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USAfrica: Soyinka contradicts self with endorsement of (ex) dictator Buhari. By Chuks Iloegbunam

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Soyinka contradicts self with endorsement of (ex) dictator Buhari.           By Chuks Iloegbunam

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston,                                                                                                        Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247

Wole Soyinka knows that, in linguistics, there is something called register.  Yet, while addressing students at a recent Lagos gathering, the Nobel laureate employed an elevated language suitable for addressing an international literary convention.

Why? The answer must be found in the acute dilemma Soyinka found himself in. This author of such books as Death and the King’s Horseman and The Trials of Brother Jero, could easily have toned his speech to a level his listeners would readily understand. Instead, he delved into polysyllables, incessant subordinations and wanton opacity. Not without a good reason.

Soyinka, intelligent as he is, was aware that his speech on the occasion represented a total redefinition of all he had stood for through his adult life, a complete repudiation of his national philosophy, a philosophy that, through time, guided his writings, his pronouncements, his actions and his associations. We are talking of the man who, in October 1965, seized an Ibadan radio station at gunpoint, to make an anti-feudal statement. We are talking of a man who, during the Second Republic, ventured into partisan politics by aligning with the likes of Chinua Achebe and Uche Chukwumerije, to pitch tent with Mallam Aminu Kano’s left-leaning Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). We are talking of a man who, in the politics of the First and Second Republics, came down heavily and stood resolutely on the side of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Does Professor Soyinka regard Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as a credible successor of Chief Awolowo as the Yoruba leader? Does he in any way confuse the posturing of the APC as remotely or tangentially related to even the widest interpretations of political progressivism?

As the man who declaimed that, “Justice is the first condition of humanity”, did he critically look at all sides of everything, and did he adequately assess the administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and did he arrive at his damning verdict based on findings valid on the crucible of justice, equity and fairness? Apparently, it didn’t occur to Soyinka that those certain to be shocked by his about-face would be deserving of some explanation, he being the only high priest on whose altar Ifa divination is possible. He, therefore, couched his speech to school children in obscurantism, thinking obviously that, the less easy to grasp his presentation, the less flak he would get for what amounts to a disservice to history.

To be sure, Soyinka has the right to refuse to vote, as the Nigerian Constitution does not censure or criminalize non-voting by citizens. He has the right to campaign against any candidate. But he set tongues wagging by stating that, “It is pointlessly, and dangerously provocative to present General Buhari as something that he probably was not.  It is however just as purblind to insist that he has not demonstrably striven to become what he most glaringly was not, to insist that he has not been chastened by intervening experience and – most critically – by a vastly transformed environment – both the localized and the global.”

There isn’t any doubt regarding what Buhari was not. He never was a democrat! But it is disingenuous to state that the former military dictator has “demonstrably striven” to shake off his authoritarian past, to insist that Buhari has “been chastened by intervening experience” and “a vastly transformed environment.” Soyinka may have been addressing school kids. But his audience breached his toddlers’ perimetres.

Where is the evidence of the chastened Buhari? If “most critically”, “a vastly transformed environment” left previous despots chastened and amenable to democratic propensities, what has the world been experiencing under Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s democratic government? Was it not under a “democratic dispensation” that General Olusegun Obasanjo wiped out Odi and Zaki Biam?

It has become Soyinkaesque to posit that an elected Buhari would not be repressive because he would be operating under a democratic dispensation! Was apartheid not practiced under a democratic dispensation? Did not Hitler become German Chancellor by the democratic vote? It appears the only answer Soyinka has to these and similar questions is a string of sentences strewn together by an unconvincing statement.

He is now rooting for a Buhari presidency because he has “studied him from a distance, questioned those who have closely interacted with him, including his former running-mate, Pastor Bakare, and dissected his key utterances past and current.” A man with a contemporary Draconian past seeking the people’s electoral mandate deserves better than being studied “from a distance”. Little wonder Soyinka came by the conclusion that he found “A plausible transformation that comes close to that of another ex-military dictator, Mathew Kerekou of the Benin Republic.” On this tenuous ground, Soyinka is recommending a “leap of faith” to his fellow countrymen and women! People have a right to be scandalized on this score because, on no account, should an election for the next president of Nigeria be tied to a leap of faith and all the calamitous consequences it could engender.

Soyinka’s introduction of Kérékou is even misapplied because the former Benin Republic leader took a positive step in his time that Buhari has found impossible to appropriate. During the nationally televised 1990 National Conference in Benin Republic, Kérékou spoke to Catholic Archbishop Isidor de Souza of Cotonou, confessing guilt and begging forgiveness for the flaws of his military regime. Likewise Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings who, in 1992, and when campaigning for the Ghanaian presidency, attended a church service in Accra where he apologized for all the killings that attended his first military dispensation. It was because Kérékou and Rawlings repented that their peoples relented, according them the chance to try their hands at democratic governance. But the gestures of apology, contrition, regret and repentance have never been seen, heard or noticed in Soyinka’s “chastened” Buhari.

