To My Brothers and Sisters; Cream of Intellect, Keepers of Conscience of Africa—This "Fake News" item is not slight. It is an important statement, by a highly-regarded World Authority on this and related matters, Prof John McMurtry, FRSC. I commend it to your attentions and serious thought. Immediately below are my own observations. Baba m————————————————————————
Brilliant Forensics & the Real War
Brilliant forensics on current rudiments of the real war that is raging; in fact has been quietly waged with savage ferocity for a long time. Only difference? Merely that the savage ferocity of it has been hugely stepped up.
And of course tis wonderfully designed for virtually all of Africa's entrenched governmental systems ensuring the rule of "Oligarchs in Perpetuity." Nigeria's recent former President Jonathan, is but one to have taken his place in the wondrous worldwide Club of Fellow Oligarchs—"Oligarchs United" (OU). Superb and life-fulfilling for those stripping world assets; thus further expanding their hoards; just as it/ OU, is the continually strengthening agent of savage infancy, so far as the 98ers of this world—in both the so-called "developed" and "developing" world--are concerned.
Tis just that 98ers of Africa and the very sizeable developing world have few weapons/ resources to resist the merciless and continuing savagery of their oligarchs. And while in the developed world, there is still an intellectual and material base through which to resist, MCMURTRY here demonstrates this too is being relentlessly stripped. He shows how related forces seeking to defend Life Principles and the vital root of Life Values that are the active agents of Light in Life, are progressively eroded and neutralised, as the Curtain of Darkness relentlessly descends.
It is where we are at, worldwide. With the billionaire Trump in the White House/ this Magnificent Golden-Maned OAP as merely the most recent Captain of OU at the helm. Tis just that the pace of engagement and brutal assertion has been stepped up; with attendant ethics thus further validated and stepped up by fellow members of OU.
My oh my. Does sound like we're getting very close to Tyranny, the final stop in Aristotle's Cycle of Constitutions. And it's not happening to one or two Greek City States of Classical times. It's happening worldwide. And we all know where things go from there.
There are times when it's a relief to be Elder. Certainly for the generations following, tis a Vesuvial Cauldron they face. Not pleasant.
Of course for most of us in this List who are seasoned students of human and institutional change, none of this is any surprise. Tis the path we've been on for many 100s of years. Tis just that now the path is sharply steepening. And Prof MCMURTRY, the skilled surgeon who long ago expertly dissected and fully exposed our condition in his keynote/ era-shaping, brilliant book, The Cancer Stage of Capitalism is here merely providing us with clear and powerful reminders, that we're fully on track; right on the line of the projected path.
And yet, it all seems so bizarre, totally unreal as I tap out these early morning observations/ thoughts on this my iPad. All is silent in this Sussex countryside. Only the gentle patter on my window of an early Spring shower providing Life Nurture for trees, shrubs, and all the living countryside, suddenly releasing into vibrant growth sprays of floral white and cream; of pinks and yellows and lavenders and blues and purples of varying exquisite shades. It is of course England, and the words of the poet Robert Browning come to mind, "Oh to be in England, now that Spring is here." And truly here in deepest Sussex, it is indeed very fresh and green and floral and magical. And I am reminded there are more powerful forces, more resonant beats and rhythms, in the lands, the living things, the seasons as in their millennial cycles, they move on, in no great hurry; indeed by vastly more powerful forces than the regular alarums stirred by our humankind; savage infants that we are, with our sharp-honed modern Savage Rulers, as Leaders of our respective Packs.
There is however a difference today. In our not-so-long millennial past of those 10,000 years we've been living in our Socially Ordered Groups; our oligarchs could execute vast and terrible acts, and command our participation to "defend" pronounced interests; and in doing so making us "Patriot Parties" to repeat slaughter of millions of "declared enemies". This of course was regular time-repeated world-round. Oligarchs declaimed; and 98ers, the celebrated "Heroic Patriot Parties"— a "Land Fit for Heroes" and all that— died in their millions for the pronounced "Cause" of their Oligarch; which seldom went further in un-declared object than replenishing/ further swelling the oligarchical purse and property holdings.
