Nigeria: President Goodluck Jonathan’s Grammatical Boo-Boos

Amanpour interviews Jonathan

By Farooq A. Kperogi Ph.D

For those who don’t know, “boo-boo” is an informal American English term for “an embarrassing mistake.” Every Nigerian knows that good grammar isn’t President Goodluck Jonathan’s strong suit. I was probably the first to publicly call attention to this fact in my April 16, 2010 article about then Acting President Jonathan’s visit to the US.

In the article, titled “Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, that was embarrassing,” I observed, among other things, that during the Q and A session at the Council on Foreign Relations Jonathan “couldn’t articulate a coherent thought, hardly made a complete sentence, went off on inconsequential and puerile tangents, murdered basic grammar with reckless abandon, repeated trifles ad nauseam, was embarrassingly stilted, and generally looked and talked like a timid high school student struggling to remember his memorized lines in a school debate.” I concluded that he was “unfathomably clueless” and not “emotionally and socially prepared for the job of a president–yet.”

Almost three years after, the president hasn’t changed a bit.

But his January 23, 2013 interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour will probably go down in the annals as his worst international outing as a president, particularly because of the insensate ferocity with which he murdered elementary rules of English grammar.

This isn’t an attempt to ridicule the president’s deficiencies in English. Nor is it an analysis of his interview. Since I write about grammar on this page every week, I thought it was appropriate that I use the president’s CNN interview, which millions of Nigerians watched, as a teaching moment. This is precisely because the usage patterns of the elite of any country, especially of the president who is the most important political and cultural figure in a country, tend to get naturalized and imitated by the general population over time. (Next week I will write about how the prominent political and cultural elite of (Anglophone) societies influence the rules of English usage).

I have listed below some of the rankest grammatical bloopers that the president committed during the CNN interview.I have left out clumsy, semantically puzzling constructions that, in my judgment, were the consequence of the familiar, excusable pressures of impromptu dialogic exchange.

1. “Thank you.” Christiane Amanpour started the interview by saying “Goodluck Jonathan, thank you very much for joining me from Davos.” The president’s response to this courteous expression of gratitude was “thank you.” Again, at the end of the interview when Amanpour said, “President Goodluck Jonathan, thank you for joining me,” the president responded by saying “thank you.”

That is not the conventional response to an expression of gratitude in the English language. When someone says “thank you” to you, conversational courtesy in English requires you to respond with such fixed phrases as “you’re welcome,” “(it’s) my pleasure,” etc. Other less familiar responses are “think nothing of it” and “don’t mention it” (which is chiefly British, although it’s now going out of circulation in contemporary British English.) In very casual contexts, it’s usual for people to say “(it’s) not a problem,” “sure,” “you bet,” “not at all,” “any time,” etc.

It is neither conventional nor idiomatic to say “thank you” to a “thank you.”

2. “Committed to work with….” In response to a question about the insurgency in Mali, President Jonathan said, “And that is why the Nigerian government is totally committed to work with other nationals, other friendly governments to make sure that we contain the problems in Mali.” In grammar, the verb that comes after “committed to” is always in the progressive tense, that is, it always takes an “ing” form. So the president should properly say “we are totally committed to working with…”

3. Subject-verb agreement. This rule states that a singular subject agrees with a singular verb (that is, a verb with an “s” at the end) and a plural subject agrees with a plural verb (that is, a verb without an “s” at the end.)It is obvious that the president has a continuing challenge with subject-verb agreement. This comes out clearly in all his media interviews and extempore speeches. For instance, in response to a journalist’s question about the Libyan crisis during a “State of the Nation” media chat in 2011, the president famously said,”Libyan crisis is like a pot of water dropped and everything scatter.”

Of course, it should properly be “everything scatters” since “everything” is a singular subject that always agrees with a singular verb. Perhaps, the president was interlarding his speech with Nigerian Pidgin English (where the phrase “everything scatter scatter” popularized by Nigerian pop singer Eedris Abdulkareem is standard and means “everything is upside down.”)

But during the Amanpour interview, in response to another question on Libya, the president again said, “the issue of Libya try to create more problems in the sub region.” Well, it should be “the issue of Libya tries to create…” because “the issue,” which modifies the verb in the sentence, is a singular subject. The president clearly has not the vaguest idea what subject-verb agreement means.

4. “Ghaddafi was thrown.” Who threw Ghaddafi? From where was he thrown? The president probably meant to say “Ghaddafi was overthrown.”

5. “Weapons enter into hands of non-state actors.” This is undoubtedly Nigerian Pidgin English where “enter” functions as a catch-all verb for a whole host of things such as “enter a bike” (for “ride a bike”), “enter ya shoes” (for “wear your shoes”), etc. The president meant to say “weapons got into the hands of non-state actors.”

6. “And I have said it severally…” Here, the president fell into a popular Nigerian English error: the misuse of “severally” to mean “several times.” This is what I wrote in a previous article titled “Adverbial and Adjectival Abuse in Nigerian English”: “Perhaps the trickiest of the adverbs we misuse is the word ‘severally.’ We often use the word as if it meant ‘several times.’ It is typical for Nigerians to say ‘I have told you severally that I don’t like that!’ or ‘I have been severally arrested by the police.’ In Standard English, however, ‘severally’ does not mean ‘several times’; it only means individually, singly, independently, without others, etc., as in ‘the clothes were hung severally.’ This means the clothes are apart from each other and don’t touch each other. Strikingly odd, not so?”

7. “They should try and filter the truth.” This is the full context of this odd sentence: Amanpour told President Jonathan that the US State Department has said that police brutality has killed more Nigerians than Boko Haram has. This outraged the president who said the following in response: “The State Department from the United States they have, they have the means of knowing the truth. They should try and filter the truth.”

Now, to filter (out) is to “remove or separate (suspended particles, wavelengths of radiation, etc.) from (a liquid, gas, radiation, etc.) by the action of a filter.” Example: “Filter out the impurities.” By metaphorical extension, if someone “filters the truth,” as President Jonathan is urging the US State Department to do, they are actually removing the truth which, in essence, means they are lying. In other words, Jonathan is asking the US government to ignore the truth and embrace falsehood. Of course, that is not what he meant. But that is what he comes across as saying.

8. “…before the bulb can light.” This is a semantically and structurally awkward construction. It’s probably the translation of the president’s native language, which is fine. But it is confusing for people who don’t speak his language. You can light a bulb with something, such as a battery, but can a bulb “light”? The bulb has no agency. Perhaps, the president meant to say “before the bulb can light up.” Light up is a fixed verb phrase.


