Sunday, August 4, 2019

VISIT THE SMALL TOWN OF SPOOKIE WITH ME

How about starting the new week off with a couple of books I've read recently. I finally found time to read and write the reviews. Been doing a lot of writing myself. And having fun with my critters.



SCRAPS OF PAPER
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Turn on the lights, lock the doors, and settle down for a mystery that will make you check all of the locks more than once. When Abigail moves to the town of Spookie to find happiness, she discovers a scrap of paper that changes her life forever, although not in the way she had planned. Kathryn Meyer Griffith has written a story of love, adventure, and danger, along with a cast of characters that I think you’ll remember for a long time after reading about their lives.

SCRAPS OF PAPER is the story of people that live in a small town and how they face the dangers that threaten to destroy them. This is good mystery that kept me wondering what would happen next. I recommend it for readers who enjoy suspense and mystery. This is the first book in a series, so You’ll want to check out the others, too. Happy Reading.

Available at AMAZON and other places





ALL THINGS SLIP AWAY
By Kathryn Meyer Griffith

ALL THINGS SLIP AWAY, book #2 in the Spookie Town Mysteries begins with a Prologue, ten years earlier, where police officer Frank Lester is on the trail of a kidnapper and killer, which then brings the reader to the present. And when a teen girl goes missing, we are caught in the middle of a mystery that affects the entire town. Did she run away? Is she lost, or kidnapped, or worse? This isn’t the first time that people have vanished, with no trace. And it won’t be the last.


So, turn on the lights, lock all the doors and snuggle up in a comfy chair to see what is going on in the small town of Spookie. Katheryn Meyer Griffith has written another mystery that will keep you guessing why people are disappearing. We met some of the characters in SCRAPS OF PAPER, the first book in the series, so they seemed like old friends. If you enjoy adventure, suspense, mystery, and a bit of romance, this is the book for you. Happy reading.


AMAZON and other places


Soldiers on Government Sanctioned Mass Suicide Mission

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.


The Wall Street Journal’s disturbing July 31 report of the secret mass burial of at least a thousand Nigerian soldiers who were murdered by Boko Haram terrorists has, once again, brought to the fore the conscienceless villainy and duplicity  of the Buhari regime and its illegal service chiefs who have overstayed their statutorily mandated length of service by  several months.

The regime never stops to claim that it has “defeated” Boko Haram even when indisputable evidence to the contrary stares it in the face. In late last year, for instance, it was reported that Boko Haram had murdered hundreds of Nigerian soldiers. Yet the federal government did not consider it fitting to acknowledge the tragedy, much less condole with the families of the deceased soldiers.

In fact, on the day the fallen soldiers were given an undignified mass burial, Buhari met with APC senators who’d threatened to defect to other parties. Several reports have also surfaced to show that soldiers fighting on the frontlines are owed several months’ worth of allowances and that many of them are now practically beggars.
TheCable’s September 21, 2018 investigations show that the military men fighting Boko Haram are practically being forced to commit suicide because they are severely ill equipped. I also shared videos on Facebook and Twitter yesterday of Nigerian soldiers battling what seem like Boko Haram terrorists with obsolete, barely functional guns. That’s why they are sitting ducks for Boko Haram. They are on a government-sanctioned mass suicide mission.

In other words, there is no difference between President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari in the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram. Well, the only difference is that the Buhari regime has been more effective in muzzling the press, in intimidating private individuals in the northeast into not disclosing the true situation of the Boko Haram insurgency in the region, and in enlisting well-heeled individuals in its propaganda efforts.

What is now coming to light in spite of government’s studious efforts to suppress it supports my column of February 24, 2018 titled “Bursting the Myth of Buhari’s Boko Haram ‘Success’.” Almost everything I said in that column is bubbling to the surface now. The sanguinary in-fighting among Boko Haram members, which I said was the biggest reason for the lull in its attacks between 2016 and early 2018, has now subsided considerably.

