By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
Mohammed Tawhidi is a rabble rouser whose middle name is controversy. That the third generation Iranian-born Australian cleric is fighting a political proxy war against President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria is obvious. The million Naira question is on whose behalf is Mr. Tawhidi granstanding? It is politically significant that less than 24 hours after the launch of Tawhidi’s Social Media offensive Mr. President appeared in a series of photographs as a counter narrative to one of the Imam’s claims that Nigerians do not know where their leader is.
The Imam raised many other pertinent issues that are moot, but I shall endeavor returning to the one over President Buhari’s leadership capacity in my conclusion. That notwithstanding I feel the Imam has a personal axe to grind as his own words betray. Hear him; “Nigerians should know that I’ve actually had contact with (President Buhari’s) office before” Tawhidi continued “I was about to come to Nigeria for negotiations and help achieve peace between sects” As he rambled on Tawhidi even took a swipe at the Shia leader Ibrahim El Zakzaky on whose behalf he had sought to come to Nigeria in the first place.
How did a fringe cleric become a hero for the political Far Right in Australia, Europe and even the US? The Imam is no doubt a smooth operator that is media savvy. Interestingly, he is a fierce critic of not just the Shia theocracy in Iran but the Sunni mainstream. Is he an international political mercenary for hire?
I take exception to a foreigner deriding the Office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The fundamental issue is not really the person occupying that exalted office at any given time; but the office itself. Unfortunately, the ruling APC is chiefly responsible for creating an enabling environment that the highest office in our nation is under a Social Media siege from abroad. I will limit myself to 3 instances when APC was in opposition. First, on January 21, 22 and 29 2015, the presidential convoy of Goodluck Jonathan was pelted with stones in Katsina, Bauchi and Yola respectively.
This “single minded recklessness” was known to the nation’s security apparatus prior to when they variously happened. Stopping the treasonable incidences would have sparked off a chain of events that would have had deadly consequences – the exact intention of the planners now in government. Second, the Chibok abductions of April 14, 2014 was a puzzling chain of events that started when the Borno state government turned down WAEC’s call for the relocation of that vulnerable center to Maiduguri. Anyway, the #BringBackOurGirls immediately became a well orchestrated political movement fueled by the then opposition to reduce the esteem of the Office of the President to the extent that at the second term inauguration of Jacob Zuma the matter was dredged up as an aspect of Nigerian bashing engineered by opposition even abroad.
“On October 16, 2014, Chief Audu Ogbeh a chieftain of APC, who later became a minister, had said on camera at an APC rally at the Eagle Square Abuja, “I want to thank members of the #BBOG which is being led by members of our party” Third, former president Jonathan was openly accused of being variously a drunk while carrying out state functions. He was also openingly accused of being a sponsor of the Boko Haram insurgency to deliberately decimate the North’s population.
The preceeding narratives were among others engineered by the then opposition including another viral quote attributed to General Sani Abacha that “Any insecurity that lasts more than 48 hours has the government’s hand in it” All the foregoing were examples of hunger for power without due consideration of the consequences of diminishing the office that symbolizes that power. It is against the background of these instances that the recent tweets of “Imam for Peace” bashing President Buhari is collectively tantamount to poetic justice – not withstanding Mr. President cannot be proved to have been privy to these machinations when he was an opposition figure. He nevertheless became a beneficiary of the same information warfare he is now paradoxically a victim of from the Imam of Peace.
In conclusion, I return to the issue raised by Imam Mohammed Tawhidi on President Buhari’s availability and capacity to lead Nigeria. That Mr. President has not being medically evacuated to “Cuba” as wicked rumor had it has already been debunked by the photographs circulated by the Presidency less than 24 hours after Tawhidi had gone viral. My take on the photographs are beyond the scope of this post. I must however question in passing what meaningful meeting can take place at such seating distance with 2 members in attendance wearing surgical masks that will muffle their voices? The photographs nevertheless underscore the need for adequate information to dispel wild speculation and conspiracy theories while still asking why Mr. President did not also wear a mask? Did Mohammed Tawhidi before his viral tweets watch the Kadaria Ahmed hosted “The Candidates” which featured Mr. President and VP Yemi Osinbajo? Because as the town hall meeting broadcast live nationwide established; it is one thing to be in power and yet another to be in control takeless of having the presence of mind to actually be in power.
