Friday, April 30, 2010
On April 12th, 2010, Nigeria's acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, answered pertinent questions from the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C. As was the case during his CNN interview, Jonathan was precise in his answers. It must be noted that he was extremely conservative in the promises he made and even exuded humility.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Nigeria has a habit of recycling political figures. For that reason, it is not abnormal to see a previously important individuals, say from 20 or even 30 years ago, choose to run and then win some form of current political office. In the 2003 Presidential elections, 6 former military/para-military officers and a 1960s leader of the secessionist movement which led to Nigeria's civil war, Chukwuemegu Ojukwu, contended for the office. The eventual winner was Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired general and former military dictator. The 2007 Presidential elections were no different. This reality of old political figures continuing to control the country could be the result of Nigerian culture which emphasizes respect and significant deference to the elderly. However, the constant reappearance of old political individuals serves to deter younger politically inclined individuals from entering into politics. These younger people are hampered by the fact that they have little name recognition (in comparison to older stalwarts), lack the necessary funding and many times do not have the backing of Nigeria's political godfathers and elite who largely determine what individuals can or cannot run for political office in an area. The implications of this shut-out of young Nigerians and young Nigerian ideas will have significant implications down the long run.
Friday, April 23, 2010
The BBC documentary 'Welcome to Lagos' has become relatively controversial. Some see it as a positive depiction of the poor but ingenious in Nigeria's teeming commercial center, Lagos. Others see it as a negative and derogatory attempt by a foreign media outlet to once again insult Lagos and Nigerians.
While the program was available to a mostly European audience, viewers in America were unable to watch this documentary until now. Below are 6 clips that comprise Part 1 of the documentary. A link to watch Part 2 is also available below. Part 3 of the documentary is yet to air but will be uploaded as soon as it does.
Nigeria's Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, visited Washington, DC for a Nuclear Summit in his first trip abroad as President. During the visit, he took the time to participate in a discussion at the Center for Global Development (CDG). According to the CDG, Jonathan
"offered his perspective on several of the key issues that his country faces, including electoral reform, consolidation of the gains of the Niger Delta Amnesty, the fight against corruption, and improvement to the power and energy sectors"Apparently, Jonathan gave a quick 9 minute speech and then asked the audience to speak to him saying, "I’m more interested in what you all have to say." He then fielded questions from Nigerians and journalists from around the world for over an hour.
Below is a video snippet of his CGD speech.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Ajegunle is a poor neighborhood in Lagos. It has a thriving culture with many more having come to the area from all over Nigeria and in fact West Africa in an effort to be in Nigeria's growing commercial metropolis, Lagos. However, the fact that many of Ajegunle's residents are poor, nameless and thus, faceless, makes its residents subject to discrimination and limits their access to justice. As a consequence, when a group of young men chose to exercise their right to protest, 4 of them ended up dead. They were shot to death by police officers on April 1st, 2010.
Monday, April 19, 2010
That Nigeria has a 'punishment problem' is an understatement. Nigeria is unfortunately, a case study of how the rich and powerful use their influence to avoid punishment and successfully circumvent a justice system that is seen to benefit the well-connected. Given this reality, it is no surprise that the US Ambassador to Nigeria announced that the Halliburton scandal, in which many Nigerian officials have been fingered, is one that Nigeria could have tackled because it has all the information it needs.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Nigeria's acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, spent part of this week in Washington, DC at the invitation of President Obama. The invitation was to attend a Nuclear Summit and give the leader face time with America's president.
While in the US, Jonathan gave an interview to Christiane Amanpour. Below are a few excerpts. I am very happy that Jonathan took the time to clarify that the violence in Jos is not simply a religious issue as I continue to find the foreign media's simplification of that regional problem disturbing. Might I confess that I like how he handled the questions. He was calm, confident and to the point, unlike some other now-former political figures who have left much to be desired when being interviewed in the international press. He was diplomatic when responding to sensitive questions about Yar'Adua's absence and failure to meet with politicians. Again, I am impressed by the way he handled himself.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Nigeria's education system is in disarray with schools closed for months on end as a result of strikes and underdevelopment in the education sector. Given these conditions, Nigerian students have left the country for education abroad. Nigerian students spent a total of N246 billion on education in the United Kingdom in 2009 and even Canada is working to attract Nigerian students. In reaction, Nigeria's House of Representatives is considering a bill to ban the foreign education of all public officials in the country.
Friday, April 9, 2010
What would Yar'Adua say if he showed up and was well enough to address the country?
Below is a spoof message that President Yar'Adua could give to the Nigerian public upon resumption of his executive responsibilities, as imagined by some funny characters.
Again, it is just a joke. Enjoy.
From The Archives:
- Patrick Obahiagbon: My Favorite Parliamentarian?
- President "Ecomini" of Ghana
- Should Africa's Presidents Get Web Savvy?
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Less than 3 weeks after firing the Federal Executive Council, Nigeria's acting President not only submitted a new list of Ministerial candidates but had his nominees confirmed by Nigeria's Senate within a 3 day period. As a result, Nigeria has a new administration of Ministers hopefully charged with working on behalf of the nation. Questions abound about many of the new Ministers and whether or not they are suitable for the challenges the face. However, the biggest unknown remains what exactly Goodluck Jonathan plans to do during what is technically a short spell as President of Nigeria and whether the thirst for power and an opportunity at a full Presidential term will compel him to produce results for Nigerians.
Monday, April 5, 2010
By the late 1990s, late fees and penalties forced the country's debt to exceed $35.94 billion and it was growing. However, in 2006, Nigeria became the "first African nation to settle with its official lenders" when it arranged to have most of its debt erased by the Paris Club. With the erasure of 100% of the nation's Paris Club-debt, yearly debt service payments fell from $1.8 billion to $0.8 billion. The expectation was that the money saved would go towards national development. However, almost 4 years later, a majority of Nigerians continue to live below the poverty level and infrastructural challenges continue to plague the country. And now, it appears the country's debt portfolio is, once again, on the rise.