Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gogo Ett

So, Orji Uzo Kalu has access to the internet, and knows what Google Earth is, except he calls it "Gogo Ett". Where does Nigeria get these people from? How did he sign his name on his gubernatorial candidacy form, let alone win an election? What in tarnation makes him think that he should be president of Nigeria? These are just a few of the questions I've been wrestling with since I saw Kalu on Hardtalk.

I kept cringing and wanting to change the channel, but these things are like car crashes, gruesome but compelling. What upset me more than anything was Kalu's lack of even a feather - no substance. He had neither character nor charisma, like a brown paper bag. It is forgiveable for politicians to have ideas, but be rubbish as expressing them. It happens all the time. In fact, more often than not, politicians are adept at expressing non-ideas brilliantly. But lacking both ideas and powers of expression should be punishable by guillotine. And firing squad. And electric chair. And hanging. All at once.

If you compare Kalu to George W Bush, that other great mangler of the English language, Bush is an eminently more electable person. For despite the fact that Bush butchers his syntax all the time, he is still an eminently good speaker. Hear him at press conferences and interviews, and journos always have a solid soundbite to run on 24 hour news. Not the stolid sub-platitudes spewing forth from Kalu's mouth.

On another level, Kalu has no beer factor. Were you a drinking man, who will you rather have a bear with? I'm willing to bet that nobody would pick Kalu, unless they were kneecaped, and had their teeth taken. No redeeming features. Nada. Nothing.

As Walter Mondale said to Gary Hart in the 1980 presidential elections, "Where's the beef". Kalu stands for nothing but himself. I like to hang on to the romantism that most politicians are in it for the good. Quite often, they might traverse many good intentioned roads, but eventually end up in hell. Kalu has no such. He is just Orji Uzo Kalu, with nothing to offer the Abia state, Nigeria, or the world.


Moody Crab said...

Gosh! That interview is cringe-worthy!!Lord help us!!

internationalhome said...

Thanks for letting us know about the interview. I watched it twice and survived it, hooraah!!! I expectedly am speechless and even more disillusioned than went i went to bed the night before last! sigh

Anonymous said...

Mr African Shirts can speak eloquently...hurray!

Femi Kuti can speak eloquently...hurray! (by the way Fela by far out classed his son in that aspect)

it's one thing to criticise the guy (orji kalu) that his words were dissappointing it's another to bury him cos of his accent. i wonder if you've ever heard yardua speak with his thick hausa accent. accent is as a result of nurture stop putting others down cos of their accents. one!

Chxta said...

Nkem please can I get the precise google video link for me blog?

Wordsbody said...

I'm kind of with 'Trae' on this one, Nkem.

Doro said...

eloquence ke? you seem to be asking for too much from some of these politicians.

its obvious the present nigerian politics does not respect the intellectual and articulate.

Anonymous said...

Nkem, I'm with trae and wordsbody on this one. Let's stop putting others down because of their accents.

You know my experience - many an inner city London kid would not have entered top UK universities if interviewers did not see beyond their accent.

So let's be bigger than this - dissin' people for their accent is just another form of class prejudice. I would know, I used to do it. God had to deal with me on that score and on occasion, still does.

Is God more prepared to listen to our prayers because we are more eloquent than some other people? Of course not! It's a superficial, vaccuous way to live in a society as diverse as ours - a society in which we are all equal and a society in which God extends his love to all people if they will let themselves rest in it.

So please, let us know you accept this point.

Sorry, that turned into a semi rant. The teacher in me comes out here; plus St Paul's injunction - 'admonish one another in love'.

PS: I am not saying that you do not have a point about the sadness of ideas that lack rigour, or indeed lack of ideas.

Anonymous said...

Piggy backing on Trae's comment, its not enough to 'red-card' Kalu based on his knowledge of the English language alone. Although I personally don't see him as a good material for leadership, and tired of his numerous allegations which he can't substantiate; it is strange how he has been able to win the hearts of the people of Abia state. Is there more to him than we know?

