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Perceptor 20-"No Questions for Now!"

July 19, 2009

Image removed.  “By doubting we come to question, and by questioning, we perceive the truth.” (Peter Abelard, 1079-1142).

No ‘Questions’ for now.  Instead, Perceptor has some answers.  Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have brought Perceptor much closer to the truth and instead, seems to have only succeeded in raising more doubts ...

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Answers to Questions on ‘Amnesty’ for Niger Delta Militants
Never let it be said that Perceptor is too big to admit an error.  Perceptor’s head is hanging in shame at the cynicism, scepticism and scorn that some readers may have detected in the questions that Perceptor posed last blog.  For this reason Perceptor cannot fail to share Mr. President’s delight that the ‘Amnesty’ has been accepted by Henry Okah.  Readers will recall that Perceptor was concerned at the delay in extending the largesse and magnanimity to Okah when all that was needed was the input of the Honourable Attorney-General, Michael Aondoakaa.  Perceptor was even worried that the HA-G might have been sulking because he was going to have to issue a nolle prosequi for an ordinary person FOC, and not even for a governor either!  Well, all that seems to have been put behind us now.  The HA-G was on an official trip to Sao Tomé and Principe which is being simply OVERRUN with Nigerians, and the HA-G was no doubt there to make sure that they were all remaining law-abiding, and had nothing to do with Jimoh Ibrahim.  At least, not in an unofficial capacity.

Now Perceptor knows that small minds will complain that Okah hasn’t been convicted so can’t get a pardon.  Or that Okah signed because he was over a barrel, and he really had no choice but to sign on the dotted line so that he could go and get the sort of health care for himself that Mr. President went to I ... oops!  Health care anyway.  But Perceptor says that we should all look on the positive side.  Okah’s arrest was the reason given for a lot of the pipeline explosions and so on that have been going on in the Niger Delta, and Okah has now called on militants to lay down their arms and give peace a chance.  Perceptor says congratulations all round!

Now, how to get the message through to the numbskulls who blew up the Chevron pipeline after Mr. President had expressed his delight at Okah’s acceptance.  Don’t they read the papers?  Or were they simply trying to celebrate Okah’s impending release with fireworks but only had explosives?  Perceptor hopes there will be no more such lapses.
Update: Perceptor needs to get these blogs out sooner.  Soon after writing the above, came the news of the attack on Atlas Cove in which innocent people lost their lives.  Perceptor is not sure that such killings can really be described as ‘lapses’ but wonders what the objective here is?

When Trouble Sleep ...
Actually, Perceptor is not being exactly fair – trouble is already wide awake in the health sector and Nigeria has the figures (infant mortality, maternal mortality, life expectancy, road accident deaths and so on) to prove it.  So it perhaps isn’t really accurate to say that the decision of the Minister of Health to provoke a strike by two of the nation’s health workers’ unions - Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching and Specialist Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI) and its Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) – is trouble sleeping and being woken by nyanga.   More a case of showing a red rag to an already enraged bull perhaps, the bright idea that some of the staff should be downgraded so that they wouldn’t jump two grades eyes
Update: Perceptor really does need to post sooner.  Perceptor didn’t realise that in the waking up trouble business, Mr. President’s ministers were just warming up!  Or how else can Perceptor explain the N120 million birthday party that Education Minister, Dr. Sam Egwu (no, not the proper activist Sam Egwu, Perceptor means the ex-Governor) held to mark his 55th birthday.  Is that not waking trouble when university lecturers are on strike over the deteriorating conditions in our universities?
And by the way, what is there in a 55th birthday that it should be celebrated?  Perceptor thinks that the ex-Governor should have a look at some people who decided to mark funny number birthdays – Jennifer Madike and Terry Waya for example.  Soon after well-publicised funny number birthdays, they found themselves in court facing criminal charges ...  Perceptor thinks that you can do big celebrations for 1, 3, 10, 18, 21, 40, 50, 60, 70, 75, 80 and anything after that.   But these funny numbers in between ... Perceptor thinks that the operative words would be ‘LOW PROFILE’.

