PERCEPTOR-5 Questions on ... The Return of the First Lady
“By doubting we come to question, and by questioning, we perceive the truth.” (Peter Abelard, 1079-1142)
5 Questions on ... The Return of the First Lady
Perceptor believes that when the time comes, however far into the future that time may be (and of course, Perceptor joins millions of Nigerians in praying that that time will be far into the future*) Mr. Segun Adeniyi will be considering a companion volume for his “Last 100 Days” book on Sani Abacha.
But if the contents are to reflect anything like the stories that Nigerians have been fed over the past few weeks, Perceptor expects that the book will be a good candidate for the Man Booker Prize which, readers will recall, is awarded to the best full-length work of FICTION written in English by a citizen of the UK, the Commonwealth, Eire or Pakistan. Perceptor’s only doubt is whether, because there have been so many stories, the aggregation of the same will qualify as a full length work, rather than a collection of short stories.
As readers will know, there have been so many ... er, stories. There has been the “hale and hearty” story. There has been the “responding remarkably to treatment” story. The “sitting up and watching football” story was no doubt as alarming to football-loving Nigerians as the “five hours of squash a day” story that the country was entertained with during President Yar’Adua’s campai ... no, ‘campaign’ is not exactly the word Perceptor is looking for ... er, during President Yar’Adua’s ascension to the Presidency in 2007, although at least that story had been preceded by a famous telephone call in which the anointed One confirmed to an anxious nation that he was “not dead”.
During the last few weeks the stories have got even better – with more detail. There has been the “Abba-Aji opened my letter” story, complete with outrage from Abba-Aji and manufactured ‘Brave Defender of Press Freedom and Integrity’ and “We Stand By Our Story” posturing by ThisDay newspaper. Then an even better story came. First Lady Hajiya Turai Yar’Adua, we were told by the Nigerian Tribune, was returning to Nigeria. The accompanying story was that she is returning to prepare for her daughter’s wedding in January. Perceptor is well aware that some sceptics will already have given their ‘Yeah, right’ verdict and moved on to the next story. Perceptor however, while not necessarily sceptical, has just a few doubts about this and so many of the other issues regarding the condition of Mr. President. And as you know, by doubting, we come to questioning ...
1. Is there anything else on the First Lady’s Agenda?
Perceptor only asks because having married off two daughters in such quick succession since entering The Villa in May 2007, Perceptor would have thought that the First Daughter Marriage Machine was sufficiently well oiled and practised that it would only require the First Lady to say “Go” and it would spring smoothly into action. Certainly, even though Mr. President is ‘responding remarkably’ to treatment, Perceptor would have thought that Hajiya would have wanted to ‘stand by her man’ and be at his bedside, to speed up the remarkable response.
So Perceptor can’t help wondering whether there aren’t other things that might be making Hajiya rush back to Naija at this crucial point in the remarkable response instead of leaving things to the FDMM. For instance, perhaps the family jewels need to be safely stored? Perhaps consultations need to be held just in case the response which has been remarkable turns to the unremarkable, indeed, to the non-existent altogether ... ? Perhaps some political manoeuvring by Enemies of the State needs to be neutralized? Perhaps some possible succession ducks need to be got in a row?
2. Which part of the ‘Servant Leader’ aspect of Mr. President is now at play?
Perceptor had not previously realised that the description of himself that he gave, namely “Servant Leader” was severable, i.e. that we might be able to get the Servant part without the Leader, or the Leader part without the Servant. But now, Perceptor is forced to wonder. Because what Perceptor knows that in an ordinary Master-Servant relationship (as it used to be called) or Employer-Employee relationship, a worker who is going to be absent, or who finds themselves unable to come to work because of sickness, usually writes to his or her employer to tell them (a) that they are sick, (b) how long they intend to be away. When such employee plans to be away for a prolonged period, say ... just for instance ... MORE THAN A MONTH ... the employee usually has to explain to the impatient employer that he or she is going to be away for such a long time because they are suffering from ... say ... a cold, or an allergic reaction, or acute ... er, something, and so justify such a LONG PERIOD AWAY FROM WORK. Such Servant usually accompanies their request for sick leave with a doctor’s certificate saying HOW LONG such employee intends to be away from THE JOB.