The beauty of a joint ticket however was epitomized by Mr. Osinbajo during the broadcast hosted by Kadaria in January 2019. “The VP provided the much-needed fillip to make the session worth the efforts and investment. And when it appeared the President had difficulty in hearing (or processing) the questions from the moderator and members of the audience, Osinbajo was always on hand to repeat them to him. The VP also, on many occasions, guided his boss in supplying what he felt were appropriate answers for tough questions” At one stage I recall Ms Ahmed had to restrain Osinbajo from interjecting on behalf of his obviously overwhelmed boss. As far as I am concerned there was nothing wrong with the VP’s actions on air. If so why has Osinbajo been now consigned to a political Siberia of sorts? The answer is obvious and lies in Law 1 of 48 Laws of Power – “Never outshine the master”
I have noticed how Mark Pence defers to Donald Trump on issues. The US leader came into office with the deficit of never holding any prior public office. Pence complemented his boss having been Indiana state governor and for 12 years a member of the US Congress. The same could be said on the Buhari-Osinbajo ticket as the VP makes up for Mr. President’s intellectual lack. It is therefore the clear absence of a leadership synergy at the Aso Rock Villa that created the political vacuum Imam Mohammed Tawhidi
operated in with his tweets. That President Buhari is politically vulnerable is what makes him a target of opportunity by the Imam of Peace. Information warfare is defined as the spreading of propaganda or disinformation to negatively manipulate perceptions. The chief purpose is to politically demoralize.
The million Naira question remains: on whose behalf is Mr. Tawhidi deconstructing President Buhari?
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
Or are the Wailers are not to Blamed instead?
I am glad that the Presidency has decided to reject the call by the National Assembly for a national broadcast on Covid-19. Can you imagine; have they forgotten they are a rubber stamp parliament?
Hmm…somebody should remind them that, “Until the rotten tooth is pulled out, the mouth should chew with caution.” Besides didn’t the “National Leader” of our great Kutuje party recently claim the issue is actually 2023 virus? Anyway Malam Garba Shehu sorry; Alaka, has rightly replied those enemies of progress by emphasizing, “These are not the times for populism and cheap politics.”
Nigerians must learn to respect Baba Fakunle’s privacy so that he can cool his “hotness of a gorilla” in the other room. Anybody that needs to be addressed should tune to CNN and watch Donald Trump. Those calling on Mr. President to address the nation should not forget that; “A chicken eats corn, drinks water, swallows pebbles, yet she complains of having no teeth. If she had teeth, would she eat gold? Let her ask the cow who has teeth yet eats grass!”
This is Nigeria where our leaders should address us only during political campaigns. The Next Level is about peace and quiet before Adetusa’s retirement. Our government is not to be disturbed by you disobedient Gbonkas with petty matters as we are currently focused on repairing the PDP damage of 16 years which shall be carrying out indefinitely. After all we have already achieved national sufficiency in local rice production; what else do you ingrates of Ikolu want again?
With a price reduction of N20 from every liter of PMS it is Danfo drivers and luxurious bus operators that you Ijekun people should compel to reduce transport fares not us. We have done our best under the circumstances for you people that are beginning to behave like Aderopo. If you think because you voted for us you want to make noise don’t forget there is nothing independent about INEC. “Is it not ignorance that makes the rat attack the cat?” Any petrol dealer in spite of old stock bought at the former price must now sell at the new price. That is the defination of patriotism. This government is ever ready to close the shop so that we can chase treasury looters. You think e easy with corruption fighting back? “Because the farm-owner is slow to catch the thief, the thief calls the farm-owner thief!” Therefore any Odewale that feels too strongly about Covid-19 should send in photographs of suspected cases for perusal like the Lagos governor did with the aftermath of the recent pipeline explosion at Abule Ado. Does the Aso Rock Villa look like NAFDAC office or Center for Disease Control? If anybody coughs simply tell the person – Bless you! Or sacrifice rams to the gods. Sacrifice did you say? Perhaps to “Soponna the god the poxes or even Sango the god of thunder and rainfall” So shut up and “boil lemongrass, tea bush and some limeskins including dogonyaro leaves” then isolate yourselves – “when rain falls on the leopard does it wash off its spots?”
If body scratch you eat local rice! So please you Haters should carry your Coronavirus talk far away from us or we quarantine you with Ogundele the hunter. We have urgent matters of state to attend to like making sure the esteemed chairman of our party, Comrade Akilapa with diamond buttons on his safari is not humiliated out of office by saboteurs from where 3 footpaths meet – nearer to Ede than to Ilorin. So no national broadcast on Covid-19 for you. “Let no one stop us and no one come with us or we shall curse them…..When the wood-insect gathers sticks on its own head it carries them” Is it because there is power you want to see broadcast?
Wait till we return DISCO to power holding then your eye will clear. If you vex go and vote for Atiku in 2023. This is not a play!
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 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
Happy new month with blessings
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook
When Hilary Clinton lost the US presidential elections in 2016 she wrote down her thoughts on what played out. She entitled her musings ‘What Happened’ which became a major bestselling book. While she attributed her loss to various factors she did not spare herself from blame. In her own words the most difficult part was when she had to attend the swearing-in ceremony of her rival Donald Trump.
