by Adewale Adeleke
First, I would start by stating that there is a difference between knowledge of grammar and deductive reasoning.
Whereas the former is about language, the latter is about thinking capacity. Both are important but giving a choice between the two, the public is better served by a leader who has more of the latter than the former.
In school, brilliance is measured by the capacity of a student to answer the question asked, not a different question. In public service, brilliance is measured by the capacity to proffer and deliver specific solution to specific problem, to problem-solve.
No one gets rewarded with an “A” in a chemistry exam, by copying and pasting answer from an economics exam. And it is irrelevant that the economics answer was written in poetic rhymes that would put D. F. Fagunwa to shame.
In short, brilliance beats eloquence silly anyday, everyday. Period.
And the reason is simple, one who could think logically is more capable of arriving at the right conclusion than one who suffers a deficiency in deductive reasoning. Although, the latter, with superior knowledge of grammar, may be able to convey his ill informed conclusion using the right words, but, pray, of what value is a wrong or ill informed conclusion to others.
A speech has two parts — form and substance. The best is to have no deficit in either. Second best is to have substance but short on form. The worst is to have form but no substance.
Worst because while the one who has neither form nor substance is unlikely to mislead the public with sweet words, the one with form, eloquence and articulation, but no substance could nonetheless mislead many.
And this was precisely what happened over the past few days that many people, including myself, were sucked in by PMB’s eloquent, articulate, but non responsive answers to questions. Indeed, a non-responsive answer is deemed not to be a response.
What seems obvious even to disinterested observers over the past few years from the last campaign through the most recent TV interviews, is that PMB appears to lack the capacity for connecting the dots, establishing a logical nexus between the relevant factual background and the issues.
And I dare say, the bedrock of any brilliant analysis is the capacity to establish logical nexus between factual background of anything and the issues. That is the starting point of any intellectual analysis.
In high school science experiments, this is the aim/objective-conclusion correlation. In law, it is the section after the statement of facts, where the lawyer/judge “identifies” or “states the issue.” For the movie buffs among us, we are very familiar with the court scene where the lawyer starts out this way, “…the issue in this case is… bla bla bla.”
Yes, I agree with observations by some about PMB’s “eloquence” and “articulation” if one takes into account “the very low expectations the public has for his communication skill.”
However, on a second thought, it appears that his “tendency to go off target when asked a question” which other commentators deem “perhaps a weakness in comprehension of questions,” raises significant doubt about his capacity for cognitive processes involved in such mental activities as reasoning, remembering, imagining, problem solving, and making judgments, all of which is ultimately bound to impact adversely informed decision making, a key leadership quality.
To put it simply, the measure of deductive reasoning in public policy design, implementation, monitoring, and review is about ensuring that there is a correlation between a problem and the solution proffered.
If one lacks the capacity to grasp the basics of the problem-solution map, it would diminish his problem ~solution~ solving ability, and in the case of the president, it is the public at large that would suffer.
The same president that advised the two (2) governors to go and solve the killer herdsmen problem was the same one whose attorney general opposed the ban on open grazing. When convenient, state rights matter. Other times, it is the federal might that matters.
This is like placing an order for a TV on Jumia or Amazon.com and the next day an iPhone is delivered. It is irrelevant that the vendor/seller gave an eloquent and articulate explanation that one could make money using iPhone but nobody gets paid for watching TV. Simply irrelevant.
What PMB demonstrates in this public outings are signs of age induced memory lapses, and for that he deserves our empathy, not ridicule or humiliation.
His problem solving skills has diminished and now more than ever, he needs aides who would work for the good of the country, rather than take advantage of his limitations in pursuit of power grab for power sake for power show.
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