Enemies within: Novice African-American Women Judges might be under vindictive surveillance

Judge Smoots-Thomas is in trouble today because she is not  Senator Ted Cruz. Novice African-American Women Judges must reassess their community activities, political conduct, and financial practices to comply with the demands of their new designation.

After a Harris County District Court Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas was indicted and later suspended for allegedly misappropriating $26,000 in campaign contributions, it became obvious that “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under disgusting surveillance. Every move, every breath might be under systemic scrutiny.  “Black Girl Magic Texas,” represented 19 Black women (17 beginners) who ran for a judge in Texas Harris County–and all 19 won. Together, they made history, becoming the largest group of Black female judges to be elected at the same time in Harris County history.


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

The fine art of judging is a complex phenomenon provoked by thoughtful application of law and the test of constitutionality.  


Smoots-Thomas’s indictment was brutal. For instance, earlier this month, she was led into a federal magistrate’s courtroom in Houston wearing handcuffs where she pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her attorney, Kent Schaffer, said the judge’s prosecution was political.  Schaffer, a partner at Schaffer Carter & Associates in Houston, claimed it happened because Smoots-Thomas was an African American and a Democrat.  Smoots-Thomas was first elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016.

Schaffer was right. Smoots-Thomas is Black and Blue. It was obvious that a sudden change of the County’s court districts from red to blue would come with dire consequences. This strain actually started years back when the “Black Girls Are Magic” campaign mantra was conceived. But this campaign was only a strategic move to elect African-American women in various sectors of the society where they were under-represented. “Black Girl Magic Texas,” was later accomplished in the Judiciary when 19 Black women who ran for a judge in Texas Harris County won.

PRIVILEGED: Texas Senator Cruz (left) had a similar issue and was neither arrested nor handcuffed. Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton (middle) conveniently ran for reelection even as he was grounded with a filthy securities fraud indictment. He narrowly won this race. Judge Smoots-Thomas (right) is in trouble today because she is neither Cruz nor Paxton.

Prosecutors claim Judge Smoots-Thomas misused nearly $25,000 (not 25 million) in campaign funds between January 2016 and March 2017. Her seven-count indictment reveals that she spent the money on a home mortgage, private school tuition, jewelry, and travel. Texas law required her to report to the Texas Ethics Commission whenever she used campaign funds for non-political expenditures.

UNDER VINDICTIVE SURVEILLANCE: The chambers of the fraternity of the “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under vindictive surveillance. Our novice Black Judges must therefore watch out for two major evaluation competencies: effective application of judicial practice and exemplary bench demeanor.

But let me be clear, that the aim of this article is not to categorize ethical violations within race and gender. I am simply discussing an uneven justice system; inequity of law prosecution; and unequal treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system, which is one of the most serious problems facing our society. For example, Judge Smoots-Thomas is in trouble today because she is not  Senator Ted Cruz.

Texas Senator Cruz had a similar issue and was neither arrested nor handcuffed. The racially privileged Senator was caught in a deep hole of financial fraud. He ascribed his failure to disclose two bank loans totaling more than $1 million in federal election filings as a clerical oversight. An in-depth investigation of these transactions which involved Goldman Sachs Group — where his wife, Heidi Cruz, was employed at the time—and Citigroup was suppressed. Also other details regarding this scandal were under-reported.

There is also this bizarre case of the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton who conveniently ran for reelection even as he was grounded with a filthy securities fraud indictment. He narrowly won this race. This was in 2018.

The chambers of the fraternity of the “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under vindictive surveillance. Our novice Black Judges must therefore watch out for two major evaluation competencies: effective application of judicial practice and exemplary bench demeanor.  

The fine art of judging is a complex phenomenon provoked by thoughtful application of law and the test of constitutionality.  In fact, the essential qualities of a good judge were explained by Socrates: “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.” These characteristics, in conjunction with relevant moral necessities, remain the hallmark of effective exercise of the extensive powers of the judiciary.

The Novice African-American Women Judges must not just live up to expectation but also watch out for amoral conduct. This is because the enemies are within the County court districts, tapping phone lines, shuttling courtrooms, listening to every conversation, snooping manila folders–all in search of actionable misconducts and process oversights. While most of these judges are focused on the vision and honor of doing justice and administering the law, they must also make changes in their community activities, political conduct, and financial practices to comply with the demands of their new designation.  

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

The Policy of Dishonesty–Between the War Situation Room and a shameful Photo Op

President Trump created his own Situation Room moment. He set up his table, gathered and positioned some available officials, ushered in the photographer and pretended to be watching the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

From fabricated or deceptive claims about trade and the economy to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, the United States’ President Trump has made ‘dishonesty’ the core focus of his policy-making scheme. Apparently, the only time he doesn’t lie is when he is asleep. 


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

Apparently, the only time President Trump doesn’t lie is when he is asleep. 


Two days ago, the White House released what would have been a War Situation Room showing President Trump and his team supposedly directing and monitoring the killing of the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.  But this bizarre gathering was actually a sham to replicate a historic 2011 moment when President Barack Obama watched from the Situation Room as commandos went after Osama bin Laden the leader of al-Qaeda.

The difference in the photos reveals the difference between a real war situation room and a discreditable photo-shoot situation

Obama’s ‘Bin Laden Situation Room photo was impromptu, capturing a tensed moment as  this President flanked by his national security team, received live updates from Operation Neptune Spear, which led to the killing of bin Laden. But last week, eight years later, President Trump created his own Situation Room moment. He set up his table, gathered and positioned some available officials, ushered in the photographer and pretended to be watching the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

President Trump’s photo in the real sense reveals the dishonest face of this administration. It may be recalled that early in September, President Trump displayed his fabricated version of Hurricane Dorian forecast map to show the powerful storm was on track to hit Alabama. Of course, he had to lie. He had falsely stated in a tweet earlier that Alabama was among the several states expected to face impacts from this storm.

President Trump on holds a chart showing the original projected track of Hurricane Dorian that appears to have been extended with a black line to include parts of the Florida Panhandle and Alabama.

In an administration pervaded with mediocrity and policy-making inaccuracies, the White House is experiencing an alarming decrease in trust and reputation.    Just last month, the Washington Post reported that President Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims over 993 days by significantly uttering exaggerated figures, making unwarranted claims and irritating the social media with horribly outright falsehoods.

