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Chidumaga Orji

Core Afro-modernist.
Chidumaga Orji has written 16 posts for I Think Nigeria

Re-beginning


I’ve decided that I’m going to resume blogging about Nigeria and the future and all the potential that we have etc etc. Instead of just plain old bloggin’ however, I’m going to try to make things more all-encompassing. I’m seriously thinking around doing a series of podcasts or online radio shows around the subject of this blog. I’m also thinking of making this blog a part of the Beyond project, which I will publicize shortly. I think this is an exciting time to be a part of this country and there’s nothing I’d like more than to share my enthusiasm with people and hopefully infect them with it.

Watch this space. It promises to be exciting.

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.com.ng


I do realize this is my first post of the new year and so to all readers of this blog I heartily wish a fulfilling 2012. Fulfilling in the sense that we choose to not worry about our nation’s tearsome mound of problems (which at this point seems worthy of mountain status) , but focus on the good and visualize -and therefore work for- the better.

In this spirit, I overlook any form of subsidy.

Instead, I’m going to focus on arguably the most dynamic aspect of human endeavour in Nigeria today- the internet. Without doubt, we have come a looooong way in positively stamping our country on the world wide web, as opposed to those strictly yahoo-yahoo notions of yesteryears. We thank God.

If you’re in doubt, I can give you a few referrals to re-convince you. You only need to look at the amazing, afro-modernist lifestyle website Bella Naija, or the number one Nigerian music hub, Not Just Okay, or Nairaland, or any one of the far-ranging amazing blogs too many to mention (but of which a list is available at nigerianblogawards.com ) or the online publications of Nigeria’s most reputable (and otherwise) pro-development print media nerve-centres to tell you that creative Nigeria is taking a step further and putting itself on the world map. This screams change to me, this is indicative of progress.

The best part of it all? We aren’t just registering ourselves in the online world, we’re doing it with a .com.ng domain. What this means is that we are carving out a formidable niche for ourselves in cyberspace. Very impressive in my opinion. What’s even more impressive however is that it’s so easy now for Nigerians to get themselves, their causes, and most especially their businesses online with this contextualized domain.The Get Nigerian Businesses Online initiative aided by Google has made it easy and wallet-relieving to register your Nigerian businesses on the internet. www.gnbo.com.ng

It’s always a good thing to see this country making giant strides in newer innovation and even trailblazing research herself. All that healthcare and road stuff that we handle so traditionally, those are meant to be problems of years we’ve long put behind us. I think the .com.ng movement is one any Nigerian should be proud of any day. But   no matter how pride-eliciting this may be, it doesn’t just end here. I definitely see a bright future ahead for online Nigeria and the development of designed in Nigeria but global networking sites is definitely not of the charts.

 

The University Rant; No one leaves!


I’m going to try to get in this post without ranting too much in it. I’ll try.

Just how are we going to fix the university system in Nigeria?

As a soon-to-graduate-secondary-school kid about to get into university, the state of tertiary institutions in Nigeria can drive you nuts on two seemingly unrelated but equally frustrating levels. The silver spoons who opt for an education abroad get frustrated by all the international hulabaloo and lack of privileges. Forget what they tell you or how they try to make it seem, being an international student in America will NEVER be the same as being an American student in America. There are a lot of complications that come from a university education abroad; visa, sudden change of academic environment, lack of contextualization to suit the African situation you find yourself in, the list goes on. If you’re in this situation I believe you get annoyed at universities at home for not being good enough attractive enough to you. You don’t want to be part of all that campus wahalla so instead, you hit the inconvenient but worth-it highway. More grease. 

Then there’s the not-so-opportuned kid that’s trying to get into college. Like his aforementioned contemporary, he sees the rot in the Nigerian higher education system and he obviously does not want to be apart of it. But he has no choice. So he gets into some rural polytechnic where members of staff strike for months on end, he receives a ‘paper diploma’ (he can’t really account for his university education) at the end of his six-year course ,which was actually meant to last for four years, and he is flung into the job market with flailing arms and a forcefully incapacitated brain. If he no find work, na whose fault e be?

Making progress….

