Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Orwellian Doublespeak About Buhari’s Health

Dear Godwin Okeke,

Ai beg, please do not involve me in the Naija tribalism business/ busyness because I am not part of it.

I'm in this mostly Nigerian-dominated forum as a Pan-Africanist. When you say that I Cornelius Hamelberg don't know how the average Igbo person feels about the Igbo position in Nigeria, I wonder what is the basis of your thinking so? On the contrary, I know how the average Igbo person feels both in Nigeria and in Sweden, because I am constantly in contact with Igbo friends and to some extent -and I'm no solipsist - I feel it too! For example, Chidi Anthony Opara phoned me from that the thick of the first demonstration in Port Harcourt some time ago - and I could hear the turmoil, some gunshots and the general clamour in the background. I felt it. I feel it and have great sympathy for the Igbo peoples cause, albeit maybe, not as passionately as you, but I'm listening and always available, if and when needed.You can count on me

What does GSM mean?

Please tell me.

Cornelius



On Tuesday, 14 March 2017 10:52:20 UTC+1, Godwin Okeke wrote:
Hello Cornelius,
Let us rest the matter here. I have tactically avoided the issue you raised about Biafra secession, and now Ironsi. I am a quintessential Igbo man, and I have been reading you. No matter what I say about issues you raised, youmay never be convinced, because it seems to me that you're already opinionated. You are not Igbo and you don't know how an average Igbo person feels about the Igbo position in Nigeria. But let your people try this for ONE year only and let us know how you feel; 1. close down Lagos ports and open up Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Onitsha, and Warri ports, so that you can clear your goods from there;2. Cancel all direct and major flights to Lagos and Abuja airports, only connecting flights will be allowed, then open up Enugu, Owerri, Asaba, Uyo, and Port-Harcourt to international flights and major connecting flights; 3. Ask all international and diplomatic missions to move their embassies/ High Commissions and Consulates from Lagos, Kano and Abuja to Enugu, PH, and Calabar, 4. All federal government agencies in Lagos and Abuja shall be relocated to Enugu, PH, and Calabar. CBN, NNPC, etc shall and must relocate to PH, Enugu and Calabar; 5. All multinational companies in Lagos and Abuja shall and must relocate their offices to PH, Calabar and Enugu; 6. All oil companies must relocate their head offices to PH as the oil capital of Nigeria. 7. Let the Northern children gain admission into federal schools with 300 score points while the South Eastern/South South states should gain admission with only 20 score points; 8. Let all federal road projects in the North/South West be handled by one local company while those in the SE/SS should be handled by Julius Berger and foreign construction companies without preconditions, ETC .
If these conditions can be fulfilled and implemented for 50 years, we can try one Nigeria and let us see if the North ans SW will like it for just one month. In essence, Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani needing to get visas shall travel to PH, Enugu or Calabar to do that. Same for shipping and importing their goods, ect.
Why is it impossible to open up the regions, so each can development at its own pace? And you're blaming those calling for secession, and think that it is by killing them and threatening them that the problem can be solved. WHERE LIES JUSTICE IN ALL THESE? We are watching!!!
GSM
--------------------------------------------
On Mon, 3/13/17, Cornelius Hamelberg <cornelius...@gmail.com> wrote:

 Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Orwellian Doublespeak About Buhari's Health
 To: "USA Africa Dialogue Series" <usaafric...@googlegroups.com>
 Cc: sol...@yahoo.com
 Date: Monday, March 13, 2017, 10:43 PM
 
 
 
 
         
         
         
         
 
 
 Dear Godwin Okeke,
 The
 very best news!
 I'm with you 100 % about this too.
 
 The absence of any precise information about what was
 ailing the
 president gave ample room for speculation. This lack of
 information
 was aggravated by Mr. President not talking to us directly
 that he
 was indeed feeling "hale and hearty." When from
 her own
 privileged position President Buhari's sister exhorted
 the nation to
 pray for her brother, it sounded as if he was about to give
 up the
 ghost and I thought that we would be hearing a call to
 national
 prayer from people like, on the one hand the Sultan of
 Sokoto, the
 Emir of Kano and on the other hand, Pastor Adeboye and
 Bishop Bishop
 Kukah. I feared that maybe some sons of bitches had secretly
 poisoned
 him, in which case, long may they rot in the hell-fire.
 At some later point there were unconfirmed rumours
 circulating
 that Our Muhammadu had already crossed over the
 sirat bridge to the hereafter.
 
