Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Lion King and a Mischief of Rattus rattus

Professor Piggy, you said from the ancient times that the different types of government systems in the world included feudalism, autocracy, constitutional monarchy, monarchy, democracy, and others. But, what type of government is ours? Oh! Oh! I see, I think its constitutional monarchy or democratic monarchy? How do you mean, professor? Don’t you see that our leader has taken a new title: ‘The Lion King’? Just like Napoleon Bonaparte of France who metamorphosed into an Emperor in 1804, the very year the revolution of Fodio transformed the northern fringes of our world. Well, my student that is why our virtual space is being bombarded by trending tweets such as ‘Welcoming the Lion King back to the palace’. Theoretically, ours is a democracy and a federal system. Surely, each category of animals has its leader. For instance, in a parade of elephants, you will find a leader. Even, in a colony of lizards, you find a leader. However, all these leaders submitted their hegemony to the central leadership of the Lion King premised on a federation paradigm in order for us to attain harmony and progress in our cosmos. Nonetheless, in practice, there have been re-definitions of this federating template depending on who mounts the exalted throne at the centre.

In our cosmos, we are allowed to whisper truths to power. In other words, political discourse is expected to take place in public spaces. So, you should not be surprised by the political narratives and metaphorical exchanges between political gladiators including some closes kin of the king. Has our leader been called a Lion King before now? If yes why? If no why is our leader now called a Lion King? Is our leader manifesting attributes of a lion or a Lion King? Is he ruling as a king and as a lion? What are the manifest characterisations of a king and/or of a lion? Since, the Lion King itself has not refuted this nomenclature; one can indeed assume that he’s indeed a Lion King.
By the way, professor Piggy, who caused the sickness of the Lion King? Was it orchestrated by the crackle of hyenas and the pride of jackals? Or is it an act of God? No doubt, there have been different hypotheses and postulations. Who knows? Only God knows. May be it is known by the Lion King, his doctors, or his inner caucus? Is the causation explicable? Oh no! It is a matter of national security. May be, nobody knows ‘sef’.

Now, let’s get back to the rifts and drifts that may occur (or that might have occurred) between the Lion and the gang of hyenas/jackals.  What could be responsible for the rifts between them? Is it that the Lion King made a ‘kill’ perhaps through his victory in the last general elections and subsequently through the ways he is governing the kingdom particularly how he’s curbing the snatching and hoarding of meats by the jackals and the hyenas. Perhaps, this ‘kill’ is too huge for him to eat alone or he’s too old or too weak to eat alone; hence, the attraction of the band of hyenas and jackals. But professor, I think that is a natural phenomenon in our world. Hmmm, you are right!

For a Lion King to be wounded probably from the attacks on him by the gang of hyenas and jackals shows he’s no longer in charge of his kingdom. Perhaps, the Lion King is a ‘Lone Ranger’. Where were the other lions when the king of their pride is being wounded or attacked? Did he chase them out of the kingdom after the kill he made? Whereas, all the lions should be together to protect the kill they made together. Where are the other lions now? Why is the Lion King alone? Evidently, a lion standing alone cannot face a gang of hungry hyenas and jackals. It is precarious I must say.

But professor Piggy the Lion King had survived and returned just as we had prayed. Yeah, can’t you see the animation of our kingdom on the day of his return? I agree with the deputy Lion King that the recovery of the king symbolises our breakthrough from this burgeoning deprivation. Professor Piggy, can I ask one silly question? Go ahead, that is why you are mine student. Thanks professor. The deputy Lion King who ruled on behalf of the Lion King while he was away, is he a pure lion or a hyenas or a jackal or one of the weak animals that prayed for the return of the Lion King? Well, as a professor, I need to do a scientific research on that before I can lucidly answer your question.
But! But what?  Can a Lion King who found it difficult to attack or defeat the hyenas or the jackals when he was strong, now do anything tangible when he’s already weak, old and wounded? What’s the kill the Lion King is eating alone that the hyenas and the jackals want to snatch from him? Because, the hyenas for instance are not good hunters; they always look for opportunities such as a kill by a lion.