Transcript of Christiane Amanpour’s Interview of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan On CNN Tonight

Amanpour interviews Jonathan

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan agreed that Boko Haram could pose an existential threat to his country.

“If Boko Haram is not contained, it would be a threat not only to Nigeria, but to West Africa, Central Africa and of course to North Africa,” he said. “Elements of Boko Haram link up with some of al Qaeda in northern Mali and other North African countries.”

For that reason, he said his government is “totally committed” to working with friendly nations to help contain problems in Mali. Like many other world leaders, Jonathan said the problem there has been exacerbated by the free flow of weapons out of Libya since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

President Jonathan admitted that initially Boko Haram caught Nigeria off guard; now, he said, the country has been making progress to contain “the Boko Haram saga.”

He said his government is working day and night to make sure that the deadly attacks on an Algerian oil field do not happen in Nigeria.

The Economist reports that the death toll from Boko Haram attacks in 2012 was 1,099 – double was it was the previous year.

“If you look at the last six months, incidents of killing started dropping,” President Jonathan contended, insisting that the government is gaining control.

He denied suggestions from the U.S. State Department that the Nigerian government has conducted a large quantity of arrests and killings that have been indiscriminate, possibly driving more people into the hands of Boko Haram.

“The United States of America is completely wrong,” he told Amanpour. “No security agency arrests anybody just for the love of arrest. We have intelligence that enables us to arrest the people who have been arrested.”

President Jonathan also insists that poverty and unemployment are not fueling the violent rise of Boko Haram – citing religion as the primary motivation of this jihadist group.

As part of a counter terrorism effort, President Jonathan’s national security adviser has sought to engage in dialogue with Boko Haram.

Jonathan told Amanpour that the discourse has helped the situation, and that he will continue to pursue this strategy.

The Power of the Presidency

Christiane Amanpour was the first journalist to interview Goodluck Jonathan when he assumed the presidency in April 2010. One focus of that conversation was about the endemic electric outages that average Nigerians face.

Three years later, despite continued problems and a report by Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission that says 60% of Nigerians are without access to power, Jonathan said that the country has made significant strides.

“That is one area where Nigerians are quite pleased with the government – that our commitment to improve power is working,” he said. “I promise you before the end of this year, power outages will be reasonably stable in Nigeria.”

Endemic Corruption

“You cannot change the mindset of people by waving your hand. You must take means to make sure that you don’t create an environment where everyone will be corrupt and we are doing it very well,” Jonathan said.

He cited the previous elections as signs of success against corruption. International observers, The African Union, and the Independent National Electoral Commission all praised the polling.

But there is still widespread corruption in the oil industry.

Last April, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that 400,000 barrels of oil a day were looted from the country in just one month.
The International Energy Agency said that $7 billion dollars a year is lost annually to oil theft.

“Frankly speaking, speaking I want the international community to support Nigeria because this stolen crude is being bought by refineries abroad and they know the crude oil was stolen,” Jonathan told Amanpour. “The world must condemn what is wrong.”

Culled from CNN

TRANSCRIPT of President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration Speech

obama inauguration speech

Below are the remarks of President Barack Obama, as prepared for delivery, given at his second Inauguration as President of the United States:

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

Culled from:

Governor Oshiomhole Wants DIG Sacked Over Poor Handling Of Olaitan Oyerinde’s Murder


Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole Thursday called for the dismissal of the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in Charge of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) that supervised investigations into the gruesome murder of his Private Secretary, Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde.

Oshiomhole made the shocking call in Abuja while delivering a speech at the inauguration of the Code of Conduct for police officers. In attendance were Vice President Namadi Sambo, and the Inspector General of Police amongst other key personnel in the police service, commission and ministry.

“IG, I am aggrieved over the murder of my Private Secretary and the way in which it was trivialized. I am saying it knowing that the Vice President is here. The only thing I owe my murdered Private Secretary is to speak the truth even if it will cost me my office.

“My secretary was murdered in cold blood and you dispatched a DIG to supervise that investigation. A DIG is a sufficiently senior officer, they came to Benin and they did what Fela (Ransome-Kuti) would have called police magic.

“In the end, they went for a civil right activist and charged him for the offence of murder,” the governor said.

“The DIG Force CID has a case to answer, it is either he is guilty of conspiracy to murder or is guilty of conspiracy to shield murderers or both in which case he cannot wear his police uniform, he must be dismissed.

“The Deputy Commissioner of Police that he used, who claimed that they have done a thorough job, he has no business wearing police uniform because by my judgment, in his own narrative, he is a criminal.

“They wrote a report which is their own report that the man, who was involved in the murder was already under police detention.

“The weapon that was used for the murder was used for armed robbery earlier, recovered by the police and under police custody at the time my secretary was murdered.

“So, the man who murdered my secretary was in police custody, the gun used was in police custody and this is the findings of the police…

“The police murdered my Private Secretary or gave the order that he should be murdered, ” the Governor said.

“And I ask the Vice President to report to the President that if they do not find the killers of Olaitan, he can’t expect the people of Edo state and all those who know Olaitan, to have confidence in the security agencies.

“I feel terrible that as a Governor, I can’t get justice. If I can’t get justice then an average Nigerian cannot expect justice and we can’t have justice if we can’t tell the truth,’’ the Governor said.

Oshiomhole also expressed his frustration over what he termed the culture of impunity and lawlessness in the police and civil service.

“This country cannot be reduced to a banana republic. When the stick and carrot game is appropriately applied, the message of discipline would be clear to all.

“I want to be specific. In Edo State, a policeman manned an illegal road block, contrary to the orders of the IG. Members of the public complained and the fact of the illegal block was established.

“It was discovered that a soldier was recruited illegally by an ASP to man this illegal road block, extorting money. In my view, that borders on armed robbery because the man carries arms. Without the arms, he cannot subdue the road user to part with his money.

“If you take money with the aid of arms, you are an armed robber. Having arrested him, the Army proceeded to do what a responsible force should do by dismissing the soldier.

“IG, you will be shocked to know and this is not 10 years ago that your men in Benin decided to shield this officer and, recently, I learnt that one of them was even promoted.

“While the military dismissed the soldier, the police promoted their own. How can you have discipline in such an environment? I will plead that you order the dismissal of those policemen today.

