Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nigeria (December 1960)

sElection 2007(74 days(state)/81 days(federal) to go)
part of a series of blog entries on the Nigerian elections in April 2007.

"Nigerian unity, is only a British intention for the country. It is artificial, and ends outside this chamber!"

The Black Rock
Time magazine cover story Monday, Dec. 05, 1960

At five minutes before nine the warning bell clanged, and the chattering parliamentarians in the lobby began to file into the House to take their seats. Precisely on the hour, a voice raised the traditional cry "Mistah Speakah," and the legislators froze as a bemedaled attendant solemnly descended the nine red-carpeted steps into the well of the House and laid a golden mace on the table separating the government front benches from those of the opposition. After a prayer calling down God's protection on the nation and Queen Elizabeth II, the Speaker, in his English-accented English, called "Odah, odah," and the debate began. Scarcely had it got into full swing when a proud, ascetic figure strolled slowly toward the government bench and all eyes converged on the ebony face of Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, O.B.E., K.B.E., C.B.E., LL.D., Prime Minister of Nigeria.

Along with its echoes of Britain's Westminster, the legislature over which Sir Abubakar presided last week had some of the flavor of a Pan-African Congress. On its benches tall, haughty Hausas, splendidly robed in green and scarlet, sat amongst volatile Ibos draped in white and azure gowns. Across the aisle were Yoruba tribesmen wrapped in gold, yellow and orange with little porkpie beanies on their heads. Between them, they constituted one of the world's noisiest Parliaments. Each speaker was greeted with cries of "Heah, heah" from his friends and derisory shouts of "Sit down, you wretched fool" from his foes; from the rostrum came the perennial plea for "Odah, odah!" But somehow, through the din, the nation's problems got discussed and decided.

In the hurly-burly of 1960's African avalanche of freedom, Nigeria's impressive demonstration of democracy's workability in Africa is too often overlooked. Next-to-newest of the 18 nations* to win independence this year (see p. 23), Nigeria entered the world community without noisy birthpangs or ominous warnings of its determination to avenge ancient wrongs. Since moderation and common sense are not the stuff that headlines are made of, the world's eyes slid past Nigeria to focus worriedly on the imperialistic elbowings of Ghana's Nkrumah, on the heedless plunge into Marxism taken by Guinea's Sékou Touré and above all, on the bloody chaos in the Congo.

In the long run, the most important and enduring face of Africa might well prove to be that presented by Nigeria. Where so many of its neighbors have shaken off colonialism only to sink into strongman rule. Nigeria not only preaches but practices the dignity of the individual. And where such other islands of order in Africa as Liberia. Togo and the former French Congo lack the size and power to overbalance thrusting Ghana and Guinea (combined population: 8,665,000), the Federation of Nigeria stands a giant among Lilliputians; last October, when Nigeria's 40 million people got their independence, the free population of Black Africa jumped 50%. Backed by such numbers, Nigeria's sober voice urging the steady, cautious way to prosperity and national greatness seems destined to exert ever-rising influence in emergent Africa.

The Perfect Victorian. No man better symbolizes the strengths and hopes of independent Nigeria than Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (pronounced Bah-lay-wah). At 47, he is slight of figure (5 ft. 8½ in., 136 Ibs.), and his wispy mustache and greying, crew-cut beard make him look older than he is. Reserved and unassuming, he is a rare bird in a land famed for flamboyant politicians, was once described by an African magazine as a "turtledove among falcons."

But for all his lack of drama, Sir Abubakar is an astute and impressive statesman. His rolling, resonant oratory and superb command of English have won him the nickname "The Golden Voice."

For his crucial role in Nigeria's advance to independence, Britain has heaped him with honors and his native admirers hail him as "The Black Rock of Nigeria." (As a devout Moslem, the title he prizes most is that of alhaji—one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.) In his drive to lift his backward land into the 20th century, Balewa's piercing eyes exude calm and sureness, and he rarely speaks in anger. "He is," says a longtime British acquaintance, "perhaps the perfect Victorian gentleman. He simply will not be rushed."