While the Lion King was away in another jungle, someone asked, what can the weak animals do to curb or arrest the gang of hyenas and jackals even before the arrival of the Lion King? The throne must be protected. The current security at the palace can no longer be trusted. Will the weak animals be allowed to get to the palace? Nonetheless, a special task force must be sent as a matter of urgency since only God knows when the Lion King will return. However, it is surprising that the weak animals decided to send their representatives, a mischief of Rattus rattus, to protect the throne. A mischief of Rattus Rattus? Yes, that is the scientific name for rats. But, why a mischief of rats? Oh, that is what a group of rats called. But, professor Piggy, why did they send these weak and very small animals? They are the geniuses among the weak animals that could break through the maximum security mounted at the palace of the Lion King. Rats have the following characteristics: creativity, intelligence, honesty, generosity, ambition, appeal, sociability, influence, intellect, thrift and charisma. Rats go whole-hog for what they are after and they never give up. So, they are go-getters. But, the news filtering into the air has it that the rats had destroyed the throne which culminated into the eviction of the Lion King from the palace. Well, it is audacious to quickly believe that story line. But professor Piggy, in every rumour there is an element of truth. You are right, because naturally rats also have the following characteristics: anxiety, verbosity, thirsts for power, guile, and acquisitiveness. Rats love to meddle in someone else’s affairs. Love to hijack or usurp power subtly. They are also collectors and hoarders of collective resources. Having seen the luxury of the palace, the rats also decided to taste or loot some too. But that is not their assignment. Yes, that is the major problem of representatives; they always forget their primary assignments. But rats are not only stashers of food; they have a well-developed sense of economy. So you mean, the looting of the throne is for the development or the restructuring of the economy to favour the weak animals. Well, only time will say. Also, I agree with the need to refurbish and re-invigorate the palace because rats are also known to spread diseases, hence, we cannot afford the infection of the king again. Or do you the king to go on another long trip? No and never again. The king needs to reign to fight the irresponsible elements in the kingdom.

Who are the hyenas? Should we assume that they are the bad eggs in so called ‘right place’ for public discourse for national unity? Who are the jackals? Are they the cabals in the palace? Who are the ones clamouring for the restructuring of the kingdom? They must be the hyenas and the jackals. Is any member of the Pride involved? The Lion King had roared that the unity of its kingdom is not negotiable. I think that is tenable. Don’t you agree that this kingdom must not be tore apart? Our unity is settled and sacrosanct.  Some are saying, the king only roared upon returning. What is their problem? What else do they want from a lion? How will a Lion King re-establishes his suzerainty or hegemony after a long time from the palace? How else can we ascertain that the king is still very strong as before if not by the tenacity and soundness of his roars? Can the kingdom be restructured? Will the sharing formulae favour the weak animals or the hyenas or the jackals or the lions?

Professor Piggy, the Lion King is shutting down our virtual world. No, he only ordered its monitoring and a check on those crossing the ‘national red lines’ because we do not want to see the ‘reds’ on our streets. Having said that, in the real sense of it and even metaphorically, it is precarious to stay around a lion or a Lion King, except you belong to a higher cat family like tigers, hyenas, jackals, etc. Therefore, the weak animals must be very careful, even as the Lion King returned.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

An Interrogation Of Benjamin Netanyanhu’s March 2015 Speech At The Us Congress Vis-A-Vis The Strategic Significance Of A Nuclear-Armed Iran To The Security Of The Middle East – By Johnson Sesan Michael

Executive Summary:

Fundamentally, the Middle East region of the world is a convoluted and capricious region with avalanche of historical crises such as the Arab-Israeli Wars, Iran-Iraqi War, the Gulf Wars, the Suez Canal Crisis, etc. Currently, the Syrian War, ISIL/ISIS terrorism and discussion on nuclearisation project of Iran are front burners. Importantly concerted efforts at solving the impasse between USA and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme culminated into the Nuclear Deal Iran signed with the World Power (P5+1). Whereas, Israeli Prime Minister addressed the US Congress in March 2015 before it was finally consummated.  The chief aim of this discourse is to interrogate Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress in March 2015 particularly within the framework of the strategic significance of a nuclear-armed Iran to the security of the Middle East. In this historical speech Netanyahu believed that the deal between Iran and world powers (P5+1) is a bad deal. Netanyahu remarked on the impending precarious situation his nation (Israel) is about to face if the Nuclear Deal with Iran is crystallized. Critically, Netanyahu established the threat poses by Iran to other states within the international system, particularly in the Middle East. This conversation pointedly mentioned the reactions of Saudi Arab and Turkey. In addition to this, Netanyahu beamed more lights on Iran’s destabilising activities in the Middle East. He reinforced the claim of Iran’s support for global terrorism particularly in the Middle East. Premised on the mutual mistrust and misconception between Iran and her neighbours in the Middle East, there is no doubt proliferation of nuclear arms in the Middle East will be one of the shades of reactions and counter-reactions to any attempt on the part of Iran to develop nuclear bombs. This conversation noted that this Iran’s nuclear deal could precipitate a rift or row between the USA and Israel particularly based on the public criticism of the US president by the Israeli prime minister. Arguably, this portends a precarious situation within the framework of the security of the Middle East.  Fundamentally, the March 2015 speech of the Israeli Prime Minister is our main source, nonetheless other sources and extant literatures were also interrogated.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Amidst the Picture-Puzzle Metaphor from the Presidency - By SMB Johnson