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Trae, Wordsbody and Soheb and would even go so far as to argue that Orji Kalu left himself open to jests. Why did he at certain times during the interview choose to pronounce Aba as A-bar to suit the ears of the "audience".

Nkem has not focused on Orji Kalu's accent as the reason for his being unelectable those reasons are painfully obvious to anyone watching the interview.

It is possible to have a thick accent and still speak intelligently. Orji Kalu did not, that was Nkem's point.

uknaija said...

Nkem, I need to get in touch with you ASAP. Could you pls e mail me at


Unknown said...

Gogo Ett, indeed!

While accent may be excused (mine's still around and I'm proud of it!), idiocy and ignorance simply cannot--not on the part of a prospective president of black Africa's largest country. That man's a joke. A very bad one: like finding a piece of dog shit floating in a swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

err. Not usually one to pick on grammar but Kalu did mangle his quite a few times. I'm guessing English is not his first language. However his willingness to blame OBJ and the local councils for all the issues raised says more about him than his accent. And his solution to the MEND issue requires an overhaul. That area needs action not "meetings".

Anonymous said...

One recommends an elocution sabbatical. However, the commentary is deviating from the substance of the interview.

One listened to the whole interview and the man was not articulate, he did not address the questions with authority.

On corruption, he had the interviewer wondering if he meant there was no corruption in Nigeria.

On the EFCC, he was not able to corroborate the view that due process was not being followed, even though he referred to competent juridition (sic) about 5 times.

His defense of his means and ways were not convincing.

He could not say if the police were shot at from his mother's house when they came to arrest her and neither has he ever discussed his business with his mother who assumably is a big-wig in Abia State.

However, he did make a few points some of which clearly show that the EFCC needs to be independent, it needs to be headed by someone at the level of Inspector General of Police and it is mainly an investigative agency and powers of arrest should lay with prosecutors working with the police after the evidence has been presented to them.

In all, he is not material for the Presidency, but in Nigeria, anyone can swing it.

Omodudu said...

Ouch, I guess you will not be invited to be campaign manager anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

If Kalu spoke his bush English and was a man of the people, almost everyone would forgive him. Adams Oshimole has a thick accent but he's articulate (when you hear him speak live), so no one notices. Kalu on the other hand is bush and a thug. There's no need for anyone to defend the poor guy - he's all that's bad bottom-of-the-barrel about igbo politricks.

uknaija said...

Finally watched this, and although I'm no Orji Kalu apologist and have zero desire to seehim as a prsidential candidate,Icouldn't help but be upset that the BBC journalist seemed to have bought into the whole EFCC/Obasanjo propaganda without an acknowledgement of valid problems. Orji is grilled for running a business as governor and yet no mention is madeof Obasanjo farms or the University licence issued to a serving president. Orji of course could have raised this but he was hopelessly inarticulate and was made to look stupid in places but frankly I did feel quite sympathetic towards him. I know the average Westerner watching it wouldn't, but that's why understanding Naija is more complicated than Western journalists like to make it seem...

BTW- Nkem Many thanks for the headsup

Wordsbody said...

I am yet to see the Hardtalk footage, though I keep meaning to and will get round to it. Just to add that I was among some journalists who interviewed Orji Kalu at his home in London just this past Saturday, and we also got to put a few questions to him in a live interactive session later the same day on BEN TV. I must confess that I went to the media thing with serious misgivings. I'm not sure they were all quietened at the end of the exercise - but I came away more or less with the same feeling you've just described.


Anonymous said...

What is wrong if we demand that our next President is expressive? Why do we (Nigerians) always accept mediocrity? Is the lack of exposure and travel responsible for this trend?

Back to the interview, one could see Kalu’s nose growing longer and longer with each lie. If I was the HardTalk reporter that shook his hands after that interview, I would have counted my fingers. Having read some of his past utterances, the man in his interview consistently contradicted himself. Anyone with a browser should compare his past comments about the EFCC and his mum, with those he gave in the interview.

Whether we choose to believe this or not, Kalu has been a very controversial person ever since he was a young man. Controversy has always trailed this man, which explains why he couldn’t put into words his sources of income in the interview.