 When Chidi asked  in his fragments
 of poetic thought, whether anyone had seen the president
 and
 furthered this ominous enquiry to Adeshina
 Afolayan
 "Dear Adeshina,
 
 How do you know
 
 That that voice
 
 
 Have presidential body?"
 At that point, many of us feared the worst.
 President Buhari has now confirmed that he had not been
 feeling
 "hale and hearty" - on the contrary just a few
 days ago he
 told us, "I
 have never been so sick in my life"
 I'm in no position to personally vouchsafe the
 integrity of all of
 the president's aids.
 If the information management had told us " The
 president has
 never been so sick in his life" that could have plunged
 the
 nation into a panic mode  - with some of the aids that you
 have in
 mind trying to "make hay while the suns shines",
 others
 jockeying for position as they gather round his successor.
 
 Sadly, the Buhari-Idiagbon duo was overthrown on the 27th
 of
 August 1985 whilst Tunde Idiagbon was on pilgrimage to
 Mecca, with
 his son. The only mistake that Tunde Idiagbon made was to
 have told
 the scoundrels that he was leaving behind, that he had
 started
 rooting out corruption and that they should just wait and
 Insha Allah
 he would finish the job when he returned from his
 pilgrimage.  That
 must have put the fear of God in the incorrigible lootocracy
 and so "they couped" him before he returned.
 
 By the way, quite another matter, you do know that Ironsi's
 father was Sierra Leonean, not Nigerian, Senegalese ,
 Gambian or
 Liberian?
 "Pray for the forest, pray for the tree, pray for
 the fish in
 the deep blue sea.
 
 Pray for yourself and for God's sake, say one
 for me, poor wretched unbeliever." (Gaia)
 
 From the Chocolate
 Factory
 Cornelius
 
 
 
 On Monday, 13 March 2017 13:26:21 UTC+1, Godwin Okeke
 wrote:Well taken Cornelius,
 
 But the issue is not much as in Nigerians wanting to know
 the type of ailment the President is suffering from, than
 the President talking directly to the people from wherever
 he was receiving treatment. This would have defused tension
 and all the unwarrantable speculations that it triggered.
 Rather is was senate President and Speaker House of Reps.
 toady, and Mr. ABC tomorrow, who saw the President, coming
 to tell us that he is hale and hearty. The question is if he
 is hale and hearty, why does he need prayers? Unless for a
 different purpose. Information management is key here!
 Don't be surprised that some of his Aids may use this
 opportunity to loot the treasury. Remember during Yar
 Ardua's health crisis, it was reported that even the
 security vote was traced to someone's private account.
 
 GSM
 
 ------------------------------ --------------
 
 On Sun, 3/12/17, Cornelius Hamelberg <cornelius...@gmail.com> wrote:
 
 
 
  Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Orwellian
 Doublespeak About Buhari's Health
 
  To: "USA Africa Dialogue Series" <usaafric...@ googlegroups.com>
 
  Date: Sunday, March 12, 2017, 12:14 AM
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
          
 
          
 
          
 
          
 
  
 
  
 
  Dear Godwin Okeke,
 
  That was cute of you signing off as "Mr. Know it
 
  all".
 
  How to explain? In this life I have been assigned to play
 
  the role
 
  Cornelius - nobody else - and I'm writing my own
 lines,
 
  just as you
 
  are writing yours.
 
  
 
  Like Ray Charles, I'm fresh
 
  out of tears.
 
  My friend Menachem told me yesterday when I complained to
 
  him, he
 
  said " Well, you know that the Germans like
 
  titles"
 
  The Germans like titles and some people don't like the
 
  Germans, all
 
  because of the führer
 
  - and so you see, for some  people, sometimes, one bad
 apple
 
  represents the whole bunch. You could even extend that one
 
  bad apple
 
  to someone like this
 
  little
 
  ex-Hitler Youth
 
  
 
  I like your name  - just as I liked the name of our
 
  chemistry
 
  teacher Vidal
 
  Godwin in the third form of secondary school.
 