Well, to a degree, the same pattern persists today. Mr Trump, as I write, is conferring with Military leaders, Defence Contractors, leading Financial and Commercial/ Market elements/ and other Billionaire friends with large interests and networks of powerful and influential friends, who/ which country/ perhaps Region; they are deliberating on WHO is to be the next selected/ chosen enemy? After all, at the very least, all those vast military encampments/ bases throughout the 50 states of America, run up big bills; and these bills need to be paid. Only one way to do that: war on a selected "enemy" which has resources to be "liberated", assets to be stripped. And of course lots of employment, for those otherwise forgotten folk; folk on the margins of life; 98ers of the vast, alarmingly deprived and shambolic, largely empty spaces of Middle America. All are keen supporters of the new man in the White House. And, as you can see, for good reason.
So yes, we're still fully on the customary blood-letting round.
But, as MCMURTRY reminds us, things in this game are different from the old days. Modernity has provided tools and associated opportunity whereby war on a scale imaginable only in sci-fi, is today a reality. The spoils/ resources stripped and stolen, are immense. The increasing cost/ damage to lives and living of the world's 98ers, accelerating as oligarchs relentlessly extend, deepen and tighten their ring.
And always lurking, always threatening like the ever-hanging Sword of Damocles over us, is the Nuclear Reality—with Bacterial and Chemical options and back-up. it takes but a pressed button; and not necessarily by Peter Sellars' "Dr Strangelove."
It is a reality. It can happen at any moment. And all the millennial rhythms of our planetary seasons will be as nought. Whether it's Trump, maybe Putin; or merely some minor Oligarch, elected via genuine, 100% American-guaranteed system of "Free and Fair", "Democratic" elections, who in a raging temper stirred by his next-door oligarch, pushes the button on the store of WMD weaponry his country has had tucked away, since acquisition in those fruitful days of the "Fall of the (Berlin) Wall," in 1989, and collapse of the Soviet Union. Many unknown, unrecorded, purchases of lethal "suitcases" were made in those balmy days. Their location today? Unknown.
So there we have it. The point of this rhetorical mini-ramble? What MCMURTRY is doing is reminding us, that silent and lovely as fine countryside everywhere may be; we'd best wake up. The forces operating at a deeper level are growing; the "waters beneath the earth" are deepening/ quickening in pace/ with intermittent surface breakthroughs and contingent alarms, as Authorities struggle to contain them. They threaten obliteration, total and complete. It is time for action.
Ah, but there's the catch. What kind of action, directed by who, and where, and when?
I look out my office window. Tis still raining. Gentle curtains of grey, slanting in from the west. More profusions of delicate pink and cream released in the wood beyond.
And everything is quite silent.
All best, Baba Mike
Sent from my iPad
Moving Nigeria Forward: Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari
28th March 2017
Mr. President, we are a group of Northern non-partisan academics and public intellectuals who wish to share our concerns on a number of issues facing the nation. In so doing, our only intention is to be helpful to your Administration, which we believe is sincerely committed towards taking Nigeria further along the path of positive change and the improvement of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians.
First, our warm congratulations on your improved health, following your health vacation to London. We wish you rapid and complete recovery.
Second, we wish to congratulate you on your resolute war against terrorism and corruption, both of which have had considerable success. It is important that your government builds on this success to broaden the scope of change.
The struggle for economic recovery has had more mixed results and quite frankly, there is consensus in the country that your economic management team simply does not have the capacity to meet the nation's expectations. The recent publication of the economic recovery and growth plan after 20 months in office is an indication of the team's lethargy even if it is a significant step in the right direction and provides important indications of what needs to be done.
We are aware that many people of goodwill have made suggestions to you that are similar to the ones in this letter but our hope is that as more people make the same suggestions, you are more likely to take them seriously.
Mr. President, Nigerians voted for you because they believed your promise of good governance and cleansing the political arena of the corrupt, vile and self-serving persons who had previously ruled our country. Today, Nigerians are worried that many such people remain in government. It is important to note that in governing, statesmen are obliged to practice the type of politics that would work for both sustaining the result-oriented political coalition that produced victory and indeed expanding the coalition. The end game however is to produce the dividends of democracy. In this pursuit, the public must be continually assured that Government is on the right track. Success emanates from producing the results of improved and more secure lives of citizens.
Mr. President, in politics, sustaining the loyalty of the political coalition that won the election is always important. You are lucky to have charisma and your thinking might be that this charisma would be sufficient to carry you to the Promised Land. Charisma, it will be recalled, is the authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace that breeds personal devotion and personal confidence in followers. It is important to point out however that history is replete with examples in which charisma fails because there is no political machine or process to sustain it. Mr. President, you are very well aware that your charisma actually has geographical limits and what produced victory in 2015 is not the charisma-inspired following of your base, which has sustained support for you throughout your political career but extending this political support to areas where your charisma is limited. It is for this reason that sustaining the alliance that produced the APC is crucial.