I don’t doubt his zeal, but he simply lacks substance. His interviews on BEN TV & the beeb prove that. Buhari also appeared on BEN TV and the difference was obviously so clear.

Kalu isn’t presidential material, he shouldn’t even be local government chairman material, however if OBJ\Abacha\Gowon (poorly educated certified loonies) can rule Nigeria, why not Kalu?

Is that what we love about Nigeria, the idea of basking in mediocrity and pretending to be one of the leading nations?

Dami said...

this dude is useless, he even said he is not responsible for the refuse in his state.he was just going round and round about obj and efcc.

i dnt think this was about his accent- they guy had no isea at all.

if read the interview instead, you'll give the kalu F9 twcie

Anonymous said...

@ Dami, that's one point I cant get my head round, his reponse on the refuse issue was so poor ... I think he shot himself on his leg by saying he started working on the matter some months ago when in fact he claimed it was not his responsibility.

@ Wordsbody, my problem with journalists of Nigerian origin (Nkem excluded) is that they chicken out when they try to interview Nigerian politicians, especially becos of the respect issue from 'our' culture.

Wordsbody said...

That's one opinion. You don't know how the interview/s went, so it's best not to assume too much.

I've said nothing about Kalu's suitability or otherwise. I merely made 2 points:
(1) we can't deride someone because of his accent; and
(2) concurred with some of what UKNaija said. What respect? Kalu is only some years older than me at the most.

All the journalists of Nigerian extraction all over the world, and Nkem is the only one who doesn't chicken out in front of politicians. I guess we know now, then.

soul said...

I suppose, when french, russian, texan politicians appear on Hardtalk.. they all speak the queens english?.

Why don;t we complain about those. the man is not an English man. So he pronounced Google earth as gogo ett...
so what? the fact of the matter is, he is aware of it's existence.
I don't see anyone critiquing chinese pronounciations of google earth or even french pronounciations.
I wouldn't even care if a politician spoke in pidgeon english, as long as he is getting the job done.
Do we really have to keep breaking our backs to try to be just like the English and speak just like them.. when other westerners with foreigner native tongues don't even try.

Anonymous said...

Since most of you are determined not to address the issues (typical Naija way) that Kalu in that interview came across as unfit to rule and so economical with the truth.

Please tell me, what accent will make anyone pronounce Google earth as gogo ett...

ExtrovertedPrude said...

Mehn, Gogo Ett indeed!! Accent and Eloquence are two different things. Ehmmm, Fela always spoke with an accent but he did so eloquently...and when he could not find his words, he switched to Yoruba (or some other weed induced language, but i digress). So, no excuses for Orji Kalu; he chose to do an interview in English, he should have represented himself as eloquently as an aspiring future leader of a nation. No excuses at all.

Anonymous said...

@ Wordsbody, thanks for pointing out that my earlier was my opinion, indeed it was. I however think I should make a clarification, Nigeria is a nation with over 140 million citizens with a possibility of close to a million freelance and professional journalists at home and abroad - it definitely does not add up to suggest that Nkem is the only one who doesn't chicken out in front of politicians - there are definitely many others, and you are possibly one of them. That does not take away the known fact that many a time, our journalists do not live up to the task of their profession when confronted with politicians.

I have on many ocassion admired your works, especially on your old blog where you provide very informative info about the arts world. Keep up your good work ma'm.

internationalhome said...

Chinyere igwe for president!!!! No but seriously, i am behind you a 100% my share my sentiments. I can't understand why everyone is making such a fuss about the accent, the issue remains that the man sounded like the right buffoon that he is. Loads of people i know with prominent regional accents, my parents included still pass accross the information they need to, intelligbly and articulately. Sadly as with most things, we Nigerians choose to hide from the core issues at hand!!

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Anonymous said...

Who the f*** is mr cohen? He must be on Atiku's pay list. He would do well if he had better go write on george w bush and the Iraq-US saga, not Nigeria. Who is fooling who?