Monday, February 27, 2006

In the News: Recent riots in Nigeria
The usual spate of violence has erupted again in Nigeria and the usual talk of civil war is buzzing around the numerous forums.
It takes strength and conviction to fight a civil war not our usual fire brigade approach or knee jerk reaction to everything.
Then who will fight? definitely not middle class Nigerians, they'll be on the first flight to their usual boltholes in Europe and the US.
For the country to implode there has to be a coup. Any major event in Nigeria starts with a coup... When the chips are down the politicians won't have the stomach to fight, what's the point of looting if you won't be around to spend it.

African conflicts are easy to predict because most conflicts in Africa are never truly resolved. "Peace" in most African countries is the lull between the end of the last conflict and the start of the next one.

I've just finished reading 'Me Against My Brother', an excellent book by Scott Peterson. I wish a lot of Africans will read this book so they can understand the futility of violence. The book is an eyewitness account of the events in Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda.
The unending conflict in these countries especially Sudan will probably go on for generations to come. Even when violence overwhelms one of the combatants and the fighting stops. It could be 20 years after and all it takes is another trigger and the fighting resumes as if it never stopped.

Quote: "Tell a lie loud enough and long enough and people will believe it." - Adolph Hitler

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Monday, February 20, 2006

In the News: Nigeria cartoon protests kills 16
At least 16 people have been killed in northern Nigeria in violent protests by Muslims over the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Eleven churches were burned during the riots in Maiduguri, the capital of the north-eastern state of Borno.

here we go again and so it starts just as i predicted, once again a bunch of ignorant RAs (religious ayatollahs) have hijacked something that has nothing to do with us and in the process killed innocent Nigerians...

I was involved in another political debate this weekend, the usual type that happens when 2 or 3 Nigerians gather. At a certain point in that discussion i said something along the lines of religion destroying the social fabric of the country. Not too many believed me but think about it, Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world and yet it is also the most corrupt. Since the early 90s we've had more disturbances/crises caused by religion than any other thing.

You don't have to be a sociologist to see the damaging effects of 'militant islam' and new age/pentecostal churches in Nigeria. It's as if the two religions have turned Africa's most populous country into their new battle ground.

Forget about 'tribalism' (yuck i hate that word) or ethnicity dividing us. Religion is the new 'tribalism'.

Quote: "Religions are like farts. Yours is good, but everyone else's stinks." ~ from Picket Fences

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Friday, February 17, 2006

In the News: Bush denies secrecy over Cheney shooting,,1712091,00.html
George Bush today said accusations an overly secretive White House was slow to disclose details of the Dick Cheney shooting had drawn "the wrong conclusion about a tragic accident".
His comments came as Mr Cheney learned he would not face charges over the accidental shooting of a 78-year-old lawyer and Republican donor while the two were part of a group quail hunting on a Texas ranch.

oh dear just when i thought i didn't have any material to blog about i stumbled on this report in the guardian.
Now i'm a liberal and i can't stand the current republican leadership in the white house, so any story that allows me to poke fun at bush et al is welcome indeed.
I do feel sorry for Dick Cheney's 78 year old hunting partner who ended up having a heart attack as a result of the shooting. Good thing he didn't die, imagine the headline 'Dick kills 78 year old republican donor' yeah i know its tasteless but opportunities like this don't come around very often. ; - )

Its a bit worrying that Dick and George are quite accident prone, lets hope the nuclear button is well protected from these pair. Like one of the papers noted, it's a shame georgy and dick are not hunting partners...

Also in the News this week: Lynden David Hall dies after cancer fight
Lynden was the UK's version of D'angelo/Maxwell. Shame he died at such a young age..

Quote: "Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen, even so does inacton sap the vigors of the mind." ~Leonardo DaVinci

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

In the News: Trans-Atlantic love costs American lady $50,000 - Duped by Nigerian fraudster
A 42-year-old American lady, who came to Nigeria from Texas, United States, with her wedding accessories to tie the nuptial knot with a supposed male American Muslim she met on the internet has gone back home heartbroken.
This followed the discovery that the man she had travelled to Africa to be joined to in wedlock was not the one in the photograph sent to her, but a 24-year-old Nigerian posing as an expatriate engineer, working in an oil company.