I have taken the liberty to reproduce portions of my previous article, which seemed incredulous to many people when it was first published:

A false narrative that several people cherish about the Buhari government is the notion that its singular greatest achievement is its success in containing, downgrading, or defeating Boko Haram. It’s like a consolation prize to compensate for the government’s abject failure in every index of governance. I recognize that taking away the consolation prize of Buhari’s Boko Haram success narrative would cause psychic and cognitive dislocation in many people…

But the question I always ask people who talk of the Buhari administration’s “success” in “downgrading” or “technically defeating” Boko Haram (whatever in the world that means) is: what exactly has Buhari done that hasn’t been done by his predecessor to bring about his so-called success? The only intelligent answer I’ve received is that he ordered the relocation of the command center for Nigeria's military operation against Boko Haram to Maiduguri. Well, that’s commendable, but it conceals the unchanged, sordid underbelly of military authorities.

For instance, the military is still severely underfunded and ill-equipped. Soldiers on the front lines are still owed backlogs of allowances; several of them still starve and survive on the goodwill of do-gooders. Two videos of the heartrending conditions of our military men fighting Haram went viral sometime ago, and military authorities were both embarrassed and caught flatfooted. I periodically speak with my relatives and friends in the military fighting Boko Haram, and they say little or nothing has changed, except that propaganda and media management have become more effective. The fat cats in the military still exploit and feed fat on the misery of the foot soldiers.

Even on the symbolic plane, which is the easiest to navigate, Buhari hasn’t been better than his predecessor. He did not visit our foot soldiers in Borno to boost their morale nor did he visit IDPs whose misery has become one of the most horrendous humanitarian disasters in the world. He only visited Borno on October 1, 2017—more than 2 years after being in power—to celebrate Independence Day with the military after so much pressure was brought to bear on him by critics. There are three major reasons why the intensity of the Boko Haram scourge has subsided, none of which has anything to do with Buhari’s policies on Boko Haram.

One, our foot soldiers, like always, have never wavered in their bravery and persistence in spite of their prevailing untoward conditions. This isn’t because of the president; it is in spite of the president.
Two, Boko Haram has been weakened by an enervatingly bitter and sanguinary internal schism. Since at least September 2016, the Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi factions of Boko Haram have killed each other more than the military has killed them.

Three, and most important, the conspiracy theories and tacit, if unwitting, support that emboldened Boko Haram in the north because a southern Christian was president have all but disappeared, making it easy for the military to get more cooperation from the local population. Remember Buhari said, in June 2013 in a Liberty Radio interview in Kaduna, that the military’s onslaught against Boko Haram amounted to “injustice” against the “north.”

Babachir David Lawal, then a CPC politician, infamously said Boko Haram was a PDP plot to “depopulate” the northeast because the region doesn’t vote PDP. As my friend from the northeast noted on my Facebook page, “Borno elder Shettima Ali Monguno used to call BH ‘our children’ and he only stopped after he was kidnapped for ransom by the group.”

The Northern Elders Forum in 2013 said Boko Haram members should be given amnesty, not killed. Even then PDP chairman Bamanga Tukur said in 2011 that “Boko Haram is fighting for justice. Boko Haram is another name for justice.” Several Borno elders and everyday citizens protected Boko Haram members and frustrated the military.

In fact, in June 2012, Borno elders told the government of the day to withdraw soldiers fighting Boko Haram terrorists from the state. (But when the military dropped a bomb and killed scores of IDPs, these Borno elders didn't even as much as say a word of condemnation.)

I published letters in 2014 from Borno readers of my column that said the people would rather live with Boko Haram than cooperate with the military because they believed the military was part of a grand plot to annihilate them. The military was so frustrated that it almost wiped out the entire village of Baga in April 2013 when residents provided cover for Boko Haram insurgents who escaped into the area. I wrote to condemn the military at the time.

All this changed because the president is no longer a Christian from the south. Buhari isn’t just a northern Muslim; his mother is half Kanuri, and that’s why most (certainly not all) people from the region intentionally exaggerate the extent of safety and security in the region even when the facts give the lie to their claims. It's all ethnic solidarity.

