Chidi Odinkalu: A season of political malapropisms – Pegars News

Politics in Nigeria is largely of the transhumant selection. It is not outlined by any massive concepts. With the exception of maybe the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nigerian politicians have been  largely devoid of clear ideological moorings. Freed as such from the forces of ideological gravity, the solely impetus that they reply to, for the most half, is from the abdomen. Gravity in Nigerian politics tends to be a power outlined by the crucial of human grazing. 

An opposition could be important for democracy to thrive but no Nigerian politician or {party} desires to linger in that neighbourhood. In energy for 16 years at the centre, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) has been an abject failure since it went into opposition in 2015, unable to articulate any alternate options to the unmitigated catastrophe that has been the authorities of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Both events are separated by a revolving door. 

Almost with out exception, the main actors in Nigerian politics have modified or developed {party} affiliations with disconcerting regularity. Such frequent transition between completely different elements of the political alphabet soup can induce neural disorientation or a brief-circuiting of even the most grizzled of political wirings to produce logocentric penalties. This could clarify the wealthy harvest of political malapropism that has come to outline Nigeria’s present political season. 

Take, for occasion, the case of Dino Melaye. In 2007, the folks of Kabba/Ijumu Federal Constituency in Kogi State, north-central Nigeria, elected him to the House of Representatives on the ticket of the PDP. Eight years later, he took the oath of workplace as Senator for Kogi West on the platform of the APC. 

Today, Mr Melaye is the official raconteur for the PDP presidential marketing campaign. It is, nonetheless, not clear that his political wirings have purged themselves of their days in the APC. At the rally of the PDP presidential marketing campaign in Maiduguri, Borno State, on 9 November, Dino passionately knowledgeable the folks that they have been going to be “voting APC everywhere.” One individual tweeted in response that this form of malapropism may solely be the consequence of a bent to “change party like pant.” It is tough to fault this logic. 

Some malapropisms bear the hallmarks of an unforced error. On a visit to Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State, the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who was born in 1961 and did not enter High School till nicely after the Nigerian Civil War, which ended in 1970, appeared to declare that he had performed soccer with a man who was born in 1948 and whose highschool sojourn ended in the 12 months that the civil was started. Some of his supporters tried in useless to dress the implausible in the garb of the smart. To his credit score, Mr. Obi shortly walked again the declare.

This is much greater than can be stated for the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is more and more unable to open his mouth with out unleashing a verbal  outbreak of proverbial frogs. In the center of October 2022, he proudly conferred on Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, a genius for “turning a rotten situation to a bad one.” To the majority who struggled to comprehend what this meant, Tinubu sneered that they “need to understand idioms.” 

There has been little idiomatic about Tinubu’s mandibular malingering since then. At the launch of his presidential marketing campaign in Jos, Plateau State, on 15 November, Mr Tinubu prayed for God to “bless PD…APC”. He flew thereafter to Owerri in Imo State in the similar week the place he suffered a catastrophic mind fart, addressing his viewers about the profound enterprise of “ba la blu, blu blu, bulaba….”, that has now develop into a legend of digital memes. 

When he campaigned in Oporoza, in the Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State, on 25 November, Mr. Tinubu referred to the candidate of his {party} as the in-coming governor of “Niger Delta State”, a spot that does not exist in Nigeria. The following day, in Lagos, he may not recall the Permanent Voters Card (PVC), admonishing his supporters as an alternative to “get your APV, APC, you must vote.” He alone is aware of what “APV” means and whereas APC is a noun, you can’t vote with it but can solely vote for its candidates. 

Spokesman to the Tinubu marketing campaign, Festus Keyamo, spins this bewildering harvest of malapropisms as proof of Mr. Tinubu’s “sense of humour”, but on this he sounds as if he  mocks his principal. Even an individual with Mr. Keyamo’s artistry in shiftiness can’t dare take himself severely on this level. Columnist, Farooq Kperogi, is extra credible when he explains Mr. Tinubu’s barely plausible descent into incomprehensibly childish dialects in phrases of  “the public indication of a cognitive decline.” Youth organiser Ifeoma Chiata equally fears that Mr Tinubu’s malapropisms are “a red flag”, which raises questions on his cognitive capability for the presidency.

That could be up to Nigerians to determine, but some malapropisms invite severe authorized penalties. Around 24 November, it emerged that Chief Justice of Nigeria, Olukayode Ariwoola, attended a state banquet in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, at which he publicly indulged in what one author has described as “disgraceful and embarrassing hagiographic adoration” of a sitting state governor, whereas additionally showing to align himself with a faction of the opposition PDP led by 5 state governors who have given themselves the moniker “Integrity Governors”. 

Indeed, the Chief Justice went as far as referring to them by that moniker. In a scathing editorial, one nationwide newspaper mildly characterised the conduct of the Chief Justice as “unfortunate.”

In response, a spokesperson for the Chief Justice, Festus Akande, issued a press release describing the remarks credited to the Chief Justice as “barefaced falsehood.” In truth, nonetheless, video proof exhibits fairly clearly that the solely individual indulging in barefaced falsehood on this matter is Dr Akande. 

At least three points come up right here. First, a judiciary whose credibility is already in the doldrums suffers when falsehood turns into the mechanism by which anybody chooses to defend it or the Office of the CJN, as Dr Akande tried to. It would have been inside the ballpark for him to admit the phrases that the CJN did certainly utter but clarify them away or apologise for them. If the defence of the CJN is based in falsehood, as is routine with politicians, how do we belief the Supreme Court or the bigger judiciary over which he presides?

Second, this scenario may simply have been averted if the CJN had declined an invitation that was manifestly fraught with political landmines. Having attended, he may have declined to converse. He selected neither. 

As one citizen stated on Twitter: “Attending the event at all was probably not a very wise decision.” The workplace of the CJN is the one in the nation entrusted solely with exercising judgement. On this event, the incumbent confirmed a profound lack of it.

Third, by his conduct, the CJN uncovered himself to a reputable cost of having breached rule 1(5) of the Judicial Code of Conduct which prohibits judges from social relationships that are improper “or may give rise to an appearance of impropriety or that may cast doubt on the ability of a Judicial Officer to decide cases impartially.” From each case involving the PDP at the Supreme Court, this Chief Justice should now recuse himself or threat being requested to do so both by the events or by public opinion. That is an untenable place for a Chief Justice in a rustic in which almost each election invariably ends up earlier than the Supreme Court.

Now, in the center of excessive political season, we confront a judicial malapropism with sluggish-burning reverberations of excessive political salience. And we nonetheless have almost three extra months of campaigning but to run. 

The actual tragedy is having to harbour the thought that whereas Dino Melaye dedicated a malapropism, the Chief Justice of Nigeria could have dedicated judicial malfeasance. That is a distinction with a distinction.

A lawyer and a trainer, Odinkalu can be reached at 

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