admin, Author at Intervention https://intervention.ng/author/admin/ Journalism Beyond Breaking But Fixing the News in Defence of Voices Thu, 23 Mar 2023 06:54:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 114409802 Peter Obi and the Ideological Crisis of the Nigerian Left https://intervention.ng/28065/ https://intervention.ng/28065/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2023 06:30:22 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28065 If the Nigerian Left or what remains of it has not publicly acknowledged Peter Obi for forcing an ontological moment in there, it might only be because the recovery from the Obi shocker for it is understandably slow. Otherwise, Peter Obi has, without knowing it, triggered a moment in radical Left and things will never […]

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If the Nigerian Left or what remains of it has not publicly acknowledged Peter Obi for forcing an ontological moment in there, it might only be because the recovery from the Obi shocker for it is understandably slow. Otherwise, Peter Obi has, without knowing it, triggered a moment in radical Left and things will never be the same again. Surely, only very few elements of the Left – of whichever tendency – would not have secretly wished that it were one of its stars rather than a Peter Obi who came to be the signifier of the “dissident” imagination and on the platform of the Left’s own party – the Labour Party.

Articulatory politics has never been strange to the Left in Nigeria, not for those who still have memories of the National Theatre in the early 1990s

For a Peter Obi who only four years ago was the Vice-Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), this reality challenges everything that the dominant kind of Marxism in the Nigerian Left speaks to, especially the dogma of the pre-given revolutionary agency of the working class and the primacy of the economy determining social relations of production and all those stuff. But, instead of any of that, Peter Obi proved the superiority of the contention about the constructedness of reality in a contingent manner. Obi, a super capitalist merchant, could have become the elected president of Nigeria on the platform of the Left party about which he knows almost nothing regarding the founding intention, the agenda or vision. The very successful representation of the Obi candidacy to certain audiences in national politics as the answer to the current crisis and on the basis of which Obi went far provides the most recent rupturing of Foundationalism as an ontological category.

What Obi’s productive enterism has so clearly brought out is that the Left has been a peripheral actor in Nigerian politics not because it lacks the financial and human resources but because it has become a victim of its directive principle and the weaknesses of that directive principle. More than the constraints of Western metaphysics on classical Marxism, there is the current pluralism that any emancipatory agenda must take into consideration through a logic of equivalence frame rather than a casual concession. Let’s exemplify this point in a polity such as Nigeria. What would be more exclusionary and inconsiderate than subordinating the victimhood of women to the category of the working class in the 2st century when more women die due to maternal mortality than anything that the working class suffers? What manner of structural violence can be more than this? The argument before now is that it is workers who have a strategic location in the dynamics of capitalism as to have the burden of the overthrow of capitalism. But, what of the indigenous peoples that capitalism chases around the world, expropriating their land, ancestry, identity and livelihood? Is it still possible to insist that they do not have a strategic location in the dynamics of capitalism, especially after David Harvey’s thesis of the ‘Spatial Fix’ as one of the major ways by which capitalism has managed to keep re-inventing itself? Emancipation politics must speak the language which the confluence of victims of the entrenched order must understand because, as has been argued, “…, contemporary political mobilisation gave the lie to the notions of agency preferred by Marxists. The radicalism of the late twentieth century was not necessarily ‘class’ in character, but rather one propelled by specific injustices, oppressions and exclusions that pointed towards an amelioration of the system, rather than its overthrow. It was the ‘new social movements’ who provided political energy and impetus to change, not the working class, which was merely one among a number of political actors who had to be addressed by radical theorists”.

It is not only the Left in Nigeria that has this problem. The only difference between the Left in Nigeria and other Left formations is the level of awareness of the limitations of foundationalism and the various attempts to overcome it. The tragedy in Nigeria is the near absolute lack of recognition of the limitations vis-a- vis the plausible ways out within the context and constraints of the Nigerian situation. Without such attempt at collective/organisational self-updating, it finds itself in paradoxical moments best illustrated by the Obi enterism and about which the Left was and is completely unable to do anything.

It was total disarray instead of a collective anything. Some of the Left members didn’t accept the ontological sacrilege. Others became its cheer leaders while some others kept quiet. This is the scenario the Left is also heading in the event that Asiwaju Tinubu is inaugurated. The Left will end up in that government not as a collective but through consensual absorption via Asiwaju’s personal links to established individuals in Left politics. Such a reality is not necessarily good or bad EXCEPT that the process of absorption will be over and above the Left formation in any organisational sense.

Peter Obi, one man shaking both Left and Right wing politics in Nigeria

What this means is a Left ideologically, ethically and organisationally so weak as to be so vulnerable to any of Obi or Tinubu and even an Atiku Abubakar were Atiku’ politics conscious of invading and incorporating Left elements. So also Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso if he tried. With a read cap symbol, some Left would have had no qualms going over and rationalising that by connecting Kwankwaso to the Aminu Kano trajectory.

This level of vulnerability has never been the case. There have been Left elements who thought they had overgrown Left politics and became professional politicians, with many of them making a success of it in bourgeois terms but, other than those, no Left ever left to serve a party or government without the nod. And it was publicly acknowledged in most cases.

The Left in Nigeria must update itself. There’s a sense of the craving for that among a section of the Left but the suffocating grip of a particular detachment has acted as a fetter on that tendency to updating. Otherwise, there was a strong hint of the need for updating which came via the question that drove the 2018 version of the ‘Marxism in Africa’ Conference series: why is the world no longer experiencing revolutions as we knew it?

That question appeared to have been borne out of the problems that radical politics in the Leninist foundational moment has encountered between 1945 and 1965. Although it is debatable if these problems are universal since they all happened on the European soil, it seems the elements within the Nigerian Left that framed that question appreciated that nearly all the intellectual and ideological responses to the problems have an African origin. This is in the sense that nearly all the French thinkers who put different critiques of orthodoxy derived the inspiration directly and indirectly from what they saw in the Algerian struggle for independence, be it Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida or Fanon. Ernesto Laclau who didn’t have this connection is a Peronist with many years of involvement in radical politics. His wife, though a Belgian, studied under the French thinkers under reference.

Putting together the most cruel manifestations of orthodoxy in the First and Second World wars, the Holocaust, colonialism, the crisis of Socialism in the defunct USSR and East Europe, the violence involved in suppressing the Algerian war of independence, the rise of nationalism and populism, the successful imposition of neoliberalism globally, the problems of Empire and race and, above all, the pluralistic identity crisis that the articulation of capitalism had brought about, these scholar-activists fell back on forebears such as the Frankfurt Scholars and Gramsci to come to the conclusion that, in spite of the great insights of classical Marxism, it has the major defect of impossibilising politics itself. And they advanced alternative approaches towards overcoming the junctions, particularly the notion that politics is superior to the economy. And they provided certain new concepts and practices by which this makes sense.

There is still no consensus on that but a sharp awareness of the attendant debates and the limit and potential of each alternative strategy has become a requirement for any progress in radical politics. The Nigerian Left does not suggest it accepts this analysis or that it cannot move into being a factor in Nigerian politics without re-mastering these updating itself on these debates. Individuals within it might have mastered them but certainly not the block. The dominant language or expressions do not show any sign of coming to grips with these updates in an organisational sense and deploying what is most suitable in relation to Nigeria.

There is thus nothing surprising that the question and the implications it embodies for the theoretical must, I am sure, be troubling most members of the radical assemblage in Nigeria today. The question must be how it came to be that the Left in Nigeria has said nothing of consequence as another of Nigeria’s most pregnant moment unfolded since the party primaries in 2022 which threw up the elements whose election or non-election are in debates now and on the tense moment after the February 25th, 2023 presidential poll and its aftermath? The Left would have been the only credible voice standing at a time when statesmanship and moral authority of individual agency are most lacking in Nigeria. A Left without political presence with particular reference to setting the borders of the debates, who to be put in his or her place when it comes to rhetorical recklessness, which fraction to privilege on a particular issue and vice versa and which hawks to chase away before coming to chide careless chicks so as to, in all cases, moderate intra-class quibbling to keep them within the bounds of law and order becomes, without design, an accomplice of whatever implosion the current tension results into. In the current level of material development of the world, the most immediate task of all agencies connected with emancipatory politics in a setting such as Nigeria is disciplining an inherently chaotic elite and doing so organisationally.

