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BUHARI, STILL THE JIBRIL OF SUDAN

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Abimbola Adelakun

At the height of the chatter the current occupant of Aso Rock, Major General Muhamamdu Buhari (retd.), had been body snatched by a certain Jibril (or Jubril) from Sudan, this column pointed out that there is some sense in the nonsense being retailed in some quarters. Stories do not always need to be logical before they can be considered reasonable. Sometimes, what it illuminates despite its incoherence is some deeper truth about people’s situations. While no actual Jibril was impersonating Buhari, the Jibrilisation and Sudanisation of the president illustrated alienisation. Considering how alienated he was from the people he supposedly rules, the theory of an impersonator having replaced Buhari is reasonable. Both “Jibril” and “Sudan” were metaphors of foreignisation to describe a man no longer recognisable.

This was a man whose limited abilities to resolve what ails Nigeria was oversold during the 2015 electioneering. The image of Buhari they marketed must have overwhelmed the man himself because, by the time he eventually won the election, he fell like Humpty Dumpty. He has not been able to put himself back correctly since then. Knowing how lack lustre he would be in office; he pre-empted his coming failures with the warning that old age would affect his performance. For a man who got into power as a roarer, he had not even been officially sworn in before beginning to squeak. As it has panned out so far, his problem was not so much about advancing years as his sociopathic nonchalance. The issues his handlers promised he would confront with his “spartan” approach have barely changed. The most fitting photo of his administration that describes his administration is the one that shows him in his living room, picking his teeth. The picture has been meme-fied and used to satirise his self-distancing from Nigerians. Whoever released that image of Buhari to the public lacked tact, but they also gave us a potent visualisation of his detachment from the realities of the people he supposedly rules.

On the few occasions when Buhari had deigned to talk to Nigerians, he confirmed both his cold indifference to people and gross disrespect for their sensibilities. A quick example is his July statement in his hometown that he would not leave any assets behind for his children. For a man whose children had been educated in private schools abroad at the expense of Nigerians and have snagged several privileges that will pay them off for multiple lifetimes, he sounded hypocritical. One of his children—Yusuf, who had a motorcycle accident while overreaching himself—was even turbaned Talban Daura and appointed district head of the Kwasarawa community despite lacking a personal record of achievement. Despite all the evidence of their freeloading, Buhari still fancied himself as a disciplinarian father whose children foraged their way through nothing but personal responsibility.

On Tuesday in Imo State, he reportedly lamented that he had not received enough credit for his administrative achievements. He said, “In terms of time and resources, this administration has done extremely well. I have to say it because those who are supposed to say it are not saying it. I don’t know why.” Well, those who are supposed to trumpet his achievements are muted because they are embarrassed by his woeful failures. Buhari is probably the only one who scores himself high. Since he is happily deluded, they just let him be. They see him happily picking his teeth away, unconcerned about Nigeria’s fate, and they feed his continued alienation by sending him select information about the state of the nation.

Typical Buhari, his speech in Imo showed a man stuck in time. He still spoke as if it was still 2015. He boasted about the number of local governments in the hands of Boko Haram when he came to power and which they have presently retrieved. The man does not seem to have updated himself on a new form of evil called banditry that had taken over the land and even superseded Boko Haram in malevolence. Buhari repeated the same old grouch about his predecessors who earned so much revenue from oil but failed to deliver on infrastructure. “Infrastructure,” long reduced to building some federal roads, a bridge and railway services that ply a few cities, has been his biggest boast. Since the infrastructure of health, education, energy and rural/urban management are still lacking, he and his spokespersons act as if they do not matter.

One would think a man whose regime over-depends on oil prices would at least make some concerted effort to stop oil plunder, but no. Daily, an estimated 108,000 barrels of oil is stolen. His selling point in 2015 was his promise to stop corruption but corruption exploded right under his watch. For instance, his own accountant general was fingered for stealing an obscene amount; the shady sum allocated to fuel subsidy ballooned. Insecurity in Nigeria morphed into a monstrosity; the antics of Boko Haram are now barely distinguishable from the wickedness of the bandits. Due to poor economic mismanagement, most Nigerians went from being merely poor to becoming multi-dimensionally poor. Hardly anything he met when he got into office improved.

An account of our life under this present government shows how much we have regressed than progressed. One of the most spectacular failures is the out-of-school children rate. Due to combined factors of insecurity and rising poverty, the figure rose stratospherically in almost eight years of their administration. In 2015 when they came into power, UNICEF put the number at a whopping 10.5 million. Some days ago, UNICEF announced that the figure had risen to 18.5 million. A more recent update by UNESCO shows that the figure is around 20.2 million, roughly the population of entire countries like Burkina Faso or Mali! This regime claims to have spent billions of naira on school feeding projects but things only worsened. Their social relief programs tend to gulp vast sums of money but hardly anyone, except perhaps their cronies and corrupt associates, is ever better off.

