Perceptor: 4 Questions On The Questions That Must Not Be Asked
“By doubting we come to question, and by questioning, we perceive the truth.”
(Peter Abelard, 1079-1142)
4 Questions on the Questions That Must Not Be Asked
As if he has not done Perceptor enough harm just by existing, Perceptor is outraged at the attempt by Ibrahim Babangida to snatch the words out of Perceptor’s mouth! Who does not know that Perceptor lives and breathes by asking questions? Especially where it is a matter of doubting. Because when it comes to Babangida, the only thing Perceptor doesn’t have any doubts about is that that chap shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the reins of power in Nigeria again. Everything else is shifty and evil (with or without genius), and as a result, on the subject of Babangida, Perceptor is FULL of doubts And yet here is this fellow telling Perceptor that in his run at the Presidency, there are some areas where nobody is allowed to ask him any questions! The “no-question-areas” are the killing of Dele Giwa; the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and the zoning of party tickets for elections by that his Peoples ‘Democratic’ Party. As it happens, some of those “no-question” areas are the very areas where Perceptor is most full of doubts. And when Perceptor has doubts, it is as sure as the day following the night that Perceptor must move to questions …
• So Why Exactly Did You Annul the June 12th Election?
Perceptor realises that this is treading on delicate ground but Perceptor is not just asking for the sake of making a dictator annoyed. Perceptor needs to know because of the widespread rumour that some people threatened to kill Babangida if he allowed M.K.O. Abiola to become President. And Perceptor worries that if we have a co… , er, someone who can be easily frightened as President, well – anybody could threaten him and he will just do what they say .
• Se You Know that David Mark is Still On Ground?
Perceptor only asks because of the three people who signed the annulment document – the ‘decree absolute’ so to speak – all of them are still around. And since Perceptor does not know whether all of them were frightened into signing, Perceptor can’t help worrying that if the signatories weren’t the ones being scared, they might have been the ones doing the scaring …
So is it wise for the one who was frightened to try to grab the top job when the one who might have frightened him last time he had the top job might still be very much around?
• Do you need some assistance on the zoning thing?
Perceptor has to ask because Perceptor is trying to work out why – if the Igbos in the South EAST Zone are to be given the Presidency in 2015, the Vice-Presidency is being offered to the South SOUTH Zone for the 2011 ticket? If it had been a sort of George Bush/Dick Cheney thing, Perceptor could have understood – Dick was never going to be anything more than VP in the US and never tried for the presidency himself. But this is more like a Cheney/Bush sort of thing. Where the Bush half has already made one attempt at becoming prez. So Perceptor just wonders what the plans for ‘Donatus’ are in 2015. Is Donatus aware of these plans? Or is there something about Donatus that will make him meekly step aside in 2015 …?
• Any Study of Democracy in the last 18 Years?
Perceptor understands that even though he called himself ‘President’, when he was in power, Babangida was actually a military dictator, so he can be forgiven for the er, lapses that occurred on his watch. Like the slaughter of two sets of coup plotters (imagined and real). The detention without trial of anybody who annoyed him or his wife. The proscription of newspapers. The parcel bomb. The bribing (sorry, ‘settlement’) of potential opponents. The er, annulment of elections …
Perceptor asks because the fact that Obasanjo had done stuff like setting up an NGO on African Leadership, being invited onto the boards of lots of internationally respected NGOs gave him ample opportunity to study all about the meaning and workings of democracy. This must have been the clincher in the decision of the ‘North’ to support him for the presidency in 1999. That and the fact that he had been unjustly sentenced to prison for a phantom coup plot by Sani Abacha.
Now Perceptor can’t really think of any sort of NGO-ish type of thing that Babangida has been engaged in that he can point to as the means by which he purged himself of military dictatoritis. (Yes, Perceptor knows it didn’t really work in Obasanjo’s case, but at least he knew the appropriate language to use long enough to fool … well, to fool somebody sha.) Because Perceptor has to be frank. Babangida’s language and fake arrogance about young people not being qualified and him having all the experience doesn’t really strike quite the right tone. Not for a democrat anyway. And it makes Perceptor worry that there hasn’t really been much attempt to immerse himself in things democratic over the past few years. Honestly, the only way that Perceptor can see for Babangida to burnish his credentials as a man who has learned the true meaning of democracy and all that, is to er, … get himself sent to prison … He can always claim later that it is on the basis of a phantom Okigbo Report, can’t he?
Hit the Ground? Running? So passé!
Perceptor has always been an admirer of Femi Falana Esq., and is waiting with shaken, rattled and rolled breath for the outcome of the case in which he has sued the government over the state of roads, and hopes not to have expired before judgment is delivered in the case that he has filed about hospitals in the country.
But after reading Mr. Falana’s recent interview with Sunday Punch, Perceptor is wondering whether the irrepressible leader of the West African Bar Association is losing his touch. He complained that “There is no governance going on in Nigeria. Jonathan is yet to hit the ground running …” To Perceptor’s mind, that is like complaining about the lack of standby tap in your village when somebody is telling you that he is planning piped water in each individual hut! Or did the barrister not hear that Mr. President is not planning to hit the ground AT ALL? With THREE planes on the order books, everything is going to be … - as the film title has it - UP IN THE AIR!
Church Rejects New Gospel as Revisionist
The Church of June 12th has rejected a newly discovered gospel as ‘fake’ and ‘revisionist’. The gospel, said to be that of Judas Iscarangida (believed by historians to be a contraction or diminutive of a name), is now being put forward by some scholars as proof that the revered Mko Abiola could not have attained martyrdom (and thus the establishment of the Church of June 12th) had it not been for the intervention of Iscarangida. According to the Gospel as recorded by Iscarangida … (cont’d on page 2011)
Initials are definitely the order of the 2011 Election day, as far as Perceptor (or PP) can see. There are still the boring old Buharis, Atikus and Gusaus, but the zeitgeist demands initials.