Because someone with some Kanuri blood in him is president, Boko Haram is no longer a plot to depopulate the northeast. No northern elder is pleading amnesty on the group’s behalf. The group is no longer fighting “for justice.” Killing them is no longer “injustice” to the “north.” And everything is now hunky-dory. Ethno-regional bigotry will be the death of Nigeria.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Work in Progress: To Love a Woman By Sunny Jack Obande

Sunny Jack Obande

Wilfred was indeed surprised when he got home at few minutes to six that evening and met Rita’s absence. It was unlike her; she usually arrived home before him especially since her office closes at 4pm, an hour earlier than his does. In addition, on the occasions that she opted to stop over either at her hairdresser’s place or to pick a few confectioneries from the stores, she’d always put a call through to intimate him of her movements.

At first, Wilfred figured she might possibly have taken a stroll to the mall in the neighborhood to get one household item or the other. This thought was reinforced when he remembered she had complained days earlier on the need to restock the condiment in their food store, as they were already low on supplies. 

He thought to himself that the quarrel they had the previous night might be the reason she had refused to call him. He picked his mobile phone to dial her number to know where she was, but sheer pride got the better of him and he quickly changed his mind. 

After a brief consideration, he reckoned that he should not be the first to break this particular deadlock. Rita had really disrespected him by daring to open her mouth and called his actions childish. She should learn to apologize anytime she misbehaved or said something wrong. 

With these thoughts, running through his mind and giving him a feel-good air of vindication, Wilfred decided to attend to his plants in the small garden at his backyard while he awaited her return. He loved to spend time with these plants whenever he was less busy. To him, gardening was a form of leisure that should be cherished. Moreover, his plants were flourishing thanks to the packet of specially formulated fertilizer that Mr. Wang had brought to him as a gift from China.

Mr. Wang was one of the foreign experts engaged by NIGCOMSAT to oversee the company’s other ground control base station located in faraway China. He had gradually taken a liking to Wilfred in the course of his repeated consultative visits to the Nigerian office and had promised to bring him this special fertilizer on his next visit after learning that Wilfred loved gardening. 

The Chinese man had eventually delivered on the promise and even gone ahead to demonstrate to Wilfred, in faltering English, how to sprinkle the fertilizer uniformly around the mulch soil of each plant after which he should endeavor to irrigate immediately.

“Do...every two weeks... for good plants... grow... fast,” Mr. Wang had gesticulated to him in his funny English, smiling proudly to show off badly stained teeth. He was a gangly man with smouldering cigarette sticks eternally hanging from the side of his mouth.

Wilfred had done as he was taught by Mr. Wang and his garden had assumed a new healthier look since after, the tomatoes and peppers especially. Presently he even noticed more fresh fruits have sprouted that were not there the last time he was here to tend the garden. He fixed the long hosepipe to the tap head beneath the kitchen’s window and proceeded to water his plants and do some pruning. 

He was still preoccupied with tending to the garden when, from over the walls separating them and their neighbors, Bruno, the neighbor's dog began to bark and trash excitedly around in his cage on sensing his owners presence at the front gate. 

Few minutes later and Wilfred could hear the gate being unlocked and the neighbor’s car driven into their house. He heard the car’s doors being opened and closed, followed immediately by the children’s chattering as they ran into the house. 
He checked his watch. It was a couple of minutes to 8 o’clock and Rita had not returned. What could be keeping her? A sudden thought crossed his mind and he became a bit worried. Could it be that she had seized on the opportunity that they were having a little misunderstanding to visit any of those her anonymous male admirers? Wilfred pictured his Rita sitting on the laps of a stranger and felt blood rushed to his face. He imagined Rita smiling willingly as this imagined stranger whispered lewd words to her. He pictured the stranger’s hands fondling delicate parts on his Rita’s soft skin and he involuntarily clenched his fist so tight it began to hurt.

Without a second thought, he fished the mobile phone from his pocket and dialed her number with shaky hands. “Where are you right now?” he almost screamed immediately she picked the call.