Its really sad when you read stories like this. Online romance seems to be the new '419 method' to con people out of money. On one hand i feel sorry for the victims, on the other i am angry with them. How gullible can you be? On the internet anyone can be anything they want to be. Me self wey dey call myself ijebuman, i fit be igbira man now...

The Guardian in the UK had an interesting article some weeks ago -,,1637593,00.html

Here's a recap of the 419 methods in use:
Laundering crooked money scam
Next of kin scam
NNPC scam
Overpayment scam (ebay, amazon etc)
Job offer scam
Winning ticket in a lottery you never entered scam
US visa lottery scam
Gorgeous person in trouble scam (in which scammers in chatrooms and on Christian dating sites pose as beautiful American or Nigerian women)

Here is my own personal guide to avoid 419 encounters (Seems pretty obvious but there's one born every minute..)

don't be greedy

if it sounds too good to be true (no free dinner in life so if you're looking for FOC, they will get you)

if someone keeps mentioning God in every conversation especially when it has no relevance to the issue. (my peeps are very religious so religion is a handy tool in the modus operandi of a 419 scammer)

acting in an unprofessional way or displaying unusual business practices.

anything that requires you to pay quickly so you don't lose the 'opportunity'

always get professional advice or advice from a neutral party to ensure all is 'kosher'

never underestimate them (even ijebu 'jazz' can not protect you from 419)

Basically anything that triggers my 'defence shield' (ala star trek style) and trust me its not just naijas, every nationality is well represented when it comes to fraud...

Quote: "Businesses may come and go, but religion will last forever, for in no other endeavor does the consumer blame himself for product failure." ~Harvard Lamphoon, "Doon" (paraphrase)

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Monday, February 13, 2006

In the News: Beko Ransome Kuti Passes on,,1709720,00.html

The last of the Ransome-Kuti clan (Dolupo, Olikoye and Fela), and a strong human rights advocate died this weekend from lung cancer.
Beko along with the likes of Tai Solarin and Fela spent the better parts of their lives fighting for social change in Nigeria.
That social revolution has not happened yet but it will happen someday...

Quote: "Nothing in the world is more haughty than a man of moderate capacity when once raised to power." - Baron Wessenberg

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Friday, February 10, 2006

In the News: Nigeria may break up, US insists
United States government is standing by its bleak assessment of the repercussions of a third term bid by President Olusegun Obasanjo, brushing aside Abuja’s complaint of interference in Nigeria’s domestic affairs.
Senior administration officials told Daily Sun that the report by US Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte that attempts by President Obasanjo to stay in power beyond 2007 could signal the eventual breakup of the country is an accurate reflection of the state of affairs in the West Africa nation.

Africa's most populous nation has always been an unusual creation, what were the British thinking when they decided to unite 250 ethnic groups into one country. Any political crisis in the country has the potential to tear the nation apart.
The Ibos still smarting from their defeat by federal forces in the civil war are ready to jump ship at the first signs of war. The ever volatile Niger delta is also waiting to jump ship the minute the 3 main ethnic groups start slaughtering themselves. The middle belt doesn't really have an agenda and just wants to go with the flow. The core north will do anything to keep Nigeria as one as it ensures it is not a landlocked country like Niger republic, while the Yorubas in the west are a bit ambivalent at the moment since they now have political power, besides they have access to the sea so they can pretty much survive as the Oduduwa republic.

In light of the US comments, i've tried to imagine a scenario where the country breaks up and i can't really see it happening because the country really has no configuration it can fragment into. The 3 main regions (north, south west and south east) separated by rivers Niger and Benue is nothing but a geographical feature. Its wishful thinking on anyone's part to think Nigeria will fragment along those lines.

