Saturday, 11 February 2012

Nigeria: Disabusing the false premises in our discourse


Hecklers on Twitter, I presume
Hardly had my blog of yesterday been up 10 minutes before I got a Tweet suggesting I had offered no specific solutions. Obviously, I was not surprised that this had come out of Twitter’s woodwork, probably a heckler attempting to interrupt me in the flow of debate or an assassin poised to gun me down.
Basically, at least from my point of view, I had never engaged this person before and unfortunately I have not carried over the real life response to this type of activity which is, if a stranger accosts me on the street playing familiar that I have no connection with, they usually get ignored especially if the hour is the witching hour – it was well past midnight on my clock.
I have decided to address the matters as premises at the top of this blog and push the background to the latter part of the blog.
Premise: Article suggests no specific solutions.
The blog was written as an analysis of a speech given which appeared to signal resignation and confusion as to why the principal was in the job he was doing. We are well beyond analysis paralysis of the problems that affect Nigeria, it is expected that those who assume leadership of the country are versed in those issues and are ready to tackle them effectively not lament on the impossibility of their circumstances.
Fundamentally, I am not the President, he is the President – it is a job that has the micro-management of scrutiny from everyone affected by his decisions, he has had the executive fiat to select his ministers and advisors – surely, they cannot all be bereft of ideas and solutions to take the country forward that we end up with a President who appears to have thrown in the towel.
Premise: This is not the time to coach Goodluck Jonathan to be a good President.
Whilst I am slightly annoyed with the idea that this man is learning on the job, I much more annoyed that it appears he is not learning anything at all. However, if we are to live through another 39 months of this presidency, it calls for an intervention.
The Occupy Nigeria movement started off something, the House of Representatives probe on the Fuel Subsidy scheme appeared to uncover what might be a massive fraud and it should become the watershed for this Presidency.
I dared say since the vocation of my assailant was motivational it was time for him to pen something about arresting a failing goal.
Goodluck Jonathan has a number of options; to honourably resign for the fact that the responsibility he has is overwhelming and beyond him, he be asked to step down for more competent hands or he pull himself up and get into job of being a fine President – all of which are possible.
For all the promise that 2015 presents, we are in the now, the present and these present times require radical and effective action – performance is required, trying his best just not good enough – over to the excellence merchants, bring forth your success potions and get him drunk on the brew.
Premise: People are not hungry enough for change
I think Nigerians have taken enough insults from “know it alls”. Pressed with the need to survive, most just go about their business and seek comfort through extreme religious devotion with the hope that things change.
Obviously, a good deal of change will have to be led by the people and it will not be easy but we do not have to be reminded that we are caught in the grip of an unconscionable kakistocracy.
Premise: Most people who criticise Goodluck Jonathan have never led anything in their lives
That might be true, but does one have to have once been a leader to know that whether they are properly led or not? This is a false premise and a fallacy. It is like saying because we are not pilots we have no right to complain if the flight is in a manoeuvre that appears to endanger the passengers.
In fact, I consider this argumentum ad hominem, there are many vantage points and perspectives to issues, there is much that can been seen by those external to the circumstances whose input can at times help. It is like having someone who cannot drive being the eyes of the driver backing into parking space – well that premise has fallen apart already.
The fact is many of us have assumed some sort of leadership in various ways and how we have commandeered situations has determined either the success or the unfortunate failure of those endeavours – there are expectations of leadership and where that leadership appears to be falling short, the qualification to criticise should never be predicated on the critic having been in that position before.
Premise: We all have to be change agents
“Change agent” for me, has become a worn cliché, it is the jargon of purveyors of snake oil remedies. The main ingredient for change is knowledge and information, the possession of facts and good analysis of issues. Some of that will include praise, criticism, fawning, excoriation and indifference.
Honest and frank observation must be key to furthering the discussion and debate whilst engaging other minds in the common goal for progress.
I am convinced a majority of Nigerians want change for the better but each has to hear a message that appeals to their drive to effect change and because personalities differ, there is no “one size fits all” approach to achieving that.
I have never been a “glass half full” person because I enjoy the good things of life, it all depends on the content. If the glass has fine wine, I will expect it to be half-empty having drunk a bit and I will be waiting for the sommelier to top it up. My glass will probably be half-full if it was bad wine – Go figure.
The background continuing from the end of the second paragraph
However, on Twitter, I am much more mellow, quite accommodating and usually responsive, probably too good-natured and too much of an English gentleman for my liking.
So, I responded, the purpose for my blog was not written from the premise of “If I were President” but to ask that he begin to act like the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, I was reviewing the Twitter profile of my assailant, glad to know that he was a bit travelled and schooled; the long and short of the profile was as I have found on many Twitter profiles – Snake Oil Merchant on the Bleeding Obvious.
Motives in motivation
Don’t get me wrong, motivational speakers have a market, each person has a modicum of inferiority complex that needs addressing and there is enough pulp fiction to teach success, leadership and how to make money out of thin air – I have bought a few and junked much more.
However, you can hardly get the thickness of a Chinese wall between confidence tricksters that portend to have all the tricks to make money especially ritualistic and religious ones and the more refined success merchants of the Un-impossible.
I knew I had my work cut out mostly in disabusing the premises that governs their God complex of knowing why and how, having found ‘sheeple’ to eat their grass.
What my blog said
On the context of my blog, I doubt he had read more than what I written yesterday evening considering I had at least covered this topic for over two years and it was evident from my writing yesterday that I was expressing disappointment in someone who at the onset appeared to have promise.
In my view, President Jonathan definitely has rotten speechwriters, but speechwriters need to be inspired by the speechmaker to craft messages to convey a mood, a purpose or a situation. Both the speechwriters and the President have failed to inspire and Nigerians as passengers on a cruise ship about to be shipwrecked are left confused as the captain and crew seem to have abandoned the ship long before the rescue has commenced.
The incredulity of it all is captured in speeches he made in January and February which I reviewed in opinions published as blogs; the President was not pulling his weight and announcing to the world that he could not.
In my exasperation, I asked him to stop his lamentations and start to preside, I have had my fill of Nigerian politics but surely there must be better brains and more capable Nigerian hands to run that great country if the system is not warped against them for the benefit of the few who have mercilessly run that amazing country of great potential into the ground and we have to endure the sophistry of “glass half full” snake-oil success merchants who think the President’s best is the best Nigeria can have and all is well.
I am neither a coach nor a footballer but I do not need to be told when a goal is scored and which side appears to be winning. The false premises have been debunked.

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