Sunday, January 31, 2010

At the end of the spice tour


At the end of the spice tour, originally uploaded by nobodaddy69.

I was just going through my Zanzibar images from a year ago when I noticed this still life. We can only marvel at the different shapes of tropical fruits..

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Update from Norma...

Hello customers,

With heavy hearts, and about half of our staff, we are trying to get Zamani Farms back on stream. We will resume deliveries to Abuja next week. We are yet to take a long term decision about the future of the farm in its present location, but for the time being we will operate with the staff available and see what we can do to revive the farm. We very much need the income to be able to survive and to cater for our refugees and surviving workers.

I will send you a separate email at the weekend letting you know what is happening generally in Kuru Jenta, and news of our staff who are refugees.

Actually, the crops on the farm fared much better than our people did. Somehow they managed to grow fairly well without water for over a week, and they are in pretty good condition.

So for next week we have a lot of nice veggies on the farm that need picking including good lettuces (I tasted all of them yesterday to make sure they are still sweet, and they are), lots of fennel, kohlrabi and the other usual things. Consult the order form to see what is available. (Note: most of our ripe or half ripe pawpaws were removed (presumably by hungry residents looking for something to eat) and most of our avocados as well. We might have some for next week, but probably they will need a few weeks before we can get any ripe enough to pick).

We have canceled all previous orders, so if you need an order (or have one pending which was not sent), please send it again, hopefully as soon as possible. We would ask you to please place Tuesday orders by Sunday morning, as due to so many problems getting around Jos, it will take us much longer than normal to organise the shipment. Friday orders should reach us Tuesday evening latest.

Antonella has been delivering her items this week and informs me that there are a great many check points on the road so that our delivery staff will take much longer getting to Abuja than they usually do. We anticipate some delays on the day of delivery. Please be patient. It will probably take a couple of weeks before things settle down and they can remove some of the army check points within Jos and along the roads to other towns.

If any of you still have any relief material to send down to Jos, Audu should be able to bring them since he is coming back to Jos with an empty van. Please let me know ahead of time so that we can arrange pick up. Our refugees who are in camps in Bauchi and elsewhere still need clothes for themselves and their children, blankets, mattresses and cooking utensils. A large amount of material was delivered to camps in Jos, but there are over 40,000 displaced persons, and not all of them have received help, although the Red Cross and other agencies have been doing a wonderful job.

We thank all of you who have sent donations, either directly or through the Red Cross in Abuja and Lagos. You don't know how much this means to the people in need.

Please help us by getting your orders in on time.

Thank you all again for all of your emails encouraging us in our work here. We will see how best we can repair the situation we find ourselves in so that we can continue to supply vegetables to you.

Best regards,
Norma

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thank you letter from Katrin...

Dear all,



A sincere thank you to everyone who donated supplies for the victims in Jos.



There was an overwhelming response from people in Abuja and Lagos, and supplies have flooded in. I also received calls and emails from all over the world, from people asking how they could donate. First City Monument Bank in Niger State held a collection of funds for Jos among their staff.



In response to this concern and desire to help, the Nigerian Red Cross/Crescent have set up a Jos relief fund, to which you can donate directly:



BANK: ACCESS BANK


ACCOUNT NAME: NIG. REDCROSS SOCIETY – JOS CRISIS RELIEF FUND



ACCOUNT NAME: 0430010005230



SORT CODE: 044080439



BRANCH: ADETOKUMBO ADEMOLA BRANCH, ABUJA



Here in Abuja we have sent seven 4x4 trucks and one bus full to brimming with supplies.



People donated huge quantities of food and water, clothes and shoes, many of them newly bought for donation, medical supplies (to treat gunshot and knife wounds, broken bones and pain), water sanitation packs, towels, bedding, camp beds and toiletries.



The Regent and St Saviour's Schools joined the effort, and children donated very generously. Staff at Management Sciences for Health contributed clothes and sacks of beans. Eko Hotel in Lagos donated bedding and towels.



