Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Tribunal ruled in favor of Yardy. A full post on the decision and the issues it raises is upcoming.
Watch this space!

Oh, and to put the title of this brief post in context, you have to be familiar with boxing announcements at the end of a match.

AddThis Feed Button

Read more!


Monday, February 25, 2008

Although some Nigerian newspapers claim that Nigeria's stance on AFRICOM is the reason why Bush changed his itinerary and didn't visit Abuja during this trip, I posit that the real reason behind this change is the fact that the Nigerian Election Tribunal will issue its ruling on the validity of the last Presidential election this Tuesday the 26th of February.

Read more!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

I have repeatedly shared my concerns about AFRICOM. But, this time, I will share a comment from a Liberian reader who took the time to express his thoughts on Liberia's attitude towards AFRICOM. The writer is working on a Masters degree at Northwestern University in Chicago.

Read more!


Friday, February 22, 2008

I have been down with the flu most of this week, so staring at a computer screen to put words down has been quite difficult and even painful for me. However, recent sightings of a 'Bush' in Africa, compelled me to stop being lazy and hit the keyboard.

I have always liked George W. Bush. He is extremely funny, if you ask me. I appreciate people who are not afraid to look silly from time to time or even be criticized for various goofs. I may not like his politics, but the guy makes me smile often enough to look upon him favorably. And so it was with great pleasure that I watched 'Dubya' so sile ("Get down low" in Yoruba). Here is footage of a Bush shaking it in lovely Liberia.


All that gyrating, though entertaining, did not distract most Africans, myself included, from a major concern - AFRICOM.

We know that the issue of an African base for AFRICOM is a contentious issue that has been heavily debated for over a year now at this site and many others. Nigeria has declared that it does not want AFRICOM based on the continent and especially not in Nigeria or its sphere of geographic influence. Liberia, on the otherhand, is very open to hosting an American military base and has actively declared its approval of AFRICOM on many occasions.

Despite having a fan in Liberia, Bush spent some time calming AFRICOM fears by stating, in Ghana, that all the rumors about him coming to the African continent to build military bases were "baloney". However, although I have been criticized for being a 'cynic' (isn't that just a tad bit mean?), I find it hard to believe the man whose failed policies resulted in an unstable Iraq and an Afghanistan that is gasping for breath under renewed attacks of a regrouped Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Further Reading:
- Who Will Fight For Nigeria? (AFRICOM PT 1)
- AFRICOM: The Dotted Line Has Been Signed
- A Bush In Africa
- A Liberian's Thoughts on AFRICOM
- Nigerian Presidential Elections Back In The Spotlight

AddThis Feed Button

Read more!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

For as long as I can remember, I have appreciated hip hop. No, not the stuff you hear on the radio. I mean the music that is hidden and requires active effort to find and discover. Anyway, luckily for all of us, Talib Kweli is a hip hop rapper that gets radio airplay. Maybe not as much as some other rappers out there, but his content is and has always been top notch. The following is a video sent to me by Oriyami Productions. It is Talib's video for Hostile Gospel/Deliver US (Part 1). The video was shot in Lagos, Nigeria and features cameos of area boys, what could be Aladura worshippers at Bar Beach (Victoria Island) (correct me if I am wrong) and a prince of Nigeria's Afro Beat, Femi Kuti at the shrine. Be for warned that there is some explicit language, so keep the kids away and keep the volume down if you are at work. Nevertheless, the video is well shot and make me long for a trip to Eko (the traditional Yoruba name for Lagos). It would be nice to be by the beach, having some suya and surrounded by family and friends, inhaling the salty air and watching the waves nibble at our toes.

Did I forget to mention that Talib Kweli was on an okada (motorcycle taxis) in this video?

AddThis Feed Button

Read more!


Friday, February 15, 2008

I had an interesting conversation recently about the future of Nigeria and indeed the continent. These conversations are just never easy. At the end, none of us could agree on one primary way to transform Nigeria. But, there was one question that remained, and none of us could answer it.

So, I ask it of you.

What issue requires the most immediate attention for poor people - Poverty or Peace?
Any thoughts?

Read more!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Now that Ibori has received bail, I think this is a good time to begin preparing EFCC's obituary. When charges against Dariye were dropped, I thought things could not get worse for the newly-revamped EFCC (i.e. sans Ribadu). However, Ibori's ability to get out of jail reflects why the EFCC should probably be written off as a has-been.

Newspaper reports offer a few reasons why the Judge released Ibori on N50 million bail. Ibori convinced the Court of the following -
  1. He was not a flight risk
  2. He would not interfere in the investigation
  3. He needed to be free to dig up the necessary documents that would prove his innocence.
  4. His health needed the sort of medical attention he could not receive in prison
As I consider these points, I am a little confused. I completely respect the Court's decision but wonder what the exact evidence was. When initially arrested, Ibori's bail was denied
because he was considered a flight risk, so what new information (other than the provision of three propertied sureties) influenced this change of heart? I do not think that between December and now, much has changed to reduce Ibori's wealth and connections, thus limiting the chance that he would flee prosecution. Furthermore, was the evidence of Ibori's proposed bribe to Ribadu not introduced during this particular hearing? If it was, then how is it that the Judge was convinced that Ibori would not interfere in the investigation of his alleged corruption? Also, if being able to personally retrieve documents necessary for the preparation of one's case where a valid reason to get bail, then everyone should be able to use that argument. And, finally, the EFCC argued that it would pay for Ibori's health care but apparently, Ibori's argument was much more convincing and thus he was released.

Simple - if the EFCC cannot keep a man who has over a 100 charges against him in jail, I don't know how they will ever be able to achieve their mandate. The EFCC is charged with investigating and charging corrupt individuals and officials. Many of these people will have the means, acquired through their criminal atcivities, to hire the best possible defense. Consequently, the Commission must present the best possible case in order to efficiently and effectively tackle corruption. The EFCC's this early in the case spells much trouble ahead.

If the EFCC plans to remain a relevant institution, then it must be able to handle the legal wranglings and schemes it will surely face. Especially in light of the fact that Ribadu is no longer its leader. Nevertheless, I must confess that when there was a shakeup at the EFCC, I began to have doubts about whether the EFCC would be able to maintain the achievements of its 'glory days'. Apparently, I and everyone else that had those concerns were on the right track.

One of the reasons why Aondoakaa was Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007, is that Aondoakaa tends to get what he wants. From the beginning of his tenure, Aondoakaa committed himself to whittling away whatever power the EFCC had. From his fights with Ribadu, to his promises to combine the EFCC and ICPC, then his recent announcement that the Federal Government will be introducing a new anti-corruption bill, it is clear that Aondoakaa, and his oga Yar'adua, are getting rid of the EFCC. Whether that spells the end of Nigeria's anti-corruption crusade is yet to be determined. But, let us all remember that Aondoakaa wrote a letter on Ibori's behalf to British Courts in 2007, stalling Scotland Yard's and the EFCC's investigation into Ibori's wealth. Therefore, if Aondoakaa wants Ibori free, it just might happen much sooner than most think. Considering the rapid decline of the EFCC, I will not be surprised if Ibori's case is eventually thrown out of Court and the man becomes a national hero of some sort.

It is for these and many other reasons that I can only say, "So long, EFCC. It was nice to have known you. Rest in Peace."

Further reading:
- Ibori, The EFCC & The Future of Nigeria's Anti-Corruption Crusade
- Ribadu's Removal
- Calls For Aondoakaa's Removal Increase
- Sabotage: Aondoakaa vs. Ribadu Et. Al.
- Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007
- Political Soap Operas: Nigerian Style

Have you subscribed to Nigerian Curiosity? Do it today.
AddThis Feed Button

Read more!


Monday, February 11, 2008

I have not done one of these in many months but given the technical difficulties that the site is experiencing, I figure now is as good a time as any to feature some Nigerian music.

Banky W. is an artist that many of us have been following since his breakout smash "Ebute Meta" hit the internet a long time ago. The song is till as exciting as it was then. Banky W. sings a song about Nigeria and unity to the "Umbrella track" that was made famous by Rihanna over the summer. I won't lie, that "Ella, Ella, Eh, Eh" chorus in "Umbrella" was annoyingly catchy. Bloggers like Ugo Daniels (or as I affectionately call him, "Oga Cyprus") even complained that the song was a contributing factor to the incessant downpour and flooding that parts of England experienced in Summer 2007.

Read more!


Friday, February 8, 2008

This might be old news to some people, but a recent scan of my Google Reader showed that I missed some interesting news from January. The Nigerian Senate voted to increase the pay of Nigeria's President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justices, lower Court Justices, Ministers, head of INEC, Maurice Iwu, and other officials throughout the federal government structure.

Read more!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I have watched the planning and military precision that led to Super Tuesday and I cannot find a specific word to describe my feelings. Is "glee" appropriate? No, it doesn't truly capture my emotions. Maybe "ecstasy"? No, I never use that word because of its connection to illegal drugs and I don't want my site to get spammed by Porn-pandering auto-bots. How about I just stick to "Yippee!!!" That does the trick.

Watching the wheels of American democracy turn and seeing the fervor with which Americans, and non-Americans are engaged in it is refreshing and quite frankly, inspiring. The reasons are endless, so I'll stick to three.

Read more!


Monday, February 4, 2008

The Nigerian Curiosity Person of 2007 is someone, who for better or for worse, has had an extensive impact on Nigeria and Nigerians over the course of the last year. This person is a pivotal character in Nigeria's social, economic and political discourse and I believe that this person will remain a crucial factor in our future.

In deciding who was worthy of such characterization, I had to think long and hard about which Nigerians, for better or worse, will go down in our history books as having stood out. This approach meant that I had to acknowledge that the Person of 2007 could be either a hero, a villain or both, depending on one's vantage point. After all, perception is subjective, right?

Thus, without further ado, Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007 is ......

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

I am not privy to knowledge about what the future holds. But, I can say with ample conviction that no matter what happens, Nigerians will forever talk about Michael Aondoakaa. In Nigeria's future, this very controversial Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), will either be considered the savior of Nigeria's anti-corruption crusade for saving the nation from uncoordinated and unfair efforts at investigating and punishing corrupt practices. Or, he will be resigned to the classification of saboteur of the anti-corruption crusade and hence, possibly the nation's quest for greatness. Besides, the Nigerian public tends to hear more from Aondoakaa than anyother political figure. He is thus a fitting news maker that could be (and obviously is) being recognized for his impact on society.

Apart from that, he is the only Nigerian official that shares the same name with an actual geographic location within the nation's territorial boundaries - Latitude - 7.0667 ; Longitude - 8.8333. You just can't beat that!

Mid-range map of Aondoakaa

For all our efforts as a nation, most can agree that corruption is the one issue that, if not adequately addressed, will prevent our ability to succeed in other arenas of our existence. Consequently, Aondoakaa has played a significant role in shaping the future of Nigeria's anti-corruption crusade. Only time will tell whether his actions, both subtle and overt, were concluded for the benefit of the many - and thus to the nation's benefit - or for the benefit of a few - and thus, the nation's detriment.

The anti-corruption crusade that Nigeria witnessed over the last few months reflects a pivotal point in Nigeria's history and Michael Kase Aondoakaa's imprint on this crusade cannot be denied. The consequences of this imprint, which I call the "Aondoakaa Effect" are already beginning to be revealed to anyone who takes a few moments to put two and two together. I will only present three incidents, but I am sure others have many more stories to tell.

Even before landing his current position, Aondoakaa and the EFCC have been at loggerheads. He has defended more than one client that was under investigation by the Commission. However, from the very moment he was chosen as AGF, it became clear that Aondoakaa and the EFCC's head, Nuhu Ribadu, would provide substantial entertainment for most political observers. Both men constantly went at each other. Sometimes, Ribadu won various battles such as preventing the "muffling" of the EFCC which, according to Aondoakaa, needed to receive explicit permission before initiating any new corruption cases. Despite this, it appears that Aondoakaa eventually won the war because as of today, Ribadu is no longer the head of the EFCC. He instead is on "training assignment" in Kuru, Jos.

The arrest, after his repatriation from the UK, of Joshua Dariye, former Governer of Plateau State, was a moment that offered much prominence to the EFCC. The Commission basked in the limelight and even informed the nation that their case against Dariye was a "test case" for future cases against other corrupt governors. However, in the months that followed, it became clear that although Aondoakaa eventually returned Dariye's stolen loot under much media fanfare, his opinion differed from Ribadu, on how Dariye's case, and stolen money, was to be treated. And now, so soon after Ribadu was removed from the EFCC, the Commission has "withdrawn all money laundering charges" against Dariye. It appears that the "Aondoakaa Effect" is just beginning.

In line with his role as the face of Nigerian Justice, Aondoakaa announced in Indonesia that Nigeria will be introducing a new crime bill that will pave the way for a continuing and effective anti-corruption approach. At the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, the AGF stressed that for too long, due process and the observance of the rule of law had been lacking in the nation's quest to bring corrupt officials to justice. He said,
"Our objective is to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of the system in place, to deprive corrupt officials and offenders, including their families and associates, of the benefits of their crime. Of more importance is the aim of reinforcing public trust in the rule of law, protecting the economic value of seized assets and ensure [sic] investment of the assets for public good..."
Apparently, Aondoakaa is at the helm of steering the nation towards a better, more trustworthy and unbiased way of dealing with corruption in the country. The resulting crime bill will take Nigeria away from the "old way" of doing things, which means Ribadu and the EFCC's way of doing things. This new approach, of which little more is known, could become a lasting legacy to Aondoakaa and the nation's quest to make sure that corruption does not pay. I submit that this proposed new bill is just another example of the "Aondoakaa Effect".

By now, it is clear that no matter what one thinks of Aondoakaa, he will play an integral role in the development of the nation. Of course, no definite conclusion or judgment can be reached about Nigeria's AGF because even though history begins now, the writers of our history will begin their task much later in time. And, at that point, who knows what will end up in the history books? Only time will tell. But I know for certain that Nigerian Curiosity's Person of 2007, Micheal Kase Aondoakaa, and his imprint on the anti-corruption crusade, will be a key element of that story.

AddThis Feed Button

Read more!


is about to be announced.

Watch this space.

Read more!


Friday, February 1, 2008

During the recent heated debate on Polygamy (and the accompanying clip at Nigerian Curiosity TV) at this here blog, I expressed my personal opinion that polygamy should be illegal in Nigeria. For that I received quite a bit of flack and my own mother began to worry, out of concern for my 'online safety', that I may be going too far with "this blogging thing."

A conversation between Nigerian blogger, Omodudu, and I resulted in me having to acknowledge that there was an angle to the entire debate that I needed to address.

Read more!