The Witness of Untruth

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AKIN OSUNTOKUN: DIALOGUE WITH NIGERIA

The two clichés that apply to the intervention of the former Minister of petroleum, Professor Tam David West on the troubling revelations at the NNPC are ‘when you find yourself in a hole and trying to get out, you stop digging’ and the other is a ‘cure worse than the disease’. Increasingly he has become the personification of a particular idiosyncrasy-that of making the most absurd Trumpian logic and fictive statements with the certitude of a lawgiver. In an interview with the Punch, here is David West’s opening salvo. ‘Was there a Ministry of Petroleum Resources in (Shehu) Shagari’s time and during Buhari’s first term in government’? In other words, he is saying that there was no ministry of petroleum in those two dispensations

Yet there was a certain Professor Tam David West who answered to the title of Minister of petroleum in, precisely, Buhari’s first term in government. Can you then imagine the same personality contending that no such ministry existed in that material dispensation? From this denial of his own existence, it was a catalogue of one mind bending apology after another (for infallible President Mohammadu Buhari and the NNPC Group Managing Director, GMD, Makanti Baru) in the ongoing revealing face-off with Minister Ibe Kachikwu. He waxes defiant “When you say that a minister of state is the boss of the GMD of NNPC, it is wrong. That cannot be. People are making those claims because of misconception. The minister of state in the First Republic was a minister without a portfolio. He cannot be a boss of the GMD of an oil industry”.

Here is the problem. The prescribing authority, namely the President, who is constitutionally empowered to determine and delegate the authority of a Minister, says I am specifically appointing and designating you, Ibe Kachikwu as Minister of (state) petroleum-with the administrative schedule of supervising all agencies of government in the petroleum sector and report to me accordingly. And for there not to be any ambiguity about your appointment, you are further appointed as the chairman of the NNPC board. How much clear can the President communicate his action?

Taking willful distortion to the next level, the Professor proceeded with the error of comparing apples and oranges. Given that he was an adult university graduate as far back as the First republic era, it is inexcusable that he seems not to realize that the First republic is as different from the Second, Third and Fourth republics, as the Westminster/ Parliamentary collective responsibility model is different from the executive Presidential system. By now it ought to have become common knowledge that under the former, the Prime Minister and the other cabinet Ministers are in office by virtue of being collectively members of the majority party in parliament. In the latter dispensation, one man, elected directly by the whole country, namely the President is vested with the discretionary executive authority to run the federal government and appoints whomsoever he wishes as Minister.

Whereas the Prime Minister is first among equals whose authority is subsumed within the limitation of collective responsibility, the President is unfettered in his personification of the executive branch of government. If therefore this President has not appointed anyone as Minister without portfolio, it is the height of presumptive ignorance for uninformed pundits to put irrelevant jargons in his mouth. Buhari appointed Kachikwu as Minister of petroleum, not as Minister without portfolio.

To the question, ‘Is Buhari not doing too much (saddling himself with too many responsibilities) as a President and Minister of petroleum? In characteristic overzealousness, David West proceeded to (unintentionally) damage the President by characterizing him as unfaithful to the commitment he voluntarily made. Said the Professor, ‘People have forgotten what he said when he resumed as President. He said that he would hold that position for 18 months, during which he intended to straighten things up in the place’. Well, according to the calendar of the Buhari administration, he has held on to the appointment now for upwards of 28 months. And to the logical follow-up question-‘shouldn’t Buhari step down as Minister since the 18 months have elapsed? David West responded ‘He will decide when to take that decision’.

POLITICS OF DIVISION

“If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”. By now and even before he became the elected President of Nigeria, it has become a platitude rather than an accusation to suggest that President Mohammadu Buhari is firmly wedded to the politics of division, of pan Northern Nigerian Muslim irredentist politics. What needs to be explained is the fact that (to his credit) Nigerians, in full knowledge of this shortcoming nonetheless elected him as President. This observation can do with a little qualification. If we break it down to the spatial distribution of his votes, his election was actually not a pan Nigerian mandate. It was Northern heavy and Southern light. What he lacked in comparable huge votes from the South, he made up for it in the overwhelming intellectual rationalization deployed in his favor by a preponderance of the Southern intelligentsia more so the South West.

The crucial intellectual prop is exemplified by the skeptical support (but support nonetheless) of Professor Wole Soyinka. As he made clear in his statement of support, Soyinka did not gloss over the drawback of the irredentist politics of Buhari. The rationalization was that whatever he lacked in nationalistic broadmindedness is offset by his prior reputation as a proven anti-corruption crusader. Even to his most cynical critics, this was a plausible citation. On how he has fared on this strong point, the most generous concession is that the jury is still out. But whilst not making any discernable headway on this score, he has increasingly posted a renewed vigor in the politics of division. As we speak, no explanation, extenuation or apology has been tendered on the bizarre and blatantly discriminatory broadcast he made in Hausa language to the nation on the occasion of the Islamic Ramadan observance. Ditto the Freudian slip of committing to favor those who overwhelmingly voted for him at the expense of those Nigerians who did not. What has now matured into the Nigerian syndrome of parochialism engendered corruption and impunity ( as indicated in the NNPC story) was forewarned in the Punch editorial published a month after the problematic displacement of Kachikwu from his barely a year appointment as NNPC chief executive. On account of its contemporary relevance and prescience, the editorial is worth recalling once again.

‘It is a sad reality of the Nigerian experience that when crisis − political or economic − hits, segments of the populace retreat into ethnic and sectarian cocoons. It is in this combustible mix that Buhari stubbornly presses ahead with appointments that weigh heavily in favor of his Northern regional base. He struck again last month when he removed Ibe Kachikwu as head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to put a Northerner; Before then, he had ring-fenced himself with appointees from his Northern constituency at the Presidency, he recalled a retired officer to man the Department of State Services; a former army officer to head the Nigeria Customs Service; a personal acquaintance as Chief of Staff, and loaded the other security and law enforcement agencies heavily in favour of Northerners. While the DSS head is from his hometown, Daura, the others are also almost all Northerners and overwhelmingly Muslims’.

Against this background, the turn the country has taken in recent weeks is perfectly predictable. As the NNPC controversy was simmering, the World Bank President further clarified the Nigerian negativity with the revelation that Buhari had specifically requested him to divert World Bank intervention projects intended for Nigeria into the Northern half of the country. Said Kim “you know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari, he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the Northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that’. When the news broke, I anticipated the plausible defense of the request as legitimate prioritization of the North-East, where this extenuation runs into problems is that the request was made for the North, not the North-East and the factual investigation carried out by Punch in the world bank website removed any doubts on Buhari’s intention.

Here are the facts ‘Findings on the World Bank website, showed that out of the 14 World Bank-sponsored projects in the country, seven are exclusively for the North, while six others are meant for the whole nation (South-West, South-South, South-East, North-West, North-East, North Central and North West); and the remaining one is for Lagos State. Titled ‘Projects and Operations’, these projects were listed under June 2015 – June 2017 projects. The implication is that in addition to solely getting the lion’s share of the projects, the North also shared in the remaining 50 per cent with the South-West, South-East and South-South. Projects exclusive to the northern region worth $1bn are: Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North-eastern Nigeria ($200m; Borno, Yobe and Adamawa); State Education Program Investment Project ($100m; North-East states); Community and Social Development Project ($75m; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe); Youth Employment and Social Support Project ($100m; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe States); Additional Financing Nigeria State Health Investment Project ($125m; Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe) and the Third National Fadama Development Project ($50m; selected area in the North-East)’.

‘Projects worth $2.9bn were earmarked for the nation which northern states are also expected to benefit from. They are: Better Education Service Delivery for All ($611m); Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification Project ($150m); NEITI Reporting Compliance ($0.32m); the Polio Eradication Support Project ($125m); National Social Safety Nets Project ($1.8b); and $200m-Agro-Processing, Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project specifically designed for Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Cross River, Kogi, Enugu and three other states. There was also the Third Lagos State Development Policy Operation ($200m), a stand-alone project which was approved on June 26, 2015, and ended on December 31, 2016. The World Bank documents did not contain any programme or project specifically designed for the South-East, South-South (despite its double jeopardy) and the Middle Belt regions since Buhari got into power’.

  • RumuPHC

    Dear Akin Osuntokun,

    Prof Tam David West is a very old man and just an- ordinary citizen , like many of us, the virologist is entitled to his opinion; it is utterly needless and quite irresponsible to call him out on Thisday Backpage space of columnist.

    On Buhari and whatever anyone one might think of him as president, I suppose wasting much energy calling out PMB on every conceivable perceived misdeed should be very much idiotic and counterproductive by now. One will expect that supporters of GEJ/PDP would have overcome their shock at defeat.

    The guy has less than 12 months left in office before the bedlam of another presidential election is upon us. Won’t it be more productive to invest energy in the search for a new president and extolling the good characters of such individual?

    • Iskacountryman

      old men don’t lie….over to you southerners…

      • RumuPHC

        Yes , Old men sometimes tell tales . At 81yrs you should expect some form degradation in cognitive functions. This shouldn’t call for ridicule as Akin chose to do here.

        • Iskacountryman

          when you grow old…you learn how to keep quiet…

          • RumuPHC

            All voices count …old & young.

