Monday, March 30, 2009

Nigerians are a very confident people who believe in themselves. We see success in our lives in the form of individuals overcoming innumerable odds. However, if there is one thing the re-branding campaign, introduced last week by Dora Akunyili, reinforces, it is that Nigerians do not have much faith in their government. That is understandable because over time the government has not fulfilled its duties to the people, many of whom remain poor or lack basic infrastructure and necessities. Since its launch, the "Nigeria. Good People, Great Nation' project hit a few bumps along the way and faced criticism, constructive and otherwise. Although many of Nigerian Curiosity's readers disagree, I personally believe that it is an effort worthy of support because Nigeria's image definitely needs an upgrade.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nigerian Curiosity was voted Best Nigerian Politics Blog at the Naija Bloggers Award, and i thank all those who took the time to vote. Your support is greatly appreciated. Although, Nigerian Curiosity won the category, the truth is that every single blog that was nominated for that spot is a blog worth reading and that I read on a regular basis. Hence, I would like to encourage anyone reading this, to take a second and visit the following Nigerian blogs -

  1. Chxta
  2. Beauty's "Nigeria What's New?"
  3. Imnakoya's "Grandiose Parlor"
  4. Happy Lagosian
Thanks, once again, to all those who took the time to share their thoughts this week at Nigerian Curiosity. And the commenters this week were -
  1. nneoma
  2. plastiQ
  3. JustDB
  4. 9ja_Kuti
  5. imnakoya
  6. Stanis
  7. webround
  8. Ms. emmotions
  9. Geebee
  10. wellsbaba
  11. C.O.
  12. Doja
  13. L-VII
  14. snazzy
  15. STAN
  16. Onyeka
  17. Beauty
  18. Proudly Nigerian
  19. My World
  20. Sugabelly
  21. princekay123
  22. Chxta
  23. fareedasview
  24. StandTall-The Activist
For next week, I will briefly go back to discussing the Nigerian effort to 're-brand' and start a conversation on Nigerian 'Jazz'. I hope you will swing by to share your thoughts and knowledge.

Please watch this clip from 2006. It was made to 'sell' Abuja, Nigeria's capital, as a modern city and celebrate its 30th anniversary. It was sent to me by a reader and made for good viewing. Enjoy.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Take you to the G20 Summit.

Nigerian blogger, Sokari Ekine, is one of 50 bloggers from G20 Voice that was invited to the Summit on April 2nd. Sokari Ekine owns and runs and is a contributor to Kabissa, Global Voices, Pambazuka, NPR's Media Shift and various other organizations. She is a well recognized political activist who focuses on presenting a progressive and feminist perspective of Africa and the African Diaspora.
Sokari was a key asset in the 'Free Jonathan Elendu Now' campaign last November and she devoted hours to creating innovative ideas and providing connections to get as many people in the world aware of the plight of Nigerian bloggers like Elendu and Emeka Emmanuel Asiwe. She continues to lend her time to many efforts all over the continent. It is amazing that she, and other bloggers, are being recognized in this manner for their hardwork and consistent dedication to the issues they care about.

Congratulations to Sokari Ekine. She proves that giving a voice to the voiceless on the continent can be rewarding and there is no doubt that she will turn this opportunity into an asset for the continent that she loves so much.

Please read Sokari's blog post on blogging from the G20 Summit.

Hattip to Oz for pointing me to Loy's post at StartupsNigeria

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nigeria's last 'dance' with democratic elections resulted in many a stubbed toe and clear declarations by observers that the electoral process was flawed. In the aftermath of the elections, President Yar'Adua conceded that the process needed reform and created a 22-member committee to "review the electoral process" and "consider possible changes to the Constitution." Unfortunately, recent actions on Yar'Adua's part put his commitment to free democracy under question.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Maurice Iwu became a Commissioner of the Independent National Election Committee (INEC) in 2003 but was soon appointed Chairman in 2005. Unfortunately, his appointment in 2005 was never confirmed by the National Assembly as required by Nigeria's constitution. Because his appointment was not confirmed, Iwu's stay in INEC should have ended in 2008, 5 years after he became a commissioner. According to Thisday newspaper,

"Iwu, who was appointed an INEC commissioner in August 2003, may have been retaining his position illegally contrary to the constitutional provision that commissioners can only serve for five years, except they are re-nominated...
"[T]he major problem is that Iwu did not return to the Senate for confirmation as chairman when he was appointed in 2005...
"If former President Olusegun Obasanjo had forwarded his name for confirmation and the man had taken a fresh oath of office, his tenure would have started counting from 2005 and not 2003."