“Please come and open the gate for me,” Rita replied from the other end. She was already in front of the house.

Only then did Wilfred realize his heart was already pounding so fast as though wanting to burst out of his rib cage. He heaved a controlled sigh and tried to steady his breathing as he hurried round the building and made for the front gate.

“I’m very sorry I stayed out this late,” Rita began to apologize as Wilfred opened the gate for her to come in, “I couldn’t get a cab coming this way on time-”

“Where are you coming from?” Wilfred queried with a glare.

“I followed Buki home from the office.”

“When did you start following Buki home from the office?”

“You are raising your voice, Baby,” she tried to caution him.

“What if I raise my voice? Do you realize it’s almost 8 o’clock?”

“Please, can we go inside?” Rita begged and tried to touch him on the shoulder, “I will explain.” 

Nevertheless, Wilfred rebuffed her gesture angrily.

How Political Power Damages the Brain—and How to Reverse it

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi


I was one of seven professors who facilitated a leadership training in my university here in Georgia for local government chairmen from a major Nigerian southwestern state. In the course of the training, I adverted to a January 13, 2018 column I wrote about how power literally damages the brains of people who wield it and causes them to be dissociated from reality.

A few of the chairmen at the training initially said they “rejected” what I said “in Jesus’ name.” But the more I expounded the research on the psychology of power, the less resistant they became. In the light of the interest it excited among these local power wielders, I thought I’d share a revised version of the column for the benefit of other people in power.
 

On Nov. 20, 2014, Buhari, Amaechi, Oyegun and other APC honchos protested in Abuja against the increased insecurity and killings in the country. Insecurity and killings are worse on their watch than at any time in peacetime Nigeria.

Almost everyone I know wonders why people in power change radically; why they become so utterly disconnected from reality that they suddenly become completely unrecognizable to people who knew them before they got to power; why they get puffed-up, susceptible to flattery, and intolerant of even the mildest, best-intentioned censure; why they appear possessed by inexplicably malignant forces; and why they are notoriously insensitive and self-absorbed. 

Everyone who has ever had a friend in a position of power, especially political power, can attest to the accuracy of the age-old truism that a friend in power is a lost friend. Of course, there are exceptions, but it is precisely the fact of the existence of exceptions that makes this reality poignant. As the saying goes, “the exception proves the rule.”

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Look at all the power brokers in Nigeria—from the president to your ward councilor—and you’ll discover that there is a vast disconnect between who they were before they got to power and who they are now.

Also look at previously arrogant, narcissistic, power-drunk prigs who have been kicked out of the orbit of power for any number of reasons. You’ll discover that they are suddenly normal again. They share our pains, make pious noises, condemn abuse of power, and identify with popular causes. The legendary amnesia of Nigerians causes the past misdeeds of these previous monsters of power to be explained away, lessened, forgiven, and ultimately forgotten. But when they get back to power again, they become the same insensitive beasts of power that they once were.

So what is it about power that makes people such obtuse, self-centered snobs? It turns out that psychologists have been grappling with this puzzle for years and have a clue. Dacher Keltner, a psychology professor at the University of California Berkeley, extensively studied the brains of people in power and found that people under the influence of power are neurologically similar to people who suffer traumatic brain injury.

According to the July/August 2017 issue of the Atlantic magazine, people who are victims of traumatic brain injury are “more impulsive, less risk-aware, and, crucially, less adept at seeing things from other people’s point of view.” In other words, like victims of traumatic brain injury, power causes people to lose their capacity for empathy. This is a surprising scientific corroboration of American historian Henry Adams’ popular wisecrack about how power is “a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies.”

The findings of Sukhvinder Obhi, a professor of neuroscience at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada, are even more revealing. Obhi also studies the workings of the human brain. “And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, ‘mirroring,’ that may be a cornerstone of empathy,” the Atlantic reports. “Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the ‘power paradox’: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.”