The sad part is that most Nigerians fall into the latter category. Some are even so bad that they’re resitting their exams again and again. The school  system is so rotten that it can’t afford them an education good enough to get them into a rotten university. The imbalance in Nigeria you see is a direct offshoot of this situation. Those who go abroad often times stay abroad and contribute their energies to the national development of the country where they are. The few that come back try their best, but come on, it can only get us so far. Now, imagine if there was no difference between the guy that schooled here and the one that schooled abroad. Just imagine the difference that would have made to the development of this country.

There’s one possible solution to this whole problem though. As extreme as it sounds I believe that if it is vehemently enshrined somewhere in our constitution that no Nigerian student be allowed to study abroad, our universities will be turned right-round. When the senators’ and governors’ and oil big boys’ and Dangotes’ kids are made to go to all the UNIBENs and UNILAGs, won’t their parents be forced to contribute to the growth of those institutions? What you will see in the next few years will definitely surprise you.

This is only the first issue in the university rant series. I believe it is apt to elaborate on this subject because truth be told, it’s getting really out of hand. I think a Nigeria where no student has to give a hoot about the American Common Application or about flight fees to far-away destinations or about striking if he goes to a school here or about books, electricity or the availability of professors will be much better than what we have existing today. If we fix the university system, we’re fixing a whole lot of problems in Nigeria and charting a brighter future for ourselves. But till then, we seem left with no option but to keep mailing transcripts abroad.

My collection of title-less stories about Nigeria (2)


Dami jumped out of bed realizing he was five minutes late. Last night was amazing, his family had driven down from Kaduna to spend the weekend with him in Abuja and on Sunday night they had all gone out for ‘point and kill’. Talk about old times! Now it was Monday morning  and the young United Nations intern was bent on ensuring he didn’t go late to work. You couldn’t  play around with employment of this caliber. After completing his National Youth Service Corps programme, Dami had spent no fewer than 4 years ‘job-hopping’. He had worked as a primary school teacher, a sales assistant and a bar manager, to name a few. None of these however, came close to justifying the international relations and diplomacy diploma he had racked up after 4 arduous years at his tertiary institution. So when there appeared an opening at the United Nations office in the Federal Capital Territory, the embattled 27 year old jumped at it with everything he could muster in him. That proved enough as he got the job out of the avalanche of applicants.

Dami got into his red 2004 Nissan after hurriedly showering and getting dressed. The car was second-hand or ‘tokunbo’ but at this point he couldn’t care less; he drove speedily in the direction of the UN building located in the diplomatic district of town, far away from the somewhat worse-off, satellite suburb of Lugbe where he lived. Thankfully, traffic today was minimal and he got to his destination in no more than 30 minutes, just before his supervisor. He got started on his morning project; assisting some journalists get an inside story the workings of the UN Refugee Aid Programme for East African refugees in Nigeria. Dami’s department dealt a lot with refugees and crises victims, mostly of African countries other than Nigeria. To him that was really disturbing hypocrisy because as it stood, the rate of violence in Nigeria was times higher than of those countries.

His phone rang bringing him out of his cloud of thought; it was his supervisor summoning him to his office for some apparently ‘do-it-now’ reason. ‘Yes sir, I’ll be right over’, he got up and made for his boss’ office on the floor below. Dami respected his supervisor, Femi Adefisan for a lot of reasons. To begin with, he wasn’t like those pesky bureucrats who do far less than meets the eye. Not at all. He inspired a good number of his juniors to work hard and treat their jobs very importantly. Apparently Dami had learnt well. It was like he, in particular, had been taken under Femi’s wing and all the diplomatic finnesse and experience the veteran had was being steadily passed unto him.

He descended ‘Stairwell A’ wondering if this task, whatever it was going to be, would be as painstaking as organizing that meeting with those Stock Exchange reps. Hopefully not. He turned into ‘Stairwell B’ reminiscing about the time Femi had summoned him to surprise him with an all expense paid trip to Accra when he heard a loud, unprecedented and extremely alarming, unpleasant sound followed by a blinding flash of light coming from outside the building, in the direction to which he was heading. He stood frozen not sure what to make of what he’d seen and heard. All sorts of thoughts rushed into his mind. When he finally broke out of his little trance, there was screaming, loud screaming, and frantic running. Apparently the explosion had caused a wall on the Eastern wing of the building to cave in.

