Tuesday, November 18, 2008

You gotta laugh..

The political party everyone loves to hate, the British Nationalist Party (BNP) had its entire membership list published online.

According to the Times
"There was panic at the centre of the British National Party tonight after it emerged that its entire membership list had been published on the internet.The names, addresses and telephone numbers of more than 10,000 current and former members were published on a specially created web page.

Along with the names and personal details, the professions of many of the members have been made public including teachers, scientists, a government employee and at least one serving police officer.

One police woman on the list, whose entry included a note asking for discretion, faces potential dismissal since officers are proscribed from joining the right-wing political party."

For those who don't know about the BNP, it's a bit like the Ku Klux Klan without the lynching : - )

I for one am pleased that the membership of the BNP is now in the public domain, I guess a lot of people will be changing phone numbers and addresses, who knows this might actually kick start the moribund housing market.
The web page has now been removed but if you're curious like me, then pop over to Wikileaks and have a peek and yes i searched to find out if anyone on my street was a member : - )

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Re: Saving Africa's Witch Children

The greatest tragedy facing Nigeria today is our indifference to the abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society - children. We can all play our part by supporting Stepping Stones Nigeria 'to carry out enlightenment and advocacy projects throughout the region, so that a long-term solution to the child 'witch' crisis may be found'.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Evil that Preachers do

The 'Extremely Evil' Helen Ukpabio

In some of the poorest parts of Nigeria, where evangelical religious fervour is combined with a belief in sorcery and black magic, many thousands of children are being blamed for catastrophes, death and famine - and branded witches by powerful pastors. These children are then abandoned, tortured, starved and murdered - all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Influential preachers from the more extreme churches brand the children witches or wizards and exploit their desperate parents by charging them exorbitant amounts of money in return for exorcising the spirits.
The film features extraordinary access to some of the preachers who openly discuss their work. One preacher who calls himself 'The Bishop,' says he has made a fortune by carrying out 'deliverances' on children. He admits having killed 110 people in the past. Dispatches films him as he administers a mixture of pure alcohol, a substance known as 'African mercury' and his own blood to one child accused of witchcraft.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Back to Reality..

Ok that's it, my Obama moment has been bought back to reality, i thought it was a joke but then i saw the article, "Obama's election and the needed change, by Obasanjo"

Aaagh!!! do our leaders have no shame, it's bad enough that the president of Kenya declared a holiday for Obama for winning a free and fair election in America, an election which he could never have won as a Luo man in Kenya. It's not yet a year since Kibaki plunged his country into ethnic violence for refusing to step down after "losing" an election to another Luo man. The selective amnesia (or is it denial) of African leaders boggles the mind.
No wonder the whole continent is trapped in a vortex of endless political violence and ethnic strife.

But i digress, According to Obasanjo,
"Obama represents an ability to move from realms of dream to reality. He represents Hope for the global minorities who are being or feel oppressed by the majority."

"Part of his hopes and dreams is to facilitate the emergence of a post racial America. I believe embedded in that will be a pointer for divided countries to create the needed golden bridges across traditional divides and gaps of tribal bigotry, ethnic chauvinism, religious allegiance and other primordial considerations. It is a signal to us that we can gradually begin the movement towards an Africa that accepts everyone for what and who he or she is."

"People should be seen, accepted, judged and placed for what they are and what God has endowed them with. Those who preach the sermon of superiority of Intelligence Quotient or simple intellect based on colour, race, tribe or language must start to review and indeed change their sermon."

So Obasanjo likes beta thing (as my peeps will say in pidgin), yet at no time in the many years he ruled Nigeria did he bring about the political renewal that our nation desperately needs. During his 8 year rule, he encouraged and promoted the likes of Adedibu and Chris Uba, people who were prepared to use violence and intimidation to "win" elections.

Obama's victory in America could be compared to the June 12 election when Nigerians of different ethnic and religious background voted for MKO Abiola in a free and fair election that has yet to be repeated in Naija. Obj was among the powerful minority that supported the annulment of that election, in the heat of the June 12 crises, he had gone to South Africa to announce that "Abiola is not the messiah we seek". I'm sure many Americans (especially of the redneck variety) will say Obama is not the messiah they seek, but he won the election and thats all that matters.

It's a shame that the irony of it all is lost on Obasanjo or whoever he employed to write this piece of garbage. I'm not a religious person, but i surely hope there's a God out there, that will strike the likes of Obasanjo, Kibaki, Mugabe and the other despotic African leaders that have denied their people political freedom and yet want to associate with the historical victory of Obama.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Young, Gifted and Black

"Young, Gifted and Black, We must begin to tell our young, There's a world waiting for you, This is a quest that's just begun..."

Yesterday's historical event bought back memories of one of my father's favourite songs "Young, Gifted and Black". It was recorded by Bob & Marcia and reached number 5 in the UK charts in 1970. (The song was originally recorded by Nina Simone)

It's a song that has inspired me over the years and with Obama overcoming all the odds to become the US President, I feel this song captures the essence of this moment.

To be young, gifted and black,
Oh what a lovely precious dream
To be young, gifted and black,
Open your heart to what I mean

In the whole world you know
There are billion boys and girls
Who are young, gifted and black,
And that's a fact!

Young, gifted and black
We must begin to tell our young
There's a world waiting for you
This is a quest thats just begun

When you feel really low
Yeah, there's a great truth you should know
When youre young, gifted and black
Your souls intact

Young, gifted and black
How I long to know the truth
There are times when I look back
And I am haunted by my youth

Oh but my joy of today
Is that we can all be proud to say
To be young, gifted and black
Is where its at

(1969) Nina Simone, Weldon Irvine jr

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

There's a Black Family at 1600 Pennsylvania..

The Obama's New Residence

"No army can stop an idea whose time has come.” - Victor Hugo

Monday, November 03, 2008

One down, one more to go...

People in the UK will understand what i mean, Lewis Hamilton became the youngest (and only black) Formula 1 champion in history yesterday, the one more to go is of course the US elections tomorrow, where if all goes according to the opinion polls, Barack Obama will become the next US president.

Now, i was very late to the Obama party, i never thought he stood a chance.. but hey, i'm now a believer and i apologise to my fellow blogger Omoluwabi OkeBadan for my cynical responses to his many posts on Obama (you were right all along, my Brother)

People sit back and enjoy the show, history is about to be made.

It's time...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Things are that bad...

To all my peeps out there, hang in there remember if it doesn't kill you, it just means your creditors can still find you.
My peeps when oyibo man starts panicking and running around like headless chicken, there's some serious alarm about to blow, that is why i'm wondering why my peeps are still organising owambe parties as if nothing dey happen..
I was talking to someone the other day asking how she was coping with the credit crunch, she said "credit crunch is not my potion in Jesus name" ok o i replied, 'when you return from lala land please give me a call..'