          • Iskacountryman

            not when the old are spreading untruths…

  • Mystic mallam

    Thanks Akin for another thought-provoker. We can forgive the likes of David West, age takes its toll on all of us. We can also forgive Wole Soyinka and his sophistry in respect of Buhari, he is human. Whom we should not forgive is anyone who endangers our nationhood once again, like Mr Tinubu did in 2014. We must admit it, Buhari was a huge mistake, I accept my share of blame for inflicting him on a fragile Nigeria. Warts and all, Jonathan was more apt by poles, Nigeria needs open-minded democratic leaders, not self-righteous despotic messiahs. And, time is running out.

    • KWOY

      Among others are the massive backdoor recruitment into CBN, the customs, etc etc!

  • Olufemi Bello

    Yesterday is gone. Today is reality. Tomorrow is a dream which can be planned for . As former president Obama of America once said “elections have consequences “.

    • Don Franco

      Dear Olufemi Bello,

      Pray, tell, what is your point, Sir?

      • Olufemi Bello

        Prof Tam David West was my hero but for sometime now I have been wondering. 2. In 2015, Nigerians made a choice rightly or wrongly and will have to live by it until when another elections come. Let us pray our votes wil count

        • obinnna77

          Heroism? Stick to Awolowo. There was a hero, willing to do anything for the advancement of his kin. I am not being ironic. Distrust heroes of the sort that want to be more Niger-arean than Lugard. You’d find, overtime, that they were just virtue-signalling. Case in point.

  • Souleymane Bilal

    Buhari’s “reputation as a proven anti-corruption crusader”?. Only the gullible ever believed that …or still believe that “nursery rhyme”. Buhari is not only corrupt, he treats Nigerians with utmost disdain. One question, do Nigerians know the bill of Buhari’s treatment in the UK? Did he pay “out-of-pocket” or the Nigerian taxpayers foot the bill? Only in Nigeria will a clueless leader do that and still be in power!

  • the masked one

    “The World Bank documents did not contain any programme or projects specifically designed for the South East, South South (despite its double jeopardy) and Middle Belt regions since Buhari got into power”????

    And you blame those who rose against the man you described as “firmly wedded to politics of division, of pan Northern Nigeria Muslim irredentists politics”?

    Your last piece on Kanu betrayed certain (mis)conceptions. No one reading your last outing and this, would not be forced to rank you a hypocrite. Of course, most of us who have been wedded to your line of thinking and philosophical bent know you are not a hypocrite.

    People who hold certain opinion should be consistent. Lest they could be accused of intellectual dishonesty. The respected literary bard Wole Soyinka fell into this trap by bending backward to align with as an ‘unrepentant anti-democrat and tyrant”.

    Well, Chunua Achebe said that, akpakiri (a bird that terrorizes the kite) laments that if others had joined hands with him in warding off the kite that kite would not be preying on chicks”.

    The over

    • KWOY

      You are mistaking Akin Osuntokun for Shaka Momodu. It was Momodu whose last Piece was on Kanu. Akin Osuntokun is a witness to truth. The hipocrites are: 1. Olusegun A

      • the masked one

        Thanks immensely, bros! I am eternally grateful to you for this redirection. All the same, Shaka Momodu, has always been forthright. How he opted for Kanu bashing in the most despicable manner still beats me. Quite unfortunate!

        • Don Franco

          Dear Masked One,

          Shaka Momodu opted for Kanu bashing because he’s not immune from the one thing that “unites” all other Nigerian tribal groups…hatred of the Igbo. Chinua Achebe said as much in There Was A County. He should know.

          • Fidelis Arumala

            Dear Don,

            How do you define “most decent igbo people”? Your PERSONAL ASSESSMENT and disparaging remarks about Shaka Momodu last outing about Kanu is very unfortunate. You cannot be more IGBO than the other Igbo intellectuals that I KNOW who have shown total discontent and disdain for Kanu’s self serving mercantile struggle. He has made his BILLIONS just like Ralph Uwazurike, can we now HAVE OUR PEACE?

          • Don Franco

            Greetings, Fidel!

            My own personal definition of “most decent Igbo people” are the majority of us who are alive and well to the fact that the other ethnicities are singularly united by their hatred of our people; and that the Igbo is grossly marginalized in consequence of this confederacy of hate. Further, that everything we don’t have as a people, we don’t have only because we’re Igbos; and that everything that the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba has, they have because they’re NOT Igbo. Whether its the pogrom of our people from 1945 in Jos; the intentional refusal to rehabilitate all the infrastructure destroyed during the genocidalCivil War; or in the £20 that was given in 1971, or the existing political equation etc….
            Fidel, it is agreed by most commentators on our forum that Shaka Momodu is a truth-teller, for the most part; but he’s also not immunized from that hatred of the Igbo that unites all non-Igbos, and he clearly exhibited that in his last outing; or else, why would any columnist of his standing advocate and cheer the Nigerian Army”s atavistic descent into savagery in a part of the country that the federal government has garrisoned in; in how her military installations are located? Do you, yourself subscribe to the shooting of unarmed youth and market women? 22 persons, in all killed by soldiers in cold blood; not one military casualty.
            You will recall that Shaka Momodu stated in his subconsciously biased op-ed that Nnamdi Kanu had raised an army of uniformed youth, including a flag; where in the world is it illegal to wear uniforms and carry a flag? Surely, Shaka is aware that Man O War, LASTMA, Boys Scouts, Girls Guide, including the Sharia Hisbah police across northern Nigeria wear uniforms and in some cases even carry arms, but unarmed Biafran youth in uniform is a threat by his estimation, again, it’s that same old deep seethed Igbo hatred that is responsible for his political opinion against unarmed uniformed Igbo youth.
            What Nnamdi Kanu has been able to accomplish in the political calculus of Nigeria relevant to the ongoing agitation for restructuring couldn’t have never been achieved by 57 years of Shaka’s column writing. In a round about way; I’d not be surprised if that fact is latently responsible for Shaka”s embrace of the Dullard for a few seconds; of course, they’re already united in their hatred of the Igbo before the outcome of the 2015 elections.
            Fidel, after you compare Shaka’s shameful article, with those of Rueben Abati and Alex Oti; please tell me, what do you think took Shaka so long to write about Nnamdi Kanu? Did he condemn the killings, or the kidnap of Kanu and his father? Did you see how much venom Shaka spewed in that article, and you think it’s all directed only at Kanu? In the 18 months that Kanu was illegally imprisoned at Kuje; why didn’t Shaka write to castigate him, then? Did you hear Shaka ever write on Chief Ralph Uwazuruike; or defend Chinua Achebe when the Lagos -Ibadan Press sought to dishonour him in death, on account of his last book, There Was A Country?
            Fidel, ypu may have your peace, but I don’t know whether you consider yourself a “decent” Igbo or not; but so far, you’re the first and only one that’s come out to inform me that Shaka Momodu isn’t diminished in their eyes. Who are these other Igbo intelligentia that view Ohamadike with disdain, pray, tell us their names.
            Shaka Momodu may have a highly gifted pen, but he’s an Igbo-hater in my book and in those of every decent Igbo person that believes in Biafra. I thank you.

          • BB

            You write about Shaka spewing venom in his article on Kanu- one of the most venomous human beings alive. Is that not hypocritical on your part? I read the article and I am saddened at how a well educated man like you can draw the conclusions that you have. Sir do not let your love for NK blind your objectivity, you would be doing us on this forum a great disservice as we would be missing out on your usual first class commentary.

          • Don Franco

            Dear BB,

            Nnamdi Kanu isn’t a perfect human being; there’s nothing that he’s said on Radio Biafra that wasn’t already said by Buhari, Gani Adams (b4 he was elevated to an “Otunba”); or by Frederick Faseun, for example. Imagine that to this day, Igbos are pejoratively stilled referred to as “Nyamiri” by northerners; or that the Obama of Lagos threatened to drown all of our people in the Lagoon, unless we ignore our conscience and vote Ambode, even though Jimi Agbaje was the better candidate?
            Of course, you know the aphorism about 97% and 5%; how about the quit notice by the Arewa Youth.
            At the end of the day; IPOB is a nonviolent organization.
            BB, I’m struggling to see how my calling out Shaka for his unjustified support of the Army”s atavistic descent into savagery is hypocritical in your book….

      • omnia1

        The first African Managing Director of the World Bank was Igbo. In fact, the Word Bank has not lacked an Igbo Vice President for decades.

        Today there are two Igbo Vice Presidents in the World Bank (the Treasurer and the General Counsel). So an Igbo holds the purse of the world and another Igbo determines the legalities of how the money should be spent! No other ethnic group in Africa has ever had two VPs in the WB.Today, the only female SVP in the world bank is Igbo (incidentally, her name is also Ngozi, like Okonjo-Iweala!).

        Yet Buhari the Jihadist has the temerity to practice his North-only policy in the World Bank! Nigeria is a curse on Igbos!

