Tale of Two Nigerians

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Nigeria: A Nation of 75% Idiots, 20% Tribespeople and only 5% Citizens?

Against the backdrop of the trial of Hushpuppi on multiple counts of internet fraud and other related charges on various aspects of criminality in the United States another Nigerian “Lieutenant Victor Agunbiade was awarded the Navy and Marine Corp Development Medal for his exemplary accountability. According to the US Navy, Agunbiade effectively managed its largest cash disbursing office handling $45 million which is approximately N17 billion.

The money accounted for approximately 70% of its overseas disbursing volume.
According to the award citation, Agunbiade earned the honor while serving as cash disbursing Officer at the navy’s Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, between October, 2019 to July this year.
“Additionally, he managed 100 per cent accountability of 23 million dollars (N8.7 billion) across six rigorous inspections and independent audits with zero discrepancies. By his unswerving determination, wise judgment and complete dedication to duty, Agunbiade reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service” the citation read.
Agunbiade enlisted in the US Navy as a storekeeper in 2008 and was commissioned as a supply corps officer in 2013.

He has always displayed a high level of professionalism while discharging his duties. In 2018, Agunbiade was named the Navy’s 2018 Officer Recruiter of the Year, alongside 17 others and honored at the annual Recruiter of the Year ceremony in Washington D.C.”
The same Naija but different persons: what is the explanation?

“According to the ancient Greeks, the founders of modern civilization, there are three kinds of people in any society; The first kind of people in any society are the idiots, not necessarily mentally deficient, but rather one who is a totally private person; totally selfish and totally self-centered (sometimes donning expensive suits, uniform or agbada).

The idiot is always out for his personal gain and his personal interest. He does not have a public philosophy, he has no character, no knowledge and no skills to live by and to be able to contribute in a flourishing society or community. He is all out for his personal pleasures and his personal treasures. The Greeks said the idiot is just an upgraded barbarian – you see them every day in society. They are the ones who form tadpole queues and drive against traffic. They toss litter freely out of their cars and appropriate our commonwealth for their personal use; The Greeks refer to these are the IDIOTS.

The Greek also said there is a second kind of person in any society called the tribespeople. Tribespeople does not necessarily mean belonging to a certain tribe; which is not bad in itself, but when the Greeks used the word tribespeople, they meant a tribal and a tribalistic mentality. The Greeks said the tribespeople are those not able to think beyond their small tribes and their small social groups.
For the tribespeople, the primary, only and ultimate allegiance is to their tribe. Their tribe is their god and their religion is tribalism. Tribespeople are always afraid of things that are different or are a little alien to them. They are always suspicious and fearful, and they always deal with different people and difficult situations with intimidation, force and with violence. The Greeks also said the ideal person for tribespeople is the warrior, because tribespeople are a war making people.

But it was not so for the Greeks, for them, there was another kind of person, and that for them was the ideal person, and they called this ideal person the citizen. When we use the word citizen we are not talking about legal status or political status or the accident of birth; those are outcomes. We are talking about the idea and ideal of citizenship – which is a choice.
Who then is the citizen you might wonder? the citizen according to the Greeks is someone who has the skills and the knowledge to live a public life, and able to live a life of civility. The citizen recognizes that he or she is a member of a commonwealth and thus strives for the common good.
The citizen knows his right in a society but also knows his responsibility to society. The citizen can fight for his right but always with an awareness of, and with the respect for the rights and interest of others; of their neighbors, of the smallest minority and of their worst enemies.

It is citizens, the Greeks said that make up a civilized society, because citizens settle their differences with civility, they produce a civilized society, a society that truly lives up to the meaning of the name society. Society literally means friendship and friendliness.
This is the threefold distinction that the Greeks have given of people in a society. That is the choice that each and every individual, whoever he or she may be, has to make in a society.
Indeed, no sovereign can make any significant advancement when the number idiots and tribesmen far outnumber the number of citizens. When we conducted random surveys on the various cohorts of Delegates at the Ausso Leadership Academy, the perception is that; about 75% of Nigerians behave as idiots, 20% as tribespeople and only 5% as citizens. Do the results shock you enough to want to do something about it?
Nigeria is her people; If we want to see change, we have to start by being citizens of our country. According to Maria Robinson “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

The foregoing was nailed by Austin Okere, the Founder of CWG Plc, the largest ICT Company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange & Entrepreneur in Residence at CBS, New York. Austin also serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network, and on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Austin now runs the Ausso Leadership Academy focused on Business and Entrepreneurial Mentorship.

About A Unique Nigerian Leader

About Nigeria’s Genuine Mai-Gaskiya (The Sincere one), the Real McCoy. An Exemplary Paragon of Integrity and Epitome of Humility and A Man for All Seasons condensed from Nowa Omoigui’s; From Kampala To Lome To London and Back To Nigeria

How and why General Gowon lost grip was multi-factorial. On July 29, 1975, nine years to the day a coup he did not plan brought him to power at Ikeja Barracks, elements within his ‘constituency’ “recalled” him. Former secessionist leader Emeka Ojukwu, who was still in exile in Ivory Coast, reacted to the news of the coup against Gowon – according to Frederick Forsythe – with a smile.

Nevertheless, General Gowon, far away in Kampala, had friends. Many offers of residence came to him in Kampala from various African countries. He notified the new regime in Lagos that he would leave Kampala for Lome in Togo. Since he was financially broke, teary-eyed members of the Nigerian delegation along with staffers at the Nigerian High Commission in Kampala donated 3000 pounds sterling to enable him begin a new life. He was flown to Lome – via Garoua in Cameroon – aboard President Idi Amin’s executive jet. Part of the flight passed through Nigerian airspace and Gowon took the opportunity to transmit a radio message reaffirming loyalty to and support for Brigadier Murtala Muhammed’s new regime. Although offered permanent domicile in Togo he chose to join his family in the United Kingdom. He received an additional 10,000 pounds sterling donation from General Eyadema.

Following a telephone call to Brigadier Murtala Muhammed (his Barewa College and Royal Military Academy junior) during which he made requests for elementary federal assistance, he left for London.