Hershey Bars & Chickens. Sprawled along 580 miles of the choppy Gulf of Guinea, Sir Abubakar's Nigeria is a ragged rectangle the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined. Just behind the beach, guarded by a great green mangrove wall, lie sweltering swamps—and the mosquitoes whose deadly bite kept white men from settling Nigeria as they did Algeria, Kenya and the Rhodesias.* Beyond the swamps is the thick layer of tangled rain forest, where the natives pick cocoa pods for the world's chocolate factories and gather oil palms for the big soap firms. Then comes the undulating grass country, rising in the north to the crusty, arid, mile-high floor and then to the hot Sahara's edge, where by day nomadic cattle herders bow to Mecca and muffle their faces against the sun and grit-filled harmattan winds with robes that keep out the bitter chill when the sun goes down.

Scattered across this diverse land, Nigeria's cities throb with the vigor of noisy commerce and the color of exotic dyes. In the federal capital of Lagos (pronounced Lay-gahs), where gleaming buildings rise among the slums, the streets are a cacophony of honking autos and a torrent of heedless jaywalkers. Lagos' open-air market is a constant melee: picking their way through tall piles of blinding indigo or scarlet cloth, vast platters of red peppers on bright green leaves, and mounds of white salt, hordes of shrieking women peddle alum, alarm clocks, Hershey bars, live chickens, hair tonic—all from overloaded trays atop their heads.

Around the Y. But the central fact of Nigerian politics is not a clash between townsman and bush dweller. It is, instead, racial and religious rivalries pointed up by the mighty Y that is stamped across Nigeria's face (see map) by two great rivers—the winding Benue that pours from the cloud-ringed Camerounian mountains in the east, and the majestic Niger that comes in from the west to join the Benue in a single mighty stream running south to the Gulf of Guinea.

Under the Y's left arm, in the Western Region (pop. 8,000,000), live the most advanced of all Nigerians—the Yoruba tribesmen, who worship 400 different deities, including Shango, god of thunder, and boast a centuries-old tradition of political organization.

Under the right arm of the Y is the heavily forested Eastern Region (pop. 9,000,000), home of the Ibo. a fiercely independent people, half Christian, half pagan, and known, because of their get-up-and-go, as "the Jews of Africa."

Black Africa's first TV station and Nigeria's first university are in the Western capital of Ibadan, where three-quarters of a million people cluster noisily under a sea of tin roofs. Between them, the Yoruba West and bustling Ibo East dominate Nigeria's commerce and furnish most of the country's bureaucrats. But the real weight of the nation rests on the top of the Y. Here, in the Northern Region, live close to 20 million people, mostly Moslems, who still remember the jihad (holy war), in which, 156 years ago, the Fulani horsemen of Imam Othman dan Fodio overwhelmed the original Hausa inhabitants. Though it is still an essentially feudal society in which Hausa-speaking masses are ruled by stern Fulani emirs, the North today, by sheer weight of numbers, controls Nigeria's federal House of Representatives and, in the person of Sir Abubakar, lords it over the bright brats of the South.

To the New World. It was in the North too that Nigeria's written history began—in the walled-caravan center of Kano, whose chronicles date back to A.D. 960 and whose big, modern airport today is one of the world's busiest. For coastal Nigeria the ages passed without written record until the late 15th century, when Portuguese adventurers sailed and marched up the creeks to Benin, whose 16th and 17th century bronzes (some of which depict Portuguese traders) are now among Africa's most treasured art objects. To the Portuguese—and the English who eventually displaced them—Nigeria's most valuable commodity was its people. Between 1562 (when Sir John Hawkins carried Britain's first slave cargo to Haiti) and 1862 (when the last Nigerian was sold in the U.S. South), Nigeria's chiefs sold so many hundreds of thousands of their countrymen into slavery in the New World that Nigeria became known as the Slave Coast.

With slavery's passing and the coming of the Industrial Revolution, Britain's interest in Nigeria shifted from people to palm oil. To get the oil, British trading companies began to penetrate the interior of Nigeria—and after them came the Union Jack. By 1903, when Sir Frederick Lugard (later Lord Lugard) began his campaigns against the Northern emirs, British rule in Nigeria was an accepted international fact. But even yet no one conceived of northern and southern Nigeria as having anything but a geographical connection; the word Nigeria itself was coined by a London Times contributor named Flora Shaw—who later became Lady Lugard. Not until 1914, when Lugard, one of Britain's great colonial administrators, took over as Governor General of both North and South, was modern Nigeria born.