  • American Abroad

    Mr Tam David West, a gifted scientist and uncompromising administrator, has given unstintingly of himself to his country in ages past. A long time ago, which is equivalent to several lifetimes in Nigeria’s fissiparous politics, he wrote a philosophy column in our daily newspapers which content and breath were simply astounding (and unimpeachable) to my impressionable juvenile mind. I fondly recall his son, also a professor, gently upbraiding him for “goofing” on his interpretation of an obscure philosophical point. Those were the salad days of public intellectualism in Nigeria. Later, he fell out with the Babangida regime, one of the most kleptocratic juntas in Nigeria’s nasty history, but I was impressed that after months of frenzied investigation for any attributable act of official corruption, all he was found guilty of was accepting a gold Rolex watch from Sheikh Yamani at OPEC! I wish we still had such “cut-throat” bandits like him in government.

    Still, I am disappointed that Mr West has increasingly become more partisan, more provocative, less measured, given to dissembling, whilst commenting on contemporary national issues. I am chagrined that at precisely the time we most need honest men, public ethics ombudsmen who would serve as fonts of thoughtful, resourceful, nonpartisan reference, there are no candidates left in my country of birth. I was astounded at his peculiar take on the Kachikwu-Baru tango. I have sadly followed the never-ending dialogue on that signal event right here, on these BackPages, which as with most Nigeriana, often reflects the ethnic presumptions of each contributor. Yet reading between the lies (and half-truths, I concede), it is clear to me that neither Kachikwu nor Baru were honest dealers. Each was finagling for a prolonged guzzle at the feeding trough. Neither was necessarily representing the best interests of their tribes, states, linguistic groups or country. It was Everyman for Himself. It was into that unfortunate breach that Mr West tumbles, vainly attempting to represent what might be perceived as his ethnic interest: stop that Delta interloper (upstart would equally do, Thank You) from intruding upon our God-given rights of seignorage, even if true usufructuary is in fact consigned to the far North, miles from the contaminated estuaries of the Delta basin.

    True, the Igbo can be tiresome, what with their quaint insistence on a mythic Igbo exceptionalism, further magnified by a recidivist separatism embodied in IPOB. But surely, truth must rise above such silly ethnic partisanship. As George F Will presciently reminds us, all tribal politics is frivolous. It is even worse in a fast-dying nation, where all norms of citizenship have been betrayed by egregious communal silliness. In today’s Nigeria, Abuja is cratering, Lagos is drowning, Jos is menacing, Sokoto is scorching, Umuahia is hemorrhaging, and Buhari, our elected President, is sleeping ()or sickening, which amounts to pretty much the same thing). Worse, the only adults in the house, our once-respected elders, are fighting personal wars over nonsense; it is a veritable Rogues’ Gallery: Tam West, Adamu Ciroma, Ango Abdullahi, Edwin Clark, Alfred Diette-Spiff, Emeka Ezeife, Ayo Adebanjo, even the well-respected Bis Akande. This is more galling at this particular season when history confronts us with centrifugal forces of separation and anomie, as it should, given the recent commemoration of Asaba’s genocidal history, 50 years on. In Asaba, we have the opportunity to question and fully interrogate our citizenship and what it really means. As Countee Cullen might ask in verse, What does Nigeria really mean to me? In Asaba, we witness the fruition of Michael Ignatieff’s powerful conception of genocide as not murderous madness as we all vainly assume, but an attractive political posture which is carefully nurtured and carried out in promise of an utopia beyond politics; a “pure” nation with only one select people, one fertile land, one blessed truth, the absolute end of all political or ethnic differences, and the optimal end-point of any multiethnic and multicultural society in crisis. Such as Nigeria.

    Such as Biafra. Such as Oduduwa Republic. Such as Arewa Nation.

    Can we as a people survive another Asaba? Do our elders understand that words, even careless words uttered within the relative anonymity of beer parlors, actually matter? The distance between Asaba and Port HighLife is only 200 km. The distance between Daddy Onyeama’s boastful but jocular commentary on Igbo “domination” being only a matter of time (much later followed by popular renditions of Rex Lawson’s unfortunate ditty on Mama-Goats) and the July 1966 Pogrom was only 418 days.

    Are Nigerians all insane?

    • Lawrenece Ifo

      “True the Igbo can be tiresome,what with their quaint insistence on mythic Igbo exceptionalism,further magnified by the recidivist separatism embodied in IPOB”.

      You can never fail to expose your typical One Nigeria paranoia about the people you wished and desired to exterminate but failed and left with the sad option of being forced to watch as they rebound like a phoenix.

      My question to you is that if the exceptionalism is a myth and attract your indignation, based on the assumption that it is against the moral conviction of your venal society,why should your policy makers promote that so called myth through the enacting of the public policies that reinforced that if it is not a fact?
      Can they be stupid enough to enact policies that supports mere myths which is against the moral conviction of their society(bonis mores)?? Or are you just jealous…kikikikikiki.

      The obvious answer will expose you.Just the same way that Buhari’s defective physical and mental mortality and where it has landed the zoo after your patent support have exposed your hypocrite.

      Simply because there is public policy which states that Igbos should score higher cut-off/quota marks in order to gain entrace into some post primary and tertiary institutions and it is a fact that a competent court ruled against that but the order was ignored…why?

      So are they not EXCEPTIONAL and is it still a myth or a fact, in the light of any other even mere plausible explanation to the to justify that?

      The only inference is that there is a recognition of the fact that some people posseesed an inherent defective cerebral cortex which put them in a perpetual position that they cannot compete with those who are endowed with EXCEPTIONAL cerebral cortex. Can you say that Baru’s actions is a myth?

      So why should you be so emptily-arrogant in trying to reduce such fact to a mere myth.
      Just to disparage a group of people who did not in a way claim that they are exceptional but helplessly,found themselves in a situation,where such EXCEPTIONALISM was imposed on them which prompted them to dutiful discharge every task that accompanies such imposed tag and responsibilities.

      May be,your grouse, just like many among your kinds is that the same people who were adjudged to be superior to put it that way by your policy makers will turn around to walk with the ‘swagger of a winner and the disposition of a champion’ in every area they find themselves?

      As this is typical of tge thougt process of some genre of blacks in the zoo environment. Even if they find themselves in any environment which they are ever proud to call ‘ABROAD’.

      As no matter how long you domesticates a baboon, it will not always change the inherent characteristics of a baboon!!

      So on that basis therefore, the exceptional atributes is not a myth and let let me dare say that Kachukuwu’s exceptionalism did not start when he made the mistake of answering the call to come and try to salvage and irredeemable outfit of a mere juridical state.

      So focus on the matter and tell us how ‘MR integrity’ have suddenly,turned to a patent rogue within a short time and go and hide yourself in shame after you EXCEPTIONALLY outing in campaigning for him and castigating Jonathan under the veneer of fighting corruption which wast just a mere smokescreen to hide your primordial interest and shameful entitlement mentality.

      This is what you suppose to be doing!

      Instead of puffing-up and nervously,trying to use the fallacy of appeal to fear and subtly promise of a repeat of the Asaba massacre to force unwilling groups to endure your primitive and savagery world view whereas they have a right to self determination.

      It is better for you to grudgingly accept the bitter truth that Exceptionalism in the Nigeria context is an objective fact,which cannot be erased by mere subjective prejudice of those who did not deem themselves fit to challenge the policies that confined them to a situation where they are deemed not to be EXCEPTIONAL and inherently limited and stop whining, as nobody will ever patronise you by pretending that they are not different just to humour you.
      You can be insane but Biafrans are not insane but EXCEPTIONAL!!

      • American Abroad

        Dear Mr Ifo:
        It is difficult, if not nigh impossible, to choose any precedence in a considered fashion from the accompanying litany writ below. I will randomly pick you as a surrogate, and give this important debate another try, from an entirely different angle.

        First, it was Nietzche who opined that amongst individuals, insanity is rare; but amongst large groups, parties, nations and epochs, insanity is the rule. That at least, establishes my point of departure.

        Consider: it is now a purely academic matter (if I said Sui generic, I would be surely accused of “grandstanding” amongst the hoi polloi) as to who is right in the matter of Kachikwu v Baru. But based on the readings and commentary on these same BackPages, which is somewhat representative of the sentient adult Nigerian population, nearly 100% of Igbo believe Kachikwu was the injured party, 100% of Hausa believe Baru is innocent, 100% of Yoruba are unsure who is right or wrong, and 100% of ethnic minorities simply do not care. Even if I were completely, outrageously, irretrievably mistaken on all the points I made, why does it have to read like a Rorschach test for ethnicity? Why should public opinion aggregate steadfastly along unbreakably ethnic lines? Even amongst the “millennial” generation? Even for those who would be our savior? How could the entire life story of one man, admittedly a complex and somewhat controversial man, but a man of no mean distinction nonetheless, be simplified- and debased- within one sound-bite, however egregious? But that is Nigeria and the reality of ethnic politics for you.

