That Sponsored Cartoon On Buhari

SIR: Though I am still undecided on which candidate to vote for, in the upcoming Presidential election, I was bemused by a full-page cartoon I saw on page 59 of the January 8, 2015 edition of The Guardian, that tried to lampoon the All Progressives Congress (APC), Presidential candidate, Major-General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd). It was sponsored by an amorphous group that calls itself “Concerned Nigerians”.

  In the said cartoon, the setting looked like a church because there was a bold red cross standing behind and above the “faithful” who seemed to be singing as they held in their right hands a paper written “hymn.” Among those in the church was a Buhari who was in the first row and holding his own hymn paper, albeit he also held in his left hand a Tasbih or Muslim prayer beads! Buhari had a mephistophelian glint in his eye! 

  The artist tried to convey the impression that Buhari had this thought going through him: “Let me win first…Sharia for sure.” But if the artist wanted to create a picture where Buhari was having a diabolical thought that those in the church would not know until of course, they had voted for him, then they got it awfully wrong! Those in the church heard what Buhari said all right! Instead of using a thought bubble, the artist used a speech bubble!

  Speech balloons, which can also be called speech bubbles, word balloons, or dialogue balloons are a graphic convention employed by cartoonists and in comic books to allow words to be understood. They represent speech or thoughts of a character. There is a clear difference between the balloon that stands for words spoken aloud and the one that stands for subjective thoughts. The one that stands for words spoken aloud uses a bubble with a pointer, which is called a tail, directed towards the speaker, while the one for subjective thoughts has a large, cloud-like bubble, which contains the text of the thought, and has a chain of increasingly smaller circular bubbles, which lead to the character. Elliptical bubble can also be used instead of a cloud-shaped one. You can also have a square or a rectangular speech bubble.

  If I were Buhari I needn’t worry my head about an amateur out-of-their-depth cartoonist and their mischievous, naïve and “off-key” sponsors!

• Cosmas Odoemena,


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