Monday, November 30, 2009

The World Bank expects the Nigerian economy to experience exponential growth beginning 2010. According to Ismail Radwan, a Senior Economist from the Bank specified,

“The Nigerian economy is doing very well....the latest figures released by the Central Bank of Nigeria indicates that growth is still going on at six or even close to seven per cent this year and next year will even be higher. So, we know that the potential of the Nigerian economy is even higher than that...As a matter of fact, the Nigerian economy should be growing in double digits."

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Every few months, Nigeria stops at the rumors of the sickness/dying/death of its President, Umar Musa Yar'Adua. This time is no different, as the President was flown to Saudi Arabia on Monday, November 23rd, and again, citizens were told nothing until almost 3 days later, when they were informed by administration officials that Yar'Adua is not dead and "not seriously ill", yet, recovering in a Saudi hospital. But, as usual, the rumors and uncertainty persist and Nigerians wonder who is in charge of the national ship.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lagos is Nigeria's economic center and has a rich cultural history and heritage. Its roads carry everything from okadas[1] to Bentleys. Unlike many other parts of Nigeria, upwardly mobile Lagosians are used to red carpet soirees, international concert events on its many beaches, intruding yet engaging paparazzi like Niyi Tabiti, and unbelievable tales of the city's rich, famous and even infamous. But, this is not unique to the Lagos of the 21st century. I remember stories from my late grandmother and others discussing Lagos nightlife as far back as the 1930s. Sundays spent watching horse races at Race Course, evenings spent dancing in fancy shoes and dresses, chauffeurs (yes, chauffeurs) carting important and rich Lagosians all over town for business and pleasure. Well attended polo matches and events that continue till this day. Yes, Lagosians are used to opulence.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Nigerians love their titles. As such, it is common to find people with a Chief, Dr., Engr., or all of the above in front of their name. And, they expect to be referenced by their title which indicates their many achievements and successes. It is no different for Nigeria's legislators. The members of the House of Representatives insist on being addressed as 'Honorable', while their peers in the Senate are referred to as 'Distinguished'. But given the record of the present class of legislators, and their most recent battle over where the 2010 budget is to be read, it is hard to call members of either body anything but useless.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

During a recent conversation with an American friend of mine, I tried to explain to her that Lagos was one of the most expensive cities in the world. It was hard for her to understand, and it was hard for me to fully explain to her as I did not have a whole bunch of statistics on my side.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The concept of paying taxes, be it federal or state, is relatively foreign to many Nigerians. Unlike some parts of the world where almost everyone, regardless of their position or income pays some form of income/revenue/property taxes on a regular basis, taxes are only collected from some Nigerians and some businesses. Many argue that this reality contributes to a lack of political accountability on the part of officials and consequently, diminishes the impact of democracy on average Nigerians. But, just as important, the lack of a formal tax structure means that many state governments, like Kano State, over rely on the federal government for income and as such, the amount needed to cater to citizen's needs is limited.  This is undoubtedly a serious problem during the current economic slowdown. However, the Nigeria Governors Forum has announced that come fiscal year 2010, state governments will begin to collect taxes from many more residents.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Buba Galadima, a high-ranking member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) recently called for a violent revolution in Nigeria that would use the Jerry Rawlings Solution to purge the nation and create political change. The Jerry Rawlings Solution (JRS) refers to the execution of many powerful military officers and other military/political elite by Jerry Rawlings shortly after he took over Ghana in a violent 1981 coup. Galadima is not the first Nigerian to speak of such as a solution to Nigeria's problem and most likely he will not be the last. However, such calls for violence are not the solution Nigeria needs and in fact would likely create more problems for the country.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Siji is a Nigerian musician now based in the U.S. Like every good Nigerian child, he completed a Masters degree in Engineering Product Design and then, began making and releasing his music.

Here is his song, "Yearning For Home". As one who thinks of 'home' on a daily basis and yearns to return, even if for a visit, I appreciate this song greatly. There are many references to Nigeria, Nigerian music - Afrobeat, and Yoruba culture (can you spot the ayo game?). The video is tastefully made and has a neo-afrobeat/soul/Brazilian feel to it.


Thanks to Mr Starks at World Famous Naija Blog for introducing me to this wonderful Nigerian artist.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nigerians abroad send at least $10 billion in remittances to their loved ones at home. This amount makes Nigeria the 6th highest destination for remittances according to the World Bank. That also makes Nigeria the top remittance destination on the African continent.

Top recipients of migrant remittances among developing countries

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Friday, November 6, 2009

When asked if to consider entering the dangerous field of Nigerian politics, a man answered,

"I wouldn't make a good politician. I don't know how to lie."

That simple statement reflects an unfortunate reality in politics all over the world. Politicians are generally considered to be slick tongued individuals with the capacity to say anything to gain and maintain power.
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That statement also highlights that because of the reputation politicians have, average individuals do not expect them to be honest. But, if honesty is not a characteristic we expect from those who represent us, what does that say about who we are? And what does that mean for the future of representational politics i.e. democracy in Nigeria?

A tough question to ponder, but politics is probably the second oldest profession on Earth, after prostitution, and like the latter, it will be around in some form or another. In essence, politicians, those who lie or otherwise, will always be around.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

With an unemployment rate of 28.57%, the revelation that 23 million of Nigeria's youths "are unemployable" was a tough pill to swallow. Mr. Depo Oyedokun, Chair of the House Committee on Youth and Social Development made the announcement while presenting a bill that would require this fact be considered in all government policy. Oyedokun stated,

"Of the over 40 million unemployed youths in the country, 23 million are unemployable and therefore susceptible to crime, hence the need to articulate what could be done to salvage the situation... [the] aim is to create the enabling legislative framework that would ensure the total emancipation of the Nigerian youths."

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Monday, November 2, 2009

According to Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), freedom of expression is suffering in Nigeria. The organization's most recent Press Freedom Index 2009 categorizes freedom of the press in 175 countries and Nigeria ranked 135, right above Mugabe-controlled Zimbabwe. The only question is whether this categorization by RSF is accurate - Is Nigeria's press free or not?


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