        Just for the record, I am not jealous of the Igbo. Indeed, I admire the Igbo, and I love them too, but clearly not as much as they love themselves. They are certainly an exceptional race of men, but are equally given to similar foibles like the worst of men. Within a single generation of coming in contact with Christianity, the Igbo adopted and weaponized Western education into a potent tool for social advancement and political integration, as had never been seen amongst any other primitive tribes, either in Africa or elsewhere. Even here, Stateside, the Igbo “can-do” spirit, despite all obstacles, is without compare. But it was the same Igbo, like lemmings off a cliff, that refused to quickly distance themselves from the outrage of January 1966 reputedly (but falsely) carried out in their name; the same Igbo followed Ojukwu into the killing fields of Biafra, with no food, medications, arms or military sustenance; the same Igbo voted in such singular folks like Mbadinuju, Ohakim, Orji Kalu, and now Okorocha, not once but twice (!!), despite their avowedly superior intellect. Now, with Nigeria at a crossroads, instead of contributing meaningfully and rationally to a public discussion as to the best way forward, same Igbo are busy antagonizing everyone else, including friends, allies and foes! Is this madness or what?

        Which leads me to the best definition of insanity I know, this time from Napoleon Bonaparte: The proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.

        That was the primary failing of Biafra, a land which avowedly, no “force South of the Sahara and North of the Limpopo” could defeat (just quoting Ojukwu, and later, to be echoed and megaphoned by Okokon Ndem), where “our grass itself would stand to fight those ShoSho upstarts and the uncircumcised” (ditto), and now the same people (but a younger generation) risk an encore with millennial Nigeria, that rightfully should be their inheritance. Demagoguery is one thing, Propaganda is another, but when a drug dealer starts consuming his own supplies just as a demagogue beginning to believe his own shtick, nothing sane can ever follow thereof.

        Finally, from my favorite philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, “The whole object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself amongst the ranks of the insane”.

        May all my BackPage gladiators have a pleasant weekend, as I will most assuredly have myself. This also ends my contribution on this vexatious topic.

        • KWOY

          Thanks for finally revealing you are not Igbo – to my relief!!

          • Jon West

            There is no way he is not Igbo. He is Igbo quite alright, of a particular genre, like a Zonda Commando in a Nazi Concentration camp. Basically a victim of the Nigerian condition. Please forgive him. No non-Igbo Nigerian will write what he has just written about the Igbo.

          • obinnna77

            Pay attention to semiotics; signposting. A certain nuance, a certain specificity of knowledge always gives one away. Of course he’s Igbo.

          • Ibu Anyi Danda

            May be he is Ozodi Osuji.

        • Iskacountryman

          please we do not believe that mallam baru is innocent, BUT right….you need to stop extrapolating mad theses, onto an insane environment…

        • Obi Ike Sorres

          Those Igbo governors you called out came to power as a result of that flawed system of the Nigeria state and too much power coming from the presidency. They got there from the power of the centre and is the reason we want a total restructured country or give us Biafra. I bet in Biafra, the likes of Okorocha will be pulled and pushed out. He won’t even make it to be a local government chair or councillor

    • Don Franco

      Dear American Abroad,

      Nigerians are not all insane, but we’re very perturbed about the sanity of Professor Tam David West, who is a textbook example of how the ravages of old age can deleteriously degenerate a once brilliant mind to that of a delusional schizoid. More importantly, I’m worried that yourself ignored the ample evidence that Akin Osuntokun elucidated in this op-ed to go into a long convoluted treatise about how two wrongs make a right.

      Why are you vain, disputatious and comtemptuous of simple common sense? Why do you extenuate Maikanti Baru’s corrupt conduct (as authorized by the Dullard) by pointing out that Kachikwu is no better? Not once in your comment did you address the kernel of Akin Osuntokun’s op-ed about Buhari’s specific instruction to Jim Yong Kim to concentrate World Bank funded projects North of the Zoo. WHY?

      It is not enough that like Euripides and Aristophanes, the Athenian comic poets, you make fun of all the criminal and xenophobic isms of Buhari and Baru from the standpoint of robust but limited common sense; nor is it enoughto be like the castrated Peter Abelard and always give dialectical arguments for and against a great variety of (Zoo) theses, often without attempting to arrive at a conclusion, like in your comment this morning.

      All the elevated diction in the world will not disguise the fact that Buhari’s caliphate mentality is responsible for the disunity that is Nigeria; and that IPOB is here to stay, knock and vilify it as you may, for it is fueled by the hatred and injustice of the Dullard in whom you’re well pleased.

      • the masked one

        “A convoluted treatise”???

        You got him! All verbosity and grammatical somersaults. Yet windy and bereft of clear trajectory.

        • Intrepid

          Bereft of clear trajectory. That is it. Just rigmaroling with big words, probably to mersmerise and bamboozle the unlettered.

      • Mystic mallam

        I fully understand you, and would give you thumps-up if only you’d avoid words like ”zoo, dullard” from your thesis. As for the American Abroad, he entertains with erudite grammar and far-flung duality, [like Segun Adeniyi and his clan of ”on-the-fence-writers”] thoroughly tutored in classical philosophy and alien literature, but lacking relevance to the big questions of nation that confront us here. Maybe, that’s why he is abroad.

        • FrNinja

          …abroad lamenting online and wringing his hands in fake despair at the crisis in the “country of his birth” before he signs off with a wink and a smile to enjoy a fine glass of wine and a sumptuous dinner.

        • Obi Ike Sorres

          You are funny. The last line though. Why he is abroad

        • Don Franco

          Dear Mystic Mallam,

          As a honoured member of this forum, I’d like to oblige you by not using words like “Zoo” or “Dullard ” but I’m sure you’ll appreciate the difficulty I face seeing as Biafrans are forever reminded about how the Monkey and Dog will bleed in 2011; how the Lion King is sick and infirm in London, and Hyenas and Vultures are formed into a caba; he’ll, about how vermin mice has run Buhair out of his office, then lastly about Pyton’s dancing and Crocodile tears etc, etc…

          How can all of these not indicate to you; as the reasonable fellow that you are, that Nigeria is indeed a Zoo?

      • MDG2020

        Dear DF,
        I warned you about the character of the person AA! You however reminded me of the beauty of diverse opinion in national discourse of this nature.
        AA to me is probably a lost and confused associate prof in the mould of Tam David North in age and in character. If you also understand the stress that goes with instructing the western millenias’ in the classroom you will understand! Further the confused state of mind of prof or Mr. AA.
        It is not easy being an instructor or teacher in the western world today, not with the unrullly nature of the millenias you have to deal with. I guess this is taken its toll on AA. Moreso when you situate him in the context of his department: old European history or elizabethern literature. I feel for him.

        • Don Franco

          Dear MDG2020,

          American Abroad is predictable in his political opinion, that should at least counts in his favour; I’m sure that you observed that for very obvious reasons he didn’t respond to my comments, or else, he did by way of his reply to Mr. Ifo.

          I’m struggling to contextualize his peculiar kind of intellectual mischief in terms of the stress relevant to teaching young errant millennials; I, myself finished at Lubbock High School, and attended UT Austin, Law School; the teachers had it easy in those days.
          I suspect that there’s something about not residing in Nigeria that beclouds the judgment of our people abroad, but all in all, let’s respect the man’s opinions even if we will never agree with him.

      • American Abroad

        Dear Don:
        I was actually going to give you a “pass”, that is, draw the curtain of charity over your needlessly exercised commentary, but realized that if crap is left unchallenged, it inevitably draws in weaker minds into its gravitational pull. Even as we speak, the residua are floating by: MDG2020, FrNinja, The Masked One, and other flotsam of an apologist creed. The Desiderata of Biafra locates those things we have to accept, those things we can change, and the insight to appreciate the difference: Igbo, not just in Imo State, will still elect the dishonorable and felonious into positions of public authority; Igbo will still maim and offer violence to their kind for money, position or authority; Igbo will still obsessively repel other tribes by a fatuous and gratuitous gospel of exceptionalism; Nnamdi Kanu is not equipped to lead a revolution (just as, in the spirit of Equal Access in Wazobia, Awolowo lacked the deftness to be President, Zika negotiated the best terms for his own people despite their relatively fewer numbers, Sarduana understood that being Sultan was historic, whilst being President or Prime Minister was temporal)… Remember, it is not about me; it is about the future of Nigeria, which directly involves your own welfare, and I daresay, longevity. My means of livelihood, my station amongst men or peers, my ethnicity, even the gods I pray to, are entirely beside the point. Yet, in deference to the contact sport of ethnic absolutism, I will do something I have never previously attempted, use the words of your own ethnic biosimilar to try to make some sense out of arrant nonsense. Enjoy.