All of the Abuja donations have been delivered to Jos and have been distributed fairly to those in the refugee camps. The Red Cross/Crescent have been careful to ensure wide distribution, including rural areas, as well as to those who fled to neighbouring states.



I have attached some photos of some of the supplies arriving in Jos. I also attach a letter to all donors from the Red Cross/Crescent.



People in Jos have been very aware of, and moved by, your solidarity and support. The supplies that you donated have been invaluable in this time of crisis.



With enormous thanks,



Katrin

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Letter of appreciation from the NRCS - click to enlarge

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Letter to Farouk (hilarious)

Dear Farouk,

How are you? I really hope that all is well with you. I'm sure that all should be well because in spite of your present predicament you are still entitled to three full meals with complements of juice and assorted drinks (even those who didn't attempt to bomb planes live on less than $1 a day in 9ja). When you are finally convicted, you will still be fed on government expense.

You'll be allowed to play games and participate in sporting activities. If you so desire, you'll be allowed to pursue the Master's Degree that you abandoned. (By the way I struggled to pay the fees for my Masters). My father was never a bank chief (not even a community or micro finance bank).

I am struggling to understand your (in) action. Growing up you must have had all and I mean ALL of the things that many of your mates only wished and hoped for. A BMX, Raleigh or Chopper bicycle. Nintendo games and accompanying cartridges, PS2, PS3, XBox, PSP, most definitely a car or cars (I can bet you never entered molue, danfo, okada, keke marwa or BRT) with driver and possibly bodyguard or at least police escort. You've had foreign Ivy League education and to top it all up Farouk; you lived in a 4Mpounds house. Gbogbo bigz boiz. Haba Farouk, minini (hausa), ogini (ibo), kilode (yoruba),???

My guy, upon graduation you would have served only if you wanted to and possibly in your janded abode. One hungry hustler would just have been collecting your allowee (less than what you spend on boxer shorts). At the end of the service year, they would just issue a directive to the deegee of corpers to send (did I say send) bring your discharge certificate to your house in Lag or Abj. Even if you decided to wear khaki and obey the clarion call, 'under the sun and in the rain', you would only have gone for parade when you so desired.

You are not likely to have gone on endurance trek because you've never had to endure. While in camp many 'ordinary' corpershuns would have tried to attach themselves to you so that after service they could have used your influence to open doors that will better their lives.

After service, jobs were waiting for you (that's if you decided to work). If you wanted a bank job, ba wahala. You wouldn't have started from entry level, you may have settled for GM, DGM or AGM. If you wanted to go into politics (many of your type are in the hallowed chambers) they would have asked the chairman of the party in your state to bring the form to your house only for you to append your signature they'll be the ones to fill in the other information. Any other candidate for the post you are interested in would have been settled.

When you are finally sworn in, you wouldn't have to move or second any motions just raise your hands in favour or against when Mr. Speaker or Senate president call for a vote. You would have been chairman of one committee and member of others even though you won't be doing anything. Any of the heads of the agencies upon which you 'perform' oversight functions would have been summoned by your committee in order to give your constituents the impression that you are working.

You would have initiated a probe, set up a subcommittee, given them terms of reference, you would have received the report of the committee and presented it on the floor of the chamber that you belong to. That would havebeen the end and megabucks would have been voted or such frivolities.

You would have been a member of many elite clubs, you'll be playing Tiger Wuuds game, and you'd have one of the most expensive horses to play polo. 9ja's version of HELLO magazine would have done a feature on you and your horse.

OL boy, after much persuasion your popsie would have arranged the daughter of one of his friends for you as your ameriya (new wife). Your wedding would have drawn the crème de la crème of society; the weekly soft sells would have carried headlines like WHAT SOCIETY WOMEN WORE AT FAROUK and FAROUKATT's wedin fatiha, with the rider, how they met, and the details of their jewelry. They would have told us about how you proposed to her when you took her for a weekend trip in that mid east country that our countrymen now take out time to go to it sounds like doo-bye.

