Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The defensive reflex

Diane Abbott, a black British MP with an outspoken rep, recently visited Nigeria. I saw her myself with a cute little laptop in the Piano Bar of the Hilton (using the hyper-expensive wifi service they have there, thanks to the British tax payer). Anyway, she's written about her experiences in the Jamaican Observer. Thanks to our new globalised internetted world Nigerians across the world can have access to what she said. In Gamji (see the link to the left), Uche Nworah has written an article, Is Dianne Abbot (MP) A Friend Of Nigeria? which demonstrates just the kind of brittle-defensive-ego syndrome that stops Nigerians from realising how bad things are here, especially in comparison with elsewheres. She writes,

"While Miss Abbott is entitled to her own opinion, it is important also for her to understand that decorum and public etiquette demands that she and her likes learn to make guarded statements, especially when commenting about other countries, especially when her comments (because of her political position) are bound to be either misinterpreted by others, and also if such comments are likely to ignite further the flames of inter-ethnic wrangling, in this case between Nigerians and Jamaicans in the UK, whom if Miss Abbott had bothered to find out do not necessarily enjoy a cordial relationship."

I'm sorry Uche but that is a load of bollocks. Since when does one have to have decorum and public etiquette about writing one's honest opinions about another country. Is it really such a big deal if others deem one's comments offensive? There was nothing in what Abbott said which could be misinterpreted, still less fan the flames of inter-ethnic wrangling. Everything she said is factual, understood as the truth by everyone except the most seriously deluded.

Uche goes on to say, "If she still has any pride and shame left, Miss Abbott owes Nigerians, including the ones living in her constituency an apology for her scathing and hurtful remarks." Come on Uche, get over it. Accept the reality of Nigeria today for what it is, rather than carry on with brittle pride. The country has a looooong way to go, and it is doubtful whether the pace of change is anything other than snail-like, considering the mountainous challenges ahead.

Its time for Nigerians to stop getting so defensive when a foreigner speaks their truth. Its time for a reality check, and to realise that serious reform (economic and political) has yet to really begin.

62 comments:

Anonymous,  10:33 am  

Honestly, it's not so much as what the MP said that should upset anybody but perhaps the context. I don't know about the Nigeria/Jamaica issues they have in England and I really don't envisage her statements flaring any acrimony. Question for me is whether she couldn't have styled it in a way that speaks of more political maturity. She could have written all her truths about Nigeria without trying to make it seem like it was some hot contest between two countries as to whether "my problem is lesser than yours". In my opinion, we have better things to do than to engage in "my house is more beautiful than yours" fights. She did a good piece in identifying pertinent issues and watered down its credibility by creating an unnecessary sentimental loophole.

adefunke 10:39 am  

Interesting Ms Abbot's article.

The truth can be bitter, and it takes a strong person to handle it. Ms Abbot really hasn't said anything profound here. I think instead of getting all up in arms, we should look at this kind of commentary as a to-do-list. Keeping it before us at all times to serve as a reminder of what it is we need to get done. By sheer determination we will strike off every last task on that list.

That said I don't understand this 'my raggedy ass benz has 3 wheel covers while your has two' comparison she is making. Keep it up and I will buy a brand new benz while you are still driving your raggedy 1980 model around town feeling like a 'local champion'!

Anonymous,  10:43 am  

Felt sorry for her, as much as I did for us!

This clutching in the air for straws; just anything to make us look good, is the biggest evidence of the dire straits we're in. Taylor is missing, and we remind the world that he broke jail in "God's Own Country". Indeed, did Alams not elude MI5? What you allude to is the absence of absolute values against which conduct is either good or bad.

Absolutes scare me! But to relativise everything, is this the way to go?

tout noir 12:07 pm  

The MP's article is somewhat immature. She could have framed her commentary in a much more productive way. Boosting Jamaican nationalism at Nigeria's expense is not diplomatic and somewhat narrow-minded. It's a shame that the bad things she saw in Nigeria have only led her to feel proud of decaying Jamaica. It's like the kettle rejoicing that the pot is blacker than than he is. Silly!

kemi,  12:41 pm  

Jeremy, You are COMPLETELY WRONG on this. TOTALLY WRONG.

My quibble with Abbott is this,
after enjoying a holiday At the expense of the British and the Nigerian taxpayer , as part of an all-party parliamentary group to promote good relations between Nigeria and the UK
the first thing she does when she gets back is to write an article slagging off Nigeria.

The annoying thing about the article is that it provided NO NEW INSIGHT into anything going on in the country. It was wholly negative and could have been written by any secondary school child.

Also, her comparison of Nigeria and Jamaica is completely farcical.
Nigeria is a country of 120 million people with diverse ethnic groups.
It is not a tiny little island.
Our smallest state, Lagos is 3,577 sq km. It contains about 14 million people.
Jamaica at almost 4 times the size 11,424 sq km, contains just over 2 million people about 15% of Lagos's population.
You can't even compare Lagos to Jamaica, talk less of Nigeria!

