Friday, October 29, 2010

When many institutions release a ranking of countries, Nigeria tends to do poorly. There was the Free Press rankings from Reporters Sans Frontiers in 2009 and the Economist's Global Liveability report from March 2010 to name a few. Both of these rankings saw Nigeria listed negatively. And so, when I saw that Nigeria ranked 34 on a list of the most giving countries in the world, I was overjoyed to see a list that reflected positively on the country. The 2010 World Giving Index also made me wonder just how accurately the act of giving can be calculated especially in societies where giving is not characterized solely by writing a check or volunteering one's time. The poll raised questions about the nature of giving in African culture and whether such can ever be neatly packaged for an annual ranking.

Read more!


Monday, October 25, 2010

A lot of the perceptions some Nigerians have of their fellow citizens stem from stereotypes and archaic beliefs. These ideas should be long gone, but as is the case across the globe, stereotypical attitudes persist even in the face of contrary evidence.

'Perceptions' is a short documentary that interviews 3 Nigerians - a Hausa man, an Igbo woman and a Yoruba man. In the 10 minute program, these individuals share some of their thoughts about Nigeria's major ethnic groups. They explain why they dislike and like people from other tribes.

As the program is only 10 minutes long, it is very possible that there is additional footage which would give a fuller picture to the discussion these individuals engaged in. That being the case, it must be said that these individuals are free to have and express their opinions and any criticism of those opinions should not rest on the shoulders of the participating individuals alone.

I for one think that the views expressed are reflective of attitudes held by many Nigerians. There is indeed distrust between Nigerians and it oftentimes is expressed within a tribal context. As such, many are not surprised to learn of southerners being attacked in the northern part of the country or northerners being accused of creating Nigeria's underdevelopment. The distrust goes deep and spans decades to pre-independence times. Only a concerted effort will allay those fears and stereotypes. And such an effort is needed because tribalism is a divisive element in the fabric of Nigeria and it contributes to violence and disunity.

Read more!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nigeria's ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), decided to adopt zoning as a policy. As such, the party agreed that Presidential power would rotate between the north and the south of the country. With former President Yar'Adua's death, the PDP was rocked by tension with northern members insisting that the zoning agreement be observed and many southern members advocating that then-Vice president and now-President, Goodluck Jonathan be allowed to run for the presidency even though he is a southerner. Although many, including the United States government, insisted that this zoning matter was a PDP and not a national matter, the reality is that zoning has permeated the fabric of Nigerian society. It is encouraging a divisiveness along tribal lines that serves to weaken and not strengthen the Nigerian union.

Read more!


Monday, October 18, 2010

This is a guest post.

The advent of democracy is often heralded as a progressive development in most countries, especially developing countries like Nigeria. In our case however, there appears to be an uncomfortable correlation between “democracy” and an increasing divorce from reason and logic on a national scale. As a matter of fact, one might call the Nigerian situation “democrazy”.

As a young person who left Nigerian shores over a decade ago, and still vividly remembers the sawdust stoves of the Abacha era and the SAP graffiti of the Babangida era, I have to wonder at how we have since ended up with a system of government largely populated by thugs and criminals, and characterized by all manner of perfidy. Nigeria is the country that completely confounds reason. Anything can happen in Nigeria which usually makes nonsense of any sort of planning or analysis. In spite of this however, I have concluded that it is shame, or the absence thereof, that has led us to this ignoble end, 50 years after independence. It is worth examining the impact of this widespread Shamelessness on us as a people.

Read more!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It seems that Nigeria, and Lagos in particular, is very popular with the BBC this year. From 'Welcome To Lagos' Part 1 2 and 3, to the 'New Kings of Nigeria', Lagos has been a focus of the news outlet.

And once again, another documentary on Lagos has hit the BBC airwaves. Aptly described as a "mockumentary", Theroux spends some time talking to Area boys, kingpins and others.

Take a look.

Read more!


Monday, October 11, 2010

In the days after the October 1st bomb blasts in Abuja, there has been a measure of confusion. The blasts, which resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people, have been blamed on all manner of people. Then, MEND admitted to foreign media outlets that it carried out the horrible bombings, a claim that was dismissed by President Jonathan who insisted that MEND was not the perpetrator but rather a "foreign-based" group was to blame. This debate between the President and MEND continues to play out in the media in an undignified manner that makes all players look like losers. But, even more significant is that for all the information that has been released, the tale of the Golden Jubilee bombings is far from clear.

Read more!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It is common knowledge that Nigerian politicians waste little time providing detailed explanations on their ideas for the country's future. Other than vague semi-promises and conjecture, politicians and political aspirants offer no specific promises. Instead, they convince voters to vote by throwing around large sums of cash and food,  then insist that it will always be like that when they gain office. While it may appear that there is no measure to counter this votes for money approach, there in fact is a way to discourage future politicians from using it. The key is to render the tactic impotent by creating a counter approach that thus far, has not been used in Nigeria.

Read more!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Independence celebrations are meant to be joyful occasions. And for a country like Nigeria that faces significant challenges, even the most cynical can opt to find something to be joyful for on independence day. Unfortunately, on October 1st, 2010, a day signifying 50 years of independence from Great Britain, Nigerians had much to be sorrowful for. A series of bomb blasts ripped through sections of the capital, Abuja, leaving the dead, injured and shaken in it's wake. Hours after the incident, it became clear that the media and even individuals were forewarned of the impending explosions. Yet, the Nigerian government argues that it was caught unaware. The inconsistency of that position, in light of further evidence, reiterates the failure of leadership that continues to destroy Nigeria. A failure of leadership that, once again, resulted in death.

Read more!


Friday, October 1, 2010

Proper post on my thoughts to follow. However, my condolences go out to the injured and the dead. Asokoro General Hospital is seeking blood donations according Nze Sylva.

What I can say at this time, is that I struggled to find the positives about this day, Nigeria's 50th independence anniversary. Thankfully, I was able to look at individuals, and not the state and it's representatives (government), as a basis to have hope for the future. My opinion on that is yet to change. But, in the aftermath of the bomb blasts, my disatisfaction with the government continues to mount. And from what I see of public discussions, most, if not all goodwill MEND might have had has evaporated.

Read more!