Take Buhari, for example. Before 2015, he was—or at least appeared to be—empathetic. He supported subsidies for the poor, railed against waste, thought Nigerians deserved to buy petrol at a low price because Nigerian oil was “developed with Nigerian capital,” and so on. He even said foreign medical treatment for elected government officials was immoral and indefensible, and wondered why a Nigerian president would need a fleet of aircraft when even the British Prime Minister didn’t have any.

Nothing but power-induced brain damage, which activates narcissism and loss of empathy, can explain Buhari’s dramatic volte-face now that he’s in power. This fact, psychological researchers say, is worsened by the fact that subordinates tend to flatter people in power, mimic their ways in order to ingratiate themselves with them, and shield them from realities that might cause them psychic discomfort.

“But more important, Keltner says, is the fact that the powerful stop mimicking others,” theAtlantic reports. “Laughing when others laugh or tensing when others tense does more than ingratiate. It helps trigger the same feelings those others are experiencing and provides a window into where they are coming from. Powerful people ‘stop simulating the experience of others,’ Keltner says, which leads to what he calls an ‘empathy deficit.’”

Researchers also found out that excessive praise from subordinates, sycophantic drooling from people seeking favors, control over vast resources they once didn’t have, and all of the staid rituals and performances of power conspire to cause “functional” changes to the brains of people in power. On a social level, it also creates what Lord David Owen, a British neurologist-turned-politician, called the “hubris syndrome” in his 2008 book titled In Sickness and in Power.

Some features of hubris syndrome, Owen points out, are, “manifest contempt for others, loss of contact with reality, restless or reckless actions, and displays of incompetence.” Sounds familiar? You can’t observe Buhari’s governance—or, more correctly, ungovernance—in the last four years and fail to see these features in him.

But it’s not all gloom and doom. Powerful people can, and indeed do, extricate themselves from the psychological snares of power if they so desire. Professor Keltner said one of the most effective psychological strategies for people in power to reconnect with reality and reverse the brain damage of power is to periodically remember moments of powerlessness in their lives—such as when they were victims natural disasters, accidents, poverty, etc.

They should also have what American journalist Louis McHenry Howe once called a “toe holder,” that is, someone who doesn’t fear them, expects no favors from them, and can tell them uncomfortable truths without fear of consequences.

Winston Churchill’s toe holder was his wife, who once wrote a letter to him that read, in part, “I must confess that I have noticed a deterioration in your manner; & you are not as kind as you used to be.” Was Aisha Buhari performing the role of a toe holder when she publicly upbraided her husband in the past? I doubt it.

Her disagreements with her husband are often opportunistic and self-serving. They are triggered only when her husband’s puppeteers in Aso Rock limit her powers to nominate her cronies for political positions and to dispense favors to friends and family.

Another potent way to reverse power-induced brain damage is to periodically get out of the protected silos of power and solitarily observe the quotidian interactions of everyday folks—their humor, laughter, fights, etc. — without the familiar add-ons of power, such as aides, cameras, security, etc. This helps to stimulate the experiences of others and restore empathy.

This is particularly important in Nigeria because power, at all levels, is almost absolute and unaccountable.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Mercenary “Investigative Journalism” in Service of Fraud

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

As a scholar and teacher of journalism, I am troubled by an emerging character of Nigeria’s diasporan and homeland digital-native news formation, which had functioned as alternative outlets for the sort of critical journalism that the homeland legacy news media have abandoned. 

They start by attracting attention to themselves through what seems like uncompromisingly adversarial journalism against venality in government. But just when they succeed in persuading people to invest faith in their journalistic integrity, they cash out and become indistinguishable from, and sometimes worse than, the compromised homeland legacy media they were thought to be an alternative to.
It started from Elendu Reports, the first successful diasporan citizen media outfit, which, after sensationally unmasking high-profile corruption in the high reaches of government in Nigeria in 2005, turned around to furtively serve as “media consultant” to the same politicians it exposed as venal. Most other online-only news outlets have followed this template, the latest being the dubiously named “International Centre for Investigative Journalism” (ICIR). (Neither its reportorial purview nor its workforce is “international,” but it ignorantly calls itself one nonetheless).