Because otherwise, some employers might conclude that the employee is No Longer Interested in the job, even if his family members, who depend on his salary and perks, insist that he wants to come back and even Renew His Contract ... otherwise, as Perceptor was saying, otherwise some employers might reach their conclusion and SACK that employee, and get somebody else to do the job ...
But of course, if what we are dealing with is the Leader persona ... well, obviously nobody has any right whatsoever to question his or her BOSS when they don’t turn up to work, have they?
3. Have we got verified specimens of Mr. President’s signature?
Perceptor is prompted to ask this question because as the anxiety and gloom spread across the faces of our rulers when they realised that their access to the nation’s treasury could be blocked by the failure to pass the Supplementary Budget, we suddenly started hearing stories along the following lines: “The National Assembly may be asked to reconvene next week to receive a letter from ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua ...” In the Nigerian Tribune version of this story, the letter will formally hand over to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. All this is being prepared in “full consultation with Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, who has been the only person seeing the president for sometime now.”
Perceptor of course, believes fully all the ‘remarkable recovery’ and ‘watching football’ stories. Still, for the Avoidance of Doubt, Perceptor thinks it might be a Good Idea if, when the ‘letter’ is being signed by Mr. President, Hajiya (or a conveniently placed Nurse or even Doctor) could capture the event on film, you know, so that Nigerians can actually SEE the remarkably recovering Mr. President putting hand to paper thereby preventing ANY DOUBT (with the accompanying questions) about whether Mr. President signed, or whether he knowingly signed ...
Now Perceptor knows that some people will start screaming about invasion of privacy and so on, but Perceptor is just a bit uneasy that if all we know is that someone, say, Hajiya (taking time off from the wedding preparations) enters a closed room and comes out again clutching a letter which thereafter suddenly makes its appearance at the National Assembly, some Doubting Thomases** might, er ... well, DOUBT. So a film of Mr. President signing might nip all that in the bud. Just a suggestion sha ...
4. Is the First Lady bringing any Pictures?
In fact, come to think of it, even if there isn’t going to be any letter, Perceptor wonders whether to convince the doubting Thomases** who don’t believe that Mr. President is still “responding remarkably” to treatment ... some home video might not be a good idea in any case. Because Perceptor has to be Frank. Perceptor is pained to have to report that this Christmas, instead of committing themselves to sober reflection, many of the Good People of this Great Nation were engaging in a frivolous parlour game, “CAD”, which is an acronym for ... (Perceptor finds this really difficult) Comatose, Alive or Dead? The results have been so unfortunate. But Perceptor is sure that the votes for ‘A’ would increase greatly if only there were some Pictures.
5. Why doesn’t somebody get ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo a recharge card?
Perceptor refuses to join the suspicious crowd who claim that Mr. President’s current situation is a deliberate plot by ex-President Obasanjo. But at the same time, like other ex-Presidents (of which the nation is blessed with So Many) his relevance must be recognised. And when the Nation Doubts, there is one man with the hotline that can resolve those Doubts. It seems obvious to Perceptor that a repeat of the famous ‘Umaru! Are You Dead?’ telephone call is what the Nation requires. Perceptor can only think of one reason why that call hasn’t been made. Perceptor is not saying that OBJ cannot afford the cost of a call to Saudi. But a whole ex-President needs to be invited and persuaded. Taking a recharge card would show the right degree of deference and supplication that ex-Presidents are accustomed to. Then he could make The Call and we could all Rest Easy. Er, ... couldn’t we?