So it is not a coincidence that the photos reveal the difference between a real war situation room and a discreditable photo-shoot situation. 

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

November 5 Houston’s Mayoral race is no joke: you must vote the incumbent or perish

Politics is all about interests grounded on a philosophy of “who gets what?” Voters make their choices based on their individual and communal policy-making expectations and necessities. Thus, the choice of keeping the incumbent must be based on not just his accomplishments but also the quality of his challengers.

In just is few days, voters in Houston would go to the polls to make their choices over a roster of candidates running for various city office positions. Among those contests, the mayoral race is considerably critical—coming when the disastrous team in the White House has flung democracy in the United States into a chaotic experience. They have created bogus laws and executive orders to destroy families, law enforcement, commerce, and strangulate the very fundamental rights America was built on.    


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

Buzbee says he wants to end corruption, restore effective government and deliver results for all Houstonians, but it would take an ethical leader to restore ethical leadership.


But the Houston city government led by Mayor Sylvester Turner stood its grounds to protect the city against such challenges. He liberated the city from two major catastrophes; Hurricane Harvey and the Political Storm Donald Trump. Besides his leadership performance during this historic Harvey catastrophe, Mayor Turner also resisted Trump’s cold-blooded immigration policies; and rallied his law enforcement to focus on saving lives rather than a collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to tear up families. According to Mayor Turner,

“My job starts with the never-ending effort to provide a safe, secure and prosperous environment for every resident of Houston in their places of work, their places of worship, their school, their homes and elsewhere. The city does not try to do ICE’s job, nor does it try to impede ICE. And we will continue to be a city that builds relationships, not walls.”

There are other policy issues at stake in this election, but let us remember that no strategy actions would persevere without a peaceful and secured city.

While this may sound satirical, there are essentially two major candidates in this race–Mayor Turner and others. Turner’s argument rests on his first-term stewardship, touting a successful handle of the budget, a deadly Hurricane Harvey, pension system reforms and the economy. His closest rival, Tony Buzbee, objected. Buzbee is a decorated Marine, a successful lawyer and business owner running on governance ethics. He says he wants to end corruption, restore effective government and deliver results for all Houstonians.

Cover of International Guardian’s election edition.   Houston’s Mayoral race is, therefore, a fraternal call to vote the incumbent or perish. Just like America and Trump, if Houston scorns the current opportunity to keep its current leadership, this city might end up in self-destructive misery.  

But it would take an ethical leader to restore ethical leadership. For example, to date, Mr. Buzbee has not properly come clean on how and why a young Dallas-based female court reporter descended on his home and vandalized his valuable collections.  29-year-old Lindy Lou Layman was accused of smashing and destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of paintings and sculptures in Buzbee’s mansion. Layman according to Harris County court documents, poured liquid onto paintings, tore paintings off the wall and threw sculptures across the room, resulting in about $300,000 damage.

Challengers from left: Tony Buzbee, Bill King , Dwight Boykins, and Sue Lovell. In any election process involving an incumbent, the choice of a candidate must be based on not just his accomplishments but also the quality of his challengers.

In furtherance of his questionable moral worthiness, Mr. Buzbee has shuttled in-between parties courting the most questionable moments and supporting underhanded politicians. For instance, in 2002, he unsuccessfully ran for the Texas state House as a Democrat. But in2012, he supported squarely, Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. That was not all.  In 2016, Buzbee hosted a fundraiser at his River Oaks mansion for then Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and subsequently gave $500,000 to Trump’s Inauguration Committee.

There might be nothing wrong with supporting candidates, but Mr. Buzbee’s double-dealing attitude with both the Republicans and Democrats possibly reveals con and disloyalty, and questions his moral decency in politics and leadership.

Please note that there might be nothing wrong with supporting candidates, but Mr. Buzbee’s double-dealing attitude with both the Republicans and Democrats possibly reveals con and disloyalty, and questions his moral decency in politics and leadership.

Another issue with Mr. Buzbee’s candidacy is his contribution of almost $10 million to his campaign. The message might be simple – that Bagby Street might be up to be mortgaged to a millionaire affiliated to Donald Trump. And you may not be surprised too if Hilton Americas becomes a Trump Tower.   

Other candidates in this race are rightly exercising their constitutional rights to vote and to be voted for. Yet their chances remain infinitesimal based on the latest poll by the University of Houston published on the eve of early voting. The poll shows that Mayor Turner could win without a runoff, as he keeps a wide lead over his opponents, with 43.5 percent support among likely voters.  Mr. Buzbee followed by 23.4 percent. Bill King and Councilman Dwight Boykins trail with 7.8 and 6.8 percent respectively. The rest of the candidates, including Sue Lovell, poled below 2%.

Replacing Mayor Turner must not just be based on his first-term superintendency, but also the caliber of his challengers.  Because the incumbent is not working does not mean that we should replace him with a numbskull unfamiliar with the people of Houston, their resources, and the city’s political terrain.

Mayor Turner is the incumbent. Replacing him must not just be based on his first-term superintendency, but also the caliber of his challengers.  Because the incumbent is not working does not mean that we should replace him with a numbskull unfamiliar with the people of Houston, their resources, and the city’s political terrain.

Mr. King actually  admitted when in an interview with ABC13, that  “I think that people probably don’t know the more human side of me because, uh, they see me as a sort of analytical person,” King says, proclaiming himself as somewhat of a nerd.”  So if the people do not know him, why is he in the race?

Politics is all about interests grounded on a philosophy of “who gets what?” It means that voters make their choices based on their individual and communal policy-making expectations and necessities. In just is few days (November 5), voters in Houston would go to the polls to make these choices. But as usual, the discussion question would be whether voters would go to the polls with emotional conscience regarding their interests or whether they would ignore those values to seek candidates peddling frivolous but deceptive campaign rhetoric.  

