In 2000 Naomi Klein, an award-winning American journalist published a 490-page ‘anti-corporate branding’ book titled ‘No Logo’ in which she exposed a global underworld of a new crop of corporate predators who…
Before he was made Minister –or ‘Secretary’ as the novelty then was-, in the post-June Twelve contraption that had also in it Shonekan answering to HOG or Head of Government, Comrade Uche Chukwumerije, the now bellicose, warmongering, two-time Senator from Abia, was a ‘comrade’ in the frugal sense of the word: famished-looking, austerely-dressed and definitely seeming unable to wait for the littlest nourishment to recant old, non-provident ideologies.
I was still mentally rummaging for a subject to write about when I saw Disu Kamor’s ‘Palestine statehood: Significance of Nigeria’s vote’ (‘Peoples Daily’, Monday, Oct 3, 2011). It made more than ‘interesting reading’, and I thought it deserves a place on my page this week.
Rousseau -although a proponent of legislative supremacy- seems to be on the same page with Musdapher: ‘the people’s obligation to obey the law depends upon their ‘freely’ CONSENTING to it’! Meaning although ‘who’ writes the law may smell like the ‘Sovereign’; or ‘who’ interprets ‘it’ may seem like the ‘The Law-giver’; it is who CONSENTS to the law that is ‘the law’!
Of the many jurisprudential issues raised last Monday by Richard Akinjide at the Special Session of the Supreme Court marking the commencement of a new legal year, was the United States’ near-Constitutional crises of 2000. That year, U S electorates were in a quandary; and the ‘democratic’ world itself was ‘curiously transfixed’ –by the G.W. Bush-Al Gore Presidential Election debacle.
I had asked myself intuitively what else was there to write about the ethno-religious- bloody-letting on Jos (Plateau) that had not been written before. Or that I have not written about before now!? Is it the virtually ‘do-nothing-say-nothing’ attitude of the clueless, near-complicit Jonathan administration on the Jos massacres, or is it the notorious failure, usually, of our ‘un-intelligent’-or maybe ‘over-intelligent’- ‘Intelligence’ organisations; or better still the subtle, guile-and sometimes barefaced complot- of our compromised kind of journalism practice?
Part two of the series ‘Now that we have moved forward’, is a rehash of a previous piece on this column, titled ‘Distilling Jonathan’s Wiki leaks’ It is apt and auspicious for the subject matter:“The Wikileaks report on Nigeria (during Ambassador Sanders’ tenure) quoted Jonathan as claiming he was his ‘own man’.
It all began with a ‘dutiful’, uncharacteristically impatient Goodluck Ebele Jonathan; then only a harmless Vice-President of necessity; his terminally-ill principal, President Umaru Yar’Adua, bedded in far-away Saudi Arabia, a subject of needless ethno-regional controversy; and himself Ebele ‘luck-dependent’ as ever, and now virtually at the apogee of his most valuable political ‘manna’ yet from heaven, was –quite pardonably you might say- ‘covetously’ beside himself: enthusiasm-filled and waiting to grab the chisel to hew the very hedgy polity that he was, by the way, constitutionally heir to and about which Yar’Adua was raring to depart intestate!
Magnus Kpakol, as Chief Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo, once explained ‘economic growth’ in the sense I discerned to mean a most ludicrous paradox. Like: ‘progressing on the path of retrogression’, or maybe ‘gaining in the direction of losses’; or yet ‘improving on the path of depletion’; or better still ‘growing from the rump of decay’.
The truth is America’s claim to being ’God’s Own Country’ is logically in conflict with her being ’secular’ for the simple reason that we have been told to be ‘secular’ is to be ’concerned’ with the ‘profane’ in disregard of the ‘sacred’?
Aforetime, ‘Christian Democratic’ parties have emerged in many European countries, notably Germany, Italy and especially those of Eastern Europe; and these are seldom ever perceived as politically ‘Christian’ let alone be accused of using politics to purvey ‘religion’. Nor has this incidence of coupling religion with politics’ ever provided the basis for assailing the claims of these nations to being ‘secular’.
If we go strictly by the English dictionary definition of the term ‘secular’ to mean concern ‘with temporal, worldly matters’ to the exclusion of ‘religion’, many of the ‘apparently-secular’ Scandinavian countries especially of Sweden, Norway and Denmark which have state-established Lutheran Churches –and most of whose Ministers are said to be drawn virtually from the civil service-, would unquestionably be ‘non-secular’.
Not a few Muslims have been railroaded into ‘accepting’ what most of our Christian brothers are only too happy to ‘believe’, namely that Nigeria is a ‘secular state’. ‘Secular’ as in Webster’s Dictionary’s definition means: ‘concerned with temporal, worldly matters’ to the exclusion of ‘religion’; or ‘the profane’ in disregard of ‘the sacred’. And especially in circumstances such as we have now, with Islamic banking needlessly on the Bunsen burner, many are wont to assert that ‘secularity’ even with contemporaneous denial of the country’s ‘multi-religious’ status.
Poor Bankole. Victim or villain, scapegoat or sacrificial lamb, it does not matter anymore! He is already in the blender! Just don’t ask, ‘when will they blend him?’ Putting ‘accused’ persons in the ‘blender’ is about the worst our anti-corruption agencies have done! -they raise all hues and cries; they conjure the planetary winds and just when all the necessary tempests have been properly invoked, the ‘eagle’ descends from the troubled skies, and with its powerful tendons lift the prey.
We’ll be safe to presume that those who accused the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido, of not ‘properly consulting’ the Christian community before introducing Islamic banking are not by any stretch of the imagination contesting the legality of his actions. He should only have ‘properly consulted’ before doing so.
