How to Measure the Performance of a Nigerian President

There are many able Nigerian analysts, commentators, pundits, academics and journalists who have earned a say in the Nigerian political arena; most are insincere, some swing and a few are truthful i.e. in their evaluations of state of political realities and performances of governments and their principals. All performances do have a benchmark for its measurement to be valid. It is then amazing to many how a president could score 50% on education or 60% on health or 50% on the economy without a consistent robust and accessible benchmark or any sensible work done. Spontaneously made up or believed in performance ratings are delusional but facts and figures are hard to find, by routine governance choice. A rule of thumb benchmark that accurately determines the ethos, vision and energy expended by a African government or leader on domestic governance is  sufficiently expressed not by a great book, great paper or great teaching but by a terse insightful unequivocal musing of George Ayittey in The Strange Case of Xenophilia that is very easily supported by metrics. Continue reading

Dr Joe Abah: Two Experts, Two Bureaucrats

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Dr Joe Abah, the Director General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms and academic, in very casual style unwittingly or knowingly re-triggered a limited exchange on one of the most contentious controversies in modern intellectual history; what is the role the intellectual in society? The triggering sardonic comment by Dr Abah (@DrJoeAbah) on Twitter yesterday said “How to become an “expert” [1] in Nigeria: Be jobless; go around TV stations & beg to appear on ANY programme; criticise all govt actions. Done!” Of the many replies he got [most of them friendly] one by Mark Spencer (@Ack_Spencer) which was equally sardonic read “How to become an expert, sign up as media influencer visit all radio &TV station[s] hailing govt inefficiencies and cluelessness”. This is really the flashpoint of the controversy. However, the contention Dr Abah triggered is one many avoid because of the unexpected possibilities it can generate. Continue reading

When My People Personalise the Truth

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Turning and turning in the widening gyre;

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world… – W B Yeats

I have always felt that William Yeats and Chinua Achebe were talking about the desecration of the truth by mankind and its consequences in the writing and interpretation, respectively, of this opening of the poem Second Coming. I also think I know why Achebe adopted it. He had a message for his people – ”a society is just as good as its collective approach to objective truth.” Continue reading

Fame and Prize Winners: Wole Soyinka and Nnimmo Bassey

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Wole Soyinka is famed for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 based on his significant contributions to poetry and drama. Though his award was highly controversial and the Nobel Committee’s ‘choice’ felbious, Soyinka won the prize anyway, deservedly. He was the first African to win the prize. There are very few urban Nigerians that do not know who Wole Soyinka is; he is a living legend. Continue reading

The Privileged Nigerian Intellectual?

Whether Nigerian intellectuals like it or not, Europe and its extensions were built with the ideas of intellectuals. I cannot imagine a Europe without its prodigious history of great intellectuals in all spheres of learning. The intention here is not comparison but waste. It would appear that in recent times of democracy post-1999 Nigerian intellectuals are increasingly a waste of space because they are not needed. The only intellectual pursuit of note is transient (political and doctrinal economic) consultancy / advice for profit. Is that all they have got though? Continue reading

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