Thursday, August 27, 2009

Open letter to Aero Contractors...

Dear Aero Contractors oga,

I travel between Abuja and Lagos frequently, sometimes as much as once a week. Before, I relied on Virgin Nigeria, but since their wobbles (literal and metaphorical), I have switched to you. I like flying Aero Contractors - the service on the plane is excellent. Your flight staff are pleasant and well trained. I like the fact that you serve cashew nuts as a snack - which I can eat - as well as cake - which I cannot. I really like the fact that you have been going for 50 years - it shows that a Nigerian company can thrive for decades if well managed. I also admire the way you have led the pack on e-commerce, driving online use of e-payments more than any other Nigerian company by offering huge discounts and pushing the price of a ticket to as low as N8000 per flight. Its all very good and highly commendable.

My one gripe is the queue at Abuja domestic terminal (see camera-snap above). You are not blessed with a good spot, it is true. That dark corner makes creating an orderly queuing system a challenge. The use of the rope-divider (dividing those who have a ticket from those who want to buy one) has helped. But the worst of it is that your poor check-in staff have to write out all boarding passes by hand. This always creates a stressful bottleneck, and makes travel from Abuja to Lagos on a Friday by Aero something only those who thrive on wahala should opt for.

A simple thing would change all this, for as long as you have to suffer the conditions of the current domestic airport: you should have your boarding pass system automated by computer. For all their problems, Virgin Nigeria do this very well at the International Terminal. I wonder what stands in the way of you implementing this? It would speed up processing of tickets and production of boarding passes by probably around 3-400%. It would create a seamlessly satisfying customer experience. It would do that little subtle bit extra to consolidate your position as Nigeria's favourite local airline. Food for thought...


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Matthew Green's last piece on Nigeria

Excellent final piece by Matthew Green (he's now moved on to report for the FT from Pakistan).


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ibru-gate and all the other gates...

Yet another brilliant editorial from NEXT today (ok so I am biased).


NEXT as a pdf

For you poor possums who don't have the luxury of living in Nigeria and getting your hands on the daily print edition of NEXT, the next best thing is to download a PDF sample every day (click on the front cover image on the homepage to download). Today's PDF sample can be downloaded here.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Burma Boys

Olly Owen and Robin Forestier-Walker have been making a doc on the Nigerian soldiers who fought as part of the 81st and 82nd divisions during WW2. These heroes have been written out of history (they don't have a pukka media-genic Joanna Lumley figure to speak for them). Apart from Biyi Bandele's recent novel, no one remembers them.

Watch the trailer here.

Geez on the left is Private African Banana.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Media and Journalism Conference at the Pan-African University

Your favourite oyinbo/onyeocha/bature blogger will be speaking (click to enlarge and read the conference flyer above) on the first day of this 5 day conference hosted by the School of Media and Communication at the increasingly regarded Pan African University in Lekki. I'll be comparing old vs new media models of news production/consumption, making some predictions for the next year and discussing my role in setting up NEXT. Should be an interesting gathering..


Monday, August 17, 2009

The Osun festival

The Osun Festival has just finished. Tolu Ogunlesi has taken some remarkable photos here..


Allah Made Us

A fascinating ethnographic account of the Yan Daudu culture in Northern Nigeria came out recently, by Rudoph Gaudio, adding to the increasingly rich scholarship on contemporary Nigeria..


Sunday, August 16, 2009

NEXT goes daily, tomorrow (Mon 17th August)

NEXT goes daily from tomorrow. Follow all the latest breaking news on the banking sector every day in print (compact format) and online.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Interview with Lola Shoneyin in NEXT, centered around her forthcoming book, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives (published by Cassava Republic Press) here.


NEXT - going daily this Monday


Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Jeremi tribe of Nigeria..

I've just found out that there is an ethnic group in Nigeria named after me - the Jeremi tribe based around Otu-Jeremi in Ughelli South LGA of Delta State. I am planning a trip to proclaim kindship and for us all to celebrate the return of the prodigal son. Do you think its a good idea?


Saturday, August 08, 2009

The art of walking

The Richard Long exhibition at the Tate Britain is well worth it. Its quite a modest show with only a few rooms of photographs, sculptures and mud paintings, which is great, leaving you with more energy to devote to each piece.

Long began his career by getting of a train out of London and walking up and down in a field in 1967. He's been walking ever since, visiting many of the world's wildernesses, walking and camping and arranging stones in small circles or taking photos of lines he's walked into a trace.

There is something enormously satisfying and inspiring in equal amounts about Long's art. There is the simple coherence of the grand project itself: a celebration of the environment by walking it and capturing some of its moments. Then there is also the clear progression of ideas across his oeuvre: from the early grainy line photographs to the tracing of routes on maps (creating mandalas of the territory) and walks recorded as words - 'text works' (which have a Basho-esque joy of place to them) and finally, to the more conventional territory of museum exhibitions. Above all, there is the light touch modesty of it all. In the midst of an awesome landscape, a small circle of rocks placed by hand, that may or may not stay in place for a few thousand years. Just what humans have been doing for millennia, and not much more than this.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Ishmael Reed telling it like it is - on Skip Gates

Brother Reed don't mince his words none. Kongi gets a mention or three. Reed is smart enough to leave a door open for Skip to walk through at the end...


Boko Haram aftermath

Good piece by Jean Herskovits in Foreign Policy here.


Monday, August 03, 2009

The Mailbox

After the cricket, we went to the Mailbox, a newish development in central Brum. It can't be faulted really - mixed use, live-work, nice design, walkable, good coffee, attractive restaurants... I used to be embarrassed of my home city, but really, Birmingham is not at all bad these days. Its just that accent...


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Parental Advisory

There has been a stir in the past week or so about the Zain office-love pictures. The rumour was that it was a director at Zain Nigeria and one his subordinates on an away day. However, it turns out that it was an illicit session with staff from Zain Kenya. Be careful when you take your camera into the bedroom folks..


Saturday, August 01, 2009

Nigeria on the brink..

Or so says the lead op-ed piece in The Times today.


At the cricket (Egbaston)

Flintoff about to bowl, Friday 31st July, 2009


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