Monday, March 13, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Orwellian Doublespeak About Buhari’s Health

Dear Godwin Okeke,

The very best news!

I'm with you 100 % about this too.

The absence of any precise information about what was ailing the president gave ample room for speculation. This lack of information was aggravated by Mr. President not talking to us directly that he was indeed feeling "hale and hearty." When from her own privileged position President Buhari's sister exhorted the nation to pray for her brother, it sounded as if he was about to give up the ghost and I thought that we would be hearing a call to national prayer from people like, on the one hand the Sultan of Sokoto, the Emir of Kano and on the other hand, Pastor Adeboye and Bishop Bishop Kukah. I feared that maybe some sons of bitches had secretly poisoned him, in which case, long may they rot in the hell-fire.

At some later point there were unconfirmed rumours circulating that Our Muhammadu had already crossed over the sirat bridge to the hereafter.

When Chidi asked in his fragments of poetic thought, whether anyone had seen the president and furthered this ominous enquiry to Adeshina Afolayan

"Dear Adeshina,
How do you know
That that voice
Have presidential body?"

At that point, many of us feared the worst.

President Buhari has now confirmed that he had not been feeling "hale and hearty" - on the contrary just a few days ago he told us, "I have never been so sick in my life"

I'm in no position to personally vouchsafe the integrity of all of the president's aids.

If the information management had told us " The president has never been so sick in his life" that could have plunged the nation into a panic mode - with some of the aids that you have in mind trying to "make hay while the suns shines", others jockeying for position as they gather round his successor.

Sadly, the Buhari-Idiagbon duo was overthrown on the 27th of August 1985 whilst Tunde Idiagbon was on pilgrimage to Mecca, with his son. The only mistake that Tunde Idiagbon made was to have told the scoundrels that he was leaving behind, that he had started rooting out corruption and that they should just wait and Insha Allah he would finish the job when he returned from his pilgrimage. That must have put the fear of God in the incorrigible lootocracy and so "they couped" him before he returned.

By the way, quite another matter, you do know that Ironsi's father was Sierra Leonean, not Nigerian, Senegalese , Gambian or Liberian?

"Pray for the forest, pray for the tree, pray for the fish in the deep blue sea.
Pray for yourself and for God's sake, say one for me, poor wretched unbeliever." (Gaia)

From the Chocolate Factory


On Monday, 13 March 2017 13:26:21 UTC+1, Godwin Okeke wrote:
Well taken Cornelius,
But the issue is not much as in Nigerians wanting to know the type of ailment the President is suffering from, than the President talking directly to the people from wherever he was receiving treatment. This would have defused tension and all the unwarrantable speculations that it triggered. Rather is was senate President and Speaker House of Reps. toady, and Mr. ABC tomorrow, who saw the President, coming to tell us that he is hale and hearty. The question is if he is hale and hearty, why does he need prayers? Unless for a different purpose. Information management is key here! Don't be surprised that some of his Aids may use this opportunity to loot the treasury. Remember during Yar Ardua's health crisis, it was reported that even the security vote was traced to someone's private account.
On Sun, 3/12/17, Cornelius Hamelberg <> wrote:

 Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Orwellian Doublespeak About Buhari's Health
 To: "USA Africa Dialogue Series" <>
 Date: Sunday, March 12, 2017, 12:14 AM
 Dear Godwin Okeke,
 That was cute of you signing off as "Mr. Know it
 How to explain? In this life I have been assigned to play
 the role
 Cornelius - nobody else - and I'm writing my own lines,
 just as you
 are writing yours.
 Like Ray Charles, I'm fresh
 out of tears.
 My friend Menachem told me yesterday when I complained to
 him, he
 said " Well, you know that the Germans like
 The Germans like titles and some people don't like the
 Germans, all
 because of the führer
 - and so you see, for some  people, sometimes, one bad apple
 represents the whole bunch. You could even extend that one
 bad apple
 to someone like this
 ex-Hitler Youth
 I like your name  - just as I liked the name of our
 teacher Vidal
 Godwin in the third form of secondary school.
 It's a good
 name, as good as other names such as Good-luck,
 Patience, Blessing; the Almighty has multiplied us into
 millions of
 souls to serve him and so Besserwisser
  (good German word), I love you too, I love our people
 and this
 means that your problems are also mine, really. It's not
 as if should
 I be the weakest link in the chain then the problem is mine
 and not
 yours also
 According to another besserwisser, "We
 get the governments we deserve" - this is
 unarguably the
 case with one-man-one-vote Nigeria, so, in my opinion, if
 some people
 don't agree with this and want to become self-governing
 as an
 independent nation to be known as e.g. Biafra, that 's
 absolutely OK
 with me as long as they go for it peacefully, starting with
 referendum, because I don't want to countenance any
 wanton killing; I
 don't want anybody to die just because they ask for a
 divorce from
 being married to Nigeria.
 Question : Shouldn't
 we all be having a good time?
 I understand that you asked a rhetorical question.
 In Sweden, we have a parliamentary system of government
 and a
 prime minister, not a president. Here, transparency is a
 reality and
 not just a slogan  - so if our prime minister were to fall
 ill for an
 extended period of time - to the extent of not being able to
 his duties as prime minister, I do believe that it would be
 in place
 for us to know about it (unless of course - God forbid it
 something like HIV  - which has such a stigma) - but there
 privacy laws and so normally my medical journal cannot be
 and made public just like that, not to talk about that of
 our King or
 our prime minister.  No one's extended illness has to
 cause a crisis
 in government or a constitutional crisis; I'm sure that
 there are
 provisions in our constitution and in the Nigerian
 constitution as to
 how to how to deal with such an eventuality.
 Check this out : US
 presidents who concealed ill health
 Concerning the mystery enveloping President Buhari's
 state of
 health  and the question, of transparency about the matter,
 our own
 Oga, Professor Falola has explained that it's cultural -
 mark his
 words: "Africans
 don't like to report their health, whether it's a poor
 farmer or
 the president"
 . Africans. All
 Africans, generally? Is Godwin Okeke an Oyinbo or an
 Mainland or
 is that as far as I know, no one has yet asked President
 exactly what the matter is.  When he took time off and was
 off to
 London to fix his ear
 everybody knew that it was an ear problem . Now it's
 something more serious than just his ear. Bottom line, I
 think that
 in Sweden too a person  whether a poor farmer or the prime
 has a right to privacy and even if he is a public servant,
 he/ she
 does not have to make his ailment public.
 On Saturday, 11 March 2017
 13:57:23 UTC+1, Godwin Okeke  wrote:Cornelius,
 May be that is the way the President of the
 country you reside is hidden away from the people who put
 him in power when he's facing any health challenge. Some
 of you can never see anything wrong with the manner the
 country is administered because of reasons best known to
 you. Mr know it all.
 On Fri, 3/10/17, Cornelius Hamelberg <>
  Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re:
 Orwellian Doublespeak About Buhari's Health
  To: "USA Africa Dialogue
 Series" <usaafric...@>
  Date: Friday, March 10, 2017, 8:45 PM
  Sami allahu liman hamidah - rabbana lakal
  Buhari returns to Nigeria !
  This has laid to rest the many ugly
 rumours and the
  unhealthy speculations by the
 ne'er-do-well, about the
  whereabouts of
  the President.
   Since President Buhari is the president
 of all
  Nigerians, I wish
  that I knew exactly how to express the
 same sentiment of
  thanks and
  gratefulness to the Almighty for bringing
 him back safe and
  sound to
  our Nigeria in all the indigenous Naija
 dialects and all of
  varieties of Nigerian English - of which
 there are many
  varieties - and in terms of indigenous
 language interference
  - as I
  pointed out to a dear friend this
 afternoon, there must even
  be a
  variety of jargon known as "Biafran
 English"  - if
  should ever want to
 "nationalise" that speech
  within and even without imaginary
 borders. As to exactly how
  sounds - as with all languages, with
 special lexical
  prosody, thought patterns and usual modes
 of expression, we
  ask those who speak it fluently and fully
 understand the
  It was frail looking Muhammadu Buhari
 that we saw getting
  off that
  plane on TV - but  - another Baruch
 Hashem - his eyes
  bright. May the Almighty fortify him