Fearing the worst, he rushed to his boss’ office. What he saw stopped him short. The wall had trapped under it most of the office. Desperately, he screamed for assistance to sort out the rubble. He had no idea what had caused the wall to cave in, no idea what it was that had thrown the otherwise serene office atmosphere into utter pandemonium. At this point however, he was most bent on finding out whether his boss was beneath the 3 tonnes of stone that covered this once highly aesthetic office space or not.

Apparently Femi Adefisan, and six others were killed in a terrorist attack on the UN building. The loud explosion and the light resulted from a car which blew up after driving into the office premises. The driver and two passengers blew up with it. Attacks like this are becoming more frequent and more malicious with each passing day, with this particular attack being the most well-executed one yet. The UN office has definitely been the most ‘up-there’ target. What’s sad about this? Only a few months before the Nigerian Police HQ had been attacked!! Now if that wasn’t enough to get the people most concerned to sit up and prevent future attacks (such as this one), nothing will be. Innocent Nigerians would keep getting slaughtered en masse, brilliant proffessionals like Mr. Adefisan would keep getting snuffed out in their primes and young but enterprising agents of social change like Damilade Adenigbabe would keep getting discouraged and losing hope.

That’s the long and short of it.

Click here to read the previous title-less story about Nigeria.

Haraming…


Before I get down to the good, promise of a brighter tomorrow stuff, I feel like I have to touch on the dark spots a little. So to anyone who has a gun, DO NOT hesitate to blast any Boko’s head off.

We’ve failed as a nation.

You know, at this point in time depression seems like a good thing. Purgatory seems like a good place to be because these agents of the devil have turned this nation into a living hell. Woe to that Nigerian who relegates christmas day 2011 to a non-entity. Woe to that Nigerian who does not abhor Boko Haram  as I write (and you read). I still cannot get over how heartless a human being can be, a FELLOW NIGERIAN at that, to bomb unsuspecting churches packed with innocent christians on christmas day. But that (despite it’s weighty nature) is not the point to be made here. Apparently we have bigger fish to fry.

More than anything else I’m disgusted at our collective incapacity and lack of pro-action to prevent this menace that is Boko Haram from attacking us and demoting our nation into an unwanted edifice. Everybody here is to blame, from G.E.J who danced like he had just gotten to Heaven on Sunday, to you and I who, in our small and not-so-small capacities could really be putting more pressure on the government to beef up security and come down harder on Boko Haram. Wallahi if we put more effort into it, we’d be doing so much better in our national battle against terrorism. But then….?

Despite the fact that we are all to be blamed though, one state institution naturally stands out as deserving the most stick. For the sake    of October 1st, where have the Nigerian intelligence agencies been in all this carnage? The SSS? NIA? It’s appalling really. After the June 16 attacks on the Police Headquarters I was sure that if not anything, that incident would spur these anti-terrorism institutions into unprecedented action. No show. Then the UN building came down and then I swore that that marked the end. Surely no matter how defunct the SSS was they’d be able to crack down on Boko for this insult to humanity. Still no show. Now our wealthy brothers in Transcorp have to live in unending, morbid fear. It’s really a pity.

Bombed UN Building

According to The Moment (momentng.com);

“failure of intelligence gathering and misapplication of available information have been cited as reasons the Islamist sect has continued to spring surprises on the nation’s security agencies.”

Ehen now. But why not? Boko Haram is exploiting these agencies’ slowness and as such bombs will keep going off anytime they sneeze. As if a first time was not enough these guys keep letting themselves get punched in the same place, the same way by the same boxer. It’s a pity really.

Most Nigerians are enamored with the systematic and precise nature of the FBI or the CIA or even the M16 without realizing that we are meant to have our own FBIs and CIAs. I think if we have a Nigeria with fully-functioning, highly-efficient security agencies such as the aforementioned, not only would Boko be totally wiped away from the earth, there’d be more job opportunities, the emergence of an elite class of specially trained operatives,etc, the kind of stuff that can only suggest rapid national progress. What’s more? Wouldn’t it be cool to have Nigerian movies about the SSS the way there are all those FBI movies. We’d have more homegrown stuff and resultantly be screaming Afro-modernity like never before. 