        THE CURRENT IGBO ARE “INFERIOR IGBO.” – Obi Nwakanma.
        Nwanna, Many years ago, the General, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu spoke about the “Biafra of the mind.” Only a few, I think, understood him. Well, they say, only the deep speak to the deep.
        But let me attempt here to tease out Dim Ojukwu’s prescription: the greatest proof of Igbo survival and aspiration must be to model, wherever Onye-Igbo stands, the ethos of innovation, excellence, ingenuity, and ability that marked the Igbo endeavor in Biafra. We must also use Biafra as the stepping stone to a higher vision of the Igbo place in the world.
        There is no single proof or evidence today that the Igbo of this generation are capable of transforming any nation to which they lay claim. I have looked; I have studied the Igbo situation, and I have listened to my Igbo kinsmen, and I think something is fundamentally wrong: the Igbo are trapped in a deadening hate, self-pity and nostalgia. It is the kind of nostalgia that is both defeatist and deadly because it continues to romanticize the past while the future speeds away.
        The Igbo cannot wait until they achieve Biafra or a separate nation in order to build and secure Igbo land. Soon after the end of the war, Igbo survivors of the war, girded their loins and embarked on the work of restoration. With singular grit, they revived the economy of the East, and by 1979, just nine years after the end of the war, were ready to take on the rest of the nation again. We their children are a disgrace to the spirit of those men and women.
        The Igbo are today a beggarly nation of impotent, lachrymal people now weeping about “marginalization” and waiting for Nigeria to collapse or let them go, so that they will go and make something of themselves. This is an over-indulged generation. The last of the Igbo are old and dying; the current Igbo are “inferior Igbo.” They are just waiting for Godot.
        Now, you say, the only time the Igbo will work is if power remains in the South. I think this is too simple. Take a look around you, where are those Igbo men and women? Which Igbo today have the sagacity of Zik, or the courage of Okpara, Mbakwe, or Ojukwu, the capacity of Ojike or Okigbo, the fierce pride and stabilizing force of the old Igbo women, the organizational acumen of an RBK Okafor, the selfless pride of those Igbo of the last generation, who always rose to the occasion when the Igbo summoned them to great causes, including giving their widows mite without question, for as long as “they Igbo have said…”
        Now, what I’m trying to say, people, before I lose you, is that the Igbo have left the land, and the land has left the Igbo. There is incoherence. And an Incoherent people cannot run an independent nation, simple.
        Bring proof to me that the Igbo have turned Igbo land into an oasis of prosperity different from elsewhere in Nigeria, and I shall agree that the current Igbo know exactly what they are saying. There is no Igbo state with a budget that is not bigger than the budget of the Republic of Ghana. Indeed, put together, the budget of all the states in Igbo land is bigger than the national budget of ten West African states. What have we done with it in terms of rebuilding public services? Creating liveable cities? Developing new infrastructure? Developing the Igbo world.
        The North or the West has never run down our schools.
        They did not dismantle the Government Colleges at Umuahia, Owerri, Afikpo, and the Queens School at Enugu.
        They did not destroy our hospitals or primary schools.
        They did not stop us from building our cultural infrastructure – Community centers; recreational centers, or building up our libraries; or public parks, or city centers, or trunk B & C feeder roads.
        They did not destroy our civil service. They did not stymie the growth of our cities.
        They did not forbid the Igbo from creating strategic means of employing their greatest resource – their highly trained manpower- and using them to create a powerful regional economy that would continue to startle West Africa.
        The North or West did not say we should not build an efficient trans-regional transport metro system, by jointly developing the old Oriental lines, that would create a network of contacts all over the East and ease the strategic movement of people, or take advantage and rebuild, and expand the Rail system that connects Port-Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Okigwe, Ovim, Afikpo, Enugu, to Eha-Amufu. Even if the rail system is a federal project, there has never been a consortium of the Igbo states and consortium of investors that have mounted pressure to force the Feds to hands off the Eastern Rail system, to be run as a regional Terminus. We have never made the argument.
        Mbakwe threatened in 1981 that if the FGN did not build an airport in Owerri, he would mobilize and build one. He did it. He threatened that if they did not build the Petrochemical plant in Izombe, he would build one by 1984. The land for the construction of the Imo Petrochemical Plant was already cleared when the soldiers struck on the last day of 1983.
        When Mbakwe arrived government house Owerri in 1979, the three major cities in old Igbo – Owerri, Aba, Umuahia still had houses operating “bucket latrines” and the cities still employed nightsoil men (ndi Oburu nsi) and ran waste landfills. The first statewide public safety and hygiene law passed under the Mbakwe administration gave every landlord and household in these cities 4 months and a tax rebate to change the infrastructure from the bucket system to the water system, failure of which the houses would be marked as public health hazard zones. This was fully accomplished in three months.
        By 1982, there was a marked upsurge and population shift as more Igbo began to leave Lagos and other places to return to Owerri and invest and settle. Nobody told them to return, the conditions were simply made amenable. By 1984, Igbo business men, particularly in the North, were moving their money and opening accounts with the Imo state Progress Bank, and the capital was growing for both accessible credit and for capital borrowing for infrastructural development in the East.
        I point this to simply suggest that there is nothing the Igbo wish to accomplish in Nigeria that anyone can stop, if the Igbo hold down their lines. But we’ve deceived ourselves for too long – we have now made Nigeria into the convenient excuse for our own failures and self-indulgence. Now, there is a man called Onwuka Kalu. He gave the first N100, 000 as donation towards the Imo state Airport Appeals Fund in Owerri in 1981/2. There is not a single plaque to honour this man’s gesture at that airport. It will not be the Federal government that will do it; it will be the initiative of those who put value to memory in Igbo land.
        But in the Imo/Abia/Ebonyi/Anambra/Enugu divisions that now pervade the Igbo mind, no one will remember. This is no recipe for a people moving towards transformation. Let me now, tell this whole truth: onweghi onye ji Ndi Igbo, Ndi Igbo ji Onwe ha (no one is to blame for the Igbo predicament but Ndigbo). Those who wrestle with Ala, the Earth goddess, often forget that no one has ever lifted the earth. Ala-Igbo is the earth, Anaghi Apa ala Apa! (No one can lift the earth). Period.
        The Igbo of this generation are wrestling with the earth left to them by their ancestors. And they are busy blaming everyone else for their condition. We who have done, “Ihe Nzere” should tell the truth, or may our tongues cleave to our gums.
        Ya gazie.

        • Jon West

          Now you are talking; no intellectual braggadocio and fake Nigerian nationalism. The Igbo partly have themselves to blame for their present condition in Nigeria, but having said that , as Fidel Castro once posited, “You cannot swim in a cesspool with the unrighteous, and come out smelling like a rose”.

          While the Igbo are surrounded by the cesspool that is the Nigerian reality, they are really, therefore, then constrained in their own ambitions . However, I can personally assure you that things are changing and that your advice has already been taken by the real Igbo intellectual elite. Things will happen, because as they say in your neck of the woods , Life Happens.

          The Igbo actually believe in the Zikist assertion of their role in the redemption of the Black Race. Are you surprised to see that ,while the Apple I-Phone is designed inSilicon Valley and manufactured by Foxcom in China, the Tecno phone is designed in Computer Village in Ikeja and manufactured by guess who? Foxcom in China.

          Tecno is the only African phone brand and before its arrival on the scene, I was really ashamed that the continent with the fastest growing mobile phone market had no local phone brand. The next step is local production, bit you can trust the Igbo to have the ambition an the Nigerian reality to kill that ambition. Only Dangote can manufacture anything in Nigeria for reasons that I wont bother you with, because it is of general knowledge.

          Bottom line, my dear brother, yes the Igbo of today are inferior in quality to those great men of the past, but this situation is not really restricted to the Igbo. It applies to all other Nigerians and even in all the countries of the world. The world is deteriorating in human quality and that is a sad fact.

          • American Abroad

            Dear Jon:
            At least we agree on something, however peripheral its true significance might ultimately be. Even more astonishing, at long last, there appears to be a cognitive distance between your thoughts and those of the hermetically-sealed Don Franco. Recall that uproarious idiom about great minds thinking alike, and fools seldom differing… But I digress. The real issue here, as it has always been and likely ever shall be, is the battle between Reason and Passion, which remains the most fundamental schism in all human affairs. Evolution is slow, so perhaps, I ought not despair. One must take comfort in Elbert Hubbard’s admonition that we are all gods in the chrysalis; unfortunately, the pupa stage might take a bit longer than expected, despite the prodding of history and repetition of ontogeny. Indeed, were you to lose the ad hominem pettiness too, I’d be not just a friend but equally a brother. One day, the generality of Igbo will stop picking at scabbed wounds, rise above the narcotic of self-pity and bitterness, stop recycling ancient pain, resolve not to glorify in solitude, and finally, at long last, leave behind a desolate, famished, benumbing landscape which lets in no light, no rain, no hope, no mercy, no beneficence, no piety, no air, and above all, no forgiveness. If that isn’t Hell, I don’t what else is.
            Wishing you a productive week in my war-torn country of birth.

          • Jon West

            Why don’t you just say what you really want to say ,without all this intellectual nonsense. Please, my dear friend, you can never impress me with all that. Please be brief and direct, because the readers of these Backpages are not university professors and couldn’t care a hoot about university professors, and that includes your truly.

          • FrNinja

            Hell is created by black men wearing white masks.

          • American Abroad

            No, Sir, you are very much mistaken. Like the underclass here in America, you wrongly assume that being well educated is “acting White”. That mindset only undermines you and yours. Wake up.