On the One Hand ...
We have Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu thinks that the judiciary is a ‘Bastion of Democracy’.  At least, that’s what he told a bunch of his Peoples Democratic Party chums when they came to congratulate him on having his victory confirmed by the Court of Appeal (Yes, Perceptor knows that you think that the visit perhaps might not have been undertaken so much in solidarity as in expectation of the ‘transport money’ that might feature as part of the deputy presidential farewell, but Perceptor is not so cynical).
... And On the Other Hand ...
We have the same Peoples Democratic Party FLAYING (according to no less connected a source than ThisDay) the judiciary for depriving Senator Femi Kila of his Senate seat and giving it to someone else without giving him a chance for a re-run!  In fact, this same PDP (well, obviously a different set of its representatives than the bunch who went to see the Deputy Senate President) is so outraged that it intends to amend the constitution to prevent courts from declaring an opposition candidate the winner because, according to Mr. Bola Olu-Ojo, chairman of the Ekiti State PDP, such declaratory judgments “most of the time favour the opposition”.   In fact, Mr. Olu-Ojo thinks it is “always better to have a re-run”.  That is, that ALL disputed elections should be re-run.

Hmmmm.  Perceptor wonders whether Mr. Olu-Ojo has really thought this one through.  For example, let’s leave the Dep-Sen-Pres aside: how is that going to play if – for example – just as a ‘for instance’ – if, someone were to challenge the result of a presidential election ...

Now Perceptor wouldn’t put it past Mr. Olu-Ojo to get a constitutional amendment to impose a re-run only if the opposition looks like winning, but Perceptor wonders what will happen if the re-run election is contested and ...  No.  Perceptor really wonders whether Mr. Olu-Ojo has thought this one through.  Another one for the Dustbin of Duuuuuh, Perceptor thinks ...

Nice to See You Mr. President
Perceptor is SO HAPPY to see that Mr. President is getting out and about more these days.  Only, Perceptor is a bit worried about why Mr. President should only leave the safety and facilities of Aso Rock for divisive or demeaning trips.  Having stuck his leg into the Ekiti re-run mess not once, but twice (and so put the kibosh on any lingering belief that he had any noble or fair intentions about free and fair elections), he then popped up in Bauchi State to help his son-in-law and members of the ANPP cross-carpet without losing their seats, thereby neatly combining nepotism with constitutional breach.  Next port of call was Ogun State where Mr. President copied his predecessor in avoiding what everybody else who goes to Abeokuta or Ota has to suffer when he took a helicopter ride so that he can continue to delude himself that the Abeokuta road is a reasonable alternative to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which, readers will recall, he has parcelled off to Mr. Wale Babalakin as a monopoly on which Babalakin will be able to charge road users what he likes for the privilege of using a road that was originally built with their money.  Well, we were told that Mr. President was going to perform some superficial opening or some such, but we were also told that he was going to wade into what has now become known as ‘the Ogun State crisis’, i.e. the PDP people are fighting each other with a variety of weapons, including photographs of naked oath-taking.  Perceptor can’t help wondering: Is this really the sort of thing that Mr. President’s leg should be getting stuck inside?
And the latest that Perceptor hears is that Mr. President is planning to jet off to Italy to make up a decorative fringe of beggars at the Group of 8’s meeting where ‘aid’ to Africa is to be discussed.  Honestly, Perceptor does think that it might be better for Mr. President to stay home.  Honestly.

Update: Last one, Perceptor promises!  But after writing this, Mr. President indeed popped up at the G8 ‘Outreach’ meeting where he said practically the same thing that the leader of the African beggars had said – You promised to give us money last time, but you haven’t kept your promise.  Same thing for that matter, that the professional beggars – international humanitarian NGOs’ – said.  Then Mr. President carried himself off ahead of obviously malicious* stories that he’d really gone to Italy for medical treatment and turned up in Egypt at the meeting of Non-Aligned countries.  They all lamented the irrelevance of their Movement and promised to do something to make themselves more relevant.  Honestly, honestly, Perceptor thinks Mr. President might as well have stayed home.

*Malicious because obviously, if Mr. President had in fact gone to Rome for medical treatment (which Perceptor naturally refuses to believe for one SECOND!) obviously, if he HAD, he wouldn’t have been able to stay and get it once the cat was out of the bag.  Not that there was a cat to let out of the bag.  But if there had been a cat in the bag, Mr. President would now have had to prove that there was no cat in the bag by proceeding direct to Egypt.
Perceptor also wants to FROWN at the same scurrilous sort of reports which suggest that Mr. President creeps back to Abuja under cover of darkness because he is ill.  This is obviously nonsense.  After all, he flew to Rome and Egypt didn’t he?  Why should flying home make him ill?  No, Perceptor thinks that Mr. President obviously cree ... returns at such an ungodl... er, EARLY hour because he doesn’t want to see his Ministers wasting valuable working time by trooping out to the airport to see him in the middle of the day.  Mr. President also doesn’t want to disrupt the traffic on the increasingly dodgy and dilapidated airport road into Abuja with meaningless convoys.  Perceptor means, even if Mr. President is privileged to go by helicopter, he can’t carry all those Ministers and aides with him can he?  So it is obviously nothing but sheer consideration for other people, and nothing to do with hiding his exhausted condition.  Which he isn’t anyway.