When he got to London, he was offered official accommodation by the Nigerian government which he, however, turned down for a variety of reasons. After some weeks at the Portman Hotel, he moved into the house of an old friend – Mr. Emmanuel Otti – at 472 Finchley Road, London. The delay was to enable the house to be redecorated by Mr. and Mrs. Otti and Brigadier Sam Ogbemudia (who had been in the UK when the coup took place in Nigeria). Other friends came to the assistance of the family. It was not until September 1975 that he began to get his pension and gratuities as a retired Four-Star General. In the nine years he had been Nigeria’s ruler he had not built himself a single house, inside or outside the country, nor did he expropriate one kobo of government money. Unlike some of those who served under him, his TOTAL savings throughout his service years as well as his years as Nigeria’s leader was N75,000 – all of which was inside Nigeria.

In time to come this would stand in stark contrast to the conduct of and personal fortunes of most of those who conspired to remove him from office – or benefited from it.

Once settled in with his family, the General, who was offered several Masters Degree programs, signed up for undergraduate studies in Political Science at Warwick University. Newspapers in Nigeria later carried news items and photographs depicting the former Nigerian leader carrying trays in a student cafeteria in the UK. The Muhammed regime was embarrassed and therefore dispatched Brigadier TY Danjuma (who, took Kano born Col. Wali along) to ask Gowon adopt a supposedly more dignified stance. Gowon rejected the overture and reassured his “embarrassed sympathizers” that he was comfortable with his situation. He made friends among the Nigerian students at Warwick, including a family friend of mine, Desmond Guobadia, now a legal practitioner in Lagos. Meanwhile his spouse, the former First Lady, Mrs. Victoria Gowon (who was a nurse) registered as a catering student at a University College in London.

Col. BS Dimka, an officer from the Angas ethnic group of Plateau State, announced the botched February 1976 coup bid. Tragically, General Muhammed was killed, along with Colonel Ibrahim Taiwo and a few others. Gowon vigorously denied the allegation of complicity. In an atmosphere of open press speculations, suspicion and outright condemnation, he was invited by Brigadier SM Yar’Adua, to appear before the investigating board in Lagos. In the meantime, all his privileges were suspended. Even his pension, which was his right – and not a privilege – was also illegally suspended. His brother, Air Force Major Moses Gowon, was detained (because he was his brother) – and later discharged from service. Another brother, Captain Isaiah Gowon, was jailed for 15 years – after a second court-martial – because of an innocuous visit to the School of Artillery in Kaduna on February 13.

Fearful of the press-hyped atmosphere and presumption of guilt prior to investigation and trial Gowon suggested a neutral country as the venue of his submissions to the investigating board. He also offered swearing to an affidavit and responding point by point to any questionnaire of the government’s choosing. The government, urged on by a mob-like mentality that pervaded the Press, refused. Instead, efforts were made to get the General to return to Nigeria by subterfuge.

Mistrustful of the intentions of the regime, Gowon wrote a lengthy and very detailed letter of explanation offering to assist the government to find a solution to “the endemic problem of coups and counter-coups in Nigeria.” One week later, a government announcement monitored over the Voice of America asserted that General Gowon had been stripped of his rank, honours and entitlements. However, no official letter was ever sent to that effect – in part because the government cannot forfeit the rank of an officer unless such an officer has actually been convicted of treason or other serious felony – which had not happened.

With no further income from his pensions, Gowon once again had to rely on old friends. Mr. Otti absolutely refused to collect rent from him. Gowon wrote a letter to some African leaders explaining his situation. None, except one, responded. This African leader – with whom Gowon had no prior personal relationship – gave him $50,000 to purchase a house. On another occasion then President Ahidjo of Cameroon – who did not respond to Gowon’s initial appeal – sent his children some pocket money during a visit to London. The school fees of his first son were paid for by an old Caucasian friend. Some members of his family in Nigeria sent money too from time to time. A wealthy international businessman from then Bendel State reportedly gave him a monthly stipend of 500 pounds sterling for 18 months while the Nigerian Ambassador to an unnamed European country offered him an old Volkswagen Passat. In the meantime, barely scraping a living, the General continued his undergraduate and, later, graduate studies at Warwick – including a PhD thesis on ECOWAS

On October 1st, 1981, after consultations with the National Council of States, President Shehu Shagari deftly rescinded the order published in Vol. 66; Official Gazette No. 3 dated January 18, 1979. Since Gowon was never convicted, there was no basis for a “pardon”.

The public reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Gowon, during a subsequent interview with the BBC, said he would return to Nigeria upon completion of his studies. He also added his voice to appeals for the government of Shehu Shagari to pardon his wartime opponent, Emeka Ojukwu – an event that later took place in 1982. It was also late in 1982 that traditional rulers from Plateau State launched a fundraiser to build a house in Jos for the former Nigerian leader.

It would be some years to come before his rank and privileges – wrongfully terminated without trial – would finally be fully officially re-acknowledged. General Yakubu Cinwa Gowon (rtd) is still alive and active as an elder statesman.

*Copied from Ahmed Yahaya Joe Facebook post

LAGOS BRIDGE IS FALLING DOWN

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

LAGOS MARINA BEFORE
LAGOS MARINA AFTER

The best way to contextualize the growth and transformation of Lagos is by looking at the same southeastern view of the Marina towards the Lagos Yacht Club across the strait separating Lagos and Victoria Islands centuries apart up to Wilmot Point and beyond.

I am surprised and disappointed that Lagosians have also been caught up in the crossfire of identity politics in Nigeria. I have always assumed the “Center of Excellence” was immune to the kind of xenophobic indigenes-settler dichotomy that has bedeviled the rest of our nation, Nigeria. This post is therefore inspired by the recent intervention of Omo Eko Pataki, a forum for “Original Lagosians” entitled; Lagos – The Imperative of Cultural Renaissance. I thankfully became aware of it courtesy of the esteemed Taiwo Ogunbote of Center for Human Capital and Democratic Development, an old Gregorian of Obalende and former officer of the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Anybody who is familiar with the history of Lagos would admit that the entrepôt has always been a culmination of external factors revolving around trade and commerce from its obscure days as an Awori fishing settlement to its hostile takeover by the forces of Oba of Benin that named it Eko (which means war camp), which the Portuguese seafarer renamed Lago de Curamo in 1472.

