Sunday, January 22, 2006

The revolution will not be on NTA..

Went to a nice little party around the corner in Maitama last night: lots of youngish donor-consultants like me, plus an equal number of Nigerians. Even the drivers were there - twas great to see the usual barriers broken down. We need gatherings like this every week to keep the revolution coming. 2006 is going to be a whirlwind. Forget all the stuff you read in the Nigerian papers (that's mostly paid for), there's something subterranean happening - the seeds will turn to shoots later in the year.

So I'm back with my spirits again. No Passeran.


Anonymous,  11:39 am  

Fooling yourselevs in Abuja as usual!
Abuja is not Naija...........

mw 12:35 pm  

Sounds like a nice party.

However, I do think Nigerians have always known that the 'revolution will not be on television' - in this case, NTA. The stuff about the papers - has always been known also. That's why in Nigeria, rumour is often more believable than the media. Word of mouth. In our particular context, there's something very democratic and heartwarming about it.

Jeremy 1:57 pm  

The first comment did make me think for a moment. There is truth in what he/she says: I do live in a cosy cossetted Abuja bubble and its not remotely close to the dollar-a-day experience of most Nigerians. So I think I would agree with what was said If I were someone else looking in.

That said, it is very easy to be cynical and lazy and declare that nothing is changing. For Nigeria to transform, we need to put some real effort in. For one, my partner and I spent a whole lot of time making Lagos Live look as beautiful and informative as it does today (and we've only just started). My blog (and increasing others) are starting to change the way diasporics and locals think about their country (quite a few contact me and say they are now planning trips back). Its a truism but still true that there is a lot of power in technology to change society and that all important issue of perception. Lo-tech bloggery can do a lot.

Of course the reform team here in ABJ are not perfect and all have their histories, but from what i can see from where I sit, they ARE creating the structures necessary for deep-rooted change. It might not be fast enough as far as onlookers are concerned (its not fast enough for me!) -but faced with what Nigeria had become thanks to IBB, Shagari, Abacha and all their deeply crooked henchmen, the challenge has been huge.

So, if I am fooling myself (I may be - my role in the scheme of things is at most a cameo bit part), please ask yourself what you are doing to change the configuration? Do you just sit and be cynical, or are you doing something? If you are doing something, let's join forces!

Anonymous,  6:09 pm  

We need to stop this idea that Abuja is not Nigeria. If it is not Nigeria what is it then? Are U saying this because it has a certain level of infrastructural development compare to other parts of the country? Is Jos, with its own electricity supply (and therefore more regular power supply) not Nigeria? Is Cross-Rivers because it is clean not part of Nigeria? I think we need to be careful that we don't only see dysfunctionality as representataive of Nigeria. If you know abuja very well, you will know that abuja does not begin and end in Maitama, Wuse or Asokoro - in fact most Abujans don't live in these areas. Abuja is as much a part of nigeria as Sapele. Abuja represents the many faces of Nigeria - its potentiality and the deficit. These are part of what it is to live and wake up everyday in Nigeria. I think anyone that only has a unitary idea of what Nigeria is is fooling themselves.

MW, of course you are right that Nigerians have always known that the revolution will not be televised and will not be in the pages of the Guardian or ThisDay or NTA. But does knowing something means that we should not re-state it? Afterall most Nigerians know that we are corrupt as a nation, does it stop them from constantly rapping about it? I don't think so. Otherwise, what will be the point of your writing – it often re-state what we already know, albeit with a difference. Change can only come through repetition (and difference).

However heartwarming and potentially democratic rumours might be, we need to ask ourselves, can rumour bring about true revolutionary changes? Can it help us to transform as a people? What is so democratic about rumour? I am not sure the man who was sent to prison or set-ablaze because the rumour mongers falsely accused him of homosexuality or paedophile will find it democratic and heartwarming. Rumours are rarely democrtic or heartwarming – they are more likely to wound and hurt than warm the heart. This is why we need to continue to support and strengthen the media or more importantly create alternative media that can become instruments of change. I see your blog, Jeremy's, Teju cole and all the other Naija and African blogs as vehicles for that effort.

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