Director-General, State Security Service

Seven/eight years ago this won’t have been on the top of our plate. But it doesn’t take a first-rate babalanwo to tell how important national security is now. We’d be plunging  ourselves into more danger if we don’t up the ante in dealing with these @#$%^&**(##$%&% .

Enough said.

The Two Nigerias


Please listen/read attentively…

Yesterday, christmas day 2011, was not a day I’ll want to remember too easily. Unfortunately however, I’m forced to. Bombs destroying totally innocent people, whole families who had only gone to church to celebrate the birth of the infant Jesus! How do you explain that ehn? So before I continue with this blog post I’d like to say sincerely to all Boko Haram members and affiliates, on behalf of all well-meaning Nigerians, it shall not be well with you anti-progressives. Haram, though it features on this post, is not today’s gist. Maybe the whole month of January will be dedicated to that.

My purpose right now however, in the light of recent happenings, is to inform you of the fact that there are two very distinct, far from complementary and somewhat antagonistic Nigerias. Yeah, you heard me. There are two Nigerias. And this is not something we should be proud about.

I’ll explain. These Nigerias have their respective names; there’s the Pro-Nigeria and then there’s the Anti-Nigeria. Pro-Nigeria is the Nigeria we are all proud of and that we readily associate ourselves with. Pro-Nigeria is the Nigerian artistes ‘repping’ abroad, the indigenous firms making waves in commerce and trailblazing national development, the Nigerian fashion designers, collections and shows, the crazy, fun-to-watch Nigerian TV shows, the buildings, roads and other infrastructure that make us stop for a second, the scenic nature of various landmarks. Pro-Nigeria is creative Nigeria, the Nigeria which inspired me to get this blog going in the first place. Sadly however, this entity seems not to be gaining that much ground, contrary to popular will. Seems, because Anti-Nigeria is giving her a good run for her money.

With not too great intuition and aided by the aforementioned, you’d be able to ascertain what Anti-Nigeria entails. See all that stuff you hear about bomb, and accident-causing road, and no water in airport or hospitals? That’s Anti-Nigeria, and I fear we have all become too familiar with her. Anti-Nigeria is the Nigeria that makes us go ‘ sha God dey’, the very much infuriating and frustrating component. God knows the government is the largest single unit in this body. Anti-Nigeria is the Nigeria I don’t want to dwell too much on.

Sadly however, most Nigerians don’t realize that Pro-Nigeria exists. Creative Nigeria is collectively relegated to the backs of our minds as a result of the devastating but dominant oddity that is Anti-Nigeria. And so when people think Nigeria, they only think about Boko Haram or the government’s incapacity or even fake Nollywoodness. They don’t think about the good stuff because after all the rubbish, they don’t believe that there IS any good stuff.

Bros, flex….

I think that the only way we’ll maximize national potential is if Creative Nigeria takes the front wheel. But how? That’s where talk of mass literacy comes in. Talk of sensitization and national re-orientation. Granted, these are necessities for national reformation but even more importantly, each and every Nigerian has to have that vehement belief, that unbreakable attraction to Nigeria and the sense of patriotism that comes with it. I think we’d only see a new Nigeria if we are able to bring creative Nigeria out of its very small, I dare say too-small-to-accommodate, hiding space. There’s so much promise just bursting at the seams. For the sake of all things good, let it rip that bloody garment apart.

Think about Nigeria …. in Private


Here’s my special 25/12 post. A very merry christmas to everyone who reads this young blog and supports the Nigerian struggle.

Now to the main story.

In the spirit of festivity and felicitations and celebration of progress from the beginning of the year till now, I’d like to celebrate the progress the Nigerian nation has made this past year. This would have been a more appropriate post for the 31st but what, you wan complain? Didn’t think so.

