When salt losses its taste

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe


I do not know why the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) chose a day after President Buhari’s national broadcast on the Covid-19 pandemic to demand N1.1 trillion from the FG for the “revitalization” of the Nigerian university system. It is truly apalling with the current economic situation!


But then, this is Nigeria where any proof of life speech by the leader in standing position is breaking news. We are indeed a cynical federation! as ours is breaking news. While the periodic distraction that the national speculation on the whereabouts of Mr President might be temporarily strategic it has a cumulative effect in the progressive bastardization his political legacy in the long run. Being a president is not a call to be an expert. Rather it is simply being in charge which in an internet age is not a picnic.


The contents of President Buhari’s speech in overall context commendably covered all the relevant issues. That it was short on details is perfectly understandle. This is because unlike President Trump that briefs his nation daily on the pandemic, ours only addresses his national constituency “after hours and hours of rehearsals, which nonetheless unmasks his declining cognitive faculties” as his leadership template is apparently that of “presidency by absenteeism”




The world we live in is a global village. From Uganda, a young lady Kenyangi Bale tweeted at 7.58am Kampala time on March 27, 2020 just 2 days before President Buhari addressed us ” I know Ugandans deserve better. But, our president, Museveni has addressed this nation the 5th time in 2 weeks on the COVID-19 pandemic. You guys needs to visit Nigerian Twitter. They are looking for their president. He is no where to be found”.


Last night (Nigerian time) Mr Trump started his usual live briefing by announcing that the US Navy hospital had sailed into New York ready for medical battle. The former oil tanker was converted to a hospital ship in 1987 has 1000 beds, 12 operating theaters, a dental clinic, 4 X-ray machines, CT scanner, 2 Oxygen production plants, Optometry lab, 5000 unit capacity blood bank, daily 300,000 gallons fresh water plant, helipad and morgue. According to the US Navy, the hospital ship that is the equivalent in height to a 10-storey building and 3 football fields long was due to sail for New York in 8 days but when the Army Corps of Engineers was drafted in it sailed in 5 days.


Meanwhile, it took 35 days between when the first Covid-19 case was announced in Nigeria and when President Buhari addressed the nation. In India it took an Indian academic, Virologist Minal Dakhane Bhosale 42 days to develop an indigenous test kit. She unlike her Nigerian counterparts was not on strike, rather as soon as she finished her project headed for the maternity ward to deliver a bouncing baby girl. What is the difference in distaste between Mr President and ASUU?


Anyway soon after Mr. President addressed the nation a disturbing video started making the rounds on social media showing an obviously distressed Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, the CO of Operation Lafiya Dole apparently addressing, his boss the army chief.



“We have been met with very strong resistance – from more than pockets of Boko Haram. From every flank not less than 15 gun trucks were facing us. I’m standing here with Sector 2 Commander; the armed helicopter has just come to hover our air, the instruction I gave them was that anything they see moving they should engage because most of my gun trucks are not moving. Like I said earlier, the three battalions are fighting as deployed — nobody is running” He went on “But what we have here, I will give you some estimates. Boko Haram has fired more than a hundred mortar bombs at us; they have fired 80 to a hundred RPGs at us; in addition to eight to 10 gun trucks firing at us from all sides. We have not run, and the soldiers are not misbehaving or disobeying orders.We have casualties. I will come and see you in person on what we need to do. But we are not running. We lost about 20 MRAP tires here. We have changed close to 250 Hilux tires due to the terrain.”