In typical electioneering process where the incumbent is seeking reelection, a contender must substantially establish four core causes;  

  • A blueprint to transform campaign promises into action.  To date, days before the election, these contenders have not offered any significant proposal besides the rendition of uncorroborated website campaign narratives.  
  • Contenders must show solid proof of policy-making competence. Buzbee and King had pledged to clean up the city office from corruption. But a proposal to fight corruption with amoral characters would bastardize any transformation process. It takes moral people to shape moral society.
  • Contenders must show a connection with the people. Houston, the most diverse nation in the country deserves a leader that is familiar with the multi-cultural face of the city. Mr. Buzbee does not know Houston beyond River Oaks’ vicinity where he resides. Another major contender, Mr. King actually  admitted when in an interview with ABC13, that  “I think that people probably don’t know the more human side of me because, uh, they see me as a sort of analytical person,” King says, proclaiming himself as somewhat of a nerd.” So if the people do not know him, why is he in the race?
  • Last, this position is for a city’s top leadership, not a store manager. Any contender ready for this position must have been tested in managing a high-figure budget; must possess unmatched knowledge of the legislation process, as well as running voluminous city’s day-to-day activities.  

Therefore, based on the aforementioned circumstances, Houston has a choice to make between an incumbent and some incompetent contenders yet to defend their campaign claims. In any election process involving an incumbent, the choice of keeping him must be based on not just his accomplishments but also the quality of his challengers.

Also, I must remind voters that Houston is a family. November 5 Houston’s Mayoral race is, therefore, a fraternal call to vote the incumbent or perish. Just like America and Trump, if Houston scorns the current opportunity to keep its current leadership, this city might end up in self-destructive misery.   

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

KPRC’s “Internship” story series: between Investigative Story and Political Hit Job

In the media clan, political hit job can be crookedly camouflaged as an investigative news, especially when the story segment is suffused by sentiments, lacks integrity, and denotes a blatant show of unfairness.

Investigative Journalism often entails an in-depth story examination with the purpose to either uncover fraud or test various policy actions for public attention. In the newsroom confraternity, one major challenge in managing report process standards is having trained researcher-reporters who understand the fundamental techniques about the subject.   However, this process becomes a hit job where it is bastardized into a destructive political vendetta to appease specific political interests.


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

Perhaps if Mr. Marvin Agumagu’s name was “Marvin White,” KPRC 2’s headlines would have read differently and most positively, too.”


Using media to systematically cajole undecided voters or a gullible populace to favor specific interests or candidates is not new in America’s politics.  Last year, the National Enquirer parent company, American Media Inc., paid $150,000 in hush money to suppress alleged mistress of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election. Specifically, David J. Pecker, chairman and CEO, admitted paying off a former Playboy model to crush her account of an alleged sexual affair that could have jeopardized Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Using media to systematically cajole undecided voters or a gullible populace to favor specific interests or candidates is not new in America’s politics.

Therefore, it might not be a coincidence that Tony Buzbee, one of Mayor Turner’s major contenders in the upcoming City general election immediately hit the campaign ground with a video collage of KPRC 2 News pieces. It is also not a coincidence that same week, Buzbee injected into his promotional networks, a whopping $2.5 million, pumping up his campaign treasury to almost $10M from his pocket. Yes, his pocket.

David J. Pecker, chairman and CEO, admitted paying off a former Playboy model to crush her account of an alleged sexual affair that could have jeopardized Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

In the media clan, a political hit job can be crookedly camouflaged as investigative news, especially when the story segment is suffused by sentiments, lacks integrity, and denotes a blatant show of unfairness.  For the record, this story centers on the validity and ethical implications of a 31-year-Marvin Agumagu, who was offered a position in an airport’s Executive Internship Program. KPRC 2 News rightly needed information.  But retrieving this information from the Mayor’s office was never an issue. Indeed, it was a matter of public information request as the law permits.

It is barbaric for KPRC 2 News reporters to stalk Houston’s mayor and chase him around all corners of his official business venues with cameras for information they conveniently had access to.

Therefore, it is barbaric for KPRC 2 News reporters to stalk Houston’s mayor and chase him around all corners of his official business venues with cameras for information they conveniently had access to. When KPRC 2 News was finally done, it declared in another watery story, “Mayor Turner finally answers questions on camera about intern paid $95K annually.” For God’s sake, what is the difference between written responses made available to the media and the same responses expressed on camera? Of course, the whole idea was to create sensational videos for specific Mayor Turner’s political opponents for the upcoming elections.

We can take this to the banks, but if Mr. Agumagu is guilty of any sin, it must be unconnected with his ethnicity, his color, and his rapport with the City of Houston–fourth largest city in the United States presided by a Black Mayor who has refused to yield to the mainstream media tyranny.  

This story which persevered for almost three weeks without an iota of new information did not establish how $95,000 annual salary is inappropriate for a senior staff analyst who attained three advanced degrees, including a bachelor’s degree, Master’s Degree and a law degree. Yet KPRC 2’s story totally scorned a reasonable investigation of Mr. Agumagu’s workforce competence, rather, it focused on his salary and hiring process to generate a drumfire of negative political attacks to bully the Mayor. The story hammered consistently on discrepancies over specific emails, mayor’s statements, and the program’s design process.

Perhaps if Mr. Marvin Agumagu’s name was “Marvin White,” KPRC 2’s headlines would have read differently and most positively, too.  

Besides his unmatched academic feats, Mr. Agumagu is not an entry-level rookie and would not have been hired to make coffees and teas as KPRC 2’s story sarcastically implied. My goodness, this dude has worked around local governments, facilitated projects, and maintains vast knowledge on international business, politics, and diplomacy–a skill-set consequential to the core mission of the Houston Airport systems in expediting an upper echelon of international connectivity for Houston’s growing diverse population.

Stalking Mayor Turner: Therefore, it is barbaric for KPRC 2 News reporters to stalk Houston’s mayor and chase him around all corners of his official business venues with cameras for information they conveniently had access to.
Stalking Mayor Turner: Therefore, it is barbaric for KPRC 2 News reporters to stalk Houston’s mayor and chase him around all corners of his official business venues with cameras for information they conveniently had access to.

We can take this to the banks, but if Mr. Agumagu is guilty of any sin, it must be unconnected with his ethnicity, his color, and his rapport with the City of Houston–fourth largest city in the United States presided by a Black Mayor who has refused to yield to the mainstream media tyranny.  Perhaps if Mr. Marvin Agumagu’s name was “Marvin White,” KPRC 2’s headlines would have read differently and most positively, too.  