However, it was not until Royal Navy officer, John Beecroft in 1849 who became the British consul to the Bights of Benin and Biafra based in what was now anglicanized to Lagos; which became a major hub for the present South West hinterland, which had to bombarded to military submission by Her Majesty’s warships in 1851.

For Lagos to stabilize itself amidst the incessant crisis between the Akitoye and Kosoko ruling houses and transform the strategically located “swamps and lakes” port to the Atlantic into a commercial hub order had to be restored and a semblance of authority must be established. Simply put the Union Jack had to be hoisted. To pull that off 2 persons were crucial – Samuel Ajayi Crowther, who took up the matter at the British parliament through his fellow Anglican bishops and abolitionists at the House of Lords and Madam Tinubu who impressed upon the local elite the need to transit from slave trading to a more lucrative and less hazardous legitimate trade.

Bishop Crowther was from Osoogun in present-day Oyo state and Madam Tinubu actually Efunporoye Osuntinubu, an Egba of Owu ancestry from Ojokodo in present-day Ogun state. Arguably, without their intervention we probably wouldn’t know Lagos as it is today.

What has also been perhaps deliberately neglected in the history of the evolution of Lagos is the role of the amalgam of Hausa speaking people. The Male Revolt was a slave rebellion that took place in January 1835 during Ramadan in the city of Salvador da Bahia in Brazil. In Bahia, the Hausas were primarily identified with practicing Islam because they adopted the religion before coming over to Brazil. Over time however, with the Nago slaves they united to revolt. Some of the key figures important in planning the uprising were: Ahuna, Pacífico, and Manoel Calafate.

“The word Nago derives from the word Anago, a term that the Fon-speaking people used to describe Yoruba-speaking people residing in the kingdom of Ketu now in the present-day Benin Republic.”

The aftermath of the Male Revolt led to emancipation of slaves in Brazil many of which opted to return to Africa. In 1851, a pioneer group of 60 freed slaves chartered a ship for the then equivalent of $4000 to return to Badagry. These returnees became known as Aguda which by the 1880s constituted almost 10% of the population of Lagos. Others eventually joined the return to Lagos; the Amaro from Cuba and Saro from the Caribbean via Sierra Leone.

“On 21 April 1863, John Hawley Glover was appointed administrator of the government of Lagos Colony, he remained there till 1872. Glover formed the nucleus of present-day Nigeria’s Army and Police with 10 Hausa runaway slaves on 1 June 1863. The group was known as Glover’s Hausas or ‘Glover’s Forty Thieves’. Glover went to great lengths to develop bonds of personal loyalty with the Armed Hausas. He personally trained, commanded, and chose his successors, ensuring their loyalty. In return for their loyalty, Glover rewarded his troops with land and dwellings. He raised their pay and provided them with smart uniforms that broadcast their status of free men and agents of the British colonial government.”

Who are then the original Lagosians?

The Aworis or Binis or even the descendants of Glover’s Hausas, Agudas, Amaros or even Saros?

How do we situate the millions of Igbos in Lagos that arguably constitute one third of the population of Lagos? What about the Ago Awusa that were located between Epe and Itokin from where Madam Tinubu’s fifth husband Momoh Bukar hailed from before that Hausa camp was resettled in Alausa in present-day Ikeja?

Anyway the main grouse of Omo Eko Pataki is that; “the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, and many top political office holders in the state are not natives of Lagos State”.

They further contend that ”the senators representing the state at the National Assembly – Oluremi Tinubu and Solomon Adeola; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa; the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Jaji; and the Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, are also not from the state” also that the “legendary accommodating openness” that Lagos State is known for was becoming a curse, noting however that they would no longer watch the state become “a no-man’s-land” The forum also claims “Lagosians are now reduced to almost “second-class citizens on their native soil”
For me the fundamental issue at stake is; The Tragedy of the Commons which is described by Garrett Hardin in 1968 as “All human relationships involve give and take, all such relationships breakdown when one or more parties do too much taking and not giving” Apologies to the Gbaygi of FCT.

“Isale Eko translates to ‘bottom of Eko’, was so named because of its location south of the area called ‘Eko’ (later called Lagos). Isale Eko started as the home of Aromire, a pepper farmer who was one of the sons of Olofin, an Awori settler, who was the chief of Iddo Island and the first Idejo (landowner) of Lagos Island. Aromire’s farm settlement, which was the first home of the inhabitants of Isale Eko, is today known as ‘Iga Idunganran’ (The Pepper Palace), the palace of the Oba of Lagos.” It was from this palatial surroundings the Oba of Lagos in 2015 threatened to sink the Igbo if they voted contrary to his political preference.

Unfortunately the joke is now on him as the Omo Eko Pataki under his royal nose are today poking their fingers at “the abberation which emerged since 1999”

In conclusion; Who build this Gada (Bridge)? This for me is a fitting metaphor for who built Lagos, a question asked by “Acksion Governor” Brigadier General Raji Alagbe Rasaki, the military administrator in Lagos 1988-1991 while inspecting a poorly constructed culvert over a flood channel. The Omo Eko Pataki needs to understand politics is a numbers game and must therefore skillfully negotiate their relevance even in their own domain by way of an issues based engagement. The 1999 Constitution is clear and unequivocal on the eligibility for public office and the right to residency anywhere in Nigeria. “Indigene-ship” is a colonial legacy for divide and rule.

Come October 1, it will be 60 years after national independence, so we shouldn’t be having this kind of conversation in our nation.

Eko o ni baje o!

Is Covid-19 the end of Handshakes?

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

The earliest handshake in recorded history is on an antique mural stored at the British Museum dated the 9th century BC. It depicts the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III sealing an agreement with a Babylonian monarch. Are handshakes really necessary? A firm one looking at the other party eyeball to eyeball conveys fidelity and even when necessary signifies apology. A handshake formalizes a relationship either business, casual or even political.