A Matter of Chance. The man who rules Nigeria today is two years older than his country. He was born simply Abubakar, the child of Yakubu, a minor official in the regime of the emir of Bauchi. (According to northern custom, he later added to his given name that of his village—Tafawa Balewa.) Though Abubakar was not of the mighty Fulani—his family belonged to the Geri tribe—his father's position won him the rare privilege of schooling in a region almost totally illiterate. After secondary school he was even able to get into Katsina Teachers' Training College, normally open only to sons of the northern feudal elite.

Armed with his rare education, Abubakar returned to the windswept Bauchi Plateau and settled down on the staff of a Boys Middle School; he was a born teacher, and might have spent his life there except for a chance remark by a friend, who said that no northern Nigerian had ever passed the examination for a Senior Teacher's Certificate. Piqued by this reflection on northern intelligence, Abubakar took the exam and, to the astonishment of southern colleagues, passed it with ease. Impressed, London University's Institute of Education granted him a scholarship in 1945.

Ferment at Home. Uninterested in politics, Abubakar stuck to his books, never met such hot-eyed young nationalists as Ghana's Kwame Nkrumah and Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta, who were also in London then. When the BBC sought a Nigerian to read Nigeria's new 1946 constitution on its overseas service, Abubakar willingly took the job but had, he later confessed, not the slightest idea what the document he had read was all about.

Back home, there were plenty of noisy young men who did. Noisiest was the flamboyant Nnamde ("Zik") Azikiwe, a nimble Ibo spellbinder who had spent nine years in the U.S. working as a coal miner, professional boxer and gatherer of university degrees (Lincoln University, the University of Pennsylvania). Returning home, he became the loudest advocate of an independent, united Nigeria. Under the rising pressure, the British agreed to set up—as "advisory" bodies only—local Houses of Assembly in all three regions, plus a federal legislative council.

A Mere Intention. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was hardly back from his year in London when the northern emirs, suddenly confronted with the need to find literate occupants for the northern seats in the federal assembly, pressed him into service. Like the emirs themselves, Abubakar started off with the fear that in a unified Nigeria the backward North itself would be swamped by the vigorous, better educated South. "Nigerian unity," he told the assembly, "is only a British intention for the country. It is artificial, and ends outside this chamber!"

With Zik & Co. sowing the seeds of rebellion in the South, the days of British rule in Nigeria were clearly numbered. But at conference after conference, the bemused British could only sit apart and smile as the Africans themselves delayed independence by interregional quibbling. Not until 1951 did the shape of the ultimate solution begin to appear: in return for accepting a federal legislature with real power, the North would get as many seats as the East and West combined.

A Rebel's Conversion. By then Nigerian politics had taken on a permanent three-way stretch. In the Ibo East, Zik's National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons held sway. In the West, the Action Group, headed by shrewd, stodgy Chief Obafemi Awolowo (pronounced Ah-Wo-lo-wo), spoke for the Yoruba people. Northern power then (as now) meant tall, solemn Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna (commander) of Sokoto and boss of the Northern Peoples Congress.

Since the Sardauna had no interest in settling in Lagos among the "southern barbarians," Abubakar became the protector of northern interests in the capital. Grudgingly, he went along with federal unity to the extent of becoming Minister of Works. "From the start he was the best minister of them all," recalls a British civil servant. "He did his homework and sent his paperwork through swiftly." But he remained a northerner, not a Nigerian.

A Single Pride. His moment of enlightenment came in 1955, when Abubakar journeyed to the U.S. to find out whether what the U.S. had done to develop water transport on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers could be applied to the sand-clogged Niger. One night, as he sat in a Manhattan hotel room, he got to thinking about what he had seen in the U.S. His thoughts as he recalls them: 'In less than 200 years, this great country was welded together by people of so many different backgrounds. They built a mighty nation and had forgotten where they came from and who their ancestors were. They had pride in only one thing —their American citizenship." That night he wrote to a friend in Nigeria: "Look, I am a changed man from today. Until now I never really believed Nigeria could be one united country. But if the Americans could do it, so can we."

Day of Freedom. With that, a united, independent Nigeria became only a matter of constitution writing and tidying up the details of transferring power. The British, their long and successful work of tutoring done, were ready. In 1957 Sir Abubakar stepped in as Nigeria's first Prime Minister, to prepare the nation for full freedom. Last October 1, as drums rumbled, guns blared and exuberant citizens gleefully shuffled through the high-life dance, Nigeria's green and white banner rose over Lagos in place of the Union Jack.

