Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Today I felt profoundly sad for Nigeria and its prospects. The pseudo ‘National Dialogue’ taking place here in Abuja is illegal, undemocratic and a complete waste of public money. The Federal and State Government chose who would be attending. The average age of the delegates is 64.5 years old. The constituted legislative body – the National Assembly – refused to ratify the conference, so ‘Baba’ found the money (over a billion naira) from elsewhere. As no agenda or objectives were set in advance, there will be no way of measuring success. What is guaranteed is that the real issues facing Nigeria will not be discussed:
1. Massive economic over-reliance on oil
2. State of origin (a profoundly anti-democratic and senseless constitutional arrangement whereby a person’s State of Origin is defined through patrilineage: one cannot vote where one lives, if one lives elsewhere to where one’s fathers fathers father lived).
3. A Nigerian bill of rights – defining what citizens are entitled to under the constitution

I guess my depression is borne of the realisation that Nigeria is a long way away from progression, when the old men who have spent the past 40 years messing things up are still at the centre, wearing their agbadas.


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