A handshake is a form of non verbal communication; that says this is whom I am.
“The handshake has existed in some form or another for thousands of years, but its origins are somewhat murky. One popular theory is that the gesture began as a way of conveying peaceful intentions. By extending their empty right hands, strangers could show that they were not holding weapons and bore no ill will toward one another.

Some even suggest that the up-and-down motion of the handshake was supposed to dislodge any knives or daggers that might be hidden up a sleeve. Yet another explanation is that the handshake was a symbol of good faith when making an oath or promise. When they clasped hands, people showed that their word was a sacred bond.”
In medieval Japan they didn’t shake hands. Rather they “pissed together” by simultaneously urinating into a bowl.

Meanwhile, Indians taught the world the type of gesture with which Donald Trump welcomed the Irish Prime Minister to the White House on March 12, 2020. Israel’s Netenyahu, Canada’s Trudeau and the Prince of Wales are also acolytes of that hand shake equivalent called Namatse “derived from the Sanskrit language, formed by joining two words – ‘Namas’ which means ‘bow’, ‘adorations’, ‘obeisance’ and ‘salutation’; and ‘te’ means ‘to you’. Therefore, meaning ‘bowing to you’.”

Did we shake hands before the coming of the European conquest? I have my doubts because the Arabs that arrived long before Oyibo through the Trans Saharan Trade, kiss on both cheeks as a form of greeting. The use of handshaking was made a religious ritual during the celebration of the Eucharist by the Roman Catholic Church known as the “exchange of peace”

Nigeria’s most famous handshake was between General Yakubu Gowon and the erstwhile Head of State of Biafra, Col Phillip Effiong that took place in the council chambers at Dodan Barracks on January 15, 1970. Their handshake ended a bitter 30 month unneccesary war between brothers which genuinely ended with “No victor, no vanquished” Little wonder the 70s were Nigeria’s most prosperous years. No Nigerian leader has replicated the unusual candor of the Gowonian days with the notable exemption of the architect of the Niger Delta Amnesty – Umar Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory.

I particularly find the handshake between Israeli leader Menachem Begin and President Anwar Sadat iconic. It was to formalize the Camp David agreement after 30 years of hostility between the Arab world and Jews which returned Egypt’s Suez region and part of the Golan Heights to Syria that took place at the Rose Garden of White House in 1977 during the adminstration of Jimmy Carter. Another unforgettable handshake was between Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk signifying the end of the atrocious era of Apartheid and the beginning of Black majority rule in South Africa.

Interestingly, in the traditional core North you don’t shake hands with your seniors or women. However, when Lt Col Hassan Usman Katsina became the military governor of the North (now 19 states) he embarked on a region wide tour. On getting to Katsina where his polo playing dad, Usman Nagogo MBE was emir he was compelled to shake hands as protocol dictated. Reportedly, the governor’s twin brother Hussein, then a ranking title holder went viral on the “sacrilege” During the IBB era, Margaret Thatcher touched down in Kano during her state visit before proceeding to Lagos. Her handshake with Emir Ado Bayero caused no small consternation back then.

To whom it may concern; with the Covid-19 pandemic please do not be offended if I refuse to shake hands with you when next we meet. No offence intended as I don’t carry any knife up my sleeve. Doing a Namatse doesn’t make you Hindu nor Buddhist. The world is now a global village. Besides keeping safe in a time of Covid-19 is paramount!

On Religious Tolerance: From the Archive

By Abba Kyari: 12 January 2014.

(Sent: Sunday, January 12, 2014, 9:29:03 AM GMT+1)

Subject: Re: Religious Tolerance:

The centrality of religious identity in our society in the last two decades or so, fills me with grief, in a society where people lived together and socialised together.

Two Friday’s ago, I was in Wusasa for the funeral service of late Mrs Yarbaba Baikie, wife of Prof Adamu Baikie. The service was attended by both Christians and Muslims.Mrs Baikie, a Hausa from Kano was the only Christian in her family. Every Easter and every Christmas, her Muslim relatives will come to Zaria and join in the celebrations. Every Eid–twice a year too– she and her family will travel to Kano for the celebrations. That has been the practise until she died.

If you visited the Baikie household during the period of mourning, you will not fail to notice the age old practice of living together and socialising together. Not even Jerry Gana could tell who is a Christian and who is a Muslim, apart from the people he knows.

I attended St Paul’s College, Wusasa. It was an Anglican Mission secondary school but was 75% grant aided by the Northern Nigerian government without any interference in its running. It was an Anglican school.

Although the majority of the students were Christians, there were a few Muslims too. That was never an issue, we were all students, majority of us never knew who came from where. It was only last year when I went to Lokoja for the funeral service of a classmate’s mother that I discovered one of our classmates is from Edo state-47 years later.

In form one, when I chose to take Bible knowledge, I was denied, because it would not look like my voluntary choice. It was only in form three that i was allowed. Every morning, all the Muslims stayed out in an adjacent classroom during the morning mass before we were allowed into to the hall for general assembly. Every Sunday during service all the Muslim students must attend Muslim students meeting. Every Friday all the Muslims students are gathered and put in the the school van and driven to the juma’a mosque in Zaria City.

Every Ramadan Muslim students were woken at 3 am for sahur, for a freshly cooked meal and not leftovers. In my five years, we had two Head Boys who were Muslims. In all our social activities religion was NEVER an issue. It is only against the backdrop of what is happening today that one is recounting these examples, then they meant nothing.

About 22 years ago, I was the best man at a wedding in Owo between an Ibo catholic and Yoruba Anglican. It was not an issue. I am the godfather to the first son of that union.

The religion that is ‘dividing’ our communities, is not the religion of God, it is the religion of Nigerians, it is the religion mammon. It is all about fight for political and economic space by a very few people,creating chaos and bloodshed.