This past year has not exactly been the best for our beautiful nation. In fact, its been one of the worst years in modern (by modern I mean post-Abacha) Nigeria’s history because even though 2011 saw to the mellowing of M.E.N.D and our other angry brothers from the South, it saw to the unprecedented instigation of terrorist activities by the Boko Haram sect in the F.C.T , the apex of national security, the death of some of the finest minds in corporate Nigeria (Ibru, Aderinokun), and the more mundane, our national’s team failure to qualify for the Gabon/ Equatorial Guinea Nation’s Cup, etc. On the other hand, 2011 more than anything, brought to my notice the immense importance private businesses make to the overall development of our country. MTN did not smile at all when it celebrated 10 years of operation over here, Guinness invited the Argentines to play – and helped our tourism in no small way – and many other large and small-scale, well-established and up-and-coming Nigerian commercial enterprises played their parts in giving the country a boost in its entirety. Not to say the latter only watched with folded arms but in 2011, the private sector outshone the public sector in Nigeria.

Which is why I want to preach today….

Apapa Port, Lagos, Nigeria; Nigeria’s foremost industrial hub

You see, based on all my observations and on the aforementioned, I think the most assured way for Nigeria to progress as a nation is if the responsibility for development of the economy and of the nation as a whole is concentrated more in private hands. Yup. Let private-owned firms take a more ‘governmenty’ approach to business such that it’s not just about their pockets anymore but also about everything around them.  A newly established firm in being set up signs onto itself the responsibility of developing the community it is established in. That way communities all over Nigeria are developed. To enhance efficiency in this department, government – which in this case will perform a solely regulatory  purpose – would attach commercial connotations to this, tax holidays and what have you. But then corporate Nigeria would take the front seat and drive this car that is Nigeria speedily down the long but sparsely trodden road of progress.

Preach on brother.

But then I probably am just blabbing. I know nothing about the commercial implications about this possible heresy I speak so confidently. Well, I couldn’t care less. All I’m saying is that private is more effective, goal-driven, better-equipped (I dare say) than public and if we want to make progress, we should include more of commercial Nigeria in this country’s development. That’s what I think.

Dangote seems to think so too.

A Bit Adulterated (ABA)


Are you a football afficionado? Then this has probably gotten to you. Or you’re a die-hard fashionista/shopaholic? Probably got to you even before the football guy. Or maybe youre just an admiring, window-shopper kind of person? Still, sorry man.

Because Aba never smiles.

This has to be the most disgusting aspect of industrial/enterprising Nigeria. You know what I’m talking about, the inferior-quality objects of utter disgust manufactured in West Africa’s largest industrial hub; Aba, Nigeria. The stuff from here spoil within two days of purchase, can be priced mercilessly and worst of all, are branded horribly. For Tafawa’s sake, how does Gucci become ‘Guggi’ or Louis Vuitton, ‘Lousy Vuitton’?? The funny thing about Aba is that it’s patronage is unprecedentedly high. There are a lot of Nigerians who fall victim to this commercial mishap either due to their ignorance of the market or their financial statuses. After all, na condition wey bend creyfish.

Market Shop in Aba, Nigeria.

The thing that pains me most about Aba is that in everyone of those fake goods, those despicable insults to people who love fine tin (excuse me), I see potential, and an acute marginalization of skill. I see something good as a foregone alternative, something that if the manufacturer had put more time and more effort into, and ignored his desire for immediate popularity and patronage (because to me, that’s the only reason why someone would go ahead and call his hand-made boxers Hilfiger) would have resulted in not only a fine consumer good, but in a stellar new, ‘Proudly Nigerian’ outfit. Our brothers in Aba have the manufacturing skills, the marketing prowess and everything else but just like Mojojojo, the main antagonist from the hit Cartoon Network series ‘The Powerpuff girls’, they choose to use it for EVIL!!!

I think it would be lovely if we had some crazy ‘Made in Nigeria’, stuff that would trend worldwide and would be admired by all, wouldn’t it? The Deola Sagoes, Lanre Da Silvas, Bridgdet Awosikas, the Coscharises (who want to manufacture the first made in Nigeria automobile) and all other creative, enterprising Nigerians are already blazing the trail in this department. Now all we need is for Aba in its entirety to stop copy-cating, and follow suit.

And can someone please explain to me what Arno is?

NOTE: It is to be noted that not everything made in Aba is fake. I repeat, not everything made in Aba is fake. (that being said I hoped you liked this article).