The Governor also called for the scrapping of the Police Affairs Ministry saying, “We do not need the Police Affairs Ministry because the minister is a partisan politician who may not allow the Inspector General of Police to function independently.”

Nigeria: Transparently crooked – By Rasheed Ojikutu

THE data released by the Transparency International notwithstanding, we, as Nigerians are fully mindful of the temperament of our citizenry to acts of dishonesty. The world may not understand us but we know that most of us lie about virtually everything and disregard the truth even in most simple situations where the facts are obvious. Pretending as if we are unacquainted with the precarious situation of our daily existence is like hiding behind one finger. It is this most adverse characteristic that our leaders have imbibed and taken from the confines of their homes to public offices. Hence the institutionalisation of corruption in our polity.

Yes, poverty breeds contempt for honesty. After all, “eni ebi npa kii gbo waasu”, meaning “a hungry man does not assimilate the sermon” but after our leaders, most of whom are from pauperised pedigree have been fed to the tip of their lips, the desperate injury inflicted on their psyche by penury continues to hunt them like a nightmare and this results in desperation to maintain their present fiscal position.

We have glorified corruption to ‘a saintly position’ and it is only a surgical approach that can expel the cancerous organ from our body polity. From our shops and markets where items of low qualities are passed as original to unsuspecting customers, to using the wrong scale and measures with false bottom for selling items to consumers and vandalising an infrastructure installed by the government for the common good of the people, it is most certain to ourselves that dishonesty has an institutional framework in our nation. Irrespective of the parameters used by Transparency International, our 35th position is too generous and requires a second review. If a country in the 139th position out of 176 countries is so transparently corrupt then, the bottom thirty-four must be a ‘hell’ filled with brigands and ravaging bandicoots. In this regard, my sympathy goes to the people of Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan, for living in the most corrupt human enclaves in the world where life must indeed be a nightmare for the common man.

Foreign embassies keep us at arm’s-length, refusing to distinguish between the high and mighty and the lowly in Nigeria because there seems to be no clear-cut difference in our attitude to dishonesty. It is not as if the nations which these embassies represent are filled with angels but in our own situation, there seems to be no clear cut level below which we cannot descend in dishonest conduct. These bad habits stem from modern homes where the old African culture has been replaced with one that rarely frowns at dishonesty and desperation to get undeserved results. Gone were the days in Nigeria when homes had no doors and visitors may walk round the home up to the bedroom before discovering that the occupants are not around. Yet, no single item in the house would be lifted from its location.

Today, parents aid dishonesty. A child that finds money on the roadside and fails to pick it dare not narrate his experience at home without being visited with serious corporal punishment for being a ‘Mumu’. Parents abet examination misconduct at various levels while the stake of certificate racketeering is already raised above controllable level through parental indifference. Sellers in our markets are usually in deep prayers, Christians among them clap in groups, while the Muslims squat religiously on the mat but this does not stop them from slipping a fake item into the hand of the unsuspecting customer while collecting money for the original. It does stop them from selling at double the normal price or selling grains with measures with false bottom, because doing so is considered as smartness.

Compared to dishonesty, godliness has taken the back seat in our country. Family values have broken down to the extent that the poor in the family is made to look miserable while the truth is confined to the rare for the sake of money. The slogan, “money speaks” is usually at the tips of the lips of the well-to-do in the family. In our country, “Olowolagba” meaning “The rich is the eldest in the family, irrespective of age.” These factors push individuals to look for money at all cost.

It is in this regard that we would be unnecessarily dogmatic to blame our woes on those who are labeling our country as one of the most corrupt in the world. Last year, the same global index placed Nigeria in 143rd position out of 183 countries but this should not be taken as an indication that things are better today than they were last year. The fact that a thief who had been stealing cow now steals goat does not make him less evil because a thief is a thief.

This article is not intended to do any in-depth analysis of the corruption indices but to let us know that there is no way a saint could be selected from a community of devils. Our government is what it is because of the rots in the larger society and no amount of anti-graft institutions erected in our country would make us pass the examination of the Transparency International. A check on the result of survey conducted on Nigeria by the Transparency International shows that the Police was found to be the most corrupt institution in Nigeria, followed by the political parties, then the Parliament, Judiciary and the educational institution in that order. It is instructive to observe that though, the religious body is found to be the least corrupt, it is still found to be corrupt. If the religious body of a country could score mere average mark in transparency, then its Sunday services and Jumat prayers are questionable.

The truth is that if the teachers, the judges, the lawmakers, the law enforcer, the civil servants and religious bodies are corrupt, then we must appreciate the conclusion of the Transparency International that “…Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions” as our nation has failed in all ramifications.

• Prof Rasheed Kola Ojikutu is of the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos.

Culled from The Guardian Newspaper

Education revolution in the State of Osun

Senate Praises Aregbesola

To educate is to develop mentally and morally, and to provide with information. Education system has been divided into primary, secondary and tertiary all over the world, as milestones and to separate the grains from the shafts. Though education is necessary as a veritable tool of combating poverty and hunger, it is of no use to turn-out “half-baked” graduates to the society. That is the essence of the revolution in the education sector in the State of Osun where it has been resolved that it cannot be business as usual. There is no gain without pains.

The Senate Committee on Education, led by Senator Uche Chukwumerije, came to the State of Osun and was full of praises for the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for the revolution going on in the education sector in the state. The government sees education as one of the tools of banishing hunger and poverty. It has developed structures and systems for the training of youths so that they can be useful and contribute to the development of the economy. The Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) normally start with educating and training of the cadets. OREAP Youths Academy trains students in agricultural practices. The proposed Life Centres will train students in vocations that will aid them in self-employment.

The state is interested in functional and quality basic education and has collaborated with tertiary institutions for training youths in Entrepreneurial Studies. The need for sound basic education informed the government decision to restructure the primary, secondary and tertiary structures of education. The primary schools or Neighbourhood Schools, will be located in all the neighborhoods in the state. The modern buildings that are being constructed to house the primary and secondary schools by O’Schools, will be furnished with modern amenities in a fenced space.

The government of the State of Osun is mostly pained by state of education in the state and is poised to provide the best education for its students. It has been paying the examination fees of students since its inauguration in 2010.

It started its revolution in the education sector through an educational summit that played host to experts in primary, secondary and tertiary education from within and outside the country.