*Perceptor knows that many readers will be surprised and even shocked at Perceptor’s claim to be praying on a certain subject. Particularly in view of Perceptor’s comments in the last blog about the need for the hearts of the pray-ers to be pure if their prayers are to be accepted Upstairs. But Perceptor has been re-considering one of the stories (yes now! this is a time for stories, so settle down comfortably and read on, after all, Perceptor isn’t the only one recycling stories, it is just that Perceptor is honest enough to admit that they are old stories) one of the stories from Norse mythology.
The Norsemen lived in Northern Europe and Scandinavia during the first millennium – Vikings and so on. With their climate, which tended to deal in a lot of snow and ice, their outlook was a bit bleak, and for them, hell is freezing, not burning. One of the stories concerns the death of one of the sons of the gods, Baldur the Beautiful: loved by all, he was everybody’s favourite. And Loki, who started off as a sort of Esu character, mischievous, but not evil as such, in the early days. But over time, he changed, and became jealous of Baldur, and finally engineered his death. This was such a blow to the other gods and goddesses that they sent a delegation to those in charge of the underworld to see what could be done to return Baldur to life and the loving arms of his wife and family. They were told that if every living thing on earth should weep for Baldur, then they would allow Baldur to return. And it seemed to be working. Everything, humans, dogs, cows, wolves, trees, plants, fishes – even stones and rocks were weeping for Baldur! Except for this one old woman. Who of course, was Loki in disguise. Who refused to weep for Baldur. Thus sealing his fate, and that of the world with it.
Now, Perceptor isn’t going to pretend that Mr. President is any kind of Baldur the Beautiful. No, Perceptor can’t quite get that one to fly. Still, Perceptor doesn’t want to play Loki either. So if every living soul is required to pray for Mr. P, then my people, Perceptor Prays!
**Perceptor is aware that St. Thomas was reported to have doubted that Jesus Christ, who he knew had been crucified and died, was now alive. Perceptor does not in any way mean to suggest that the physical President Umaru Yar’Adua ever died, or even that his currently comatose political situation can be or needs to be revived. It’s just an expression. You know. A bit like the way that ‘Judas’, is not just used for people who betray their leader to be crucified, but is also used for people who betray a trust in a general sense, you know, like the hopes and expectations of a servant leader, or a nation, or ... oh dear! Perceptor had better follow the advice given to those who find themselves in a hole, and bring this line of thought to a FULL STOP.
Nigeria Prays ... A Roll Call
Perceptor thought that Nigerians might be interested to see some of the names of those who think that we should all fold our arms, close our eyes and pray. Quite a few of them are responsible for the situation that has made prayer the only option for the majority of Nigerians, since they have refused to upgrade our health services at home, even when they were in charge of National and State Health budgets. The “pray-ee” himself has not called for prayers, but the list is long and growing. Some notable personalities on the list are ...
• Number 3 citizen, Senate President David Mark
• Minister of Information, Saint Dora of Akunyuli
• Number A1 Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Michael Aondoakaa
• PDP Supremo, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor
• PDP Supremo and Godfather, Chief Tony Anenih
• The ‘Integrity’ Group
• Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji
• South West Governors and Traditional Rulers (plus including three days of fasting)
• The Governors’ Forum
• Ex-Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari
• Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Honourable Abubakar Ahmed Faggo
• Taraba State House of Assembly
• Ex-PDP Supremo, Audu Ogbeh (who categorically denied asking Mr. President to resign)
• Ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar
• Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole
But it isn’t only people whose fault the condition of Naija hospitals who are praying. Some of the people praying are almost completely blameless ... (see last name on list)
• The Nigerian Bar Association
• General Superintendent, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi
• Imams, Pastors, Blind Men and Lepers in Bauchi State (according to Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda)
• Perceptor (see note * above, regarding Loki)
That Yar-Adua Political Family Advertisement: Not Fully Thought Through
Perceptor was intrigued to come across an advertorial in ThisDay on Sunday signed by one Dr. Farouk Abdulaziz (Tafidan Igbiran), Chairman Yar-Adua Political Family the other day, on what it called “Politicization of Mr. President’s Health”.