Along with independence. Nigeria acquired one of the most stable and genuinely representative governments in Africa. To ensure the votes necessary to push through his programs, Abubakar brought Zik's N.C.N.C. into coalition with his own Northern Peoples Congress. As payment, longtime Firebrand Zik unpredictably accepted the ceremonial job of governor general. Chief Awolowo resigned himself to the role of Opposition leader.

Time & Tolerance. Despite the favorable omens under which Nigeria was born, the burdens on Sir Abubakar's slender shoulders are awesome. The diversity that gives Nigeria's government a kind of built-in system of checks and balances also poses the ever-present threat of fragmentation; to weld Nigeria's 250 major tribes with as many languages into a single, indivisible nation will require not only time but tolerance. With only 175,000 pupils receiving secondary education, schools are desperately needed. In terms of university graduates, Nigeria is better off than the Congo, but there are still only 532 qualified Nigerian doctors, 644 lawyers, 20 graduate engineers. Awolowo and others are demanding that Abubakar throw out the British holdovers who still occupy half of Nigeria's senior civil service posts; yet, as Abubakar points out, "Nigerianization" of the civil service cannot sensibly be completed until enough Africans themselves can be trained.

Economically, Nigeria is a "have" nation by African standards, is close to self-sufficiency in food. But with a per capita income of only $84, capital is lacking to move the economy beyond its present agricultural base. Tin, columbite (for jet-engine alloys) and coal are all being exported, but there is no money to develop the lead, zinc and iron ore that have been found in quantity. Abubakar dreams of building West Africa's first steel mill and a huge dam on the Niger. But the big hope is oil. After 25 years, Shell finally hit a gusher in 1956, figures the Niger Delta swamps contain reserves of perhaps one billion barrels.

The Cold Stare. Within Nigeria's brand-new government, corruption flourishes—to the chagrin of Sir Abubakar, who startles his colleagues by actually handing back the surplus of his expense-account money when he returns from a trip abroad. And where honesty exists, talent is often lacking. To get results, Sir Abubakar, normally mild and patient, hounds his ministers, occasionally displaying to inept underlings a towering temper never seen in public. An error can bring simply a long, cold stare; it can also bring an explosion, as it did recently when a minister tried to justify an obvious goof. "That is quite enough," snapped the Prime Minister. "Shut up and get out!"

To avoid wasting time in the horrendous Lagos traffic—where auto trips are measured in the number of cigarettes consumed rather than in minutes—Sir Abubakar lives in a modern, two-story cement house near his office with his wife and nine children—plus the swarming families of his chauffeur and police orderly. In the Moslem tradition, his wife does not appear in public; for formal dinner parties, Abubakar borrows the Irish wife of a fellow minister to act as hostess. Up for prayers at 6:30, Abubakar breakfasts in time to arrive at his office precisely at 8:15, heads home again at 2:15 in the afternoon with enough folders full of state papers to keep him busy until bedtime. Once a heavy smoker, Abubakar swore off after his 1957 pilgrimage to Mecca, now combats the tensions of his job by chewing the bitter kola nuts that he keeps in the pocket of his long white riga.

The Christian Virtues. In his public contacts, Abubakar is quiet and self-effacing, but in Parliament he has lately begun to vary his usual restrained tactics. Fortnight ago, when the House of Representatives was debating a mutual defense pact that would allow Britain's R.A.F. to retain facilities at Nigerian airfields, Opposition Leader Awolowo, intent on embarrassing the government, cried out in outrage that the proposed pact was a "swindle" that would automatically involve Nigeria in war if Britain got in trouble. In his rich, rolling bass, Sir Abubakar fired back: "I have always regarded the leader of the Opposition as a good Christian; in Christianity as in Islam, it is a sin to tell a lie." While Awolowo stared grimly at the ceiling, the Assembly ratified the treaty by a vote of 166 to 38.