  and shine His light
  upon him is
  our prayer,  according to His will. We
 heard his spokesmen
  Garba say on BBC  Focus of Africa that
 the President will be
  some more time to rest and heard the
  voice of President Buhari himself confirm
 his intention to
  do so  
  It should be strictly, doctors orders -
 in this case
  peace and
  The advice that one usually gives to the
 Brethren - the
  includes yours truly and all those who
 believe that when the
  orders complete rest for two or three
 months he only has the
  toubabs / oyinbo  in mind  and that
 real Africans are
  usually back in
  the field  playing football again after
 a mere  two or three
  I guess that rest in this case should
 include rest from
  the little
  jabs from certain sections of the
  always oppositional and
  Naija press that would like to torment
 him even now. May
  they never
  be satisfied!
  Good thing that the vice president is
 already performing
  at peak
  On Monday, 13
  February 2017 08:43:08 UTC+1, Farooq A.
  wrote:My "Politics of
  Grammar" column in today's
  Daily Trust on Sunday
  By Farooq
  A. Kperogi,
  Doublespeak is intentional manipulation
  language to conceal uncomfortable truths
 or to cleverly tell
  outright lies. The term came to us from
 George Orwell,
  although he didn't use it himself. The
 term he used in his
  famous book titled 1984 is
 "newspeak," which he
  said consists in limiting the range of
 words people use and
  in stripping language of semantic
 precision in order to
  facilitate government propaganda and mind
   The mainstreaming of Orwellian
  in Trump's America is already causing
 an enormous spike in
  the sales of Orwell's 1984, which was
  published in 1949, especially after a
 Trump administration
  official by the name of Kellyanne Conway
 defended habitually
  intentional falsehoods by the Trump
 administration as merely
  "alternative facts."
  All governments lie, but the brazenness
  consistency of the lies of the Buhari
 government are simply
  remarkable. It competes favorably with
 the Trump
  administration in prevarications and
 loud, bold defiance of
  basic ethical proprieties. Nowhere has
 this become more
  apparent in recent time than in the
 information that
  government officials share with the
 Nigerian public about
  President Muhammadu Buhari's
   I have no evidence for this, but my
  tells me that Buhari isn't nearly as
 sick as his
  detractors make it seem, but the illogic,
  deceitful and mutually contradictory
 language of government
  spokespeople in explaining away the
 president's prolonged
  absence from Nigeria have conspired to
 fuel unhealthy
  speculations about the state of his
  As I told the BBC World Service in a
  7, 2017 interview, the labyrinth of
 tortuous lies, fibs,
  half-truths, and conscious deceit that
 emanate from the
  government make it impossible to even
 guess the
  The president's media advisers admit
  the president is in London on a
 "medical vacation"
  (which is doublespeak for "he is sick
 and needs medical
  attention"), and his latest letter to
 the National
  Assembly said he was awaiting the results
 of medical tests,
  but the Acting President and the Minister
 of Information say
  he is "hale and hearty" (which means
 he is vigorous and
  doing well). No one can be simultaneously
 on a "medical
  vacation," be awaiting the results of
 medical tests, and
  be "hale and hearty." That's a
  It gets even stranger. Senator Abu
 Ibrahim, a
  senator from Katsina State who said he
 was in touch with the
  president, told newsmen that the
 president was neither on
  medical vacation nor hale and hearty, but
 only "exhausted
  by the weight of the problems the country
 is going
  through." So London is the
 president's destination of
  choice to rest, while millions of people
 who voted him into
  office squirm in the severe existential
 torment his
  administration either deepened or caused?
  On February 7, Presidential Media Adviser
  Femi Adesina also told Channels TV that
 he was
  "daily" in touch with the
 President, but
  doesn't "speak with him
 direct." How does one
  "keep in touch" with someone
 thousands of miles
  away without "directly
 speaking" with
  Well, Adesina said he does that by being
  "in touch with London daily." I
 am not making this
  up. You can watch the interview on
 ChannelTV's YouTube
  channel. But it gets worse still. He
 added: "People
  around him will speak daily. Daily."
 You would think
  the word "daily" was in danger
 of going out of
  circulation and needed to be verbally
 curated on national
  TV.This doublespeak recalls my grammar
 column of
  December 10, 2009 on the late President
  health. It was titled "Yar'adua's
 Health: Amb.
  Aminchi's Impossible Grammatical
 Logic." Read it below
  and note the similarities with what is
 going on now.
  Enjoy:Nigeria's ambassador to Saudi
  Alhaji Garba Aminchi, was quoted by an
  Abuja newspaper to have fulminated
  the unnervingly prevailing buzz that
 President Yar'adua is
  in a persistent vegetative state and in
 grave danger of
  imminent death. "And all these
 insinuations are lies,"
  he was quoted to have said. "To the
 best of my knowledge,
  I see him every day, and he is
  To the best of his knowledge, he sees the
  ailing president every day? So our
 ambassador is not even
  sure if, indeed, he sees the president
 every day, but he is
  certain nonetheless that the president is
 recovering. Huh?
  This is a supreme instantiation of a case
 where thought,