To quote Soyinka’s demolition of Candidate Buhari in 2011: “The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the altern

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ative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive. History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation or behind-the-scenes assurances. Public offence, crimes against a polity, must be answered in the public space, not in caucuses of bargaining. In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evidence suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order.”

Yet, Soyinka discarded his recommendation of “rigorous inspection of the evidence” to settle for armchair analysis. Soyinka, the writer and teacher, is proposing a leap of faith into Buhari for Nigerians. This development is so startling that any of Soyinka’s “students” will, in a flush of angst, borrow from the title of one of Fela’s compositions and rail thus: Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense!

The question of numeracy also comes into it all. Soyinka said he had 60 reasons not to vote for President Jonathan. But he mentioned only one – the kidnap of the Chibok schoolgirls! Did he not realize that he owed his listeners the listing of the remaining 59 reasons? Even on that unfortunate incident, a lot of distortion has obscured facts. For instance, it did not take 10 days to respond to the kidnap. The pursuit of the kidnappers followed almost immediately. What actually took 10 days was the public relations dimension for which blame should, in the main, go to those with the primary responsibility. If the Chibok girls have not been rescued, it is because the proposition is not easy. Not because government is fiddling. After all, the United States and other developed countries descended on Nigeria with all their scientific and technological gear aimed at locating and rescuing the girls without registering any success. Again, it took America all of 10 years to find Osama bin Laden.

There is no justice in a six-year administration judged solely on the basis of an emotive issue on which vested interests have studiously muddied the waters of public opinion. Odia Ofeimun, the poet and former private secretary to Chief Awolowo, who acknowledges Soyinka as his mentor, supports this assertion. In 2015 and After, an article he widely published in both orthodox and social media on January 25, 2015, Mr. Ofeimun said: “One remarkable paradox about the 2015 General Election is that it ought to be a referendum on whether President Goodluck Jonathan has done well in Agriculture, Aviation, Road construction, Education, Health and especially Ebola, Railways, Electricity, and whether he achieved the purpose of putting constitutional reforms on the agenda of the Nigerian state as most Nigerians have been asking for since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. It is simply true, and provable, that in these areas, Jonathan has done exceedingly better than his illustrious predecessor, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a very remarkable under-achiever, who has been needling him on all grounds and cooking the mythology that Goodluck Jonathan has no clue.”

It is a sad commentary on the state of Nigerian political discourse that Soyinka and all the radicals with a lower case “r” have turned a blind eye to President Jonathan’s achievements and have rather decided to worship at the expedient altar of opportunism. What remains is this lamentation for Soyinka: The cynosure of all eyes should not dab their face in charcoal…                                                                                                                                                      Iloegbunam, author of Ironside, the biography of General Aguiyi-Ironsi, Nigeria’s first military Head of State, is a contributing editor of USAfrica multimedia networks (Houston), since 1995, and USAfricaonline.com. His e-mail is iloegbunam@hotmail.com

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Boko Haram, Baga and Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity.                            By Dr. Chido Nwangwu.

Boko Haram has turned Jonathan’s Nigeria, with brazen impunity, into what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. Borno and nearby  areas have become Boko violent playgrounds, the capital territory of their medieval Caliphate. We cannot have two Commanders-in-Chief in one country: Abubakar Shekau and President Jonathan. For President Jonathan, again, stand firm and Be Nigeria’s duly elected and only Commander-in-Chief; or….. 

http://usafricaonline.com/2015/01/12/boko-haram-and-nigerias-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public policy networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

USAfrica: BOKO HARAM’s latest killings sharpen divide for security team at Nigeria’s presidency. By Chido Nwangwu
http://usafricaonline.com/2013/10/21/usafrica-boko-harams-latest-killings-sharpen-divide-for-security-team-at-nigerias-presidency-by-chido-nwangwu/

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Dancing with “ghosts” of BOKO HARAM, President Jonathan, Sultan Abubakar and Nigeria’s national security. By Dr. Chido Nwangwu
http://usafricaonline.com/2013/04/05/dancing-with-ghosts-of-boko-haram-president-jonathan-sultan-abubakar-and-nigerias-national-security-by-chido-nwangwu/

VIDEO of the CNN International broadcast/profile of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine Publisher Chido Nwangwu.   http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn  

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Forthcoming 2015 BOOK: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first PERSON reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering PERSONS of African descent whose exemplary lives
Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and consequence to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY IN Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in PART, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia Chido_Nwangwu-speaking-jan11_2014specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first BOOK; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, SECURITY, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University in Rhode Island and former adviser on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn         e-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com wireless 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436).

 

• Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html

Jonathan’s Boko Haram problem and firing of Ringim. By Chido Nwangwu http://usafricaonline.com/2012/01/25/jonathans-boko-haram-problem-and-firing-of-ringim-by-chido-nwangwu/

Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/

News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 http://usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/ 310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

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World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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