32 — Vanguard, MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2019 (08052201997) Tortoise folklore and national leadership (A tribute to Pius Adesanmi) THE article “Tortoise Folklore as Metaphor of National Leadership” is published again, this week, as a humble tribute to Pius Adesanmi, a celebrated African Intellectual beacon who regrettably eclipsed much, much too early, in the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX in March 2019. Please read on: “Prof. Pius Adesanmi, a budding literary icon was guest speaker at the “Second State of the Nation” lecture organized in November 2012 by Pastor Tunde Bakare-led Save Nigeria Group. Adesanmi, who was a Director of African Studies at Carlton University, Canada, chose the title “Reparations: What Nigerians Owe the Tortoise” as his theme. I invite you to share in an experience that turned out to be an insightful and sobering verbal interactive satire.” “Adesanmi skillfully humorously, personified the traits of the Tortoise (Ijapa, in Yoruba folklore) as primary motifs to embellish his canvass on the Nigerian predicament.” “The defining character traits of tortoise in the narratives, are those of greed, selfishness and such other odious, antisocial behavior. Adesanmi tickled the memories of his clearly matured audience with three such ‘tales by moonlight’ tortoise stories. The menu included the popular story in which Ijapa (tortoise), against strict instruction, succumbed to temptation to taste the sumptuous meal, which the ‘babalawo’ (native doctor) had specially prepared to facilitate the pregnancy of tortoise’s wife, Yanibo. “ “The punishment for Ijapa’s greed was a steadily bloating stomach; the tortoise’s consequent desperate lamentation for pardon (babalawo mowa bebe) and the chorus, (alugbin rin) have remained resonant over the years, and the audience did not require any invitation before they chorused the full melody and lyrics of that song, in step with the storyteller!” “The second telltale of Ijapa’s antisocial culture and greed was his contrivance to corner for himself all the fruits from the only tree that remained productive in Ijapa’s famineravaged village. Instead of strictly intoning the usual melody that would release his individual ration of one coconut meal a day to drop on his back, the selfish tortoise’s contrived deviant refrain demanded that all the potential output of the coconut tree which should serve the whole community should drop on him in one fell swoop, so that he would corner the market and make substantial profit from selling his surplus to the starving community!” “Adesanmi also defines Ijapa’s ingrained ingratitude and selfishness, in another story in which tortoise sets out to cheat the bird family, who were invited for a feast in heaven. In a show of comradeship, all the birds donated some of their feathers, so Mr. Tortoise could fly with them to the party in heaven; nonetheless, Ijapa insisted on taking the new name of “All of you” before the trip to heaven; however, since all offerings at the party were was usually prefixed with ‘this is for all of you’, the tortoise consequently, mischievously cornered to himself all the refreshments and gifts provided to the terrestrial guests.” FINANCIAL VANGUARD By Naomi Uzor THE Raw Materials and Research Development Council, RMRDC, weekend, said the aims and objectives of Manufacturing Equipment Expo, NME, are being met as companies in Nigeria are now using locally available raw materials and fabricated machineries. Disclosing this at the closing ceremony of the of the 2019 edition of the Manufacturing Equipment Expo, NME, and Manufacturing Partnership for African Development, mPAD, tagged “Optimizing Value Chain to Maximize Growth and Competitiveness in the Manufacturing Sector”, the Director General, Raw Materials and Research Development Council, RMRDC, Dr. Hussaini Ibrahim said during the exposition, the council realized that a lot of companies were now using locally available raw materials and have been making efforts at also using locally made fabricated machinery to produce a few products that are in the market. Ibrahim who was represented by “Of course, the hungry birds were very displeased with this fraudulent arrangement, and so, before the return journey back home, each bird took back the feathers they had earlier happily lent to Mr. Tortoise; Ijapa therefore, inevitably, tumbled from heaven in a near fatal fall to earth with broken bones and a badly fractured shell as his ultimate reward for his greed!” “The common denominator in the above stories is Tortoise’s immutable ethos to cheat and Adesanmi pleads that we should once again become our brothers’ keepers, and urgently enthrone the ethos of the greater good for the community as our abiding mantra corner the common wealth or muddy the waters for other citizens after having his fill. The attendant opprobrium of shame or even severe personal injury was never a deterrent.” “Adesanmi argues that the simplistic nature of tortoise stories was not only bedtime entertainment for our children, but also served as easily comprehensible symbolic markers for moral rectitude and the reinforcement of positive communal values. In this process, our children would become ingrained with socially supportive behavior rather than succumb to the NME Expo: Companies now use locally available raw materials, machineries — RMRDC the Director, RMRDC, Mrs Zainab Hammanga, said within the three days of the exposition, the council had real time industrialists and long time manufacturers who told the council about their problems and successes in the manufacturing industry. “In that way, a lot of audiences have gained so much in the process. We had organisations like Nigeria Export Promotion Council, the Nexim Bank, the Development Bank of Nigeria, whereby these people were able to tell them about government’s efforts in trying to help, especially the SMEs. They temptation of selfish and unbridled treasury looting at the expense of