Again, I must reiterate that the public must ignore any attempt by the media to decide their prospects. The last time a set of American voters gambled with their chances to elect a leader, they ended up with Donald Trump–an unscrupulous bigot that is currently making a mockery of essential values of America’s democracy. At this time, voters must be very careful with unscrupulous contenders hiding behind the media to steal their votes. With the city elections less than a month away, voters must be careful about those investigative stories on the TV screen. They might just be another “political hit job.”   

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

Mayor Turner’s “$95,000-a-year internship” story: Is KPRC 2 News trying to meddle with the City Election?

With the city elections less than a month away, the current recycling of “The Sylvester Turner “$95,000-a-year internship” story segment with no new information is becoming unprofessionally redundant and may signify election meddling.

The timeline trailing KPRC 2 News segments on how an intern recommended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner earns $95,000 a year suggests there might be hidden or perhaps abnormal motives. But the story is substantial and admirably investigative. KPRC 2 reporters had penetrated Mayor Turner’s business and fished out a breaking news report, that an entry-level local government job which he recommendation carries abnormal salary earnings of $95,000 a year.


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

In the middle of this storm is a 31-year-Marvin Agumagu who was offered a position in an airport’s Executive Internship Program in rather a suspicious manner, raising concerns about why he was given the salary of a senior staff analyst, $95,000 a year with benefits whereas the average internship makes about $22,000 annually. 

Meticulously, KPRC 2 News might have invested more resources in this story than their coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

But Mayor Turner defended his actions explaining that Mr. Agumagu’s salary was appropriate based on his education and experience. For instance, noted Turner in a statement made available to the media, “He has three advanced degrees, including a bachelor’s degree, Master’s Degree and a law degree. He also has experience in international relations and governmental affairs which is an asset for the City of Houston’s 5-star international airports.”

Apparently, Mayor Turner’s explanation was not enough for KPRC 2 News. They had run this same story over three times with different headlines, teasers, powerful promos, and ambiguous story riders. Meticulously, they might have invested more resources in this story than their coverage of Hurricane Harvey.

This sarcastic sub-headline caught my attention, “How much would you pay someone to fetch coffee and make photocopies? $10,000 a year? $20,000 a year?” But KPRC 2 News knew that this was not just a basic internship position. As the Mayor’s camp noted, “The official job title for the Executive Intern is Senior Staff Analyst (Executive Level) with a pay grade of 28. The Department Director chose the job title and pay grade and the Human Resource Department determined both were consistent with the specified duties and responsibilities of the position.”

One of Mayor Turner’s major opposition in the upcoming City general election, Tony Buzbee (Left) has already called for a full investigation into the issue. Currently, the Buzbee campaign has infiltrated the networks with advertisements created off of KPRC 2 News’ consistent bashing of Mayor Turner (right)..

But for the records, approval was done under the City of Houston’s Administrative policy. According to the Mayor, “The process is routine, and I have signed 122 of these reclassifications for each of the 23 city departments since taking office in January 2016.”

Yet KPRC 2 News remained adamant in its story segments, recycling the same content and rewording every sentence to fake freshness.  In fact, they have indirectly fed Mayor Turner’s election opponents with both campaign talking points and advertisement catchphrases.

For example, One of Mayor Turner’s major opposition in the upcoming City general election, Tony Buzbee has already called for a full investigation into the issue. According to Buzbee “The mayor claims he can’t find the money to pay for police, fire, and floods, but based on three emails, he can hire an intern for 95K a year plus benefits.” Currently, the Buzbee campaign has infiltrated the networks will advertisements created off of KPRC 2 News’ consistent bashing of Mayor Turner.

KPRC 2 has indirectly fed Mayor Turner’s election opponents with both campaign talking points and advertisement catchphrases.

Nevertheless, Mayor Turner is not new to such media campaign machinations.  Recall Turner v. Dolcefino when in November 1991, KTRK Channel 13 ran a news story about Turner during a close mayoral race. Turner lost that election and ended up in a very lengthy libel lawsuit with both the TV station and their reporter. 

Mayor Turner (left) has consistently led in the polls. In a recent poll of 501 registered voters that Houston Public Media commissioned together with KHOU, Mayor Turner led his rivals with than a third of respondents (36.5%). Tony Buzbe (right) trails with 22%.

So it could be said that  Mayor Turner again might be under the mainstream media bombardment and as we can see, this trend increases as the polls draw closer. Just two weeks ago, KTRK-TV ran another investigative story linking a rapport between Mayor Turner and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic to a breakfast meeting, campaign donations, and city insurance contract.

It is not a coincidence that all these are coming less than one month when Houston voters will decide the next mayor for another four-year tenure.  Mayor Turner has consistently led in the polls. In a recent poll of 501 registered voters that Houston Public Media commissioned together with KHOU, Mayor Turner led his rivals with than a third of respondents.

At this point, if there are substantial updates in this story, let viewers know if not, KPRC 2 News should wrap it up or shut up

With the city elections less than a month away, the current recycling of Turner’s “$95,000-a-year internship” story segment with no new information is becoming unprofessionally redundant and may signify election meddling. If there are substantial updates in this story, let viewers know, if not KPRC 2 News should wrap it up or shut up.

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

As a matter of personal values–I do not mourn dictators

My job is to comfort their victims, share their horrific deeds, and document their interminable exit

The metaphysical model of death is a three-way process–social withdrawal, biological (organ) shutdown, and psychological departure (mental exit). Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe has finally fulfilled these conditions at 95–two years after he was forced to relinquish power to end a disgusting 37-year rule.  


By Anthony Obi Ogbo


Mugabe’s final moments were a contrast to his years as a dictator.  His physical changes were vivid as he emaciated hourly. Grounded on his ailing bed in a treatment facility in faraway Singapore, this dictator watched his external world gradually diminished into a hopeless state that eventually lured him into his current perpetual sleep.  

Do not get me wrong: from that Austrian-born leader of the Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler, and the Killer-leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, through Benito Mussolini of the Kingdom of Italy, every dictator, including Mugabe has a success story. He was an icon of freedom in Africa’s political fraternity. Undeniably, he is a pan-Africanist who once championed the liberation movement of his people. In fact, his influence on the history of Zimbabwe remains ineffaceable.   