Meanwhile i've told Mrs Ijebuman to do a quick inventory of all our movable assets as we may need to make a quick dash to Naija if things get really bad, I'll miss Ijebuman's mansions but lets face it, I was only the caretaker, it was always owned by the mortgage company. When the going gets tough, the tough pack up and move back to where they came from, the Polish are already doing it lol.

On a serious note, we all need to be smart to ride this one out, there's so much uncertainty out there, no job is secure..

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

17532 days later

"There is no threat to unity at all. We solved that problem a long time ago" - Tafawa Balewa (Oct 1960)

The Free Giant
published in Time magazine on Monday, Oct. 10, 1960

In sweltering Lagos one night last week, throngs surged toward the gaily decorated race track, where bands played and dancers swayed. Precisely at midnight, a mighty roar went up as a green-white-green flag was hauled aloft to replace the Union Jack. With that, Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation (36 million), became independent and took its place in the councils of the world. Solemnly, 40,-ooo voices rose in the new official anthem:

"Nigeria we hail thee,/ Our own dear native land,/ Though tribe and tongue may differ,/ In brotherhood we stand."

Matter of Persuasion. Brotherhood is perhaps too strong a term yet in a land made up of 250 bickering tribal groups speaking as many languages, with little in common but mutual suspicion and jealousy. But it is an achievement in itself that a unified Nigeria is getting its independence and seems ready for it. Only a decade ago, a rising young politician from the north named Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was threatening a Moslem holy war against the southerners rather than join them in one independent nation. "There is no basis for Nigerian unity," he sniffed. "It is only a British intention for our country."

Today. Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, O.B.E., K.B.E., is federal Nigeria's first Prime Minister, who now says, "There is no threat to unity at all. We solved that problem a long time ago." His words are echoed by every important politician, giving the lie to the theory that backward African nations inevitably must suffer the chaos of a Congo when the blacks take over.

The British began training the Nigerians in local self-government almost as soon as they pulled the scattered, warring millions into one big (339,169 sq. mi.) colony called Nigeria in 1914. As far back as 18 years ago, Nigerians were admitted to the Governor's Cabinet. As a result of their wise stewardship, Britain has won a fervent friend and a loyal new partner for the Commonwealth. Last week thousands cheered vivacious Princess Alexandra, cousin of Queen Elizabeth, as she flew in from London to represent the royal family at the celebrations. Even that old nationalist warhorse, Dr. Nnamde ("Zik") Azikiwe, 55, who cursed Britain for years in his personal campaign for Nigerian independence, proclaimed that "we give credit to Britain for an imperishable legacy of the rule of law and legacy of respect for human dignity and freedom." U.S.-educated Zik, of all people, is to be the Queen's personal representative as the nation's first Nigerian Governor General.

Palm Oil & Slaves. A steaming chunk of West Africa, Nigeria's topography ranges from mangrove thickets, lagoons and rain forests in the south to lofty plateaus and arid plains in the north. Leader of the north's Moslems is proud, turbaned Sir Ahmadu Bello, whose religious title is the Sardauna of Sokoto. Eight years ago the Sardauna sent able Abubakar to Lagos as his agent because the Sardauna himself felt he had more important things to do at home among the Hausa and Fulani tribesmen. Only its huge (18 million) population and sprawling area (three-fourths of the country) provide the relatively backward north with its titular balance of power in Nigeria's loose federation over the two big tribes of the more advanced south, the solid Yoruba town dwellers of the West ern Region and the flamboyant, aggressive Ibo in the rural east, who encountered the civilizing influence of Europe at an early date.

First the Portuguese, then the Dutch, Danes and British moved in to start the scramble for pepper, ivory, palm oil and slaves. It was the British who remained, represented by ship captains, merchants and the "palm-oil ruffians," who trudged upcountry through swarms of mosquitoes, dropping off bags of cowrie shells and cases of cheap gin as payment to local chiefs who agreed to fill metal drums with palm oil and send them floating downstream to the coast. More whites died than lived, and for generations the place was considered uninhabitable for Europeans. The Governor's residence in Lagos, wrote a visitor in 1863, was little more than a "corrugated iron coffin," for at that time the consuls were dying at the rate of one a year.

TV in the Slums. "Our greatest ally was the mosquito, for it kept the white man away," cracks Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Yoruba leader and spokesman for the Western Region in the opposition's front bench in the federal Parliament. Today, only some 14,000 whites live in the entire country, and in such cities as the west's Ibadan (pop. 500,000), with its bright new university just outside the town's sea of tin-roofed shacks, or the north's ancient, fabled Keno (pop. 130,000), a non-Nigerian is seldom seen, although the health perils and discomforts have largely disappeared. In Lagos (pop. 350,000), the federation's coastal capital, even the poor wear bright nylon shirts and drink cold beer at dingy slum dives that boast gleaming refrigerators and blaring radios, while a few miles away, ragged Yoruba villagers live in huts and chop the soil with primitive wooden hoes.

Nigeria is not only the most populous but is on the way to becoming the richest of the new African states. Tarred roads connect all the major towns. Ibadan has the first TV station in Africa; Enugu (pop. 63,000), bustling capital of the Eastern Region, Zik's center of power, will soon inaugurate a TV station of its own, and a new university nearby is ready for students. Revenue from palm oil and kernels, cocoa and peanuts already has boosted exports to $460 million a year; to reduce the overwhelming dependence on agriculture, Sir Abubakar's men hope to develop iron ore, lead and zinc deposits, even talk of building a steel mill to supply West Africa's needs. Oil already pours out of Shell's wells along the Niger River delta, and the flow of Nigerian crude may reach 500,000 bbl. a day by 1970.

Checks & Balances. Unlike the Congo, where no trained specialists of any kind exist, Nigeria starts with 532 practicing doctors, 644 lawyers, 60 graduate engineers, accountants and surveyors, and thousands of Nigerian civil servants who have been on the job for years. Many Britons will remain to help, either on permanent salary status or special contracts. Snags are bound to persist; corruption, for example, is widespread and even semirespectable among Nigerians who for years have been accustomed to giving a "dash" (bribe) in exchange for a favor from tribal chiefs or government officials.

It will be years before tribalism is wiped out. In the midst of the independence gaiety last week, Lagos got grim word that rioting by spear-carrying Tiv tribesmen of the north had led to more than a dozen deaths and scores of injuries. Even in the capital, the regional spirit is far from dead, and much of Zik's loyalty to his eastern Ibos inevitably will remain, just as will Awolowo's to the west, and Abubakar's to the north. But this also has the advantage of discouraging the development of monolithic one-man authoritarianism on the model of Nkrumah's Ghana and Toure's Guinea.

Essentially conservative, Sir Abubakar has little use for men like Ghana's flamboyant Kwame Nkrumah; he has even less for Nkrumah's grandiose hopes of merging many nations into a broad Pan-African association. "You can't expect us to surrender sovereignty we have not yet had time to get used to!" Sir Abubakar laughs, proudly aware that populous Nigeria at the moment of independence automatically became a far greater influence in African affairs than Nkrumah's little Ghana (pop. 5,000,000) can ever hope to be.