Aside from that, her article contains certain factual innaccuracies e.g The Niger Delta is DEFINITELY NOT one of the most populous parts of the country.

Abbot is a racist hypocrite.
She spent years lambasting people for sending their kids to private school, and then turned round and did exactly the same thing. She had to admit on TV that her decision was indefensible.

She also made a claim that "blonde, blue-eyed Finnish girls" in her local hospital in east London were unsuitable as nurses because they had "never met a black person before".

Can you imagine if someone had said the reverse, that black skinned, people were unsuitable as nurses if they had never met a white person before?

She's a disgrace and needs to STFU.

Alaye Scoro 12:50 pm  

Diane Abbot's article is admittedly full of incontrovertible facts about Nigeria, but that doesn't stop it from having a stupid context.

The main thrust of her article was to compare Nigeria to Jamaica, which as I'm sure we all agree is just plain ridiculous. I mean Lagos Mainland is more populous and more diverse than Jamaica will ever be.

Nigeria is a complex hydra like monster and to compare it to an Amoeba-esque nation like Jamaica is definitely the sort of comparative analysis I would only expect from someone who's been drinking from the well of the stupid.

PS
This is why I can’t see myself voting Labour, I mean Portillo would never make such an erroneous comparison (or would he?)

Prof. Bees-Knees,  1:17 pm  

I have noticed something inherent when it comes to afro-caribeans living in the uk. They have an inferiority complex when it comes to other Africans, especially Nigerians. And they pretend about it. I think, it is envy. They should see Nigeria as theirs too. They are welcome in Nigeria, anytime. Abbott is one of us.

Jeremy 2:21 pm  

Hi Kemi. I can rely on you for forceful opinions. My point was less about the article she wrote, and more about Nigerians gettting defensive and prickly about criticism when that's exactly what's needed in order for transformation.

I agree with you about Diana Abbott (my post was not meant to defend her) - the hypocrisy of sending her kids to private school after years of inverted snobbery meant she lost all credibility in most people's eyes. The question is, how come she managed to get away with being such a silly person for so long? I think just like is happening to David Lammy (another "friend" of yours), a certain type of liberal do-goody neo-labour person would hate to say anything against a black person (many of these liberals therefore produce a certain insidious form of racism in themselves in the process). This doesnt help blacks in the UK one bit, producing monster mouths like Abbott and co.

As for the Jammo-Naija conflict in Blighty - its easy to see why its there. Nigerians are cleaning up in the UK in terms of black people setting up business and occupying all niches of society from fashion to banking. Most Jamaicans in the UK have a rural family background and are not known for entrepreneurial spirit, in stark contrast with 99% of Nigerians. Its bound to cause resentment, as black Britain becomes increasingly africanised and decreasingly caribbeanised.

St Antonym 2:49 pm  

She evidently went to Nigeria with some hopes (Giant of Africa and all), and those were disappointed. She joins a long line of non-African blacks for whom that's the case.

No doubt the impetus for her article was comparative, in a slightly juvenile fashion, and probably feeds on some of that Jammo-Naija jealous moin-moin.

Having said all that, I see nothing factually incorrect in her article, and as such nothing fundamentally wrong with it. Kemi makes a good argument, but I don't think she gets the point of Jeremy's post. And if anything, I'm even more radical on this issue that broda Jeremy.

Nigeria needs lots of things right now, and one of the things we need the most is stringent criticism from all corners. From friends, from enemies. We need our pride dented, we need the embarrassing truth out in public. It sounds strange to say it, but we need our pride hurt, because our pride is misplaced.

Random example: I read a long article last night about America's behind-the-scenes shenanigans over Iran, about the aggressive and illegal behaviour of American officials in this regard. American diplomats, generals, under-secretaries of state, talking all kinds of nonsense about using nuclear weapons on a sovereign nation.

I couldn't help but think that if a Nigerian had written such a revealing article about Nigeria (imagine a full expose on Babangida), that such a person would have been hunted down, persecuted, and "accidentally" killed.

My view is that for as long as we live in such a society, a land of total falsehoods, everyone who tells the ugly truth about us, regardless of their agenda, is a friend of Nigeria. "Conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it."

kemi,  3:49 pm  

I understand the point of Jeremy's post, thanks very much i.e. Nigerians can't take criticism.

My point is that criticism should be constructive and if it is not then Nigerians have every right to rail against it.

You cannot ask Nigerians not to complain about any criticism.

What exactly was in Abbott's article that the world did not know? NOTHING. Newspapers and magazines have features about Nigeria all the time.
Her article was written with little analysis, and was there was very poor indeed.

She may have arrived at the right conclusion, but that is merely incidental to the fact that her article is nothing but an ego boost to make pathetic Jamaicans feel slightly less than pathetic.

Her criticism of Nigeria may not be wrong, but she has no right to shit on our country to make her own country people feel better.
Did she have any helpful ideas or suggestions? No. So she should STFU.

There are MPs that bring up Nigeria's issues every week in the Commons, Abbott is not one of them.
She has nothing to say about us in the wider British press because she knows she will be slammed.
It is only on her tiny little insignificant island that she can get an audience.

