Saturday, March 28, 2015


Saturday, March 28, 2015


Hugo Naijaman

My dear compatriots,

The long-expected, much-awaited day is upon us. The hours are far spent. The elections have commenced in many areas. There have been hitches reported in others. I myself have satisfied my conscience. I salute the courage of all Nigerians nationwide who have similarly sincerely satisfied theirs.

I salute in particular this woman whose face has come up on my Twitter feed (#NigeriaDecides). I do not know who she is. I cannot tell where these pictures were taken. But the accompanying reports state that the pictures were taken today, in Nigeria, as she went to her unit to vote her choice for president.

I salute her courage, and the courage of all seniors like herself. Despite having done their part in the yesterday that was their present to secure for us the tomorrow that has now become our today, they now join us as we work to secure a future for our unborn generations.

In the face of such courage, such determination, such patriotism, such unqualified dedication to the protection  of our collective destiny as a nation and to the preservation of our freedom as a people, unhindered by the encumbrances of age and failing health, all I am capable of is admiration, respect, awe.

When we say God bless Nigeria, it is not just a complimentary close. It is also a prayer. When I see things like this, I get confirmation that that prayer is being answered every day in every way. I also get confirmation that there is a God, and that He is listening. And blessing Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.


Saturday, March 28, 2015


Hugo Naijaman

Fellow Nigerians,

Today, we take a very significant step on an all-important trip. We find ourselves today on the modern leg of a very ancient journey; a journey that begun from time immemorial, by people whose travels have taken them through seas, land, air, and space. Many discoveries have been made as our forebears have progressed on this voyage. 

We have discovered fire, devised means to harness the power of water and wind for our uses, discovered iron… We have discovered religion; we continue to try to discover God; in that endeavor, we have built – and then shaken off – the dictatorship of superstition, and replaced it with a culture of asking questions. Our questions have revealed to us that our world is round and not actually standing on four pillars. Our questions have revealed to us that the sun does not actually rise in the east, nor does it really set in the west. We have asked why it is that whatever goes up must come down and that is how we discovered gravity. Following that discovery, and following all the advances we have made in better understanding gravity, we have ended up producing materials that can go up…and only come down when we want them to. That is why we can now fly from Abuja to Abu Dhabi, why we may yet fly from Dutse to Dubai, why we may some day lift off from a cosmodrome in Imo and dock at the International Space Station. We have discovered electricity, and today we are so heavily dependent on it that some people in some parts of our planet today almost cannot fathom a world without it – probably because they have never visited our part of the planet. Because our world is so dependent on electricity, because of the immense power with which it is associated, we have named it power, we have gone beyond merely discovering electricity and have gone on to discover different ways electricity may be generated. Now we use water, wind, and even subatomic particles – particles that we cannot even see with our unaided eyes – to generate this all-important resource that we call power. We have discovered the generosity of Nature in her degradation of once living matter into fossil fuels that become useful for still living matter – that gift from Nature that we like to call crude oil is a gift that we so heavily profit from today – although Nature herself, by the consequent environmental pollution, suffers from the untoward effects of her own kind generosity. We have discovered how to keep ourselves alive for longer, and how to protect our health better. We have discovered how to use the power of sound – in frequencies that cannot be heard by the unaided ear – to diagnose ailments within the human body, as well as to get pictures of our babies while they are growing in their happy-go-lucky fluid-filled world that we call the womb. We have learnt that light consists not just of the light we see but also of rays like X-rays gamma-rays, rays that while invisible to our unaided eyes, are being used to do things that are making our world a better world. In short, we have discovered – as we have continued on this ancient journey begun by our ancestors – that the senses with which we are born – of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch – impose on us such severe limitations that, for our world to be a better world, we must break free of those limitations. That is what we have discovered and what we discover every day. And it is a discovery that bodes well for our journey. For this journey that we are on, this journey that has progressed through centuries and millennia, this journey that has seen Homo sapiens truly dominate Earth and begin to attempt a conquest of the universe, this journey that is now ours, this journey in which we today execute an important leg, is our journey to human freedom.

But we have made all this progress because we have asked questions. We have refused to take things for granted. We have asked why; how; what if; and if not; we have not only asked those questions, we have actively worked to get answers, and then we have questioned the answers we have gotten. We have refused to believe that it is well simply because it looks well. We have a better world today because we have always striven to make our today better than our yesterday. We have refused to be content with the strides we have made. We have always looked ahead, always recognized that there are more miles to cover; refused to be held back or bogged down by the contentment of those who would bask in self-adulation over the achievements of years gone by; been steadfast in our belief that we have a duty to consistently change our world for the better, and that in the discharge of this duty, time will not give us a second for an ego massage.