Last week, on the heels of the defense-treaty debate, the avant-garde of Nigeria's young intellectuals were sneering at Abubakar's open admiration and affection for Britain. And all across Black Africa, the smart set of extreme nationalism accused Abubakar of the African version of Uncle Tomism. They were distressed by the instinctive anti-Communism that prevents him from joining in the delightful game of giving the "colonialists" the shivers by cozying up to Moscow. (At Nigeria's independence celebrations, when Russia's Jakob Malik cheerily announced that the Soviets planned to open a Lagos embassy immediately, Abubakar bluntly told him: "As a diplomat, you must understand that things are not done that way. You must submit an application for diplomatic relations, and we shall judge it on its merits.") Above all, the extremists are shocked that Abubakar can barely conceal his contempt for showboating Kwame Nkrumah and his schemes for Pan-African unification, instead urges that for the time being, African cooperation be limited to such practical steps as technical and cultural exchanges, a common U.N. front and, perhaps, economic agreements.

But for all of Ghana's contempt for its bigger Johnny-come-lately rival, Nigeria, less than two months after winning its independence, is on its way to becoming one of the major forces in Africa. Nigeria's dynamic U.N. Ambassador Jaja Wachuku is chairman of Dag Hammarskjold's Congo Conciliation Commission. A number of African nations, notably those of the French Community, are beginning to sidle up to Nigeria in visible relief at the emergence of a counterweight to the firebrands of Ghana and Guinea. And Abubakar himself has begun the wheeling and dealing abroad expected of a sovereign nation's leader; at last week's end he headed for London to mull over Commonwealth problems with Harold Macmillan, stopped off en route to discuss the Algerian war with Arab leaders in Tunis.

Like everything else about him, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's basic foreign policy principles are unpretentious: "We consider it wrong for the Federal Government to associate itself as a matter of routine with any of the power blocs . . . Our policies will be founded on Nigeria's interests and will be consistent with the moral and democratic principles on which our constitution is based." If Nigeria lives up to his words, Africa and the world will have cause to be grateful.


so what went wrong??

Friday, January 26, 2007

a rather unfortunate case..

I've been following the case of the 21 year old Nigerian sentenced to death in Singapore. He was hanged early this morning (according to this report)

Read the full account of the case here
The case of Iwuchukwu Amara Tochi

Singapore's law against drug-trafficking has two stiffeners. The first is that if a person is found with 15 grams or more of diamorphine, then the court will presume that he is trafficking, and not just possessing it for his own consumption. It will be up to the defendant to refute that presumption; the prosecution does not have to prove it.

The second is the fact that if found guilty, the judge has no choice but to sentence the accused to hang. The law specifies the sentence and the judge has no discretion.

Critics have said that these features of our law may lead to something less than best possible justice.
Click here for the rest


...its human nature

Ship's scavengers ignore police
Hundreds of people are continuing to rummage through cargo from the stricken ship MSC Napoli despite police road blocks and warnings to stay away.

I guess its not just in naija that people take advantage of any opportunity to make a quick buck, human nature is the same the world over...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Decoding the chaos of Lagos

sElection 2007(84 days(state)/91 days(federal) to go)
part of a series of blog entries on the Nigerian elections in April 2007.

Just stumbled on this interesting article about Lagos
'The Megacity - Decoding the Chaos of Lagos' (by George Packer), it was printed in the november 2006 edition of The New Yorker
I couldn't find the full article on the New Yorker site but i found lots of references to it on the web.
Here's a reproduced copy of the article from nigeria village square

and what did the governor have to say about the deplorable state of Lagos ?

from the article:
I met the Governor in his large, gilt-trimmed flat on New Cavendish Street, in central London. Heavy-lidded and barefoot, wearing jeans and a striped T-shirt and sunk into an overstuffed sofa, Tinubu seemed to be temporarily convalescing from the job.
I gave him the letter from the Maroko Evictees Committee; he cited his achievements in employment and housing creation, on an annual budget of three quarters of a billion dollars, and he blamed the federal government --which is based in Abuja, two hundred and fifty miles to the northeast, and has long had a hostile relationship with Lagos--for politically motivated financial neglect. "I need ten times what I'm having today," Tinubu said. "The money that Lagos state is having is not enough to maintain a county hospital in New York."

The Governor, who once worked for Mobil Oil and for Deloitte, the accounting firm, brought out the report of a consultant hired to draw up a new master plan.
It was much the same as the old, neglected one. The key, Tinubu said, is "to arrest the unplanned growth in different directions, the octopus of unplanned and uncontrolled building." In London, the Governor sounded optimistic. He presented Lagos, with its phenomenal annual growth rate, as a victim of its own success.

Really "a victim of its own success", wow talk about someone living in denial. Its quite easy for him to blame all the problems of Lagos on the federal government but his government is no better. What has he done with the money generated by his government for the past 8 years?

