Thursday, December 31, 2009

Air travel has transformed the world over the last few decades. The ability to be get from continent to continent in a matter of hours has meant an increase in transatlantic commerce, tourism and much more. Despite the access that air travel has created, travel to the African continent has always been much more difficult than travel to other regions. Flights to African airports continue to be expensive, cumbersome (due to a lack of direct flights) and sometimes, dangerous as evidenced by the recent near crashes at Lagos' Murtala Mohammed Airport when new radar equipment shut down unexpectedly. Furthermore, African travelers typically complain of bad customer service, older airplanes, and outright disrespect as was the case with the 2008 Brutish Airways incident when 130 Nigerians were unceremoniously thrown off a flight at Heathrow Airport. But, now, with the recent revelations that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (now deemed the 'Nigerian Terrorist') attempted to blow up a plane, it is likely that travel to and from the continent could get more complicated.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

When the spate of kidnappings began in the Niger Delta, Nigerians could disassociate from the expatriates being kidnapped. When the kidnapping sprees became a full fledged 'cottage industry' of sorts, Nigerians, collectively, wrote it off as something that only happened to wealthy Nigerians. When Boko Haram wrought havoc across the northern part of the country in an effort to achieve its radicalized Muslim ideas, the full fledged discourse necessary to address, analyze and solve that problem failed to fully materialize. And now, as a Nigerian has been identified as the alleged terrorist that attempted to blow up an aircraft, on Christmas Day, will Nigerians once again opt to disassociate from the matters at hand and fail to tackle the obvious realities that must be addressed?

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

When I was a child living in Lagos, Nigeria, I would sometimes see children begging. As a naive child, I would always plead with my mother to adopt them so that they would be able to go to school, be clean and not have to beg. I incorrectly assumed that these children, who I was told were from the northern part of the country, were parentless, but I soon came to realize that the money these children received was taken to a parent who usually watched from not to far away. Despite this, it came as a shocking surprise to learn that Nigeria, and specifically, the northern part of the country, is home to approximately 10 million child beggars. The child I used to be would want to adopt all these children but the adult I am today knows that this issue goes far beyond adoption and requires serious strategic planning to address the problem.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Earlier this year, I shared a video clip of a power outage at Nigeria's Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, Nigeria. The video, shot by a Nigerian travelling through the airport, showed a complete blackout in the terminal section of the airport.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Here is a patriotic song created by DJ Jamix and featuring some of Nigeria's hottest stars of the moment - Terry G, 9ice and M.I. And for those unfamiliar with Yoruba, the title simply means "Nigerian" or "Child of Nigeria".


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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The head of Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, Farida Waziri , recently voiced her frustration with the slow progress her agency is making in its quest to reduce fraud and corruption in the country. Waziri opined that Chinese-style capital punishment for corruption convicts,

"is the only thing that will save the country, truly. Because corruption is much and the people are not concerned. If someone steals public funds, they will honour him without condemning the person. With this, our country will continue to be backward."[sic]
The real question is, would the death penalty be an apt deterrent to those considering ro already participating in corruption?

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Nigeria's President is currently recovering from surgery to combat a heart condition called Pericarditis, which according to the BBC, is likely "triggered by cancer". Despite this, his spokesman made it clear, at that time, that the President would still attend Hajj in Mecca. This revelation indicates how seriously the President and his handlers take the Hajj, that a sick man should feel the need to publicly commit to attending the Hajj. It also illustrates how importantly Nigerians, Muslims and Christians take their religious practices of participating in the Hajj and/or Pilgrimage to Israel (for Christians).

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Nigeria's vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, recently promised that Nigerians will not need generators in 2010. According to the Vice President, the federal government has taken the necessary steps to improve electricity supply in 2010 and thus limit the necessity for generators. However, it seems that while ordinary Nigerians might not need generators, Aso Rock, the residence of Nigeria's President Yar'Adua is scheduled to use generators. Not up to 1 after that declaration, it was revealed that N542.4 million is budgeted to buy generator fuel to power the President's residence and another N100 million for generator equipment at the Vice President's mansion.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It is practically an oxymoron to use the word "dead" in a sentence with Nigeria's President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. Even before he attained the titles of President, Head of State, Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (Nigerians and their titles), he had died a few times in the court of public opinion. Yar'Adua's health condition, simply referred to as a kidney problem, has forced him to flee to Germany and Saudi Arabia for regular checkups and surgeries on numerous occasions. Each trip has been met with ever increasing criticism. Yar'Adua's most recent trip to Saudi Arabia, where he was treated for a "heart infection", has created debate over issues such as resignation, wazobia/tribal politics and power sharing amongst tribes and much more.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Nigeria's Femi Kuti is now a Grammy nominated artist. The 2010 nominees were recently announced and Femi received a nod for his current album titled 'Day By Day'.

Femi joins King Sunny Ade as the only other Nigerian to have received a Grammy nod. Unlike King Sunny Ade, this is Femi's second nomination. Other artists of Nigerian heritage have won Grammy awards and they are Sade and Seal who are both British citizens.

Below is a fan made video for his song, "Tell Me" off the album 'Day By Day'.

Congratulations to Femi Kuti, one of many carrying on the tradition of Afrobeat music as a tool of political discourse, education and empowerment, just as Fela Kuti once did.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

In order to expand its sources of energy supply, Nigeria is seeking to generate electricity via nuclear power. There are already 2 nuclear research centers at Ahmadu Bello University, in Zaria and another in the capital, Abuja. In June 2008, the G8 expressed concerns over Nigeria's quest for nuclear energy, citing concerns over safety and security. Some G8 members specifically questioned the nation's level of responsibility. Despite these and other issues, on December 3rd, 2009, the IAEA approved Nigeria's application to build a reactor in Abuja.

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