In a matter of months, it would have been a full calendar year since public universities have been shut down in the entire country. Thousands of students have lost years of their lives to the strike, a period they will never be recouped even if lecturers teach overtime. But what does that matter to Buhari who has wilfully socially distanced himself from reality enough to award himself a passing grade? Things have taken a downturn for many people, and the quality of life has significantly declined but the man in charge thinks people are not singing his praises enough. He cannot understand why even his own party members vying for power are ashamed of his failures. On September 28, when electioneering officially starts, they will distance themselves from their own party failures and campaign like an opposition party.

Most people have given up on Buhari and are already looking forward to the salvation 2023 might bring. Even Buhari too has surrendered. He is merely counting down to the day he will return to his village, the scorching remains of the country safely handed over to someone else to manage. For a man whose anti-Midas touch turns brass to dross, he is pathetically alienated from the carnage he caused. His memory of his administration will undoubtedly be different from the reality that many Nigerians experienced, a dissonance that will be further nurtured by hagiographers who will not let him come to terms with his cluelessness.

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SWEDISH SCIENTIST WINS NOBEL PRIZE FOR EXTRACTING DNA FROM 40,000-YEAR-OLD BONES

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Swedish Scientist and 2022 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology, Svante Paabo,

A 67-year-old Swedish scientist, Svante Paabo, won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday.

Paabo became a Nobel laureate following his outstanding years of discovery work of extracting deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) from 40,000-year-old bones.

This includes his expertise in sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans.

He was also able to establish that gene transfer occurred between extinct hominins and homo sapiens.

The Nobel Prize organisation, on its website, said Paabo won the prize “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.”

“Paabo’s seminal research gave rise to an entirely new scientific discipline; paleogenomics. By revealing genetic differences that distinguish all living humans from extinct hominins, his discoveries provide the basis for exploring what makes us uniquely human,” the statement added.

According to the Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine and a Professor in Medical Biochemistry for the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Dr Nils-Goran Larsson, what Paabo’s work achieved had been considered impossible.

Speaking in an audio posted on Nobel Prize’s website, Paabo said his work made him realise that other types of humans existed and contributed to the homo sapiens of today.

“Well, it does tell us that we are very closely related, first of all, and we are so closely related that they have contributed quite directly, 50, 60 thousand years ago, DNA to the ancestors of most people today, those who have their roots outside Africa.

And that variation that, sort of, those variants do have an influence, and influence many things in our physiology today,” he said.

While speaking on the possibility of the discovery to alter how humans perceived themselves today, he said, “In some sense, I do think it does so, the sort of realisation that until quite recently, maybe 14 hundred generations or so ago there were other forms of humans around and they mixed with our ancestors and have contributed to us today.

“The fact that the last 40 thousand years are unique in human history, in that we are the only form of humans around. Until that time, there were almost always other types of humans that existed.”

In his reaction to the work and prize, Paabo said he “did not think that this really would qualify for a Nobel Prize,” adding that he never expected to get the call informing him of the win.

“So I was just gulping down the last cup of tea to go and pick up my daughter at her nanny where she has had an overnight stay.

“And then I got this call from Sweden and I of course thought it had something to do with our little summer house… I thought the lawn mower had broken down or something.

Paabo was born on April 20, 1955, and is one of the founders of paleogenetics and a professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan.

His research investigating how the E19 protein of adenoviruses modulates the immune system earned him a PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden, in 1986.

He’s the director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

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ENIOLUWA: THE GENZ SUPERSTAR PAVING THE WAY THROUGH BEAUTY AND FASHION

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Enioluwa Adeoluwa, also known as “Lip-gloss Boy” or “Beauty Boy,” is a multi-talented individual who has positions as a writer, host, media expert, influencer, and public speaker.

Enioluwa Adeoluwa, also known as “Lip-gloss Boy” or “Beauty Boy,” is a multi-talented individual who has positions as a writer, host, media expert, influencer, and public speaker. Adeoluwa’s climb has been unmatched since 2020; he is well-known for his videos in which he can be seen putting on lip gloss and making observations about his daily life in Lagos.

Enioluwa Adeoluwa, The Lip-Gloss Boy

As one of the few Nigerian guys working in the cosmetics and beauty sector, Adeoluwa is not only expressing himself online like every other influencer, but he is also breaking barriers. He discusses his upbringing, influences, and how he overcame the stigma associated with being femme in Nigeria in an interview with Guardian Life.

What was your childhood like?

My childhood was pretty interesting. As a pastor’s child, I was a church boy, and it was a lot of fun. Aside from the fact that I did some quite interesting activities, like playing with friends, I lived in a very close-knit community in Akure.

When did you get into the beauty industry and why lip-gloss?

I think I started making beauty-influencing videos in 2019. I don’t think lip-gloss boy as a character really relate to beauty influencing. When I do make-up and skincare videos, it’s when I do beauty influencing. That is what I started with. One day, I was making a makeup video and then I used my lip gloss and ranted and it blew up. I wish I could say “Oh, this is the reason why it was lip-gloss and this is what makes it special,” but there isn’t any of that, it just fell on lip-gloss and that is how it became lip-gloss. Beauty influencing has always been my love. I learned how to take care of my skin by seeing my mother when I was a child. I think I am reaping the benefits now.

Enioluwa Adeoluwa, The GENZ Superstar

You are one of the few male beauty influencers in Nigeria. In your experience, what do you think is responsible for the stigma surrounding male makeup?