Abubakar has developed both prestige and confidence in office, and although he still pays respect to his old boss, the Sardauna, he acts with complete independence on policy matters. Pledged to join no power bloc, Sir Abubakar is clearly antiCommunist, is known to support Dag Hammarskjold's policy in the Congo. Generally, his sympathies lie with Britain and with the U.S., which he visited in 1955 to study the water flow of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in connection with a planned dam of his own on the Niger. He will make his second U.S. trip this week, leading independent Nigeria's first delegation to the U.N. General Assembly meeting in Manhattan.

On a crumbling continent in desperate need of reason and stability, free Nigeria, whose population includes one of every six humans in Africa, will provide a much-needed counterbalance to chaos.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How do rumours get started..

....Now started by Spam email

Poor Yardy, there just seems to be so many rumours about the guy, the latest one sent from a yahoo email address to media organisations in Nigeria, claims he will resign after a cabinet reshuffle.

This Day Reports:
"Early yesterday, editors thought they had got the story of the year when a "newsflash" was sent to their e-mail addresses from "Newsagency Nigeria", through newsagencynig@yahoo.com, announcing that "President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua may resign after carbinate[sic] reshuffle, on health grounds".

The local and international broadcast media quickly picked up the story and broadcast it to the whole world. In the euphoria, however, little did it cross the mind why the President would resign after "cabinet reshuffle". Would his new appointments be binding on his successor?
But Channels TV, which initially broadcast the news, was last night shut down by the State Security Service (SSS) over the hoax.

This is the third significant rumour about Yar'Adua since last year - the first being that he had died in Germany during the presidential campaign. Last month, he was rumoured to have died having gone into "coma" after undergoing a "renal transplant".

Now i don't know about you, but considering the amount of dodgy email i get (penile enlargements (as if), free Ipods/Iphones, Naked pics of Halle Berry (i wish) etc) I treat any information i receive via email with suspicion especially "official" emails originating from any free email service. "Genuine" spammers don't even use Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail to send spam anymore, they've left them to your average 419er.

But i digress, i would have thought a reputable organisation like Channels TV would at least confirm the story before going to town with it. How could they fall for such a hoax?, do Nigerian leaders ever resign from office?? if anything, the bad spelling should have made them suspicious. God help us all if someone had sent an email that a coup or something more sinister had happened; imagine the panic and confusion they could have caused.

But can we really blame Channels TV, the same news report reveals that the News Agency Of Nigeria uses Gmail addresses to send out news items.

This Day reports:
"Apparently to forestall the use of web-based e-mails addresses to spread rumours in its name, NAN yesterday sent e-mails to media houses to announce the authentic e-mail addresses of the agency.

The mail, signed by Alli Hakeem, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Abuja Metropolitan Desk, read: "Dear esteemed subscribers, With effect from today, September 16, 2008, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has rested the following e-mail addresses: nanabujahq@gmail.com and nancommunication@gmail.com to send its news items.

NAN will no longer use any yahoo, or gmail, or hotmail.com address from this moment on."

Good to see that the government's usual "Close the stable door after the horse has bolted" approach to dealing with issues has kicked in...
And if you thought that was the only government organisation that uses free web based email, you should check out the contact page of the Federal Ministry of Finance, one of their contact email addresses is "servicom@yahoo.com".

Meanwhile, isn't it funny the way this government has reverted to the usual tactics of previous administrations (by shutting down Channels TV) i thought Yardy believed in the rule of law?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wetin concern...

agbero with overload (as my peeps are fond of saying), this whole Obama mania is doing my head in, you can't vist any naija news site without coming across a story or feature on Obama.

I have nothing against Obama, he talks the talk, (not sure if he can back it up with action) I hope he wins the election, but i still don't understand what it has to do with naija, if he becomes the next American President will it make any difference to our country?

I understand if the Kenyans are excited about it, he has family in Kenya but wetin be our own??
even good old reliable SaharaReporters has joined the bandwagon and turned it's front page over to the Democratic party convention in Denver. And don't even get me started on the whole fund raising for Obama ("Africans for Obama") organised by that fat chick with a Ph.D , the shameful spectacle was on Bisi Olatilo's vomit inducing show last weekend. It was too much for my ulcer and I just couldn't bring myself to blog about it. I think i'll need some therapy to forget the shameful scenes of people doing the Obama fist bump aaaaghhhh!!

While naija's poke their noses in another country's business, our own el Presidente has been holding us to ransom, if the man dies how will things play out?, will Badluck (there's nothing good about that man's luck) take over or will he be pushed aside using either the Army or the Supreme court???.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Georgia (not on my mind) only on my TV

Last month most people did not know there was an ex Soviet republic called Georgia, (a tiny country made up of about 4 million people) now no thanks to the media and its extensive coverage of the ongoing war, not only do we know about Georgia, we also know about its separatist region of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Meanwhile, Russia may have kicked Georgia's ass on the war field, but it was the Georgians who won when they faced each other at the Olympics beach volleyball tournament lol

So what have we learnt so far?
Russia is a big bully (but we already knew that, go ask the Estonians, Hungarians, Chechens, Czechs etc)
The West as usual is full of hypocritical bullshit (but we already knew that, go ask the Iraqis, Serbs, Palestinians, Lebanese etc)
And don't mess with Georgia when it comes to.... Beach Volleyball!!!


Virgin Nigeria gets the Russian Treatment
Yardy and his fellow bandits in power failed the first major test of their so called "Adherence to the rule of law" and switched to what I'll like to call our "default way" of doing things. Check out the way Virgin Nigeria was forced out of the international wing of MMA despite Virgin Nigeria's case at the Appeal Court.
Virgin had gone to court to challenge the government's directive that it moves to MMA2 (the domestic terminal), rather than wait for the verdict, the government decided to use "Russian diplomatic tactics" to ensure Virgin complied.
Personally i never bought into Yardy's rule of law crap, but I'm sure many of those who thought this government was different (as if) will now realise that nothing much has changed...

Virgin set to sever ties with Nigerian venture

Who would have thought?

Team GB, 12 Olympic Gold medals and counting..

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Comment...

Sometimes I read some news stories and I'm literally lost for words, here are a few of such news stories;

The birthday that never was
Yar'Adua's Birthday Confusion - State Govts Blew Over N35m

"Over N35 million taxpayers' money was spent by state governors, ministers and lawmakers sponsoring advert messages congratulating President Umaru Musa Yar'adua on his 57th birthday in national dailies, only to discover that the president was not born on July 9, as the over 100 coloured paged messages implied."