Today, two years after his ejection from office, Mugabe is finally dead. He may not be allowed into Heaven because he would question God on why he created the White Race. Equally, he would be denied entry into hell because he might go there to seize their lands.  So where would the almighty Mugabe go?

But why would a dictator who once claimed the ownership of a country he ruled and abused for 37 years die in a treatment facility in another country? That is the characteristic of the African dictator who would deny their constituent healthcare but send their families abroad for treatment; who consequently would run down their education system and send their families to the most expensive schools in the west. Mugabe is no exception.

His leadership of the former British colony was red marked with bloodshed, persecution of political opponents and a pattern of large-scale election roguery. Mugabe watched his people perish under senseless political, social, and economic policies that triggered uncontrolled inflation, leaving his country the worst economy in the continent.  He shut down the opposition and tortured his critics as a hobby. He usually would invoke a pretentious “Blame-the-west” tactics to sidetrack his leadership woes.

His forced- resignation on November 21, 2017, made good news nationwide as Zimbabweans took to the street to celebrate an end to Mugabe’s dictatorship. He was 93 at the time and could not stand on his own for 20 seconds. Today, two years after his ejection from office, Mugabe is finally dead. He may not be allowed into Heaven because he would question God on why he created the White Race. Equally, he would be denied entry into hell because he might go there to seize their lands.  So where would the almighty Mugabe go?

I have nothing to do with their ailing moments. Thus, I have nothing to do with the death of Mugabe. As a matter of personal values–I do not mourn dictators. As a compassionate soul, my job is to comfort their victims. As a journalist, I have a duty to share their horrific deeds and document their interminable exit. I document and share spectacular images of their funerals and compile those deceiving eulogies by hypocrites that grace their funerals. Notwithstanding these values, I would say, Rest in Perfect Peace Mugabe.

Nevertheless such is life–a weird stage where distasteful clowns make appearances, perform and eventually leave. Mugabe played his role on this stage as a repentant self-made demigod, who annoyed peace until eventually, the blows of his wicked powers were subdued by death.

Please do not accuse me of mischievously being insensitive because that is not the intent. I have nothing to do with their ailing moments. Thus, I have nothing to do with the death of Mugabe. As a matter of personal values–I do not mourn dictators. As a compassionate soul, my job is to comfort their victims. As a journalist, I have a duty to share their horrific deeds and document their interminable exit. I document and share spectacular images of their funerals and compile those deceiving eulogies by hypocrites that grace their funerals. Notwithstanding these values, I would say, Rest in Perfect Peace Mugabe.

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

It is time to investigate Forbes for deceitful publications and research misconduct

Forbes “who-is-who or who-is-Not” series remain a marketing strategy facilitated through a questionable process to woo the highest bidders, but the repercussions are eating deep into their integrity. 

A violation of fundamental standards in professional study experimentation is a big deal. In fact, the integrity of all experiments and professional research studies are often preserved by codes for scholarly conduct and ethical behavior implanted to minimize false reporting and other disreputable activities. Given this circumstance,   a chain of publications by Forbes using specific experimental ratings to pronounce who is rich or poor among regions, gender, and other categories of businesses is emitting some red signals.


By Anthony Obi Ogbo


Forbes is an American bi-weekly business magazine reputed for who-is-who features related to finance, industry, investment, and marketing. With outstanding circulation figures, this magazine has been around since 1917, spinning topical feature stories on every subject areas, including communications, science, politics, and law.

However, contradictions and controversies that pervade Forbes research and publications must not just be ignored.  For instance, the recent arrest of one Obinwanne Okeke (Forbes 100 Most Influential Young Africans 2018) in the United States by operatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has validated every suspicion.  Okeke, an acclaimed global entrepreneur who has long been celebrated by Forbes was nabbed for allegedly defrauding top American companies of huge sums of money.

For years, Okeke, chairman ‘Invictus Group’ was Forbes-endorsed model for entrepreneurial success. He had appeared on the cover of Forbes Africa who named him one of ’30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 to Watch’. He was one of the featured speakers at the Forbes Under-30 Summit EMEA 2017 held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel. This summit convened the greatest young entrepreneurs and game-changers from America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to foster world-changing ideas.

In the age of information technology, the major concern remains how Forbes could explain this romance without authentic verification of Okeke’s sources of income.

This article is not intended to attack the fundamental nucleus of the entrepreneurial process or success. In strong words, it is critical of how a few editors can just sit down in an obscure Jersey City office and joggle up figures to control who-is-who or who-is-Not.

One of Forbes’ best business models, Obinwanne Okeke in chains: For years, Okeke, chairman ‘Invictus Group’ was Forbes-endorsed model for entrepreneurial success. He had appeared on the cover of Forbes Africa who named him one of ’30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 to Watch’. He was one of the featured speakers at the Forbes Under-30 Summit EMEA 2017 held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel.

In my last book, Maxima of Political Leadership,” I explained how Forbes controverted its own grading track with study ranks and figures that were inconsistent with reality. I faulted Forbes 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies because none of the top six made it to the first ten companies listed in their World’s Most Valuable Brands. Thus, it would be hard to explain how Forbes top 7 technology-based most valuable firms (Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Samsung, and AT&T) were not found in its top list of innovative firms. Strange, isn’t it?

To make its activities more distrustful, Forbes has been consistent with its promotion and publication of unscrupulous global merchants with a questionable source of income. The publication would always label their sources of income as “oil and gas” or “self-made.” But the question is, when has “self-made” become a source of 10-figure business income?

Ms. Alakija and Ibrahim Babangida: Forbes totally failed to investigate that this woman’s wealth was tied to two of the most corrupt regimes in the continent’s history of politics. Alakija’s fashion business was tied to Nigeria’s president Ibrahim Babangida family, whereas her oil and gas ventures were indirectly sourced and sustained by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

This might be the case with this woman called Ms. Folorunsho Alakija who was leading a high-volume offshore scheme. Forbes romanced with Alakija’s wealth without appropriately investigating the ethical matters behind her very source of oil and gas business. Yet Alakija made it to Forbes lists of Power Women 2016, Billionaires 2019; Africa’s Billionaires 2019; with her source of income listed “oil and self-made.”