No one has still addressed my main point?
WHY SHOULD ABBOTT AFTER BEING SPONSORED ON A TRIP TO PROMOTE GOOD RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN NIGERIA AND THE UK, (PAID FOR BY THE UK AND NIGERIAN TAXPAYER), WRITE AN ARTICLE THAT IS DEMEANING AND DEROGATORY ABOUT NIGERIA IMMEDIATELY AFTER HER TRIP?

As usual people fail to see the bigger picture. Abbott is a big fat fish in a small pond.

St Antonym 4:06 pm  

"Her criticism of Nigeria may not be wrong, but she has no right to shit on our country to make her own country people feel better."

Why are your feelings so hurt, Kemi? We are the ones who shat on our own country.

And that shit (our own shit) is the real problem. Let's stop blaming everyone who draws attention to the stink.

(And just as you have a right to your opinion on this matter, so do any and all commenters on Naija. You don't censor yourself- that's a good thing. They shouldn't have to censor themselves either! Sorry, but that's how it falls.)

kemi,  4:31 pm  

St. Antonym,
You seem to have a problem understanding the difference between a politician and a journalist.

This is not a free speech issue.

Politicians cannot just say whatever they please. They are given a platform by the electorate to fulfill a mandate, not to promote the egos of islanders several thousand miles.

She's a British politician and her trip was paid for by taxpayers to promote good relationships between the UK and Nigeria.
It was not merely an exercise in Free Speech. Her article if anything promotes bad blood and bad feelings.

Based on those facts alone she should not have made those comments, and that's why the article was written for the Jamaica Reporter and not for the UK Guardian.

She would have been widely ridiculed if the article had been printed here in the UK.

Nigeria is messed up.
Relentless criticism without solutions has not done anything for us over the last 45 years. I don't see why we should continue to champion it.

For all your Jeremy-worship, you have to admit that inspite of all his criticism he always has one or two ideas/suggestions.

Most people including Abbott and yourself have none.

Jeremy 4:42 pm  

haba Kemi you're always too quick to temper. You agree entirely with St Antonym's argument that Nigeria(ns) need to be able to handle criticism more. So why get so heated up?

I don't think anyone can disagree with your main point. It is disgraceful that Abbott bitches in a Jamaican rag in that way, given the purpose of her trip. I do hope that the article she wrote is given wider exposure in the British press (perhaps someone can leak to a journalist? Nkem - use thy contacts!!)

But I still don't know why you thought I was "totally wrong" in my original post..Again, I think we agree on every issue!

St Antonym 5:00 pm  

"For all your Jeremy-worship..."

All my Jeremy-wetin?

Kemi, you've got to be out of your damn mind.

You're entitled to your views, and you're obviously an intelligent person, but statements like that just make you look stupid.

St Antonym 5:10 pm  

OK, that was rude. You're not stupid.

But you just annoyed the hell out of me, damn.

the flying monkeys 5:37 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the flying monkeys 5:46 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the flying monkeys 5:47 pm  

Typo corrections:

I would completely agree with Dr Weate: Diane is NOT against the common man in Nigeria. She is directing her fury at the MULTINATIONALS and succession of GREEDY MILITARY GENERALS who changed our destiny and that of our innocent children and generations to come; greedy military generals who drove us under, who enslaved us for 29 years, almost a quarter of a century. For example, she says "...billions of pounds of oil money have been looted by politicians. By 1998, 70 per cent of private wealth had been taken out of Nigeria...shell and other western oil companies have, in collusion with successive military dictatorships, raped the region....petrol contamination of the water table has made local water undrinkable. farming and fishing grounds have been ruined and gas flaring in the delta is cited as Africa's single biggest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions..."

She is a black British MP and accepts that "Nigeria's greatest blessing has been oil” and that we are the 6th "biggest" oil producer in the "WORLD", amounting to billions and billions of pounds of government revenue.

I do not think there is anything suggesting she is against the common man in Nigeria. Or, do you still think so kemi?

She thinks oil is our greatest curse.

Akin 10:32 pm  

I never really understood this Nigerian-Jamaican dichotomy until my auntie (educated in the UK) on my leaving Nigeria said in my ear - "Mafe ireke O!"

Now, Nigerians have slang and colloquialisms for all sorts of things, I did once or twice in conversation say Ireke without fully understanding the context.

Then, it dawned on me - Nigerians who went to the UK in the 1950s/60s went to study whilst those from the Caribbeans were of the Empire Windrush generation coming to fill in the general working class jobs.

The animosity between Nigerians and Jamaicans seemed to have stemmed from their intentions and prospects in the UK.

This lead to situations where Nigerians would be called Bloody Africans and Nigerians (Yorubas in fact) retorted with the derogatory Ireke meaning sugar-cane.

This connotes plantations, manual labour, slavery and every idea of the emasculation of the black race in the West Indies.

It appears somehow, no love is lost between these ancestral kindred, a situation not helped with Ms Abbott's article.