The reason is simple.
Lets look at the North, you have to give it to them they know they'll be one of the biggest losers if 'Project Nigeria' ends. Not just because they will lose access to the oil and the sea, but because of what will happen to the whole concept of 'the indivisible North'.
The North as we've all seen in the last few years is anything but united. Sharia and unending religious conflicts has turned this part of the country into 'Lebanon'. I can only imagine what will happen when trouble starts, the middle belt, minority ethnic christains from southern Kaduna will definitely not want to be a part of any 'Dan Fodio' kingdom that emerges. The north will pretty much have its hands full dealing with ethnic and religious divisions for a long time.
The interesting thing is, the north, compared to other parts of the country has the resources to stand on its own - its tourist potential, unlike oil, is an infinite resource.

Lets move on to my fellow brethren in the south west. The Yoruba share a common language and religious divisions don't really matter. The problem for Oduduwa republic is that the Yorubas are not really united, they only unite when they have a common goal or enemy, take that away and the Yorubas will start bickering amongst themselves. The ijebus will either be oppressing other groups or using 'jazz' (joking of course) on them while the egbas will stab each other in the back. The eguns will suddenly remember that they don't really have much in common with the others while the edos and itsekiris will definitely go their own way. And not forgetting ife and modakeke, it would be worse than the western region crises of the early sixties.

And then our good friends in the south east, unlike the other parts of the country they've had a bit of experience with nationhood, so its just a matter of bringing out those old biafran notes from under the mattress, dusting up the old flag and hey Biafra republic is reborn.
The only downside for them is they'll be landlocked as the minority groups in the delta will not join up with them. So that means Biafra republic will have to find a way to ally with one of the many groups in the delta. It won't be easy as Cameroon too will want in on some delta action.
The Niger delta can't be a country on its own and will fragment into fiefdoms, which means there's still going to be a lot of conflict in that area because of the oil. There will be continued conflict between the different groups over the limited unpolluted farmland, creeks, oil rights etc.
Then you have the larger players like Biafra and Cameroon, they will probably encourage the conflict for their own interests. You also have the oil multinationals like Shell and Chevron, they will probably finance and support any group that gives them profitable drilling rights. The conflict could go on till the last drop of oil is removed...

To cut a long story short, there won't be any winners, no part of the old country can enjoy meaningful economic development with so much conflict in the surrounding areas.
Then what happens to all the investments each part of the country has in the other parts. What happens to the power systems, transmission wires, telephone cables and other infrastructure that we all share?
Who inherits Nigeria's international commitments, foreign assets, embassies, Abuja ????

Quote: "War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil,never a good. We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children." ~ Jimmy Carter

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

BA's letter of apology

In the News: Travellers flay spraying of pesticides on Europe-bound flight
...Besides accusing European airlines of spraying passengers leaving African cities with pesticides, the petitioners allege that these airlines charge exorbitant fares on African routes, render poor services, and do nothing to reprimand their staff who are often very rude to African passengers. “The rudeness of most European airline staff to Africans is serious enough to bother any human being with a conscience. Africans at European airports are simply ignored, snubbed and downright disrespected. In fact, a substantial number of African passengers feel frustrated when trying to ask European flight attendants and staff any question concerning their connecting flights.

The way European airlines treat passengers on the African routes is, for lack of a better word, disgraceful. And i don't blame them, we seem to accept all the crap they throw at us.
Using the Nigerian route as an example, this route is dominated by Virgin and BA, and for both airlines it is one of their most profitable routes. The price of a ticket from London to Lagos is the same as the cost of a ticket to Sydney (which is on the other side of the world). This issue of spraying insecticide (while the plane is filled with passengers) is just 'taking the piss'

We pay so much, yet they treat us like 'second class citizens'. I'm going to refrain from even talking about the role of the government in protecting the interests of its citizens. Lets face it, any Nigerian that expects the Nigerian government to protect them is living in lala land.

Personal experience with BA
So i had a bit of a problem with BA on my last trip to Lagos in 04, the usual thing, faulty engine, flight delayed for hours etc. To be fair to BA they did offer to put us up in an hotel, however the hotel they offered was not to my "high" standards at all. I mean i may have stayed in a few 'shitty' hostels and hotels in my many travels but at least i was the one paying for it, in this case BA was paying so there was no way i was going to stay in 'stopover hotel' or 'airport hotel', if their own flight crew was going to stay in sheraton then i had to stay there as well.