The Lord Works in Mysterious ways : - )
'Allah meat' astounds Nigerians
"Diners have been flocking to a restaurant in northern Nigeria to see pieces of meat which the owner says are inscribed with the name of Allah."
and in other parts of the world
Message from Allah 'in tomato'
Tropical fish 'has Allah marking'
India marvels at 'miracle chapati'

methinks this one is definitely worthy of an end of year award (for "Foot in mouth")
Obasanjo - Leave Electricity Problem to God
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Nigerians should take their electricity problem to God, adding that they should take to God anything they do not have which they wished to have or cannot get.

419 Version 2.0
419ers crank up the menaces
"Your friend has paid us to kill you..."

So what have you been doing in America?

Now you can find out what some of our citizens have been up to stateside.

A search using a variation of popular Nigerian names produces very interesting results, i don't think Iyabo Obasanjo will be doing much driving next time she visits the US : - )

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Tale of Two Stories

The Event: 17 people die in "mysterious" circumstances in a local community in Abia state.

The Nollywood Version as reported by the Nigerian Tribune and This day

The Nigerian Tribune reports that "about 40 members of the Deeper Life Church in a community in Abia State died mysteriously at the weekend shortly after a family deliverance prayer session."

The paper reports that "A source said that immediately after the prayer session, a mighty wind took over the newly-built house which lifted the people there gathered and tossed them around the building.
The source further said that the pandemonium which resulted made them to collapse against another."

The paper adds "That the remains of the dead were infested with maggots while the whole area was taken over by a foul odour.
More than 20 persons were said to have lost their lives there and then, while about three people were said to be critically ill and are now at a private hospital where they are receiving treatment."

The Real Version as reported by Reuters

"At least 17 people died at a prayer meeting in rural Nigeria after apparently breathing noxious fumes from their power generator while asleep, police and witnesses said on Wednesday.
The victims fell asleep on Saturday in a locked room with the generator still running, police said. Their bodies were discovered and the incident reported on Tuesday.

"We are still investigating the cause of the deaths. But a power generating set was found in the hall where they slept, so we are not ruling out suffocation through carbon monoxide inhalation," police spokesman Ali Okechukwu said.

Though Nigerians are very religious, many are highly superstitious and hold strong beliefs in voodoo, ghosts and witchcraft. One survivor, Linus Abba, said the victims were attacked by the evil spirits they were trying to exorcise.

NTA now showing on Sky

I'm sure it was planned to coincide with Yardy's visit to the UK, NTA international is now showing on Sky Digital (channel 213), for those who enjoy government propaganda and the other stuff NTA is well known for...

Yardy meets Gordy

Outside Downing Street (july 16)

Monday, July 14, 2008


The supposedly "ironic" edition of The New Yorker

First it was Jesse Jackson threatening to cut off Obama's nuts courtesy of a 'mic malfunction' at Fox news (What was Jesse doing on Fox news in the first place??, it’s kind of like George W Bush going on BET), and now The New Yorker (a supposedly liberal rag) is depicting Obama and his wife as "terrorists" in the White House.
According to the magazine's editor, David Remnick, the image "holds up a mirror" to the absurd and often malicious rumours that have stuck to his [Obama's] campaign. And he believes his readers are intelligent enough to get the joke.

Really, i don't see any other magazine portraying McCain as an Old geriatric fool, because i suppose it would be seen as extremely offensive to OAPs, but i guess we black people just can't take a joke abi??

Our dear old presido, Yawn’Adua hits our shores this week.
Now this is an open appeal to the 'slow' one, just in case you meet 'Iya Charlie' abeg do not embarrass us like you did when you met Bush last year.

Oh and one more thing since Gordon Brown will be discussing the high price of oil and offering British assistance in dealing with the Niger delta issue, I suggest you too offer Naija's assistance in dealing with the recent spate of stabbings in the UK's major cities. You could offer to send our 'Kill n Go' (Our psychotic men in black) to teach the bobbies here how to deal with all these small pikins carrying knives around as if they are selling suya.
Another sad Oil song...

They haven't extracted the oil yet but the twin islands of São Tomé and Príncipe are already in big trouble. (And of course Naijas are already there to give them a helping hand)

'The best thing that could happen to the country is if no oil is found'
Bribery, bullying and bad deals shatter Sao Tome's dreams of petroleum boom

Monday, June 16, 2008

Arrested Development

Arrested Economic Development
Paper presented by 'Wale Otukoya at the Yoruba Foundation on 7th June 2008.

Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. It's an absolute pleasure to see you all. I am so excited about the opportunity to talk about the development of our country, but I have only a very limited time, so, I will get straight in.

At the dawn of Independence, our country was like a young virgin bride, full of promises and possibilities, our forefathers were overjoyed by the opportunities, but on the wedding night, it was the best man that consummated the marriage. That false start had plagued our country till today.
There are longer any doubts that the 1959 election was rigged, many people at the time suspected this to be the case, but now the Radio 4 programme that you listened to earlier confirmed that suspicion.

So that begs the question, why will anyone want to rig an election, especially our colonial masters on their way out?. When the slave trade came to an end, these guys still needed labour, they devised something even better, colonisation, rather than transport people to a foreign land, why not make them do the work in their own backyard and then send the goods back to the home country.
Ingenious!. There are policy makers constantly at work, making sure that they deal with issues before they become problems.

There were many reasons why the Nigerian Independence election was rigged, but this has brought us a lot of headache. If our colonial masters can so blatantly ignore the wishes of the people of Nigeria, the subsequent governments do not have a reason to have a plan, or setup an agenda, no accountability, nor do they need to perform in order for them to get back into power.

I understand that the Western region was ahead of its time, free education, free healthcare etc. The UK government wanted people they could continue to influence, educating the majority of the country will only lead to more problems.
The 1979 Nigerian election was fought on the same basis, but Awolowo was criticised for that. The UK Labour government since 1997 made Education and health two important policies of their government. Can you see the parallel, nearly 20 years later?. If we followed those policies in 1979, we would be unbeatable right now.

Now, lets give credit where credit is due, two centuries ago the Brits had about 30 million people, yet they managed to colonise almost a quarter of the world. This small island became a world leader because of the dedication of a few people.

Why did we expect them to help us to develop when development will mean less dependence on UK products?.
Imagine, through some fluke, somebody asked the Chelsea Manager to select the Man United team to face Chelsea at the finals of the European cup. I bet Ronaldo, Ferdinald, Van der Saer, or any of the key players will not be in that team, because even though on a good day Chelsea might be able to match Man U, the manager will play safe and go for the second team.
That was the same thing that happened at our "independence", why pick a team likely to give you a good run for your money, when you can pick one that you can surely win against. So, the Brits picked the second team and put the first team in reserve, another ingenious idea.
We have never had our best players in the right places.

On several occasions, I have heard that we were better under colonial rule than the 47 years of independence!!!. What we have failed to do since independence is to turn around the tide.
Several believed that the sleeping giant of Africa was about to take off in the 1970's and 80's, but in reality, it was a case of the jumbo jet crash landing whilst till taxing on the runway. We never made it as far as we thought we would. It just never happened. Now we are dreaming of 2020, but without a 20/20 vision.