©Abba Kyari: 2014

Both Sides of Abba Kyari

By Remi Oyeyemi & Simon Kolawole

SPEAKING ILL OF THE DEAD

By Remi Oyeyemi

“The evil that men do live after them.” — William Shakespare

I am aware that this is breaking with the conventional wisdom. I am conscious that this is a rebuke of tradition. I am not oblivious to the fact that it is against the norm. I am not unaware that this is not in tune with the mainstream. I am aware some would loath me for it. Some would deride me. Others would call me names. Those who really never liked my guts, would have this reinforced it for them. But those who have the objective ability to see things the way they are and are able to call them as exactly as they should, would see some sense in this.

The idea of not speaking ill of the dead is not a good idea, especially if the dead person did nothing deserving of praise. The idea of praising the dead, regardless if the dead, during his or her life was mean spirited, greedy, selfish, inconsiderate, odiously acquisitive, ruthless and disdainful, is totally unacceptable. It is wrong and should be done away with. We should be able to say exactly what kind of person someone was during his or her life.

I have been reading in the media unbelievable eulogies about the late Chief of Staff to President Mohammadu Buhari, Mr. Abba Kyari. I have been reading some hypocritical praise – singing of this man who, to many Nigerians who celebrated his infliction a couple of weeks back, was no less a monster, because he has become the casualty of the Coronavirus 19. I have read from those who hated him saying embarrassingly ‘nice’ things about him. What a fraud. What a dishonesty.

It is a sad day when people cascade into casual casuistry with unbridled audacity. It is an act of deliberate undermining of the societal values to heap praises on someone whose remains ought to be used to cast away evils from the entire society. To project a mean – spirited public office holder as a saint when he is not, is a sin in itself.

I take serious objection to the rain of praise that has been raining down on the corpse of the late Abba Kyari. Though, this is a matter of choice to which we are all entitled depending on the way we see it. In my own view, Kyari is not deserving of any praise whatsoever. It is alright for President Buhari to cry himself hoarse. Kyari was his Chief of Staff and his relative. It is okay for his goons in Aso Rock, his partners in crime to weep without end. It is okay for those who are beneficiaries of his corrupt practices, his impunities to gnash their teeth to numb. It is their loss. His immediate and extended family members reserve the inalienable rights to mourn him infinitely and indefinitely.

I also believe that it is alright for the rest of us who are victims of the first family and their collaborators in Aso Rock, to acknowledge the loss of a soul, not because of any other reason other than the fact that we are all human beings. And this is where it ought to end. No more, no less.

For those who are Buhari’s sycophants and who still hope to benefit from the misery he is visiting on Nigeria, it might be acceptable to them to shed their crocodile tears even if they really did not like the man when he was alive. They are welcome to do so.

Here is a man, who never got a single vote, whether rigged or not, from the Nigerian people, but who hijacked the executive powers of the Presidency. He held Nigeria and Nigerians to ransom since 2015. He rode roughshod over the people of this country. He appropriated all the appurtenances of power for his personal idiosyncrasies.

Abba Kyari never cared. He never gave a damn. Yes, he did not give a damn how many Nigerians died. He did not care how many Nigerians went hungry. He did not care how much injustice was perpetrated. He did not give a damn how many innocent Nigerians were murdered. He did not give a damn how many Nigerians were chased off their ancestral lands. He did not care how many of our daughters were raped. He did not give a damn how many were maimed by his tribesmen.

He was a perniciously greedy soul. He was remorseless in his ways. The 500 million naira bribe he took from the MTN was emblematic of his innate rapacity. It was emblematic of his bloated edacity. He appointed himself to the Board of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It was the first time in the History of Nigeria for an incumbent Chief of Staff. It was against the norm of decency and restraint. It was impunity at its worst.

Kyari relentlessly harassed the Vice President, licentiously anchoring Professor Osinbajo’s deliberate disempowerment. He unabashedly intimidated the Ministers and prevented them from meaningful collaboration with the man who appointed them, or whom he helped appointed. With a mien akin to that of a dove, he was a heinous hawk, a vicious vulture that is egregious and atrocious in its debauchery and cupidity.

He was mindless and mean. He was cruel and cold. He was crude and callous. His greed was congenital. His insouciance encrypted his guiled mendacity. He was hung up on power hunkering. He had disdain for the rules. Like his principal, Buhari, he believed and acted above the law. His arrogance was horrifying. His condescension, sardonically sickening in the way and manner he exercised unmerited power.

Yes, the idea of not speaking ill of the dead is a VERY WRONG one, especially if that dead person never did anything to deserve it. If this practice was to continue, it means every criminal in our midst should look forward to being praised after he/she was dead regardless of the crimes committed. This would also mean a genuine disincentive for those who strive to do positive things and improve their communities.

It is very important to ensure that dead people’s memories be imbued with their acts of omissions and commissions when they were alive. It is an act of injustice to arrogate false achievements, fake qualities to monstrous figures more notorious for their kleptomania as they gallivant through the inner rooms of power.

Hopefully, when I die, people would have the unburnished courage to say exactly what they feel about me and not deodorize my omissions and imperfections. Hopefully, those who would feel the need to mourn me would not see the need to be hypocritical and dishonest in their elegies.

In all this, what became clearer is the vanity of vanity itself. It brought to the fore the cliché popularized by the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State in the early 1980s, “,,, vanity upon vanity, all is vanity.” It underscores the ephemeralness of not just power, but of all things that are human, except our deeds. This probably informed William Shakespeare’s ageless rumination captured in the phrase, ” The evil that men do live after them.”

We should not praise villains when they are dead. It is a great disincentive to those who laboured to be above board and did the right thing. You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to like me. Please, don’t like me, just respect the truth.

“The world tells us to seek success, power and money; God tells us to seek humility, service and love.” – Pope Francis

Lies never last, History never dies and the TRUTH is always constant.

©Remi Oyeyemi

Now for the other side of the divide….

