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by Tola Adenle

This title is similar to late President Ronald Reagan’s Russia’s “President Gorbachev, bring down this wall”! which he proclaimed to a screaming audience at the West Berlin Wall.

 The Vegas Style Sign

When I first read the story of the naming of an Abuja District after Dr. Jonathan the sitting president of Nigeria, my first reaction as a blogger was to post my comments last month.  As always, SR has continued to follow the story:

 This is worse than sheer sycophancy!

Submitted by tola adenle on March 15, 2012 – 14:45.

Sahara Reporters

The naming of a whole district after a sitting president is beyond sycophancy; it is a disaster.  Worse, to have copied the Vegas template shows the unthinking zombie ways of Nigerians in high places.  If President Jonathan does not ask this guy to remove the Vegas-aping sign, then it would reflect badly on him, and of course on all of us and Nigeria as a whole.  emotanafricana.com

On the 26th two days ago, it posted:

http://saharareporters.com/press-release/fct-indigenes-reject-naming-district-after-president-goodluck-jonathan,

and, not surprisingly, the Nigerian malady of planted commentators were already hard at work.  While I’m no linguistic expert, it is almost apparent that of the 14 comments before I read the story, not less than half are by the same person!

In Nigeria, most comments on news site betray to which of Nigeria’s main ethnic groups commentators belong, and I’m about to make a claim that would be termed biased against non-Yorubas:  write-ups perceived to be critical of Sanusi or any Northerner – factual or not – are, for example, taken as being against ALL Northerners, especially Hausas and Fulanis.  And if you dare write anything about Ngozi Iweala or ANYBODY or ANYTHING from the South-East, the vanguard would be out in full force against Yorubas or Hausas with unprintable abusive words.

I should know even though I’ve also been recipient of many wonderful fan mails from the East in my newspaper column days..

When I wrote “Say ‘no’ to billion-naira legislators” three or four years ago and asked readers to SMS simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a designated cell number, for example, many went further and text-ed essays and included their names!  From quite a few who supplied their names that showed their being Ibos, there was A.O. [full names & phone number shown but won’t supply them here as he resided in Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, Dr. Jonathan’s state] who wrote: … YES EMPHATICALLY.  Please do keep up the good work of eternal vigilance people like U are doing as conscience and gatekeepers of the nation’s socio-politico fabric.  May Ur perceptive mind never be tired …;

And Orji, who wrote:  Tola my sister, you have spoken, written well with very good thoughts.  Who listens is another thing.  I sympathise with the Southerners.  How I wish near!  Orji, Enugu. 

Quite a few of my blog readers are Ibo fans – pardon my presumptuousness – from my newspaper period whose emails I tracked down from their cell phone numbers.  The general trend in Nigeria, however, is that people comment along ethnic group up to the level of incivility and bigotry.

After presenting readers of this blog with:  http://emotanafricana.com/2012/01/20/words-on-marble-from-nigerias-foreign-minister-viola-onwuliri/

back in January, apart from a particularly-interested female who decided to blog the story, letters of the variety that denigrate one ethnic group or the other that populate online news website were sent to my email address calling me all sorts of names for daring to write on Ms. Viola Onwuliri, the Nigerian minister found to have wasted funds on what was a fruitless trip to America.

If truth be told, Yoruba commentators and journalists are always ever ready to pounce on “their own” if and when such people in high places are seen to deserve being air-dried!  For example, who were President Obasanjo’s most vociferous critics?  Or, even today, who are the loudest critics of Asiwaju Tinubu?

On the subject of a district being named after President Jonathan which is being sickeningly defended as North versus the South-South, it is a clear case of abuse of office apart from sycophancy. It has shown the depth to which Nigerians in high offices have sunk in licking the a– of their bosses to preserve undeserved advantages.

Now, pardon me, as for the tacky Las Vegas-type sign which Vegas only decided to keep as part of a bow to her past because the city fathers (and mothers!)  realized quite a while back it IS tacky, how could a country decided such a most unbecoming sign is what befits her capital city?

These people in high places may roam the globe at Nigeria’s expense but the exposure does not serve them – or us – well.

The president must ask this self-serving minister to remove this tacky sign as well as cancel the idea of naming a district after him.