I became aware of ICIR after it routinely tagged me to its reports on Twitter about a year ago. It appeared to be committed to the sort of critical enterprise journalism that has gone out of fashion in Nigeria but that is crucial to sustaining democracy. So I subscribed to its news feed.

Although I liked what the site did, there was always something fundamentally defective about its reporting. It usually lacked depth, thematic coherence, and intellectual sophistication. The quality of English of its reports was and still is also bewilderingly dreadful. It appears like a crucial criterion to be hired as a reporter on the site is an ability to demonstrate capacity to write illiterate English, to show contempt for grammatical correctness and completeness, and to write mind-numbing clich├ęs and solecisms.

But I chalked this up to the possibility that the owners of the site had the passion to uncover sleaze in government but lacked the education to do so. That was good enough for me. I thought they might improve in the coming years. Nevertheless, before they even gained traction in the Nigerian public sphere, they have chosen to cash out.

On June 24, the site published what it purported to be a “fact-check” of “social media influencers who shared fake news during the 2019 election.” I had been alerted several weeks in advance that some people had been “commissioned” by Bola Tinubu’s media team in Lagos to both launch an aggressive media onslaught on my person and to buy credibility for Buhari’s fraudulent “reelection,” which I have spent a great deal of energy exposing as the most barefacedly duplicitous election in Nigeria’s history.

I thought this would come in the form of the predictably sterile “attack” pieces in newspapers and on social media platforms, which I am already used to and for which I have developed a thick skin since Goodluck Jonathan’s days. But my informant said, “This would be different.”

Just when I got tired of waiting, a “Damilola” who said she was a reporter for “SaharaReporters” sent me a WhatsApp message weeks ago about videos of rigging that I shared on Twitter during the presidential election. She said she wanted to know the source of the videos or whether, in fact, I witnessed the events in the videos. No one who has even a day’s training in journalism would ask me those sorts of boneheaded questions.
First, the videos had gone viral before I shared them, so I couldn’t possibly be their original source. Second, the “reporter” obviously knows that I live in the United States and that I couldn’t have witnessed the rigging in the videos. If, for any reason, I did, I would have stated so—and would be the first to share them. Most importantly, though, no real journalist does a story about other journalists’ confidential sources of news, although I was, in fact, not the source for the videos she “fact-checked.”

The “fact-check,” which was published on ICIR’s website (and not Sahara Reporters) by two bylines, said I shared two “fake” videos during the 2019 election. The first so-called fake video was of INEC officials furiously thumb printing ballot papers on behalf of a political party. I wrote the following to accompany the video: “See shameless rigging by INEC officials: Thumb printing on an industrial scale.” I didn't mention the year this happened, and said nothing about what party was a beneficiary of the mass thumb printing because I couldn't tell that with any certainty, although other people who shared it before me said it was during the 2019 election.

The “reporters” said their “investigation” confirmed that the video indeed showed INEC officials thumb printing ballot papers except that they found it wasn't during the 2019 election. But I never said it was. Nevertheless, the “reporters” said I "implied" it was during the 2019 election. Was sort of “fact checking” is that?

You can’t fact-check what’s on my mind. That’s babalawo (or is it mamalawo) journalism! I am capable of saying it was during the 2019 election if I wanted to, but I didn’t. Others, however, did. The fact of INEC officials feverishly thumb printing ballot papers on a mass scale in support of a party, irrespective of when it happened, was worth sharing, particularly in light of similar things that went on at the time, which the second video confirmed, as I’ll show shortly. So the video wasn’t fake by any definition of the term. If anything, it’s the analysis of it by the venal, uneducated philistines masquerading as “reporters” that is fake.

The second so-called fake video they said I shared was real even by their own analysis. They confessed that they “set out to debunk many videos we believed to be old or not related to the elections. We were not prepared to deal with actual, blatant rigging, not with the PVCs and not with the improved vigilance that was supposed to be a key feature of the 2019 polls.” If you ignore the woolly, incoherent thought process of the sentence, you will see their bias seeping out like fetid pus. They were disappointed to find the video to be an authentic “recent case” case of rigging. All I said about the video was: “Why would anyone accept the outcome of an election like this? Democracy is supposed to be one person, one vote.”

