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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hey Abbott 

Diane Abbott MP for Hackney

Diane Abbott , British MP for Hackney (in East London) recently wrote an article Think Jamaica is bad? Try Nigeria for the Jamaican observer.

she wrote (and i quote)
"Yet, in certain crucial aspects Nigeria is in an even worse position than little Jamaica, and contemplating the Nigerian situation might cause even the gloomiest Jamaican talk show host to count their blessings."

oh and another gem from the article
"And when it comes to corruption, Nigerians make Jamaicans, and every other nationality in the world, look like mere amateurs."

Then to round it up she says "Jamaica has some problems, but people who want to dub it a 'failed state' should look more carefully at other countries in the developing world with far more serious social, political and economic problems."

Ok i'm not going to defend Naija here as we know say we get problem, but who is Diane Abbott to point fingers, lets not even talk about her own hypocrisy, from failing to declare payments for tv work to parliament or for sending her son to a private school while criticising others for doing so

but i digress

Comparing Jamaica a country of 2.7 million to Nigeria a country made up of over 110 million people and 250 ethnic groups, is quite an interesting way of consoling herself that Jamaica is doing 'alright'

For a nation of 2.7 million, Jamaica sure has a lot of problems (for such a 'small' country).

According to jamaica-gleaner.com "Over the past two decades, Jamaica has experienced an unparalleled increased in homicides and violent assaults. Many attempts made throughout the years to reduce the number of violent crimes occurring in the island have mainly been short-term measures, aimed predominantly at increasing Police mobility and firepower and have ultimately proved to be unsustainable."

According to the US State dept, "High unemployment--averaging 15.5% rampant underemployment, growing debt, and high interest rates are the most serious economic problems. Violent crime is a serious problem, particularly in Kingston."

It also points out that "Jamaica is a major transit point for South American cocaine en route to the United States. It is also the largest Caribbean producer and exporter of marijuana. A significant increase in cocaine flow through Jamaica was observed during 2001. Jamaica is the embarkation point for the largest number of passengers arrested on drug charges at U.S. airports."

According to the UK Observer, "A UN report condemned Jamaica's record on human rights and extra-judicial killings by the police. An average of 140 people have been shot dead every year of the past decade in a country of 2.6 million. In the capital Kingston, the murder rate is the third highest in the world"

I could go on but i will stop here for now.

I find it extremely disappointing that instead of writing articles that will promote unity between Africans and Caribbeans, she chose to write articles that will further divide our communities.
Next time she should try comparing like for like, like comparing Jamaica to other Caribbean countries and lets see how well it comes out.

Ms Abbott, people who live in glass houses should not throw stones....

Is Dianne Abbot (MP) A Friend Of Nigeria? By Uche Nworah

She is a successful black woman no doubt, a role model of sorts for most black women in the UK. Undeniably she has already secured her place in the history of UK politics as the first black woman to be elected into the UK parliament. She represents Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency, one of the poorer districts in inner London.

This daughter of immigrant Jamaican parents rode on the back of the ‘black vote’ to victory in 1987, by her own admission she owes much of her success to the support of Nigerians resident in her constituency. She was quoted to have remarked thus: “Nigeria has a very special place in my heart and I have so many friends there. My constituency in Hackney, East London, has the largest Nigerian population anywhere in the UK”. These remarks from their Member of Parliament (MP) will surely gladden the hearts of Nigerians living in Miss Abbot’s constituency, particularly Nigerians whose entrepreneurship drive the local Dalston market and contribute immensely to the local economy.

It may seem however that the honourable MP does indeed have two faces; the real one has always landed the divorced mother of one son into controversy. Her decision to send her son to the £10,000 a year private City of London School was one of such. She herself later realised the folly of her decision which she described as "indefensible". The controversy caused by her poor morals and leadership by example still haunts her till date. Her actions was seen by many in the UK as hypocritical because majority of her constituents live in poverty and school children attend under-performing and failing public schools, a situation she didn’t create but which she hasn’t really done much to change. According to the UK Guardian newspaper, Hackney North and Stoke Newington is “one of the most deprived areas in London with significant ethnic minority population”.

Dianne Abbot has now also shown Nigerians and by implication her many constituents her true face by her comments in a recent article she wrote for the Jamaican Observer. In that article titled Think Jamaica is bad? Try Nigeria. She attempts a weak comparison between her home country (Jamaica) and Nigeria. Her impressions about Nigeria obviously were formed during a recent visit as part of a UK parliamentary visit, financed obviously with tax payers’ money from the two countries as Nigeria must have committed resources as well towards hosting the delegation.

While Miss Abbott is entitled to her own opinion, it is important also for her to understand that decorum and public etiquette demands that she and her likes learn to make guarded statements, especially when commenting about other countries, especially when her comments (because of her political position) are bound to be either misinterpreted by others, and also if such comments are likely to ignite further the flames of inter-ethnic wrangling, in this case between Nigerians and Jamaicans in the UK, whom if Miss Abbott had bothered to find out do not necessarily enjoy a cordial relationship.

She may have slipped in the article through the back door to be published in her home country with the understanding that it would never come to the attention of Nigerians who generously hosted her during her visit, but she forgot that we now live in a global village and that technology and news wires now direct specific news stories of interests to peoples’ emails and also to other websites as news feeds, which is why her article has come to the attention of Nigerians. She cleverly did not publish the said article on her personal website – www.dianneabbot.org.uk.