Of course he can sit in his half a million pounds flat in London and talk shit. We can only hope that Lagosians will vote out his party at the next "elections"

just in case anyone is interested in contacting Bola Tinubu to find out why Lagos is in such a state. Please send him a letter at his flat here in London. He seems to spend a lot of his time there (rather than in Lagos)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Re: Orange

I've modified my previous post about Orange - hasta la vista orange (and removed the email addresses i posted)
Before you think I was threatened with a law suit, i got a call from someone higher up in the corporate chain at Orange apologising for the way i had been treated. They promised to look into the issues i raised and "to work on improving their customer service". (yeah and pigs will fly...)

Unfortunately my attempt to claim compensation for 'emotional distress' was politely refused.
It was worth a try, if a prisoner saved from suicide can get £575,000 in compensation from the home office, i see no reason why i can't get paid for my 'distress'.

But its all water under the bridge, i've moved to TMobile and i'm not going back..

Can this really be happening?
A minister waking up to his responsibilities..

Fani-Kayode demands lower international air fares

New Aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) is talking tough these days, according to the report he said
"the Federal Government would no longer accept racist comments against Nigerian travellers, as well as cases of missing baggage, pointing out that British Airways was the worst culprit."

Fani-Kayode warned that the Federal Government would no longer tolerate rudeness from its staff towards Nigerian travellers, saying: "We would no longer condone such behaviours and if you think I am joking, then let it happen again."

He stated further that, the Committee, among its term of reference would ascertain if Nigerian passengers are over charged compared to what the Airlines charge passengers of other countries.

"If the committee finds out that our fear is true, then I will have no choice than to forward you a recommendation for downward review of your rates and whoever refuses will just have to close his operation in Nigeria. I don't care how much that decision is going to make us suffer here" he said.

Tough talk indeed lets hope he has the backbone to back it up with real action.
I had always thought FFK was a bit of a loudmouth and Obj's errand boy, but if he actually ends up carrying out his threat against BA and Virgin Atlantic then i may have to re access my opinion of him.

BA's response to FFK's initial outburst 2 weeks ago was quite funny, apparently they were "very distressed" by his comments.
The BA spokesman further added that "We will be visiting the minister personally next week to address his concerns"

Well it seems either the "Hamper" they sent to him wasn't big enough or the man is dead serious about this issue...

see previous post relating to this issue

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Whats all the fuss about?

So i check out the Guardian's website and shock horror, the major news story of the day is about celebrity big brother and how some bollywood actress, Shilpa Shetty was subject to racist bullying on the show.

Apparently someone called her a dog and another referred to her using the c word.
According to the report:
The show has now prompted more than 17,500 complaints to media regulator Ofcom and Big Brother broadcaster Channel 4 in the UK, while the controversy has been widely reported in India.

And now the politicians have joined in, Blair and Gordon Brown have made comments and the Indian government has promised to "take appropriate measures". (yeah like banning the export of bollywood films to the UK LOL)

When issues like this become headline news you know its a slow week (i.e. no important event/disaster to report)

Personally i haven't seen celebrity big brother, not that i'll ever be caught dead watching such crap, there are far more interesting things to use my remaining brain cells for.

The 17,500+ people complaining to ofcom should do what most people do when confronted with a crappy show on tv, change the channel.
If no one watches it guess what happens, it gets cancelled. ..

She's not racist because...

The political party we love to hate was in the news again. It seems they have quite a few high profile members

BNP ballerina dances through protest by anti-racists

a quick recap to this story
Simone Clarke, a ballerina with the English National Ballet (a publicly funded organisation) was reported by The Guardian to be a member of the British National Party (BNP) during an investigation into the far-right organisation.

Now what i found quite interesting about the story is this part:
Richard Barnbrook, BNP councillor for Barking and Dagenham, where the far-right party is the official opposition, said: "I don't normally go to the ballet but I'm going to support Simone Clarke. I'm supporting her freedom of expression."

Richard Barnbrook, said she had his full backing and that he did not object to her relationship with Cuban-Chinese dancer Yat-Sen Chang. "She's not racist - she's going out with someone who is not of her own race," he said. But he said, he hoped the couple would not have children.

"I'm not opposed to mixed marriages but their children are washing out the identity of this country's indigenous people," he explained, quickly adding: "That's my view, it's not the party's view."