Unfortunately for me the BA ground staff in Lagos was having none of it, so i ended up spending the night at MMA (with the bloody A/C on full blast!!). To cut a long story short i got back to the UK and took it up with their customer services with the usual 'Naija shakara' that all true 'naijas' learn if they ever lived in Lagos.
Lo and behold BA came begging with a generous offer of compensation. (and that was how i ended up in Australia some months ago)

And its not just BA i've claimed compensation from, KLM too got the same treatment for messing around with my luggage.

The moral of my story is, if you are unhappy with the way an airline or any company treats you, complain, hit them hard, if you're in Nigeria don't complain there, send it to their main base and make sure you chase it up.

Quote: "You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." ~Anne Lamott

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

In the News: Deadly bird flu found in Africa (Nigeria)
The deadly strain of bird flu has been found in poultry in northern Nigeria, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has said in statement.
The Paris-based organisation said this was the first time the disease had been detected in Africa.
The body said it was the "highly pathogenic" strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus, which can kill humans.

Ok even with my sometimes 'uncanny ability to predict the future' (na special ijebu power wey i get) i couldn't have expected bird flu to hit Nigeria so soon. see my previous posting in october

This will probably decimate the poultry industry if the health authorities do not contain it quickly. We used to own a large poultry in SW Nigeria and there are hardly any safeguards in place. I just hope the Nigerian government is well prepared as i'm sure they knew Nigeria is in the migratory path of birds flying from Europe. So there was always a possibility that it was going to affect us.

Anyway i expect a robust response from 'Baba Iyabo' i'm sure he wouldn't want all his 'prized' birds at his large poultry farm in otta to end up dying from bird flu.

Must be a record for me, two postings in one day
In the News: Nigerian MPs burn Denmark's flag
Nigerian MPs cheered in the northern majority Muslim state of Kano as Danish and Norwegian flags were burned in a ceremony in the parliament premises.

It seems there's no getting away from this issue, our politicians have got in on the act as well. As long as it's just flags they are burning and it doesn't turn into the usual religious riots this part of the country is well known for.

comments have now been enabled on the blog...

Quote: "Without cultural sanction, most or all our religious beliefs and rituals would fall into the domain of mental disturbance." - John F. Schumaker, Corruption of Reality, Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In the News: Muslim cartoon fury claims lives
At least five people have been killed in Afghanistan as protests against European cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad swept across the country.

This is just ridiculous, i've been trying to avoid commenting on this issue considering how sensitive it is, but its got to the point where its like 'enough already'..
Most of the people going crazy over this have not even seen the 'cartoons', it was printed in a Danish Paper over 4 months ago and reprinted by some European papers last week. Rather than ignoring them they've bought more attention to them, at least it got me curious enough to go looking for them since all the papers here were too scared to print them. Of course i would not be silly enough to upload them to my blog...

Anyway the point is, the cartoons are not even funny and the whole exercise was probably aimed to prove that a lot of muslims are extremely intolerant...
A protester here in London was dressed up as a suicide bomber the irony of it all was that the guy was not even a devout muslim but a convicted drug dealer (who has now been returned to prison for violating the conditions of his parole)
But i digress..
The cartoons may have been offensive but the reaction to them has gone completely overboard..

Quote: "Sometimes you have to stand for what you believe in, and sometimes you have to stand alone." ~Anon

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

In the News: Third Term: South West governors, lawmakers, back Obasanjo
The alleged third term project re-echoed, bounced and gathered pace on Thursday in a city inspired by a rock, Abeokuta. President Olusegun Obasanjo was present at the occasion but he did not disclose which way he would jump. Regardless, several South West federal legislators and all South West governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including Ogun State’s Gbenga Daniel, chorused “awa lowo si” (we support it).

I'm actually lost for words ...

Quote: "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary." - Gandhi

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