There lies the tragedy at hand that the Nigerian Left which has paid its due years back is not going to be a variable in the impending negotiation of stability in Nigeria. Without its own rich and critical insights into the nature of the struggle for control of the centre, other actors will force their way in, frame the crisis from the own perspective with implications for the solutions but only for the Left to start complaining about imperialism and neocolonialism.

All said and done, the Left is needed as a balancer in Nigerian politics. This is more so as the querulous Nigerian elite steps back to review, compensate and reconcile themselves after the bitter fight for offices in the just concluded series of elections, a process within which popular democratic interests of the people will not feature, except by accident.

Does the solution lie in a strategy of looking back so as to move more brilliantly into the immediate future? Perhaps, an organizational self-review will benefit from editing, publishing and making a big show of the minutes of meetings of the defunct Socialist Congress of Nigeria, (SCON) because the minutes will show a glorious past and the areas that needs reworking. With that big event, it will launch itself into articulatory politics within which what it wants can be constructed to acquire the force of action. Freed from the constraints of narrativised ontological categories, it can then gather the confluences of victims of marginality into a ‘historic block’, speak to them in a language they can understand so that they too can speak truth to power in their own interest. Otherwise, Left politics in Nigeria will remain nothing but a space of show!

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University of Cape Town Still the African Star in the 2023 QS Subject Ranking https://intervention.ng/28062/ https://intervention.ng/28062/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2023 20:56:07 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28062 When one looks at some of the criteria used in most of the ranking exercises, one could say it is not for African universities. A criterion such as the international character of a faculty or of the university will inherently bring down most universities in Africa because of the exchange rate crisis but also, for […]

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When one looks at some of the criteria used in most of the ranking exercises, one could say it is not for African universities. A criterion such as the international character of a faculty or of the university will inherently bring down most universities in Africa because of the exchange rate crisis but also, for a long time, empire builders have narrativised Africa as the anti-thesis of modernity.

It is in that context that the performance of South Africa’s University of Cape Town remains interesting. ‘Colonialism of a special type’ might account for its performance but, even then, it is interesting it has remained within the first 150 in almost all previous overall and specific subject ranking.

Even this year that it has climbed down to 180th position in the social sciences category, for instance, it is still ahead of many otherwise tough universities in the world, among them Dartmouth College, University of California in Davis, University of Uppsala, Ghent University, University of Amsterdam, University of Geneva, University of York (in Canada), Heidelberg, Hamburg, Lausanne and not less than three Australian universities.

University of Cape Town

Cape Town,South Africa

68.1

=180

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Amsterdam,Netherlands

68

182

University of Delhi

New Delhi,India

67.8

=188

Central European University

Vienna,Austria

67.7

=191

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne,United Kingdom

5+QS Stars

67.7

191

Osaka University

Osaka City,Japan

67.6

=193

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta,United States

67.5

=194

Universität Heidelberg

69117 Heidelberg,,Germany

67.5

=194

University of California, Davis

Davis,United States

67.5

=194

University of Geneva

Geneva,Switzerland

67.5

=194

Universität Hamburg

Hamburg,Germany

67.5

=194

University of Helsinki

Helsinki,Finland

67.1

=206

Dartmouth College

Hanover,United States

67

=209

Deakin University

Geelong,Australia

67

=209

University of Calgary

Calgary,Canada

67

=209

Victoria University of Wellington

Kelburn, Wellington,New Zealand

5+QS Stars

67

=209

York University

Toronto,Canada

67

=209

 

Nanjing University

Nanjing,China (Mainland)

66.9

=214

RMIT University

Bundoora,Australia

5+QS Stars

66.8

=216

Uppsala University

Uppsala,Sweden

66.8

=216

Ghent University

Ghent,Belgium

66.7

=218

Qatar University

Doha,Qatar

66.7

=218

University of Waterloo

Waterloo,Canada

66.7

218

University of Southampton

Southampton,United Kingdom

66.6

=223

Indian Institute of Management (IIM) – Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad,India

66.4

=224

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst,United States

66.4

=224

University of Warsaw

Warsaw,Poland

66.4

=224

Boston College

Chestnut Hill,United States

66.3

=227

Cairo University

Giza,Egypt

66.3

=227

University of Ottawa

Ottawa,Canada

66.3

=227

University of Lausanne

Lausanne,Switzerland

66.2

=230

University of Liverpool

Liverpool,United Kingdom

66.1

=230

Macquarie University

Sydney,Australia

66

=234

University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg,Sweden

66

=234

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Chicago,United States

66

234

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Strongest 105 Universities in the Social Science Subjects in the 2023 World University Subject Ranking https://intervention.ng/28059/ https://intervention.ng/28059/#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2023 19:08:45 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28059 It is time to get more insights into how well or not too well particular universities are teaching particular courses as QS World University Ranking releases its 2023 Subject Ranking. It is not all academics that put much premium on the ranking phenomenon but the subject ranking dimension as different from the overall ranking tends […]

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It is time to get more insights into how well or not too well particular universities are teaching particular courses as QS World University Ranking releases its 2023 Subject Ranking. It is not all academics that put much premium on the ranking phenomenon but the subject ranking dimension as different from the overall ranking tends to be well regarded because it is, to a great extent, a mapping of where the leading authorities are located in the universities across the world.

That is why, left to some critics, the Subject Ranking is the only form of ranking that makes sense. To overstretch the logic, there is no point going to Cambridge to study Discourse Analysis when Chantal Mouffe is there at the University of Westminster or when the Essex School of Discourse Analysis at the University of Essex is where the typical recruiters start from when looking for a specialist in that area. This would be a plausible and justified argument in the case of the UK, for example.

According a statement on this year’s Subject Ranking by QS, over 1,500 institutions across 54 different subjects, grouped into five faculty (broad subject) areas are involved in the 13th edition of the exercise. Its sense of the most notable features of the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2024 are:

  • Six of the 10 most improved programmes are hosted by institutions in the Arab Region: Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Qatar and Jordan.
  • Three new subjects have been evaluated: Data Science, Art History and Marketing.
  • US institutions lead in an impressive 32 subjects. Among the top-performing institutions, Harvard University ranks first across 14 subjects – two more than last year’s results.
  • The University of Oxford dominated four of the top 15 subject tables including ‘Anatomy and Physiology’, ‘Anthropology’ and ‘English language and Literature’ – while the University of Cambridge dominated two: ‘Archaeology’ and ‘Modern Languages’.
  • The H-index (a metric that measures both the science productivity and impact of published work from an institution) ranks Australia fourth among the most impactful research locations worldwide.

The statement quotes Ben Sowter, QS Senior Vice President, as saying that “This subject ranking is the largest ever and provides an ever-deeper understanding of how rankings success is achieved. Sustained targeted investment and international collaboration are consistently pillars on which progress can be made. Meanwhile, improving relationships with industry correlates with better employment, research, and innovation outcomes”

In this extract, Intervention shows the first 105 leading universities when it comes to the Social Sciences in the 2023 QS Subject Ranking. It doesn’t show that those outside this bracket do not have what it takes. It means that these are the flashpoints of advances in the study of the social sciences as a knowledge hub. What that means for a prospective student, for instance, is that, barring other considerations, these are where those who want to break new rounds may struggle to nestle.

Critical observers of the list are likely to be surprised by the early presence of Latin American universities on the list. Beyond the early appearance on the list, they are there throughout, from Brazil to Mexico, (yea, we can take Mexico from North to Latin America in this case). It shows the strength of social sciences in that part of the world within the global whole. This is particularly interesting because it tends to correspond to the powerful impact of Decoloniality which can be argued to have a Latin American character.

There is no university from Africa on the list but there are about two from the Middle East.

Other than these minor features, it is still the United States, UK, China, Australia and a few other European countries that still control much of global knowledge production.

Intervention will keep taking different aspects of the ranking, especially the way individual universities are celebrating it and the other subject hubs such as the Humanities, Engineering, Medicine and so on.