Mr. President, it appears that you have kept the large coterie of 'professional politicians' - who worked hard, invested resources and mobilised to get you into power - at arms length. We understand the logic that would make an honest person act in this way. If your intention is not to work with politicians, the question you should ask yourself is, 'What is the alternative?' Simply refusing to act cannot be the alternative. The effect would be for many constituencies to lose hope in the future and that could be very dangerous. It is for this reason that we urge you to take this advice seriously.
1) The internecine and open fights between some leading members of your security team is threatening national cohesion and is destabilising the ability of government to work in concert. It is well known that when different security agencies are competing against each other and subverting themselves, it is the security of the nation that suffers.
2) The narrow base of your close advisers is giving the impression that you are running a closed government in a political environment that requires a participatory approach of all relevant stakeholders. Nigeria is a large country and has a complex history with a commitment to federal governance. Regular engagement with a broad section of stakeholders would significantly improve the quality of governance.
3) There appears to be no political strategy to your engagement with your own political party, the APC and the National Assembly. As preparations for the next round of elections pick up pace, your Administration needs a strong political team to help you achieve your objectives.
4) As you approach the mid-term of your mandate, your legislative agenda needs to be pursued with more pace and vigour. There are at least three urgent issues. The first is the reduction of the cost of governance through carrying out legislation that would address some of the issues raised in the Oronsanye Report and a new RMFAC formula, which would scale down remunerations of political office holders. The Second is the Petroleum Industry Bill, which candidate Buhari had promised would be prioritized within the first quarter of the Administration. Finally, legislation is necessary to strengthen the anti-corruption agencies.
5) Corruption appears to have tainted some of your leading subalterns and maintaining them in office gives the impression that you support corruption within your circle. The significant success you have achieved in the anti-corruption arena is being undermined by this impression.
6) There are an incredible number of vacancies in your Administration two years after your election. It is imperative that you fill them immediately so that you have competent people to pursue the implementation of the programmes for which you were elected.
7) Regular communication with Nigerians should be an important part of the Administration's style of governance. The impression so far is that the President rarely talks with Nigerians and presidential spokespeople appear to talk without full consultation with their principal, often finding themselves on the wrong side of what the President believes. Nigerians often hear the President reveal information during foreign visits and it is simply respect for citizens that the President should talk to them more often.
I. Stop the internal war among your security team and remove those who are unwilling to do their work in a loyal manner and are spending all their energies fighting others
II. Make an effort to appoint more advisers, formal and informal from wider circles, and open up to other ideas and suggestions that would improve national cohesion.
III. Appoint a high-powered team of economic advisers that can create coherence and synergy as well as guide the economic recovery plan.
IV. Appoint a high-powered team of political advisers that would guide the process of revamping your party and develop your political plans and strategy. The political team should also have the capacity of developing a modus operandi of working successfully with the National Assembly to pursue your legislative agenda.
V. Act decisively to get rid of your ministers and officials who have been tainted with engagement in acts of corruption.
VI. All vacancies in ministerial positions, boards, agencies and departments should be filled immediately.
VII. Develop a schedule for regular television appearances and town hall meetings to brief citizens directly on the conduct of government business.
Prof Massaud Omar
Dr. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed
Comrade John Odah
Prof Jibrin Ibrahim
Mallam Y. Z. Ya'u
Mr. Chom Bagu
Prof Mustaha Gwadabe
Dr. Chris Kwaja
Mallam Ibrahim Muazzam
Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
Dr. Yohanna Kagoro Gandu
Prof Abfulkadir Adamu
Dr. Salihu Zubairu Mustapha
Mallam Danladi Aliyu
Mallam Abubakar Ibrahim
Dr. El Harun Muhammad
On this latest Dino Melaye versus SaharaReporters affair, apart from engaging in a little jokey exchange with some friends over the matter just a while ago, I have kept my mouth firmly shut. This is because since Mr Melaye and his Senate friends in the form of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Senator Bala Ibn Na'Allah tried late last year to introduce a harebrained law to shut down free speech on social media, I've always considered him a sandwich short of a picnic. In other words, ignoring him seemed the most sensible way to deal with his menace.