Mrs. Clinton’s attitude is highly unusual but commendable. In the coming weeks if not months much will be said about our own presidential elections but what lessons can we all learn despite our deep seated political differences? To start with the cost of organizing the 2019 cycle of elections is N242 billion which recorded a total voter turnout of less than a total of 30 million voters for the presidential elections in a country of 198 million citizens. From matters arising from the February 23 polls the next election cycle must have more of technology introduced and less of cumbersome paper work. The diaspora needs to also be factored in. There are over 260,000 documented Americans of Nigerian descent in the US. In the UK they are actually 201,184.
Put together including those elsewhere in the world our compatriots abroad are actually more than those that voted in the FCT last Saturday yet these same Nigerians remitted a total of US$21 billion back home in 2017 alone. Hilary Clinton dedicated her book to her campaign staff which she all named and thanked. She did not hide her resentment and explained how she had been coping since her loss. She also broke some furniture, smashed various household items and flung objects at her husband. It was all in a bid to get psychological closure. Moving closer home: how should Atiku Abubakar handle the results as declared by INEC? I have just read President Buhari’s acceptance speech and I am wondering how his supporters can look Nigerians in the face and still claim he is a man of integrity. Will they ever accept like Umar Yar’adua did that the process led by Mahmood Yakubu was credible?
That notwithstanding like Hilary declared in the conclusion of her book – “Keep going”. Simply put remain vigilant.
As I was saying before the elections: many relationships have broken down with so many friendships destroyed. Was it really worth it? Life however can always be summarized in just 3 words – it goes on. That is why for me the elections are over. I can now fully resume my hustling because I have got bills to pay. But for those of you who want to continue the political acrimony permit me to introduce you to Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who was deployed to fight the Americans on Lubang Island of Philippines in 1944 during the Second World War.
When the army base the 22 year old Onoda was serving was captured his good self with 3 others refused to surrender instead they retreated deep into the jungles. However by 1945 Japan had surrendered. The 4 soldiers noticed a lull in fighting and repopulation of the island but they nevertheless held on by eating stolen rice, coconuts and meat from stolen cattle from the isolated settlements of Lubang. The victorious Americans from intelligence reports were aware that the 4 were still carrying on the fight so they dropped leaflets from aircraft. They included photographs of the surrender ceremony, current newspapers from Japan and copies of letters from their various families. The relevant authorities also announced from loudspeakers the war was over but the tenacious soldiers did not bulge. They dismissed all those efforts as fake. Not until 1950 when one was killed by the Philippine army. Another in 1954. By 1972 another had surrendered with a message from Onoda that he would only be relieved from duty by his superior. So his commanding officer retired Major Yoshini Taniguchi had to be tracked down in Japan and sent into the jungles of Lubang. As soon as the now 52 year old soldier recognized his former boss he saluted him. He was then ordered to stand down and Onoda finally agreed to surrender. He rejoined civilization in his uniform that he had carefully preserved, carrying his rifle and remaining 500 rounds of ammo with his service sword after 30 years of active service. He is seen here handing over his prized blade to the then president of Philippines Ferdinand Marcos at the Malacanan Palace in 1974. The Samurai eventually left for Japan. He died in 2014 at his retirement farm house at the ripe age of 91. Coming nearer home the 2019 presidential elections will no doubt produce many like Onoda in Nigeria no matter the outcome from the INEC presidential collation center. The struggle continues.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe on facebook
50 years ago in 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to step on the Moon. Irrespective of who wins the presidential elections what lesson can we as Nigerians learn from the Moon landing? In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first unmanned satellite to orbit the earth. By 1961 the Soviet Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the world. At the end of the same year the Iron Curtain had launched 5 space shuttles. The Americans had none. That did not stop the American president JF Kennedy from declaring to his compatriots that “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the earth”.
It was a tall order because the Americans had not even launched any manned satellite by then. That however happened in 1962 when the American John Glenn in 4 hours circled the world 3 times from an altitude of 162 miles. The normal cruising height of a commercial aircraft is 6 miles high. In 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon and successfully returned to earth after 8 days, 3 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds. The call sign when the shuttle landed on the Moon was: The eagle has landed. On the main screen at the Mission Control Center on earth Kennedy’s 1961 speech was scrolling followed by the words: Task Accomplished. The space race that started in 1957 was finally won by the Americans in 1969. The Space Center in the US was named after the Kennedy. The then US president was Richard Nixon his Republican archrival. The longstanding political bitterness between the 2 men did not affect the US space program despite the fact that the Democrat Kennedy had died in office 6 years earlier. The event was televised worldwide and broadcast on radio to millions of others including in the Soviet Union. Fast forward to Nigeria, a pathetically dysfunctional country where 60 years after national independence we are still eyeing each other through the prism of ethnic identity and religious affiliation. A country where State of Origin and not State of Residence is the major meal ticket cannot land on the Moon.