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nigeria's new public push to reinvent its image has already managed to falter. Announced on Tuesday, March 17th, it is described as a campaign to make Nigerians believe in themselves again and repair the nation's international reputation. As noted in the first part of this article, the international reaction to the campaign's launch was lukewarm at best and dismissive at worst. Additionally, much of the campaign's message was lost due to the lack of a central location from which information could be obtained. Despite these missteps, this initiative to change the way Nigerians and the world see Nigeria can still succeed, especially if Dora Akunyili and her team take advantage of certain opportunities already at the nation's fingertips.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nigeria's newest Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, unveiled the country's new branding initiative. The campaign, "Nigeria. Good People, Great Nation", replaces the failed 'Heart of Africa' project begun by former President Obasanjo. Vice President Jonathan, who attended the announcement ceremony, explained that the campaign is "a genuine way to re-orientate Nigeria[ns] toward believing in themselves again...and to change the perception of the country both locally and internationally."

Some have criticized this new campaign, pointing out the the last re-branding effort cost millions ($5.6 million) with little visible results. Additionally, some argue that "a nation lacking in modern infrastructure, purposeful leadership and a culture of free and fair elections, ... should not waste funds in re-branding." Akunyili addressed the criticisms saying, "Nigeria cannot wait until solving all its problems before repairing its image,'' because ''our development is tied to our image.'' When grilled by the National Assembly last week, Akunyili disclosed that funding for the project would come from the government, the private sector and also, individual Nigerians. She pointed out that the campaign's budget is $1 million and promised that spending will be transparent.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

And his name is Femi Otedola.

Pius Utomi/AFP/Getty Images

At 601 on the Forbes list of billionaires, Otedola is the second Nigerian to be declared one of the world's richest people. Otedola is the son of a former politician who now controls the supply of diesel in Nigeria. For those who know, diesel is practically more important than oil as it is used to fuel the generators that have become a key component of power supply due to Nigeria's unreliable and even non-existent electricity system. As the CEO of Zenon Petroleum and gas, Otedola also plays a significant role in Nigeria's oil industry.

Unfortunately, Otedola has publicly accused his fellow Nigerian 'Billionaire Boy', Aliko Dangote, of reneging on a 'gentleman's agreement', and as such, retaliated with attempts at a hostile corporate takeover of one of Dangote's many companies. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see more Nigerians join the ranks of other international billionaires as this will encourage others to not only work hard, but keep their monies transparent as Forbes will not list billionaires that stole money from public coffers or like late dictator Sani Abacha.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Dangote: Welcome To The Billionaire Boys Club
- Yar'Adua and the Pay Cut Issue
- How To Become A Millionaire
- Did Yar'Adua Lift The Cement Ban For the People's Interest
- Being Cynical About Cement, Nigeria & The IFC

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

From now on, I want to take a moment on Saturdays to thank all of Nigerian Curiosity's visitors and particularly, commenters. So, thank you for taking the time to not only read, and for those who shared their thoughts with us, thank you, as well. (Please see below for a list of the week's commenters).

I am also immensely grateful to Oz of whose post 'Economics of Nollywood: Price' quickly beat out the typically popular Patrick Obahiagbon post to become the 4th most viewed article at this site. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Oz for finding the time to write an incredible piece that just might inspire a series on the Economics of Nollywood. I hope you and everyone else is ready to somewhat tackle the important issues surrounding Nollywood on this site.

On tap for discussion next week are the following topics,

  1. Yar'Adua's 'INEC' Decision
  2. Femi Otedola
And of course another post to be culled from the week's Nigerian headlines.

Finally, I leave you with a new commercial from Nigerian hero and football superstar, Nwankwo Kanu. Apart from the fact that it features his adorable son, I fondly remember using Peak milk (the product being advertised) when I was a child.