Forbes further totally failed to investigate that this woman’s wealth was tied to two of the most corrupt regimes in the continent’s history of politics. Alakija’s fashion business was tied to Nigeria’s president Ibrahim Babangida family, whereas her oil and gas ventures were indirectly sourced and sustained by President Olusegun Obasanjo.

 It may be recalled that in 2016,   Obasanjo bragged during a public speaking that Mrs. Alakija, was among the 25 billionaires he made during his tenure as President. Alakija,in turn,  accused Obasanjo’s administration of forcefully taking back a bulk of the profit generated from the said oil venture.  The revelation without a doubt was that these corrupt leaders and business folks were busy enriching themselves off of public funds in a country where unemployment and poverty rate are off the roof. 

Aliko Dangote, of the Dangote Group, is no exception. Dangote is an acclaimed Africa’s richest man who would claim he made his money being the continent’s largest cement producer. Dangote made it to Forbes lists of Powerful People 2018, Billionaires 2019, and Africa’s Billionaires 2019, with his sources of income listed as cement, sugar, flour, and again “Self Made.”

Mr. Dangote was not honest about his business. Dangote has systematically colluded with various regimes in Africa to stockpile government contracts; colluded with regimes to quash competition and create a monopoly and product scarcity to drive price and demand. He had used billions made off of unscrupulous ventures to conspire with different interests to influence elections through backdoor donations and sponsorships; and consequently used his wealth to direct political and economic interests to himself.

Celebrating Dangote, Alakija, Okeke: With its sloppy features and documentary stories often promoting crooked billionaires with questionable character, Forbes should be investigated to determine if there is collusion in the process to fabricate figures for abnormal profit.

With its sloppy features and documentary stories often promoting crooked billionaires with questionable character, Forbes should be investigated to determine if there is collusion in the process to fabricate figures for abnormal profit.  Research studies should seek truth and cultivate new knowledge to grow social development. In modern research, legal and ethical issues associated with the subject and researcher are a great component. Fabrication and manipulation of data make up serious scientific misconduct. Forbes must come clean.

Forbes “who-is-who or who-is-Not” series remain a marketing strategy facilitated through a questionable process to woo the highest bidders, but the repercussions are eating deep into their integrity.  The motivation to commit scientific misconduct in these publications are obvious–to boost circulation, enlarge advertising base, and rake in revenue by auctioning their ratings.

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

Omowole Sowore – an activist, a revolutionist or an inglorious hooligan?

Revolution breeds anarchy. Political activism becomes hooliganism when they are engineered by unscrupulous political vandals with ulterior motives.

So when the owner of the Sahara Reporters Mr. Omowole Sowore was arrested by security agents for his planned violent protests against the Nigerian government, some activists went on the air to preach the civil liberty gospel. The major argument was that arresting this activist in a protest that has not occurred is undemocratic because no laws have been broken. That makes sense, but utterly nonsensical in practical terms.


By Anthony Obi Ogbo


The basic way to manage domestic terrorism is to wrestle the symptoms and mitigate them. Leaders who fail to follow this rule are often caught up with horrendous incidents where they would end up counting dead bodies.  As I write, the United States of America are reeling from yet more gruesome sights of violence and death when in less than 13 hours and nearly 1,600 miles apart, two mass shootings left at least 29 dead and 53 injured.

SOWORE (right). In some of the videos he posted in the social media, he incited young folks to joining his cause – suggesting unrestricted resistance and possible showdown. Such proposals would definitely leave any law enforcement with several options to mitigate chaos as well as investigate possible violations. 
 

Sowore’s arrest triggered a long thread of disagreement in the social media about the empirical meaning of the term “revolution.” Some defended Sowore’s proposed revolution as a mere protest because there were no violent undertones, whereas others suggested that his call might bring violence and anarchy. In fact, some compared the current administration with the previous regime of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan – arguing that the latter offered unprecedented freedom to his opposition. But democracy does not work like that.  If indeed the former President Jonathan failed to prosecute vandals who threatened his regime with violent revolution that might not be democratic but a clueless display of idiocy.

In political governance, the severity of a call for a revolution would depend on the actors, their conduct, and political environment.  But for Nigeria, a nation which has endured a horrific civil war, multiple coups, and several destructive and violent protests, a call for a revolution by a controversial group or individual might not just be overlooked by any meaningful law enforcement.

There is no doubt that the word “Revolution” is broad and lacks unambiguous meaning in basic definition. Also, most scholars would agree that the universal objective of any revolution would be to facilitate a transformation from an existing state to a higher level of system success – which may or may not be violent. However, in political governance, the severity of a call for a revolution would depend on the actors, their conduct, and political environment.  But for Nigeria, a nation which has endured a horrific civil war, multiple coups, and several destructive and violent protests, a call for a revolution by a controversial group or individual might not just be overlooked by any meaningful law enforcement.

Sowore’s latest case is basically a misleading political venture. From all indications, he wanted to be arrested so as to build a political base from a socially vulnerable populace who would see him as a hero. He was the Presidential Candidate for the African Action Congress (AAC), a party he founded. However, he failed terribly in the election. 

His political career crumbled soon after the election, when in July, a Federal High Court in Abuja validated his suspension in his own party. He was suspended February 23, for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities. This was when Sowore switched his title to “comrade.”

His political career crumbled soon after the election, when in July, a Federal High Court in Abuja validated his suspension in his own party. He was suspended February 23, for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities. This was when Sowore switched his title to “comrade.” He quickly consulted prominent activists opposed to the regime to market his project. He used his social media platform to share videos advocating a violent revolution in a proposed nationwide protest scheduled for August 5, 2019.” In his own words, Sowore vowed, “This is just a rehearsal of what is going to be the biggest revolution in this country”, claiming that some “big wings” in the opposition parties especially the PDP had already accepted it as a new face in the country.

Sowore’s latest case is basically a political venture. From all indications, he wanted to be arrested so as to build a political base from a socially vulnerable populace who would seem him as a hero. He was the Presidential Candidate for the African Action Congress (AAC), a party he founded. However, he failed terribly in the election.