Gradually, many of the colonised countries are now developing, do you remember the Vespa based cars that looked like tricycles with engines?. Those cars were the butts of many jokes when we were growing up, but India has now developed new cars on the back of that and recently launched the cheapest car for about $2000.
The Indian company Tata, manufactures cars, it's a massive conglomerate, they now own British Steel. Does anyone know what happened to Ajaokuta steel after we have spent $6b?.

Malaysia was a British colony, but its now classified as a Newly Industrialised country (NIC), they hope to become a fully developed country by 2020.
Does anyone know what happened to Volkswagen Nigeria?. Malaysia now produces Proton cars, apart from the engine. Malaysia also have one of the best medical facilities in the world, many now travel there as medical tourists. That could have been us. Where are all our trained doctors?. They are now dotted across the world. In 2007, Malaysia exported $4.4b worth of palm oil that they originally took from Nigeria. I wonder what we have done with ours?. Palm oil is now a major product, every part of it is used, even the shell.

Let me share some info from the US department of Statistics. Immigrants from Nigeria to the US are likely to be better educated (graduates and post graduates) than the indigenous population, but are more likely to be employed in a manual work.
Now, we need to move on though, time is ticking, the taxi is waiting and we have lost considerable amount of time, 47 years to be exact. In the life of a human being we are now middle aged, tending towards being regarded as a "condemn".

We have the skills, we have resources, we just lack leadership.
The economics of the world is changing. Having capital alone is not enough, you need skills, you need to be unique, you need to be able to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
Development cannot happen in a vacuum, it must be in the context of our social economic base. If our governments don't want to drive this, then, we as individuals must be able to provide leadership. We need to start somewhere, at the moment, we are running away from our own destiny.
We had oil, we blew the money because we were selfish enough not to care whether our neighbours had a meal or not, as long as we drove better cars and had more houses. Most of the jobs created in the UK and the US are created by the private sector.

Traditional economic theorists believe that in order to develop, we need capital, land, machinery, labour etc.
I have news for you, we don't need those things any more. What we need is the right infrastructure and the skills of the people to drive those things forward. We have heard of jobs being off shored to low wage countries. If we have the infrastructure, our people will have jobs.

Lets look at some of the best new companies in the world, Microsoft, Apple, Google, e-bay, facebook, moneysupermarket.com. These companies are now worth billions of dollars. 20 years ago, some of these companies were not even in existence, but today, they are more profitable than GM, Ford and most of the more traditional companies. Dell computers started in a garage, e-bay, because a man's wife could not find what she was looking for etc.

What that tells us is that we do not need to have huge capital, what we need is our brains, highly developed, highly skilled and highly tuned, not to scam people, but to build a future for ourselves and our country. We can definitely help to build our nation. We are helping to build other nations at the moment.

What can we do?.
We can make things better. We can elect not to agree that it is alright to have substandard products, we can agree that there are rules about governance, we can make sure that we support the right people and train our kids not to believe that all they have to do to make it in life is to blindly study. We need entrepreneurs, we need people with ambitions and we need long term goals. No more get rich quick schemes. We must pursue excellence above everything else.

Things can be turned around very quickly and Nigerians are some of the most industrious people, they follow their leaders and if you give them good leadership, the whole country will start buzzing in no time. A formidable force of 130 million people, more than twice the size of the UK population.
The opportunities are endless, we can come together to form partnerships, we can develop ideas, we have the power, we can help to shape the nature of the policies at home, we can channel our energies in providing support for our people.

Let us celebrate people who have the audacity to dream, let us support those trying to make a difference. This is not the time for the green eyed monster. This is the time to come together to become an incredible force. Our thinking must change from being consumers to being producers, from just opening little shops to thinking out of the box.
Consider the impact of IT, consider what will make our lives easier or more convenient, whilst making the best of the resources we have at your disposal. Don't follow the crowd, but follow your dream. Dream big, plan for it and work hard to get it.

Don't be afraid of failure, but just imagine the freedom. Its like learning to drive a car, the freedom to go anywhere is unbelievable.
Lets celebrate the very best, but celebrating all the time without achieving anything is not a way forward. Have less of those "Owambe" parties, save money and invest. Can you imagine if Bill Gate originated from Nigeria, who can guess how many wives and children he would have by now?. Why?

I have been troubled by the fact that the Polish people are now going home. I can't believe this, these guys have been here for 5 minutes and they are already checking out. What is going on?. Also, an average of 200,000 people leave the UK every year for other countries, hang on a minute, the Pols and the Brits are leaving the country, things must be really tough, who is going to manage the economy. Hey guys, I am checking out as well.

May I end by thanking all the speakers and the audience today, especially Dele Ogun, and the rest of the team that have organised these events year after year. I am thrilled about events like this, because it shows that some of you still love our country.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finally, The "Godfather" Passes On...

Full report

"As expected, Adedibu's death has elicited widespread jubilation in Ibadan, a city where the late gadfly sharpened and practiced his thuggish brand of politics. One observer told Saharareporters that people were seen in different parts of the city rejoicing over Mr. Adedibu’s demise."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

These are interesting times....

A new Uncle Sam?

Well, well, well, so Barack Obama is now the Democratic party nominee, assuming Hilary doesn't kill him before November : - ), he might actually become the next President of the United States.
Real life is gradually turning into an episode of the TV series 24, what will the Season finale be?
It seems America is finally growing up and ready to bury its racist past....

So what have we learned so far;

Don't fuck with the Clintons, they'll do absolutely anything to win.

Americans love a fairy tale (well one assumes they realise this is "real life" and not some Hollywood blockbuster with a 'Denzel' lookalike running for the Presidency)

Black is the new White

Fox News reveals Republican Party's back up plan just in case Obama wins

And finally, the ultimate proof that you don't have to Anglicise your name to make it, Fellow Naijas please take note, you don't have to give your offspring "Christian" (i.e "English") names to fit in.

If Barack Hussein Obama was Naija, the Barack would have become "Barry" by now, and his middle name "Hussein" would have disappeared along with any trace of his African roots.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Places on Earth

Naija may not be the best place in the world but at least we're not on the top 10 list of the most dangerous places on earth

The Top 10
10. Russia
9. Brazil
8. South Africa
7. Burundi
6. Antarctica
5. Afghanistan
4. Somalia
3. Sudan
2. Colombia
1. Iraq
Bonus entry: USA


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yardy Speaks...

To the Financial Times

Excerpts from the interview
FT: It’s interesting you say that. A lot of Nigerians I speak to say you have been very slow in your reform programme? What do you say when you hear Nigerians saying that you are moving slowly?