other members of society.” “Our current experience as a people mirrors with great fidelity tortoise’s ‘me only’ culture, as the communally forbidden fruit of antisocial behavior encapsulated in the tortoise’s DNA has regrettably become the main menu on the table of our leaders. The fear of repercussion either in terms of shame or personal injury has since been erased by the ineffective or non-existent sanctions that accompany such antisocial behaviour. Thus, our leaders have completely hijacked the intellectual property of Mr. Tortoise, and have become impervious to shame as they wallow in antisocial behaviour with such impunity that would make the tortoise ethos seem as mere rascality!” “Consequently, Adesanmi argues that we owe a debt to make reparation payments to Ijapa in the same manner that plagiarized intellectual property attracts sanctions, which may include compensations!!” On the other hand, our erudite storyteller admonishes that the converse of tortoise’s antisocial ethos is the adoption of socially supportive and inclusive behaviour, where leadership is primarily dedicated to the service and satisfaction of the common good. Such ‘pro-people first’ ethos is discernible, according to Adesanmi, from the example of the tall themes of Chief Awolowo’s 1955 budget speech, part of which reads as follows: “Of our total expenditure of £12.45 million, not less than 82.6 per cent (capital budget) are trying to move the local content up the ladder. You will agree with me now that if you go to the supermarket, you will find alot of made-in-Nigeria products on the shelves of our international supermarkets as well as our local supermarkets. “The result of the advocacy drive for NIRAM expo has helped in no small measure to improve our Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, through foreign partnerships and investments in local industries as well as the enhanced exportation of value added raw materials and products” he stated. President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Engr. Mansur Ahmed disclosed that the association is already is devoted to service and projects, which directly caters for prosperity and general welfare of our people i.e. health (10.7%), education (27.8%), (5.4 per cent agriculture).” “Nigerians may contrast such a people friendly budget with the current arrangement, where consumption accounts for about 70% of the federal budget, while education, health and agriculture, cummulatively account for less than 15% of total expenditure.” “Obviously, the giant educational and social welfare strides of Awo’s ‘life more abundant’ philosophy were no accidents and the socioeconomic benefits derived therefrom still remain meaningful today.” “In consternation, Prof. Adesanmi reminds us of the Patriarch’s philosophical song, which loosely translated, means “the same rain falls on sugarcane and bitter-leaf; the sugarcane takes its own rain and travels the path of sweetness, while bitter-leaf takes its own share of the same rain and travels the path of bitterness”. Similarly, the rain of oil falls on Dubai and falls on Nigeria; the rulers of Dubai use their own share to create a path of sweetness, while their Nigerian counterparts condemn their own people to the path of bitterness, lack and hunger. Every week, “the Federal Executive Council chambers in Aso Rock becomes the meeting point of tortoise ‘wannabes’, as hundreds of billions are shared out of the national cake to friends and cronies, while 99% of Nigerians still go to bed hungry”. “Ultimately, Prof. Adesanmi pleads that we should once again become our brothers’ keepers, and urgently enthrone the ethos of the greater good for the community as our abiding mantra!” ECONOMY making contributions at the continental level and has been given a leading role in the establishment of African Manufacturers Association, AMA. “This was a fallout of the Intra- African Trade Fair, IATF, held recently in Cairo Egypt. I was elected the chairman of the interim committee saddled with the responsibility of birthing this Pan- African body that would provide the platform for African manufacturers to collectively address the challenges confronting sustainable industrialization of Africa and trade among ourselves. The Director General of MAN was also elected as co-secretary in conjunction with his Kenyan counterpart,” he disclosed.
Vanguard, MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2019—33 Send Opinions & Letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org The state of being a Nigerian NIGERIA is blessed with very intelligent and even religious people. Thus, in our National Anthem, we pray God to help us build a nation where peace and justice shall reign. But at critical times, such as the 2019 elections, many abandoned their intelligence and switched to the mode of the stupid; peeled off the clothes of the informed and donned the toga of the illinformed. Some pan-Africanists I know became ethnic jingoists and experts in ethnic profiling. That was when they wanted to make uninformed arguments on who owns what portion of the country, or made outrageous claims that were not backed by any shred of evidence or historical fact. They distort history and claim that a racist like Lord Lugard who left Nigeria in 1919 and died in 1945, is their witness. Yet, this set of Nigerians who pollute the country with their false claims, would go to church claiming to be Christ-like, lay claims to being their brother’s keeper and loving their neigbour as themselves. Who told them the brother praying beside them in church who happens to come from a different part of the country is not their brother or neigbour? Some of them will go to the Mosque claiming to be Muslims, yet will not abide by the saying that to be a Muslim, you must treat other people the way you would love to be treated. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said in the hadith: “None of you (truly) believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Our traditional religion says: first cut yourself the same measure you want to inflict on another person to know how it feels. I know there are those who will attack me that I am preaching morals when the issue is politics. True, but what is a human being without morals? How can we be humans if we do not have values and ethics that can differentiate us from animals? The philosophy of ‘Every man for himself, God for us all’ is a bankrupt one. It is a dog-eat-dog philosophy which, as human beings, we should have outgrown. All Nigerians I know, endorse Martin Luther King, Jr’s words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” But if I paraphrase and say: “I have a dream that Nigerian children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their ethnic origins, but by the content of their character” there will be sharp disagreements. Yet, the reality is that no Nigerian chose his ethnic origin himself; he was simply born into it. So how do you seek to punish a human being for what he had no hand in deciding? Why should a person be guilty of his ethnic origin? I argued somewhere else that while a Nigerian can change his name, religion, trade, profession, abode, friends or political party, he cannot change his origins. While he can even change his nationality or claim to originate This is the time for us all to begin building a new movement with a new song for a New Nigeria from Israel, Atlantis or Mars, that would not change his ethnic origins. Hunger and an uncertain future is why many involve themselves in such demeaning campaigns. Tragically for us, those who sit at the table feeding fat on our common resources promise the hate campaigners some crumbs, and feed them fears of a bleak future. Parochial or selfish interest is why amongst a large section our leadership, the concept of what is right or wrong depends on who is involved or who benefits. Many of our men of truth yesterday are today’s liars. A man yesterday makes a forceful, brilliant and intelligent argument, and today completely contradicts his argument; and you point out the contradiction, and he says ‘You don’t understand.’ Of course I don’t, how do I understand a human being that abandons all principles? There is enough for the needs of all Nigerians, but not the greed of all. The rich cannot continue to get richer at the country’s expense while the poor get poorer. Yet, as Nigerians, we can collectively ensure that: “The economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of few individuals or of a group.” Nigerians can guarantee a country where: ”the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose and responsibility of government.” This will be in contrast to the abandonment of the people, and the wholesale slaughter we witness across the country. Collectively, we can ensure that: “discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, circumstance of birth, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association” are things of the past. We can collectively build a new nation where there will be no right to hunger, where everybody will have a right to shelter, work and healthcare, and the children, a right to education. As I indicated by using quotes, these are not my original quotes or ideas, these are contained in our Constitution. So all we need do, is push a different narrative and agenda, not those of elites whose interest is to keep Nigerians divided so they can monopolise our collective wealth. When Nigeria hosted the Second Black and Arts Festival, FESTAC, in 1977, we adopted the 1937 poem, For My People, by the African-American, Margaret Walker as the festival theme song. It runs: “Let a new earth rise. Let another world be born. Let a bloody peace be written in the sky…Let the martial songs be written, let the dirges disappear. Let a race of men now rise and take control.” It is time to actualise this song. The Nigerian people need to rise and take control in line with our Constitution which states that: “Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority.” Yes, we can call those professional politicians who exploit us and mortgage our collective future and that of our children, to order. We can change our narrative from one in which the voters queue, the thugs stuff the ballot box and our professors announce the results, to one in which the will of the people shall prevail. We do not need to be entrapped in the old, dilapidated structures where people deceive people and promises are cancelled. This is the time for us all to begin building a new movement with a new song for a New Nigeria. PDP’s peculiar victory in Oyo State By Oludayo Tade THE 2019 general elections have shown the growing evolution and sophistication of the Nigerian electorate. Despite obvious lapses and controversies of inconclusiveness in some states, these elections have shown enlightened awareness and voter differentiation between political parties and personalities, ethnic and religious flags against their desire for good governance. The 2019 voters spoke with their votes, sending some opportunistic politicians who turned themselves to demi-gods into the dungeon of social and political insignificance. They replaced their loquacity with reticence. The political godfathers had a run for their position and were forced to come down from their high horse to beg for forgiveness and allow their manipulation game to continue. In some states, they negotiated favourably with compromises but the pacesetter state would not have such external incursion again. The ruling party had been complacent with the thought that the gap-toothed jinx-breaker governor held the magic wand until he was thrashed by Dr. Kola Balogun in Oyo South Senatorial District. Not even the eight House of Representatives seats and two senatorial tickets won by the APC were guarantee of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections. As it turned out on March 9, three-time serial loser and the umbrella party candidate, Oluseyi Makinde, defeated