BY VICTOR AKHIDENOR
The good people of Anambra state, and indeed every Nigerian, are tired of hearing political jargons. This is so because the lies behind the cliches, spin, code, and euphemisms used in politics by everyone from the local government counsellor to our dearly beloved president are not lost on them.
With over 20 years in the political limelight, governor-elect, Charles Chukwuma Soludo should by now be bored with all the political slangs his colleagues’ dish out per second. This oft-heard rhetoric by one too many Ministers of Information and Culture and countless Senior Special Advisers on Media in this part of the world if compiled into a book, will have 9,609,001 characters (including spaces). To put this in proper perspective, The Guinness Book of World’s Records gives the honour of the longest book to Marcel Proust’s elephantine Remembrance of Things Past, weighing in at 9,609,000, one character short of the book that would be edited by someone who will later be accused of anti-party activities.
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In this piece, a progenitor of The Dictionary of Political Bullshit by Nick Webb, we shall focus on the C (for Charles and Chukwuma) and the S (for Soludo) words the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should avoid during in his inaugural speech to the people of Anambra and set a marker for his tenure at the seat of power.
The people of Anambra should expect a torrid time if in his inaugural speech the professor of Economics says “…there is a significant disparity between the government’s goals and objectives…” That is the definition of a Capacity Gap. This jargon means “We can’t do it”!
We all know what the hurrah word, Change, meant pre 2015 and what it denotes but worst still, what it connotes, now. Soludo should avoid this word like COVID-19! The best way to promise change is to be unspecific about how to go about it unlike the mistakes made by a bunch of brooms wielding politicians six years ago.
When a politician uses the word Commitment who can tell if he truly feels it in his bones? Words like Commitment should only be used in private. Using it where two or more are gathered (not in His name) is linguistic camouflage at its seductive best. Commitment, like love, is an action word!
The Oxford Dictionary defines a Compromise as an agreement made between two people or groups in which each side gives up some of the things they want so that both sides are happy at the end. In politics, a Compromise is an agreement by both parties to do what they believe to be wrong. The people of Anambra should be wary of a Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) who uses the word Compromise.
The governor-elect will be displaying pomposity, albeit a minor one, if he says “it is my considered opinion…” Are we to distinguish it from his unconsidered opinion? Won’t it be easy and convenient for his critics to borrow a leaf from any book on sarcasm and label any plan of the governor that goes south as “his unconsidered opinion”? Soludo should nip this in the bud by avoiding this past participle.
Politicians like to use the word Crisis. It makes them feel on top of their game as the word often precedes Management. However, semantically speaking, a crisis is climatic. So, unless the use is teasing or humorous (like the governor calling his predecessor Obi instead of Obiano) the word should be reserved for things that are crises (like addicts without money swelling the crime statistics in the state).
This last one under C for Charles and Chukwuma is a post-inaugural speech word. “I was quoted out of context” is the standard defence by a politician caught off guard by a reporter after finding his name in print or online for the wrong reasons. Soludo should know that it is not the reporter’s job to accept his context. The reporter is looking for a few colourful words to plug into his context. So, if the governor-elect talks for an hour and say ninety-nine positive things about a subject, with only one less-than-positive aside, guess which one will appear in print or online? You guessed right.
We cannot deny the fact that now, we are living in clear and present danger. But if the word Security appears, say 3500 times in an inaugural speech of 5000 words then the good people of Anambra state should hold on to the other meaning of the acronym NYSC – Now Your Struggles Commence!
Because Security is that chimaera in whose name any amount of surveillance, intrusion, abuse of power, disregard of legal processes is justified.
Using the noun phrase, “Sending a message”, is a sign of bad things to come because messages are almost always sent to people who are not listening. Sending a message is a justification for a policy in the absence of any alternatives that may only compound the problem. Soludo cannot be the solution to the state’s challenges if he starts by sending a message!
To a politician, the Silent Majority consist of the bulk of the population whose opinions are only known to him by an unscientific process of mind-reading without any need for evidence. It’s quite unthinkable that a professor of Economics will recourse to voodoo but once a politician is always a politician. No?
If the governor-elect tries to be charitable and says “I do not doubt that my opponents in the last election were sincere…” during his swearing-in ceremony, the people of the state should be worried about the next occupant of the governor’s quarters. Sincere is the mother of mock courtesies. Please, don’t ask me for the father.
“Since records began” describes the worst, most dire aspect of whatever is being measured. If in his inaugural speech the 61-year-old politician uses the adverbial phrase “since records began” as a projection of what his government hope to address, then: (1) the politician is too lazy to find out when records did begin; (2) the records only date back to 2020 so there is no basis for inferences of any kind. But then, the old Anambra state was created in March 1976!
Strategy! This intelligent sounding word is only more ear-friendly than the common every day “inferior sibling”, Plan. However, Strategy is less intentional than Plan and Vision. Soludo should tell us about his vision for the state and spare us the sound of this glamorous word, Strategy.
Spending more time with the family is sad cliché fans and well-wishers won’t want to be associated with the ninth governor of the CBN. A politician who wants to spend time with the family should not be taken seriously because he has only used a generic explanation for his resignation. He should only be commended if an investigation does not reveal involvement in crime, adultery, and scandal.
Since 1999, only Chinwoke Mbadinuju, as a governor and relevant politician, “decided” to spend more time with the family after being ousted from office after one term. For Charles Chukwuma Soludo, from the abundance of his heart, his mouth will not speak of “spending more time with the family”.
Well, maybe in eight years time.
Akhidenoor can be reached via email@example.com