YAR’ADUA: I smile, because I know, I have been a governor for eight years, I have also had some challenges to sort out, some problems. Because I know the quality of what you can achieve depends on how you plan a programme. You cannot make major achievements by just trying to rush things. The quality of your planning, the quality of your programmes, determine the nature of their achievements…What we have to learn to know is that you cannot achieve anything without planning, and planning is a long-term process. That is why I am saying that we need to produce a national plan to the year 2020.

FT: You’re not enjoying being president?

YAR’ADUA: It’s not I’m not enjoying, it’s a great responsibility. But I am aware, and I believe passionately that in this country we must respect law and order. And that having allowed respect law and order to break down is what is responsible for most of our national problems.

No president should come here and do what he likes, the president should come here and conduct himself according to laws, to the constitution, governing the conduct of this office. Unless we have that, we can never progress as a nation, there will always be corruption, there will always be indiscipline, we can never have the discipline to plan, we can never be able to develop as a nation, and we can never create the right environment for investment to take place.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Son, The Artist

The colour handling and shading give a sense of overall form. There is a consistency, a coherence, a style that carries through. A refined eye guiding the brush. There are no successful accidents here. The results achieved are intentional and sure....

Don't be alarmed, this is just the sort of 'pretentious posturing' that occurs when you're presented with your son's first painting lol ; - )

Friday, May 16, 2008

Let ze Boycott begin...


Meanwhile BA's profits soared by 45% (for the year ending March 31), Come on Nigerians lets all play our part and ensure there's a big dent in profits next year...
MEND una get part to play o ; - ) , According to a BA spokesman "Every time the price of oil goes up by $1 a barrel, that takes another £16 million off the bottom line."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another one of those WTF moments...

also see things that make you go WTF

In the News:

Abraham Adesanya's Burial to Gulp N150m

THE funeral ceremonies for the late leader of the pan-Yoruba socio- cultural group, Afenifere, will gulp over N150 million as each governor of the six South- Western states is to contribute N25 million toward the burial.

Spending 150 million Naira (appx $1.3 million, £670,000) on a funeral is just for lack of a better word, CRAZY!!!.
Apart from being the leader of NADECO (during Abacha's regime) i can't think of anything else Adesanya did to warrant such a 'lavish' funeral. If his family wants to spend 150 million Naira to bury him, that's their own prerogative, but why should money better spent on schools, roads and hospitals be used to celebrate his death ?

God knows what will happen when the "strong man" of Ibadan Lamidi Adedibu eventually kicks the bucket...

An Ijebu state??

My attention has been drawn to an article titled "The Creation Of A New State For The Ijebus" on Nigeria Village Square. Now, as an 'expert' on all things Ijebu, the other half keeps telling me i'm not because i was born, well ehem somewhere else.. , anyway thats just bad bellics, even if an Ijebu was born on the moon, na Ijebu.. . Akin take note ; - )
but i digress, we don't need a bloody state what we want is the return of our kingdom (Ijebu Kingdom).

We have those pesky Brits to thank for destroying a great kingdom. The Ijebu monopoly on the trade routes between Lagos and Ibadan led to the Battle of Yemoja River in 1892, as the Ijebus don't like to fight (we're lovers oops sorry 'traders' not fighters) it turned out to be a very short fight with the Brits. It seems our 'jazz' (our homegrown juju) doesn't work that well against Maxim guns.

But seriously who really wants an Ijebu state, apart from thieving politicians looking for relevance and other avenues to divert government funds into their own pockets.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

British Airways...Latest

It seems our government has finally woken up
From the Nigerian Guardian

Yar'Adua orders probe of British Airways incident

PRESIDENT Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has directed the Minister of State for Transportation (Aviation), Mr Felix Hyatt, to begin an urgent investigation into a March 27, 2008 incident in which British Airways (BA) allegedly ordered more than 100 Nigerians off its London to Lagos flight "for protesting against the brutal treatment of a deportee aboard."

Yar'Adua, who is in Germany for a medical review, asked Hyatt to take all necessary measures and protect "the travelling public from the humiliation they face daily from foreign airlines."
A source told The Guardian that the President had seen reports of the incident from the British media, expressing "disgust" at the "seeming non-chalant attitude of BA officials."

He, therefore, directed that since the minister has not forwarded any report of the incident to his office, he should be formally written to investigate the incident and report back to him.
The source added: "The President is said to be concerned by the recent resurgence of complaints about the poor treatment, discrimination and downright abuse meted out to Nigerians by some foreign airlines operating in the country.

"The President has also directed the minister to make it absolutely clear to all foreign airlines operating in Nigeria that under no circumstance will his administration tolerate the subjection of Nigerian passengers to less than acceptable standards of treatment."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Foreign Syndrome

According to Sahara Reporters, Yardy suffers from "Churg-Strauss Syndrome"
a quick search on Google reveals the symptoms of this disease are - Asthma, Lung abnormalities, Kidney, abdominal, or heart problems because of blood vessel inflammation, Weakness and fatigue (malaise), Loss of appetite (anorexia) and weight loss.

It sounds like a very serious disease indeed, serious enough for him to make regular trips to Germany, because we don't have the necessary facilities in Nigeria or the experts.....

Another quick search on Google reveals that we do have experts in Nigeria who know about this disease, there is a W.A Olowu (of the Paediatric Nephrology and Hypertension Unit, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital) who published a report about Churg-Strauss Syndrome (CSS) in 2006 in Clinical Rheumatology (A medical journal)

This whole business of our leaders (Yardy for CSS, Atiku for a sprained ankle, Obj for Psychotherapy.. joking) travelling abroad for health care got me thinking.
Is there still anything we can do by ourselves?
Our currency is printed abroad, our petrol is refined outside the country (because all our refineries are not working), the ballot papers used in our elections is printed in South Africa... anything else that can't be moved is handled by the Chinese.

We can't conduct elections, we can't defend our citizens, we can't provide electricity, we can't provide....,
no point listing all our failings here, i'm sure you get the idea..

but i digress, I think the time has come to outsource the only thing still done by Nigerians, running the country. This time around we don't need western expertise, we can call on other African countries who seem to be doing a better job, to help us out (at least thats a less bitter pill to swallow)

Ghana could run our Government as they seem to be doing a good job running their own country.
Republic of Benin could be in charge of organising our elections, their last elections were regarded as free and fair.
Niger Republic could sort out the power situation, even though they import electricity from us, they seem to have a regular supply, so they must be doing something right.
Botswana could manage our economy, they run theirs well and there's hardly any corruption.

Or we could just hand over everything to the Chinese, they probably own most of the country anyway..
Do as i say not as i do

Nigeria: Minister Locks Out Staff

FOREIGN Affairs Minister, Chief Ojo Maduekwe yesterday locked out hundreds of his staff out of the ministry's premises for reporting late for work.
An eyewitness informed Vanguard that on arrival at the ministry's headquarters in Abuja, some minutes past 8.00 a.m., the minister ordered the security men on duty to lock all the entry points to the premises.
Meanwhile, a number of foreign affairs staff who did not disclose their names, were not impressed by the Minister's actions. According to them, though the resumption time was 8am, the gates were locked within the permitted 30 minutes grace period.