Of course, I've observed his capacity for grand public idiocy and senseless self-publicity since his days in the House of Representatives, but considering he's offered nothing of value by way of public policy, my policy of ignoring him seemed even more sensible. So, when this latest episode started, I had naturally applied my default position. But, at this point, silence is no longer an option. Mr Melaye is taking the biscuit and he's turned the institutions of the Nigerian Senate and the great Ahmadu Bello University into his dip to enjoy his illicit confectionery.
I think the real lesson we have learnt from this whole affair is that our Senators and Vice Chancellors have too much time on their hands. In other words, we are not getting value for money in both cases. I mean, how do you explain a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria having the time, in a recession, to be running around proclaiming he has multiple degrees (when he obviously does not know the difference between degrees, diplomas and certificates), singing silly songs, dancing silly dances and wearing funny academic gowns to the plenary session of the Senate while marching from Abuja to New York threatening to sue SaharaReporters for daring to say he did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University?
The Senate actually found the time to sit to look at this allegation and invite the Vice Chancellor of a top national university who drove for over three hours to come see them for about twenty minutes only to say a former student who is now a Senator actually graduated from the school with a Third Class degree. I mean, do they need the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba to confirm what should be on record, a record that the subject of the investigation should have, a record the Senate could have simply called for? Why does Dino Melaye not have a hard copy of the degree supposedly issued to him by the university indicating he made a Third Class in Geography in 2000? And if the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions was keen on doing a fair and thorough job, why did they not invite Omoyele Sowore and SaharaReporters? They used the excuse of Senator Ali Ndume as the accuser and he was duly there to play the Pantomime Villain finally converted by Dino Melaye's barrage of certificates, even though the only certificate actually needed was not presented. More crucially, his so-called petition was not even in writing as required!
The more depressing aspect of the whole thing is to listen to people who should know better taking sides and debating agitatedly about who is right or who is wrong. Honestly, this is all embarrassing. Dino Melaye's elaborate drama is uncalled for. It diminishes the upper house of our national legislature and the way the Senators have handled it raises questions about the calibre of persons we have there. At the very least, it calls to question the quality of people in leadership there.
The matter was not a Senate matter at any level. If Dino Melaye felt libelled by the claim, the only forum open to him is the court of law. Going to the Senate to be justified by his friends is an abuse of parliamentary privilege. The same for the appearance of the Vice Chancellor. When all is said and done, there still is no evidence that Dino Melaye has a degree indicating that he graduated from Ahmadu Bello University. The mere words of the present Vice Chancellor sixteen years after he supposedly did this degree do not constitute proof. The only proof is a certified original copy of a degree issued to him at the time he was supposed to have graduated. We have seen all sorts of documentation in public space, but we are yet to see that. If Dino Melaye is thinking of going to court, he is better advised to be armed with a true, certified copy of the degree certificate issued on the date of graduation by the university and signed by the Vice Chancellor at the time, otherwise he will be on a hiding to nothing.
I'm aware that there are people who would jump in here and accuse me of supporting Omoyele Sowore and SaharaReporters because of my relationship with the man and the outfit, but that would be far from the truth. There is nothing in what I've said here that supports Sowore and SaharaReporters because they are not on trial. In matters of libel, Sowore and SaharaReporters can only be challenged in a proper court of law, whether in Nigeria or in the United States. So, what is the issue? Sowore and SaharaReporters made a claim that Dino Melaye finds libellous. He should simply proceed to court and let Sowore come to prove his claim. I will not criticise Sowore and SaharaReporters until the courts find against them. However, I can comment on Dino Melaye, the Vice Chancellor and the Senate's conduct because they are public persons and institutions. My criticism of them here is not based on whether their claims are true or not, my criticism is about the way and manner they are handling the whole affair.
Therefore, anyone who wants to criticise my position should please understand my point first before criticising me, because I will not be joining anyone in a discussion about the rights and wrongs of Sowore or SaharaReporters' conduct, except a proper court of law finds against them. So, whoever wants to take me up on that should first encourage Dino Melaye to go to court, start the proceedings and serve Omoyele Sowore and SaharaReporters. And while he's doing that, he and his colleagues in the Senate should knuckle down to real work in the Senate. They are not part of the Awada Kerikeri circus. They are Honourable Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.