          • FrNinja

            Its got nothing to do with education

        • Don Franco

          Dear American Abroad,

          Obfuscation Galore! The flotsam of myself, MDG2020; The Masked One, and FrNinja were necessitated by your own egregious and congenital jetsam that tirelessly seeks to engender a pathological falsehood on the body politic of this forum, that the Fidel Arumalas and Powers of this world has mistakenly bought into, to their own deathly peril.
          Your extraneous and convoluted treatise on the Nigerian condition cleverly avoided the matter at hand as clearly articulated by Akin Osuntokun in his op-ed; namely, did Buhari authorize Maikanti Baru to undermine Ibe Kachikwu; and secondly, did Buhari specifically instruct the World Bank President, Jimmy Yong Kim, to concentrate all World Bank funded projects in Nigeria in the core north? The overwhelming knock you received on this forum is premised on your very weak attempt to divert from this central issues; and have tried (unsuccessfully) to exonerate Buhari and Baru; and in effect entrench their criminal conduct on both counts. What could be more pseudo-intellectual than to completely veer of the kernel of a matter; and launch into irrelevant, incoherent and immaterial histrionics that forever recollects the past without ever instructing the future?

          The common denominator I observe about all shameless Buhari supporters across the board is that all of you will always introduce IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu into your answers to deflect from the mess that Buhari and the APC has made of this country by entrenching poverty and disunity. Yourself and Simon Kolawole are incapable of intellectual discourse that doesn’t include disparagement of the Igbo race by way of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu; but neither of you two are half the man that he is.

          It is very easy to courageously troll from behind a computer keyboard in America about things that Biafra can accept, can change and the insight to accept the difference…(a misquote of the sobriety prayer of Alcoholics Anonymous); I hope you weren’t drinking so early in the morning when you wrote your senseless comments about a people for whom excellence is a way of life.

          The felonious and dishonourable governors you spoke about “rigged” themselves into power; we never voted them; IPOB, for one, is against any voting in Igboland until we’ve had a referendum; just yesterday, in Onitsha, Nwoye, the APC guber candidate for Anambra came in full force, with Federal Might and about 3 people lost their lives; should he succeed in rigging himself into Government House, you will say we “voted” his in. In Biafra, none of the five governors presently in power in the SE will win an election.

          Before l debunk you and Obi Nwakanma’s untenable position about the infeasibility of our Biafra project; l have quoted below the opinion of the second most powerful Hausa-Fulani monarch (after the Sultan of Sokoto), Emir Lamido Sanusi Lamido of Kano, relevant to the Igbo, and how we got to the IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu station; hear him, for he’s more familiar with the actions of his kin than yourself and Mr. Nwakanma will ever be:

          “Having said that, this nation must realise that Igbos have more than paid for their foolishness. They have been defeated in war, rendered paupers by monetary policy fiat, their properties declared abandoned and confiscated, kept out of strategic public sector appointments and deprived of public services. The rest of the country forced them to remain in Nigeria and has continued to deny them equity.

          The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have conspired to keep the Igbo out of the scheme of things. In the recent transition when the Igbo solidly supported the PDP in the hope of an Ekwueme presidency, the North and South-West treated this as a Biafra agenda. Every rule set for the primaries, every gentleman’s agreement was set aside to ensure that Obasanjo, not Ekwueme emerged as the candidate. Things went as far as getting the Federal Government to hurriedly gazette a pardon. Now, with this government, the marginalistion of the Igbo is more complete than ever before. The Igbos have taken all these quietly because, they reason, they brought it upon themselves. But the nation is sitting on a time-bomb.

          After the First World War, the victors treated Germany with the same contempt Nigeria is treating Igbos. Two decades later, there was a Second World War, far costlier than the first. Germany was again defeated, but this time, they won a more honourable peace. Our present political leaders have no sense of History. There is a new Igbo man, who was not born in 1966 and neither knows nor cares about Nzeogwu and Ojukwu. There are Igbo men on the street who were never Biafrans. They were born Nigerians, are Nigerians, but suffer because of actions of earlier generations. They will soon decide that it is better to fight their own war, and may be find an honourable peace, than to remain in this contemptible state in perpetuity.

          The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have exacted their pound of flesh from the Igbos. For one Sardauna, one Tafawa Balewa, one Akintola and one Okotie-Eboh, hundreds of thousands have died and suffered.

          If this issue is not addressed immediately, no conference will solve Nigeria’s problems”.

          American Abroad, try to argue with this, please; l know how obtuse your logic can be.

          Obi Nwakanma, let me see; like yourself, he’s a misguided Igboman, a teacher (again like yourself), in Florida Central University; l understood that he took a Third Class degree in English from the University of Jos; was a Rastafarian for a time, until he cut off his dreadlocks about seven years ago; a gifted intellectual, no doubt, but nonetheless, again like yourself, extremely self-hating. Maybe, l would have taken his insult to our race of people more seriously if he were as accomplished as Chinua Achebe, Chris Okigbo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Chido Onumah, Okey Ndibe, Chika Ezeanya, or even Rudolf Ogor Okonkwo.

          The most despicable of our people are those who believe that by not seeing anything good or admirable about us and spewing falsehood about our sterling qualities, disparaging our accomplishments and giving ammunition to our enemies, including validating their stereotypes and xenophobic prejudices against us; they themselves will like the betraying Judas become more acceptable to the enemy; but history is replete with the dishonour that is the end of all such fifth columnists. You, American Abroad, is the leader of the intellectual and foreign branch of this Judas-Igbos, supported by Joe Igbokwe, Ozodi Osuji, and Churchill Okonkwo. Obi Nwakanma has since repented of his folly, in the excerpt that you appended to your crappy commentary this morning; hear him, as recently as last September month in Vanguard Newspaper:

          “I am still not sure who advises President Buhari on his Eastern policy, but here is what is obvious: whoever is crafting Buhari’s internal domestic policy, particularly with regards to the East, and its general implication on national security, is either ignorant, subversive, or both, and is doing disservice both to the Buhari presidency and to the corporate integrity of the Nigerian state. President Buhari is trapping both himself and Nigeria in the first stages of what will finally prove to be a very long, costly, and unwinnable war, and this brings me seriously to this question of Buhari’s credentials as a military General who ought to understand operational strategy and Warcraft; as well as his patriotism as a Nigerian, not to talk of his role, as the head of her federal government. The decision to authorize a military operation in the East in this so-called “Operation Python Dance II” is not only, in my view, unconstitutional, it just simply is ill-advised, and it is setting the stage for that moment we all so pray not to come; that tipping point that militarizes the East, and turns it once more to a war zone. It seems that President Buhari is nostalgic about war, and the events in which he participated between 1967 and 1970 did not teach any lasting lessons. But there is that Igbo saying: “oji oso agbakwuru ogu, amaghi si ogu wu onwu” – they who embrace war very quickly often do not understand that war means death”.

          You can see why Obi Nwakanma isn’t as irredeemable as yourself, can’t your?

          But how is it possible that Obi Nwakanma ignored the great industrializing accomplishments of Obiejesi, (Nestoil); Innoson; and Okafor, (A-Z Group), to mention but only a few, or that credible fact that our people has the highest HDI in Nigeria, in spite of the setback from our genocide, and against all impediments, past, present and future, that we’re confronted with in Nigeria? All inland waterways and shoreline legislation in Nigeria is intentionally crafted to prevent Igbos from developing Igboland without authorization from Abuja, hence automobile parts manufacturing plant in Nnewi to this day has to import heavy machinery into Lagos ports (not Port Harcourt or Calabar); before they can efficiently produce break pads and crank shafts, for example; the Onitsha River port has been under construction for the past 40 years. I attribute his ignorance to having started to reside in Florida, and has lost touch with the realities on ground in Nigeria; at the time of that writing. He’s since smelt the coffee as is made amply clear by his September article in Vanguard.

          In closing, I remind you of Spinoza’s position that: “But so long as the wicked have power, it is not much use assuring them that you do not hate them, since they will attribute your words to the wrong motive. And you can not deprive them of power by non-resistance”. This is what drives the Igbo agitation for our own Biafran republic.

          • American Abroad

            Dear Don:
            Reference to Mr Nwakanma’s undergraduate (!!) degree on a matter of political perspective seems entirely gratuitous to me, not to mention being uncouth, even if that account was indeed true. I believe it is always better to argue the merits of any position, not the character (or undergraduate intellectual prowess) of the proponents, especially where those are unwitting participants in the fray of passionate public discourse. To do otherwise is to diminish the impact, seriousness, meaning, and ultimately, the scholarship of these BackPages. Sir, good manners always maketh the man. No further comments.

          • Don Franco

            Dear American Abroad,

            Good manners indeed maketh the man; but it is bad manners to separate the messenger from his message, when it is clear that both of them are inextricably intertwined.
            Do be well.

    • power

      Please Kindly comment more on this forum. You are blessed, and God will continue to increase your knowledge. Why don’t you write on solving issues in our daily newspapers? I am sure millions of Nigerians will benefit from your infinite wisdom. May your ink never run dry. You and Jon West are like “Messi and Ronaldo” in breaking down complex problems bedevelling us a Nation. Ride on Bro!

      • American Abroad

        Dear Mr Power:
        Thank you for your kind comments.
        I see the BackPages as a forum for public dialogue, though it periodically risks mutating into a nativist monologue. That has been augmented by the romanticized notion of Igbo (and other tribes), especially amongst the young and impressionable, which has been fostered by selective amnesia, nationalized Delta assets (mostly oil & gas), and the totemic lure of a socialist utopia, with Ahiara acting as prologue.
        I will try to provide my own perspective, keeping the Aristotelian directive in mind, that liars who tell the truth are never believed. Jon West is actually patriotic, and- believe it or not- also happens to be a personal friend; we generally agree on the facts, but only disagree- and very vehemently, too -on the conclusions, being the future political path for Nigeria. I believe that tribe is an unmistakably intransigent fact of social awareness in Nigeria, but the purpose of government, and education, is not to exacerbate it, but to transcend tribe. I believe I have the right pathway for my country of birth, but I pray the most appropriate direction (not necessarily mine, mind you) that does the most good to the most people, ultimately wins.
        As I often remind Mr Jon West, rhetoric foments reality. Talker, beware!