1

Harvard University

Cambridge,United States

98.2

2

University of Oxford

Oxford,United Kingdom

93.5

3

Stanford University

Stanford,United States

92.8

4

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cambridge,United States

92.3

5

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

London,United Kingdom

91.9

6

University of Cambridge

Cambridge,United Kingdom

91.7

7

University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

Berkeley,United States

89.4

8

Yale University

New Haven,United States

88.2

9

University of Chicago

Chicago,United States

87.9

10

Columbia University

New York City,United States

86.6

11

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles,United States

86.2

12

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia,United States

85.8

13

New York University (NYU)

New York City,United States

85.2

14

Bocconi University

Milan,Italy

84.1

=15

Princeton University

Princeton,United States

83.9

=15

University of Toronto

Toronto,Canada

83.9

17

University of British Columbia

Vancouver,Canada

83.2

18

National University of Singapore (NUS)

Singapore,Singapore

83.1

19

Peking University

Beijing,China (Mainland)

82.2

20

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor,United States

82

=21

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC)

Santiago,Chile

81.8

=21

UCL

London,United Kingdom

81.8

=23

London Business School

London,United Kingdom

81

=23

Northwestern University

Evanston,United States

81

=25

The University of Melbourne

Parkville,Australia

80.9

=25

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Mexico City,Mexico

80.9

27

Cornell University

Ithaca,United States

80.8

28

Tsinghua University

Beijing,China (Mainland)

80.6

=29

The University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong,Hong Kong SAR

80.2

=29

University of Amsterdam

Amsterdam,Netherlands

80.2

=31

INSEAD

Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates

79.9

=31

The University of Manchester

Manchester,United Kingdom

79.9

33

The University of Tokyo

Tokyo,Japan

79.6

34

Seoul National University

Seoul,South Korea

79.2

35

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore)

Singapore,Singapore

79

36

Australian National University (ANU)

Canberra,Australia

78.9

=37

Tecnológico de Monterrey

Monterrey,Mexico

5+QS Stars

78.8

=37

The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)

Sydney,Australia

78.8

39

Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA)

Buenos Aires,Argentina

78.6

=40

Duke University

Durham,United States

78.5

=40

The University of Warwick

Coventry,United Kingdom

78.5

=42

King’s College London

London,United Kingdom

78.2

=42

McGill University

Montreal,Canada

78.2

44

Fudan University

Shanghai,China (Mainland)

78.1

=45

The University of Sydney

Sydney,Australia

78

=45

Universidade de São Paulo

São Paulo,Brazil

78

=45

University of Texas at Austin

Austin,United States

78

48

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Rotterdam,Netherlands

77.8

49

Monash University

Melbourne,Australia

77.5

50

The University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh,United Kingdom

77.1

51

HEC Paris School of Management

Paris,France

77

52

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Hong Kong SAR,Hong Kong SAR

76.9

53

Yonsei University

Seoul,South Korea

76.5

54

Universidad de Chile

Santiago,Chile

76.4

=55

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hong Kong SAR,Hong Kong SAR

76.3

=55

University of Navarra

Pamplona,Spain

76.3

=57

Imperial College London

London,United Kingdom

76.2

=57

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai,China (Mainland)

76.2

59

Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne

Paris,France

76

60

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Moscow,Russia

75.9

61

Korea University

Seoul,South Korea

75.7

=62

King Abdulaziz University (KAU)

Jeddah,Saudi Arabia

75.6

=62

The University of Queensland

Brisbane City,Australia

75.6

64

Boston University

Boston,United States

75.4

65

Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna

Bologna,Italy

75.3

66

Universidad de los Andes

Bogotá,Colombia

75.2

67

Pennsylvania State University

University Park,United States

75.1

=68

HSE University

Moscow,Russia

75

=68

KU Leuven

Leuven,Belgium

75

=68

Michigan State University

East Lansing,United States

75

71

ETH Zurich

Zürich,Switzerland

74.9

72

Zhejiang University

Hangzhou,China (Mainland)

74.7

73

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison,United States

74.6

74

Sciences Po

Dijon,France

74.4

=75

National Taiwan University (NTU)

Taipei City,Taiwan

74.3

=75

The University of Auckland

Auckland,New Zealand

74.3

=77

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong SAR,Hong Kong SAR

74.1

=77

Universiti Malaya (UM)

Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia

5QS Stars

74.1

79

Université PSL

Paris,France

73.9

=80

Complutense University of Madrid

Madrid,Spain

73.8

=80

Copenhagen Business School

Frederiksberg,Denmark

73.8

82

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Berlin,Germany

73.7

83

University of Leeds

Leeds,United Kingdom

73.5

84

University of Washington

Seattle,United States

73.4

85

Kyoto University

Kyoto,Japan

73.3

=86

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)

Barcelona,Spain

73.2

=86

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

San Diego,United States

73.2

=88

Luiss University

Rome,Italy

73.1

=88

University of Southern California

Los Angeles,United States

73.1

=90

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign,United States

73

=90

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Minneapolis,United States

73

=92

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh,United States

72.9

=92

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)

Madrid,Spain

72.9

94

Tilburg University

Tilburg,Netherlands

72.7

=95

The Ohio State University

Columbus,United States

72.6

=95

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Barcelona,Spain

72.6

=95

Waseda University

Tokyo,Japan

72.6

98

University of Glasgow

Glasgow,United Kingdom

5+QS Stars

72.5

99

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Munich,Germany

72.4

=100

Renmin (People’s) University of China

Beijing,China (Mainland)

72.3

=100

Universitat Ramon Llull

Barcelona,Spain

72.3

=102

Durham University

Durham,United Kingdom

72.2

=102

University of Copenhagen

Copenhagen,Denmark

72.2

=102

Utrecht University

Utrecht,Netherlands

72.2

105

Georgetown University

Washington D.C.,United States

72

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Behold Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, Governor-Elect of Benue State in Central Nigeria https://intervention.ng/28054/ https://intervention.ng/28054/#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2023 04:08:56 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28054 Although this is not the first time Benue State would be experimenting with a Catholic priest as an elected governor, there is still novelty in the electoral emergence of Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia as the governor-elect of Nigeria’s Benue State. The fusion of the sacred and the profane in one individual is not a common […]

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Although this is not the first time Benue State would be experimenting with a Catholic priest as an elected governor, there is still novelty in the electoral emergence of Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia as the governor-elect of Nigeria’s Benue State. The fusion of the sacred and the profane in one individual is not a common or everyday experience around the world because of the insistence of Enlightenment philosophy in rigid separation of the two.

It is therefore of sociological importance that Benue State heads for a priest at every most distressful moment. Is it distrust of the ordinary politicians or the dynamics of intra-elite clashes? To date, the state holds the record of having a priest-governor, not to talk of having it the second time.

Celebrating victory in Makurdi

Makurdi, the Benue State capital erupted in carnival style show all of yesterday in celebration of the victory of the priest. The election of  the man now simply called ‘Fada’ is being celebrated by resort to all manner of convivialism, roadshows and such expressiveness. One of the participants in the celebration told Intervention it is a two-in-one exercise. He meant the departure of Governor Samuel Ortom from power and the coming of Fada.

Ortom’s reign has been marked by conflictual entanglement, first with the man known as the leader, Senator eorge Akume who actually awarded him the governorship against someone else perceived to have done better; President Muhammadu Buhari whom he fought for allegedly being behind the routine invasion of ancestral lands in Benue areas and, lately, the national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) on the ground that the candidacy of Atiku Abubakar meant the possibility of a Fulani to Fulani transition at the centre. He implied that, as the “defender of the Benue Valley”, he could not accept that.

His worst conflict is not paying salaries for months unend, thereby alienating himself from the workers, pensioners and teachers, the weakest links in the social chain in a state with little or no commercial or industrial activities. To mention the inability of the Ortom governorship, however, quickly draws the ire of the Benue State Government.

Intervention came under fire for writing what a party intellectual and an aide of the governor calls stuff promotional of the All People’s Congress, (APC) governorship candidate who has now won the election. The issue, said the official, is not that Ortom refused to pay but that the money from federal allocation is not enough to pay.