It is selfish to observe an issue, especially public issue, through one’s perspective only and without consideration for others’ views. Nobody will bear the brunt of education collapse in the state more than the state government which promised to banish hunger and poverty among the six point action plan in a constrained economy. Any utterance about the suspension of medical education in the State of Osun ought not to be a grunt or should not be gruesome, especially from a person that supposed to be informed as a past Vice Chancellor of the university.

The idea of suspending the medical programme was informed by two factors. It is not total cancellation. One, it is not reasonable to train medical students without a well-equipped teaching hospital. The administration of Ogbeni Aregbesola has a genuine and lavish plans to revive the tertiary education in the state including medical education that will be done in a standard teaching hospital.

Two, the resources that will be used to train “half-baked” medical students can be directed to the other six schools that formed Osun State University which have the same challenges like six universities. For example, they all require their own library, clinic, canteen and heads.

It is quite unfortunate that situation in the country has degenerated to a state that people now view projects from personal benefits only.

People now see personal accruals as overriding factor to cost and benefit analysis. The perceived agitation for projects to be done during one’s tenure should be genuine, matched with costs and not be for its personal benefits. The grumblers of medical programme suspension in the State of Osun are only infuriated because of the missed opportunity to act as the developers of the medical school which would have consumed a lot of money.

What is the essence of training if quality cannot be infused in the trainees? The students who are supposed to be angered by the development are all satisfied that the magnanimous government of Ogbeni deemed it fit to transfer them to a reputable medical school in Ukraine. The President of the Medical Students Association, Samuel Owoeye, was full of praises for the government on behalf of other members. The Ukrainian medical school has trained renowned physicians world over. The government has spent millions of Naira for the training of the students whose destiny was hanging in an unaccredited programme by the National University Commission (NUC) and this makes economic sense than embarking on the development of a medical school now.

Adetola Adegoke,
Oshogbo, State of Osun.

11 Things You can’t learn in schools – BILL GATES

Bill Gates recently gave a Commencement speech at a High School about 11 things they did not and will not learn in school. He talks about how feel-good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

If you agree, pass it on.
If you can read this – Thank a teacher!
If you are reading it in English – Thank a soldier!!

Awo vs Achebe: “We Remember Differently”, By Chimamanda Adichie

Chinua Achebe turns 82 this week; in this article Chimamanda Adichie celebrates the renown author and puts her voice to the raging controversy on Achebe’s book ” There Was A Country”

I have met Chinua Achebe only three times. The first, at the National Arts Club in Manhattan, I joined the admiring circle around him. A gentle-faced man in a wheelchair.

“Good evening, sir. I’m Chimamanda Adichie,” I said, and he replied, mildly, “I thought you were running away from me.”

I mumbled, nervous, grateful for the crush of people around us. I had been running away from him. After my first novel was published, I received an email from his son. My dad has just read your novel and liked it very much. He wants you to call him at this number. I read it over and over, breathless with excitement. But I never called. A few years later, my editor sent Achebe a manuscript of my second novel. She did not tell me, because she wanted to shield me from the possibility of disappointment. One afternoon, she called. “Chimamanda, are you sitting down? I have wonderful news.” She read me the blurb Achebe had just sent her. We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Adichie knows what is at stake, and what to do about it. She is fearless or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made. Afterwards, I held on to the phone and wept. I have memorized those words. In my mind, they glimmer still, the validation of a writer whose work had validated me.

I grew up writing imitative stories. Of characters eating food I had never seen and having conversations I had never heard. They might have been good or bad, those stories, but they were emotionally false, they were not mine. Then came a glorious awakening: Chinua Achebe’s fiction. Here were familiar characters who felt true; here was language that captured my two worlds; here was a writer writing not what he felt he should write but what he wanted to write. His work was free of anxiety, wore its own skin effortlessly. It emboldened me, not to find my voice, but to speak in the voice I already had. And so, when that e-mail came from his son, I knew, overly-thrilled as I was, that I would not call. His work had done more than enough. In an odd way, I was so awed, so grateful, that I did not want to meet him. I wanted some distance between my literary hero and me.

Chinua Achebe and I have never had a proper conversation. The second time I saw him, at a luncheon in his honor hosted by the British House of Lords, I sat across from him and avoided his eye. (“Chinua Achebe is the only person I have seen you shy with,” a friend said). The third, at a New York event celebrating fifty years of THINGS FALL APART, we crowded around him backstage, Edwidge Danticat and I, Ha Jin and Toni Morrison, Colum McCann and Chris Abani. We seemed, magically, bound together in a warm web, all of us affected by his work. Achebe looked pleased, but also vaguely puzzled by all the attention. He spoke softly, the volume of his entire being turned to ‘low.’ I wanted to tell him how much I admired his integrity, his speaking out about the disastrous leadership in my home state of Anambra, but I did not. Before I went on stage, he told me, “Jisie ike.” I wondered if he fully grasped, if indeed it was possible to, how much his work meant to so many.

History and civics, as school subjects, function not merely to teach facts but to transmit more subtle things, like pride and dignity. My Nigerian education taught me much, but left gaping holes. I had not been taught to imagine my pre-colonial past with any accuracy, or pride, or complexity. And so Achebe’s work, for me, transcended literature. It became personal. ARROW OF GOD, my favorite, was not just about the British government’s creation of warrant chiefs and the linked destinies of two men, it became the life my grandfather might have lived. THINGS FALL APART is the African novel most read – and arguably most loved – by Africans, a novel published when ‘African novel’ meant European accounts of ‘native’ life. Achebe was an unapologetic member of the generation of African writers who were ‘writing back,’ challenging the stock Western images of their homeland, but his work was not burdened by its intent. It is much-loved not because Achebe wrote back, but because he wrote back well. His work was wise, humorous, human. For many Africans, THINGS FALL APART remains a gesture of returned dignity, a literary and an emotional experience; Mandela called Achebe the writer in whose presence the prison walls came down.

Achebe’s latest work: There was a country

Achebe’s most recent book, his long-awaited memoir of the Nigerian-Biafra war, is both sad and angry, a book by a writer looking back and mourning Nigeria’s failures. I wish THERE WAS A COUNTRY had been better edited and more rigorously detailed in its account of the war. But these flaws do not make it any less seminal: an account of the most important event in Nigeria’s history by Nigeria’s most important storyteller.

An excerpt from the book has ignited great controversy among Nigerians. In it, Achebe, indignant about the millions of people who starved to death in Biafra, holds Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian Finance Minister during the war, responsible for the policy of blockading Biafra. He quote’s Awolowo’s own words on the blockade – ‘all is fair in war and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat in order for them to fight harder’ and then argues that Awolowo’s support of the blockade was ‘driven by an overriding ambition for power for himself in particular and for the advancement of his Yoruba people in general.’

