Friday, February 5, 2010

I cannot believe nobody told me how much fun President Atta Mills of Ghana is! And here I was 'wasting my time' with Nigerian officials and my favorite member of Nigeria's legislative body - Patrick Obahiagbon. While the Honorable Obahiagbon is an indecipherable delight to listen to, Atta Mills has entire tracks that have been made, remixed and transformed into ringtones on his behalf.

President John Atta Mills of Ghana at the Yamoussoukro airport
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In 2009, John Atta Mills, once a tax law professor, came to power in an election that was heralded as one of Africa's freest and fairest elections. Within no time, Mills illustrated an uncanny ability to speak English very differently from most people. He constantly mixes up and mispronounces words. In fact, when being sworn in as President of Ghana, he slipped up more times that President Obama of the United States who needed to redo his inaugural swearing in just to get things right. No wonder Obama picked Ghana as the first black African country to visit as America's President.

Ghanaians have taken advantage of their President's verbal mistakes and the most prominent of them is 'ecomini', said instead of 'economy', while speaking before that nation's parliament. The error has become an internet sensation with various workings of the mispronunciation transformed into songs. Mills was speaking before his nation's Parliament when he made the gaffe -

That incident elicited many jokes and remixed versions such as -

And, the much shorter -

But, despite the goodnatured songs, there has been much political tension in Ghana and Mills has been labeled a dull,"non performer". Nevertheless, the presence of such songs and a robust political discourse are good signs of freedom of speech - a key indicator of democracy. In neighboring Nigeria, such would possibly have been met with either arrests (as has been the case for political bloggers and journalists), detention, interrogation or accusations of treason. One would rather have a President that is considered dull and bungles his words that one that is considered dull and whose absence is creating unrest and a growing constitutional battle.

From The Archives:
- Patrick Obahiagbon: My Favorite Parliamentarian?
- President "Ecomini" of Ghana
- Funny Yar'Adua Spoof
- Should Africa's Presidents Get Web Savvy?

10 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Beauty said...

This man appears to have a form of speech disorder and that is when it stops being funny. However, the success of Amos Tutuola has been forgotten by our ignorant African leaders who are unable to phantom the role of leadership. Should we care if they cannot speak English Language? We only care that they cannot communicate as one of your links confirmed. "He said it was bad for those who have access to the presidency to directly state their accusations but rather choose to resort to the media. He could not fathom the rational behind their open criticisms and wondered “if there is any agenda or why?”. The idiot does not know leadership is about communicating a story.

Muse said...

I think that while it is true that some Nigerian bloggers were arrested in the past for their outspokenness, it is, fortunately, not the norm as your blog suggests. Many Nigerians have spoken out against the government and have not been arrested. I, along with a lot of people constantly harangue the present government on facebook and have not been arrested.

Many jokes have been made about the president and his predecessor (some are so caustic that any military dictator would surely have the person arrested), but these people have neither been arrested nor jailed.

I believe that in reporting or blogging, some level of credibility informed by objective research should be maintained.

Don't get me wrong: I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS JOKE OF AN ADMINISTRATION, but i will also be fair in my assessment of it.

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Sugabelly said...

@Muse: Maybe they just don't know who you are...yet

Our government isn't that computer savvy you know, not to mention how incompetent, incapable, and bumbling they are

So who's to say they wouldn't LIKE to arrest all the Nigerian bloggers and who's to say they aren't slowly working their way through a long list starting with the most 'slanderous'

Oh well, as far as being arrested goes, here's the only advice I have to give:

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick....


@ Muse: But, you do not question that bloggers were unlawfully arrested and detained. You refer to 2 bloggers, but in actuality, apart from those bloggers, there is an outspoken young Northern critic that was taken from his home in the presence of his wife by the SSS in 2009. He did not get as much airplay as Elendu or Asiwe (partly because we blogers that pay attention found out too late and had no direct contact with that individual's family). He is not even representative of many others that are pressured for their opinion in Nigeria. Now, I ask you, are you aware of these and other situations? I daresay you will say no.

And, you do not question that journalists were arrested, interrogated and a television channel was shut down and its license temporarily revoked by this administration. And, I am hoping you will not question the accusations of treason bandied by the PDP against opposition politicians, nor the fact that the PDP even accused President Obama of wanting to sabotage Yar'Adua. Or do you wish to challenge that information as well? A quick search in your favorite search engine or right here at Nigerian Curiosity should point you in the right direction.

Like you, I like to be fair, but the facts are the facts, unfortunately. This administration has been dogmatic in its treatment of critics, particularly those that do not have a certain level of popularity or visibility. Yes, they get joked about, who doesn't? But, one unconstitutional and undemocratic treatment of any Nigerian is enough for the facts to be facts. I specifically refused to use this post to shine light on the incessant extrajudicial murders that have been ongoing in the East and other parts of the country. So, sorry but I must expressly disagree with your stance about this government and what you suggest is their peaceful attitude to 'jokes'. They might tolerate anonymous jokes, but I guess they take real criticism about their performance or underperformance very seriously. Seriously enough to violate constitutional freedoms

I appreciate that you took the time to point out the obvius that Nigerians can, and do indeed, make fun of their government without being arrested. But, to question my CREDIBILITY, RESEARCH AND WRITING is beyond rude, and extremely disingenuous on your part considering that I have been blogging about Nigerian issues for years and am allowed to EXPRESS MY OPINION whether you are aware of all the facts on an issue or not.

Feel free to share your thoughts and thank you for taking the time to visit Nigerian Curiosity.

sokari said...

@Muse - writing on Facebook is hardly the same as writing on a public blog. If you are so sure that your words will not be killed or arrested why are you not using your real name? Nigeria has a history of media censorship, attacks against journalists including murder, destruction of property and premises and harassment by the police and other security forces. This has been going on irrespective of military or civilian governments.

Regards your comment about credibility - I find this insulting and wholly inappropriate. If there is ONE Nigerian blogger with credibility then it is NC.

RE - Recycled Frockery said...

wow, muse is really serving hot bisquits there.

the fact is that most african governments are practicing a europeanized model. they have little experience with it and often allow it to ruin their economini's. (I just couldn't resist my sister)

if we were to receive the moneys from britain today from the Abacha refunds, do you think we'd know where they were tomorrow; if we put them into the hands of our present government ?

I honestly think not. yes I agree a funny president is preferable to one who is absent and silent. so what's the verdict is yardy standing down or has he just plain laid down ?

excellent post Solomonsydelle and please keep up the great writing.

Anyaposh said...

lol...this is soo funny! I almost fell of my chair laughing at his ECOMINI & Epepepepepe... what happened? sooo funny!

olaoluwatomi said...

Hi thanks for visiting my blog several times and leaving comments. Not sure if I have thanked you before.
Thank God for democracy and the attendant freedom of speech! I remember when Abacha died and I had heard it before many of my classmates, when I told them I was told to keep quiet and not spread the news till it was announced bcos one never knew who was listening:)
Nice 'merix' of the word economy I wonder if he is dyslexic!

Anonymous said...


- Christian O. from Facebook

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