Whether the truth is the inadequacy of federal allocation to pay or not, the more crucial issue at the moment might be the phenomenon of priest-governor peculiar to Nigeria’s Benue State and to which the piece below is an insight to the first time and the first priest-governor in the early 1990s. It has been reproduced with minimal editing. The original title was:

The late Rev Fr Moses Adasu, governor of Benue State from 1991 to 1993

30 Years After Reverend Adasu, Another Priest is Set to Emerge As Governor of Nigeria’s Benue State

By Adagbo ONOJA

As things stand today, all the indices point at the electoral ascendancy of the Buga-dancing Hyacinth Alia, the Catholic priest carrying the All Progressives Congress, (APC)’s flag in Benue State in the March 11th, 2023 Governorship/House of Assembly poll. The indices in question include the Christological bonding  with a Catholic priest in an agrarian setting as Benue; the nightmare that the Samuel Ortom regime is rated to have been across the board, the ascendancy of the APC at the national level and, lastly, the outcome of the election into the Senate in the State. APC took two, leaving the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) with one.

No one can be sure what the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) may do with the governorship poll. It seems, however, that Benue State is where INEC’s malaise may not affect the outcome. This is not to dismiss the emergency alliance the PDP is believed to be building against the reality of APC victory.

And so what if Fr. Alia wins? Well, it would remind everyone of the pioneer for that trajectory in the State – Rev Fr. Moses Adasu. Secondly, it will bring up the Ortom question in the politics of power.

In the early 1990s, Rev Fr. Moses Adasu was elected the governor of Benue State. It was a novelty in clerical populism. Some people swear that all that won him the governorship was that many voters remembered the priest who baptized them or their children over the years. Who better to trust by a peasant voter than the priest who was such an interlocutor between a Christian and his or her desire to make Heaven. It is an imperative to be born in Christ through Baptism. So, Adasu’s campaign managers had less work to do relative to his opponents.

In office, Adasu turned something else. One tale from the ground is that he could stop the convoy to the consternation of Body Guards just to greet either some worshipper he saw from his car or enact a similar scene. In other words, he was a demystifier of orthodoxy.

Adasu’s unorthodox approach to power and office caught media attention. The now defunct The Sunday Magazine, (TSM) sent this reporter to capture what was filtering into the newsroom as the Adasu phenomenon. The effort at getting the governor to talk so that the story package would have a box interview which allowed him to speak included hitching a ride on his convoy to Benin City where governors elected on the platform of the then Social Democratic Party, (SDP) were to have a meeting. In the course of the journey, the driver of the convoy car carrying this reporter and the late Rufa’i Ibrahim who was also pursuing the same story for the Daily Times was asked how the priest-governor now combined the two spaces. Somehow, the question trickled to the governor in a manner that made me look like a spy. That was exactly what the governor himself said when he sat with the two reporters the following morning. And for that reason, he wasn’t going to grant the questioner an interview. Rufai Ibrahim who knew me very well was aghast but I urged him to have his own interview. As at that time, I was already done with my story, interview or no interview with the governor.

Back in the newsroom in Lagos, the late Ely Obasi added his own editorial touch and the story made the magazine’s cover, with the caption: “Tougher than Balarabe”. And it brought out the other side of the late priest-governor. Adasu offered humbling apology, explaining how he was misinformed about me by his obviously ill-educated driver who just couldn’t situate my question beyond his own over-zealous radius. He said I was a good Benue man out to help his cause. And since then, we became friends. It is that friendship that saw me honouring his invitation to where he served what must be the cleansing process for priests who went into politics in Zaria in 1997. We went over a lot within the three hours we spent together that day. I wish I can still find my jottings from the session.

It is quite some time now and memories of his short-lived rule have faded. But, just within two years that he was in power, he established the Benue State University. And the university was structured in a manner that it could assert itself in the Nigerian Law School against those from Nigeria’s first generation universities. Before the ride to Benin from Makurdi on that fateful journey, I had a short session with Sabastian Agbinda who was the equivalent of what we know as Chief of Staff today to the late Adasu. I recall him mentioning the plan of the Adasu government to re-invent all the absolutely relevant industries the late Aper Aku government put in place but which the military governors from 1983 to 1990 misgoverned. If the elected governors under IBB in 1991 had stayed, it is most likely Adasu would have brought back all those industries. There is no strategy of development superior to Aku’s industrialisation strategy in Benue State in the Second Republic up to this moment.

What’s point in all this? It is that it could be hope rising if the first priest-governor was a study in unorthodox ways and developmental too, the second could even be transformative. There was no Buga then and Adasu did not dance Buga. Could Alia dancing Buga signify that he is surely improving on Adasu? Only time will tell.

Now, to the Ortom question in the politics of power. The governor of Benue State for the past eight years has lost the Senate seat he sought in the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly Election. His tenure expires in May 2023. His party, the PDP did not win the presidential election. Even if it did, Ortom is already estranged from the party. Peter Obi whom he supported did not win the presidential election either. After a bitter fight with George Akume, Benue APC leader, it is unlikely that he can find his way into APC by following Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, (assuming that is Wike’s plan). In any case, Buhari, Ortom’s mortal enemy, will remain APC elder for quite some time. So, how might things have come this way for the defender of the Benue Valley who can neither go back to the people whose salaries he never paid?

In particular, how did it happen that someone who, by his own testimony, started life as a motor park operative could not offer the downtrodden anything concrete for eight years? Wouldn’t this be the most mind boggling puzzle in Nigerian politics today? What is it that makes it impossible for an Ortom to perform where an Aper Aku or an Adasu set a record within four and two years, respectively?

Lastly, what is about Benue State that no rich person ever rules the state? It is always either a teacher or some activist, (Aku) or a civil servant, (Akume) or someone from the masses, (Ortom) or priests. Barrister Gabriel Suswam who seems to be the exception in that he got into Benue governorship from the National Assembly is not of the bourgeoisie at the end of the day. Something to ponder upon!

Social reality in Nigeria’s Benue State has completely assumed a Senator George Akume – Governor Samuel Ortom clash of the titans. The governorship election has resolved the clash in favour of Senator Akume

The Benue State PDP protested the above story which it said was slanted. The claims in the protest warrants republishing it because meaning is never immediately present: 

In the piece under attack now, an Intervention editor who reported the Fr. Moses Adasu regime in Nigeria’s Benue State some 30 years ago projected the possibility of another Catholic priest adding value to Adasu’s records then.

Neither would Fr. Alia win the election nor would he be as developmental as Adasu comes a “rejoinder” to Intervention from a PDP elder who requested anonymity on the ground that he is not really ready to join in what he calls their misdirected euphoria but only reacting to ‘educate’ Intervention against joining the Abuja crowd.

The caller who obviously thought that Adagbo Onoja, Intervention’s reporter who wrote the story in question is still based in Abuja and might have been influenced by Senator George Akume’s circle directed much of his bile at Senator Akume. Fortunately or unfortunately,   Onoja no longer lives in Abuja and has never met Senator George Akume in person. But the elder insists that there is a Senator Akume circle out there going after Governor Samuel Ortom but mostly from the position of deliberate ignorance as well as mischief about Ortom not paying salaries of civil servants and pensioners. The problem, he argues, is that Benue State neither receives enough monthly allocation nor generates enough revenue internally to cope with its wage bill. This is the problem any other governor of Benue State will contend with, including Fr Hyacinth Alia if he were to win the governorship, adds the caller.

But Alia, he says, will not win the governorship. Although the caller agreed with all Intervention’s points about the late Adasu, conceding that Adasu brought ordinariness to governance and demystified orthodoxy, he insists on a distinction between Adasu and Fr. Alia, asserting that Adasu was a product of what Chinua Achebe would have called ‘solid personal achievements’. Adasu, he further told Intervention was a Dean at the College of Education in Katsina Ala, won election into one of the Constituent Assembly sessions and rose to be the second most powerful official of the then Makurdi Diocese which has now grown into Makurdi, Gboko, Katsina Ala, Lafia and Otukpo dioceses. Continuing, he credited Adasu with assembling brilliant and independent minded young chaps such as Dr. Gabriel Moti, Sabastian Agbinda, the late Bave Dzeremo and co who took charge of policy.