Sorry but what’s a nollywood?


Let me begin this article by stating the innate contempt I have for the unoriginality of the name Nollywood. Come on Nigeria, we can do better than simply replacing ‘h’ with an ‘n’. If its like that, we will soon have N Factor, the Nigerian Yard and maybe the N.B.I …..

The movie industry in Nigeria is plagued with… plagues. Plagues of all sorts. Should I begin with the fact that most Nigerian movies have a plot that was clearly not screen-written or with the poor picture and audio quality? Should I bemoan the unreality of happenings in the movies or the over repetition of that love triangle plot? So you get my point, Nigerian movies, no matter how thrilling, suck when it comes down to the movie-making basics.

Or used to suck.

In recent years, the industry has undergone a reformation of some sorts. Well researched, well prepared for and well shot movies have been produced from this side of the world, movies which reflect African principles as their precedents did but are produced meticulously and with movie-making prowess, unlike those before them. In doubt? Think Chineze Anyaene’s award-winning Ije or Kajola, two movies that not only explored areas normally untouched by Nigerian films but also exhibited mastery in film-production and as such set the bar higher for ‘Nollywood’. Indeed, the wind of change.

Chineze Anyaene’s Ije (ijethemovie.com)

Not to say that the Nigerian movie industry was a complete failure in the past. Not in the least. Home videos have entertained Nigerian households for multiple decades now. All I’m saying is that emphasis is now given not only to the ability of the film to entertain, but also to the structural nature of the movies, something every film maker should tag as a necessity. I think that film-making is a stellar way to showcase yourself and your culture to the rest of the world and if this is improved then Nigeria and Africa is invariably improved.

I think it will be fantastic if we have African movies showing en masse in foreign cinemas, raking up whopping profits from foreign box offices. But we have some work to do in order to get there as can be seen above.  If even more attention is paid to the plots and structures of our films, we can definitely outshine.

Osuofia seems to think so too.

My collection of title-less stories about Nigeria (1)


Right from the second her plane touched down at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Sola began to understand and match what she had heard to what she was now seeing. Matching, however, was proving far more difficult than expected. The tarmac wasn’t looking very ‘tarmacy’ not as it had at JFK, not even as it had at the airport in Accra where the plane had stopped for an engine refill. The airport building looked forlorn. Sola admitted to herself that she was being very unfair in her judgement. She had, after all, lived in the relatively developed United States of America for the last nineteen years of her nineteen years. She alighted the aircraft and walked towards the airport building. The loud ‘thug-chug-thug’ of the by and large defunct conveyor belt hit her ears almost as soon as she stepped in. Some hefty uniformed men were operating the now semi-manual machine. Ignoring this, she took her place in the very long and very turtle-paced line moving towards the immigration desk. She now noticed the lack of effective ventilation in the room.  After what seemed like eternity, a now sweaty Sola reached the counter. A robust middle-aged woman, glanced at her once, twice and almost robotically stretched out her arm for her passport. Surprised at the alarming rudeness of the passport-lady, Sola hesitated a bit before noisily reaching into her Louboutin carry-on, fishing out her passport and shoving it at the woman who was by now staring her new-found adversary down. The woman picked up the blue book and flipped through it front to back, back to front, front to back again, as if to find a fault. When she had gotten tired of page-turning, she looked up dryly at Sola and chewing absent-mindedly on a piece of gum asked, ‘Where d visa?’. A very irritated Sola grabbed the passport, turned to the first page and held it directly in front of the woman’s eyes. A smirk slowly appeared on the woman’s face. ‘Welcome to Nigeria’ she laughed as she dramatically stamped the passport. With a half-hiss half-sigh, Sola picked up her bag and her passport and walked out of the airport building.

Let’s think Lagos-York


Lagos city some say, is the city that never sleeps. If you ask me, they could not have put it any better. As Nigeria’s foremost metropolitan powerhouse,Lagos is considered equivalent (in terms of urban significance) to New York City and London, Tokyo and Jo’burg, Munich,  etc. This makes sense as these are all cities that are inhabited by the bulk of the urban population in their various countries. However, the story is altered totally when these cities are weighed on the basis of urban superiority their nearness to the establishment of the ideal metropolis. In this case, Lagos is not a stone’s throw from say, New York City. Not even a pebble’s.