Based on Sowores proposals, we may not need to recite any laws to assess his objectives. He is a self-acclaimed revolutionist who wants to lead a violent rebellion against his government. In some of the videos he posted in the social media, he incited young folks to joining his cause – suggesting unrestricted resistance and possible showdown. Such proposals would definitely leave any law enforcement with several options to mitigate chaos as well as investigate possible violations. 

Just a little background – Sowore  is not a new name in current Nigeria’s leadership crisis. He is not a part of the current government, but the role he played during the electioneering season that elected the incumbent leaves him without further introduction in the Nigeria’s political history.  He operated the Sahara Reporters, an internet controversial news blog which he started and operated at the time in his Manhattan’s studio apartment.

He untruthfully claimed that Sahara Reporters was set up to fight corruption and wrong government practices – thus received undisclosed grants from both the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Foundation. Contrary to these objectives,  Sowore was accused of using this platform as a bargaining tool to court unscrupulous politicians whom he collaborated with to blackmail the previous regime headed by Dr.  Jonathan.

He untruthfully claimed that Sahara Reporters was set up to fight corruption and wrong government practices – thus received undisclosed grants from both the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Foundation. Contrary to these objectives,  Sowore was accused of using this platform as a bargaining tool to court unscrupulous politicians whom he collaborated with to blackmail the previous regime headed by Dr.  Jonathan.

For instance, the regime accused Sowore of  receiving a $5m mansion-gift from the major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The regime claimed Sowore is being bribed to use his online news platform to “mislead and hoodwink gullible and highly brainwashed Nigerians through highly biased, junk, sensational and sectional journalism.” But Sowore denied the allegations, describing President Goodluck Jonathan as a “cheap blackmailer and liar’. In fact, Sahara Reporters at the time published an unsubstantiated poll which showed that Dr. Jonathan “would be defeated by 75% if pitched against Buhari”  in the 2015 general election.

But besides the aforementioned trade of accusations and counter-accusations, Sowore’s collaboration with the APC in pulling down the incumbent at the time to elect this current regime remains as clear as spring water. He supported unequivocally, all fabricated campaign propaganda orchestrated by the opposition and promoted editorial columns and video blogs tailored to frantically destroy the structure of Nigeria’s politics in order to pave way for his opposition collaborators.

So the issue is how such a character could turn around and become a “Comrade” overnight  in the same democratic structure he painstakingly destroyed. Do not get this wrong.  Sowore has the right to agitate his grievances with the regime or their policies. In a democracy, the statutory functions of civil liberty is not negotiable. The regime cannot authoritatively interfere with the citizens’ rights to peacefully assembly, protest, speak out, or advocate a redress of policies. But it must also be noted that in constitutional democracy where written laws direct all functions of the government, a call for a revolution could be treasonable, especially where it is perceived to obstruct national security or public safety.

A protest or call for revolution loses the civil liberty protection where actors and actions or proposed engagements undermine the laws of the land. Furthermore, whereas freedom to protest is unequivocally legitimate, inflammatory communication systematized by actors loaded with ulterior motives to invoke ferocious actions might be subversive and felonious.

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

The shame of amoral witchery: Obasanjo’s abuse of elder statesmanship

He led the most corrupt administration in the Nation’s history; groomed a gang dubious politicians and contractors who had raped Nigeria’s economy and political prospects almost beyond redemption.


By ANTHONY OBI OGBO

Eldership is not a position but a legacy of great sagacity. It is a title earned through the ability to influence subordinates through knowledge, sheer experience, understanding, unequivocal judgements, and commonsense. The core values of elder statesmanship are not just built on age, but grounded in virtues synchronized with ethics and kind-heartedness. 

In other words, it is fair to say that a former South African president, Nelson Mandela was an elder statesman. This clarification is necessary for most individuals or perhaps analysts who would erroneously refer to every aged politician or community leader as elder statesman with the least consideration of the values each of them live.

A former Nigeria’s President, Olusegun Obasanjo is one of such politicians unknown by those who followed his political choices and actions.  For clarity, Pa Obasanjo is an 82-old senior who has ruled Nigeria twice –  as a civilian and once a military junta, and who still has not giving up his hunger for absolute power. From 2007 when he concluded his service as his nation’s civilian leader, this man has not given up his drunkenness for power and public resources, rather, he had pervaded the political system in the most twisted manner; destroyed younger politicians who would not partake in his treachery and bullied others who still worshipped him like a demigod.  

As if this wasn’t enough, Iyabo, lashed out another frustration with a father she publicly disowned, stating “We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes.” 

But among almost a thousand descriptions of this former President by those who claimed they knew him, only his daughter, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo has rendered his portrait with unimpeachable accuracy. One good thing about women is that they can tell their own blood better without forensic evidence. Hence, Iyabo knew her dad in-and-out, describing him as a “narcissistic megalomaniac personality” who would always “accuse someone else of what he so obviously practice.” 

As if this wasn’t enough, Iyabo, lashed out another frustration with a father she publicly disowned, stating “We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes.”  This was in 2013. 

Also, it may be recalled that in 2008, Pa Obasanjo’s own son, Gbenga, in an affidavit following a messy divorce case with his wife, Mojisola, accused this former president of having sex with his wife as an exchange for government contracts. I do not mean to dig up these issues about Pa Obasanjo, but his tenacious underhanded advances into Nigeria’s leadership system, from regime-to-regime,  necessitate making a few references of his ramshackle credibility and deceitful claims of eldership. 

But did he actually resign as an elder statesman? Not really. Obasanjo joined forces with the opposition and secretly began to trade-off confidential information in his possession to destroy PDP, the same party that drove him through two tenures of presidency. He wrote a public letter and fabricated destructive intelligence allegations to destroy the incumbent then, former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he politically groomed and installed.

After his presidency tenure, when he became the  chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Obasanjo handled his business selfishly, and mean-heartedly split his party into political in-groups. He created diminutive rebellious factions and positioned them to fight each other. After the aged leader was done, he cunningly resigned from his party’s top leadership position in 2012, claiming that he wanted to fulfill his duties as a statesman locally and internationally. 