We would have read about how a former president or head of state was the chairman of your wedding, the reception would have taken place at the international conference centre; it would have been aired on network TV on Sunday nite. (Even though you don't watch local TV).

Farouk! Are you still there? Don't worry I'll soon finish. Ehen shebi you were in jand before, then the country of Kofi's and Kwame's, you entered eko o'ni baje, then 'Hamstadam', then Yankee.. Why did you enter 9ja, you should have avoided here. Suppose your popsie had been at the airport, he would have finally found you (at least he would have considered you a prodigal son).

I don't know the full details of your travel schedule but you had a number of visas on your paali (passport). You need to know how much dry fasting and prayer some people do to raise money to get a passport before proceeding to prayer camp or redemption city on Lagos Ibadan xpressway to receive laying on of hands for breakthrough for visas.

Some of these people go along with their passports too and insist that a man of God MUST lay hands on the passport, anoint it with olive oil and wrap it with white handkerchief so that the day the oyinbo visa officer receives their application God will touch his heart and he will issue them a visa.

Farouk let me tell you something some still do not get the visa and for those who do, they have to reach out to family and friends to raise funds for ticket, some are only able to raise the money when the visa has almost expired. Even me when I want to travel I'm always looking for cheap season tickets, I'll start calling my friends who work in airlines even the ones I had quarreled with. You come get visa and ticket money yanfu yanfu you come dey carry banger and knockout enter aeroplane.

Ah okay I remember it was xmas day so you wanted to do fireworks with other people's life. Or was it because you boarded a Delta airlines planes that the Niger Delta spirit descended on you. See Farouk let me tell you something even those guys have embraced amnesty they are just waiting for HIM (Your kinsman) to come back so they can conclude the agenda for the region. Ask Ateke, Tompo and Girl-Loaf, they don't kidnap oyinbo again neither do they throw banger or bisco on oil installations. They've all repented.

Why is it now that you have decided to rebrand Nigeria? Oh so you think you can do a better job than a whole Prof who rebranded a drug agency and saved millions of lives that have now being re-christened good people great nation. How can you throw spanner in the works just like that? You dis boy sef.

Anyway sha as for me, my countrymen and women we wish you whatever you wish yourself, as you may have realized you are On Your Own - O.Y.O. Even your popsie cannot come near you so wetin be my own? But Farouk wait first where you going to forfeit all of the perks as a rich man's son? You were a complete aje-butter and you wanted to kaput just like that??
Some have cap but have no head, some have head but they have no cap. You definitely lost you head.

I have enclosed a self addressed envelope so you don't have to worry about stamp and envelope. I await a quick response to my letter or else I will board a plane and,

P.S, personally i jst fink u'r a "naughty person".

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Jos

Like many of you, I have been deeply saddened by the events in Jos in recent days. We see, on our doorstep, how genocide can unfold. In Rwanda, the word 'cockroach' was used to describe 'the other'; in Jos, Muslim hausas were called 'malaria.' I remember seeing "Islam is a disease" plastered all over Lagos in 2003. It is with disgusting unloving words such as these from religious fundamentalists that mass murder can occur.

The violence in Jos was many things:
  • Present day tension between Christian Beroms and Muslim Hausas, both of whom have been in Jos/Plateau state for over a hundred years, neither of whom actually 'originated' in Jos/Plateau state
  • Struggle for political power over Jos, which has long been in the hands of the Christians (via the PDP)
  • A resource war (for land) borne out of poverty. The mines have been mined..
  • A complete failure of security and intelligence monitoring in the State
  • Ethnic cleansing - of vulnerable Fulani-Muslim communities near the city - in the Serbian fashion
  • A possible foreboding of climate change in the north (the drying up of aquifers) leading to mass migration southwards
Given that no one has been brought to book for the previous mayhem, no one can say with any certainty that there will not be another massacre in the future. Sadly, unless something changes soon, another massacre is actually likely. It is shocking to think that impunity for mass murder is perfectly possible in Nigeria. Some core marrow of revolt against injustice is stirred in all of us. We stare at the abyss of losing our humanity.

