Monthly Archives: December 2010

Dame Patience’s English: A Case of Different Stroke….!

By Kabiru Tsakuwa

“Our politics is without bitterness, my husband Dr. Good luck Jonathan and Sambo is a very Good people…”

Dame Patience Good luck Ebele Jonathan. Adamawa, December 21st, 2010

Looking at some countries like China , India , Iran and Japan that have in the course of a few decades developed in the true sense of the term; I could not find any that uses foreign language as a tool for both scientific and cultural research and communication. Many have been using their indigenous languages which enable them to seamlessly attained technological break-through.

Practically speaking therefore, any country desirous of development in all facets of life must deploy its indigenous language or at least thoroughly domesticate the one imposed on it by accident of colonial history as the like of south Africans have try to do.

Whether we like it or not, English had become Nigeria ’s lingua-franca, and ever since, has been spoken by vast majority of Nigerians as a second language. But unlike local languages that come to us naturally and effortlessly; English language had to be learnt though formal tutoring. Because no matter what it remains alien and artificial to us and therefore not suitable for effective cultural, scientific and technological researches.

That was all the more reason why speakers of English as a second language will have to remain learners for life. That was also why even Wole-Soyinka, the celebrated Nigerian Nobel laureate in English literature without fear or contradiction had to constantly update his vocabularies to keep abreast of new trends.

So to me Dame Patience Ebele’s apparent poor grasp of the language’s syntax and grammar or any other person for that matter was not something laughable as to warrant castigation or casting of aspersion in so far as aims and objectives of the speaker are quite understood.

What’s incomprehensible and at the same time lamentable however has been the case of different strokes for the same offence from those who choose to castigate Hajiya Turai throughout the three or so years she served as the nation’s first lady whenever she had cause to speak in English!

Was it because she happens to be another kola-nut chewing Aboki, to borrow from her traducers, which was why she was shown no respite? At least her understanding of the language was by far more matured than that of the current first lady. But why the dead silence as if in the grave-yard, despite the notorious gaffe being committed by dame patience Good-luck in the full glare of our television screens while campaigning for her husband; something that is patently novel in the annals of Nigeria’s political arithmetic.

Equity and fairness dictates that what was good for the goose must also be good for the gander. Those who decide to lampoon Hajiya Turai Yar’adua should accord patience good luck similar treatments on account of her disastrously poor grasp of the language. Otherwise, people will read different meanings into their motives. They will also think and rightly so, that there are more to those barrage of criticisms than meet the eye!

In truth, Dame Patience good luck has every reason to thank God. For had it been that she happens to be from the north, by now so much noise concerning her poor command of white man’s language will have rent the air by no less a people than her own blood brothers. But being of southern Nigerian extraction, she had been spared the sledgehammer by both northern and southern critics and mum’s the word. Pity!

What Does Wikileaks Tell Us About Jonathan?

The cable revelations by WikiLeaks containing classified materials of the United States Government have understandably ruffled feathers in official circles in the US just as the leaks have also exposed the rump of some global corporations and foreign governments.

The leaked information, which some had thought would remain hidden from ordinary people at least for some time to come, are weighty and what they contain in some instances are startling.

Beyond the revelations about Shell, which claimed it had spies in all the main ministries of the Federal Government, the bits released so far about Nigeria have, however, revealed one unique thing among others. It unearthed the character traits of President Goodluck Jonathan, something many already know but want to convince themselves about.

From the cable leaks, the president comes across as humble, sincere, patriotic, conscientious and plain almost to a fault of himself. He does not appear to be overtly ambitious or covetous of power as the zoning brouhaha may want to project him.

He is not your-run-of the-mill politician. Following the leaks emerging from his encounters with former US Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Sanders and some other US diplomats, Jonathan presented himself as having limited experience as an administrator
Presidential Spokesman Ima Niboro has, however, come out to refute the leaks as “essentially third party narratives, and are largely inaccurate”. But the significance of the revelations about Jonathan is perhaps more poignant in the fact that those traits were exposed unknown to him that they would be so known to the outside world.

Just check this WikiLeaks cable: “Jonathan said he was handling Niger Delta issues until the Ministry for Niger Delta Affairs was created in September 2008, allowing him to distance himself from being viewed as someone who could only work on that issue.”I was not chosen to be Vice President because I had good political experience,” he said. “I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be Vice President, but that does not mean I am not my own man.”

Cable 10 (C) also leaked as follows: “Jonathan shared initially, he had the intention to dissolve the Cabinet early the week of February 22, and had planned to make that announcement at the February 24 FEC meeting, but found out that Yar’ Adua was returning, and thus dissuaded him from acting. He said the last cabinet meeting was disastrous and included yelling and screaming, and it is totally dysfunctional. He said he is “not a politician” and had very limited experience as an administrator, but concluded, “I will not tolerate a brawl.”