They agreed that the video, which clearly showed INEC officials rigging on behalf of a party, was from the 2019 election. They only said they couldn’t “emphatically state that those stamping and thumb printing the ballot papers are INEC officials” and that they “could not distinctly make out the party being thumb-printed.” That’s blatant partisan claptrap. They could “fact-check” the thought-processes that resided in the inner recesses of my mind, which I didn’t verbalize, but they couldn’t fact-check an obvious fraud in a video. Nevertheless, neither the video nor what I said about it was inaccurate by any stretch of the imagination.

Can’t Tinubu’s media team get smarter mercenaries for their hit jobs than these pitifully lowbrow vulgar buffoons? Other dimwitted daggers for hire like a faceless, ignorant “Okanga Agila” have joined the fray to attack me.

But the truth remains that it was Buhari’s government that hired Israeli disinformation agents to spread fake news on social media against his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar. According to a May 17, 2019 Associated Press news story titled “Israeli Disinformation Campaign Targeted Nigerian Election,” “One of the pages that Facebook cancelled appeared filled with viral misinformation attacking Abubakar, the former vice president of Nigeria. The page’s banner image showed Abubakar as Darth Vader, the Star Wars villain, holding up a sign reading, ‘Make Nigeria Worse Again’.” The AP story added: “The report also featured a page that explicitly lionized and boosted Buhari, with amateur videos eulogizing the accomplishments of his presidency as though he were not locked in a tight battle for re-election.”

Interestingly, the ICIR “investigative report” on fake news only briefly referred to this report but didn’t point to the fact that it was Buhari who hired an Israeli firm to spread fake news during the election. ICIR has killed itself before it’s even had a chance to live. That’s such a shame!

Related Articles:
ICIR's Sponsored Fake "Fact-Checking" about Fake News
Propagandocracy and the Buhari Media Centre
Nigerian Media as Comforters of the Comfortable, Afflicters of the Afflicted

Nonfiction Manuscript Submission Tips for TCK Publishing

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo—Ruby in the Sky. They are moving to their Forever Home




RUBY IN THE SKY

By Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo



Sometimes, it seems as though everything goes wrong in a person’s life. Is it asking too much to want a true forever home? In Author Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo’s novel RUBY IN THE SKY, Ruby and her mother are moving to their forever home. Only it doesn’t work out the way they had planned. Ruby’s mother is arrested, and that’s only the beginning of events in Ruby’s life. As she befriends an old lady and a boy in school, she learns that people are not always what they seem.

RUBY IN THE SKY is a story of family and friendship, forgiveness and bravery, along with a touch of magic and the realization that everyone has his or her own story. I also learned something about the real “Ruby Moon", which is very rare, sort of like Ruby Moon Hayes in the story. Do you know what it is? 

This novel is ideal for school libraries, as well as your own private library. Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo has written a story that will make you smile. It will also bring tears to your eyes, at least it did to mine. I also  want to learn more about this girl. Happy Reading!

Available at AMAZON     BARNES AND NOBLE and other places

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Excerpt of the story, “My World” from the forthcoming novella, “The Drunken Cop and other stories” by Omoruyi Uwuigiaren


I was born in Lagos and I have no regrets that I have spent my entire life in the city. When I was a boy, I had so many dreams, which shaped my life. I have accomplished some. Others are completely out of my reach. If I could turn back the hands of time, I will certainly do some things differently. For instance, I won’t venture into writing and publishing. I will join the military and save myself the nightmare of an ordinary Nigerian who is constantly at the mercy of a system that has little or no value for life. It is easier to die and harder to live.

 If I have a gun as one of the drunken policemen, I have power. To a large extent, my safety is guaranteed. I will sleep at night with eyes closed. Those who know I have a house full of death will avoid me. They won’t want to have anything to do with me. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I will live longer than the man who has no defense, for he has everything to lose including his own life.  