Alia on the other hand, as far as he is concerned, is only a product of Senator George Akume who he claims cannot do without being in control of the Government of Benue State. But Alia will not, in his analysis, win the governorship. One, consultations are going on between the PDP and other parties. And as he put it, it should not be forgotten that all Labour Party’s votes in Benue State in the Presidential election were actually PDP votes. Two, the APC ticket of Alia and Sam Ode is not popular in Idomaland where he claimed that people see it as a Tiv-Tiv ticket because, Sam Ode who is Alia’s deputy is of Tiv mother. As far as he is concerned, the election of the governor in the state would only have been complicated if the APC had picked someone as Prof Terhemba Shija, the Nasarawa State Literature scholar whom he credits with having nuance and pedigree.

Reminded of observed massive trooping back ‘home’ by voters determined to vote out the PDP across the state as well as PDP’s loss of nearly all House of Representative seats and two out of the thee senate seats, the elder still insists that APC and Fr. Alia are all about euphoria and that euphoria will not get them the office because Alia does not, in his view, have the clout in the Catholic Church implied by Intervention. Above all, he posits that Alia has no leadership experience and would fare worse in inability to pay salaries, returning to his thesis that Benue has a cash crunch crisis.

Ironically, he traces the crisis to Adasu whom he said over-employed in a bid to enact his populism, shooting the wage bill to a level that Joshua Obademi, the Military Administrator who took over from Adasu in 1993 was forced to retrench. Since then, he says, no other governor has escaped owning workers backlog of salaries in the state. It is in this sense that he says Senator Akume and his imagined Abuja circle are a part of the problem. He doesn’t disagree that Senator Akume is generally regarded to be very kind and accessible but he insists Akume is part of the problem “because they know why the governor cannot be up to date on payment of salaries. The money is not there”.

As Intervention reflects on the PDP elder’s protestation of the story, it could not but conclude that everything in Benue State has assumed the Akume – Ortom conflict, including how each camp reads every media report. Everything is read in terms of either it is for Akume and, therefore, against Ortom or the other way round. And that raises the question: if both Akume and Ortom are in politics to serve the people, why is it impossible for the duo to step back and raise the stakes on how best they could come together to serve the people. Those who may consider this a naïve question may think so because they can only see victory or defeat for one side or the other. But, in truth, the people are paying for the conflict. Intervention is, therefore, not interested in reducing the situation to a personality clash between the two.

 

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NIIA Flashes the Searchlight on ‘Self-Determination and Secessionism’ https://intervention.ng/28048/ https://intervention.ng/28048/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2023 21:08:15 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28048 A Peace and Conflict Studies perspective of the use and misuse of the theory and practice of self-determination is what would be at stake Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 at the Conference Chamber of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) in Lagos. NIIA is bringing a resource person from the United States to speak to […]

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A Peace and Conflict Studies perspective of the use and misuse of the theory and practice of self-determination is what would be at stake Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 at the Conference Chamber of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) in Lagos. NIIA is bringing a resource person from the United States to speak to the topic “Self-Determination and Secessionism in Postcolonial States: Reflections on Solutions from Peace and Conflict Studies”.

Prof Achankeng

The resource person is named in an NIIA promo on the event as Prof. Fonkem Achankeng of the College of Education & Human Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in the USA. Prof Fonkem’s biodata on his university’s webpage suggests that there might be no better resource person than himself to handle the topic. Although his theoretical standpoint in conflict analysis is not loudly proclaimed, he is highly, highly published and very scholarly on the topics on which he has written. Two samples might suffice, with one being “Resolving African Conflicts: Imagining Today’s Challenges” in a 2018 book edited by the well-known African scholar of decoloniality, Prof Sabelo Ndlovu-Gatsheni. The second is his book The Biafran War and the Geostrategic Stakes for Cameroon, 1968 – 1970.

Notwithstanding the Cold War character of much of the violent conflicts across Africa between 1960 and 1991, much of them also were justified by a resort to ‘self-determination’. Self-determination and secessionism have reduced numerically but not gone. It is strategic to hear from those trained in healing fissures in the society what about Self-Determination and Secessionism all this while.

The seminar starting at 11:00 am (West Central Africa) can be accessed via a https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83606941870?pwd=aGpIajBwMS9CRXoxeU1Cck4xWHJ5dz09, with the Meeting ID: 836 0694 1870/Passcode: 621785.

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Managing Asiwaju’s Coming Overwriting of the Cartesian Bullshit to Morph Into Nigeria’s Most Powerful President Ever https://intervention.ng/28041/ https://intervention.ng/28041/#respond Mon, 20 Mar 2023 18:19:03 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28041 By Adagbo Onoja The level of mental, institutional, infrastructural and social decay in Nigeria is of an emergency proportion. So much so that any person of goodwill must join in putting concrete suggestions on the table. Unfortunately, the business of putting concrete suggestions on the table in Nigeria can be dangerous because nothing in Nigeria […]

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By Adagbo Onoja

The level of mental, institutional, infrastructural and social decay in Nigeria is of an emergency proportion. So much so that any person of goodwill must join in putting concrete suggestions on the table. Unfortunately, the business of putting concrete suggestions on the table in Nigeria can be dangerous because nothing in Nigeria is assessed outside of the Cartesian bullshit of good versus bad. Perhaps, it is not only in Nigeria but Nigeria is one sure place where no recognizable efforts are on to checkmate the consequences of the Cartesian line of looking at reality. So, people are dying or are being killed in justification or defence of the ‘good’ against the ‘bad’ across Nigeria, becoming the ‘we/they’ binary in ethnic, regional or religious dimensions of it. With the collapse of the universities as the only way to create a critical mass of people who have transcended that binary reasoning, there is the danger it could get worse. In other words, the deliberate destruction of the universities by destroying the principle of merit in the recruitment of university teachers, vandalisation of the autonomy of universities in the deeper sense of that word and by deliberately impoverishing academics, is proving very costly to national interest. Universities do not just exist to award certificates and give the Visitor opportunity to wear academic gown at the Convocation. But, even as dangerous as it is to join in offering suggestions, Nigeria is too important to be left to chance and the duty of drawing attention to defining and/or emerging features of the social order must be attended to, if for nothing else, then for posterity. We give immense thanks to God that nobody can say that some of us write because are in need of an appointment or contract or some form of patronage, none of which one is available for at the moment as for this to be sycophancy.

IBB did penetrate the society but without transcending the praetorian mentality as to have been really powerful

In this regard, there can be nothing more important than attention to the acquisition, consolidation and deployment of power in a pre-industrial polity as Nigeria. This is because power is the ultimate variable in what counts as reality. We started this engagement with power in the context of the impending Asiwaju presidency by contending that his becoming is a product of constructivist simulation rather than power gained through his location in the structural, institutional or coercive infrastructures.  The structural, institutional or coercive infrastructures were deployed to realize the Asiwaju power gaze. The second ‘installment’ located the Asiwaju imaginaire in the Lagos catchment of the Nigerian political economy. In this segment, the attention is on why Nigeria is waiting for its most powerful president ever in the Asiwaju Tinubu presidency, a claim which inherently raises the question of what the unprecedented degree of power might be used for and at whose behest.

The relationality of power which makes each and every one of us more powerful than we ever imagine makes it a bit ridiculous to suggest that any individual could be more powerful than necessary. The best example used to illustrate the relative equity of power is that of the prisoner – the best image of the completely powerless individual, especially those of them in handcuff or leg chains. But even a chained prisoner can still be powerful. He or she could decide to take own life. Those in handcuff can embark on a hunger strike. If they should die from that hunger strike, they would have deprived state power of the pleasure of taking its pound of flesh. It is to stop that which makes state power jitter whenever a prisoner embarks on a hunger strike. The jitter is not about concern for the prisoner, no matter the number of ethically minded people in a government. It is because a hunger strike is a test of strength between state power and an individual, a contest in which the state insists on winning, sometimes by force feeding the prisoner.

The foregone is why it is argued that power is relational rather than something held up there by the ‘oga at the top’. Men in the rural setting appear to understand the relationality of power better than most others. It manifests in the folk saying that a man who pleads with his wife to have sex with her is not suffering from cowardice. He is not because the wife alone can grant that without the experience transforming into a rape charge against him. The statement speaks to the relationality of power at that level.

But resistance to unequal power relations can be costly too. A hungry man whose sense of dignity compels him to reject an offer of food from someone he considers it beneath his dignity to accept food from is paying a huge price for resisting power imbalance between him and the food owner. This is the case across the world. It is worse in a typical African country where the typical postcolonial elite entertain no checks on brutal form of power in humiliating the relatively powerless.