Whatever her motives were in writing the article, and irrespective of her relationship to the new Jamaican Prime Minister (Portia Simpson Miller), it is in bad taste to ridicule another sovereign nation and to juxtapose two countries (Nigeria and Jamaica) using biased indices. It is ethically and diplomatically wrong for her to sacrifice Nigeria’s national interests in an effort to improve the ratings and acceptance for the new government in Jamaica. If she was a private individual her opinion wouldn’t have mattered so much but considering that she made the remarks as a serving UK member of parliament who obviously enjoyed the privileges of a sponsored state visit to Nigeria, the least she could have done was to keep her thoughts and reservations to herself, or better still seek clarification and get better information about Nigeria and her people rather than relying heavily on dinner table ‘second hand’ information which do not represent the reality of today’s Nigeria in every ramification.

While Nigerians accept that things are not quite going the way we would all wish, we also believe that our problems can only be solved by ourselves, and with the help of our genuine friends in the international community who also have a mutual stake in our socio-economic well being.

The fact that she failed to notice many of the changes and reforms currently going on in Nigeria in the key economic sectors (no matter how little) and failed to acknowledge such in her article leaves one to assume that she may have other sinister motives.

If she still has any pride and shame left, Miss Abbott owes Nigerians, including the ones living in her constituency an apology for her scathing and hurtful remarks. What she has done amounts to stabbing Nigerians in the back and seemed premeditated to move the hands of Nigeria’s national re-birth backwards.

If only she knew all the efforts Nigerians in their personal capacities are making to reclaim the glory of our country and make her great again, after recently re-joining the world’s international community again following decades of ostracization as a result of the activities of successive military juntas, she wouldn’t have made such remarks.

Maybe she is not aware of the resources being committed by Nigeria and her people towards re-building Nigeria’s image and make her an attractive investment destination once again, we surely need the help of our friends at this moment in our history of which obviously Miss Abbott is not one of them. As we say in Nigeria, with friends like her, who needs enemies?

Whatever her future political plans are, I’m sure that Miss Abbott knows better than to count on Nigerian votes in the future.
Nigerians living in the UK should make their feelings known both to the Nigerian government through the Nigerian High commission in the UK and also to Miss Abbott herself. Her contact details are as follows. www.dianeabbott.org.uk. Diane Abbott (MP) House of Commons London SW1A 0AA, glennc@parliament.uk, telephone: 0207 219 4426, 07947 598 225.
Uche Nworah, a lecturer and brand scholar lives in London.

Hey Abbott Pt 2
Hey Abbott Pt 3

posted by ijebuman  # 2:48 pm
Has dis woman been to Brazil,Thailand,Guetamala,??? let her go there then she will see true corrution!!
I am not surprised at what Ms Diane Abbott said about Nigeria. I felt that it was coming. She has always had a lot of back handed things to say about Africans but If you read between the lines you will see that she's directing her critique against Nigeria.

Then again for somebody who comes from a place like Jamaica well knwon for it's abhorrent human rights violation and for having one of the Lowest literacy rates in the world ...what do you expect?
Infact How many Jamaicans end up in Colleges or even at that..Universities?! Jamaican Children bring down the Literacy ratio of black Children in the UK.

N:B...Has anybody ever seen a Jamaican Doctor..both male or female? There you go.
As a British-born person of Jamaican parentage, may I apologise to the people of Nigeria for the cheap, idiotic rantings from that stupid fat woman.

The last time a Black Woman MP annoyed the immigrant voters in her constituency (Oona King supporting the Iraq war when a large percentage of the voters in the Bethnal Green are Muslim) she didn't survive the next general election.

Her article creates a "them and us" feeling between Nigerians and Jamaicans - many Jamaicans already regard the upwardly mobile Nigerians in the UK as jumped up newcomers.


The fact is that a far higher proportion of Nigerians work in white collar jobs (Doctors, Scientists, Engineers) than Jamaicans, and the balance is shifting more and more to the Nigerians, many of whom are very well educated. These Nigerians are the economic migrants moving away from the very conditions in Nigeria she discribes.

It hurts me to say this but many Black Britons whose parents came from the West Indies still suffer from what Tony Blair calls "poverty of aspiration" - they want to drive flash cars and live in nice houses but feel the only way to do it is to become a soccer player or singer/rapper. Higher education and a career are seen as too hard.

Ms. Abbott may yet regret writing this article...I hope the Tory and Lib Dem Candidates for Hackney North and Stoke Newington are listening!

"It hurts me to say this but many Black Britons whose parents came from the West Indies still suffer from what Tony Blair calls "poverty of aspiration" - they want to drive flash cars and live in nice houses but feel the only way to do it is to become a soccer player or singer/rapper. Higher education and a career are seen as too hard."THAT STATEMENT IS INCORRECT.
Jamaicans and Nigerians are more alike than they would dare to admit. Very few Nigerians know Jamaicans very well apart from the stereotypes, and vice versa. As an "outsider", I find this bemusing. I just enjoy the love they both feel for each other!

However, apart from the incidentals (geography etc), what makes Diane Abbott and others think that Jamaica is NOT a lot like Nigeria? Her words were not wisely chosen, but I've heard similar ignorant comments coming from Nigerians about Jamaicans many times over.

Just more proof that black people are their own worse enemy. So long as we continue to display this kind of ignorance on both sides, we will NEVER gain the respect that we deserve on this planet.
I'm of both Nigerian and Jamaican parentage ...lol...wow....can't we all just get along...
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