  It's a good
 
  name, as good as other names such as Good-luck,
 
  Good-looking,
 
  Patience, Blessing; the Almighty has multiplied us into
 
  millions of
 
  souls to serve him and so Besserwisser
 
   (good German word), I love you too, I love our people
 
  and this
 
  means that your problems are also mine, really. It's
 not
 
  as if should
 
  I be the weakest link in the chain then the problem is
 mine
 
  and not
 
  yours also
 
  According to another besserwisser, "We
 
  get the governments we deserve" - this is
 
  unarguably the
 
  case with one-man-one-vote Nigeria, so, in my opinion, if
 
  some people
 
  don't agree with this and want to become
 self-governing
 
  as an
 
  independent nation to be known as e.g. Biafra, that 's
 
  absolutely OK
 
  with me as long as they go for it peacefully, starting
 with
 
  a
 
  referendum, because I don't want to countenance any
 
  wanton killing; I
 
  don't want anybody to die just because they ask for a
 
  divorce from
 
  being married to Nigeria.
 
  Question : Shouldn't
 
  we all be having a good time?
 
  
 
  I understand that you asked a rhetorical question.
 
  In Sweden, we have a parliamentary system of government
 
  and a
 
  prime minister, not a president. Here, transparency is a
 
  reality and
 
  not just a slogan  - so if our prime minister were to
 fall
 
  ill for an
 
  extended period of time - to the extent of not being able
 to
 
  perform
 
  his duties as prime minister, I do believe that it would
 be
 
  in place
 
  for us to know about it (unless of course - God forbid it
 
  was
 
  something like HIV  - which has such a stigma) - but
 there
 
  are
 
  privacy laws and so normally my medical journal cannot be
 
  accessed
 
  and made public just like that, not to talk about that of
 
  our King or
 
  our prime minister.  No one's extended illness has to
 
  cause a crisis
 
  in government or a constitutional crisis; I'm sure
 that
 
  there are
 
  provisions in our constitution and in the Nigerian
 
  constitution as to
 
  how to how to deal with such an eventuality.
 
  Check this out : US
 
  presidents who concealed ill health
 
  Concerning the mystery enveloping President Buhari's
 
  state of
 
  health  and the question, of transparency about the
 matter,
 
  our own
 
  Oga, Professor Falola has explained that it's cultural
 -
 
  mark his
 
  words: "Africans
 
  don't like to report their health, whether it's a poor
 
  farmer or
 
  the president"
 
  . Africans. All
 
  Africans?
 
  Africans, generally? Is Godwin Okeke an Oyinbo or an
 
  African?
 
  Mainland or
 
  Diaspora?
 
  
 
  Fact
 
  is that as far as I know, no one has yet asked President
 
  Buhari,
 
  exactly what the matter is.  When he took time off and
 was
 
  off to
 
  London to fix his ear
 
  everybody knew that it was an ear problem . Now it's
 
  certainly
 
  something more serious than just his ear. Bottom line, I
 
  think that
 
  in Sweden too a person  whether a poor farmer or the
 prime
 
  minister
 
  has a right to privacy and even if he is a public servant,
 
  he/ she
 
  does not have to make his ailment public.
 
  Passing
 
  by
 
  Cornelius
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  On Saturday, 11 March 2017
 
  13:57:23 UTC+1, Godwin Okeke  wrote:Cornelius,
 
  
 
  May be that is the way the President of the
 
  country you reside is hidden away from the people who put
 
  him in power when he's facing any health challenge.
 Some
 
  of you can never see anything wrong with the manner the
 
  country is administered because of reasons best known to
 
  you. Mr know it all.
 
  
 
  GSM
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
  ----------------------------- -
 
  --------------
 
  
 
  On Fri, 3/10/17, Cornelius Hamelberg <cornelius...@gmail.com>
 
  wrote:
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
   Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re:
 
  Orwellian Doublespeak About Buhari's Health
 
  
 
   To: "USA Africa Dialogue
 
  Series" <usaafric...@
 
  googlegroups.com>
 
  
 
   Date: Friday, March 10, 2017, 8:45 PM
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
           
 
  
 
           
 
  
 
           
 
  
 
           
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   Baruch
 
  
 
   Hashem!
 
  
 
   Sami allahu liman hamidah - rabbana lakal
 
  hamd
 
  
 
   !
 
  
 
   President
 
  
 
   Buhari returns to Nigeria !
 
