of e-governance and international affairs” purportedly as an affirmation of his “accomplishment in good governance and genuine investment in human capital development.” 

Ganduje’s Press Secretary by the name of Abba Anwar said in a press statement that the formal offer of a “full visiting professor” to Ganduje was signed by a Victor Mbarika on behalf of East Carolina University in the United States.

Mbarika’s letter to Ganduje said he would “provide mentorship for Ph.D. students and junior lecturers of the institution.” “Looking at your academic, administrative, and overall leadership record in Nigeria and Africa, you fit perfectly in East Carolina University’s goal to remain a leading research and teaching institution in the United States and beyond,” Mbarika’s statement reportedly said.

This is straight-up dupery. And there are many telltale red flags for this. The first thing I did when I read the story was to search the website of East Carolina University. There was no story of Ganduje’s appointment anywhere on the site. 

I chalked it up to this last paragraph in Ganduje’s so-called letter of appointment: “It is our fervent hope, Sir, that you will accept this offer. Your appointment will be posted at …ECU-ICITD’s website…once we get your acceptance.” Perhaps, it will take some time between Ganduje’s acceptance and the publication of the appointment on the university’s website.

The second red flag, though, was the language of the letter. As someone who studies— and writes on— Nigerian English and its deviations from native-speaker English varieties, I whiffed several Nigerianisms in the letter.

For instance, the letter says, “You have been a source of motivation to the Nigerian youths both at home and in the diaspora at large. We are amazed at your accomplishments both as the Executive Governor of Kano State, Nigeria, Fellow National Association of Educational Administration and Planning, Nigeria, and your investment in Human Capital Development.”

Apart from the extravagantly exaggerated flattery and the gushing nothingness of the language, which isn’t typical of the bureaucratic language of American English, that paragraph features expressions that no American university administrator would use: “the Nigerian youths,” “executive governor,” “diaspora at large.”

 An American would say “the Nigerian youth” (since “youth” is pluralized with the “s” morpheme only when it refers to young men, and remains unchanged when it refers to young people of both sexes); “governor” (because Americans don’t prefix “executive” to “governor” since it’s a given that governors have executive, not ceremonial, powers); and just “the diaspora” (since the addition of “at large” to “diaspora” is a little superfluous).

Most importantly, though, the appointment the letter says Ganduje has been given—and the duties he is expected to perform— at East Carolina University aren’t conventional. I should know. I have been in the US university system for nearly two decades.

A “visiting full professorship” at an American university to a politician who is a full-time governor of a state in a foreign country is unheard of. It’s the stuff of comedy. What is even stranger still is that Ganduje, according to his letter of appointment, is expected to “provide mentorship for Ph.D. students and junior lecturers” at East Carolina University.

OK, I get that Ganduje has a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Ibadan, but that alone doesn’t qualify him to mentor PhD students at a US university. First, American doctoral education involves coursework. His didn’t. And he hasn’t taught or supervised any PhD student since he got his PhD in 1993.

 Second, East Carolina University doesn’t have a Ph.D. in Public Administration. Nor does it even have a PhD in Political Science. It only has a master’s in public administration. 

So which “Ph.D. students” is he going to mentor—even if he’s qualified to do so? And “mentor junior lecturers”? About what? About stuffing stolen dollars in their pockets without being caught?

 By the way, the term is “junior faculty” in American academe. “Lecturer” is the generic term for university teachers in the UK and the Commonwealth. The term has a specific, slightly different meaning in American academe. 

There are two dominant senses of the term “lecturer” in America, as I pointed out in a December 13, 2015 column titled, “A Comparison of Everyday University Vocabularies in Nigeria, America, and Britain (I).” The first is a public speaker at certain universities. The second sense is an inferior-rank university teacher who either does not possess a Ph.D. or who has a Ph.D. but doesn’t have a tenured or tenure-track job.

Lecturers are overworked and underpaid, only teach undergraduates, are not expected to be researchers, and are often abandoned to vegetate on the fringes of academic departments in American universities. Are those the people Ganduje will mentor? Or is the person who wrote his letter of appointment simply not smart enough to replace “junior lecturers” with “junior faculty”?

Well, it turns out that Ganduje isn’t the only Nigerian politician who has courted this sort of fraudulent “visiting professorship” from an American university. This has been going on longer than most people are aware of. 

For instance, Ike Ekweremadu, the former deputy senate president, was appointed a "full visiting professor" at a historically black university in New Orleans, Louisiana, called Southern University. The university still carries information about this fraudulent appointment on its website at the time of writing this column on Friday. The language used to appoint Ganduje as “visiting full professor” is eerily similar to the language used for Ekweremadu.

“Professor Ike Ekweremadu will mentor PhD students, junior lecturers, as well as take a lead in advising our University’s research center on academic issues related to E-Governance and Strategic Government Studies,” the appointment says. Have you already seen the similarities between this and the language used in Ganduje’s letter?

But that’s not all. Ekweremadu was appointed by “The Southern University International Center for Information Technology and Development (ICITD).” Ganduje was appointed by “East Carolina University International Center for Information Technology and Development ECU-ICITD.”

Most importantly, both centers are managed by someone called Victor Mbarika, a Donald Trump-loving Anglophone Cameroonian academic who taught Information Technology at Southern University from 2004 to 2020 and who started teaching the same course at Eastern Carolina University from August this year.

I am still researching what Ekweremadu and Ganduje gave Mbarika in exchange for the meaningless and worthless titles he conferred on them— and whether the authorities in Southern University and East Carolina University are aware of Mbarika’s unconventional professorial conferrals on foreign politicians. [After sending this column, Premium Times found that authorities at East Carolina University did not approve of Ganduje's fraudulent appointment].

In June 2019, a senior, far-famed Nigerian-American professor here in the US told me about similar dubious schemes. “Some of our friends in the US set up an agency to be recruiting failed Nigerian politicians into US campuses for ‘sabbatical leave.’ Saraki has gotten a position in Georgetown with my friend…” he said. 

He continued: “The guy and his collaborators want to recruit my university to join in what they call a ‘network.’ The politician will pay the professor who recruits and creates a spot for him as a Visiting Distinguished Professor. He sent an impressive brochure which I just read. It can never occur to me that things will degenerate to this level. Maybe it has been going on, and I am not aware.”

You see, bought honorary doctorates have lost their gravitas and the "Dr." title has now lost its sheen among Nigerian politicians, so they are moving to the next level, which is bought “professorships” in foreign universities.

Two-bit diasporan scholars exploit and abuse the social capital of their education and location in America to humor cognitively vacant politicians with fragile but vaunted egos. For a couple of million dollars, which is chicken feed to our crooked politicians, many universities here will humor them with worthless titles—until they are shamed. Watch out for more.

Related Articles:

Complicity of Nigerian Media in Intellectual 419 of Academics

Our image as a nation of scammers (I)

Our image as a nation of scammers (II)

Intellectual 419: Philip Emeagwali and Gabriel Oyibo Compared

Gabriel Oyibo and Philip Emeagwali: A Clarification

Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke’s Fake Doctorate and Professorship

Bait-and-Switch Publishing: New Face of Academic Fraud

Print-on-demand Book Scams and Nigerian Universities

Re: Print-on-demand Book Scams and Nigerian Universities

On Bauchi’s Fake Lecturer—and What Should be Done

Andy Uba and the Epidemic of Fakery in Nigeria

On Fowler’s Fake Doctorate and Integrity Deficit

“Mathematical” Enoch Opeyemi and the Making of Another Nigerian Intellectual 419er

Remember Enoch Opeyemi Who Claimed to have Solved the Riemann Hypothesis?