According to a report that accompanied the viral video “Several wounded soldiers could be seen crying in the video while bodies of their colleagues was scattered all over location. Recall that Boko Haram recently ambushed troops in Borno and killed more than 50 soldiers during that attack”That such a highly classified communication is being circulated in the public domain is shocking. It however means the video was perhaps deliberately leaked by whistleblowers in service to alert the nation on the deterioration of affairs in the North East.
Nigeria’s security and military apparatus cannot afford to be distracted because elsewhere in the world either by hook or by crook according to the newspaper Times of Israel in its March 27 edition; “The Mossad intelligence service on Thursday helped bring another 400,000 CoronaVirus test kits to Israel from an undisclosed foreign location, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said. That was in addition to the roughly 100,000 test kits the spy agency brought to Israel last week. The PMO, which is responsible for the Mossad, said the intelligence service had imported the chemical reagents needed to perform approximately 400,000 tests. The swabs needed to carry out the task are being sourced both internally and from a number of foreign countries. The PMO refused to comment further on the matter, specifically on the country or countries that sold it the testing components, leading many to assume that it was a country that does not have strong or formal ties with Israel.


In another report in Blomberg.com dated March 19, 2020; “Earlier this week, the Shin Bet (Israel’s) domestic security service was authorized to use a technology developed primarily for counterterrorism purposes to identify who infected people may have come in contact with”
So on one hand, while in our country the military is besieged by a seemingly endless insurgency in others the armed forces and security are being used to assist a national effort in medical health care delivery. No doubt it is all about a coordinated leadership that has purpose and direction. Ours unfortunately is mostly about an “absentee presidency” If so what is the way forward? It is all about to be seen to be in-charge. Leadership is mostly about effective presence without actually saying much or being an expert. Just be there!


Law 16 of 48 Laws of Power recommends “Use absence to increase respect and honor. Create value through scarcity” There is however a caveat “Absence is dangerous – instead of fanning the flames, it will extinguish them. In the beginning, make yourself not scarce, but omnipresent. Only what is seen, appreciated, and loved will be missed in its absence” It is against this background that Law 6 is instructive; “Everything is judged by it’s appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention”

The Stockdale Paradox (Surviving the Next 4 Years for PDP)

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook

This is Commander James Stockdale on 2nd September 1965. A week later on the 9th of the same month the Navy fighter pilot was shot down over Vietnam after his plane received a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. He parachuted to safety but captured.

As a Prisoner of War he had to endure multiple fractures due to repeated torture and beatings, sleep deprivation, lack of medical attention and solitary confinement for 8 years. Upon his release in 1973 the US Navy named its school for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape after him. His story in captivity was summarized into what is now known as the Stockdale Paradox which is to “retain the faith that you will prevail regardless of the circumstances but at the same time confront the brutal facts of your reality” The Stockdale Paradox has universal application in balancing optimism with reality, intuition with planning, faith with fact. It is all about being supremely rational in all situations. Being emotional and losing focus are never options. It is therefore against that background that no judicial process in Nigeria as presently superintended will ever unseat Buhari.

With the benefit of hindsight in 2007 and 2011, Buhari spent 24 and 30 months respectively in various courts in pursuit of his mandate. Under the current acting CJN who will certainly be confirmed by the next APC majority senate Atiku Abubakar could spend 48 months. The mountains of evidence of electoral malpractices in the recently concluded presidential elections to be produced in open court will certainly undermine the integrity of the process. But what the courts would decide and how long it will drag is yet another ball game.
In conclusion Goodluck Jonathan did not challenge the outcome of the 2015 polls not because he didn’t have a legal basis to but because there were other political undercurrents. Similarly this time around the PDP flag bearer went into a wrestling contest with one arm tied behind to his back by not reconciling the fundamental differences between APC returnees and PDP stay puts ahead of the polls. Simply put the opposition suffers from lack of internal cohesion. The need for an electoral post-mortem including a SWOT Analysis from the ward to the national levels cannot be overemphasized. If there is anything the Stockdale Paradox has zero tolerance for it is wishful thinking. The signs and symptoms of a massive second coming failure are glaring. President Buhari will be in dire need for scapegoats for the inevitability of Murphy’s Law to catch up with him. The APC will also require a series of major distractions to blame on the opposition. So very soon the chorus of “corruption fighting back” will resume in full force. The gloating and taunting will continue then harassment and various forms intimidation. The opposition therefore requires clarity, purpose and direction with effective counter narratives to weather the storm for the next 4 years. Let us buckle up!