There are no signs that Nigeria’s in-coming president may not follow the footsteps of his forbearers in terms of relying on coercive instruments of power. One is, however, arguing that Asiwaju Tinubu would still emerge the most powerful president of Nigeria ever even without resorting to coercion. Now, this is how it will play out.

Would Asiwaju’s phenomenal diffusion into the society be used in a transformative way?

Asiwaju is a publisher or, better still, a media mogul and, by implication, a friend of journalists. Every editor may not be inclined to give his activities a front page treatment but there are Asiwaju editors and journalists in this country. This does not flow necessarily from transactional dynamics but simply from the Tinubu variable in Nigerian politics. Nothing highlights this variable more than that, for 24 years, he alone has been, directly and indirectly, in charge of Nigeria’s most complex state – Laos. It has nothing to do with whether it is a good or bad thing that this has been the case but simply what has been. That is if we discount that he also, singlehandedly, literarily installed the president and the Vice-president of Nigeria at one go. Again, it is beyond being a matter of whether this is good or bad but the case of what has happened.

Let’s go to academia – the space which controls ideas, theories and concepts and is usually the core agenda setting force in societies where you have strong academic culture. With over half a dozen professors providing intellectual maps to the Asiwaju power machine, the in-coming president has a never – before link to that very strategic space. IBB did have tough professors but there is a difference here. IBB’s professors were recruited to advance and defend a power agenda they did not craft. Asiwaju’s professors are going to be advancing, implementing and defending a power agenda they are not strangers to and, therefore, have a stake in its success. The second dimension of this is that these professors have their own independent links to academia – friends, colleagues, former students and so on. Third dimension is that these are people who have not been resource starved and are not about to.

The same thing will apply to the radical establishment. In fact, the fear now is that the coming of Asiwaju Tinubu will be the temporary evaporation of Left politics in Nigeria. The situation could develop to where he even becomes the organizer of the rehabilitation of the Left. Many Leftists in Nigeria are, at heart, Asiwaju Leftists. The most prominent Left element who gets into that government will become a rallying point to the detriment of the old Left.

In the Judiciary, there are Tinubu judges in this country. Again, this does not strictly flow from transactional dynamics but even more from the Tinubu variable explained earlier when we touched on the Asiwaju-media nexus.

The civil society is not different. As a NADECO activist, who in the civil society will successfully contest his claim to membership should he surface at a civil society forum to say he is not there as President Tinubu but as a floor member? And who can calculate the leverage such a stunt will give him as a sitting president?

So, which aspect of the larger society has he not have penetrated? Business? Religion? Of course, he has contravened the spirit of the Constitution by not selecting a Christian to be his pair in deference to the realism of, first, winning the crown. But, in doing that, he opens himself to the negotiating strategy of the Nigerian Christian community in terms of compensatory politics. If the Christians are smart and asserts themselves in terms of a qualitative rather than a quantitative Christian candidate for certain offices, they could still win by ‘losing’ the Vee-pee slot. In other words, nothing has happened fundamentally to Asiwaju’s diffusion in the religious component of the society, in both its Christian and Muslim spectra.

Whether a president so diffused as this would still need coercive power is what remains to be seen. But, why would he deploy policemen or troops to suppress a labour protest when, like a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos, he can undercut the protest by joining the protesters as much as presidential security allows?

In the context of the scenario sketched above, the question is what might such a tremendous amount of power be deployed to serve? At the ethical level, it should act as a conditioning influence on Asiwaju’s sense of mission – whatever that mission is – to raise the stakes. Democracy in itself will not take Nigeria to the promised land. Nigeria is never going to be an exception to the rule that a pre-industrial polity like Nigeria needs someone who can mobilise the citizenry towards somewhere. Pre-industrial citizenry is weak against a powerful state machinery like Nigeria. The civil society, the business sector, the academia and whatever sectors you have in such a polity are also relatively weak. The endless talk about an autonomous private sector engineering economic take-off is both a demonstration of historical ignorance and collective elite escapism. If only Asiwaju can sit down and reverse the nonsense, he would have, in spite of everything, overwritten the Cartesian bullshit of the good and bad candidate. This is more so if he manifests the sense of urgency in the response of government to the hopelessness of the Nigerian situation today whereby, any and every one can either be kidnapped, shot dead or be going without a meal for days. And a merit sense has completely disappeared and no one is ever sure if there is tomorrow.

It is great that the president-elect has taken the position against a Government of National Unity. A Buhari presidency so fearful of being overthrown the second time fell back on kith and kin in peopling government, thereby permanently making the case for a Government of National Unity valid. Once the president –elect doesn’t suffer from such baggage and every section is seen to be represented, the case for a GNU vanishes. The enormity of the crisis today calls for a lean government rather than one constrained by an over-load of do – nothing officials.

At the larger social level, the question is that of what the challenges are or what are to be done if the coming president of Nigeria has, in addition to the coercive instruments of power, the power that flows from his own diffusion into various spaces of the society? This is not something Nigeria has experienced before and there is need for reflection on it.

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European Football Meets Afrobeats https://intervention.ng/28037/ https://intervention.ng/28037/#respond Sun, 19 Mar 2023 21:37:08 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28037 By Yusuf Bangura The African Giant, Burna Boy, will grace this year’s opening ceremony of the UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul on June 10th, 2023 according to a UEFA tweet to that effect, (same here: https://mobile.twitter.com/UEFA/status/1636312148279173120) Burna Boy is clearly the current King of Afrobeats. I don’t get tired of listening to his *Love […]

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By Yusuf Bangura

The African Giant, Burna Boy, will grace this year’s opening ceremony of the UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul on June 10th, 2023 according to a UEFA tweet to that effect, (same here: https://mobile.twitter.com/UEFA/status/1636312148279173120)

Burna Boy is clearly the current King of Afrobeats. I don’t get tired of listening to his *Love Damini* album, which features the super hit single ‘Last Last’, and other great songs like ‘Common Person’, ‘For My Hand’, ‘Wild Dreams’, ‘Roller Coaster’, ‘Dirty Secrets’, and ‘It’s Plenty’. Last September when I visited the Manor store in Geneva, I was pleasantly surprised to see a giant poster of him adorning one of the walls in the men’s section. And when we were in Lisbon a week later, one of the taxis we hired was playing ‘Last Last’ when we got into the taxi.

Afrobeats is the new music genre that’s conquering the world and, in some cases, unsettling regimes that want to control the lives of young women. A few days ago, the Iranian morality police arrested five Iranian teenage girls for circulating a video in which they were dancing to Rema’s global hit *Calm Down* without headscarves. As Americans will say, ‘they aren’t seen nothing yet’!

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A Historically Significant Shot https://intervention.ng/28030/ https://intervention.ng/28030/#comments Sun, 19 Mar 2023 03:10:43 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28030 Very few Nigerians might recognize the faces in the above cove picture. But it is a historically significant picture. One of the faces is today a Professor of Political Science in Lagos. One is a big time lawyer and one is a lawyer cum chronicler of crisis. So, at individual levels, the picture has a […]

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Very few Nigerians might recognize the faces in the above cove picture. But it is a historically significant picture. One of the faces is today a Professor of Political Science in Lagos. One is a big time lawyer and one is a lawyer cum chronicler of crisis. So, at individual levels, the picture has a genealogical message.

Decolonising the ideology of policing in Nigeria

But embodied in the picture is an even more potent message for the larger Nigerian society. And the message is the difficulty of struggling with democracy in the morning of the night of dictatorship.  Nigeria has been a long night of dictatorship and suppression of the Other from being heard. It is operationalised in the picture by the policeman insisting that the leaders of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the picture could not address a press conference.

The reader who sent the picture to Intervention named the policeman as Solomon Arase who later became the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) or something like that. But, it is not Arase as a person who is in the dock. It is the system in which policing is anchored on the negation of pluralism of voices as the foundation of social order. The tragedy conveyed by the picture is that, 63 years after independence, Nigeria has not reformed the ideology of policing. That is a thorough-going reforming of the ideology of policing beyond changing the uniform, building a multiple storey headquarters, importing hundreds of new vehicles and similar cosmetics. For, a thorough going reform can only mean decolonizing the policing ideology that acts as a fetter on policing a complex novelty like Nigeria. Might a thorough-going reforming of the ideology of policing be part of an Asiwaju Tinubu presidency? Surely, he can because there is nothing complex about that.