I join other well-meaning Nigerians to welcome president Buhari back home. Yes, that President Buhari has returned back into the country (Friday, 10 March 2017) is no long a breaking news. Having spent about 50 days in London as part of his official vacation, PMB landed at the Kaduna airport from the Presidential Aircraft before entering a chopper to Abuja. Why landing at Kaduna? Remember that Abuja International Airport is undergoing a repair which started on Wednesday; hence, Kaduna airport now serves as an alternate airport for Abuja airport.
Without mincing words, this write-up is a follow up to my last week write-up titled “PMB, the ‘Silencer’: The Paradox and Corollary of Buhari’s Silence” published on this platform. In the aforementioned write-up, I did a diagnosis and a prognosis of the intrigues and nuances that greeted the president’s medical vacation vis-à-vis the rumour spree of the purported death of president Buhari, the silence of the president, pictorial communication by the presidency and the phone calls to selected individuals. For a full grasp of my cogitation, you can read up the write-up. I will like to reiterate here again that following the rumour spree of the purported death of president Buhari; a censorious analysis of the political communication strategy of Buhari’s government vis-à-vis it’s Machiavellian, iconic, ritualistic, laudatory and dramatist mode shows intrigues, nuances, injudiciousness, discordant cognition and complexities.

The pictorial communication on the health issues and medical vacation of Buhari by the presidency reached its climax on Thursday, March 09, 2017 when there was a pictorial display of the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Abuja House in London. Media politics (particularly on social media) that greeted this series of pictorial communications is historical in the political history of Nigeria. Arguably, I consider this as ‘picture-puzzle metaphor’. Reacting to these pictures, there have been varied and cacophonous interpretations, misinterpretations, deconstructions and reconstructions. There were also attempts to prove that the pictures were ‘photo-shopped’. Some Nigerians even went into the extreme ends of ‘photo-shopping’ some of the pictures released by the presidency.

By logical reasoning and perversity occupying my muse as I pen this write-up, I am tempted to submit that the use of pictures by the presidency to convince the Nigeria’s public seems intrinsically unsuited to monothematic political explanations especially within the framework of the complexity and heterogeneity of the make-beliefs around the president’s medical vacation. Just as history is said to be a set of objective hard core of facts with outer layer of subjective interpretation, these pictures as released by the presidency are now part of historical facts or should I say facts of history which are now coloured with diverse interpretations and which will still be subjected to more analysis, interrogation and interpretation. Observably, almost all the pictures released by the presidency which ordinarily would have attracted interpretation that is clearly plausible and apparent, and which could have become obvious and immediately convincing to the public became inappropriate, unprofessional, inadequate and too naïve. Evidently, pictorial communication as characterised by puzzle-solving and concomitant affects is an unexpectedly flexible metaphor which political leaders must be cautious in employing even as the president returns from London and getting back to work in order not to give room for premeditated misconstructions and concocted interpretations. Now, those that are not comfortable with the release of pictures from the presidency should relax. Evidently, PMB has returned home and at least the video of the president’s return is now real in our social spaces. As I write this piece, I am highly opinionated that the president will soon address the nation. In the mean time PMB has asked PYO to continue as Acting President.

PMB, the ‘Silencer’: The Paradox and Corollary of Buhari’s Silence - By SMB Johnson

What does not exist in the media does not exist in public mind. Politics is based on a socialized communication and on the capacity to influence people’s minds.  In other words, politics amidst its cacophonous matrix, permutation and combinations is calculatedly stage for the media. The workings of the political system are staged for the media so as to obtain the support, or at least the lesser hostility of citizens who become the consumers in the political market. On the one hand, the media acts as bridge between government and public. On the other hand, political communication is the connection between politics and citizens and the interaction modes that connect these groups to each other. Calculatedly, political communication is often manipulative in intent vis-à-vis what should be communicated and what should be withheld, with the aim of taking into account and influencing public opinion, and creating strategic alliances and an enabling information infrastructure and public acceptability templates for both domestic and foreign policies of the government.