So today, in Nigeria, against the prophecies of the prophets of doom, against those who would set us against each other by trying to enslave us to their doctrines inspired by ethnic insecurities and religious bigotry, against those who would prevent us from voting by whipping up sentiments of intolerance, against all these people we march. 

We march in defence of our freedom. We march to our freedom. We march along the road to freedom that our fathers have marched. We break new boundaries and make new additions to the chest of discoveries already made by our forebears, to the advantage of our progeny, for they too will continue on this sacred road, they too will continue this sacred march to freedom.

In insisting that things must be better for our children than they were for our fathers, we continue a tradition that has been handed down to us from generation to generation. In asking questions and in holding those we entrust with governance accountable, we adhere to the same principles of asking questions and questioning the answers we get that have today given us computers, mobile phones, and drones, our ATM cards, and the Internet. In insisting on voting today, we declare that we will never again be so enslaved to any set of ideas as to be unable to think independently for ourselves how we can make our tomorrow a shining light that beckons us from our today.

We will not be dissuaded by those who refuse to vote – for those ones who choose not to vote even though they can have no attribute worth emulating in that respect. At a crucial time in our history, at a turning point in our trying to build a nation from among a gathering of nations, they had no opinion. They had no decision. They chose to be on the losing side of history, on the wrong side of history. History has no patience for those kinds of people, and neither should we. In these elections, the only losers are those people who could have voted, but refused to vote.

In this election, the only winners are the Nigerian people, and by extension, humanity. The only winners are the Nigerian people because by these elections, Nigerians do today what Martin Luther tried to do in Germany in the Middle Ages; what Frenchmen did at the Bastille; what Americans did by declaring their independence from Britain – Nigerians march in pursuit of freedom, in defence of freedom, to freedom. But by Nigerian people, I refer to the man and woman on the street who go out to get accredited and vote in the way and manner in which I have come out and am waiting to get accredited and vote, and who after voting, do not resort to violence because they did not get the results they had hoped for. I do not refer to those who institutionalize corruption, who emphasize the things that divide us for political gain, who allow things go wrong because, in their political calculations, that earns them political capital. Not those, for those ones have, in my opinion, lost their claim to humanity and cannot in good conscience claim to be with us on the march to human freedom.

I would love to continue writing, to continue pouring out to this phone my thoughts as they come, but other things need to be done. The line moves and I need to be accredited. I may be unable to go back to re-read these lines and then tie them all up together in a way that will make my meaning clearer. I may not have the opportunity, and in these circumstances, I certainly cannot boast the patience. I have poured my thoughts as they have come, standing in line, waiting to vote Buhari for president, chatting with someone who intends to vote Jonathan for president, and agreeing with him that we shall have a beer together tonight.

We want our nation free. Free from those who would have it in chains. We may disagree on how to get there, but let us agree on the destination…

…because this destination has been fixed for us already from time immemorial.

Never again shall we be let ourselves be enslaved to the ideology that my brother can do no wrong. Never again shall we bind ourselves or allow others bind us to shackles of hate. Never again shall our decisions of right and wrong be based on whether the players in question are muslim or Christian, catholic or protestant.

For beyond all these divisions, we are human…and we today march in defence of human freedom, to human freedom.

I must stop now…

God bless Nigeria and everywhere else.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Idowu Akinlotan

During his blitz through the Southwest more than a week ago, President Goodluck Jonathan met with many Yoruba politicians and traditional leaders to sensitise them to his political and managerial virtues, and to convince them to ignore the mixed reviews on his past five years presidency. He stressed his promises for the future, such as the implementation of the national conference reports and bountiful representation of the Yoruba in his government. A faction of the Southwest elite is convinced, without proof, that the president will keep his word. Such faith has no precedence. Dr Jonathan also granted interviews to a few media establishments, among them Tribune and THISDAY newspapers, in which he reveals far more about himself than the mere answers to the questions asked him, some of the questions ingratiating and supplicatory, indicating he still has difficulties comprehending and responding to the deeper and more complex issues of statecraft.

The interviews exposed Dr Jonathan’s curious mindset. He is prickly, somewhat superficial, excitable and boyish. Age has done nothing to temper this mindset. Nor, to borrow from his favourite exaggerated allusions and anecdotes, can 100 years on the presidential throne do much to transform or ennoble him. From the interviews, there is little doubt he wants to do great and mighty things, but he is both unable to summon the discipline required and incapable of appreciating the weight of work and the intellect necessary to match contributions with expectations. Had he any of these qualifications, either singly or, better still, in combination, his boyish and infectious innocence, not to say his yearnings for praise and renown, would have led him to extraordinary feats of statesmanship and valour.