As Perceptor noted in the last blog, Perceptor’s eyes have only just stopped watering over the huge amount of cash that one of Governor Peter Obi’s contractors (and, convoy-wise, one of his passengers too) was carrying about the country.  But whatever uncharitable minds may have thought that the N250 million cash was being used for, Perceptor is interested to note that it isn’t going as ‘protection’ or ‘hush money’ for members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.

At least, that was the reason why Anambra MASSOB leader, Major Anayo Chukwunonso asked his men to give the Governor a knock over the head when he went to pay respects to late ex-Governor C.C. Onoh, thereby showing not only their anger, but also that without them, security in the state may be rather elusive, even for whole governors!  Others, Major Chukwunoso warned darkly, were paying.  Frankly, Perceptor doesn’t know who to condemn most.  Those governors who are not paying MASSOB, those governors who ARE paying MASSOB.  Or MASSOB itself.  For not finding something better and more productive for young men to do than cheap extortion.  Perceptor thinks that MASSOB should go and see what Mahatma Gandhi had to say about ‘Wealth Without Work’ as a social evil.

The Meaning of Words ... Seven and Two
*Why now?  When Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi told the Senate that the President should concentrate on one or two areas out of his Seven Point ‘Agenda’, Perceptor started designing the leaflets for the ‘Sanusi for President’ campaign.  But now the man has come out to say that he never said the SP‘A’ should be cut to two!  Perceptor is not amused.  Perceptor thinks that nit-picking that he said that Mr. President should ‘prioritise’ one or two areas is a bad sign.  Perceptor hopes that this sort of irritating semantic fussiness isn’t what he is taking to the Central Bank.  For Mr. Sanusi’s information, there are lots of things that aren’t on the President’s SP‘A’.  The judiciary, foreign affairs, medicine and health, to name just a few.  It doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to get any attention or be neglected or thrown into the dustbin.  So the things on the ‘Agenda’ are supposed to be the ones that are given PRIORITY.  And if you say that out of the SEVEN things that Mr. President thinks should be given priority, only ONE or TWO should be given PRIORITY, then, in Perceptor’s humble opinion, you are saying that the SEVEN Point ‘Agenda’ should be reduced to TWO.  QED!

Seven Point Agenda ... Update
*EDUCATION: Perceptor has always been an admirer of Senator Joy Emordi.  Maybe it is the battle she had to claim her seat against the machinations of her party which wanted to slide someone else into the Senate seat that she had won for them (well, why did you think it was known as Party Deceiving People?) but the distinguished Senator gave the impression of being a serious-minded and hardworking legislator – especially compared to her undistinguished, frivolous and expensive colleagues.  (Of course, even the distinguished Emordi is expensive, but Perceptor maintains that her constituents and Nigeria is probably getting a bit more ‘bang for our bucks’ than with some other drones ...

Anyway, Perceptor was an admirer.  But now, Perceptor is going to have to think again.  Senator Emordi is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education.  So she ought to know what the problems facing the sector are.  And indeed, in an interview that she gave to ‘The Guardian’, she even confessed that she supported the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, even though she didn’t think that going on strike was a good way of going about it.  Even more astonishing, she said that she hadn’t seen any seriousness on the part of government.  And then she went and delivered the KISS of DEATH to the Education sector.  She called for the declaration of a STATE OF EMERGENCY in the EDUCATION sector!!!

Does Perceptor need to say more?  May Perceptor draw your attention to what has happened in the power sector since Mr. President wafted the prospect of the declaration of a State of Emergency around it?  Almost unrelenting black-out, unbridled importation of all sorts of scrap metal masquerading as generators, and noise and pollution across the land?  And now Senator Emordi wants the same thing to happen to the education sector?  Perceptor asks again: Does Perceptor Need To Say More?  Perceptor thinks not!

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*POWER: While Perceptor is on the subject of the power sector, also another crucial element in the Seven Point ‘Agenda’, Perceptor is happy to see that Prince Kayode Adetokunbo, the Minister of Labour and Productivity (No, NOT the Minister in actual charge of power!) happy to see that instead of going to sleep over a notice of strike, the Minister has responded by calling the aggrieved unions for talks with their employers in the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.  Apparently the Minister hopes to avert the threatened strike, and for this, Perceptor says to him WELL DONE!  Only thing, Perceptor wonders, is how we might be expected to know whether or not PHCN workers are on strike or not?  What?  We’ll know because there won’t be any electricity? ... Hmmmmmmm


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