        • power

          Gat you bro. LOL. Nice one

      • Iskacountryman

        and finally they sent in the humorous psychophant…

        • power

          You think I have time to fight here? LOL. What’s my own. I am enjoying the comments.

    • obinnna77

      A*2, isn’t it the refusal to recognise our sectional tribal-nationalism that led to an ‘Asaba’ in the first place? Isn’t the greater utopianism expecting Germans to be Europeans first, before Germans? Did you notice Akin’s line about Southern intelligentsia and their misintellection? About their wilful blinkering to the antecedents of you-know-whom?
      ‘Are Niger-areans insane?’ . Indeed.

      • American Abroad

        Obinnna:
        Your take almost aligns with mine, save for some minor details. Ditto for Darcy, Fidelis Arumala, even IskaCountryMan, when he is not provocatively playing hooky with Jon West’s sensibilities. The fact is that you are a “moderate”, no doubt reflective of your cosmopolitan mind-set, which itself is predicated by education. Unfortunately, for that very reason, I often make no attempt to bring you around to my perspective. The battle is for the souls of the Jon Wests, Dele Awogbeogbas, Tawanda Incommunicados, Holy Wahalas and the rest of the Me-Tribe chorus. It will be a tough battle, and the time is running short. No tribe can be that innocent- or that pristine.

        • Iskacountryman

          jon west, is a very good man, jon west, is a very good eboe man, jon west, unfortunately, is a dreamer…BUT you cannot hang a man for dreaming…FOR lusting after the delectable and ageless erelu…well, let me not even attempt to offer him ngwo ngwo…i think we might be dealing with a case of freudian repression…and even subsidised ngwo ngwo would not help….but trust me..i am working on it…maybe, three nubile virgins might unlock him…what do you think?…

          • Ichele Aki

            A lot of times I am inclined to think that you take more than your fair share of burukutu and pito. Your sense of humor remains intact though.

          • Iskacountryman

            we shun intoxicants and strong drinks…focus on the message…

          • American Abroad

            IskaCountryMan, it is definitely worth a try. What have we got to lose? BTW, I love your sense of humor. I wish there were more Nigerians like that, less bile…

          • Political Affey

            Your longest response yet!

          • Iskacountryman

            i make an exception for jon west…

          • onyema22ohaka

            Never seen you go this far in your writing!
            Did you have some halal alcohol today ?

    • Mystic mallam

      what really, have you said?

      • Jon West

        Intellectual braggadocio is what its all about.

    • Jon West

      Now you are beginning to upset me my dear friend. Tam David West, a gifted scientist and uncompromising administrator? You must be living on a different planet, but I am not surprised, seeing that you are very intent on intellectual braggadocio and a fatal obsession with a nationalistic outlook, both fallacies and presentations of the trouble with Nigeria, as espoused by the late great mathematician and former Governor of Old Oyo State, Omololu Olunloyo – crass hypocrisy.

      Yes, Taminosoari David West, graduate grauated from the CANADIAN Ivy League University , MacGill, in Montreal, with a doctorate degree in Virology and became a Professor in the subject at the University of Ibadan. However, he has never really practiced as a virologist , his subject of education and profession. Instead , he has constantly dabbled in politics of all pettiness, in this blighted Lugardian Zoo, all in an attempt to be relevant, but hardly succeeding.
      When the Ebola Virus came calling to Nigeria an specifically, his native Port Harcourt, the so-Called gifted professor of virology was missing in action and loudly silent on a subject that required his intervention, leaving the solution to “lesser mortals and the less endowed”. However, once a certain barely literate ex-soldier and genociaire decided to run for President in 2015, he suddenly found his voice, following the reformed dictator(apologies to the “late great” Kongi) from pillar to post, perhaps in the hope of a final job in governmnet and in fulfillment of the saying of the Wise One that “Come between a master and his slave,and the slave will kill you first ” .

      When again the monkey pox virus came calling, Tam David West was again loudly silent, until now woken up by the Baru/Kachikwu controversy, again in the service of his master, the Certificateless One: and this is your gifted scientist and non-compromising administrator? My dear friend, Nigerians are mad and you are really the son of your father as we say in this neck of the woods; you are a real Nigerian and mad to boot , to write what you have written about David West.
      Do you have to comment on everything and everybody, from the safety of Trump Palace? Surely, you do not know the man. As the Minister of Petroleum under Buhari 1.0 in 1984, he was involved in fraud with his girlfriend, the perpetually youthful Arelu of Lagos, and she used him to her advantage, later evicting him from their shared apartment in Lagos. I was in NNPC and I know the succulent little details . His problem with the girlfriend was a big tattle point in the Corporation, and even till this day. What a gifted scientist and uncompromising administrator!! Ha!! Ha!!
      He only drank tea and got a Zenith(not Rolex) watch for his efforts, and definitely not from Sheikh Yamani, who is too intelligent to deal with someone like Tam.

      I must apologise for being carried away from the gist of this article by “Professor” Akin Osuntokun, but I had to disabuse the minds of readers of these Backpages of your attempt to portray a villain in cherubic colouration.

      Tam David West, is the poster boy of Akin Osuntokun’s assertion of the intellectual support of a genre of Southern intellectuals ,deployed in favour of an obviously flawed Presidential candidate in 2015 ,and in the same sad company as the now dead Kongi(only in our hearts though).

      This support is really the presentation of Nigerian madness; a situation where those who should know better(being better informed) prefer to sell their conscience for not even a mess of porridge, but sheer spite and blooymindedness. The madness of a virology PhD from MacGill and a Nobel Literature Laureate , rooting for a Certificateless , barely literate dictator is the reality of the Nigerian condition . Yes, Nigerians, especially American Abroad, are stark raving mad, excluding yours truly. A great pity really.

      • power

        Wow. Jon West is making the forum to be interesting as always. American Abroad and John West are like Ronaldo and Messi in the battle for intellectual supremacy. Shorts fired bro. I am reading. LOOL.

      • NoPeaceInOurTime

        Powerful. Nothing like setting the record straight. Many are regretting their blunders of 2015. For others the day beckons. I found this today.

        “Certainly though, if the government wants to be taken seriously, it must be serious. Failing that, will someone please point me to the nearest island just for me, myself, and no other Nigerian, not even my dog? I can’t seem to trust anything called Nigerian…”
        ——————Oyinkan Medubi, The Nation Newspapers

      • KWOY

        “…seeing that you are very intent on intellectual braggadocio and a fatal obsession with a nationalistic outlook,..”

        You are yourself a professor. And thanks for doing this matter justice as usual. You compensate me for the agony of reading one American abroad, the only man who has got a ” country of his birth”, for which we must envy him! Happily he is realizing few are getting impressed!

      • FrNinja

        The British called Nigerians unruly. Lawless. Achebe called his countrymen immensely gifted but tremendously wayward. The Nigerian condition is the result of such wayward intellectuals cracking grammer while fanning the heads of unruly heads of states.

        • KWOY

          Take note now: American Abroad is no Igbo! Read his latest outing!

        • Don Franco

          Dear FrNinja,

          Indeed, you’re right. I recall the example of Dr. Chiding Amuta and IBB…. Such a shame.

          • FrNinja

            The Nigerian intellectual has the courage of an ant and the political thugs know it.

      • Olisa

        A man could be said to be mad with indignation against injustice, in this sense, you a mad too. Every sane and morally upright Nigerians are mad.

      • MDG2020

        ”This support is really the presentation of Nigerian madness; a situation where those who should know better(being better informed) prefer to sell their conscience for not even a mess of porridge, but sheer spite and bloodymindedness”
        Enough Said my Dear Bro JW! May God continue to bless every breath you take.

    • FrNinja

      No Nigerians have the patriotism of a dog. Like American Abroad.

  • Darcy

    “Can you then imagine the same personality contending that no such ministry existed in that material dispensation? ”

    Ehm, isn’t the Oyibo term, a “Freudian slip”? Is there truly a Minister of Petroleum now?

    “Given that he was an adult university graduate as far back as the First republic era”

    This right here is savage.

    “pan Northern Nigerian Muslim irredentist politics.”

    This though is an unwieldy term. What exactly does this mean? A problem with Nigeria is that we never pause to examine our cliches. The above term applies to the Sardauna, you can say that he conceived of himself as a citizen of the Caliphate, committed to its development. Can the same be applied to Buhari who to me at least, represents the apogee of the gerontocratic oligarchical politics that the 4th Republic has birthed. If you think Buhari cares about the development of the North as opposed to the diversion of State resources by his clique, I have a few bridges to sell you.