In which case, it may be that a solution has to come from within - from the people of Jos, and it needs to be an interfaith agreement held strongly by both sides. Religious leaders from both sides now need to step forward and play their part, with clarity and courage and conciliation.

This solution will be forever fragile however if the security forces and the politicians do not buy into a peace agreement. It will also be forever vulnerable if the sponsors of the violence (said to be from outside of the State and some even overseas) are not tracked down. Its possible to do these things with good (well-funded) intelligence. There was a strong degree of organisation at work in the pogroms (names and addresses were known). It should not be difficult to track the networks and the money that came in to fund the evil. In Rwanda, they made the perpetrators wear pink. Perhaps this solution should be adopted in Nigeria. You are forgiven: but you shall also be known as who and what you were.

To begin with, calling Muslim Hausas in Jos "settlers" to my British mind sounds like the most petty villager-talk. It reminds me of growing up in my village. People who had only been living in the village for 30 or 40 years were known as 'comers-in'. It was quite ridiculous. Fortunately, that attitude has disappeared completely now; all the gnarled old prejudiced farmers have died. Part of the dialogue surely has to be to advocate for the "settler/indigene" distinction to be dissolved in Plateau State law, as in other states. The origin of the violence is this distinction, which divides Nigerians from themselves needlessly. Nigerian Christians and Muslims can easily live in peace, if they (and their leaders) remain true to the DNA of their faiths and cast fundamentalism aside.

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Uwem Akpan short story in the New Yorker

Its set in 1999, seems to be autobiographical and is about traffic. Here.


The first time I went to Lagos was around the same time. We went round in buses and taxis. Only once or twice did we travel in the car of a friend or relative. I remember the trick at the time was for Area Boys to stop you and shout that your engine was sparking. As soon as the bonnet was up, hands would move quick as a flash, pulling engine-killing cables with nimble fingers, then offering mechanic services.. I guess things are just a bit better than back then, right?

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Red Cross delivers gifts to refugees in/around Jos


Well done Katrin Macmillan for helping to make this happen.


Here is a note from her: " we delivered 7 4x4s full to brimming (with space for only the driver) and one full bus to the Red cross/ crescent. These have all made it to Jos save for one last truck which is on its way today.

Lagos have been receiving donations and supplies. Eko Hotel gave bedding and towels etc and individuals have been donating there an awful lot too. The schools arranged a collection and children brought in supplies for the people of Jos.

Red cross/crescent has also now set up online jos donations and will forward link as soon as i get it from them, that has taken a while as we needed to create a bank account for it."

Good on you Eko Hotel for donating the bedding and towels. Katy is in the top photo.

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More Jos delivery photos



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Chris Ofili retrospective at Tate Britain


A major retrospective of the Trinidad-based artist at Tate Britain starts tomorrow. Write up in the Guardian here and the exhibition page here.

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Siji at Jazzhole, Friday 5th Feb.


















More info here.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

On the massacre at Kuru Jenta and elsewhere..

In the Sunday Trust here.


I also received this disturbing email from an expat working in Plateau State:

"I am very worried about two points in the aftermath. First is that it appears that all attention is focused on Kuru Jenta and other places are forgotten. Second is the Christian fundamentalism that is now turning events around. My husband and I have been busy informing relatives and well-wishers that the victims were moslem and the killers were supposed to be christians. It just does not sink in!

Even my Swedish neighbour gave me a report of the event that just occurred behind her house which left me open-mouth. As if she was asked to close her eyes and write a tragic fairy tale.

Jos Crisis

I think many saw the Aljezeera report on the massacre at Kuru Jenta. This event was publicised because my friend Norma who farms there tried to sensitise the public opinion.

It is important that international and national communities realise that this was not an isolated incident!!! This was a military-like operation planned to hit as many as possible isolated moslem communities.