Ours is where a sitting president cannot give any cogent answer to the Almajiri problem because it might acknowledge his predecessor from the South in building special purpose schools in the North. Nigeria today needs a leader like Kennedy who will dream while awake and a Nixon that will cast aside political bitterness. The main leadership challenge in Nigeria is how to manage our diversity. What has happened the last few years is that Ijawization was simply replaced with Northernization. It is now time to break the jinx by externalizing our aggression like the Americans did with the Soviet Union. Nations develop when they have rivals to surmount. If there was no Japan there wouldn’t have been the Asian Tigers led by South Korea. India needs Pakiskan to excel and vice versa. Without Taiwan’s rivalry China would still be backward communist nation. Even under Murtala Mohammed the emancipation of Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa was our rallying point. Without external rivals nations cannibalize themselves as we have been doing for decades. Leadership imagination is very crucial in turning the tide. Nigeria therefore needs a president that can think outside the box by creating an external rival that will unite us in a common purpose and direction. We can then land on the Moon instead of fighting each other.
By Ahmed Yahaya Joe
This is a metaphor of what the Talakawa refer to as ‘Kashin Dankali’ used in Hausa to exemplify societal oppression of smaller potatoes beneath that always bear the brunt of the bigger ones above. It was an analogy made popular by Malam Aminu Kano after the Sawaba Declaration of NEPU in the 1950s.
So ‘Kashin Dankali’ signifies how elites subjugate the downtrodden in the North irrespective of religion or ethnicity. Back then the political differences in the North were ideological. Today they are religious. The implication is that instead of making progress the North has backslidden. ‘Kashin Dankali’ almost 70 years later begs the question of why the Buhari administration discontinued the Almajiri school projects started by Jonathan. The answer is very simple and straight forward – the political North is so narrow minded and conceited that holding power in the interim is more preferable to it than planning for the future of its younger generation.
Simply put as far as the Northern intelligentsia is concerned dominating defense and security portfolios including headship of NNPC, NPA, FCT ministry among many others is more expedient than completing the 400 Almajiri schools earmarked across the North. Apparently to the ruling APC in the North an Almajiri child voter is more equal to an educated Talakawa leader of tomorrow. A more equitable Arewa is therefore not on its agenda. That is ironically among the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency which now has become a political weapon in the dubious hands of the same mischievous Northern elite.
The first private university to be licensed in Nigeria was located in Rigacukum along the Kaduna- Zaria expressway as far back as 25 years ago. To date it has never admitted a single student nor built any lecture hall. In fact it is now a secondary school under Turkish management. Contrast that with the number of private universities springing up along and off the Lagos – Ibadan expressway within the last 10 years. Jonathan thought he was doing the North a favor when he located 9 of the 12 Federal Universities he established in the North. Not only that the former president elevated FCE Kano and Zaria to the status of Universities of Education. Both gestures were set aside when Buhari became president. With Alvan Ikoku at Owerri and Adeyemi in Oyo ambushed in the cross fire.
The newly established Nigerian Army University by the current Buhari administration would have brighter prospects because it is located in the more cosmopolitan Southern Borno. The high inter-communal harmony and level tolerance of that part of the NE are the reasons why the BH has repeatedly been unable to make any major foothold there. But what does not add up in the North is fact that our elites are mostly of humble background that were educated at public expense while their children and wards are so cut off from their grassroots and so expensively educated in private schools. Gone are the days when the son of a messenger will share the same class with that of a Perm Sec. That marked the beginning of the end of education in the North.
The man formerly known as Lamido Sanusi Lamido described it as a misplaced “12th century mentality” based on religious ignorance. I totally agree with him. Currently the Hon Minister of Education is a Northerner so are most of the heads of the ‘juicy” agencies under him. Yet the North still wears the dishonorable badge of educational backwardness under the current dispensation.
Will Atiku be any different if he becomes president? I humbly stand to be corrected but between Buhari and Atiku all their children were tertiary educated abroad. That is why both of them don’t have any comprehensive agenda on Education in Nigeria. Both candidates are fundamentally the same in ideological perspective.Truth is the differences between the North’s political elite are only in their bank balance, personal character and level of socialization but as far as ‘Kashin Dankali’ is concerned they are the same kind of oppressors Aminu Kano had always warned the Talakawa about.
2019 is therefore a Hobson’s Choice. A precarious situation where all the major options are just not good enough for Nigeria.