Now, the last significance (and insignificance) of the picture is the language of the sender about “…when NANS was NANS”. The implication is that it is not only the ideology of policing that is in need of reforming but the ideology of everything.

Uhm!

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Nigerian CSOs Set for A Muscular Observation of March 18th, 2023 Governorship Poll https://intervention.ng/28027/ https://intervention.ng/28027/#respond Fri, 17 Mar 2023 01:47:46 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28027 In apparent compliance with the logic of “once beaten, twice shy”, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) is heavily steeling itself for a round-the-clock observation of the Saturday, March 18th, 2023 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections. The coalition of election transparency minded NGOs is deploying a whopping 2,340 election observers. That […]

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In apparent compliance with the logic of “once beaten, twice shy”, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) is heavily steeling itself for a round-the-clock observation of the Saturday, March 18th, 2023 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections. The coalition of election transparency minded NGOs is deploying a whopping 2,340 election observers. That translates to at least three election observers per Local Government Area in every state of the federation, excluding the Federal Capital Territory. What is more, the above number does not include 131 Persons with Disabilities who are also part of the squad.

Ene Obi, a Situation Room Co-convener

A preliminary statement on the Pre-Election Environment ahead of the poll by Situation Room mandarins said they will be relying on information from its partners and networks deploying election observers too. On the Election Day, however, the Election Situation Room will be the main hub for receiving data and reports from the field. According to Ene Obi, Asmau Joda and James Ugochukwu who signed the statement in their capacities as co-conveners, it is the data and reports which the coalition will analyze and disseminate subsequently. And the statement also said the Situation Room’s observation and analysis of the conduct of Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections will be guided by “the Credibility Threshold for the 2023 General Election, which was produced and shared with election stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), ahead of the elections”

Also in their own words, “the Credibility Threshold document identified issues and factors that could cause the 2023 general election to fall below, remain within, or go beyond the standard established by previous elections. It also outlined expectations from stakeholders to mitigate issues that constitute key risks to the credibility of the general election. The Situation Room will further take into cognizance the contemporary electoral and security environment in assessing the polls”.

The rest of the statement contains bits that may become useful to others on the D-day:

Situation Room therefore notes the following:

INEC’s PREPAREDNESS

Situation Room expects that INEC has taken lessons from the challenges experienced during the Presidential and National Assembly elections of 25th February 2023, and that the Commission has made adequate arrangements to forestall the recurrence of the gaps observed during the elections. Situation Room also expects that the glitches that led to the malfunctioning of the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) have been resolved, and that the issues that occasioned the inability of the Commission to conduct elections in some polling units and late opening of polls in others have been addressed. In particular, the Situation Room calls on INEC to address the shortages in the number of ad hoc staff available for the elections, make adequate transportation arrangements, conduct additional training for the ad hoc staff, and promptly reconfigure and deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other materials required for the elections. Most importantly, ensure that it communicates in a timely manner to the public on any challenges or changes made to the electoral process.

Can Nigeria afford to add grumblings from the governorship poll when the presidential poll February 25th, 2023 is still a subject of protestation of rigging?

ELECTION SECURITY

Ahead of the elections, the security situation across the country appears tense, with reports of violence, kidnap and assassination in several States including Lagos, Rivers, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kano. As such, Situation Room reminds the Nigeria Police and other security agencies that they have a primary responsibility to guarantee the safety and security of election officials as well as other election stakeholders, including voters, polling agents, election observers, the media and service providers. Security agencies should take adequate measures to forestall the recurrence of acts of voter suppression, disruption of voting, and outright violence experienced in some places during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Furthermore, the Situation Room calls on the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to ensure that they are non-partisan, professional and will avoid any actions capable of being interpreted as acting in support of any political interest.

CONDUCT OF POLITICAL PARTIES

Circulation of smear campaigns and desperations have intensified in this election particularly on social media. The Situation Room specifically calls on political parties to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and to discourage violence by their supporters. Parties are reminded that there is a need to respect and abide by the Peace Accord signed by them. Situation Room will be tracking violent incidents across the States. Perpetrators and masterminds will be called out for investigations and punitive measures in line with Section 92 (5-8) of the Electoral Act 2022.

TO THE NIGERIAN CITIZENS

The Situation Room notes that the current situation in the country has not been particularly positive, especially as citizens face severe hardship owing to, among other things, fuel and Naira scarcity and the disappointment with the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. The Situation Room however urges citizens to recognize this March 18, elections as very key; the positions being contested will determine to a large extent, grassroots development. Citizens should continue to show patriotism and patience by coming out to cast their votes, and by conducting themselves in a peaceful manner.

And it is leaving its contact details just in case. Its Call/WhatsApp Numbers are 09032999919, 08021812999, 09095050505. While the E-mail is : situationroom@placng.org, the other social media platforms are ● Twitter/Instagram: @SituationRoomNg; ● Facebook: Situation Room Nigeria; ● Website: www.situationroom.org; Hashtag:  #SR2023Elections

A self-portrait by Situation Room indicates it is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria numbering more than seventy. It lists the Steering Committee to be made up of: Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, Centre for Women and Adolescent Empowerment, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development (ACEIDEV), Justice Development and Peace Commission (JPDC) Nnewi, ASPILOS Foundation, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Mac-Jim Foundation, Kimpact Development Initiative, Democratic Action Group (DAG), Women’s Rights to Education Programme, EDO CSOs, Young Innovators and Vocational Training Initiative (YVITI), New Initiative for Social Development (NISD). Other groups are Centre LSD, CISLAC, WARD-C, Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI), Enough is Enough Nigeria, WANGONET, JDPC, Yiaga Africa, Development Dynamics, Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN), Stakeholder Democracy Network, Human Rights Monitor, Reclaim Naija, CITAD, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR,)Nigerian Women Trust Fund, The Albino Foundation, Emma Ezeazu Centre for Good Governance and Accountability (formerly Alliance for Credible Elections), Electoral Hub, etc

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Public Sector Leadership in Times of Crises https://intervention.ng/28022/ https://intervention.ng/28022/#respond Fri, 17 Mar 2023 00:51:04 +0000 https://intervention.ng/?p=28022 By Attahiru M. Jega, PhD Introduction I begin by expressing my sincere thanks and appreciation for the honour done to me with the invitation to deliver this Keynote address, at today’s AIG Public Leaders Programme Closing Ceremony. Special thanks Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Mrs. Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, Chair and Executive Vice Chair, respectively, of the AIG-Imoukhuede […]

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By Attahiru M. Jega, PhD

The author

Introduction

I begin by expressing my sincere thanks and appreciation for the honour done to me with the invitation to deliver this Keynote address, at today’s AIG Public Leaders Programme Closing Ceremony. Special thanks Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede and Mrs. Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, Chair and Executive Vice Chair, respectively, of the AIG-Imoukhuede Foundation, who have been doing various commendable philanthropic programmes and projects, including this Public Leaders Programme to help build social capital, transform and reposition the African and Nigerian public sectors as catalysts of growth and development. I am glad to be associated with their excellent work, both as the pioneer African Initiative for Governance (AIG) sponsored Visiting Fellow of Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford (2016/2017), and now as a member of the Leadership Council of the AIG-Imoukhuede Foundation.

I have been asked to address this gathering on “Public Sector Leadership in Times of Crises”. This a very important topic especially for developing countries, such as Nigeria, in which the origin and nature of modern state formation is alien, with unique specificities, attributed to its colonial origins, and in which remarkable progress is yet to be made in having efficient and effective public sector, on account of what can be termed as ‘the poverty of leadership’, and associated damaging consequences, which bedevil it.  The topic is also quite broad and wide; so, I focus summarily on what I perceive as the essential points to me made, without detailed elaboration. Although, while being general, where appropriate, I contextualise the discussion with specific reference to Nigerian experiences.

I begin with general introductory remarks, followed by a brief conceptualisation of public sector leadership, and then a discussion of public sector leadership in times of crises, after which I offered some concluding remarks.