Now, Ms Abbott is a very smart lady, I give her that, only at times it seems to get the better of her - a Cambridge education can sometimes make you a fish out of water with your people and constituency.

Factually, her article is fine, but for an MP of a constituency that has a good number of Nigerians who may not see the objective side of her treatise - this is a tactless case of foot in mouth.

Oh! Mafe Ireke O! - Do not marry a Jamaican.

Diane Abbott on Multi-Cultural Britain

Jeremy 5:31 am  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeremy 5:42 am  

You can get the full low-down on Ms Abbott here: They work for you

This is how to email her:
glennc@parliament.uk

and this is madam's web page:
Diane Abbott

If residents of Hackney North and Stoke Newington of a Nigerian extraction or persuasion wish to complain about her anti-Nigeria rant, they can use the above email address. I've already emailed her.

Kingsley,  8:40 am  

Imagine if you live in a shack in a slum somewhere and a cousin of yours (who used to live in the slum, but has since married well and moved to the suburbs) comes back and tells you "Don't feel bad; at least your shack is made of metal, Bisi's shack is made of wood". As this is coming from my suburban cousin, I don't think I would feel any happier and if Bisi heard, she would unsurprisingly be unhappy (especially since Bisi had cooked her a meal when she came round).

An argument can be made for outsiders criticising you in a strong and disdainful manner, but only really if they see things about you that you don't see (so for example, Nigerian's discrimination of homosexuals). But if they point out things about you, you already know and are trying hard to change, then what’s the point? Besides, why didn't she write her article in the Times in London or in Thisday? Because she felt safe in the knowledge that no Nigerian would read it.

She therefore is not a "helpful critic", but nothing but a petty gossip.

uknaija 10:21 am  

I think Kemi got it right. I'm all for constructive criticism and angry when people suggest that we need to talk up Nigeria as if pointing out where we've got it wrong is unpatriotic but Ms Abbott got it wrong in trying to use Nigeria to console jamaicans and in the process doing a disservice to both countries.

As to the prickliness towards criticism, it exists everywhere as I found recently in the US when trying to critique the Iraq war and US foreign policy with a group of intelligent US professionals, and even in some circles in the UK....

And finally, surely a thoughtful learned man like you must understand the historical context of why criticism from Western foreigners is particularly sensitive......

j 10:58 am  

Blimey, I take a break for a day. And have missed all these. Interesting blog!

kemi,  11:11 am  

St Antonym said...
OK, that was rude. You're not stupid.

But you just annoyed the hell out of me, damn


It's okay.
That is the typical reaction I get from the average Nigerian male, when i say something they don't like.

"You're stupid! You're an idiot! Your head is not correct!" and so on.

It isn't until later that they realise that is not a rational or civilised way of behaving.

I get annoyed all the time, but I am able to react like a rational human being.
I'm sure with time you too will be able to do the same... I suppose you can't help your genes.

Akin 11:56 am  

Dear friends,

The moment we generalise to associate or dissociate people, gender, affiliation or inclination, we lose the ability to take our commentary to the next logical and objective level.

We are no doubt of the product of our experiences and sometimes we have to fight harder to get heard loud and clearly.

However, going for each others necks in commenting about some observation from someone who is hardly a member of our community only helps to reinforce the prejudices and negatives the observer is trying to foist upon us.

Yes, we can disagree strongly and vehemently, but not to the point of losing good conduct, civility, respect for each other and camaraderie amongst ourselves.

We cannot get to the point that our heretofore reasonable commentaries lose out to personal rivalries and the dreaded "This post has been removed by the author." stamp.

It is only right for those concerned to kiss and make up through sincere and not grudging apology, sober reflection and a sense of good community relations provided for and nurtured by Jeremy's engaging blog entries.

j 12:50 pm  

St Antonym, see what you've done now. I nip away from here and see. Am sad now.

St Antonym 2:56 pm  

It's okay.
"That is the typical reaction I get from the average Nigerian male, when i say something they don't like."

"I get annoyed all the time, but I am able to react like a rational human being.
I'm sure with time you too will be able to do the same... I suppose you can't help your genes."

I can't believe my ears.

You know what? You're insufferable. Absolutely. And completely lacking in grace. I withdraw my apology unreservedly. Some people deserve rudeness.

j 3:45 pm  

St Antonym you are very funny

ijebuman 4:04 pm  

Yes we Nigerians are sensitive to criticism. You think we're proud of the mess our country is in today or the humiliation Nigerians endure around the world.
I don’t need some hypocritical MP to point that out by playing comparison games.
I am tired of people kicking us all the time (even animals get better treatment these days)
You want to criticise us then go ahead and do it but don’t do it in a ‘holier than thou’ manner.

kemi,  4:19 pm  

You know what? You're insufferable. Absolutely. And completely lacking in grace. I withdraw my apology unreservedly. Some people deserve rudeness

and here ladies and gentlemen is a classic example of a Nigerian who can't handle criticism.