They further revealed that the Minister was not leading by example considering he rarely resumed duties earlier than 12pm.

I was just about to commend the minister but then i read the last paragraph...

'Perfectly normal' to China
(Africans buying weapons to kill each other)

China may recall Zimbabwe weapons

The ship carrying weapons to Zimbabwe may return to China after being prevented from unloading in South Africa, a Chinese official has said. Zambia's president has called on other African countries not to let the ship enter their waters, in case the arms escalate post-election tensions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the weapons were ordered last year and were "perfectly normal".

China is definitely not a friend of Africa, they sold the weapons used by the Sudanese government in Darfur and now they're selling weapons to Zimbabwe, which Mugabe will surely use against the opposition.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Karma, Delusions, Mad Men and a Happy Ending...

...A Typical Week in Naija Politics

The 'No shit sherlock' quote of the week
"There's a very huge anti-Obasanjo sentiment in the country now"

- Iyabo Obasanjo (suddenly realising how everyone in the country has felt about her dad since 2005)

When the tables turn...
Nigeria senator 'fears for life'
The daughter of Nigeria's ex-leader Olusegun Obasanjo has told the BBC she fears for her life after being charged by the nation's anti-corruption agency.
Sen Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello was named in a fraud case that led to the resignation of two health ministers. Her comments come after anti-corruption agents raided her home in an attempt to bring her in for questioning.
"I'm not on the run but I feel as if I'm a victim of harassment... I'm afraid for my life," she said.

There's a popular Yoruba proverb, "opa ti a fi na iyaale ni, o mbe l'aja fun iyawo" [translated as 'the whip with which the first wife was beaten is kept inside the ceiling for the new wife'].

I find it interesting that once again the things Obj put in place while he was in power are now been used against him. Back in 1995 when he was tried by Abacha's government for "suspicion of concealment of treason", he had promulgated the decree that made this 'crime' an offence when he was in power in the 70s.
Now it's the EFCC (which he created and used to terrorise his opponents), that is been used against his family.
Karma is a bitch....

also see OBJ, A True National Leader
For someone who wanted history to remember him as the man who "saved Nigeria", i doubt he ever thought things could turn out this way. [SNIP]

..Obj has always wanted to be remembered as a "national" leader, well he is now, as in almost everyone in the country now hates him. That's not an easy achievement in 'multi ethnic', 'multi religious', 'multi everything' Nigeria. Even in his backyard - Abeokuta, praise for him is muted. Abacha, horrible as he was, still had support in his hometown...
Another Delusional rant from the INEC Boss
Election nullification: PDP is paying for its sins - Maurice Iwu

APPARENTLY reacting to the spate of nullification of governorship elections won by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) across the country by the election petition tribunals and appeal courts, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, said the PDP was paying for its sins of imposition of candidates during its primaries.

Professor Iwu stated this while delivering a lecture entitled: “The April 2007 Elections in Nigeria: What went right” at the University of Ibadan.

What went right???? is this man taking the piss or what ?
Inspector General finally admits what everyone already knows about Nigeria's men in black
There are madmen in the police – Okiro

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mike Okiro, yesterday admitted before the House of Representatives that there are serving members of the Nigeria Police that are mentally derailed.

We also found out this week that the Edo state commissioner for information died from a 'Happy ending'
Edo commissioner died on top of woman - IG

According to the police boss, the police investigation into the matter revealed that the late commissioner was in the hotel with a female friend, a student of the University of Benin. Both were said to be in the hotel room without any luggage.

Monday, April 14, 2008

No Gays please but Paedophiles welcome

Nigeria: Sex Abuse - Parents of Toddler-Victim Reject Judgement

An NGO, the Women's Rights and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), has vowed to appeal against the judgment of a court which gave an accused rapist an option of fine.

An Upper Area Court in Lafia had sentenced Stephen Takure to 12 months imprisonment with an option of N3,000 fine for sexually abusing a toddler.

Mr. Mohammed Ya'u and his wife, the parents of the one year-old victim of sexual abuse, had petitioned to WRAPA, shortly after the Area court's judgment.

"Our daughter of one year, nine months was on February 19, sexual assaulted by our neighbour, Stephen Takure, a 27-year old man.

"The case was reported to Divisional Police Headquarter in Mararaba, Nasarawa State where the suspect was arrested and the case transferred to force CID in Lafia," Yau said.

"At the end of the day all we got was a judgment of 12 months imprisonment, with N3,000 option of fine and N20,000 compensation for medicals.

This is an Outrage!!!.
Just in case you missed it, the man was given the option of a 3000 naira fine (thats about £15/$25) or 12 months in jail for raping a one year old girl..... this is happening in the same country where the government is proposing a five year jail term for anyone 'convicted of being openly gay or practising gay sex with a consenting adult'
Do we not think there's something seriously wrong with our priorities??? Where is Akinola and the other religious nutters? Where are the people shouting about immorality in our society? Where are the laws that protect our kids from monsters like Stephen Takure? Where is Senator Eme Ekaette? (the silly woman making noise about indecent dressing)

Gary Glitter and his ilk might as well move to Naija, No Gays please but Paedophiles are certainly welcome...

also see 'getting our priorities Straight' (blog posting from january 2006)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Boycott BA - 2

The Guardian's Reuben Abati has also added his own two kobo to the issue, here's his article from Nigeria Village Square

Ayodeji Omotade vs. British Airways
By Reuben Abati
On one or two internet sites, particularly Nigerian Village Square, Nigerians are up in arms against the airline, British Airways over the maltreatment of 135 Nigerian passengers and one Ayodeji Omotade on a March 27, 2008, BA flight to Lagos from Heathrow, London. Readers of Omotade's story, which he tells with transparent pain and agony have been asked to send protest comments to the CEO of British Airways, amid nationalistic calls for the boycott of British Airways by Nigerian passengers. It is strange that more than a week later, there has been no response from British Airways to this public relations crisis on its Lagos route. It is either the public relations managers of British Airways are asleep, or they have chosen to treat this as a piece of irritation, or they are assured that since the protesters are angry internet commentators, their indignation would soon pass unnoticed.

If the latter reason explains the seeming arrogance of British Airways and its CEO, then it clearly underestimates the influence of internet journalism. With increasing ICT penetration and access to interconnectivity, more persons are spending more time daily on the world wide web, which they now rely on for a broad range of activities including conversation, romance, therapy and education. The number of Nigerians, especially in diaspora, who falls into this category continues to increase, the same with internet sites on Nigerian affairs, with the most active and the most interactive being in my estimation, the Nigeria Village Square.