I would like to mention few facts about the pattern of moslem migration to the Plateau.

Almost all the markets and surrounding towns in central- north Nigeria were created by the Hausa /Fulani initially for slave trade later for marketing of other valuable commodities like tin and ginger.

The Hausas could then be considered a colonial power and even in current times would like to assert political and economic dominance. The descendants of these immigrant live in the centre of the towns. In their mist there is a large number of untrained and unemployed youth which can be easily mastered by their leaders to destabilise the system.

A different migration occurred in the tin mining areas: when the British companies could not get the locals to slave for them, labourers from the far north, particularly Borno, were brought in. Villages were established to accommodate these people. Kuru Jenta was one of these villages. Nowadays the dwellers are a mixture of various ethnicities, but Islam prevails. They were brought-in in a slave-like condition and their descendants generally have no ambitions and political aspirations.

The difference between these two sets of moslem communities may explain the disparity between riots in Jos and violence in the villages.

Tuesday 22nd January 2010.

We got up early. I despatched the car which was carrying our farm produce to Abuja. My husband went with a veterinary colleague to treat some herds of cattle after Manchok. I went to Miango.

In Miango I was told that trouble had erupted again in Jos, but here in this magical landscape we had the impression that peace will always prevail. It took long to come back to Vom from Miango because the villagers had blocked the roads every 20 m. But thanks to the colour of my skin they were quite courteous. At every stops I saw tens of youth appear all painted red ochre (the re army) armed with knives and clubs marching towards Vom.

Still I was not worried because I believed it would end in a carnival-like show. My thoughts were with my husband who would not have the advantage of my somatic features to pass through road blocks ( his journey home was an ordeal).

As entered the house I received a call from a friend: she could see from afar Sabon Gida Kanan (another miners’ settlement) burning. From what I was told it was a replica of what happened at Kuru Jenta.

Meanwhile the ‘’red army’’ which I had seen marching in the field reached Vom. Here they had a detailed list of all moslem properties and they burn all, one by one, and, if the men had not managed to escape they were killed. Children who did not dare to come out of the houses were left to burn.

Fortunately many managed to find refuge at the police station and in The National Veterinary Research Institute. But even the institute became a victim of the violence….’’the red army again had a detailed list of all moslem staff living in the quarters. Here too they went from house to house either burning the whole building or removing the properties and car and burning these only.

The Director of the Institute tried courageously to assist the refugees, despite threats by (according to rumours) the chief of Vom. When possible and safe she organised evacuation of the refugees outside the state.

This ‘’mission massacre’’ appear to have taken place at the same time and with the same pattern in many isolated moslem communities in the high plateau. Few chiefs, like the one of Barikan Ladi, resisted pressure from the top and maintained peace.

But how many?

This was a genocide!

Will the person responsible be punished?"

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Update from Norma in Jos

Long-term readers of this blog will recall various times when I posted emails from Norma at Zamani Farms in Jos. Her emails to customers regarding the fortunes of her most recent batch of broccoli or lettuce were hymns to the soil and skies of the plateau and all that could be grown there. All the more deeply the sadness I and I am sure you my readers have felt in recent days reading about what has happened to her farm and her workers. This is the most recent email update, sent earlier today (I couldn't upload any earlier because NEPA took light). Be warned, its tragic:

Hello customers,

I guess by now the whole world knows what has been happening in Kuru Jenta. I assume you have read or seen the reports from AFP, Al Jazeera and the BBC, all of which seem to accurately depict the situation in our village. Well over 160 bodies have so far been recovered, but there are still more scattered around the area and it will take some time before the final toll is known. I feel extremely bitter that despite all efforts this needless slaughter was allowed to happen. I sincerely hope that a proper investigation will be carried out by both local and international bodies, that justice will prevail, and those responsible be appropriately punished. Unless this happens we will continue to see endless repetitions of these tragedies.

Our farm is more or less intact. Our store was looted and four of our six water pumps stolen. We have managed to recover most of them. Our crops are still there, but very dry, and need several days of watering before we can start harvesting again.