An accusation of Jeremy-worship, which anyone who has read his numerous comments will no doubt agree with, was countered with the eloquent response of "You're stupid!".

Yeah... now that you've withdrawn your "apology", it's made oh so much difference to my life.

Whatever, dude.
As much as I'd love to stay here and argue with you, I think it's unfair of me to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man.

j 4:33 pm  

But awon eniyan wa should take a look at Iran today? Where were they when oil was discovered in the Niger.

O ma seo.

Perhaps if we translate the story to yoruba, maybe kemi will understand better.

This is not to say I am supporting St Antonym or jeremy. I support every Nigerian. Jeremy is one of us.

Kemi i think you and others may have misunderstood the point of Jeremy (of naijablog). St Antonym, I can see you are so upset, and it is understandable that kemi and some others may have misunderstood the story. I think Kemi should point her anger at the Jamaican press. Not Dr. Abbott. I believe St Antonym is so upset, because he loves Nigeria and feels the pain with Jeremy that we are still almost a century leyin, nigbati we have very intelligent eniyan.

Ben Dover,  5:21 pm  

Nice blog

Akin 6:17 pm  

Haba mutane!

No matter how bad or angry anyone feels, it does not augur well for these insults to be flung about upsetting the community of contributors for juvenile point-scoring.

Can one not appeal to reason see that result in some conciliatory atmosphere?

All Ms. Abbott has to do is read these comments and write a rejoinder, I sneezed in Jamaica and they are murdering each other in Nigeria.

One is suddenly forced to reverse that saying and say - of whom little is expected even a lot less desired.

Disappointment does not begin to highlight my emotion, but herein lies a microcosm of Nigeria's problems - we cannot bottle up our vitriol for the sake of progress and compromise.

Everyone needs the histrionics of renting their garments on the hill top. Selah!

I suppose Jemery has to have some sharp words published about the quality of conversation to be allowed on this blog.

The lack of moderation is becoming open season for abuse.

j 7:42 pm  

Akin, Kaka za ka yi?

Ya iya kamar non-nigerian!

Yau wa

Jeremy 10:12 am  

Kemi your vituperations are not endearing. Oftentimes, your argument is one of pure ego and emotion, rather than reason. For instance, you have yet to say why you think my original post was 'totally wrong.' I'm sorry to patronise, but you need to keep your excessively combative spirit off limits. I, like others reading this blog, am genuinely interested in people who disagree with me and why; you seem to want to reduce disagreement to childish squabbles. Grow up please.

babalawo 11:01 am  

I would agree with you Jeremy. Totally.

TRAE 11:02 am  

Why am I beginning to think that this type of comment is played out:

Its time for Nigerians to stop getting so defensive when a foreigner speaks
their truth. Its time for a reality check, and to realise that serious reform
(economic and political) has yet to really begin.


(Played out=over emphasized...we heard you the first time. thanks). Yes Uche Nworah erred...was sentimental, but the bigger issue is that Dianne Abbotts article wasn't mature. As so many commentators have already said it’s like the kettle rejoicing that the pot is blacker than he is. Silly!

Secondly if there's one thing I’ve learnt in my years of internet chit-chat/dialogue is that violence begets violence. You can't correct a person by abusing him. Your advice might be right but not going about it nicely only creates room for more acrimony. Clearly this comment by Kemi was hurtful (I think you've described me as such before):

For all your Jeremy-worship, you have to admit that inspite of all his criticism
he always has one or two ideas/suggestions.


And St Antonym showed his anger by hitting back. Later apologized, but Kemi now being hurt herself countered. And there you have it the, vicious cycle. It’s time we start behaving like adults, controlling our anger and being civil always. Peace out people, my birthday's on Monday (April 17th)....you know every now, I go dey expect. One!

Anonymous,  12:49 pm  

well said Trae. Kemi lay off insulting people and state your point of disagreement without mud slinging. we are all adults here. St A was gracious to you by offering apology and you then throw it back in his/her face and then you assume that St A must be a man. I am a woman and I share his response to you - unless I am a duped, complicitous female! Accept his/her original apology and extend your hand out. Ignore his/her last outburst - just lashing out.

Kemi,  1:00 pm  

Kemi your vituperations are not endearing. Oftentimes, your argument is one of pure ego and emotion, rather than reason.

That has to be the biggest pile of crap I've ever heard you spout. Do I need to remind you about an argument you had not too long ago, where you made baseless accusations about someone you'd never met, just because they were from the opposite side of the political spectrum and then had to withdraw your remarks.
Remember how you refused to apologise "Just because"?

Where is the evidence that my argument is moved by ego and not reason? You've said that about so many people who disagreee with you, it's not even funny anymore.

It's also a bit rich coming from someone who readily admits to having done some very stupid things including fighting with Nigerian Security Guards because they wouldn't let him enter a building, all because of his ego and temper.

Are you not the one who left comments on someone's blog not too long ago, falsely accusing them of deleting comments which had never been posted?
(and you did so under an anonymous moniker as well which was rather pathetic).
Don't forget that unlike most of the people who comment here, I've actually met you, so I'm sorry if I'm not over-awed by you or your intelligence and if I find a lot of your comments smouldering with hypocrisy.