I have been startled and saddened by the responses to this excerpt. Many are blindingly ethnic, lacking in empathy and, most disturbing of all, lacking in knowledge. We can argue about how we interpret the facts of our shared history, but we cannot, surely, argue about the facts themselves. Awolowo, as de facto ‘number two man’ on the Nigerian side, was a central architect of the blockade on Biafra. During and after the war, Awolowo publicly defended the blockade. Without the blockade, the massive starvation in Biafra would not have occurred. These are the facts.

Some Nigerians, in responding to Achebe, have argued that the blockade was fair, as all is fair in war. The blockade was, in my opinion, inhumane and immoral. And it was unnecessary – Nigeria would have won anyway, it was the much-better-armed side in a war that Wole Soyinka called a shabby unequal conflict. The policy of starving a civilian population into surrender does not merely go against the Geneva conventions, but in this case, a war between siblings, people who were formerly fellow country men and women now suddenly on opposite sides, it seems more chilling. All is not fair in war. Especially not in a fratricidal war. But I do not believe the blockade was a calculated power grab by Awolowo for himself and his ethnic group; I think of it, instead, as one of the many dehumanizing acts that war, by its nature, brings about.

Awolowo was undoubtedly a great political leader. He was also – rare for Nigerian leaders – a great intellectual. No Nigerian leader has, arguably, articulated a political vision as people-centered as Awolowo’s. For Nigerians from the west, he was the architect of free primary education, of progressive ideas. But for Nigerians from the east, he was a different man. I grew up hearing, from adults, versions of Achebe’s words about Awolowo. He was the man who prevented an Igbo man from leading the Western House of Assembly in the famous ‘carpet crossing’ incident of 1952. He was the man who betrayed Igbo people when he failed on his alleged promise to follow Biafra’s lead and pull the Western region out of Nigeria. He was the man who, in the words of my uncle, “made Igbo people poor because he never liked us.”

At the end of the war, every Igbo person who had a bank account in Nigeria was given twenty pounds, no matter how much they had in their accounts before the war. I have always thought this a livid injustice. I know a man who worked in a multinational company in 1965. He was, like Achebe, one of the many Igbo who just could not believe that their lives were in danger in Lagos and so he fled in a hurry, at the last minute, leaving thousands of pounds in his account. After the war, his account had twenty pounds. To many Igbo, this policy was uncommonly punitive, and went against the idea of ‘no victor, no vanquished.’ Then came the indigenization decree, which moved industrial and corporate power from foreign to Nigerian hands. It made many Nigerians wealthy; much of the great wealth in Nigeria today has its roots in this decree. But the Igbo could not participate; they were broke.

I do not agree, as Achebe writes, that one of the main reasons for Nigeria’s present backwardness is the failure to fully reintegrate the Igbo. I think Nigeria would be just as backward even if the Igbo had been fully integrated – institutional and leadership failures run across all ethnic lines. But the larger point Achebe makes is true, which is that the Igbo presence in Nigerian positions of power has been much reduced since the war. Before the war, many of Nigeria’s positions of power were occupied by Igbo people, in the military, politics, academia, business. Perhaps because the Igbo were very receptive to Western education, often at the expense of their own traditions, and had both a striving individualism and a communal ethic. This led to what, in history books, is often called a ‘fear of Igbo domination’ in the rest of Nigeria. The Igbo themselves were insensitive to this resentment, the bombast and brashness that is part of Igbo culture only exacerbated it. And so leading Igbo families entered the war as Nigeria’s privileged elite but emerged from it penniless, stripped and bitter.

Today, ‘marginalization’ is a popular word in Igboland. Many Igbo feel marginalized in Nigeria, a feeling based partly on experience and partly on the psychology of a defeated people. (Another consequence of this psychology, perhaps, is the loss of the communal ethic of the Igbo, much resented sixty years ago. It is almost non-existent today, or as my cousin eloquently put it: Igbo people don’t even send each other.)

Some responses to Achebe have had a ‘blame the victim’ undertone, suggesting that Biafrians started the war and therefore deserved what they got. But Biafrians did not ‘start the war.’ Nobody with a basic knowledge of the facts can make that case.

Biafrian secession was inevitable, after the federal government’s failure to implement the agreements reached at Aburi, itself prompted by the massacre of Igbo in the North. The cause of the massacres was arguably the first coup of 1966. Many believed it to be an ‘Igbo’ coup, which was not an unreasonable belief, Nigeria was already mired in ethnic resentments, the premiers of the West and North were murdered while the Eastern premier was not, and the coup plotters were Igbo. Except for Adewale Ademoyega, a Yoruba, who has argued that it was not an ethnic coup. I don’t believe it was. It seems, from most accounts, to have been an idealistic and poorly-planned nationalist exercise aimed at ridding Nigeria of a corrupt government. It was, also, horrendously, inexcusably violent. I wish the coup had never happened. I wish the premiers and other casualties had been arrested and imprisoned, rather than murdered. But the truth that glares above all else is that the thousands of Igbo people murdered in their homes and in the streets had nothing to do with the coup.

Some have blamed the Biafrian starvation on Ojukwu, Biafra’s leader, because he rejected an offer from the Nigerian government to bring in food through a land corridor. It was an ungenerous offer, one easy to refuse. A land corridor could also mean advancement of Nigerian troops. Ojukwu preferred airlifts, they were tactically safer, more strategic, and he could bring in much-needed arms as well. Ojukwu should have accepted the land offer, shabby as it was. Innocent lives would have been saved. I wish he had not insisted on a ceasefire, a condition which the Nigerian side would never have agreed to. But it is disingenuous to claim that Ojukwu’s rejection of this offer caused the starvation. Many Biafrians had already starved to death. And, more crucially, the Nigerian government had shown little regard for Biafra’s civilian population; it had, for a while, banned international relief agencies from importing food. Nigerian planes bombed markets and targeted hospitals in Biafra, and had even shot down an International Red Cross plane.