Again, following the leaks, Jonathan reportedly spoke about his initial doubt over whether to run in 2011, which was widely known then.

He had said at that time that he was making consultations with stakeholders on the decision he would take, though he also refused to completely rule himself out of the 2011.

In the leaks, Jonathan had said he did not appreciate standing for elections in 2011 and that he was not working towards being a presidential candidate. He said all he wanted was to put in place an electoral structure that will be ready for national elections. But he was also reported to have noted as well that “if they want me to run that will be something to consider at that time”.

There are, however, some discomforting aspects of the leaks of those dark days of Yar’Adua’s ailment when attempts were made to block Jonathan from stepping in as acting president, which exposed Jonathan’s seeming reliance on the US.

This also suggests that the president may be beholden to the US as president in 2011, paying a kind of political-I-Owe-You to that country. Why? Ambassador Sanders and Assistant Secretary Jonnie Carson suggested to him to ease out controversial INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu by sending him on terminal leave and to ‘publicly’ distance himself from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which he did.

Both decisions seemed politically correct if Jonathan is to be taken seriously though. In the leaks, Sanders reportedly told Jonathan US would not continue any election assistance if Prof Iwu remains on seat after June 2010 as in his (Iwu) encounter with Carson, the former INEC chairman had shown no signs of respect for good governance.

In the leaks, Jonathan was said to have been appreciative of the ambassador’s remarks on the occasion of the US National Day reception on February 25 and Assistant Secretary Carson’s February 24 statement because both provided him with the ‘courage to press forward’.

The point, however, is that US following Sanders’ position seemed comfortable with Jonathan even if he decided to throw his hat into the ring as he was later to do.

Hear Sanders’ comment in the leaks: “We believe the US government is firmly placed to advance our bilateral agenda, including the creation of an enabling environment conducive to free, fair and credible elections with the approval and assistance of Nigeria’s de facto head of state. Even if he decides to contest for the presidency, Jonathan seems sincere in wanting to leave a lasting legacy of electoral reform for Africa’s most populous nation”.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in UK

LONDON – Police say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has surrendered to British police as part of a Swedish sex-crimes investigation, the latest blow to the secret-spilling website that faces legal, financial and security challenges.

Assange was arrested at 9:30 a.m. (930 GMT) Tuesday 6 dec 2010 and was due to appear at Westminster Magistrate’s Court later in the day.

Assange has been hiding out at an undisclosed location in Britain since WikiLeaks began publishing hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables on the Internet last week.

The organization’s room for maneuver is narrowing by the day. It has been battered by web attacks, cut off by Internet service providers and is the subject of a criminal investigation in the United States, where officials say the release jeopardized national security and diplomatic efforts around the world.

Former President, Obasanjo, Humiliated By Fayose At Oyinlola’s Thanksgiving Event In Okuku

By SaharaReporters, New York

Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, the self-styled “father of modern Nigeria,” received a rude shock today in Okuku, Osun State, when former Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, confronted him and called him “father of bastards”.

It is the second time since leaving office under controversial circumstances in 2007 that the former head of state would be publicly ridiculed. Last month, an irate Nigerian rained blows on him after he managed to sneak into his car in traffic shortly after Obasanjo arrived from a foreign trip.

Fayose met Obasanjo in the inner recesses of the Okuku mansion of the deposed governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, after a “thanksgiving service” in his honor by friends and family.

The former president was sitting with former military dictator, Ibrahim Babanginda, the Governor of Oyo state, Alao Akala, and Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, when Fayose breezed into the reception area.

Trouble began, according to eyewitness accounts, when Fayose proceeded to greet everyone but Obasanjo. Sensing he had been deliberately ignored, Obasanjo called Fayose by name and asked if it had been an error on his part, but an enraged Fayose surprisingly turned to Obasanjo and said he could not greet someone who is very bad!

Fayose was apparently only just warming up.

“You created all these troubles in the Southwest,” he told Obasanjo, “and for your information, I did not come here as a member of your party, I am no longer a PDP member,” Fayose shouted.
Inching towards Obasanjo, Fayose pointedly told the former president that he didn’t deserve his greeting and warned Obasanjo never to talk to him again.

Obasanjo reportedly flew into a rage and called Fayose a “bastard.” That remark further infuriated Fayose, who moved menacingly towards Obasanjo, waved his finger in his face and called him the “father of bastards”.

When the situation became chaotic, Fayose stormed out of the reception area and was heard cursing Obasanjo as he walked away in anger.

The celebrant, Oyinlola, ran after him and wept, complaining that Fayose had come to disrupt his joyous occasion.