As you know, our Muslim staff are all gone. We have confirmed that several of them including women and some of the older ones who were security guards have been killed, some of the young ones are in refugee camps with the remains of their families, and some of them are still not accounted for. The condition of the corpses recovered by the Red Cross and military authorities was such that identification is virtually impossible, as they were either burnt, or decomposed in the wells into which they were dumped. So we may never know the actual fate of some of our workers.

We are currently assessing the future of the farm. We have assembled a skeleton staff of some of our old workers, but we have many problems to sort out before things are returned to normal. The Christian staff who are around all had their houses burnt, as the whole village was completely razed, so they have no where to live. They also lost all of their belongings, and need to be resettled, rooms rented for them in nearby settlements, and provided with basic necessities like mattresses, blankets, cooking utensils and clothes for themselves and their children. If we can do this, then they should be able to do a reasonable amount of work on the farm before we can engage some new staff.

Our first priority at the moment is ensuring that those of our staff who are in refugee camps are safely transported to neighbouring states like Bauchi and Kaduna where many of them have relatives they can stay with. It is very painful to see them as refugees, and most of them have lost members of their families. We are trying to raise funds for their transportation, as transport fares around the Jos area are extremely high and buses are very difficult to get.

The resumption of our deliveries to Abuja depends on a number of factors: whether we can garner the resources to resettle the remaining staff, whether the crops recover sufficiently that we can think of harvesting and sending them to our customers, and whether the curfew in Jos is relaxed so that it is possible to get to Abuja at a reasonable hour. At the moment, we are only allowed to move around between 10am and 5pm. Normally Audu leaves for Abuja early in the morning so as to have time for all of the deliveries. But in the present situation this is not possible. So we are waiting to see if the morning curfew hours are lifted a bit so there is time to go to the farm from Jos, load the van, and arrive in Abuja at a reasonable time.

We will definitely not be able to deliver any vegetables this coming week. But we will use the time to try to get the farm into some reasonable shape, and will let you know before the end of the week whether we will be able to begin delivering the following week,.ie the first week of February. For the past week the banks in Jos have not been functioning, and everyone has run out of cash. The little money we had in hand at the start of the crisis has been used to support our staff who literally have nothing left by way of food or belongings. Petrol is also extremely difficult to come by. So these things will have to normalise somewhat before we are in a position of resume deliveries.We will also have to see if we can recover from the losses we have suffered sufficiently to be able to run the farm.

We would like to thank all of our customers for their support by way of encouragement, and also donations made to the Red Cross and other agencies for the refugees. I know you have all done a lot to help, and all of us at Zamani Farms do appreciate it very much.

We will keep you up to date with developments, and write again after a couple of days when we see how far we can go this week to revive the farm. We would love to be able to resume deliveries the following week, but as I said, it depends on many factors that are not in our hands.

To all of you who have expressed concern about my own safety and that of our remaining staff, you can put your minds at rest. As of today, there are three armed soldiers posted in front of our house in Jos to prevent any retaliatory attacks. As you know, my name was mentioned prominently in several newspaper accounts and some people here are not very happy with me. But rest assured that we are well protected. I have lived in Nigeria since the Civil War, and have seen many things here, so this is by no means my first experience of crisis. But it has certainly been one of the most traumatic because of my personal involvement with the people concerned.

Till you hear from me again,

Best regards,
Norma

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Robertsport Liberia: where the surf's at

Here. Thanks Al.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

On the courtroom portrait

Has it ever occurred to you why - in the UK at least, does this happen elsewhere? - photography is not permitted inside a courtroom? The court is supposed to be a theatre for the production of truth, or rather, a theatre for the approximation of the production of truth (or is it a theatre for the production of approximate truth?). Why then do we only get to see sketches (approximate truth) and not photography (approximately the truth)? Is this a slight on the competency of sketch-makers? Or is photography too much truth, or perhaps too much in the direction of the appearance of truth?