Alas, his faults and weaknesses cannot be remedied, for they are already cast in granite. His critics and traducers must also now know that whatever they have to say of Dr Jonathan, particularly about his weaknesses, will only lead him to more resentfulness, bad temper, scurrility and tempting and insidious acts of tyranny. He is keenly aware of the bad press he has attracted, much of which he attributes to local and international consultants working for the opposition, and he is keener on ‘investing’ in managing it and turning it around. He tries to present himself as studious and cerebral, even flaunting his second class upper degree, but he frets under the weight of the anonymity of the course he studied, a course he self-deprecatingly described as ‘not prestigious.’

Now and again, he rises, in the interviews, to heights of Machiavellian ecstasy, with his panegyric to the gullible faction of the Southwest elite with whom he is today besotted, but against whom in the first few years of his presidency he contemptibly erected a benumbing architecture of exclusion and marginalisation. The love affair is waxing hot, and it is perhaps a relief that both the president and his Southwest converts are locked in embrace, else, they would have had to seek out classes and groups more virtuous than they to seduce and desecrate. No one who reads the interviews can fail to conclude that the president is pristinely untouched by the rudiments of democracy, notwithstanding his vainglorious assertions on the subject, and may never be able to comprehend its philosophical underpinnings beyond its consideration as a system of government.

A few examples from Dr Jonathan’s rich and revealing interviews will suffice. Asked to expatiate on his now discredited seven-year single tenure proposal, Dr Jonathan seems painfully incapable of understanding the irony embedded in his suggestion. It is true he is persuasive in denying his interest in benefiting from the proposal had it been accepted, but he simply could not see that the damage to the polity of an ineffective president remaining in office for seven years, just one year short of two terms of eight years, far outweighs the hazards of the cost and dislocations of electioneering. Political campaigns have their therapeutic effects, their potential to trigger a country’s renewal, and sometimes to cause an acute change of direction. Dr Jonathan simply focused on the cost of elections and the troubles of campaigning and renewing mandates almost to the total exclusion of the other benefits. The idea was roundly denounced when he first suggested it; it is a remarkable indication of his stoicism and imperviousness to reason that time and experience have not helped him to either refine his view or redefine the basis of his conviction.

Apart from erroneously claiming credit for voter awareness, affirming that he gave ‘freedom’ to Nigerians who now value their voter cards and are eager to participate in the electoral process, Dr Jonathan stretches that questionable bequest with a rueful statement. He says: “Look at the freedom Nigerians enjoy. You abuse the President and I smile. In some countries, you abuse the President, they deal with you. In so many countries, including African countries, you cannot abuse the President and go to sleep with your two eyes closed. It is only in Nigeria that you can do that.” In the first place, Nigeria is not another country, as he himself acknowledges later on in the interview, on account of the country’s diversity and complexity, and in the second place, Nigeria is not the only country where freedom of speech does not come with devastating repercussions.

But rather than celebrate this strange bequest, Dr Jonathan in fact laments it. He may deny it, but the fact is that if he had his way, those who abuse him, a word he confuses with criticism, he would deal with them, or at least make them lose sleep. That way, the quietude he pines after would be achieved. According to him: “It is easy if you write something against me for me to ask my security agents to come and arrest you and throw you into a dungeon for 24 hours, so that you know that there is government. Yes, one can do it. But is that what you use power for?” For a president who had just rhapsodised democracy, he betrayed his secret preferences by entertaining the thought of locking a critic up for 24 hours. And he entertains the thought because it is not beneath him.

His response to the Charles Soludo criticism of his economic policy is appalling. Here, he simply demonstrates an exceedingly poor grasp of economics, and illustrates his embarrassing subservience to and awe of World Bank economists. He also chafes at the Chibok abductions, that remorseless totem of his impotence, and makes the non sequitur assertion that only a failed president could preside over a failed state.

One last example. Asked to justify why he dismissed the Ekiti audio recording done by a military intelligence officer as fabricated, the president backtracks a little and puzzlingly suggests that the officer must come and defend his recording. Dr Jonathan does not show his dismay and discomfort with the fact that some of his ministers were caught on tape conspiring with an Anambra moneybag and a top army general to subvert the electoral process on behalf of his party, nor does he appear to understand that he occupies an office that has a responsibility to defend the constitution without reservation and uphold the law without fear or favour. Nor, obviously, does Dr Jonathan have the mental fortitude and intellectual depth to appreciate, like great leaders, how to build a country and a legacy. At 56, and given his mindset and intransigence, it may be a little too late for him to acquire the wherewithal for profound leadership. And should Nigeria return him to office in the next poll, as he intrigues, irrespective of his huge and irredeemable shortcomings, the country is unlikely to fare any better than it has done in the past five years.


This article was first published by The Nation and was retrieved from their website on March 03, 2015


Tuesday, March 03, 2015


By Dr. Ibraheem Dooba

A couple of days ago, I announced that I was going to unfriend – on Facebook – any friend who’s a supporter of President Jonathan. Some friends found fault with my action. They implied that what I purposed was extreme – it’s only politics, they said.