I believe the biggest problem in urban Nigeria is the inability of those concerned to draw-up effective, long-term solutions to the various drawbacks plaguing the urban area involved. Yes, we hear about vision this that and operation see saw, but we never get to experience these and even if we do, they don’t last long. Our maintenance culture is deplorable and quite simply, those urban area related, capital-intensive projects that should have been gotten running long ago are still waiting for the sound of the gun.

And still waiting.

I think it would be an amazing source of natural pride if Lagos was metamorphosed into an urban polity that would, by international standards, be rated one of the best places to live and work in the world. I think it would be lovely if there was an extensive railway network to combat that ‘headachy’ traffic (or if we can’t do rail, cable cars), if there was less waste thrown about recklessly, if non-erratic power supply did not exist, if the skyline became more ‘skyliney’, if the social dichotomy (the distinction between the rich and the poor) was not so apparent. All these would further enhance the liveliness and loveliness of Lagos today. The stuff that make a city are more than just stuff, they create an environment of urban magic where unlimited potential can be realized.

Times are changing and we should learn change with the times. Time to turn our jungles into concrete jungles of development.

I want us all to think EDUCATION


One can write endless pages, theses, dictionary-sized essays about the dismal public sector of Nigeria, of which education has come to have the worst of. But I’ll try to keep it simple no matter how seemingly impossible that may be….

The truth is that we don’t have public schools in Nigeria. Teachers come to school as they please and strike incessantly, students don’t yet recognize the importance of academia, the government doesn’t give a hoot; after all your average senator’s son goes to school in Cambridge. It’s the same on all academic levels; primary school to secondary school to tertiary institutions. And from what I see, no signs of alleviation are imminent.  If we know we want to genuinely substantiate our claims of international superiority, we have to do something about this as a nation. And fast.

A couple of suggestions have been made to this effect. The first suggestion here (a suggestion which, quite frankly, I’m getting tired of) is that we privatize education in Nigeria, just like that. The people who argue in this direction see commercial Nigeria as an unwavering messiah of efficiency. Not that their wrong necessarily, but you can only go so far combining commercial interests and welfarism. In fact, you hardly can. I’ll leave you to think about that one. Another school of thought touts that we involve the more ‘developed’ nations in our education sector by either importing expatriate educators or exporting students to give us a taste more refined education. Good point, though very consumptive. An even more authoritative opinion pool believes that a government decree be enacted to see to it that no Nigerian be allowed to send his child abroad. That way, we’d be forced to work on ourselves.

You may not realize it yet but sound, concrete education for all Nigerians would change this country unimaginably. The potential is there, all we need to do is tap it. I think it would be really cool if Nigeria as a whole was educated to a point where we’ll have brainboxes in media, engineering, medicine, creative arts, and even more importantly, where there’d be an unignorable collective spirit of national solidarity.

Now sing it with me!

Faze and Cartoons


When Faze, the last of the now disbanded Plantaishun Boiz , dropped his hit single ‘Originality’ in 2008, the song received so much airplay largely due to its , well , originality and its apparent distinction from mainstream pop.

Maybe that’s what we need now in this country. Some originality.

I think it would be apt if we took telling our Nigerian story to the next level. I think Nigerians should advance significantly in making full-fledged, gripping, hard-hitting and obviously interesting cartoons that leave viewers coming back for more. Yup. That way we’d be killing two birds with one stone; we’d be consolidating our culture and having fun doing it. What else could you ask for? Cartoons – the really good, timeless ones like Tom and Jerry- have a way of appealing to the young and old alike. I think the creation of Nigerian cartoons will not only serve as a good alternative source of entertainment but will also foster the relatively young neo-nationalist spirit in all of us.

The few Nigerian cartoons that do exist, like Bino and Fino (see picture above) , should become more mainstream however. I didn’t know about Bino and Fino until I ran a google search when writing this post. You see, African kids import a lot of culture from abroad, a situation which is fast drowning African culture (gist for another post). The average African child now speaks English or French as his/her first language , etc .The creation of more engaging African cartoons will be an effective method to nip this problem in the bud because if something isn’t done about the situation, then Africa would finally morph into Europe come 2042. And we definitely don’t want that to happen.