Following the rumour spree of the purported death of president Buhari; a censorious analysis of the political communication strategy of Buhari’s government vis-à-vis it’s Machiavellian, iconic, ritualistic, laudatory and dramatist mode shows intrigues, nuances, injudiciousness, discordant cognition and complexities. In another shade, critical look on Buhari government shows that nonverbal communication including body language, silent reactions, the use of pictures and music in political communication, etc. is used more extensively than direct verbal communication to convey political messages in the mass media. 

President Buhari has kept silent about the state of his health, though; his aides and cohorts such as Femi Adesina, Saraki, Garba, etc have been speaking on his behalf. But why is the president not speaking for himself? Is the purported sickness affecting his vocal cavity? No, that’s far from the truth. After all, the president has been speaking to his Acting President (I mean his VP) and others. At least the president spoke with the most powerful president in the world (Trump). Hence, if PMB has been speaking to some individuals, then, his silence or refusal to speak to Nigerians must be a political communication strategy. Evidently, Silence considered as an absence of speech or noise – has been generally ignored as a form of communication in political domain because it represents inaction or non-behaviour. Silence is neither not necessarily inaction nor is silence, as many believe, a failure to communicate. Traditionally, silence is a powerful form of communication. Sometimes it could mean someone is still cogitating a response to a hard nut question. It could mean a sign of fret, agreement, dissent, frustration or anger.

There’s a popular parlance that says that ‘silence is the best answer for a fool’, hence, silent insults. Some opine that Nigerians do not have any business to do with Buhari’s health. They claim it’s the president private matter. But can we say Buhari as the president still largely has a private life except the issues of national security or can we also claim that Nigerians got no constitutional rights to know the health status of their president. Can we conclude that PMB does not hold Nigerians in high regards? After all he’s speaking to those he holds in high regards. Is PMB considering the masses of Nigeria as fools, since silence is the best answer for a fool? No doubt, Buhari’s silence is insulting the mass of the people that voted for him.

If indeed we must buy in into the developing theory by a school of thought in Nigeria propounding that Buhari’s vacation particularly his refusal to speak to Nigerians (silence) is a political strategy, what are the deductions we can make from this? Should we accept the claim that Buhari left the scene for him and the nation to have time out to cool off tensions? Should we accept the verdict that Buhari got no remedy for Nigeria’s problem, hence, the need to go off field of politics (just as basket ball players use to do) waiting for an opportune time to stage a comeback? Is it true that his face is not adding ‘human face’ to government policies thereby attracting frustration, reactions, counter reactions, militancy, insurgency, secession attempts, etc? In this direction some have claimed that Osinbajo carries a face that is acceptable across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Can we accept all these assertions?

Paradoxically, some Nigerians claim that Buhari’s absence and silence are golden, hence beneficiary to Nigeria. They further claim that since he left the scene, it’s been good for the nation but not for the people yet. After all, Osinbajo’s visits to Niger Delta had muted vandalization of oil pipelines thereby resulting to increase in the barrels of oil being exploited daily in the country. Also, there have been dramatic decline in herdsmen attack in the country. In addition, Naira is picking up against the Dollar.
It is pertinent to say at this juncture that silence is sometimes golden especially if opening your mouth can cost you your reputation, job and good will; or if speaking could be injurious to the common good of the generality of the society. Can’t we begin to see the benign and hidden benefits in Buhari’s silence and absence? Can’t we see it as an opportunity for the president to launch a better and stronger comeback in order to serve the nation more effectively? Remember, failing to pay close attention to the silent fraction of a tête-à-tête can result in missing a crucial part of communication. So, I suggest that Nigerians should pay full attention to Buhari’s silence towards the masses.
What are the lessons the masses can pick from this? Let the public assume not to have the consciousness of the fact that he had chosen only to speak to the political elites who he assumed put him in power. Astute and active listeners watch for silence vis-à-vis gaps, pauses, and hesitations. Deliberately, they carry out diagnosis and prognosis of silence particularly within political milieu. They treat silence as a corollary and a paradox as well as analogous to a beeping yellow traffic light at a crossroads (orita). Surely they pay rapt and apt attention to what comes next after silence. Hence, I modestly submit here that Nigerians should think ahead about what come next after this impermanent silence of Buhari and they should also prepare for what come next. Because, this could be a case of ‘agbo to tadi moyin, agbara lo lo mu wa’ (a ram that take a reverse or withdrew from a battle line, will surely return with profound firepower). This silence could be a time of recess, reset, reassessment and restart for a better Nigeria. The return of the president to governance and talking mode could provoke an opportunity for the so-called enemies of progress in Nigeria to be silent by the ‘silencer’ himself.