Only initials don’t always have the desired effect. Or even mean what the owner thinks they do …
Take for example the hilarious claim by former Senate Prez Ken Nnamani that ex-military dictator-turned-presidential-aspirant Ibrahim Babangida is “popularly or affectionately” known as “IBB”.
Well, perhaps if by ‘popularly’ he means ‘commonly’. But ‘affectionately’?!?!? Perceptor doesn’t think so. In fact, when PP sees those initials, the words that spring to mind are Irresponsible Bloody B**d, Immoral Bloodsucking Brigand, Interminable Bloated Boooooooore
We had OBJ – still lurking in the shadows – his isn’t even an acronym, just a newspaper editors’ device to cut an unnecessarily long and space-hogging name down to size.
But it’s the younger generation who want to corner the ‘capitals’ market. It started with newspaper adverts telling us that ‘NR’ was coming. In the end it turned out to be just Nuhu Ribadu, but meanwhile Prof. Bolaji Aluko has been giving us all sorts of variations on what it means, ranging from ‘No Recycling’, ‘No Rigging’ to the more positive ‘National Rebirth’, ‘Nigeria Reawakens’ etc.
Of course, it could also just stand for ‘Not Really’ as in “The EFCC on my watch did Not Really investigate Mrs. Patience Goodluck for money-laundering”, or ‘No Responsibility’ as in “I accept No Responsibility if my campaign funds turn out to be stolen from the Nigerian People” …
Then PP just had to wince when another aspirant copied the ‘Guess who I am?’ initials thing and we had to see ‘ABS’ all over the papers. No prizes for guessing that that was ABUBAKAR Bukola Saraki. Because otherwise, some of you might have thought that he was just BS. And even BS’ing us … But Still, terribly unoriginal, that. Though since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, NR might be forgiven for thinking that ABS means ‘Absolutely Barefaced Sycophant’!
That A tacked on to the BS though, also highlighted another ‘capitals’ trend – the emergence of the missing initial. So to tell the Muslim faithful that he was one of them, BS had to add that A. Just as GJ has had to add ‘E’ to make himself a little more regionally diverse. Perceptor is just a bit worried about how far this is going to go. Because already there is an attempt to add an ‘A’ to GEJ’s crop of initials to bring in ‘Azikiwe’ and put the matter beyond doubt with his immediate neighbours in the SE. But why stop there? Chuck in a couple of Os and an M or so and he really ought to have the whole country covered …
Lives of the Saints … Saint Patience of Dam’
There lived in those days a matron who was revered by many as the Matron Saint of all women in the land. And as many as were Aspirants, as many as were Ministers and yea, even as many as were Female Footballers all worshipped at her shrine and Dam’e Patience instructed them and yea, even rewarded them according to her limited understanding of their needs. (Which is to sayeth not very much.) And all the women of Nigeria Arose and blessed her, saying that by marrying the right man she had attained all these blessings and that it was indeed Dam’ Goodluck.
Yet there was an evil serpent of rumour in the land, and it caused Saint Patience to be reviled and spurned, even by all the women of the land, not just by dissatisfied Female Footballers. And the rumour was that although she had learned to be stingy with Female Footballers, she had been more generous with other women. More generous with One other woman. More generous with Her sainted self to be precise and Saint Patience donned a Bold Face so that the serpent slithered back to the nether realms of lost files at the EFCC from whence it had come.
But everybody in the land knew that It Was Still There.
Thus it was that a Dragon-slaying Hero came to the rescue of St. Patience from a far country. And the D-sH, whose name was ‘NR’ slew the serpent of rumour with a Word. And that Word was ‘Non-existent’. Non-existent EFCC file on St. Patience. Non-existent EFCC investigation of St. P. Non-existent basis for any shred of suspicion on the blessed Saint Patience of Dam’. And the people of Nigeria, even all the women in the land shouted aloud and flocked to her shrine to worship her all over again, saying once more: This is Dam’ Goodluck!
In the Spirit of Aunty Dora
Perceptor only has the same dull items about aching teeth due to too much cold water due to too much electricity to report (because it is absolutely NOT in the spirit of Aunty Dora to mention that the ‘good people’ of this ‘great nation’ were subjected to an actual deliberate deliberate interruption in the power supply – as opposed to an ordinary deliberate interruption – due to the inability of the Federal Government of the ‘Great Nation’ to count backwards from 30 – as in “If you don’t pay us our money within 30 days we’re going on strike” – and Perceptor must therefore draw the veil of amnesia over that interlude). So in the circumstances and in the spirit of experimentation, Perceptor proposes an alternative subject which, Perceptor has no doubt, will provide much richer vein of material for your contemplation. Therefore, just like ‘ThisDay’ which likes to surprise its readers by allowing some (generally government) minion to spout his propaganda under the rubric ‘guest columnist’, Perceptor has decided to devote this section to a guest subject …
In Defence of Ibrahim Babangida
Yes! Perceptor knows, dear reader, that you will be surprised, astonished and possibly even shocked to find that Perceptor can even find sufficient material under this topic to form part of these musings (particularly in view of what has been written by Perceptor’s alter ego about ‘initials above) but Perceptor is certain that there is a LOT that might be said in defence of ‘that man’. In any case, Perceptor is reliably informed that there is a LOT of money in it.
Er, … ummmm …
• He is NOT YOUNG. This is a GOOD THING because YOUNG PEOPLE do not have what it takes to rule Nigeria. This important piece of information for Nigerians who might need guidance in having a ruler selected for them – oh no, Perceptor means guidance in electing someone to govern … anyway, He is NOT YOUNG.
• He … er, … ummmm … that’s it …