Learn more about Bino and Fino at www.binoandfino.com

The Nigerian Premier League


( from234next.com)

The Nigerian domestic league is definitely not something to write home about.

From a not-too-analytical point of view, I think it would be really cool if the Nigerian League received the type of response the English Premier League receives from our countrymen today, if the prospect of Sunday fixtures between Enyimba and Pillars could be as anticipated as the El Classico, if rows and rows of football enthusiasts filled up Nigerian stadiums and bought season tickets and wore the kits of their domestic club sides, if Nigerian League players did not have this ultimate collective aim of furthering their careers abroad and were not as anonymous as they are now. Yeah, that would be quite a big deal.

To dream this however, is only one half of the orange. The other half naturally, is making the dream a reality. How exactly can we make our league reflective of the (if not now, past) status of our nation as the giant of African footballing? How can we produce a league that would satisfy the many Nigerian football-mongers? Well, a couple of suggestions have been raised:

  1. Some people argue that like almost everything in this country, the league needs to be privatized totally; forget the government completely and sell shares to the numerous profit-oriented firms and enterprises in Nigeria to bring out the best in the clubs and invariably, the league. Newsflash: this has already been done to an extent, without any significant success. Glo and MTN have been the largest commercial cash-cows in the NPL but even with all their financial wherewithal, the league remains essentially where it was before they stepped in.

2. Others have argued that to save the NPL, the media should get more involved in the league’s proceedings. Pff!!! Where have you been? If anything, the media has gotten more and more involved in the NPL over the years such that the league is at present broadcast on the South African Supersports channel as well on many channels of reputable media houses in the country. Besides, this cannot be an effective ‘change agent’ as mass communication in any endeavor is an end-product factor used only to publicize good work. From where I stand, I see no good work to publicize.

3. Much to my excitement, more people argue that the NPL would take a complete round turn if money was invested to bring some of the best names in world football to Nigeria. True, imagine Messi in a Dolphins shirt. But this again is an end-product factor, to attract bright light to this country we have to at least have a light bulb.

4. Finally, others argue that we should rebrand the league totally. Give it a new name, logo, clubs , staff, officiating board, even power brokers. But then again, how many things have we ‘rebranded’ in Nigeria? And how many have we actually rebranded?

Getting our league right would be a huge plus for the federation, economically and otherwise. The above suggestions are just a few opinions on how best to go about this. What are yours? It’s a thought that I think you should start thinking right away.

Good Nigerian TV shows-Tinsel


Tinsel is an M-net soap that has been on broadcasting for over a year now. It is a good watch because besides having a beautifully woven plot and excellent actors, the more ‘technical’ parts of the screenplay-the sound quality, the programming artistry and the locale- are on point.

Tinsel is primarily about the battle of wills between two Nigerian media magnates, Fred Ade-Williams of REEL Studios and Brenda Mensah of Odyssey pictures. Brenda’s strong will and determination to turn Odyssey into the dominating force in the industry at the expense of REEL draws a whole lot of people into the power tussle and serves as the road on which the series runs.

Tinsel

Tinsel  is that show that gives the industry something to work towards. Catch Tinsel everyday weekday at  7.30pm on M-net World.

Blogging the change we want to see


I’ve heard it a whole lot of times. Way too many, you may say, for my 15 years. And I still continue to hear it. Come to think of it, I absolutely agree with it. Nigeria is not something to write home about.

As amusing, confusing or stupid as this may sound, there are still some elements of this entity that remain pure. And as amusing, confusing or stupid as THIS may sound, the undesirable elements can still be changed.

Its all about all of us being the change we wish to see.

In this blog, I do away with the bad and the ugly, the good will be good enough. More good will come out of the little good we have and eventually we would have so much goo that there will be no bad and ugly.

We all just have to mobilize ourselves. If we want to see change we have to be the change we want to see. It all starts from us. Move forward to a better future for Nigeria, look forward to a better future for Nigeria and I assure you a better future for Nigeria.

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