UK & USA Reject Nigerian Elections

Breaking News:

UK & USA Reject Presidential election results, threatens to remove Buhari .
Read full story….

The U.K and USA has rejected the Presidential election held on Saturday.
The Urhobo Kingdom (UK) representing Irodo community in Delta State And the UKwani Student Association (USA) also threatened to scatter the INEC office in Irodo and UKwani, two small communitIes where only about 100 and 300 people registered to vote
Details later….

Happy new month with blessings

Ruby Bridges: Racism is a grown up disease.

By Alex Kovow on facebook

I cant believe this and am so embarrassed that this history is absent from 20 years of education I received in Ghana right up to tertiary level. I have learnt about Winston Churchill, Mungo Park, Marco Polo, Sir Francis Drake and Christopher Columbus and how great they were. No one ever taught me about the guts of this little black kid and what she had to endure…
And apparently she is still alive today.
Read on please
In 1960, a 6 year old girl, Ruby Bridges became the world symbol of the courage to learn amidst untold intimidation and hate. The US Supreme court had just ordered that all schools be desegregated in the US to allow black children and white ones study together. The American South, the heart of racial segregation could hear none of it. New Orleans, where Ruby’s parents had settled from Mississipi decided on a plan to keep off the black youngsters and scuttle the court order. They decided to have very difficult entry examinations that black students couldn’t pass to frustrate their efforts to study with white students and the exam was only given to black students. Despite the painfully difficult exams, six black children passed, including Ruby.

The examinations body decided Ruby Bridges be admitted to the William Frantz Elementary school to begin her nursery studies. The community, teachers of the school and pupils would hear none of it. When Ruby reported for her first day in nursery school, there were violent riots and people threw objects at her. The following day all parents withdrew their children from the school. All the teachers also withdrew from the school saying they couldn’t teach a black kid. Except one brave teacher Barbara Henry.

Realizing that the US State of New Orleans wanted to disobey a court order requiring them to admit black children, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered that Ruby must attend school and sent Federal Marshalls to escort Ruby daily to school. Little did he know, the US soldiers would escort the young six year old girl for a record one year.

As she went to school daily, escorted by US Soldiers, Large crowds of adults and their children gathered by the road side who abused her, threw objects at her. One woman who cooked at the school threatened to poison her. The Marshalls decided she must now eat at her own home. A woman in the crowd daily showed her the image of a black doll in a wooden coffin as they spat on her. Locals shops refused to sell anything to her parents. They were turned away from every shop they went. Then the girl started having stress and would wake her mother in the middle of the night seeking comfort. The hate was too much to bear.

For one year, US soldiers escorted the brave Ruby to William Frantz school where there were only two people, Teacher Barbara and one student Ruby. They sat side by side or facing each other. There was nobody else. President Eisenhower handed over power and the predicament of Ruby Bridges to President John Kennedy. After one year, with the parents and protesting teachers realizing Ruby and Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy not flinching an inch, decided to return their children to school. Then the racist teachers returned. After a full one year. Ruby Bridges had stoically fought racism as a six year old.

As one of the soldiers who daily escorted her for one year Charles Burks would later say, “She never cried or whimpered, she just marched along like a little soldier.” Churks said guarding Ruby was the highlight of his career, the most important thing he ever did.

Ruby is now the chair of Ruby Bridges Foundation, which she formed in 1999 to promote “the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences.”

She was recently reunited with Barbara, the teacher who refused to go with the crowd and teach one pupil for one year and give her a future. Barbara still lives in New Orleans with her husband and children. In her memorable words ‘Racism is a grown up disease and we should stop using our kids to spread it”

She lived to see a black man become president of the United States and was imvited to the White House where President Obama showed her a drawing of herself being escorted to school in 1960 engraved in the most powerful office on earth, immortalized for posterity.