Now that really cracked me up, has to be one of the best excuses i have ever heard. I wonder what simone's cuban-chinese partner has to say about it...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hasta la vista Orange

see previous post

I just got blacklisted by Orange's email server for sending a complaint to its CEO Sanjiv Ahuja. (I sent him an email last week when i didn't get any response from their customer services or the morons they employ at their call center)

I sent a reply to an email sent by their customer services today and got a "553 - Sorry, your email address has been blacklisted" response. So i've now sent it from another account and i have also copied Sanjiv Ahuja again (i'm a bit of a troublemaker if you don't know by now

To be honest i don't really care anymore as i've finally got my contract cancelled, but you have to laugh at a company that will go to the extent of blacklisting a customer's email address for complaining to its CEO.

Part of the information posted here has been removed due to an apology from orange

check out blagger.com for more details about Orange's "excellent" customer services

mobile review forums

Blood Oil
The current edition of Vanity Fair has a great article by Sebastian Junger on the Ijaw (MEND) struggle over oil in Nigeria - http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/02/junger200702

makes for an interesting and scary read

Now this is a really bad road
I take back all the things i've said about the bad roads in Lagos. Apparently this is what a bad road looks like
The most dangerous road in the world: The Russian Siberian Road to Yakutsk

Friday, January 12, 2007

what our politicians say (and what they really mean)

sElection 2007
(92 days(state)/99 days(federal) to go)

This is the start of a series of blog entries on the Nigerian elections in April 2007.

sElection time in Naija in a couple of weeks and our politicians are in overdrive. Naijas must be suffering from an overload of political bullshit as the politicians try to manipulate and convince anyone who will listen that they will work for the country's interest (rather than their own).
Listening to their crap you start to notice that they use the same words all the time. Here are a few popular statements and what they really mean..

overheat the polity"
means as your actions are not in my favour, i will rally my kinsmen/ethnic loyalists and tell them you hate them all.

monumental rape on democracy"
means since you out rigged me at the sElections, my thugs and i are going to cause as much trouble as we can until the results are reversed or cancelled.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria"
means long may we continue to feed off this gravy train called Nigeria

Fellow Nigerians"
meaning you ungrateful idiots lucky enough to have me ruling over you, better drop what you are doing and listen..

God bless Nigeria"
means not that i care what God does with any of you, but God has definitely blessed me and i hope he continues to let me oppress you lot forever.

May God help us in this country"
means as we lack the resources to govern ourselves, we wish to outsource the running of the country to whatever higher power is out there.

its God's will" (depends on the context)
means as we obviously can not blame ourselves for the catastrophe (since x decided to embezzle the money allocated to repair y) we have decided to blame God since he should have warned us of the disaster.
or could also
mean stop complaining about the fraudulent manner in which i won, i was just smarter than my opponents

I have nothing to hide"
means of course i have plenty to hide but no one will dare investigate me as they too have a lot to hide

a victory for democracy"
means you are the loser I am the winner (or in
i go chop your dollar style 'you are the mugu i am the master')

capable of derailing the 2007 elections"
means your actions may allow my opponent to out rig me at the sElections

capable of derailing the country's nascent democracy"
means we can't allow those khaki boys to come back and spoil our enjoyment of the national cake

threatening to derail the task of nation-building"
means we can't allow anyone distract us from embezzling public funds

threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria"
means any action that will derail this gravy train must be resisted at all costs

ensure the sanctity of our constitution"
means we have a 'gentleman' agreement and you must keep to that agreement

contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution"
means you have not kept to our original agreement and what you are doing is not in my interest

It is therefore illegal, unconstitutional and a gross abuse of office"
means you have stabbed me in the back and this will seriously affect my financial wellbeing

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Welcome to the most expensive city in the world

According to a recent report by Swiss bank UBS London is the world's most expensive city.

Which obviously explains why everyone is swimming in debt
so what does it feel like living in the most expensive city in the world ?
it sucks...

With the congestion charges, ridiculous parking fines, council tax (and very soon another crazy tax from crazy ken to pay for the olympics) you really wonder how much more the average Londoner can take.

Don't even get me started on public transport

Public transport is so expensive that its probably cheaper flying to New york than taking a train to Manchester. I feel like i'm been mugged anytime i pay for public transport.

