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Buhari’s Logorrhoea and Atiku’s atoicism



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By Tunde Olusunle

For my masters degree thesis 36 years ago, I was assigned to Prayag Tripathi, a bespectacled, painstaking and thorough Indian professor of English as my supervisor. His job contract unfortunately expired just before I submitted the last and concluding chapter of the work. Tripathi personally discussed with and reassigned me to Olu Obafemi, Emeritus professor and 2018 recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit, (NNOM), Tripathi’s respected colleague.">

Obafemi was to takeover therefrom, all the way to my defence of the dissertation. I was deploying radical, Marxist discourse and theories in the interrogation of my thesis and the younger Obafemi was an acclaimed leftist scholar, as evidenced by the voluptuous oeuvre of his creative and intellectual endeavours.

The NNOM which Obafemi earned five years ago, is widely regarded as the Nigerian equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It is awarded for outstanding creativity and excellence, in research and scholarship. I am myself a certified Olu Obafemi protege, by the way, having been his student and mentee for over four decades. Scholarship was a lot more serious business those days, beyond the chua, chua, chua, we have today. This is the way Seriake Dickson, former Bayelsa State Governor would describe the reverse intellection we have in place today. Academics was not “outsourced,” “cut and paste” or rub a dub as is prevalent today.

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Asides defending the work plan of my proposed research before the departmental board of stern-looking, grey-haired, moustachioed professors and scholars, my supervisor had to vet and approve the drafts of each and every chapter of my long essay. We wrote in long hand in that milieu, so you were compelled to write as legibly as possible. Tripathi reverted the introductory chapter of my dissertation days after I handed it in, and made suggestions to enable me improve on a second draft. There was this comment he made which particularly struck me and stuck in my mind, or head, ever since. On the margins of this specific page, he drew a box around a part of the script and scribbled: “This is logorrhoea.”

The advent of the internet and handheld devices which have largely simplified life for humanity in many ways, was still light years ahead. To the school library therefore I proceeded to check for the meaning of the word. Logorrhoea according to the dictionary, is a tendency to extreme loquacity, loquaciousness or garrulousness. I should quickly add a sentence or two about my erstwhile literature teacher, Tripathi, by the way. It is a measure of the conscientious selflessness of his breed of intellectuals, that Tripathi would go to the university library without any prompting, identify books relevant to my work and loan them on my behalf, in his name. He will subsequently track me to the postgraduate hall, (PG Hall), and hand them over to me! He will typically apologise for barging into my privacy and admonish I return the books to the university book hub when I’m done. Yemi Akinwumi, eminent professor, Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Lokoja, (FUL), my classmate, co-resident in the postgraduate hall and brother, is a phone call away. There was a system, there was a country.

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Nigeria’s outgoing president, Muhammadu Buhari, has recently resorted to the manner of triumphalism which is totally unbeffiting of an octogenarian, and his office. Last week, he was recorded as putting down the nation’s political opposition, while celebrating the “victory” of his party, the All Progressives Congress, (APC), during the last polls. A statement by Garba Shehu, Buhari’s spokesperson, my good friend and colleague, put the loss of the 2023 elections down to “overconfidence, complacency and bad tactical moves,” on the part of the opposition. As far as Buhari is concerned, the APC was better organised, more strategic and more desiring of victory. He forgot to add that the election was “snatched, grabbed and run away with,” as publicly simulated on the sidelines of the appearance of his party’s candidate in “Chatham House,” last December.

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It would appear that so long as the outcome suits him, Buhari is totally disinterested in postmortems to interrogate the electoral process and put necessary measures in place to drive improvements in future polls. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua even in victory over the same challenger, Buhari in the 2007 presidential election, admitted that the process which produced him as president was flawed. He admonished that the gamut of the electoral process be reviewed, for enhanced credibility as a way of deepening democracy. Yar’Adua unfortunately took ill in the third year of his regime and passed in May 2010. For Buhari, once he won the presidential election in 2015, and was returned in presumably cooked up and crooked circumstances in 2019, in a process which impugned the believability of the contest, it was all well and good.

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