“When Federico Zeri and Evelyn Harrison and Thomas Hoving and Georgios Dontas-and all the others- looked at the kouros and felt an “intuitive repulsion,” they were absolutely right. In the first two seconds of looking-in a single glance-they were able to understand more about the essence of the statue than the team at the Getty was able to understand after fourteen months.”
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of the kouros sculpture ‘that didn’t look right.’ Purchased by the Getty Museum for close to $10,000 in 1985 after extensive forensic investigations of both its provenance and constitution, it turned out to be fake! The archaeological expert, the museum curator, the lawyers – they were all fooled. But even in the face of apparent overwhelming scientific and legal evidence as to its genuineness, art experts and historians sensed it was fake. It was just a gut feeling. A hunch without any rational basis. An ‘intuitive repulsion.’ And it was spot on.
I felt it, that same ‘intuitive repulsion’ when I read Goodluck Jonathan’s Independence Day Address to the Nation, My gut just keeps telling me that he is fake. His address is just campaign propaganda. It was like being served with a platter of excessively sweet desserts that leaves you feeling nauseated after you indulge.
‘Yet, they (our soldiers) have remained undaunted and unwearied in the face of constant challenge and mortal danger. Driven by patriotic zeal, they are turning the tide by their prowess and determination.’ Undaunted? Unwearied? Has it been up to a month when 12 of these soldiers were sentenced to death by a military tribunal for mutiny and attempted murder? Wasn’t it just yesterday that a nine man General Court Martial was inaugurated at the Defence Headquarters to try 97 soldiers accused of “different offences ranging from mutiny, assault and misconduct to tampering with military property?” (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/168970-nigerian-military-charges-another-97-soldiers-for-mutiny-other-offences.html)
I’m not suggesting that our army should not be commended, but come on! Let’s be real! Who are we deceiving? Doesn’t the spate of mutiny in the army indicate that something is wrong?
“As Commander-in-Chief…” The same one that declined to go to Chibok out of fear for his life; the same one that said, ‘Where is Gwoza, sef?’ When Jonathan talks about being Commander-in-Chief it comes off as an oxymoron. It just doesn’t fit.
However, what disturbed me most about the speech was the conspicuous lack of mention of The Missing Girls. What the President did say was, “it is important that we remember all the precious souls that have been lost in the unprecedented war of terror unleashed on some parts of our country…” Was this a message? Was it a way of saying the government has given up? Was Mr President finally snuffing out the flame of the #bringbackourgirls hope which still flickers dimly?
When Jonathan first hired Levick I wrote that I wanted to see how Levick would clean up his image. Well, this is my assessment: they’ve been able to spruce up his language and remove the coarseness and aggression from his speeches. He is more conciliatory and less accusatory. They’ve helped him to beautifully package those things that have happened during his tenure, whether he is directly responsible for them or not. They have given his administration a facelift.
Sadly though, they have not been able to reach his core. He talks the talk but it doesn’t come from his heart. No matter how much he spends on cosmetic surgery, it is just that – cosmetic.
Ms. Ishaya Audu, a lawyer, school administrator, and member of the Premium Times editorial board maintains a Friday column on politics, policy, culture, and the Nigerian life. She writes from Abuja.