____ ______ ______ ______

Now That Abba Kyari is Dead

By Simon Kolawole

April 19, 2020

On January 18, 2020, when I first read of the new coronavirus on the BBC website, my heart missed a beat because of what China means to the world. The headline was: “New virus in China ‘will have infected hundreds’.” And these were the opening paragraphs: “The number of people already infected by the mystery virus emerging in China is far greater than official figures suggest, scientists have told the BBC. There have been more than 60 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but UK experts estimate a figure nearer 1,700. Two people are known to have died from the respiratory illness, which appeared in Wuhan city in December.” I feared for Nigeria in particular.

After reading the story, I immediately sent a link to Mallam Abba Kyari, chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, with the note: “Good afternoon Mallam. We need to watch it.” How on earth would I have known that exactly three months later, Kyari would be gone, consumed by the same virus? At the time, as the BBC reported, there were only two deaths from the coronavirus disease in the world — and both were in Wuhan. It had not been declared a pandemic by WHO. No other country had recorded any case. It looked so distant that I was even asking myself: “What do you want the chief of staff to do about it?” The whole experience now looks surreal to me.

We regularly exchanged chats and compared notes as the virus began to cause more concern across the world. Shortly after Nigeria recorded its index case — an Italian — on February 27, he finally began to express his worries to me. Let me reproduce his chat in whole: “How many intensive care units do we have ready to admit acute cases? How quickly can we increase the numbers if the virus spreads? How many nurses do we have to deploy immediately and how quickly can we increase the numbers? How many ventilators do we have and how many should we ideally have and how quickly can we increase the numbers?” He said these were his own concerns.

Along the line, Buhari directed Kyari to lead a government delegation to Germany to discuss with Siemens about power infrastructure in Nigeria. The discussions were on how to improve the national grid, which is one of the biggest problems of the power sector. They also discussed building additional plants to improve generation. After the discussions in Germany, he travelled back to Nigeria via the UK. On the weekend of March 21, he was involved in a series of meetings on measures to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.

He was said to have coughed frequently, leading to suggestions that he should run a test since he just returned from Europe.
For the record, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had not officially classified Germany and UK as red zones requiring self-isolation as at the time he returned to the country. He was in Germany and the UK from March 8 to 12, and arrived Abuja on March 13. NCDC designated Germany as “high risk” on March 16 and added the UK to the list on March 17. When the result of his test came out on Monday, March 23, he sent me a message that he had tested positive and was going on self-isolation immediately. I was shattered, shattered because I knew he had an underlying medical condition, but hopeful because his symptoms looked mild: just the cough.

While he was on self-isolation, we had regular phone calls. I normally would call him on WhatsApp voice but he would switch to video and I knew why: he wanted to prove to me that his life was not in danger. He knew I was really worried for him. Rumour was all over the internet that he was on a ventilator, that he was at Gwagwalada Hospital, that he had been flown to the UK or Cuba. Ironically, he was not bothered about the rumours. He did not sound bitter. He was even forwarding them to me and we would share a laugh. He said he was more interested in the goodwill messages he was getting. We still don’t know if he caught the virus in Germany, UK, on a flight or in Nigeria.

On March 29, something happened that got me worried again: he was not picking his calls. I later understood that the cough had worsened and he could not use the regular syrups because they contain sugar. That made his treatment more complicated. He later sent me a message that he was coming to Lagos for further checks and observation, and that the cough was not getting better. That was the last time we exchanged messages or made contact. As soon as he got to Lagos, all messages to his phone went unread. I had to rely on family members and friends to get updates and the impression I got was that he was getting better but the recovery was slow.

In the meantime, he was getting bashed all over the internet. His “death” or “removal” was regularly announced on Twitter or Instagram. But I was assured that, indeed, he was getting better with “encouraging signs”. As of 5pm on Friday, the message I got was that he was “much better” but the doctors were being “cautious”. A few hours later, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, tweeted that Kyari had passed away. It was most devastating. What began with mild to moderate symptoms had gone out of hand. I understand that COVID-19 kills many patients that way: when you think it is all over, like it’s one step away from the worst, there comes a sudden lethal blow.

Some people have been rejoicing since Kyari tested positive for the virus. The gloating has been massive. Some are not even satisfied that he is dead. They wish they could kill the dead body as well and desecrate his grave. They are all over the social media denigrating the dead. They have their reasons, I believe. I know for sure that the mortal hatred for Buhari was extended to him, so even in death they can’t leave him alone. They said he was Nigeria’s biggest problem. He was to blame for everything that was not going well in the country. Now that Kyari is dead, I am anxiously waiting for all Nigeria’s problems to be solved finally. It would be a thing of joy.

Some said they hated Kyari because he was the one responsible for the relegation of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in the power structure. Now that Kyari is dead, let us see what happens next. Some people told me Kyari is a “usurper” — that nobody voted for him yet he was the one “running” Nigeria. Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), the national security adviser, wrote a stinging memo last year accusing Kyari of overriding presidential powers and preventing him from buying arms and ammunition for the military. Now that Kyari is dead, let us see what happens next. My understanding of power is that you can only be as powerful as the president wants you to be.

My biggest disappointment with Kyari is that he refused to tell his story. When he was accused of taking a bribe from MTN, he explained to me how he opposed the reduction of the $5.2 billion fine, how he was excluded from the resolution committee because of his stand, and how some people met in Dubai and drafted a position paper that formed 80 percent of the final settlement agreement. He said he didn’t know if anybody took bribe, but he was not part of it and his conscience was clear to God. So why not grant an interview to clear your name? His reply: “My boss knows I will never betray his trust. I don’t need to defend myself.” And there is no counter narrative till today.

Anytime a serious allegation, especially of corruption, was levelled against him, I would put him on the spot. He would explain every detail and tell me who was behind the allegation and why they were after him. I would say: “Okay, Mallam, can we publish?” In the most frustrating manner, he would reply: “No. I’m only explaining this for you to know the correct facts. I’m not asking you to defend me. But even if you want to defend me during arguments or discussions, I want you to do it on the basis of facts, not emotions.” I once told him in despair: “It is not about you alone, Mallam! I worry about the stigma your children will carry for life.” He could not be bothered.

