Thursday, September 30, 2010

Now that I think about it, Nigeria's independence day in 1960 must have been akin to some contemporary celebrity weddings. The lead up to the event is exciting. The ceremony is lavish and beautiful. The bride and groom pose for lovely pictures. And amidst all that, observers are convinced that the union will in fact fail.

I say this because when Nigeria became a self-governing nation state on October 1st, 1960, even Great Britain, the former colonial ruler, didn't think 'Nigeria' would make it.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nigeria, like any other country, is known for many things. It is known for it's talented crop of writers, performers and even scientists like John Dabiri. Unfortunately, it is also known for poverty in the midst of oil wealth. But even worse than that sad reality is that Nigeria is increasingly becoming a kidnapping capital. Nowhere else is this madness exemplified than in the reports of 15 young children that were kidnapped on September 27th, 2010.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Below are Dele Momodu's campaign videos.  He is a publisher of a gossip/society magazine, Ovation, and according to his website and other social media sources, he wants to become Nigeria's next president. I know very little about Momodu, but, there is growing controversy over the name change of a certain Facebook fan page. Originally called "Save Nigeria", the page was assumed to be related to Save Nigeria Group (SNG) which organized a youth-led march to the National Assembly on March 16th, 2010 in Abuja. SNG is tied to Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, and progressive youth groups such as Enough Is Enough (EIE). For those who mistook Save Nigeria for SNG, many were quickly outraged when an email was sent to members informing them that the fan page was to become 'Dele Momodu For Nigeria'. One commenter called it an "abracadabra" and "win members by subterfuge" tactic.

Nevertheless, these are the videos tied to the Dele Momodu campaign.

And this has got to be my favorite. It takes me back to the late 1980s when as a child I would dance 'fuji cabbage' (a dance move) to fuji music at birthday parties and events attended with my mother. Please pay close attention to the 0.47 mark where Momodu lays on a bed with his stylish man-purse and multiple cell phones.

While the videos give me little idea as to what sort of president he would be, his Louis Vuitton man-purse suggests that he will definitely be a stylish one. Hopefully, more professional material will be introduced in the weeks to come. But most importantly, more details about his ideas, and not just his apparently vibrant personality, will be the focus of his campaign. It should take much more to become President, even in Nigeria.

From the Archives:
- Goodluck Jonathan's Campaign Videos

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Below is a video of current president Jonathan answering questions from journalists at the United Nations. There are hard hitting questions. He advocates for "peace enforcement" and not peace keeping in Somalia. This is in line with his push for better treatment of African Union soldiers in Somalia who the Nigerian government argues should be paid as well as UN peace keepers. He goes on to discuss current Darfur matters and the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGs)

Watch and please, share your thoughts.

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The drama of Nigeria's football team at the recently concluded FIFA World Cup is one for the history books. Well, maybe a Nollywood film at least. The Nigerian team, for all it's chances managed to repeatedly come up short and the disappointment drove Nigeria's President, Goodluck Jonathan to announce a ban on all football teams. That ban soon led to a showdown between Jonathan and FIFA in a testy match where FIFA flexed its muscles and the Nigerian President soon reversed himself. 

Lead Image

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There was a time when Nigerian politicians would release entire music albums for campaign purposes. Although I am unaware whether modern day parties continue with that practice, a praise/campaign song was played in the background during former dictator Ibrahim Babangida's campaign rally held on September 14th in Abuja.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Per a constitutional schedule, Nigeria's next polling season will take place in 2011. Due to recently made changes in the country’s Electoral Act, elections are scheduled to commence in January 2011. Despite this knowledge, there remains uncertainty. The electoral body, the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) revealed that the Commission is behind schedule, and that the time schedule is the Commission's greatest challenge. And now, the Commission has announced that elections need to be postponed. Specifically, INEC will seek
"all legal avenues for the extension of time to enable the commission to deliver on the aspirations of Nigerians for a credible voters register and free, fair and credible elections. Should this happen, May 29, 2011 inauguration date must remain sacrosanct."
These and other realities indicate that Nigeria is not be ready to conduct free and fair elections. 

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, informed a group of governors that he would run for president in the upcoming January elections. This information came months after much speculation about a campaign. There was even agitation amongst members of the northern elite who argued that the next president must come from the northern half of Nigeria. In more banal news, a group of women promised  "sex starvation" if Jonathan failed to announce his candidacy. Despite all the pre-announcement dramatics, there was never any doubt that Jonathan would run. The lack of surprise is due to many factors including the fact that his campaign website was unveiled before this announcement and that one of his campaign logos features prominently on the federal government's website. In light of his announcement, what remains is the reality that Jonathan missed an opportunity to set an example of Nigerian leadership that could have changed the path of Nigerian democracy and possibly influenced democracy on the continent.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Salisu Suleiman's recent blog post titled, "The Psychology of the Northern Elite" got me thinking about a lot of things. Suleiman pointed out that the northern elite has repeatedly failed to meet the challenges of the region be it in education, health care, infrastructure or business. He went on to argue that the current zoning debate, where the northern elite is staunchly against a southern president for Nigeria in 2011, is merely a self-serving issue because,
"regardless of who is in power, majority of Northerners (regardless of ethnicity or religion) have nothing to show. The psychology of our leaders is to systematically narrow the economic and political space to the exclusion of the majority."
Suleiman's observation of the "psychology of [Northern] leaders" raises many questions about Nigerian leadership and the challenges that citizens face in an age where leadership has little to do with the people. What does this say about Nigeria's future?

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Friday, September 3, 2010

This article is a follow up to 'Saudi Arabia Bans Repeat Nigerians From Hajj'

With less than three months until the 2010 Hajj, it was revealed that Saudi Arabian officials implemented a Nigeria-specific ban. Although the ban was possibly enacted in 2009, knowledge of the ban came to light only in the last week of august 2010. According to the new rule, Nigerian Muslims can only participate in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca once in 5 years. Since that announcement, the reaction of the Nigerian government has been questionable. And in fact, the Jonathan administration's response puts in jeopardy future administrations and their ability to be taken seriously in the international arena.

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