  
 
   This has laid to rest the many ugly
 
  rumours and the
 
  
 
   endless,
 
  
 
   unhealthy speculations by the
 
  ne'er-do-well, about the
 
  
 
   whereabouts of
 
  
 
   the President.
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
    Since President Buhari is the president
 
  of all
 
  
 
   Nigerians, I wish
 
  
 
   that I knew exactly how to express the
 
  same sentiment of
 
  
 
   thanks and
 
  
 
   gratefulness to the Almighty for bringing
 
  him back safe and
 
  
 
   sound to
 
  
 
   our Nigeria in all the indigenous Naija
 
  dialects and all of
 
  
 
   the
 
  
 
   varieties of Nigerian English - of which
 
  there are many
 
  
 
   regional
 
  
 
   varieties - and in terms of indigenous
 
  language interference
 
  
 
   - as I
 
  
 
   pointed out to a dear friend this
 
  afternoon, there must even
 
  
 
   be a
 
  
 
   variety of jargon known as "Biafran
 
  English"  - if
 
  
 
   they
 
  
 
   should ever want to
 
  "nationalise" that speech
 
  
 
   community,
 
  
 
   within and even without imaginary
 
  borders. As to exactly how
 
  
 
   it
 
  
 
   sounds - as with all languages, with
 
  special lexical
 
  
 
   features,
 
  
 
   prosody, thought patterns and usual modes
 
  of expression, we
 
  
 
   should
 
  
 
   ask those who speak it fluently and fully
 
  understand the
 
  
 
   range
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   It was frail looking Muhammadu Buhari
 
  that we saw getting
 
  
 
   off that
 
  
 
   plane on TV - but  - another Baruch
 
  Hashem - his eyes
 
  
 
   were
 
  
 
   bright. May the Almighty fortify him
 
   and shine His light
 
  
 
   upon him is
 
  
 
   our prayer,  according to His will. We
 
  heard his spokesmen
 
  
 
   Shehu
 
  
 
   Garba say on BBC  Focus of Africa that
 
  the President will be
 
  
 
   needing
 
  
 
   some more time to rest and heard the
 
  
 
   voice of President Buhari himself confirm
 
  his intention to
 
  
 
   do so  
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   It should be strictly, doctors orders -
 
  in this case
 
  
 
   peace and
 
  
 
   quiet!
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   The advice that one usually gives to the
 
  Brethren - the
 
  
 
   Brethren
 
  
 
   includes yours truly and all those who
 
  believe that when the
 
  
 
   doctor
 
  
 
   orders complete rest for two or three
 
  months he only has the
 
  
 
   weak
 
  
 
   toubabs / oyinbo  in mind  and that
 
  real Africans are
 
  
 
   usually back in
 
  
 
   the field  playing football again after
 
  a mere  two or three
 
  
 
   weeks...
 
  
 
   I guess that rest in this case should
 
  include rest from
 
  
 
   the little
 
  
 
   jabs from certain sections of the
 
   always oppositional and
 
  
 
   hostile
 
  
 
   Naija press that would like to torment
 
  him even now. May
 
  
 
   they never
 
  
 
   be satisfied!
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   Good thing that the vice president is
 
  already performing
 
  
 
   at peak
 
  
 
   efficiency...
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   On Monday, 13
 
  
 
   February 2017 08:43:08 UTC+1, Farooq A.
 
  Kperogi
 
  
 
   wrote:My "Politics of
 
  
 
   Grammar" column in today's
 
  
 
   Daily Trust on Sunday
 
  
 
   By Farooq
 
  
 
   A. Kperogi,
 
  
 
   Ph.D.Twitter:
 
  
 
   @farooqkperogi
 
  
 
   Doublespeak is intentional manipulation
 
  of
 
  
 
   language to conceal uncomfortable truths
 
  or to cleverly tell
 
  
 
   outright lies. The term came to us from
 
  George Orwell,
 
  
 
   although he didn't use it himself. The
 
  term he used in his
 
  
 
   famous book titled 1984 is
 
  "newspeak," which he
 
  
 
   said consists in limiting the range of
 
  words people use and
 
  
 
   in stripping language of semantic
 
  precision in order to
 
  
 
   facilitate government propaganda and mind
 
  
 
   management.
 