I suppose if you're one of those who works at Goldman Sachs then its all good (i am not bitter why should i be ???)

me, i'd rather live somewhere else...

The future is not bright (with orange)

Orange has got to be the worst company i have ever dealt with. I've had the misfortune of dealing with quite a few hopeless companies (e.g Northern Rock) but Orange has got be the worst. No wonder they feature on The Guardian's 'The worst of the worst' (as in one of the worst companies in 2006)

I've spent the better part of today dealing with the morons they call customer agents and i think i have had enough. I've been a customer for over 5 years and i would rather use a can and a string than remain an orange customer.
If you're still with orange i suggest you switch to another company, you've been warned.
I hope their legal department reads this (go ahead sue me...)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

ijebuman's 2006 awards

so now that 06 has entered the dustbin of history and we're well into 07, here are ijebuman's personal awards to those who made 2006 an interesting year..

roll drums

The "I'll Do Anything To Meet A Celebrity" award goes to Bukola Saraki, Governor of Kwara state - http://www.kwarastate.gov.ng/jayz.htm
ijebuman expects a name check for Saraki and Kwara state on Jay Z's next double CD

The "Dirty Slap" award (as in they all deserve a slap) goes to the management of ThisDay for that october concert (See previous post for details)
its not like ijebuman to kick people when they are down (as they actually lost quite a bit of money organising the concert) regardless they still deserve a dirty slap...

The "Darth Vader" award goes to Andy Uba for doing his master's bidding.
For all his troubles Obj has rewarded him with Anambra state. a nice quid pro quo, ijebuman thinks

The "Mugu Award" goes to Imoh Udoh's for this excellent blog (viewer discretion advised) - http://imoh-udoh.blogspot.com/
ijebuman almost wet himself (from laughter) reading "his blog"

The "Is This Some Kind Of Joke" award goes to the world bank for the following story: Nigeria 'using Abacha cash well'
according to the report:
A World Bank statement said the stolen funds were "utilised for development projects in five sectors".
It said the study showed significant increases in spending in 2004 in areas such as power, roads, water, education and health. [snip]

ijebuman is a bit confused as most Nigerians spent the xmas and new year holidays without electricity, the shock absorbers on most cars in naija has to be changed frequently due to bad roads, the education sector is a joke and the hospitals, abeg lets not even go there..

The "Who's Your Daddy" award goes to Obj for derailing IBB's presidential dreams
ijebuman had predicted that Obj will never handover to IBB as Obj did not trust him (and IBB did not support his third term agenda) but seriously who cares as long as IBB never rules naija again.

The "Comical Ali Honorary" award for lying in the face of incontrovertible evidence goes to Mohammed Ali (Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for Apapa Divisional Police Station) - see report Dare-devil robbers invade Apapa, kill 8

ijebuman read the report and it said 8 people died but it seems Ali had a different take on the incident:
Speaking on the robbery, Ali said only three people were killed and that the robbers could not enter into any of the banks and offices in Apapa due to the stiff opposition they got from the police.

Ok so 3 people died and no money was stolen, but then Ali goes on to say:
"I want to say categorically that they did not enter into any office and apart from two men, which one of them was a lunatic and a woman, nobody was killed. We battled them to the end until they escaped through Liverpool", he said.

On second thoughts i think this award should be jointly awarded to Ali and the dumbass reporter that wrote the story...

The "Tales By Moonlight" award goes to embattled VP (or is it now ex VP) - Abubakar Atiku for his boring lectures about defending democracy, please stop i'm practically falling asleep...
ijebuman finds it nauseating that Atiku has all of a sudden become a defender of "our" democracy. How times change now that he is facing the full wrath of Obj.

The "Ass Whooping" award goes to Arthur Nzeribe for losing the PDP senatorial primary election. He described the election as "a monumental rape on democracy" (i'm not joking those were his exact words)
ijebuman laughed so hard his ulcer almost came back. If there's anyone who has raped, infact "gang raped" democracy in Nigeria, it is Nzeribe.
Back in 93 IBB used him as a front to get a court injunction (using his group called association for a better Nigeria - ABN) against further announcement of the 1993 election results.

The "Coward of the County" Award goes to Globacom boss Mike Adenuga
IBB's front man oops sorry, business whiz kid Adenuga had a hard time in 2006 with those pesky boys from the EFCC. He did what any typical naija big man does when the heat is on, flee the country