Being one of the few male beauty influencers is exciting. It is such a good opportunity that I am one of the first to do it, but there are new people doing it as well. I feel like there is just this feeling of fulfilment. When I started, a lot of people talked about the stigma, but I am glad it was different for me. I understand the stigma directed towards it, but I feel like that is changing and that is what representation does. Once we hear more success stories related to beauty male influencers, then people will start to become more accepting of it.

What is your definition of self-care?

Self-care is what you make of it; it doesn’t feel like work; it feels like care, because you are caring for yourself. Saying to yourself, I am going to find love, going for a massage or manicure are all forms of self-care, and watching Netflix with family is another form of self-care. That moment where you are feeling relaxed, you are feeling better and you just feel like it isn’t stressful to do, i believe that moment will define self-care for you.

Ever since you have been in the public eye, you have continuously used your platform to advocate, especially for femme men. With Nigeria being a conservative country, how do you navigate through the negativity and what message are you hoping to pass across?

No matter what you do, people are always going to talk, so I don’t see the negativity. Rather, I focus on positivity and I know it is a sort of protection. The message I want to pass across really is representation and what you look like or who you are doesn’t define you. I try to avoid interviews where people ask “femme this and that”. Why don’t you ask me about how you were able to achieve first class at 19 or finish your master’s degree or get signed with brands? One thing that is very important to me is to not let my life be based on one thing. It doesn’t matter if you are femme because it is also being different. Just telling yourself “I can be successful” is fine as long as you aren’t hurting anybody and as long as you are working on it.

Content creation is something everyone is doing now, but looking at your journey, you have done very impressive things with your brand deals. What has been your strategy to stand out in the influencer market?

Again, I would say it isn’t for everyone. Yes, it is a flooded industry right now because people see that it is a successful industry where you can make money. But if you are still trying to get into it, make a name for yourself and work towards that name, then ask yourself, “what are you bringing that is different?”

With influencer marketing, there is also a strategy. You have to also understand that it is business and be kind. I think people love kind people to the extent that even if they haven’t met you, they can just tell that you are a loving and kind person. That is something about me that stands out.

One fact no one knows about you?

I recently got a dog. Her name is Princess.

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BRUCE WILLIS DENIES SELLING RIGHTS TO HIS FACE

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Movie Star and Two-time Emmy Winner, Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis’s agent has denied reports that the film star has sold the rights to his face.

Last week, it was widely reported that Willis, in the first deal of its kind, had sold his face to a deepfake company called Deepcake.

However, a spokesperson for the actor told the BBC that he had “no partnership or agreement” with the company.

And a representative of Deepcake said only Willis had the rights to his face.

Willis announced his retirement from acting in March after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder that affects speech.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to create realistic videos – often of celebrities or politicians. For actors that can no longer act, the technology has the potential to be game-changing.

On 27 September, the Daily Mail reported that a deal had been struck between Willis and Deepcake.

“Two-time Emmy winner Bruce Willis can still appear in movies after selling his image rights to Deepcake,” the story reads.

The story was picked up by the Telegraph and a series of other media outlets.

“Bruce Willis has become the first Hollywood star to sell his rights to allow a ‘digital twin’ of himself to be created for use on screen.” said the Telegraph.

But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

What is true is that a deepfake of Bruce Willis was used to create an advert for Megafon, a Russian telecoms company, last year.

The tech used in the advert was created by Deepcake, which describes itself as an AI company specializing in deepfakes.

Deepcake told the BBC it had worked closely with Willis’ team on the advert.

“What he definitely did is that he gave us his consent (and a lot of materials) to make his Digital Twin,” they said.

The company says it has a unique library of high-resolution celebrities, influencers and historical figures.

On its website, Deepcake promotes its work with an apparent quote from Mr Willis: “I liked the precision of my character. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back in time.

“The neural network was trained on content of Die Hard and Fifth Element, so my character is similar to the images of that time.”

However, Willis’s agent told the BBC, “Please know that Bruce has no partnership or agreement with this Deepcake company.”

The BBC asked Willis’s agent whether he had ever worked with Deepcake, or whether the quote used by the company was accurate.

The BBC has not yet received a response.

In a statement from Deepcake, the company said reports that it had bought the rights to Bruce Willis’s face were inaccurate.

“The wording about rights is wrong… Bruce couldn’t sell anyone any rights, they are his by default,” a representative for the company said.

The confusion highlights just how new this technology is – and the lack of clear rules around it.

AI replacement appears to be a growing trend. Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones has recently retired from playing the famous character, but his voice has carried on. Respeecher, another AI firm, has reportedly used archival materials and a proprietary algorithm to replicate the Vader vocals.

This summer, Disney released its latest Star Wars spinoff, Obi-Wan Kenobi. The show used Respeecher’s technology to reproduce Vader’s speech and even make him sound younger.

AI replacement, however, is controversial.

In April, Equity, the UK’s performing arts workers union, launched the campaign, Stop AI Stealing The Show. Some are concerned AI deep fakes could take work away from actors.

There are also concerns that actors could lose control of their faces and voices.

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