  
 
    The mainstreaming of Orwellian
 
  doublespeak
 
  
 
   in Trump's America is already causing
 
  an enormous spike in
 
  
 
   the sales of Orwell's 1984, which was
 
  first
 
  
 
   published in 1949, especially after a
 
  Trump administration
 
  
 
   official by the name of Kellyanne Conway
 
  defended habitually
 
  
 
   intentional falsehoods by the Trump
 
  administration as merely
 
  
 
   "alternative facts."
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   All governments lie, but the brazenness
 
  and
 
  
 
   consistency of the lies of the Buhari
 
  government are simply
 
  
 
   remarkable. It competes favorably with
 
  the Trump
 
  
 
   administration in prevarications and
 
  loud, bold defiance of
 
  
 
   basic ethical proprieties. Nowhere has
 
  this become more
 
  
 
   apparent in recent time than in the
 
  information that
 
  
 
   government officials share with the
 
  Nigerian public about
 
  
 
   President Muhammadu Buhari's
 
  
 
   health.
 
  
 
    I have no evidence for this, but my
 
  hunch
 
  
 
   tells me that Buhari isn't nearly as
 
  sick as his
 
  
 
   detractors make it seem, but the illogic,
 
  intentionally
 
  
 
   deceitful and mutually contradictory
 
  language of government
 
  
 
   spokespeople in explaining away the
 
  president's prolonged
 
  
 
   absence from Nigeria have conspired to
 
  fuel unhealthy
 
  
 
   speculations about the state of his
 
  
 
   health.
 
  
 
   As I told the BBC World Service in a
 
  February
 
  
 
   7, 2017 interview, the labyrinth of
 
  tortuous lies, fibs,
 
  
 
   half-truths, and conscious deceit that
 
  emanate from the
 
  
 
   government make it impossible to even
 
  guess the
 
  
 
   truth. 
 
  
 
   The president's media advisers admit
 
  that
 
  
 
   the president is in London on a
 
  "medical vacation"
 
  
 
   (which is doublespeak for "he is sick
 
  and needs medical
 
  
 
   attention"), and his latest letter to
 
  the National
 
  
 
   Assembly said he was awaiting the results
 
  of medical tests,
 
  
 
   but the Acting President and the Minister
 
  of Information say
 
  
 
   he is "hale and hearty" (which means
 
  he is vigorous and
 
  
 
   doing well). No one can be simultaneously
 
  on a "medical
 
  
 
   vacation," be awaiting the results of
 
  medical tests, and
 
  
 
   be "hale and hearty." That's a
 
  logical
 
  
 
   impossibility.
 
  
 
   It gets even stranger. Senator Abu
 
  Ibrahim, a
 
  
 
   senator from Katsina State who said he
 
  was in touch with the
 
  
 
   president, told newsmen that the
 
  president was neither on
 
  
 
   medical vacation nor hale and hearty, but
 
  only "exhausted
 
  
 
   by the weight of the problems the country
 
  is going
 
  
 
   through." So London is the
 
  president's destination of
 
  
 
   choice to rest, while millions of people
 
  who voted him into
 
  
 
   office squirm in the severe existential
 
  torment his
 
  
 
   administration either deepened or caused?
 
  
 
   Interesting!
 
  
 
   On February 7, Presidential Media Adviser
 
  
 
   Femi Adesina also told Channels TV that
 
  he was
 
  
 
   "daily" in touch with the
 
  President, but
 
  
 
   doesn't "speak with him
 
  direct." How does one
 
  
 
   "keep in touch" with someone
 
  thousands of miles
 
  
 
   away without "directly
 
  speaking" with
 
  
 
   him?
 
  
 
   Well, Adesina said he does that by being
 
  
 
   "in touch with London daily." I
 
  am not making this
 
  
 
   up. You can watch the interview on
 
  ChannelTV's YouTube
 
  
 
   channel. But it gets worse still. He
 
  added: "People
 
  
 
   around him will speak daily. Daily."
 
  You would think
 
  
 
   the word "daily" was in danger
 
  of going out of
 
  
 
   circulation and needed to be verbally
 
  curated on national
 
  
 
   TV.This doublespeak recalls my grammar
 
  column of
 
  
 
   December 10, 2009 on the late President
 
  Yar'adua's
 
  
 
   health. It was titled "Yar'adua's
 
  Health: Amb.
 
  
 
   Aminchi's Impossible Grammatical
 
  Logic." Read it below
 
  
 
   and note the similarities with what is
 
  going on now.
 