Ordinary Biafrians were steeped in distrust of the Nigerian side. They felt safe eating food flown in from Sao Tome, but many believed that food brought from Nigeria would be poisoned, just as they believed that, if the war ended in defeat, there would be mass killings of Igbo people. The Biafrian propaganda machine further drummed this in. But, before the propaganda, something else had sown the seed of hateful fear: the 1966 mass murders of Igbo in the North. The scars left were deep and abiding. Had the federal government not been unwilling or incapable of protecting their lives and property, Igbo people would not have so massively supported secession and intellectuals, like Achebe, would not have joined in the war effort.

I have always admired Ojukwu, especially for his early idealism, the choices he made as a young man to escape the shadow of his father’s great wealth, to serve his country. In Biafra, he was a flawed leader, his paranoia and inability to trust those close to him clouded his judgments about the execution of the war, but he was also a man of principle who spoke up forcefully about the preservation of the lives of Igbo people when the federal government seemed indifferent. He was, for many Igbo, a Churchillian figure, a hero who inspired them, whose oratory moved them to action and made them feel valued, especially in the early months of the war.

Other responses to Achebe have dismissed the war as something that happened ‘long ago.’ But some of the people who played major roles are alive today. We must confront our history, if only to begin to understand how we came to be where we are today. The Americans are still hashing out details of their civil war that ended in 1865; the Spanish have only just started, seventy years after theirs ended. Of course, discussing a history as contested and contentious as the Nigeria-Biafra war will not always be pleasant. But it is necessary. An Igbo saying goes: If a child does not ask what killed his father, that same thing will kill him.

What many of the responses to Achebe make clear, above all else, is that we remember differently. For some, Biafra is history, a series of events in a book, fodder for argument and analysis. For others, it is a loved one killed in a market bombing, it is hunger as a near-constant companion, it is the death of certainty. The war was fought on Biafrian soil. There are buildings in my hometown with bullet holes; as a child, playing outside, I would sometimes come across bits of rusty ammunition left behind from the war. My generation was born after 1970, but we know of property lost, of relatives who never ‘returned’ from the North, of shadows that hung heavily over family stories. We inherited memory. And we have the privilege of distance that Achebe does not have.

Achebe is a war survivor. He was a member of the generation of Nigerians who were supposed to lead a new nation, inchoate but full of optimism. It shocked him, how quickly Nigerian fell apart. In THERE WAS A COUNTRY he sounds unbelieving, still, about the federal government’s indifference while Igbo people were being massacred in Northern Nigeria in 1966. But shock-worthy events did not only happen in the North. Achebe himself was forced to leave Lagos, a place he had called home for many years, because his life was no longer safe. His crime was being Igbo. A Yoruba acquaintance once told me a story of how he was nearly lynched in Lagos at the height of the tensions before the war; he was light-skinned, and a small mob in a market assumed him to be ‘Igbo Yellow’ and attacked him. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos was forced to leave. So was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. Because they were Igbo. For Achebe, all this was deeply personal, deeply painful. His house was bombed, his office was destroyed. He escaped death a few times. His best friend died in battle. To expect a dispassionate account from him is a remarkable failure of empathy. I wish more of the responses had acknowledged, a real acknowledgement and not merely a dismissive preface, the deep scars that experiences like Achebe’s must have left behind.

Ethnicity has become, in Nigeria, more political than cultural, less about philosophy and customs and values and more about which bank is a Yoruba or Hausa or Igbo bank, which political office is held by which ethnicity, which revered leader must be turned into a flawless saint. We cannot deny ethnicity. It matters. But our ethnic and national identities should not be spoken of as though they were mutually exclusive; I am as much Igbo as I am Nigerian. I have hope in the future of Nigeria, mostly because we have not yet made a real, conscious effort to begin creating a nation (We could start, for example, by not merely teaching Maths and English in primary schools, but also teaching idealism and citizenship.)

For some non-Igbo, confronting facts of the war is uncomfortable, even inconvenient. But we must hear one another’s stories. It is even more imperative for a subject like Biafra which, because of our different experiences, we remember differently. Biafrian minorities were distrusted by the Igbo majority, and some were unfairly attacked, blamed for being saboteurs. Nigerian minorities, particularly in the midwest, suffered at the hands of both Biafrian and Nigerian soldiers. ‘Abandoned property’ cases remain unresolved today in Port Harcourt, a city whose Igbo names were changed after the war, creating “Rumu” from “Umu.” Nigerian soldiers carried out a horrendous massacre in Asaba, murdering the males in a town which is today still alive with painful memories. Some Igbo families are still waiting, half-hoping, that a lost son, a lost daughter, will come home. All of these stories can sit alongside one another. The Nigerian stage is big enough. Chinua Achebe has told his story. This week, he turns 82. Long may he live.

Culled from Vanguard newspaper

Reply To Punch: Aregbesola’s strange holiday in Osun

Hijrah fireworks in Osun

I read the above captioned editorial in your PUNCH edition of Tuesday November 20, first on-line and later on page 18, of that edition and I have the following observations.

You claimed that the decision of the Osun state government to declare Hijrah holiday for its over 50 per cent Muslim population in the state “was odd and totally uncalled for”.

Interestingly, you quoted Public Holidays Act, which empower a state Governor to declare a public holiday in a state but you put a caveat that: “such powers should not be used to further religious interests”, but can it be used to further political interests?

Mark you, Public Holidays Act (PHA) chapter 378 recognises declaring public holiday on “New Year Day”, not January 1, but New Year Day.

In the said editorial, you also stated that “Interestingly, many predominantly Muslim states do not even have public holidays for Hejira”, this is wrong and not correct as Iran , Malaysia, and some states in Nigeria like Niger, Sokoto, Kano, Zamfara do declare public holidays for Hijrah.

You may also wish to go to Israel (the origin of Christianity) and complain to Benjamin Netanyahu on why Sunday, Christmas day, 1st January, Easter, etc are not declared Public holidays? As you claimed about Saudi Arabia not declaring public holiday for Hijrah.

Aregbesola acted within the law and if the PUNCH Management thinks otherwise, Court should be the option rather than writing a strange editorial.

Another misinformation and a wrong mind set in the said editorial is what I termed the wrong definition of the word “Secular”.

You stated “and what was the fortuitous holiday meant to achieve in a secular society like Osun”,

There is no such society or state in Nigeria. Nigeria is a multi-religious state and not secular. Secularism means a state without any religion or a system of social teaching which allows no part for religion.

In as much as I am not speaking for Osun state government nor the Governor as I have no such power or affiliation but your claim that Aregbesola “false optimism that his frivolous holiday “will promote religious harmony in the state” falls wide of the mark”, is unfair on the Governor nor the state, as there was nothing wrong in giving a holiday to the Osun worshippers to be able to worship their deity. This to me is the spirit of religious harmony.