And the commenters of the week are:
  2. Onyeka
  3. Sugabelly
  4. Oz
  5. Standtall
  6. For The Love Of Me
  7. Jinta
  8. N.I.M.M.O.
  9. Ayodele Alofe
  10. Nonesuch
  11. Lost At The End
  12. Latifa
  13. Oga
  14. Akin
  15. NigeriaPolitricks.Com
  16. Tayo
  17. STAN
  18. Beauty
Thank you all.

Have a blessed and safe weekend.

Hattip to my very good friend Dr. for the headsup on the commercial and all the other juicy tidbits.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

As all Nigerians, and indeed Africans, know, our leaders are prone to hogging national control and power. One need only look at Mugabe in Zimbabwe for a current example of the 'power for life' attitude that far too often characterizes African 'rule'. Some Americans even rejected Senator McCain's Presidential candidacy on the belief that it would essentially be a third term for former President Bush. Many Nigerians will also recall the brouhaha that ensued once Former President Obasanjo's 'Third Term Agenda' was revealed, and the extremes to which individuals from all sectors of the country fought to prevent it.

A political poster in Lagos, Nigeria. Credit: Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR. 
Source: NPR
Today, Nigeria is controlled by President Yar'Adua who apparently received 70% of the vote in an election that was declared flawed. With the second anniversary of his Presidency right around the corner, Yar'Adua faces the usual complaints that every President the world over is confronted with. After all, being the leader of a country undoubtedly makes one the national punching bag. Yet, Yar'Adua faces the reality that increasingly, many point out that there are yet to be any visible signs of progress on the issues he promised to tackle.

Keeping all that in mind, and the fact that young Hausa men attacked the President's convoy in Jos, Plateau State on March 9th, one cannot help but revisit the issue of the 'Third Term Agenda'. Especially, as a close friend recently asked,

"I wonder, given what we know now, whether Nigerians would rather have a third-term OBJ in office?"

I will admit that this is an interesting question and that I am curious to know what others think. Considering our history of coups and the flagrant abuse of power illustrated by many leaders, I do not believe Presidents should be given too many years to hold onto power in Nigeria. If Nigeria's Constitution allowed for the option of 'recall elections', that would allow the people to remove their President and even other public officials once public dissatisfaction was high, then maybe, I would be amenable to Presidential third terms. For the sake of fairness, I must also point out that Obasanjo had 2 terms (8 years) to achieve such accomplishments like debt relief. Yar'Adua is yet to reach the half way mark of first 4 year term and could possibly surprise every one by the time the next Presidential elections occur in 2011. I definitely hope so. Nevertheless, I wonder what you think about the question posed - would you feel differently about OBJ's 'third term agenda' after 2 years of the Yar'Adua administration? And, why?

Related Articles of Interest:
- Yardy To Get A Third Term?

- Keeping It Real.... (Danjuma asserts that Yar'Adua is Obasanjo's 'Third Term Agenda')
- Nigerian Curiosity of 2008 (Fashola and the 2011 Election)
- Nigerian Legacy of Obasanjo

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is a guest post.

I have written once or twice at my site about the Nigerian movie industry. This was disingenuous of me since I have not seen a full length Nigerian movie in 6 years. I did, however, see a Nigerian movie this past Christmas day. This happened at a meet and greet and I could not stop gushing at how much better Nollywood movies had become.

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

A recent UNICEF report revealed that 1 out of every 5 children die before their 5th birthday, 500 newborns die daily and one pregnant woman dies every 10 minutes in childbirth. These depressing statistics have been challenged by Nigeria's Minister of Information, but whether or not they are indeed accurate, the sad state of womens health in Nigeria is definitely an issue that must be remedied.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Fellow blogger and reader, Mogaji, recently posed an interesting question,

"I think another current Nigerian Curiosity is the way the Judiciary seems to be falling on the people's sides these days especially with gubernatorial issues. Lately the Judges and the SANs have become the Kingmakers. Is this new development really a good thing or is this a case of the elite forcing their choices on the people afterall no one really knows who won these elections"

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

After almost 5 years, Nigeria's current Central Bank Governor, Charles Soludo,is set to step down in May. However, given the current economic climate, is now a good time to hand over the reigns of Nigeria's economy to someone else? And if so, who should that person be?

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