  
 
   Enjoy:Nigeria's ambassador to Saudi
 
  Arabia,
 
  
 
   Alhaji Garba Aminchi, was quoted by an
 
  
 
   Abuja newspaper to have fulminated
 
  against
 
  
 
   the unnervingly prevailing buzz that
 
  President Yar'adua is
 
  
 
   in a persistent vegetative state and in
 
  grave danger of
 
  
 
   imminent death. "And all these
 
  insinuations are lies,"
 
  
 
   he was quoted to have said. "To the
 
  best of my knowledge,
 
  
 
   I see him every day, and he is
 
  
 
   recovering…."
 
  
 
   To the best of his knowledge, he sees the
 
  
 
   ailing president every day? So our
 
  ambassador is not even
 
  
 
   sure if, indeed, he sees the president
 
  every day, but he is
 
  
 
   certain nonetheless that the president is
 
  recovering. Huh?
 
  
 
   This is a supreme instantiation of a case
 
  where thought,
 
  
 
   language, and materiality have parted
 
  
 
   company.
 
  
 
   At issue here is the idiom "to the best
 
  of
 
  
 
   my knowledge," which is also commonly
 
  rendered as "to my
 
  
 
   knowledge." This expression, according
 
  to
 
  
 
   the Macmillan
 
  
 
   Dictionary, is used for saying that you
 
  think something
 
  
 
   is true, but you are not completely
 
  certain, as in, "To
 
  
 
   the best of my knowledge, the President
 
  has not decided if
 
  
 
   he will resign because of his failing
 
  health."
 
  
 
   The Free
 
  
 
   Dictionary defines the idiom thus: "as
 
  I
 
  
 
   understand it." The Oxford Dictionary
 
  also defines it as,
 
  
 
   "from the information you have,
 
  although you may not know
 
  
 
   everything."
 
  
 
   So, the idiom is deployed principally to
 
  
 
   express thought-processes that reside in
 
  the province of
 
  
 
   incertitude, of inexactitude. If, for
 
  instance, someone were
 
  
 
   to ask me (and somebody did indeed ask me
 
  a couple of days
 
  
 
   ago) if Yar'adua was dead, I would say
 
  "well, to the
 
  
 
   best of my knowledge he is alive."
 
  Here, the phrase "to
 
  
 
   the best of my knowledge" admits of
 
  both the possibility
 
  
 
   that he could be alive or dead. In other
 
  words, it betrays
 
  
 
   the uncertainty and tentativeness of the
 
  information I have
 
  
 
   about the query.
 
  
 
   Now, for Ambassador Aminchi to use the
 
  idiom
 
  
 
   "to the best of my knowledge" (which
 
  admits of
 
  
 
   uncertainty) in the same sentence as "I
 
  see him every day
 
  
 
   and he is recovering" (which connotes
 
  cocksure certitude)
 
  
 
   evokes an eerily bizarre disjunction
 
  between thought,
 
  
 
   speech, and reality, one that is
 
  impossible to conceive of
 
  
 
   even with the wildest stretch of fantasy.
 
  This is as much a
 
  
 
   grammatical slip as it is a logical
 
  
 
   labyrinth.
 
  
 
   One perfectly legitimate interpretive
 
  
 
   possibility from the ambassador's
 
  statement is that he
 
  
 
   actually sees a figure in Saudi Arabia in
 
  the likeness of
 
  
 
   President Yar'adua that is convalescing
 
  from a sickness,
 
  
 
   but is uncertain if this is merely the
 
  apparition of a
 
  
 
   spooky specter masquerading as Yar'adua
 
  or if it's
 
  
 
   Yar'adua himself. In spite of this
 
  dubiety, however, he is
 
  
 
   positive that the real Yar'adua is
 
  
 
   recuperating.
 
  
 
   This is obviously not what the ambassador
 
  
 
   wants to be understood as saying. So, one
 
  or two of three
 
  
 
   things are happening here. The first is
 
  that the ambassador
 
  
 
   is being barefacedly mendacious in order
 
  to conceal the
 
  
 
   graveness of the condition of
 
  Yar'adua's health. And
 
  
 
   this won't be out of character. After
 
  all, English
 
  
 
   diplomat and writer Henry Wotton once
 
  famously defined an
 
  
 
   ambassador as an "honest man sent to
 
  lie abroad for the
 
  
 
   good of his country." Only that, in
 
  this case, our
 
  
 
   ambassador is lying abroad for the bad of
 
  his
 
  
 
   country.
 