One of my dreams as a little Lagos boy was to secure my future and enjoy the beautiful earth. Go to the beach. Embrace nature and pleasure my good soul under her watchful eyes. Life is good. A man can hardly have enough. Pursuing my dreams has put me at odds with many people. I lost some good friends. I doubt if our paths will ever cross again. I was sincere. I sacrificed a lot to make the relationship work. I worked longer hours for free. Put my poor soul on the line to be trampled, sucked and squeezed like an orange. Yet, things did not just work out.

Lagos gave me everything. The city gave me hope, hell and life. Every morning that I open my eyes upon the light of the world, I feel the freshness, warmth and toughness of a city in the hearts of men.

Growing up was tough. It’s never easy to hold your ground in a world dominated by sharks, wolves and the devil himself. They feed on the weakness of others. If you don’t want to be wiped out, you must learn to stand above them and stand above hate. To survive in my world, you must be tough. When I say tough, I mean you must be as hard as the back of a turtle. Your life is yours to lose.


I had my expectations each passing day. They were inscribed on the palm of my hands. I was a curious little devil, spoilt by the toughness of a city that doesn’t forgive mediocrity. Your mistakes will eventually hunt you down if you don’t act fast. That is the nature of the world. It spares no one. People are hunted down like a dog if they lack the necessary ammunition to survive. If you wish to survive public life you must hide your imperfections.


I love fried fish more than anything else. The people in my life never that I was obsessed with fish. It was my little secret. There are things you just cannot tell people no matter how close they are. I grew in a world where little means was exaggerated. It was real. I could feel the heat on my face. No one had a better explanation of poverty because he was our noble visitor. Once your rations are over, they are over. You must accept the defeat and move on. Go get a life! There is nothing you can do. It’s like a door that is shut against you and the key tossed into the deep blue sea. You either wait for another chance few hours later that seems like eternity or you take laws into your hands.

My curiosity led me to the street…



About the Author....


It is a tragedy to remain in a world you cannot control and all the more tragic if you do not have control over your own life. People who have surrendered leadership of their lives to others are always at the mercy of those they serve.


Omoruyi Uwuigiaren is a former cartoonist turned writer. When he was a kid, writing was the last thing on his mind. He loved music and composed rap songs for his high school band. After school, he wanted to pursue a career in music. Instead he embraced writing. Thanks to a pastor who encouraged him to write little books and make them available in bookstores.

Ruyi lives in Lagos. Next to his family and friends, writing is his passion and happiness. Today, he writes middle grade adventure fiction and picture books. Some of his published books include The Adventures of Nihu, The City Heroes and other stories from the heart of Africa, The Mystery of Taiwo Da Silva, the Promised Land; I am Jane, Jane the Good Girl, Shadows in a River, Little Okon and the Outside World, Giant in a Hut, and the Little King.

He is the founder of Ruyi’s World of Books and Stories and Human Change Communications Company. His literary works and short stories have appeared on Moronic Ox Literary and Cultural Journal, San Francisco Review of Books, QWERTY Thoughts, the Story of a Writer, the Guardian Newspapers, and the Vanguard Newspapers.

Most of his books are printed (in-house) on either 60 grams or 70 grams bond quality paper by Human Change Communications Company. Covers are printed in full colour on pelican or FBB paper (thick and durableand laminated. 

The little books and pamphlets are moved to his trimming station where they are folded and bound (by hand) using a commercial-grade saddle stapler. Each book is carefully trimmed using an electric trimmer, making the outside edge crisp (just like perfect bound books have). Every book is neatly packed and new-looking until they are sold. The extra effort means his books are more expensive to produce, but beautiful and highly collectible. Most of his little books are produced in large numbers from 300 to 1000 copies and are usually sold out in three months or less. His books are distributed to primary schools in Nigeria. Quality is key. He builds his books to last.

You can buy some of his eBooks hereApart from his blog where you can read his books, articles and short stories for free, you can also download his free books in PDF, Epub, Kindle and TXT formats here.

Reach him at: Ldsomoruyi@yahoo.ca