According to Dr. Abdulaziz, “It becomes necessary for the YAR-ADUA POLITICAL FAMILY to make its own bold statement amidst the array of comments being made everywhere.”
Actually, it wasn’t really all that bold. As expected, most of the advertorial was a mishmash of sanctimonious sentiment telling us that illness is a natural phenomenon from which “non [sic] is immune”. Dr. A went on about how “Nigerians should develop the culture of nationalism and patriotism rather than taking the part of venting grievances on what only God can control.”
However, one part of the advertorial suggested to Perceptor that Dr. Abdulaziz hadn’t really thought it through. It was where he said that “Those calling for Mr. President’s removal on ground of ill health are indeed challenging God Almighty”. Leaving aside, for the moment, that what was called for was that Mr. President should resign (section 146) in the interests of the nation and go and take care of his health in the interests of himself, rather than be removed (section 144) what Perceptor is a bit baffled by is that when Perceptor dutifully turned to sections 144-146 of the Constitution (to which Dr. A referred us “for detailed analysis”), what Perceptor found was that those sections deal with the President being incapable of discharging the functions of his office!
So whether or not the self-serving Federal Executive Council exercised its powers under section 144, definitely the Constitution was written to take care of a situation where the President was incapable due to ill health. In other words, that section was written so that anybody asking for the exercise of the powers under section 144 would have been “challenging God”. Or could it be ... that if the FEC is asked to exercise its powers, and it doesn’t, then anybody who still asks that it should exercise them is challenging the FEC, and that what Dr. Abdulaziz really means is that the FEC is ... (gulp!) God?
Perceptor was also intrigued to note that the section 145 says that the President should write to the Senate President and Speaker of the House “whenever he is proceeding on vacation or otherwise incapable of discharging the functions of his office” telling them that the VP is taking over. Because if merely being “on vacation” was seen by the makers of the Constitution the equivalent of being “incapable of discharging the functions of his office” (because that is the only way that Perceptor can interpret that “on vacation OR OTHERWISE INCAPABLE” bit), what do we make of being not only away from the office, but flat on a hospital bed in a foreign country?
That Yar-Adua Political Family Advertisement(2)
Perceptor is fascinated by the idea of the Yar-Adua Political Family. Clearly this is different from the Yar’Adua Nuclear Family, the Yar’Adua Biological Family, or the Yar’Adua Extended Family. Because according to the Nigerian Tribune, Mama is saying that her boy should forget about Presidency and concentrate on his health. Which is not what the Yar-Adua Political Family (or for that matter, apparently, the Yar’Adua Nuclear Family) appears to be saying...
So who are the members of the Yar-Adua Political Family? What does it mean, this Tafidan Igbiran title? Could the Yar-Adua Political Family be in any way related to, or composed of members of the Katsina Mafia? Oh dear! More questions ...
In the Spirit of Aunty Dora
Perceptor knows that you will be rather fed up with all this blogging about Mr. President, but honestly, it has been difficult for Perceptor to think of anything else, so all encompassing is this crucial issue in Perceptor’s ... er, perception. Still, if there is any area where we can take refuge from Mr. President and his many, many friends, Perceptor hopes that the Spirit of Aunty Dora can come to our rescue. After all, despite her mental gymnastics over the main matter of the blog, Aunty Dora recently showed how very much a woman after our own hearts she is. How she feels our pain. By proxy. Perceptor quotes from the report in The Punch:
Akunyili said, ‘The Federal Government is concerned and worried about the present fuel situation in the country. We are not foreigners; we are Nigerians. We are also going through what you are going through in one way or the other.
My own driver stayed in the filling station for hours, so we are not insulated from the problem. We feel your pain; we are going through the same pain ...”
Yes, Perceptor agrees. No. You Could Not Make It Up.
So here is a list of things that show what Good People and a Great Nation we are.
*Nigeria has recorded a drop in the number of HIV cases.
Er, ... that’s it.