For instance, you
have yet to say why you think my original post was 'totally wrong.'

I have. TWICE.
you clearly are not interested. At the risk of sounding redundant, I will repeat the reason:
Abbott went on a trip to promote good relationships between the UK and Nigeria. Writing such a derogatory article immediately after that, was wrong and counter-productive.

Uche's commentary which you criticised, about politicians making guarded statements is correct because:
Politicians are not journalists. No matter how many newspaper articles they write. Their comments and opinions can be very dangerous and should be used with care. That is why they are more likely to get sacked for making unguarded statements than journalists ever will be. After all, the journalist's opinion is his prerogative.

Uche's point might have been motivated by the wrong reasons, namely outdated concepts of decorum and public etiquette but the thrust of what he was saying was correct.
That is why you are wrong.
I don't know why this point is so difficult for you to accept.

It's not as if Abbot actually had any solutions to put forward. She was blowing hot air which as I've said before with examples is her speciality.

while I'm sorry to patronise, but you need to keep your excessively combative spirit off limits.
You are not sorry to patronise, Jeremy.
You are always patronising.
Your ideal situation is one where you "generously" impart knowledge to those you think don't know any better. You constantly take a paternalistic approach to those who disagree with you, especially when they are of a different generation, race or gender. Thinking that the only reason why they hold those opinions is because they haven't seen enough of the world or had the right experiences like you have. Otherwise, they would accept the Jeremy way.

You've reached a point where you are so dismissive of the Nigerian way of thinking, (and admittedly there is a lot wrong) that when somebody actually makes a good point, you can't see it. You lost your objectivity a long time ago, and it is important that somebody points it out

Your thought processes are typical of a hardened socialist.
"Only my way is fair, Only my way is just and right and anyone who thinks differently is selfish, stupid or wicked. My supporters are all good people although they may be a bit confused".

I, like others reading this blog, am genuinely interested in people who disagree with me and why;
Mainly because you see it as an opportunity to "convert" misguided ways of thinking. Not because you genuinely want to learn anything that could shake the firmly held beliefs you desperately cling to.

you seem to want to reduce disagreement to childish squabbles.
I don't.
and you say that merely to undermine the points that I have made. You have not addressed them in anyway.

You don't seem to mind defending "Nigerians who can't handle criticism" so long as they agree with you.
If you really feel that there are childish squabbles going on, then why not address those who choose to throw around moronic insults. I am not under obligation to accept anybody's apology, especially if I feel it was done to save face after they were clearly being irrational.

I am sorry if I hurt the feelings of your fan-club members, (actually, errr.. I take that back, I'm not) but I quite clearly exposed some hypocrisy on your blog i.e. that those who complain that some can't take criticism clearly can't handle it themselves.

Grow up please.
How silly.
How about challenging the points I've made instead of getting personal like your fan "St. Antonym".

Akin 1:50 pm  

On the basis of what I have read today in terms of what I was subtlely trying to get across yesterday - this is very discouraging for regulars and would be completely off-putting for guests.

I would hope that having vented your spleens by hanging out the dirty linen we have come to an end to this unedifying exercise of pulling each other down and we can get to the point of allowing our better virtues to obliterate this sorry exchange from our memories.

Or, am I just too cryptic in trying to say - Now! Children - BEHAVE! For the 3rd time of asking.

Thanks!

j 1:55 pm  

Trae, Sannu da Zuwa. Yaya bikin ne?

Kemi, Ina fata kana lafiya?

j 2:30 pm  

Akin I see nothing wrong with the discussions call it arguments in here in light of the title "defensive reflex". Each comment has proven Jeremy right as you have seen, Nigerians are prone to misunderstand the simplest things, no matter how positive and I still believe Diana Abbott would not and has not attacked us in the way presented by the press.

Lets try to see the positive side of things. But I dont blame those who are unable to see the +ve side, its not their fault, its the years of military abuse and psychological damage, which damage has made paranoid our people. To the extent, when they are being helped, they misunderstand and start playing the race card.

Jeremy is doing a good job.

Jeremy 2:51 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jeremy 4:32 pm  

Kemi you are naughty. But you are still my friend..

grace,  5:34 pm  

Kemi's right. Though the mud slinging was funny. I agree with the posters who say it was wrong for the MP to write an article like that. She makes good points, but it comes across as juvenile.

j 7:38 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
j 7:43 pm  

To those, who think Dr. Abbott was or is wrong, acknowledging the truth is the first step to eliminating our problem. In fact, Check this out:!

To those, who think naijablog is anti Nigeria, you are very wrong and I think you should check this out! .

Naijablog Sannu da aiki!!!

Anonymous,  10:10 am  

just found your blog - great.

Kemi, you are sounding a bit toxic. Take a chill pill. Some of what you have to say is interesting, but your last post completely off the mark.