    Buhari is not the Sardauna, who aside from say the likes of Aminu Kano nipping at his heels was a Colossus, Buhari at best, a First among Equals…”At best”. If you cannot properly define an issue, you cause more harm than good.

    Regarding the final issue. Are we really going to say with a bold face from the safe space of Lagos, that the North compared to the rest of Nigeria is every sort of time bomb. Yes, please for our collective safeties prioritize the North.

    By begrudging the following:

    1. Multi-Sectoral Crisis Recovery Project for North-eastern Nigeria

    2. State Education Program Investment Project ($100m; North-East states

    3. Community and Social Development Project ($75m; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe

    4. Youth Employment and Social Support Project ($100m; Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi, and Gombe States)

    5. Additional Financing Nigeria State Health Investment Project ($125m; Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe)

    6. the Third National Fadama Development Project ($50m; selected area in the North-East)

    The facts are those projects clearly mostly benefit the North-East, states ravaged by famine and Rapine. Sir, you’ll find you’re falling into the same trap you accuse the President of.

    Educated, healthy “Northerners” benefit us all.

    • Don Franco

      Greetings, Darcy!

      You greatly misunderstood Akin”s meaning; by riding your own invented technicalities to a silly conclusion.
      Pray, tell, is it impossible for the Certificateless One to be even handed and impartial in the distribution of World Bank funded projects across Nigeria? Why must any part of the Zoo be prioritized over other parts?

      Whether you know it or not, the Dullard’s expressly induced efforts to accelerate the development of the northern parts of the Zoo while slowing down and underdeveloping the South is an extension of Islamic jihad by other means; especially if you consider that the repayments for these Breton Woods loans will emanate from oil and gas revenues derived from the SouthSouth.

      The words “Educated ” , “Healthy ” , “Northerners” and “Benefits” hardly belong in the same sentence if you consider that their anti-learning mindset is not only responsible for the situation in the Northeast, but is also the reason for massive failure of the Almajiri and Nomadic schools, paid for with SURE-P oil money; that not one student or teacher ever put to any use. 14 million kids of school age willingly, as a way of life and routine, roam the streets, begging for alms.
      Are you aware that they even resist Polio and Meningitis vaccinations; claiming that it’s a plan by infidels to medically depopulate and Christianize the north? Polio has been wiped off of the face of the earth, except in northern Nigeria and rural Pakistan, where under the Purdah system, women and pubescent girls are domestically incarcerated as sex slaves, under the most deplorable of living conditions that give rise to miasma that Zamfara and other parts of the north experienced this year.

      Darcy, your generosity of spirit in positing that Buhari is right to punish and disadvantage the Southern parts of the Zoo, to enable an educated, healthy Northern Nigeria is very misguided. Your apology to Akin Osuntokun should be in order.

      • Iskacountryman

        1. educated healthy northerners as produced by ahmadu bello university and all degree churning universities in the north…
        2. why must any part of a family be prioritised?…NEED, stemming from “massive failure of the almajiri and nomadic schools”…
        3. “claiming that it’s a plan by infidels to medically depopulate….” well recently biafrans have been shouting blue murder over mass vaccination campaigns in the south east…i wonder why everyone in their zoo is so scared of vaccination..

        • Don Franco

          Dear Iska,

          You haven’t said anything here, at some point, you’re gonna have to stop the regurgitation of my own statements. …

          • Iskacountryman

            gobbledygook…that is the word to explain your statements…

          • Don Franco

            Some gobbledy, some gook! Tell me Iska, where in the world (except in a Zoo) does the military have the assigned duty of injecting suspicious vaccines into the spleen of elementary school, and this without going thru the States ministries of health; or Education or Primary Schools Board? There’s something sinister going on. !

          • Iskacountryman

            the history of the wprld notes…everywhere there has been an epidemic, all forces are mobilised to stem the spread…biafranism is an epidemic spread by the rat kanu…please come up with serious questions, or google -epidemic and spread of imperialism…

          • Don Franco

            Dear Iska,

            Clap for yourself ….

          • Iskacountryman

            thank you, most kindly….i always knew that you are a reasonable man…

          • Don Franco

            In which event, you’re a bigger clown than l thought, Iskacountryman!

          • Iskacountryman

            thank you for the compliment…and understanding of realpolitik…

      • Darcy

        Don Franco the one and only, as always I doff my hat to you,

        To the matter at hand, you’ll notice that in no way do I exonerate Buhari’s political nearsightedness, but even out of evil there can be good.

        The truth of the matter is simple, the North is at present a disaster, one far more of a threat to us, and yes, it is us, than in any part of Nigeria. In such a situation, it makes sense to prioritize. Are any of the parts of Southern Nigeria in danger of starvation? An estimated 20 million are in the North, somethings are simply more important than political grasping.

        Your jibe at the urchins of the North, I daresay is beneath you Sir. Have we become so callous that we now cheer on the condemnation of innocent children to a life of poverty and danger just for our political kicks? How is that any different from the racists who want to ascribe to us, a permanent position of genetically defined backwardness?

        Yes President Buhari is acting a boor, that does not mean we join him. We can as you say, be generous. Educated healthy Northerners will be able to survive the coming economical changes, they will be less reliant on Southern revenues, their higher incomes will banked in Southern banks, their imports will pass through Southern ports.

        This is an opportunity to do great things, we just have to acknowledge that it’s our burden. We could, or we could consign them to a life of want and poverty. That would be sad indeed.

        I will not apologise for advocating simple compassion to our country-men, especially when the knock down effect will eventually be to our benefit. Rather, Mr Osuntokun and generations past should apologise to mine for constantly mortgaging Nigeria’s future on the altar of petty ethnicism.

        • Don Franco

          Dear Darcy, Sir!

          You have appealed to the better angel of my nature, but I’ll remind you that Leibniz wrote that “The ultimate reason for contingent truths must be found in necessary truths “. The redemption and accelerated development of core northern Nigeria, in the context that you have described it, can only lie in their quick and total embrace of Western values and Greco-Roman concept of right and wrong.
          That of necessity will involve tolerance and acceptance of education and a detribalized mindset across Northern Nigeria.

          I’ll give you some examples, Governor El Rufai proscribed begging in Kaduna State in the first year of of his governorship; and made primary education mandatory for all children of school age; for that he was was ridiculed and vilified across the North, some northerners even accused him of being “un-islamic”. In that time, every parent knows that there punitive consequences for not sending their wards to school; how difficult is it for other northern governors to adapt this model? But they will not, because it is not in their interest to have an educated populace that will demand accountability, this is a necessary truth.

          Northern Nigeria, including the Middle Belt is the most fertile part of this country, even with the ravages of desertification; are you saying that between the Northwest and North Central, enough food cannot be cultivated to prevent starvation in the three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa? I heard Donald Trump say that his administration has donated over $500 million in food aid (via USAID) to the Northeast of Nigeria, this is outside of the food aid by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; WFP and FAO multilateral food donations to the Northeast thru FERMA.

          Darcy, God forbid that I glory in the suffering of others; I happen to be a father of five children; and to paraphrase the great Bertrand Russell (whom I consider the greatest of all philosophers) ” Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, has governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions like great winds has blown me hither and thither. …over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair ”

          Darcy, I still believe that your charity should start from home, why aren’t you saddened by the devastation of the entire Southeast by erosion; or the fact that none of the infrastructure destroyed during the genocidal civil war has been repaired; or that our roads are in the most deplorable of motorable conditions; or that our people are specifically targeted for discrimination in the federal civil service or foreign scholarships program; that our businesses are targeted a la Ibeto and Innoson?

          Me, Donatus Francis, I’m for equity and fairness across the board, it is only Southern Nigerians, in their numbers that can develop the North. As a matter of personal experience, I was born and raised in Gujungu, Jigawa State; formerly Kano State; and I recall that the emir would always request my father to bring in Igbo teachers, chemist operators, tailors, artisans, doctors and mechanics from the east; and he’d be obliged by my dad; when I started secondary school in 1980; that town was had grown to about ten times its original size from when we returned after the war, today, it competes with Hadejia and Dutse, the State capital. I have the benefit of personal experience.

          These was before the wicked policy of underdeveloping the South by prospecting for oil in Sokoto and Borno; and signing $24 billion in oil contracts over an eight months period, loading the DSS, CBN; NNPC and Customs with only northerners; to the detriment of Southerners, especially the Igbo who are hated with a special venom.

          Darcy, you can advocate the oppression and disablement of our people, but just keep in mind that everything that Buhari is doing wrong will rebound in units against his part of Nigeria.

          • Darcy

            Thank you Don Franco, it is always a pleasure interacting with you, you’ve given me a lot to think about.

    • obinnna77

      You consider the pan Northern Niger-arean tendency to be fictional, in need of further reification? Educated healthy northerners being beneficial to us all? Such naivete.Do you comprehend the first thing about feudalism? And how those goals are antithetical to its maintenance? What feudalist wants educated vassals?
      That alone alerts the discerning to your half formed ontological sense. You have been advised to keep at it. Clarity would ensue.

      • Darcy

        You’re simply blinded by your parochialism. You would defy not just basic Christian charity, but economic inevitability.

        A puzzle for you to solve, what was the primary factor behind the European domination of the 19th century.

        No, the industrial Revolution was but a fruit of it.