a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, a political neophyte to become the governor-elect. The victory was a confirmation of the understanding of the law of power by the Ibadan political warlords led by High Chief Rashidi Ladoja who midwifed the first successful political alignment of opposition politicians of Ibadan extraction which edged out and silenced the bad marketer of APC and their political products. The wall of Jericho in Oyo State was bound to fall in 2019. The remote and immediate causes were crystal clear to political watchers and analysts, but not so to the leader of APC in the state. The fall of the walls of Jericho was occasioned by both enemies within (Iku-Ile) and without (Iku-ode). The caustic derision of categories of persons, disrespect of tradition, imposition of candidates, over-rating of self, unfriendly policies and workforce catalysed the fall. The APC leader violated extensively the fourth law of power which preaches to those in power to say less than necessary. In his book, 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene states thus: “Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” Harvesting and working on these loopholes of the APC leader, there was no retreat or surrender for the rampaging opposition party after bombing the incumbent governor’s Senate dream. But that victory alone cannot get them into the Agodi Government House. They needed collaborative efforts of people of like minds who wanted a common enemy out of the way. A former governor of Oyo State from Ogbomoso, who had boasted that the APC will not benefit from a disorganised opposition as it did in 2015, started the coalition talks by approaching his boss, Senator Rashidi Ladoja. After meeting a few opposition gubernatorial aspirants with agreement to reconvene after the presidential and national assembly elections, the political tactician of Ogbomosoland courted a better deal with the ruling party. Adopting a similar strategy utilised to court Christopher Akala from Ile-Ife, Osun State in 2018, the APC leadership organised a nocturnal standby flight for the Ogbomosoborn former governor. By the time he returned from Abuja, the song had changed. He jettisoned the opposition group, abandoned his gubernatorial ambition and announced that he will to work for the candidate of APC, Adebayo Adelabu (penkele meesi). This move partly contributed to the fatal blow of APC in the polls and it was alleged that the former governor sold his people for pittance. Those holding this position forget that in politics, there is no permanent friend, only interest is permanent. Ladoja’s group forged ahead and was able to secure the commitment of Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (ADC), Sarafadeen Alli (ZLP), Bolaji Ayorinde (SDP) to drop their gubernatorial ambition and support PDP’s Seyi Makinde. This did not come without compromises of forming a government of unity By midwifing this coalition, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has elevated his political worth, respect and honour; they have showed that a people united can never be defeated if Seyi emerges victorious. The time the coalition sealed its deal was the last week into the poll and hit the APC below the belt. It was this last minute coalition that secured victory for PDP in 28 out of the 33 local governments in the state. In the House of Assembly elections, PDP reversed the fortunes of APC, clinching 26 seats while APC won five and Akala’s ADP won one seat. Unlike Christopher Omisore who secured the maximum votes needed for APC’s triumph in Osun State in 2018 via the instrumentalities of the state, Christopher Akala’s political forte suffered a major blow; the votes did not come as expected. Akala even managed to win with over a thousand votes in his Ogbomoso North stronghold (APC=14,442; PDP=13,035). Although Akala delivered his area, the expected huge votes did not come. The Osun model crumbled. As PDP was coasting home to victory after eight years off, lives were lost, voters were intimidated when subtle vote buying failed; ballot boxes were snatched and results were burnt by sponsored hoodlums. Notwithstanding these, the voters in Oyo State sent a strong message to overrated political merchants within and outside the state of their avowed resolution to break the jinx breaker. By midwifing this coalition, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has elevated his political worth, respect and honour. They have shown that a people united can never be defeated. The outgoing kòselèri (it has never happened before) second term jinx breaker has been demystified as kòlèselémó (it can never happen again) by this comprehensive defeat. Now that the reigns of ‘constituted authority’ are over, we all need to learn from the mistakes that cost Shehu his Senate ticket and his party, the state. The gap-toothed leader will be pained for daring the people and suffering a peculiar mess. Adebayo Adelabu, the grandson of Goke Adelabu suffered peculiar mess and got silenced by the Ladoja coalition. Seyi Makinde should learn from this. This APC’s ‘peculiar mess’ is the proverbial cane used in beating the senior wife that was kept in the ceiling for the younger wife. He must keep his agreements with the state, constitution and the coalition that piloted his victory. He needs to arrest the decay in public health and education and boost the economy. He must select the best of heads to work with him. He is younger and the energy should show with pro-people policies. People have begged that voters should allow, Seyi o Seyi (allow Seyi to be the governor). Seyi must, therefore, not fail to deliver. The governor-elect must be magnanimous in victory because failure is an orphan. The ‘otoge’ coalition of Ladoja will enter history book as one that caused the son of penkelemeesi a peculiar political uppercut and shattered the jinxbreaker’s attempt to break another jinx. •Dr Tade, a sociologist, wrote via email@example.com C M Y