In the contemporary world, times of crises are challenging for everyone; citizens, and especially those in leadership positions, whose remit it is to address and resolve or at least manage the crises. These are times of ‘intense difficulty and danger’ and very painful existential conditions. Crises are associated with declining or obstructed opportunities, misfortunes, which occasion mistrust and distrust, as well tensions and conflicts. Citizens often become exasperated and disenchanted, as well as panicky in times of crises. Many in leadership positions may become overwhelmed and unfocused on what is needed to get out of the woods.

Managing and/or resolving crises is the responsibility of leaders and it requires certain leadership skills sets, character traits and thinking abilities to successfully discharge that responsibility. Most, if not all, of these are not innate in a person by provenance; but rather are acquired through education, training, mentorship and experience. Primary socialization, self-motivation, aspiration, drive and resilience, as well as foresight, vision and strategic focus, are complementary factors.

In developing countries such as Nigeria, long after independence, the public sector, defined as that sector of the political economy owned and managed by the government at all levels and tiers of governance, which comprises entities that provide public goods and services, leaves much to be desired, with regards to efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of such goods and services. Many countries have initiated various reform measures to improve and reposition the public sector, of course with varying degrees of successes and failures. What clearly seems to be the key determinant of success or failure, is the extent of quality of leadership provided by the range of ‘leaders’ who manage, direct and control public sector institutions, structures and processes.

In Nigeria in particular, since the mid-1980s, in spite of many attempted reform measures, the public sector has experienced what some scholars have characterised as “decomposition”, reflected in the nature and character of the state structures, institutions and processes, as well as the orientation, character and disposition of those leading it (e.g. Beckman 1992; Jega, 2002 & 2021). Substantively, this means that the Nigerian public sector has, for long, been in dire need of “re-composition”, for it to efficiently and effectively deliver public goods and services, in order to re-establish capacity of the Nigerian state to play one of its key roles, which is the deployment of state resources for the satisfaction of citizens’ needs and aspirations, through delivery of public goods and services that promote, protect and defend human security. Clearly, the extent to which Nigeria succeeds or fails in this desired ‘re-composition’ of the public sector, is correlated with the extent of quality, competence and capacity of those entrusted with leadership.

Public Sector Leadership

Quality of leadership is fundamental to progress and development in any sectors of any modern nation state, be it public or private, or even the civil society sphere. How to recruit, train, and mentor capable executive cadre employees to become good leaders, with remarkable experience and formidable leadership skills sets, is a perennial challenge that needs to be constantly addressed. Regrettably, governments is countries, such as Nigeria have paid inadequate attention to addressing this challenge. Hopefully activities of organizations, such as the AIG-Imoukhuede Foundation, may serve to sensitise our governments and begin to make them alive to their responsibilities.

In most developing countries, and certainly in Nigeria, the quality of public sector leadership lags behind what obtains in other sectors, especially the private sectors (although there is now also increasing concern about the declining values of integrity, as well as professionalism and efficiency in the delivery of services in the Nigerian private sectors!). Yet, the public sector as Lindsay (2020) has noted, has distinctive challenges, such as:

  • ‘Complexity and contested nature of goals and objectives
  • Demands of regulatory and performance regimes
  • Influence of siloed nature of professional hierarchies and demarcations
  • Complexity of inter-organizational networked public services’

As a recent OECD report noted, “leadership skills truly matter in improving the performance of public sector organizations”, even in the so-called developed countries (2021).  Therefore, ordinarily, only top-notch leaders with requisite skills sets would be able to competently address these distinctive public sector challenges. This becomes even more necessary, in developing countries, such as Nigeria which are, circumscribed by perennial multidimensional crises, and which require the best of the best of leaders to help manage and resolve these on a sustainable basis.

Public Sector Leadership in Times of Crises

Ordinarily, given the primacy of the role of the state and its public sector institutions in driving economic growth and socioeconomic development in a country, top-notch, good quality leaders, with requisite value orientations are required to direct affairs and enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public goods and services. Such leaders need to be passionate about public service, not just for pecuniary benefits but especially for patriotic service to the fatherland. They must also possess/acquire all the conventionally identified core qualities of good leaders, such as:

  • Trustworthiness and honesty
  • Ethical and professional conduct
  • Humility in conduct and in relation to others
  • High motivation to define and attain goals
  • Courage of conviction and commitment to success
  • Vision and strategic focus
  • Passion for and commitment to, success
  • Capacity for critical thinking and problem solving
  • Capacity to motivate and inspire others
  • Capacity for reasoned argument and persuasion
  • Resilience
  • Communication as well as conflict resolution skills
  • Etc.

Leadership in the public sector in the challenging and crisis-ridden 21st century also requires additional attributes, such as those identified by the fairly recent OECD report (2021), for it to cope with new emerging challenges. Leaders are needed who are change agents, promoters of enhanced performance and effective coordinators of increasingly multidimensional and multifaceted government policies, programmes and projects.

Even more significantly, in times of crises, more so than in peaceful and stable times, leaders are needed who have the following skills sets and qualities, as articulated by Ingraham and Getha-Taylor (2004):

  • Flexibility and adaptability to changing circumstances
  • Creativity and critical thinking abilities
  • Exceptional emotional Intelligence
  • Capacity for cross-organizational team-building
  • Capacity for inclusive leadership, to engender a sense of belonging

The all time model in crisis management ko?

Times of crises often tend to divert attention of leaders from the essentials of good, democratic governance, namely, participation, inclusion, rule-based procedures and processes and guarantee of basic rights and freedoms. Leaders are required who can remain focused in addressing challenges, without undermining the framework for good democratic governance.

Public sector leadership in times of crises needs to be transformational (Bass 1998), visionary, (Dilts, 1996) futuristic and at the same time realistic and pragmatic (Dunoon, 2002). Singapore, under Lee Kuan Yew, has for long been touted as a model exhibiting how a combination of these could catalyse a country and transform it, in terms of economic growth and development, from a Third, to a First, World. While no single model adopted wholesale works seamlessly in all contexts, good aspects of good models and practices are adaptable, to a great extent, to different contexts.

 Conclusion

Developing countries, especially African countries, need to pay considerable attention to increasing the capacity, competence and effectiveness of leadership in the public sector, so as to reposition it for greater roles and impact beneficial for economic growth and socioeconomic development. Nurturing and sustaining high quality of public sector leadership is both a panacea for stable societal development, as well as a proactive strategic preparation for successful addressing and resolution of crises that may arise. Indeed, providing public sector leaders with skills sets to anticipate, strategically plan and effectively mitigate crises in our kinds of environments, is a task that must be done. Our governments should spare no energy, effort and investment in this regard.

 References

Bass, B. 1998. Transformational Leadership: Industry, Industry and Educational Impact.

Beckman, B. 1992. “The State and Capitalist Development in Nigeria”.

Dilts, 1996. Visionary Leadership Skills: Creating a World to which People Want to Belong. Capitola, CA: Meta Publications

Dunoon, D. 2002. “Rethinking Leadership for the Public Sector” Australian Journal of Public Administration. 61 (3):3-18

Ingraham, P. W. and H. Getha-Taylor. 2004. “Leadership in the Public Sector”, Review of Public Personnel Administration 24(2): 95-112

Jega, A. M. 2021. “Context and Diagnosis of Issues and Challenges of Public Sector Leadership in Nigeria: Towards developing Personal Leadership Competencies”, in Sulaiman, A. O. Ed., Perspectives on Performance Enhancement and Leadership in the Public Service in Nigeria. Abuja: NILDS, pp. 25 – 38.

Jega, A. M. 2002: “Attributes, Qualities and Styles of Leadership”, presented at a Workshop Organized by Mambayya House for Nigeria Labour Congress, Kano, October 28 – 29

Lindsay, Colin. 2020. “Leadership in Public Sector Organizations”. ResearchGate. www.researchgate.net

OECD. 2021. Public Sector Leadership for the 21st Century. October

The above text is the Keynote Address delivered at the AIG Public Leaders Programme Closing Ceremony on March 15th, 2023 at Fraser Suites, Abuja

 It has been published in full in deference to readers of Intervention who are understood to need some materials we publish for research purposes beyond the news value.

 The author is a Professor in the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano in Nigeria and is reachable via jegaattahiru@gmail.com, amjega.pol@buk.edu.ng.

 

 

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