Clearly, there was a well-oiled campaign against him basically because of the allegation that he “usurped” power. On his own, at times, he would forward links to the damaging stories to me. “Simon,” he would say, “don’t forget that I was once an editor. There is a difference between investigative journalism and planted stories. These are planted stories.” The narration of everything that went wrong in Buhari’s government was constructed to put the blame at Kyari’s doorstep. He was definitely not a saint but I know that when one person is being blamed for every wrong, there is certainly an orchestrated agenda at play. I have been a journalist for 27 years of my life.

I knew Kyari closely for 10 years. He was a simple man, deeply intellectual and not one to run away from enforcing the rules. We argued frequently, particularly on economic policy which was his major area of interest. He regularly bought me books on economics and sociology. He often invited me for lunch or dinner anytime he was in London and all we discussed was Nigeria and the development challenge. He was very passionate about infrastructure and industrialisation. But he always kept quiet on damaging media reports against him. Maybe that is what chiefs of staff do: take the bullets for their bosses and go to their graves with all the secrets. Adieu, Mallam.

© Simon Kolawole

Fake News is worst than Covid 19

By Ahmed Yahaya Joe

Did Melinda Gates claim to see dead bodies all over Africa? Is Bill Gates the Antichrist? The Fact check to the first question is courtesy of Kabir Adejumo while Simon Kolawole tackles the second in 5G and other Tales by Moonlight. Enjoy;

1. The bogus claim attributed to Melinda Gates has gone viral but it started when Femi Fani-Kayode wrote on his Twitter handle @realFFK at 3.47pm on April 12, 2020;

“I see dead bodies all over Africa”- Melinda Gates.

Horrendous vision from a horrendous lady with a horrendous husband. We reject it and return it to sender! The agenda of satan for Africa shall not stand. Those that have dug a pit for us shall fall into that pit themselves”.

But what did Mrs. Gates actually say? In a recent interview with CNN where she spoke about Coronavirus pandemic, she said;

“It’s going to be horrible in the developing world. Part of the reasons you are seeing the case numbers still do not look very bad is because they don’t have access to many tests”

She disclosed that when she…

“saw what China had to do to isolate an enormous part of its population. My first thought was Africa. How in the world are they going to deal with this.

“Look at what is happening in Ecuador, they are putting bodies out on the streets, you are going to see that in countries in Africa. I have been in townships all over Africa and slums. When we talk about physical distancing and hand-washing. If you live in slums who can’t physically distance, you have to go out and get your meals. You don’t have clean water to wash your hands”

Truth is Mrs Gates never said she “saw dead bodies all over Africa” the way and manner it is currently being portrayed in the Nigerian social media space. Rather, she’s urging the world to act fast to save developing countries like Africa from disaster. Mr Fani-Kayode stripped the Mrs Gates’ comment of its context. The former minister is layering his presumed refutation of Melinda Gates’ argument on a “spiritual” principle which is an exaggeration of the philantropist’s comments.”

2. Now over to Simon Kolawole;
“In case you are just tuning in, let me keep you up to speed. They say the fifth generation of wireless communication technology, known as 5G, was launched in China in November 2019 to weaken our immune system and infect us with the coronavirus. They say Bill Gates, the Antichrist, will then plant chips in our bodies to vaccinate us against the virus. They say he would then start controlling humans — the whole seven billion of us — through the chips using 5G. They say the world is on lockdown so that the 5G can be installed. They say the pandemic is a hoax after all. They even say the lockdown in Lagos and Abuja was to lay 5G cables for the coming of the Antichrist.

Let us say I did not go to school but, as my grandmother (God rest her soul) would say, “I may be uneducated but I have a brain.” For one, South Korea launched 5G in April 2019 and did not record a coronavirus case until January 2020. Also, we don’t need any lockdown for 5G to be installed because it rides on fibre optic cable — which we have been laying across Nigeria for over 15 years! In fact, MTN and Globacom have laid nearly 20,000km of fibre optic cable all over Nigeria without any lockdown. Meanwhile, 5G is not a cable. You don’t lay it underground. You only upgrade to 5G by installing radios, antennas and nodes on existing masts — not by digging the ground, dummy!

True, Gates, in 2015, spoke about a possible pandemic, but isn’t that fairly predictable? It’s like saying there will be religious conflict in Kaduna state or flood in Lagos! Incidentally, President Barack Obama warned about a pandemic before Gates. Epidemics and pandemics are as old as the human race. The Plague of Justinian killed 25 million people as far back as AD 541-542. We have had the Black Death, the Asiatic Flu, the Spanish Flu (during which churches and mosques were closed down, as Pastor Sam Adeyemi has helped us dig out) and, recently, SARS. China has been the epicentre of epidemics since 1855. Any idiot can predict epidemics. You don’t have to be the Antichrist.

If people are genuinely worried that the 5G technology can cause health problems such as cancer, I can understand. We can begin to have an intelligent discussion around that. Fears have been raised, and are still raised, that the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation that mobile phones or phone masts transmit can cause cancer. So far, no scientific study has backed this claim. All studies by reputable scientists have concluded that the radiation is non-ionising and does not have enough energy to damage DNA and cannot directly cause cancer. But to suggest that electromagnetic radiation can create a particle with genetic material is a completely different proposition altogether.
I accept that new technologies tend to get some people paranoid — and they begin to hallucinate.

This is common in Christendom. Any new thing has to be linked to the “end times”. For context, the Bible talks about a time when the entire world will unite economically and politically — one currency, one religion, etc — under the Antichrist. People will voluntarily align with the Antichrist and get the “666” code as pass to do business in his kingdom. People won’t be deceived into accepting the mark of the beast. The Bible says the Antichrist will eventually engage in a final war with Jesus Christ in the Battle of Armageddon and will be routed. That is the context.

Not surprisingly, Christians have invented several Antichrists to enforce the Apocalypse. Nero Caesar, the Roman Emperor from AD 54-68, was once named the Antichrist — based on the numerical interpretation that “666” is the equivalent of his name and title in Aramaic. In 1992, I read an article in the magazine of the Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF) declaring the credit card as the universal transaction tool that the Antichrist would use to control the world. Christians were asked not to use the “evil” cards. When the World Wide Web (www) began to gain ground, eschatologists said the Apocalypse had finally arrived. The world was now electronically one!

