Friday, February 27, 2009

This is Nigerian Curiosity's 300th post.

Douye is a Nigerian jazz artist based in Los Angeles. The first song of hers I heard was 'Still Hurting', a blues inspired tune that I listen to ad nauseam. The song is melancholy, yet soft and sweet in the way I like my jazz to be. I also like 'On For You'. The beat is up tempo yet, smooth. It is exciting to continue to discover Nigerian artists and especially those who have chosen to brave the challenging world of jazz. Nigeria has had some jazz heavyweights in the past such as the late Fela Sowande, who wrote 'Nigerian Folk Symphony'. And with Nigerian born artists like Douye and others following in the footsteps of the world's jazz greats, the genre has a chance in catching the ears of younger Nigerians.

Enjoy Douye's 'On For You'

Her album, 'Journey' is available for sale and is worthy of your support. Please visit her website or Myspace page for more information about this very talented artist.

Related Articles of Interest:
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent II - P-Square "Say your Love"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent III - Infinity's "Olori Oko"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent IV - Tuface
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent V - Ty Bello's "Greenland"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent VI - Banky W.'s "Ebute Meta"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent VII - Fishe's "Africa"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent VIII - Asa's "So Beautiful"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent IX - Nayo's "1+1"
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent X - Conscious Music
-Nigeria vs. The African Continent XI - Bope Boya
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

There is little doubt that I am fascinated by current Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola. In fact, despite the lack of enthusiasm from readers for the 2008 Nigerian Curiosity installment, I will have to declare him the newest Nigerian Curiosity. Fashola, the Governor of the Year in 2007 according to Leadership Newspaper, has managed to do something many leaders have been incapable of achieving - providing results. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, former governor Bola Tinubu, who arguably laid the foundation, Tinubu roared into Lagos and cleaned it up. Traffic is not as bad as it used to be. Streets are cleaner and have less traders selling their wares.  Public transportation via the BRT is organized and efficient as testified to by fellow blogger Tobenna. Fashola has fully proven his commitment to transforming Lagos State into a modern cosmopolitan city and implemented a 10,000 camera security system for the metropolis.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

It is inherently inconsistent for the most powerful 'public servants' to increase their pay and perks without doing the same for their constituents. Ivory Coast's leaders were cognizant of the injustice of such an irony and thus slashed their own pay almost a year ago in 2008. Unfortunately, Nigeria's leadership only now realized that it is time for high ranking public officers to "sacrifice for the greater good of the nation". President Yar'Adua finally announced a proposal to slash his salary and that of other public holders.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

I recently pointed out that in 2008, the Nigerian Senate failed to show up to work for the minimum amount of days required by the Constitution. Well, it seems that the House of Representatives aims to follow in the Senate's footsteps this year. In fact, according to the Speaker of the House, since the beginning of its tenure, the House has only passed 21 bills. In the footage below, the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, chides his peers (many of whom appear absent) for their failure to tackle the work before them in a reasonable manner and pace. Please watch the video and pay attention to my favorite member of the National Assembly, the verbally colorful Patrick Obahiagbon (he begins at the 2:42 mark), as he does what he does best - talk. (With regard to this post, only the first 4 minutes of this footage are crucial, but the remaining news is informative on financial and other issues in Nigeria.)

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In a push to increase skilled foreign language speakers of 35 specific languages, the US Army will now accept temporary visa holders and make them American citizens in approximately 6 months. Prior to the commencement of this new one year pilot program, the Army could only recruit non citizens that were green card holders. The Army believes this move will help it with "cultural awareness" and also, with the recruitment of doctors, nurses and other skilled individuals, as recruitment is at an all time low.

One of the languages being recruited for is Igbo, a language spoken primarily in Eastern Nigeria. As such, any Nigerians who speak Igbo and are currently in the United States on a temporary visa (work, school visa) are eligible. The typical path to citizenship for such individuals would take at least 10 years and cost $675 or more excluding legal fees. However, the recruitment push means that the usual time and financial requirements for naturalization will be waived by the Army.

The army is seeking speakers of Arabic, Chinese, Kurdish, Nepalese, Russian and many other languages. It is unclear why Igbo is one of the languages being sought. One can only wonder if there are any ties to the Niger Delta region being that in 2007, there were reports of American military involvement in the region on anti-piracy missions. However, if that is the case, other languages should be sought, such as Kalabari and Ijaw, which are some of the languages spoken by the many smaller tribes of the Delta.