I am aware that the Ijebus do have Ojude Oba celebration on the third day of Ileya celebration in Ijebu-Ode, if such day falls within Mondays to Fridays; the Ogun state government usually gives a work free day with the Governor in attendance to mark it.

The editorial also claimed that “Already, Nigeria is known for too many holidays. Excessive public holidays cause productivity slowdown and set the economy back”.

In as much as this statement seems to be considerate, a friend from Saudi Arabia sent in this while writing this rejoinder that “Saudi Arabia gives 10 days each as holidays during the Eid-el Fitr and Eid-el Adha. 15 days before and after, yet that did not affect its oil production and supply and we have not heard that OPEC has been disturbed by it.”

Another friend from Malaysia wrote: “When will Nigerians have large hearts to see clearly for eyes cannot do it! So if Saudi doesn’t have it, we must not, then let’s copy Saudi to the letter, Saudi weekend is Thursday and Friday, lets embrace it.

Saudi women cover, lets embrace it, etc.

Moreover, we had Hijrah day as public holiday in Malaysia. Funny enough, Tuesday (Nov. 13) was Deepavali holiday for Hindus while Thursday (Nov. 15) was Hijrah holiday for the Muslims.

When will Nigerians have large hearts to see clearly for eyes cannot do it!

I doubt if any country has holidays for religions as Malaysia withThaipusam and Chinese new year holidays for Buddhists, Deepavali for Hindus.

To crown it all, all states in Malaysia have Saturday and Sunday as work free while only Melaka spend weekend on Thursday and Friday.

All these rapport and accommodating values exist among Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist citizens of Malaysia till this 3.26pm Tuesday, 20/11/2012 (Malaysian time)’’.

Malaysia, I learnt, has about 13 National Holidays and variety of other holidays at the state level and this does not disturb its economic advancement.

Also, Dominican Republic as listed below has 17 holidays in a year and it has nothing to do with her economic development.

Dominican Republic

1 January – New Year’s Day
6 January – Dia de Reyes (Epiphany)
21 January – Dia de la Altagracia
26 January – Duarte Day (Juan Pablo Duarte)
February – Dominican Carnival
27 February – Independence Day
24 April – Viernes Santo
1 May – Labor Day and Ascension Day
22 May – Corpus Christi
Last Sunday in May – Dia de las Madres
Last Sunday in July – Dia de los Padres
16 August – Dia de la Restauración (Restoration Day)
24 September – Dia de las Mercedes (Mercedes’ Day)
6 November – Constitution Day
5 December – Discovery Day Commemorates the arrival of Christopher Colombus
24 December – Christmas Eve
25 December – Christmas Day

For want of space, I will like to recommend this site to the Punch editorial team on the list of holidays country by country:

In Nigeria, however, States like Kano, Sokoto on Thursday Nov. 15, 2012 declared work free day to mark the new Islamic year 1434 A.H in the states while Niger and Zamfara declared half-day. Cross check this with your correspondents.

Nigeria Public Holiday Act recognises New Year as public holiday and such, it must be declared for both Muslims and Christians being the two major recognised and predominant religions in Nigeria.

To Muslims worldwide, January 1, is not their New Year, but Muharram 1, which coincided with Thursday Nov. 15.

So, what Governor Rauf Aregbesola has done was to encourage religious harmony and peaceful co-existence in the state in accordance with the law which other Governors in the country should emulate.

When the Federal Government declared May 29, as Democracy Day and some states especially in the South West declared June 12, as their own Democracy Day, the Punch editorial did not see that as odd and championing regional or political interest?

Why is it that anything that has to do with religion, especially Islam, we hypocritically pretend as if it does not exist?

Religion is already part of us and cannot be exclusively in the private realm in this country as appointments, elections, public gathering, pilgrimages, education curricula, mode of dressing, praying and speaking are part of our life.

I am of the opinion that Gov. Rauf Aregbesola and his executive council team should be commended for their pro-activeness as against this strange editorial on a matter that the state has constitutional right over.

Even, before he became Governor of Osun State, I have seen and read Aregbesola identifying with the Osun worshippers and Christians in Osun state. So giving everybody in the state its due, will not only promote peace but religious harmony among the adherents of the faithful.

I don’t know of any state or country that goes into crisis as a result of public holiday as alleged in your strange editorial that Aregbesola’s fairness in Osun was capable of causing religious mayhem in the state.

You wrote: “The abusive manipulation of religious causes has to stop. Osun State should not be turned into a new centre of full-scale religious extremism in the country’’

This definitely is provocative and itself capable of causing disaffection among the people of Osun state who are not complaining.

As media practitioners, I think our judgment on all issues should not be biased, tainted, subjective and coloured with political undertones. It must be factual, accurate, fair, objective, educative and corrective.


Abdur-Rahman Balogun

Chairman, Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN)
[email protected] (08052729751)
Plot 570 Jikwoyi-Karshi road, Jikwoyi,

Aregbesola swears in Acting CJ, calls for substantial justice

Governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has performed the swearing in ceremony of the State Acting Chief Judge, Justice (Mrs.) Gloria Erhioyovwe Oladoke with a plea to the judiciary to do substantial justice in all matters before them.

In a speech titled “Justice is a universal purpose he delivered at the ceremony, Governor Aregbesola pleaded with judges who he described as representatives of God in their various courts to ensure that the purpose of justice is served in all their pronouncements.

Describing injustice as the major causes of conflicts in human societies, the Osun Governor warned that “a situation in which 90 per cent of societal resources are concentrated in the hands of one per cent of the people is gross injustice that can only breed class antagonism and escalation between the rich and the poor and the rich risks violent revolt from the poor”.

Decrying a situation where oppression of the weak by the poor as unacceptable, the Governor warned further that any attempt to forcibly deny the people their rights could portend danger for the nation.

He called on members of the society who are rich to loosen up and allow greater spread of societal resources to the greater number of the people in order to avert the unexpected consequences.

Aregbesola cautioned that acts of oppression of the weak by the strong, forcible appropriation and expropriation by the strong, obscene consumption pattern by the rich and vulgar display and abuse of power by the rich and powerful would only elicit proportionate response from the weak and powerless.

According to him, the resultant effect of this is “an unending struggle in which the poor has nothing to lose and the rich has everything to lose”.