  
 
   The second possibility is that the
 
  ambassador
 
  
 
   is simply clueless about the meaning of
 
  the idiom. And a
 
  
 
   third possibility is that he has been
 
  misquoted or
 
  
 
   mistranslated by the reporter who wrote
 
  the
 
  
 
   story.
 
  
 
   Now, this isn't an idle, nitpicking
 
  censure
 
  
 
   of an ambassador's innocent slip by a
 
  snooty,
 
  
 
   self-appointed grammar police. This issue
 
  is not only about
 
  
 
   the health of Yar'adua; it is also
 
  about the health of our
 
  
 
   country. Since Yar'adua took critically
 
  ill, the nation
 
  
 
   has been in even much graver illness. In
 
  somber moments such
 
  
 
   as this, we cannot afford the luxury of
 
  tolerating
 
  
 
   intentionally deceitful and irresponsible
 
  political language
 
  
 
   from public officials.
 
  
 
   Link
 
  
 
   between Bad Language and
 
  
 
   Misgovernance
 
  
 
   In his famous 1946 essay
 
  
 
   titled "Politics
 
  
 
   and the English Language," George
 
  Orwell
 
  
 
   railed against this very tendency among
 
  the public officials
 
  
 
   of his day. He wrote: "Political speech
 
  and writing are
 
  
 
   largely the defence of the indefensible.
 
  Things like the
 
  
 
   continuance of British rule in India, the
 
  Russian purges and
 
  
 
   deportations, the dropping of the atom
 
  bombs on Japan, can
 
  
 
   indeed be defended, but only by arguments
 
  which are too
 
  
 
   brutal for most people to face, and which
 
  do not square with
 
  
 
   the professed aims of the political
 
  parties. Thus political
 
  
 
   language has to consist largely of
 
  euphemism,
 
  
 
   question-begging and sheer cloudy
 
  
 
   vagueness."
 
  
 
   Do you see any parallels here between
 
  
 
   Ambassador Aminchi's illogical
 
  grammar—and indeed that
 
  
 
   of most Nigerian public officials—and
 
  the public officials
 
  
 
   of Orwell's days?
 
  
 
   Interestingly, the problem endures to
 
  this
 
  
 
   day even in Britain. On Nov.
 
  3, 2009 the Guardian of
 
  
 
   London reported that a British
 
  
 
   parliamentary committee excoriated
 
  "politicians and civil
 
  
 
   servants for their poor command of the
 
  English language"
 
  
 
   epitomized in the "misleading and vague
 
  official
 
  
 
   language" of prominent
 
  
 
   politicians.
 
  
 
   Tony Wright, chairman of the committee,
 
  said:
 
  
 
   "Good government requires good
 
  language, while bad
 
  
 
   language is a sign of poor government. We
 
  propose that cases
 
  
 
   of bad official language should be
 
  treated as
 
  
 
   'maladministration'."
 
  
 
   Maybe the committee chairman's
 
  sentiments
 
  
 
   are a bit of a rhetorical stretch, but
 
  someone should tell
 
  
 
   Ambassador Aminchi that he cannot
 
  simultaneously be unsure
 
  
 
   that he sees the ailing president and yet
 
  be certain that
 
  
 
   the president is recovering. That's
 
  impossible grammatical
 
  
 
   logic. And that can only sprout from a
 
  mind that is wracked
 
  
 
   by psychic
 
  
 
   disarray.
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   Farooq A. Kperogi,
 
  
 
   Ph.D.Associate
 
  
 
   ProfessorJournalism & Emerging
 
  
 
   Media
 
  
 
   School of Communication &
 
  
 
   MediaSocial Science
 
  
 
   Building Room 5092 MD
 
  
 
   2207402 Bartow Avenue
 
  
 
   Kennesaw
 
  
 
   State University
 
  
 
   Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
 
  
 
   30144
 
  
 
   Cell: (+1) 404-573-9697
 
  
 
   Personal website:
 
  www.farooqkperogi.comTwitter: @farooqkperogAuthor of
 Glocal
 
  English: The Changing Face and Forms
 
  
 
   of Nigerian English in a Global World
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   "The nice thing about pessimism is
 
  that
 
  
 
   you are constantly being either proven
 
  right or pleasantly
 
  
 
   surprised." G. F. Will
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
   
 
  
 
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