Whatever the reasons for this push are, it will be interesting to see how many Igbo speakers choose to take advantage of this opportunity to help the US Army and of course, become American citizens.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Although the Nigerian press is not reporting this story, Nigerian Curiosity can now confirm that Nigerian political blogger, Emmanuel Emeka Asiwe, has finally left Nigeria.
Asiwe was originally arrested upon arrival in Nigeria on October 28, 2008 by the SSS and refused contact with his family or lawyers until his 'release' on November 4th. At the time of his 'release' however, his travel documents and other properties were not released to him, thus preventing him from returning to his family in Massachusets.

Like Jonathan Elendu, another Nigerian blogger arrested and unlawfully detained in Nigeria, Asiwe turned to the judicial system to gain the return of his property and the Court sided with him. So, now, despite the fact that he missed the birth of his child, and was unable to spend the holidays with his family, Emeka Asiwe has now left Nigeria. Jonathan Elendu's passport was also recently released. Hopefully, he too, will soon be able to leave Nigeria and return to his family. The world cannot wait to hear both these men talk about their ordeal in the quest for freedom and justice.

When Nigerian Curiosity confirms that he is safe, his location will be revealed. Until then, Nigerian Curiosity celebrates this release and triumph over injustice.

Asiwe is now in London. He landed at Heathrow Airport but was detained by security due to a malicious 'tip' from Nigeria's SSS. He was thankfully released and allowed to go on his way.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Turning Away From Democracy
- Exclusive: Emeka Asiwe Has Been Released, But...
- Suppression In A Democratic Regime
- Nigerian Blogger Arrested
- "Free Jonathan Elendu Now!"
- Blogger, Jonathan Elendu, Still In Custody
- Nigerian Blogger Arrested!!!
- Channels TV Shut Down By Yar'Adua

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

On December 22nd, 2008, Guinea's long time strongman and President, Lansana Conte, died at the age of 74. Although the nation's constitution laid out instructions for the transfer of power, Guineans soon discovered that a military junta, led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, was in power. While many citizens welcomed the change promised by the junta after 24 years of rule by the late Conte, international reaction was swift and condemning. The European Union, United Nations, United States and African union quickly criticized the coup and called for democratic elections. In addition the US suspended almost $15 million in aid to the country.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

In 2003, it was revealed that Kellogg Brown & Root, a company eventually acquired by international conglomerate Halliburton, gave approximately $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials. These bribes were an attempt to obtain a lucrative contract to develop Nigeria's liquefied natural gas project. After 6 years of legal wrangling, Halliburton has finally admitted guilt and agreed to pay $492 million dollars in fines to the United States government for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

The following is a comment made by Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Madueke in January 2009.
"This is the home of the devil himself. Nothing is right about this country. Neither the politicians or even the media, the church leaders, nobody is doing it right here. We must keep learning from them everywhere. I am sick and tired of that. This is a beautiful country of wonderful people, of great possibilities and great traditions. All we have to do is for all of us to feel that we have a stake here and organise ourselves as stakeholders and hold the people we have elected accountable," [sic]

"We are [a] work in progress. We are correcting our faults. We have one great virtue which sometimes can be a vice. We are very self-critical. Nobody can criticise Nigeria like Nigerians themselves. That is a good thing but when we overdo it, it becomes self destructive, and at the end of the day outsiders will use the very thing we are saying to undermine us. So, for goodness sake, we wish Ghana well. We congratulate them we need not draw any lessons from Ghana all the lessons we need are here in Nigeria and we are making use of those lessons." [sic]
I commend the Minister for being so frank. It is rare to see those in the Nigerian government share their opinions so blatantly, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. While I can only imagine the pressure he and others are under to perform to expectation, Nigerians have a right to be impatient and thus question, comment or criticize those they feel are expected to produce.  After all they are only human. Some would even argue that such discourse, which can be heated at times, is an indicator of a strengthening democracy, but that is not an issue I will delve into today.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

ChamsCity is a digital cafe located in Lagos Nigeria and billed to be the largest in not just Africa, but the entire world, as certified[*] by Guinness World Records. The Lagos location has 1000 computers, while the previous record holder in New York only has 850. The mother company, Chams PLC, intends a series of cyber malls across Nigeria, with an Abuja location already completed.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

The international submarine communication cable has finally docked in Lagos, Nigeria. Built by Alcatel but financed by Globacom, a leading telecommunications service provider in Nigeria, the cable spans 9200km, came from Portugal and passes through 15 countries to reach Nigeria's financial and commercial capital. Once launched, it will increase the quality and number of internet services for Globacom's customers. Already, a Nigerian company owned by billionaire Dangote, Alheri, is putting up fibre optic cable lines all over the country to provide the faster internet capabilities to homes and offices. It seems that Nigeria's internet future is at the doorstep.

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