Chill out girl.

babalawo 8:01 pm  

na real wa for kemi

Anonymous,  12:16 pm  

Jeremy, I hope you have learnt (or relearnt - for the umpteenth time) an important lesson from this: THE NIGERIANS ARE NOT TO BE CRITICISED - and certainly not by someone of lesser intellectual standing/all-right moral uprighteousness i.e. someone who is not Nigerian.
CHEEKY SIDE COMMENT #1 (or 2, who's counting?): just imagine what someone like Kemi could do for the UK and the world if she was in Diane Abbott's shoes.....think outside the box guys!...... Sorry Kemi!

Personally, I think Diane Abbott's article was a bit irresponsible for someone of her political standing (and please let's resist the temptation to follow her inappropriate example by embarking on a tirade assassinating all things Jamaican - let's put a plaster on these old wounds, guys, instead of re-opening them up at every opportunity).
[ARGUABLY] CHEEKY SIDE COMMENT #2: On that note, Akin some of your comments are downright offensive and disrespectful, not to mention insensitive. As shocking as it may seem, Naijablog is not read by Naijas alone. >Sighs<.....I know....what is this world coming to.

Back to the lecture: As irresponsible and inappropriate as Diane Abbott's literary diarrheoa may seem, it is worth noting that it was directed at the readers of the Jamaican Observer and was, arguably, a poor attempt on her part to console and to deflect attention away from the troubles of 'that tiny island' - she's a POLITICIAN (good or bad), that's what they do. Spin doctors the world over make these sorts of faux pas on a regular basis, its hardly a precursor to World War III.....that's got me thinking; what is the position on spin (and the concept of) in Nigeria, Jeremy I trust that you can take on this mind-boggling issue in a future blog - I do find your observations quite interesting and I think its pathetic how some dimwits (for want of a better word....on second thoughts, whippersnappers works quite well too) try to mock your use of 'big words'....Jeremy sweetheart: onwards always, backwards never...embrace your expanding vocabulary.

But, I digress (no doubt Kemi thinks my breath reeks of sh*t at this point)...what was the issue again...oh yeah, someone criticised Nigeria/Nigerians.....yeah: Diane Abbott not a good idea....

Anyway, it was nice to have some of the rage (for criticisng) vented on someone else other than Jeremy for a change. Hell, St Antonym even got some of it as well (albeit largely by default, as he's quote unquote a Naijaman). Good times guys, one love!

eshu 3:55 pm  

"I think its pathetic how some dimwits :"

Dimwits wetin? Who do you think you are!

I disagree entirely with you.

No dimwits here but you.

Akin 4:07 pm  

If anything, I do not do politically correct, I present historical facts as they are.

Unfortunately, some would read as "downright offensive and disrespectful, not to mention insensitive", however, they should be taken in context of the issues discussed.

I would rather be frank, truthful and forthright hurting your feelings than burnish your ego with dissimulation and falsehoods.

Probably, I need to be a tad more tactful; that is a learning process, I would gladly subscribe to.

the flying monkeys 5:01 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the flying monkeys 9:26 pm  

IF people didn’t keep bleating on about the rights and wrongs of what insignificant individuals have to say somebody might actually realise that the situation is very simple. Nigeria is f***** up because the country was ransacked by international thieves (NB: Mr. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was a visionary pointing out this obvious fact long since. Album: ITT = International Thief Thief) and subsequently ruled by a succession of thieving greedy egotistical b*******. This is about as simple as it gets. And no amount of pseudo-academic writing can alter this fact. The way forward is to categorically remove despotic leaders. However, given the long history of corruption, one can only hope feebly that a miracle may happen and someone with some genuine credibility may take control. Don’t hold your breath, Nigerians have been brain washed ever since not knowing who to bear allegiance to end their suffering. And for the most part forced to support ongoing corruption for fear of further punishment. The irony is that those who seek to defend apparent attacks are equally ignorant missing the point and exacerbating the situation further. Nigerians shouldn’t be worried about defending feeble insults which may or may not be directed at individuals. What we need is support for the truth not pointless debate as to whether the common Nigerian man is being insulted. The situation is far direr than this. Look at how many people are in Nigeria. Nothing short of a revolution, that is within the institutional infrastructure of the country will end this evil history, since we know only too well the given reaction of those in power is to kill and maim innocent people. There are numerous examples of decent honest men and women who will be more than capable of leading us out of bondage, and putting the heinous crimes of political and social history where it belongs: in the past. For example, it is this very same Nigeria that my late father established an ethical financial banking institution where corruption and greed played no part, at least until he died that is. People of decency, please step forward and beat them from the INSIDE.

tout noir 12:36 am  

Kemi, it's now official - you're my new hero! You are a bright, strong and articulate woman. Nigeria should be proud of you.

Thank you for eloquently and fearlessly pointing out the obvious. I have been reading this blog for a while and although its intentions are good, it falls into the good old trap of limousine liberals - paternalism. It's unconscious but it seeps through almost every single line he writes. Sometimes, it's endearing but a lot of times it is annoying.