With his Microsoft Windows operating system a monopoly on PCs, Gates was appointed as the new Antichrist. His name amounted to “666” in the computer code, they said, similar to what they said about Nero. It seems Gates did not perform well as the Antichrist. He soon fell out of favour. Pope John Paul II was also a nominee. The end-time experts said the pontiff was working hard to unite the entire world under the Roman Catholic Church, after which he would rule as the Antichrist and Jesus would come and finish him off. The Pope also failed to perform. Instead, he died. Other names have been touted, including Obama, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

Anytime an epidemic or war breaks out, the next thing we hear is that the world is about to come to an end “as predicted by the Bible”. Prophets have used the epidemics in centuries gone by — such as the bubonic plagues — to declare the end of the world. The Gulf War of 1990/91 was also supposed to end it all. But it seems we have finally found the answer. According to a popular pastor who said he took his inspiration from a 1984 movie rather than from the Spirit of God, 5G is the latest Antichrist tool in town.

Conspiracy theories are easy to propound: just join unrelated events together, adjust the facts and speak some clean English. You are set to go.
I must confess that I find the 5G technology astounding. It is said to be 20 times faster than the current 4G LTE. That means you can download a two-hour movie in three seconds! This would normally take six minutes on 4G and 26 hours on 3G. Some of these end-time pastors will soon start asking us to download their messages “in just one second” for $10 each using the 5G technology! Also with 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) will explode. It will enable smart homes and driverless cars. We are told that doctors can perform surgeries virtually. Videos won’t buffer. This is mind-boggling! But as a layman, I would rather seek more knowledge on it than mystify or demonise it!

With 5G and COVID-19 currently the hot topics, my brethren have gone back to the drawing board — or is it the cinema hall — and have come up with movie-inspired prophecies. The mantle of the Antichrist has been returned to Gates, who, they said, wants to give us digital identity chips under the pretext of vaccination against the coronavirus. We will then become zombies and he will begin to control us, using AI. So, we have been told to reject COVID-19 vaccines. This is the same way many northern children were stopped from taking the polio vaccine with the conspiracy theory that the US wanted to sterilise Muslims. Let us just say the “5G vaccine” is the Christian version.

When a pastor told me “vaccine digital ID” would eventually be a requirement to “buy and sell” under the Antichrist, I asked him: “Did you register for BVN?” He said yes. I said: “Then you already have a digital ID!” He screamed: “I’m finished!” The Antichrist has got him, poor soul! You cannot operate an account in Nigeria today without a BVN. If you ever gave your fingerprint to get a visa, be assured you already have a digital ID. If you have a mobile phone, you have technically received a “chip” that gives out your location per time. If you use an ATM or the autocorrect function on your phone, you are already under the influence of AI. Stop deceiving yourself!

Finally, let us now agree that these are the end-time signs. And so what? Why should any pastor be jittery, running scared and spreading panic? Pastors have been preaching that Jesus Christ is coming soon, so shouldn’t they be happy that their prophecies are about to be fulfilled? Are they afraid to go to heaven or what? What’s the point? Jesus said: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” He did not say panic or resist it. Even then, can any preacher stop the Antichrist? Does the Bible say the mark of the beast will be given to you under a pretext? Some pastors certainly have more trust in movies than the Bible.

I’m not really worried if these myths and old wives’ fables are being spread by internet layabouts. But pastors? Many Christians are so gullible that, no matter the level of their education or exposure, they are easily misled. Pastors need to be careful.

As Apostle James wrote,

“We who teach will be judged more strictly.”

When pastors, who are supposed to be led by the Spirit of God, are misleading the people, the only scripture that comes to mind is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6:

“If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

5G: The Good and The Bad?

By Kalu Aja via Twitter.

5G simply means you use your phone in Enugu, download an MBA class from Imperial College in 15 seconds, and watch. Also means a Doctor from San Francisco can set up a hospital in Katsina and via video instruct Nurses how to care for patients. Technology will not wait.


Imagine the possibilities. You small business owner can sit in Lekki and watch your shop sales in Kano, and Enugu via another simple cell phone, onetime, real time. You POS accepts digital payments and posts in seconds, your inventory linked via wireless to suppliers in India.





In 4 yrs, the world will hear of 6G Then folks will use their 5G video chat to conspire that 6G causes solar rays.


Now the fun really begin with the
COMMENTS THAT FOLLOW KALU’S TWEET.



So what’s your take?
Comment below please….

Sunday of Palms and Qualms

Matthew 21:1-17World wide today is Palm Sunday. “In the biblical text above, Jesus sent his disciples to get a colt (donkey) for him, telling them to repeat His instructions if confronted when untying the colt. The next scene described Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. As the colt was untied and decorated to carry the Master. The colt was released from bondage to carry the Christ. We must note that the main purpose of our release from bondage is to carry the Master – an instrument to accomplish His mission.” This is the quote from ‘The Daily Fountain’; daily devotional guide of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)The timing of this year’s Palm Sunday is instructive in a number of respects. Most of the world is in lock down. Christians join the world is shutting themselves away from churches and congregational worship on a day that is most significant for communal worship.The hassles of daily life has been conditionally reduced to the bare necessities of live, namely;Life, Safety & Family.
The entire world has, without warning, withdrawn inside, together and it almost complete unison.As we wait for the coming release from this pandemic and it’s accompanying discomforts, are going to make the lessons worthwhile?Is the world using this moment to reboot it’s sense of priority?This spiritual anniversary of sober reflection coincides with a time of conscious assessment of what matters the most.Definitely this Sunday of Palms comes around with bouts of doubts and concerns. But for any attentive person of whatever orientation, creed & calling, this is a time for reconsidering what matters the most. Indeed this Sunday of Palms comes with it’s Qualms.Though we’re not in complete disarray but we will all concur that it could have been a whole lot worse.We will beat this as we did most others before it. This is a wake up call, we all know this. But have we all reassessed?

Who is this Imam of Peace?

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?