One basic reason good governance has eluded Nigeria, he observed, arose from rigging otherwise referred to as electoral injustice as results of many elections do not reflect the views of the electorate.

“Too many often, election results do not reflect the true choice of the people. The declared winners are often imposed on the people with impunity. Even when people protest this injustice, the response they get is the rolling out of the tanks and crushing patrol on the streets”, he reasoned.

He assured that his administration was determined to move away from the path stressing that his utmost desire was “to enthrone justice in the land and ensure that every citizen has the satisfaction of having obtained justice in every area of life”.

While he had largely experienced injustice on the road to office, Aregbesola said “I am a beneficiary of justice when God-fearing Justices of the Court of Appeal in Ibadan restored my mandate and kicked out the impostors who had held the state by the jugular and subjected our people to all manner of oppressive and barbaric treatment”.

Since that day, he stated that “you will recollect, peace has returned to our land. The fear of being arrested, falsely accused and clamped in illegal and unjust detention has vanished. Our people now sleep with their eyes closed. We give thanks to the Almighty for this great justice”.

Describing the ceremony as symbolic, the Governor asserted that the oath of office taken by Justice (Mrs.) Oladoke was a quest for justice and an affirmation of oneness with the universe in the pursuit of justice.

“What we are doing today therefore is symbolic of the quest for justice. An oath is a sacred thing. It is an affirmation of oneness with the universe in the pursuit of the universal purpose”.

When a judge takes oath of office, Aregbesola held that he or she was saying that she would never deviate from the universal objective of providing justice for all, irrespective of class and estate.

Such judges, upon taking their oath of offices, the Governor maintained, have vowed that they would accept every retribution that comes with the subversion of this purpose.

This development, he stressed further, was “not a light matter. It is a great matter that carries the highest sense of responsibility”.

“I will therefore commend our sister and every judge in the state judiciary, from the customary court to the high court, to uphold justice, substantial justice, which is the end of the law and work towards the realisation of the universal purpose”.

“The saying that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man is still sacrosanct. Let us say with Lord Denning that no man should leave the court still having any doubt that the cause of justice has been served”.

Governor Aregbesola referred to the popular saying that “fear not the law but the judge” explaining that this was said “because the law is what the judge says it is. Bring therefore to your work uncommon wisdom, unusual insight, deep scholarship, lion-like courage and divine grace. This is what will expose you to the world and recommend you for higher service”.

Seven Tips for a Top-Secret Extramarital Affair

David Petraeus hoped to keep his infidelity from going public, but the spy chief made some rookie mistakes. From staying offline to leaving colleagues alone, our guide to keeping a lover under wraps.

1. Don’t write anything in an email that you hope to keep private.

If you’re going to have an affair, avoid engaging with your lover over email—we don’t live in the You’ve Got Mail/AOL era anymore. You may think sending emails from anonymous accounts or saving them in a random folder may be a surefire way of keeping the liaison a secret. But as we’ve seen in the case of Gen. David Petraeus, email is never as private as you think. The now-former CIA director and his alleged mistress, Paula Broadwell, often wrote each other saucy email messages. But near the end of the affair, a third party was unwittingly involved when Broadwell, through various anonymous accounts, sent “harassing” messages to Petraeus’s friend and colleague Jill Kelley.

Kelley apparently was disturbed enough by the messages—described as “cat-fight stuff” to The Daily Beast by a source close to the matter—that she reported them to a friend in the FBI. The ensuing investigation reportedly traced the messages to Broadwell, and then the illicit relationship with the general.

Petraeus and Broadwell tried to conceal their affair by composing messages to each other in the Drafts folder of a shared Gmail account, which only made matters worse, given that it’s a method often used by terrorists. But this whole email fiasco could easily have been avoided. (Note to cheaters: don’t share passwords with a lover, particularly a jealous one.)

2. Communicate furtively on the phone.

This one’s a no-brainer. You know you’re not going to be able to resist the temptation to exchange salacious voicemails and texts with your lover, but the chances of your significant other seeing them on the kitchen counter while you’re taking the trash out are too predictable. You can still communicate via phone without getting caught, however. Try using a rogue pay-as-you-go phone, i.e., not your work phone or the one that you usually use to call a spouse. If you want a backup system, get yourself an Android phone and download the Secret SMS Replicator, an invisible application that forwards all text messages to another phone (your rogue phone, if you’re smart).

3. Develop a cheating “strategy” and make it your new religion.

If you’re going to conduct a clandestine relationship, do it like a pro. Keep an internal list of excuses and make sure to rotate through them. If you use the “working late” excuse too often with a spouse, that spouse might contact someone else at the office to see if you were really there until 2 a.m. Similarly, if you make a habit of leaving work during the day for a quickie, try to avoid using the “doctor’s appointment” card too often. A skeptical boss might ask for a note, a bill, or a simple explanation, in which case you might be tempted to feign a chronic illness and get tongue-tied in your own elaborate lies. Pay attention to detail and make rules for yourself. (Rule 1: Always shower after seeing your lover.)

4. Make time for cheating.

Be smart about the time you spend with your lover, as though you had taken on a new hobby or a part-time job. The “hobby” is a good excuse for leaving the office at a certain time every day or getting home late, but make sure you have something to show for it. If you’re heading to or returning from a biweekly Tae Kwon Do lesson, it would help to have a few moves in your back pocket so you don’t look like a deer in the headlights when you get hit with, “Honey, show me what you learned in Tae Kwon Do tonight.”

5. Perfect your poker face.

If you’re going to cheat and not get caught, it has to be like second nature for you. So if your spouse is feeling unloved because, well, you’ve been putting all your energy into “Tae Kwon Do,” give him or her some good loving—and get used to acting like you’re into it.

6. Always pay with cash.

One easy way to cover your tracks is to pay for anything involving your lover with cash, whether it’s a hotel room, a fancy dinner, or a sex toy. It’s the best way to ensure that illicit activities don’t show up on your credit-card statement, which might end up in the hands of a spouse or an accountant.

7. Don’t screw around with someone at work.

If the head of the CIA couldn’t get away with it, chances are you won’t either. Having an affair with someone you work with is risky business—even if you’re not a politician or a public figure. For starters, your colleagues likely know you’re married, so they might end up tattling on you if they have the slightest suspicion you seem a bit too cozy with your boss. An office affair also makes the “I’m stuck at work” excuse more likely to backfire.

by Lizzie Crocker

culled from DAILY BEAST