But they’re mistaken. The forthcoming presidential election is not politics. The gubernatorial contest in Lagos State between Jimi Agbaje and Akinwunmi Ambode is politics, since it’s a choice between two credible candidates. Obama versus Romney was politics. The gubernatorial contest in Jigawa is politics, since people have a choice to elect a candidate from a party (PDP) which has done well for them at state level or a candidate from a party (APC) that promises to revolutionize their lives positively.

I stand united with Sonala Olumhense, who said that the presidential election this year is a struggle for the soul of Nigeria. “Make no mistake: this struggle is for the soul of Nigeria, and you are either in the race for that soul, or assisting someone who is. Anyone who is neither running nor contributing productively works against Nigeria.”

So, it’s not politics! And it shouldn’t be construed as such. In this struggle, you can’t be on the fence, because there is no fence.

To give you one premise out of many, I read last week in Leadership newspaper that 13 of the Chibok girls’ parents have died. Among many deaths that GEJ caused with his actions and inactions, I attribute these deaths to him. The parents, the newspaper wrote, died due to stress-related illnesses on account of the kidnapping of their children. If that was the case, the deaths were quite avoidable. Some measures could have been taken by the president to reduce the feeling of hopelessness for parents in such a traumatic situation, such as showing concern, empathy, giving them hope, visiting the community and showering them with kind words.

Now imagine you were a Chibok parent, and listened to these presidential statements:

I’ve not gone to Chibok because it’s not a small place, it’s a whole local government – President Jonathan.

Going to Chibok will not bring back the girls – President Jonathan

When I looked at the list, 90% of the girls are Christians – President Jonathan

We don’t know where the Chibok girls are – President Jonathan

On the Chibok girls, I don’t want to be quoted – President Jonathan

We’ve rescued the girls [a lie] – Defense HQ

Nobody is missing – Patience Jonathan, the first lady

These are words from the leaders who are supposed to provide comfort. Indeed, it took the intervention of a teenage girl, Malala, from a foreign country, Pakistan, before our president agreed to meet the parents of the girls. And as if to rub it in, it was reported that someone in the president’s circle (where stealing is not corruption) attempted to steal the little money the parents were given.

And now you tell me that voting someone who enacted this nonsense is politics? This is just one case from many cases of the deaths that GEJ’s government has caused. As recent as last year, 2014, GEJ and his people believed that the criminally insane idiots in Boko Haram camp are fighting political war on behalf of “northerners” to make Nigeria ungovernable for him!

To prove that, Dr. (first name, Bastard) Okupe, the presidential spokesperson, suggested, on a Channels TV interview which I watched, that local government elections in Yobe State were conducted hitch free. That comment was to prove his case that Boko Haram does not attack northern political leaders. Like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo said, if Jonathan and his aides had not wasted time believing that Boko Haram is a creation of his enemies armed to campaign against his government, these insufferable idiots would have long been defeated.

Yet, you want me to tolerate people who support this gang? Someone suggested some of my followers are my students and I should seek to convince them instead of killing our friendship. My response to that is, I’m not proud of a student with such a flawed logic as to support a government which has brought nothing to us in Nigeria save destruction. And I think the time to convince people is long gone. If you’ve not made up your mind that this is the worst government we’ve ever had in Nigeria, whatever your age, you’re beyond redemption. You’re unteachable.

Maybe I didn’t write plainly enough, earlier. I’ll do so now.

If I had a child old enough to vote and he told me that he’s going to vote Jonathan, I would disown him. Friends, if l lost, I would make new ones, but there’s no guarantee I can spawn a new child. This is how seriously I take this.

For the same reason, if an employee comes to me and says he’s voting for GEJ, I will thank him for his candour and fire him on the spot. I can’t risk contaminating my organization by such wicked thinking.

If I had a tenant who promises me to vote GEJ, I would hand him a quit notice without hesitation. I hope you get the point? Not yet? OK, here’s the final one: if I were having an open heart surgery, and the lead surgeon informs me that he’s voting for GEJ, I’ll ask him to drop his scalpel and let me die!

I’m sure you now get my point. Anybody but Jonathan. And like I wrote earlier, this resolve is open to no question. That is, you’re not free to challenge me with (what you think are) valid points – no matter how reasonable they are.

If you do, I’ll unfriend you too, because by your action, you’ve demonstrated that I don’t need your friendship, neither do I have the energy to tolerate you. By the way, I genuinely like my friends. So if our relationship has reached a point where I’ve to tolerate you, I can’t not, in good conscience, continue with it.

Dr. Dooba, a data scientist, wrote in from 20 Persiaran Putra, Tronoh, Perak, Malaysia. He can be reached via


This article has been sourced from this friend's Facebook Wall post, but is also available on the website of the Premium Times, where I believe it first appeared.