But did he actually resign as an elder statesman? Not really. Obasanjo joined forces with the opposition and secretly began to trade-off confidential information in his possession to destroy PDP, the same party that drove him through two tenures of presidency. He wrote a public letter and fabricated destructive intelligence allegations to destroy the incumbent then, former President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he politically groomed and installed. But the major reason behind these ugly advances was because President Jonathan rightfully adopted a governance process that sidestepped Obasabjo’s despotic influence and selfish political demands –  a culture of appointing political leaders for elective offices behind closed doors – telling candidates when to run and when not to run for offices; and controlling all government offices like a flat screen with the remote.

So, with the aforementioned thesis of the evils of his political witchery, why would Obasanjo be trusted with policy-making thoughts and reflections? Earlier this week, he published another letter – a crafted fiction of mass-destruction which he addressed to President Buhari, warning that  “Nigeria is on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay.” What nonsense!

In Promoting President Buhari’s candidacy against the then incumbent, President Jonathan in 2015, Obasanjo said, “I hope that we will not have a coup – I hope we can avoid it.” This is exactly Obasanjo’s trademark – an illustration of hopeless rubbish with ulterior motives. 

With Obasanjo’s injurious influence, the issue becomes conceivable, on why any electorate who wants peace, progress, and unity in Nigeria would accord him any attention. Besides these controversial letters where he would usually fabricate allegations to throw his country into chaos, Obasanjo has consistently made damaging comments to ensure a failure of any regime that scorns his dubious advances. For instance, in Promoting President Buhari’s candidacy against the then incumbent, President Jonathan in 2015, Obasanjo said, “I hope that we will not have a coup – I hope we can avoid it.” This is exactly Obasanjo’s trademark – an illustration of hopeless rubbish with ulterior motives. 

Obasanjo is not an elder statesman but an over-aged wizard intoxicated by coercive power and arrogance. Within his eight-year presidency, he led the most corrupt administration in the Nation’s history; groomed a gang dubious politicians and contractors who had raped Nigeria’s economy and political prospects almost beyond redemption. Further, he ran an apprenticeship of dubious power merchants and lobbyists who infiltrate the system with crooked politicians.

Obasanjo is not an elder statesman but an over-aged wizard intoxicated by coercive power and arrogance. Within his eight-year presidency, he led the most corrupt administration in the Nation’s history; groomed a gang dubious politicians and contractors who had raped Nigeria’s economy and political prospects almost beyond redemption. Further, he ran an apprenticeship of dubious power merchants and lobbyists who infiltrate the system with crooked politicians.   Today, most of Obasanjo’s “students” are still within the boundaries of policy-making caucus, causing havoc in the system. 

But for Nigerians who still play the Russian roulette with their national unity, it must be noted that this region endured thousands of lives, punitive decrees, never-ending transition processes, absurd economic programs, and spiritual interventions to finally expunge the junta virus from their governmental system. Letters of Obasanjo therefore remain a dangerous option to sustaining this democracy. Finally, please note that Obasanjo is a choice not a constitutional obligation – therefore you may follow him at your own risk. 

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

Melania’s Statue – Between Abstract Sculpture and Mediocrity of Imaginative Skills

The composition is vague and the image is too pale for Melania, a lady obsessed with fashion and style.

Within the boundaries of the wonderful world of abstractism and the adjoining values, this Melania Trump’s statue remains a sculptural blunder borne out of mediocrity of creative skills. The composition is vague, and the image is too pale for Melania, a lady obsessed with fashion and style.  

By Anthony Obi Ogbo

The photo – a resemblance of a worn-out overfed scarecrow is actually a wooden statue of First Lady, Melania Trump. It was created by Ales “Maxi” Zupevc, a local Slovenian artist who used a chainsaw to execute his motif. Funny enough, this statue was commissioned by Berlin-based American Artist Brad Downey. Already most people thought the statue was a disgrace but the sculptor literally believed that Melania’s signature Ralph Lauren blue suit he depicted in his artifice validated his creation.

Fine Art does not work that way – and that is why most impressionists or perhaps surrealists would be very careful about a contentious art-for-art-sake reputation.  Artists may create anything. In fact, art may be created to please the artist’s imaginative soul, but the piece must convey substantial standards. The composition must not just be exceptional but also, most significantly, radiate some philosophical vigor.   

Mona Lisa’s mystic smile was not an accidental strokes of brush. Leonardo da Vinci, who equally studied the anatomical structures of the lips knew where he was headed to with her model.  Thus he rendered his imagination tactfully and captured the supernatural expressions in Monalisa’s smiles. Wrote Walter Isaacson on how Leonardo da Vinci achieved some Mona Lisa’s mysteries:

“There is other science involved in the smile. From his optics studies, Leonardo realized that light rays do not come to a single point in the eye but hit the whole area of the retina. The central area of the retina, known as the fovea, is best at seeing color and small details. The area surrounding the fovea is best at picking up shadows and shadings of black and white. When we look at an object straight on, it appears sharper. When we look at it peripherally, glimpsing it out of the corner of our eye, it is blurred, as if it were farther away.”

Abstract in fine art remains a constructive impression.  Inspired by fantasy and nature, a British contemporary sculptor, Martin Debenham created stainless steel wire sculptures. He made constructivism very simple and stylish – using very flexible materials, complex twists, and bends of wires to mold home his masterpiece. His mermaid wire-piece is an abstract rendering of a mermaid siting on a rock by a lily pond in a calming posture.  Without the doubt, this piece conjures some mythical narratives that could woo any observer.

Martin Debenham’s mermaid wire-piece is an abstract rendering of a mermaid siting on a rock by a lily pond in a calming posture.  Without the doubt, this piece conjures some mythical narratives that could woo any observer.

Within the boundaries of the wonderful world of abstractism and the adjoining values, this Melania Trump’s statue remains a sculptural blunder borne out of mediocrity of creative skills. The composition is vague, and the image is too pale for Melania, a lady obsessed with fashion and style.  Abstract is a good form of fine art. It shows a departure from reality, and an expedition to the unknown through some imaginative actions to invoke creativity. The concept breeds freedom of thoughts and inspires visual connections and interpretations. However, artists down with Imaginative skills could hold on to this philosophy to escape a lack of imagination.

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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