No serious business should take any debate about its affairs on the internet lightly. Nor should it underestimate the increasing power and influence of citizen journalists, those ordinary men and women who practice journalism simply because they have a story to tell, and they are so moved by events they cannot afford to keep quiet. But the story of Omotade's agony is told not just in Nigeria Village Square, it was also reported in The Mirror of London.

What is missing in The Mirror report, but which Omotade provides in his own account is the ordeal which he, Omotade, is now undergoing in the hands of the British authorities. He has been charged to a Magistrate court. Investigators are asking him to provide pay slips and bank statements to enable them establish the source of the money that was found in his possession. British Airways kept his luggage for more than a week; when it was returned, one of the bags was damaged.

Omotade was not a Naomi Campbell, playing the prima donna and slapping policemen at the airport, his only offence was that he dared to speak up for a compatriot in distress who was being deported back to Nigeria and who was screaming: "I go die". He is being punished and victimized, he has now been banned from flying British Airways for life (!), for being outspoken. The other 135 passengers had also protested, but Omotade had to be singled out by British Airways as a scapegoat. Omotade may at the end of the day get the apology and the compensation that he seeks, but to get to that point, he should assert his rights beyond mere complaints on the internet, send a formal complaint to BA, go to court, but it is the mindset, the sociology of air travel, the politics, that has informed his maltreatment that should be addressed.

Since 1999, the Nigerian government has been making efforts to work on Nigeria's image abroad, to transform the country from being regarded as one of the last outposts of military dictatorship into an open, democratic society, but whatever has been done and gained in this regard has been hobbled by the grand failure of domestic policy, and the failure, also, of national character. Nigeria remains in the eyes of the world, a country that is badly run, badly led and whose citizens in desperation have taken to a life of constant emigration and crime. Every Nigerian that shows up in a foreign land, including African countries, is immediately regarded as a security risk. We have this strange image out there of a loud, ungovernable people, in whose inner recesses exists a craving for the short cut and disdain for rules and standards.
It is the likes of that deportee on that British Airways flight who have brought this opprobrium on our heads, it is the likes of Obasanjo, godfathers like Adedibu and all the thieving Governors and Ministers, whose stories are well known in Europe and the United States who have brought us so much undeserved shame. The deportee kept shouting: "I go die" .

Even in his distress, it was probably simulated, his compatriots felt for him and tried to defend his right to live. But the British flight crew must have stretched the situation into the hall of prejudices: the pilot had to evict the Nigerian passengers because he had imagined that their complaints could have ended up as "a hijack operation". "Can't put anything past these Nigerians", he must have concluded.
We are the victims of some of the worst stereotypes, and profiling systems, in the world. A young lady travelled to Mauritius recently only to discover that every Nigerian is referred to suspiciously as "the Green Passport" by the people of Mauritius. We are not the only country in the world using a green passport, but ours is the only green passport that carries a stigma.

It is not only the British Airways that is guilty. Hotels, restaurants, super markets, foreign government authorities all treat Nigerians suspiciously. A credit card originating from Nigeria is subjected to more than ordinary scrutiny. Ayodeji Omotade is a British citizen but that did not stop the BA and the British police from treating him shabbily. If he is Nigerian, then there must be something about him. So, they refused to listen to his pleas that he had not committed any crime or disrupted the activities of the almighty British Airways. They had to investigate the source of the one thousand six hundred pounds (about $3, 200) that they found on him.
They probably thought he could be a money laundering agent for one of those corrupt Nigerian public officials. They have seen so many in the recent past, they would rather not take any chances. But there was a curious class dimension to the politics of the British Airways flight. Only the passengers in the economy cabin were evicted.
Now, economy passengers on Nigerian routes have quite a reputation with all airlines. They are loud, they carry excess luggage, and when you pry into that luggage, they are either transporting cray fish and snails into England or they are going back into their country with bagfuls of toothpaste, chocolate, toilet rolls, and so on.
This kind of behaviour sends signals of poverty and underdevelopment, and so those funny hostesses treat economy passengers on Nigerian routes snobbishly, sometimes, they spray disinfectants straight into your face! Often times, I suspect they think we are bringing lice aboard the flight.

We must link all of this to the unusual vigilance that any flight to or from Nigeria generates at foreign airports. All the dogs are brought out, all the guns are cocked, all eyes are on us. We are treated like terrorists, but terrorists of a different kind. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Ojo Maduekwe has been talking about citizen diplomacy. This is a major area of assignment for Ojo and his team.
The ordinary Nigerian citizen out there in the world, be he a crook or a gentleman is entitled to the protection of the Nigerian government, insisting on his right to human dignity. But the best way to earn the respect of the world, for the country and its citizens is to run a country where things work, a country that is truly deserving of respect. Much of what goes into human relations is visual. We have a continuing challenge to turn Nigeria into a visual delight not the eyesore that it is at the moment.

Having dealt with the internal dimension of the problem, let me now add that the arrogance of the British Airways authorities is insufferable. This arrogance derives in part from the unusual dominance that BA enjoys on the Lagos-London -Lagos route, making this route one of the most profitable worldwide for the airline. This has not translated into due courtesy to Nigerian travellers, rather it has encouraged contempt on the part of the airline.
The Nigerian aviation authorities must take a second look at the London route, and open it up a bit more, make it more competitive and offer Nigerians a wider range of choices. Would BA ban anybody for life on its airline, just for expressing an opinion, if it did not think we are still in the era of British imperialism?

In specific terms, the Bilateral Aviation Services Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and Britain allows 21 frequencies for British airlines and 21 frequencies for Nigerian airlines on the Lagos-London route. But at the moment, the British Airways enjoys more frequencies than other airlines, it flies into Lagos and into Abuja, and sometimes it does so more than seven times in a week. Why? The 21 frequencies for Nigerian airlines is shared by Bellview, Arik Nigeria and Bellview.

The 21 frequencies for British airlines is meant to be shared by Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and British Midlands. But British Midlands is not on the route. British Airways currently uses its frequency, granting it an undue advantage and even when it exceeds its quota, Nigerian aviation authorities look the other way. The British Airways authorities need to be reminded that when General Sani Abacha banned the British Airways in the recent past, and BA had to relocate to Ghana, the airline almost bled to death. Also, in the post-9/11 season when BA scaled down n its trans-Atlantic operations, it was sustained largely by its Lagos-London route and the ever traveling crowd of Nigerians. All Nigerian customers of British Airways deserve more respect than they seem to be currently getting.
BA is a Bad Airline

Check out the number of websites with complaints about this company, if you wanted to register the domain 'boycottBA' or 'BritishAirways sucks', forget it, it seems this company has a long history of treating its customers like shit..

BA Boycott.com
British Airways Sucks.com
Complaints Board: British Airways
BA worst in Europe for lost bags and delays (The Times)
British Airways: The world's least favourite airline? (The Times)
British Airways top airline for lost luggage
British Airways Passenger Dies, Remorseful Airline Promptly Loses His Luggage