Yes Jeremy, Nigeria has a lot of work to do to catch up with the rest of the world. Do Nigerians know that? Yes, better than you ever will.

We must all learn to offer goodwill with humility. Now, I am NOT saying I am perfect. In fact, I am probably guilty of much more than you will ever be guilty of...

But I am just saying...

eshu 9:03 am  

tout noir, and your point is?

Akin 9:45 am  

I think tout noir is celebrating a brand of feminism without necessarily submitting a conclusive view.

To which one might just surmise - a loud bark does not a guard dog make.

Anonymous,  8:05 pm  

Nice one Akin, pretty conclusive I thought. Perhaps no suggestion is free of difficulty in the absence of more conclusive information. It will be unwise to be a guardian dog.

africanus,  12:38 pm  

Permit me to make some remarks about Dianne Abbot`s article on Nigeria.I am a black Guyanese and really don`t see why all the fuss.Nigeria has tremendous problems. Given the natural resources and human capital in this the greatest black nation on earth, Nigeria should have advanced further. I can remember in the 1970`s while growing up in Guyana that many of my teachers were Nigerians, as were many engineers,doctors and many professionals, sent there by General Gowan to help out. Then Nigeria had a strong economy and infrastructure,better than Brazil,China and India. Look at the chaos today in a country that has produced more scholars than any other black country on earth.Today I meet Nigerians in London whose approach to their country,because of its synonymity with scamming,fraud and all other social pathology has been one of distance taking. You hear frequently:No, I am not Nigerian,my parents are Ghanaians.Heaping ethnocultural neologisms and crude pseudonymns on Dianne Abbot is not the way to engage debate on Nigeria`s problems.Nigeria and wider Africa had no greater friend than Walter Rodney,author of How Europe underdeveloped Africa" Rodney was a black Guyanese and West Indian. Had he been alive today,looking at the mess on the mother continent I am sure he would had to part company with Robert Mugabe, and a former student of his,Yoweri Museveni.Jamaicans and Nigerians don`t hate each other. The intense competition embedded in capitalism foments tensions. Nigeria could very well descend to the level of having to go cap- in- hand to China and India for aid.

Bode_Bolus 3:07 pm  

Haa haa! This Post is so funny!!!

I just had to add a few observations...

1. This issue is of no importantane to the wider world. Especially in circles where it matters. Naija Oil is still being exported to Jamaica and the UK at this very moment...

2. The article in question says nothing new about Nigerians and their attitude to themselves and others. In fact it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Get Nigerians to act to type and let the Jamaicans see that they are really much better off.

3. As usual there there is a lot of false pride and chest beating from the usual suspects, They love the sound of their own voices in a chorus of protest. It's the only thing they can do and are willing to do.

4. I see no one presenting solutions, ever!!! No matter what the comments or observations levelled about Nigeria and its inhabitants, many are quick to defend their arrogance and misplaced pride. Not once have I seen in any of these kinds of posts a possible stab at solving the issue.

So whose up for that? Or is it going to be more chest beating?? No one else outside your closed and self defeating circle cares...

Wake Up!!!

Haa haa

Bode Bolus

Jasolin Marr,  11:00 pm  

Hi everyone. okay, i'm a black british born Londoner of no faith (in fact I'm an Atheist)who's parents are Jamaican. I was surfing in order to see what other peoples take on all this was and ended up here.
I've found it quite interesting, but must say that it is a waste of time to be trading in insults to other individuals. If someone has ignored or swerved a point you have made, then simply restate your case/question. If they have nothing to say it will quickly become apparent.
Where I stand on the subject is that the 'problem' with Dianne Abbott's article is how it is topped and tailed. It makes it ambiguous as to the purpose of her article. If anything it seems designed to deflect purposeful discussion away from the troubles (or 'challenges' as politicians seem fond of saying, when they have not a clue about an answer) Jamaica has. If you think about it, it is not really an article designed to belittle Nigeria, as most of its facts are correct (I don't know about the population numbers in the Niger Delta). Rather it seems to be a way of avoiding her lack of anything useful to say about Jamaica.
Yes, she may be stating facts about Nigeria's problems that have been said before, but what's wrong with that? If the problems still exist, then so do the questions posed. Add to that the main thrust of her criticisms are towards the multi-nationals and former nigeria dictators and their ilk. No problem there either, surely?
The only stuff she has said knocking the Nigerian people is specific. Riots due to the Miss World Pageant (which she clearly, and correctly, ascribes to the Muslims),clashes between Christians vs Muslims over the Danish cartoon (a basic religious face-off that will continue in many and varied forms), and her comment about stonings, which she, by inference, attributes to lack of education (strangely, a weak swerve around the religious question).
So, the only real issues that significantly arise from her article are; Corruption in Nigeria, Dianne Abbott's position on Islam and why she has embedded in it her article so craftily, and her lack of anything useful to say about Jamaica (why did she not just say nothing?). Discussing (perceived) insults directed to Nigeria is quite simply, of little point. She, the person, is not that important. The underlying issues are.

About This Blog

  © Blogger templates Psi by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP