Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nigeria recently took delivery of a new offshore production platform from Nigerian owned Brown Rocks Nigeria Ltd. It was delivered at the Calabar Port in Cross Rivers State and is currently being installed. The local company, Brown Rocks Nigeria Ltd., constructed the facility in approximately one year. It is the first of its kind to use 100% Nigerian workers. It can produce up to 30,000 barrels per day and is called 'Adanga North B Well head Platform development ADN-B-WHP' .

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For a President whose nicknames include "Baba Go Slow" and "YawnAdua", Nigeria's President Yar'Adua has been surprisingly quick in keeping his promise to sue the Leadership journalists accused of "embarrass[ing] the President and destabili[zing] his administration." These same journalists were originally arrested and questioned after publishing an article about Yar'Adua's health in November 2008. Yar'Adua sued in the Chief Magistrate Court on November 27th, 2008, 2 weeks after the article for which the journalists were arrested was published. The journalists later recanted all incorrect statements made in the article, apologized to the President and promised that their intentions were not intended to embarrass the President or the country. The individuals being charged are Sam Nda-Isaiah (Chairman and Editor in Chief), Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, (Executive Editor and Daily Edition Editor), Lara Olugbemi (Weekend Editor) and Simon Imobo-Swam (Associate Editor, Weekend Edition).

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Monday, January 26, 2009

As of today, Nigeria's President, Umar Musa Yar'Adua, is on 2 weeks annual vacation. The President, through a spokesperson, announced the impending vacation on Friday the 23rd, about 72 hours before. Consequently, the country is now being run by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, in accordance with the Constitution.

Source: AFP

While I am not one to ever begrudge anyone a vacation, particularly as I just took one myself, I cannot help but wonder if now is the right time for Nigeria's President to leave the country for 2 weeks. Arguably, there is likely never a good time for any President to take some time off. Yet, given the fluctuating domestic and international economy, and the fact that Yar'Adua just created a financial team to help him maintain "macroeconomic stability in an environment of global economic meltdown...", this is especially not a conducive time for Nigeria's President to take a break for 2 long weeks. Besides, Yar'Adua specifically told his new cabinet the following,
" much is expected of you. I am personally convinced that you are up to the task but all Nigerians need to be quickly convinced too. This is not the time for an extended learning course; all of us both old and new need to be fully aware of the significance of the moment."
The significance of this moment in history could very well be that a President on holiday is not good for a struggling economy and nation striving to achieve basic goals in serving its citizens. Taking this trip cannot possibly convince the public that he is up to the task of achieving the incredible tasks yet to be accomplished.

Furthermore, Yar'Adua just took 17 days off the job when he traveled to Saudi Arabia in November 2008 to participate in the "lesser hajj" or, as has now been confirmed, to seek medical treatment. During those days, Nigerians had no idea who was in charge of national affairs and many political opportunists used that time to recommend that Yar'Adua step down. Given that this newly announced vacation would technically be his second in less than 3 months, is this 2 week vacation necessary?

It must be said that the average Nigerian does not have the opportunity to take vacations or seek medical assistance abroad when the need calls for it. Hopefully, they will understand that their President has chosen to get some rest at this particular moment in time. Regardless, may the President enjoy his vacation and return well rested and ready to deliver on his promise to fulfill the following inspiring words,
"There is no better moment to rededicate ourselves to the urgent task of repositioning our country. There is no better time to recommit ourselves to [the] imperative of meeting the mounting aspiration of our people and there is no better point to start redeeming our pledges of delivering good governance on the platform of the seven-point agenda.
This is the time for action and visible results. It is the time for exemplary sacrifices in service. It is the time for un-parallelled dedication and innovation. It is the time to make the lasting difference. Nothing else will do. We must all put our hands to the plough with renewed vigour." [sic]
And to that I say, "Amin, Mr. President." The goals expressed are the same I seek and I cannot wait to see them come to pass.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Yar'Adua Health, Resignation & Nigerian Cost
- More Yar'Adua Health Uncertainty
- Yar'Adua And The Continuing Heath Issue
- The Consequences of Ya'Adua's Mysterious Health
- Nigeria, Be Careful What You Wish For
- Suppression In A Democratic Regime

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Battle hardened Lagosians can tell you what 'Lagos Justice' is. It is 'street justice', meted out in neighborhoods around the city to alleged criminals if they have the misfortune of not being captured by the police first. 'Lagos Justice' usually involves some very graphic acts of violence. In many cases, the alleged criminal is stuffed into a tyre or two, to prevent him/her (usually men, however) from fleeing. The alleged criminal is then set aflame and left to burn alive. Below is a short 33 second clip of 'Lagos Justice' in action. Please be forewarned that this clip is EXTREMELY GRAPHIC. It should not be viewed in the presence of children and is only shown to give a visual depiction of justice gone very wrong. Feel free to not watch the clip, as the description above could be sufficient in explaining the act.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Have you nominated someone or something to be the Nigerian Curiosity of 2008?

The race is still on to determine the Nigerian Curiosity of 2008. Who or what would you recommend? A villain? A dreamer? An activist? A concept? An organization? It doesn't matter who or what as long as it/(s)he arguably had an impact on Nigeria and Nigerians.

So far, Adam Oshiomole and President Yar'Adua have been nominated. I can think of a few other possibilities. Can you?

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Friday, January 16, 2009

On the eve of welcoming a new American President, expectations of what Barack Obama will achieve as Commander in Chief are colossal. People from all corners of the earth followed Obama's campaign with close enthusiasm. His electoral victory was welcomed the globe over with jubilation and festivities usually reserved for religious celebrations. However, as Obama becomes the latest inhabitant of the White House, enthusiasts, and especially Nigerian enthusiasts, must remember that he is an 'unknown' upon whom high expectations must not rest.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I was tagged by Koluki and good friend Oz to participate in a project created by Theophile Kouamouo - the "Why I Blog About Africa" meme. I have spent at least 3 weeks thinking about this question, and whenever I think I have the answer, I am soon forced to change my mind.

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Section 63(1) of the Nigerian Constitution (1999) requires both houses of the National Assembly to 'sit' for at least 181 days. So, it was something of a surprise to discover that in 2008, the Nigerian Senate only showed up to work for 90 days. Additionally, it was an extreme disappointment to also learn that the Senate only managed to pass 8 out of the 120 bills that were put before them. In explaining why so few bills were passed, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Aloysius Etok, said that lawmaking was slow because it is a thorough process that involves numerous (3) steps. He claimed that this process ensured that the laws passed, all 8 of them will stand the grand test of time. While one can understand that Nigeria's 109 Senators are deeply concerned that the laws they create will stand the test of time, the fact that they ignored their Constitutional duty to show up for work and that they could not pass many more bills such as the much anticipated Freedom of Information Bill, is the ultimate insult to the Nigerian people.


Unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution does not provide for the impeachment and dissolution of the Senate by the people. If it did, the fact that the Senate passed less than 10% of the bills before them and that they failed to show up to work for the minimum amount of time required would present the best opportunity to use such a Constitutional provision. The Constitution does, however, provide for the dissolution of the entire National Assembly by the President. But, Section 64(3) only allows for such in time of war. Thus, Yar'Adua, who promised to provide "a purposeful and result-oriented administration that will yield tangible and visible benefits for all Nigerians would have had an excellent opportunity to do something revolutionary for Nigerian democracy by dissolving the Senate. However, considering Yar'Adua's attitudes towards democracy as exemplified by his administration's draconian measures against Nigerian bloggers and journalists, such an expectation would be too high at this time.

The Nigeria people pay their Senators very well. In August of 2008, this same crop of Senators (with their peers in the House of Representatives) increased their pay by over 100%. Furthermore, these Senators also increased their already generous allowances, such as their newspaper and hardship allowances, in late 2007. These perks and considerable salary packages are granted to Nigeria's Senators even though over 9 out of 10 Nigerians live on less than $2 a day. In fact, the Senate's President, David Mark, has a total salary package of N16,395,800 a year, including allowances for N13,911,758. Considering how much David Mark and his colleagues are paid, the least these Senators can do is not only show up for work, but also stay past closing time to pass a lot more than 8 bills, in service of the people.

It is also saddening to note that the Senators celebrated their lack of performance by hosting a 6-day retreat in Kano during November 2008, in the aftermath of Uzoma Okere's assault by military officers. Etok, explained once again, that,
"[t]he retreat was aimed at energising senators with skills to enhance their legislative duties. Resource persons were drawn from across the academia, the business cycle and government functionaries. A number of resolutions were equally reached and would soon be debated by the senate in plenary to provide it with a force of law" [sic]
It would have been preferrable that the Senators, so concerned about their laws passing the test of time, have this retreat after hours, and, on the grounds of the National Assembly. Instead, the astute Senators created an opportunity to spend, and possibly waste, the public's money, particularly as the Nigerian economy is experiencing a squeeze due to the falling price of oil and the global economic depression.

Based on the current facts before the Nigerian public, this group of Senators have a lot of catching up to do. In this new year, it would behoove the esteemed members of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Executive branch and indeed every civil servant to go above and beyond what is expected in the performance of their important duties to the Republic and its citizens. That should be the most important resolution, if any, that they all commit to and achieve. After all, the Nigerian people, deserve excellent service. And, they most definitely should get what they paid for.

Hattip to Chxta, whose post 'Rats' inspired this one.

You can keep track of the legislation before both houses of the National Assembly, and 'see' democracy in 'action' at the National Assembly's website.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Should Yar'Adua Get A Pay Raise?
- How To Become A Millionaire
- Getting The House Of Representatives We Paid For
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Well, in Nigeria, it takes a very long time.

The last Minister of Health, Adenike Grange, resigned from her position on March 25th,2008, due to a corruption scandal involving Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello and others. President Yar'Adua did not announce a replacement until January 2nd,2009.


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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The race is on to announce the  Nigerian Curiosity of 2008. Who or what would you recommend? A villain? A dreamer? An activist? A concept? An organization? It doesn't matter who or what as long as it/(s)he arguably had an impact on Nigeria and Nigerians.

I can think of a few possibilities. Can you?

Get curious.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Another year bites the dust and Nigerian Curiosity has 279 posts with much more to come. Just like last year, I am yet to get a complete handle on the complexities of Nigeria and its people. Case in point, the draconian measures by the SSS with regard to journalists and especially Nigerian political bloggers continues to be mind boggling. Particularly as Jonathan Elendu and Emeka Emmanuel Asiwe continue to be 'detained' in Nigeria with little to no chance of being allowed to return to their homes in the United States.

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