  language, and materiality have parted
  At issue here is the idiom "to the best
  my knowledge," which is also commonly
 rendered as "to my
  knowledge." This expression, according
  the Macmillan
  Dictionary, is used for saying that you
 think something
  is true, but you are not completely
 certain, as in, "To
  the best of my knowledge, the President
 has not decided if
  he will resign because of his failing
  The Free
  Dictionary defines the idiom thus: "as
  understand it." The Oxford Dictionary
 also defines it as,
  "from the information you have,
 although you may not know
  So, the idiom is deployed principally to
  express thought-processes that reside in
 the province of
  incertitude, of inexactitude. If, for
 instance, someone were
  to ask me (and somebody did indeed ask me
 a couple of days
  ago) if Yar'adua was dead, I would say
 "well, to the
  best of my knowledge he is alive."
 Here, the phrase "to
  the best of my knowledge" admits of
 both the possibility
  that he could be alive or dead. In other
 words, it betrays
  the uncertainty and tentativeness of the
 information I have
  about the query.
  Now, for Ambassador Aminchi to use the
  "to the best of my knowledge" (which
 admits of
  uncertainty) in the same sentence as "I
 see him every day
  and he is recovering" (which connotes
 cocksure certitude)
  evokes an eerily bizarre disjunction
 between thought,
  speech, and reality, one that is
 impossible to conceive of
  even with the wildest stretch of fantasy.
 This is as much a
  grammatical slip as it is a logical
  One perfectly legitimate interpretive
  possibility from the ambassador's
 statement is that he
  actually sees a figure in Saudi Arabia in
 the likeness of
  President Yar'adua that is convalescing
 from a sickness,
  but is uncertain if this is merely the
 apparition of a
  spooky specter masquerading as Yar'adua
 or if it's
  Yar'adua himself. In spite of this
 dubiety, however, he is
  positive that the real Yar'adua is
  This is obviously not what the ambassador
  wants to be understood as saying. So, one
 or two of three
  things are happening here. The first is
 that the ambassador
  is being barefacedly mendacious in order
 to conceal the
  graveness of the condition of
 Yar'adua's health. And
  this won't be out of character. After
 all, English
  diplomat and writer Henry Wotton once
 famously defined an
  ambassador as an "honest man sent to
 lie abroad for the
  good of his country." Only that, in
 this case, our
  ambassador is lying abroad for the bad of
  The second possibility is that the
  is simply clueless about the meaning of
 the idiom. And a
  third possibility is that he has been
 misquoted or
  mistranslated by the reporter who wrote
  Now, this isn't an idle, nitpicking
  of an ambassador's innocent slip by a
  self-appointed grammar police. This issue
 is not only about
  the health of Yar'adua; it is also
 about the health of our
  country. Since Yar'adua took critically
 ill, the nation
  has been in even much graver illness. In
 somber moments such
  as this, we cannot afford the luxury of
  intentionally deceitful and irresponsible
 political language
  from public officials.
  between Bad Language and
  In his famous 1946 essay
  titled "Politics
  and the English Language," George
  railed against this very tendency among
 the public officials
  of his day. He wrote: "Political speech
 and writing are
  largely the defence of the indefensible.
 Things like the
  continuance of British rule in India, the
 Russian purges and
  deportations, the dropping of the atom
 bombs on Japan, can
  indeed be defended, but only by arguments
 which are too
  brutal for most people to face, and which
 do not square with
  the professed aims of the political
 parties. Thus political
  language has to consist largely of
  question-begging and sheer cloudy
  Do you see any parallels here between
  Ambassador Aminchi's illogical
 grammar—and indeed that
  of most Nigerian public officials—and
 the public officials
  of Orwell's days?
  Interestingly, the problem endures to
  day even in Britain. On Nov.
 3, 2009 the Guardian of
  London reported that a British
  parliamentary committee excoriated
 "politicians and civil
  servants for their poor command of the
 English language"
  epitomized in the "misleading and vague
  language" of prominent
  Tony Wright, chairman of the committee,
  "Good government requires good
 language, while bad
  language is a sign of poor government. We
 propose that cases
  of bad official language should be
 treated as
  Maybe the committee chairman's
  are a bit of a rhetorical stretch, but
 someone should tell
  Ambassador Aminchi that he cannot
 simultaneously be unsure
  that he sees the ailing president and yet
 be certain that
  the president is recovering. That's
 impossible grammatical
  logic. And that can only sprout from a
 mind that is wracked
  by psychic
  Farooq A. Kperogi,
  ProfessorJournalism & Emerging
  School of Communication &
  MediaSocial Science
  Building Room 5092 MD
  2207402 Bartow Avenue
  State University
  Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
  Cell: (+1) 404-573-9697
  Personal website:
 www.farooqkperogi.comTwitter: @farooqkperogAuthor of Glocal
 English: The Changing Face and Forms
  of Nigerian English in a Global World
  "The nice thing about pessimism is
  you are constantly being either proven
 right or pleasantly
  surprised." G. F. Will
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