What exactly was the object of the State manhunt for the late Boko Haram leader, Mohammed Yusuf?’ Was it to arrest and try him? Or to track him down and kill? Should you ask the amazingly civil-minded, suddenly-rights-respecting soldiers who, not only nabbed the man in one piece, but did the right thing handing him over to an investigating authority, or ask that same ‘authority’, the notorious Nigeria Police Force, which, with savage, murderous intent, took the accused in and wasted him.
Truth is there have been uncountable ‘talks’ given, numerous ‘papers’ presented, many ‘books’ published and several ‘documentaries’ made exposing the monumental lies fed the world about 9/11 and Osama bin Laden. In fact, 75 professors and scientists from different universities in US said they believed 9/11 was an inside job, and that the Bush administration engineered the destruction of the twin-towers to create an excuse to pounce on un-cooperative oil-rich Iraq and Iran. Just like they have suddenly found the perfect excuse now to go for the Libyan sweet crude, – hitherto shrewdly dispensed by a clever, uncooperative nut, Gaddafi.
Osama’s execution –and the manner of his disposal- were incontrovertibly vengeful. Which Obama said, was what America wanted: cold-blooded ‘revenge’! Or what Alan Ayckbourn, in his ‘Revengers Comedies’ describes as “good, old-fashioned, bloodcurdling revenge”. Yet, like the English philosopher, Francis Bacon, said, “Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out”. Suppose it is okay to ‘revenge’ a ‘wrong’; the question is: who determines ‘when’ or ‘whether’ a ‘wrong’ has been committed? One who alleges or an impartial jury?
By the way, the directive was not even to bring Osama ‘dead, not alive’! It was to cast him ‘dead, at sea’! What civilized way to actuate a ‘suspect’! Ironically by the ‘most democratic’, most ‘law-governed’ nation, America, that prides herself as the ‘conscience of humanity’. Clarence Darrow, America’s pre-eminent trial lawyer of his time said of the psychology behind state killers: “before you can get a trial to hang somebody… you must first hate him and then get a satisfaction over his death.”
After the arrest of Finance-House-dupe, Umana-Umana in 1993, some journalists asked the amphibious IBB’s Second-in-Command, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu -known sometimes for comely, imitative terrestrial calmness of his Army boss and most other times for a tempestuous aquatic anger that was uniquely his- “what’ll government do with Umana Umana?”
Niger State is famed, on the one hand, for Power -on account of two contradistinctive sources of power and noted, on the other, for history -on account of two opposing causes of history. As Power State, she is the source of two voltages: one political, being the birth place of two former Military Heads of State, (IBB and Abdulsalami), and the other hydro-electrical, -being home to the nation’s only two hydro- dams, (Kainji and Shiroro).
Towards the 2011 elections, three opposition parties in Niger were up in arms –albeit each on a lonely furrow- against Talba’s re-election: CPC, ACN and the bitter, grudgy old horse, ANPP. And, although CPC’s promise of rough time for the ruling PDP was a virtual fait accompli, the stealthy encroach into the state of ACN was no less threatening.
When I wrote “Talba: Beware the gathering storms”, forewarning my Niger State Governor Dr.Babangida Aliyu, of the imminence of danger ahead of 2011, I was neither metaphysically prophetic nor in my prognosis of the elements was I premonitively predictive of what precisely held for the boisterous Governor of the hydro state famed for his surefooted trudges and verbal jabs that are as self-reassuring to ‘power’ as they often are terribly self-harming to it.
What was Lai Mohammed’s response to the accusation that the ACN had, with ethno-regional bias, betrayed its presidential candidate, Nuhu Ribadu, by voting a non-performing, manifestly retrogressive party, the PDP?: “It is simply unimaginable and highly incongruous that a ‘progressive’ party like the ACN will work for the victory of the PDP which has put Nigeria in reverse gear in the past 12 years”.
Let’s face it: ACN’s claim that the South West voted Jonathan, not PDP, is not any less morally compunctious than say former British Naval Commander, Lord Mountbatten’s apology: “Actually I vote Labor, but my butler is Tory”.
And yet even the harangue of political conscience should be less prickly in a politician apologizing to Tory sentiments because he voted Labor than in a politician apologizing to a righteous public opinion for deliberately voting to support bad governance; and worse even, in repudiation of his hard-earned ‘progressive’ reputation.
These are truly interesting times interesting democratic times, I should say. And, such that one actually wonders what exactly to be analytical about: ‘democracy in action’ or the ridiculous actions of politicians in democracy. ACN’s Akande said that the South-West did not vote PDP.
Literary Author Henrik Ibsen, in most of his works has advanced cogent philosophical rationale for supporting the ‘righteous minority’ -as against, that is, what he described as the “damned compact, liberal majority.” Ibsen was in fact one of few Western literary writers who created and promoted an antithesis to the popular so-called democratic refrain ‘the majority is always right’. He argued on the contrary that it is the minority that is always right “because the minority is usually at some point where the majority is yet to discover”.
I think it is time we put these elections behind us! They are becoming highly distractive, especially to Mr. President. Nothing can be more distractive for a sitting and ‘performing’ President than being asked to tarry awhile so that some routine electoral imperatives of the democratic process are fulfilled. Mandate renewal, they call it. But I call it what it is: ‘waste time’ –and money!
The term ‘democracy’ was originally ‘demos’ and ‘krasi’; Greek for ‘people’ and ‘rule’ -or ‘rule of the people’. But over time, it has etymologically evolved to mean different things to different people. In our own part of the world, the transformation is breathtaking.