In the final analysis, is now not the time to allow approved photography in British courts? In the case of the Edlington brothers, Photoshop would obscure their faces equally well. We seem to be stuck in the 19th century on this one for some shadowed reason.

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Achebe looking back...














Achebe looking back on his troubled relationship with Nigeria here. I'm still pondering the kind of help he alludes to here:

"Nigeria needs help. Nigerians have their work cut out for them – to coax this unruly child along the path of useful creative development. We are the parents of Nigeria, not vice versa. A generation will come, if we do our work patiently and well – and given luck – a generation that will call Nigeria father or mother. But not yet."

Is it a call to parents to foster among their children a stronger sense of national identity (outside of issues of ethnicity, settler, indigene as I have been exploring in recent posts), or is it actually a call for a different relationship to Nigeria from the outside - the echo of a nostalgia for the "colonial masters" and British protectorate status?

Whichever (and perhaps it is both), Achebe seems still to be wounded, by the civil war and by the force of his own injuries. He cannot see outside of the injustice done to the towns of Igbo people (and who can blame him) and ultimately, he cannot dream of a Nigerian national identity. The beautiful ones are not yet born, I guess.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Something for the weekend...

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Forwarded declaration

Declaration


The Current Political Impasse and Call for the Defence of Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria


MADE BY STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIVE FORUM, ABUJA January 15 and 16, 2009



Highly concerned by the vacuum in governance created by the prolonged absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, absent for eight weeks, without empowering his deputy to act in his absence as expected in the Presidential System of government;


Conscious of the antics of Presidential handlers and anti-democratic elements acting as a cabal that has taken over the reign and control of executive decisions;


Convinced that the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria contains relevant provisions for a quick resolution of the current vacuum;



Further convinced that the reluctance of the Federal Executive Council to declare and transmit a resolution on the health of President Yar’Adua to the National Assembly creates conditions to ignominiously perpetuate the illegal control of Nigeria’s treasury by Presidential handlers that have not been elected by Nigerians and are therefore not accountable to Nigerians;



Determined to oppose the political and constitutional manipulations aimed at the sectional and undemocratic control of the sovereignty of the Nigerian people by a cabal without their consent and the approval of the Parliament;



Further determined to oppose the sinister project which if allowed could prolong the vacuum with obvious repercussions on Nigeria’s democracy and political stability in the region;



Persuaded that the ultimate goal of the current vacuum is nothing but the defence and preservation of strictly selfish and private interests;



Having met in Abuja on January 15 and 16th, 2010 for a consultative forum on ‘Resolving the Political Impasse in Nigeria’ denounce the foot dragging by the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly and demand a resolution and transmission on the state of health of the President by the Federal Executive Council to the National Assembly and for the National Assembly to setup a team of Medical Experts to evaluate and report on the state of health of President Yar’Adua. We, Participants at the Centre for Democracy and Development and Open Society Initiative for West Africa All Stakeholders 2-day Forum note as follows:



1. That the President left the country without transmitting powers as envisaged by the Constitution to the Vice President.


2. That the President has been away from the seat of power for 54 days


3. Since the President’s departure, the mode of governance in the country has lacked transparency. There has been no medical bulletin on the President generating concerns whether he is in charge. The Vice President has not been empowered to act and governance is in a state of flux


4. The Justice Abutu judgment has further complicated the state of flux by stating the Vice President can perform but cannot act for the President.


5. That the nation remains dazed by the unprecedented notion of an absent and probably invalid President that insists on ruling from far-away Saudi Arabia; a Executive Council and National Assembly that watch helplessly.


6. The country’s non-governance and mal-governance has created negative political, social and economic conditions from which the people are suffering.


7. The image of a country without governance has created international concerns about a drift towards a failed state that prompted the listing of Nigeria on Terrorist Watch List by the American government following the Mutallab bomb attempt.



Our Concerns



1. A cabal of unelected persons have successfully plotted against and subverted the 1999 Constitution and executed a civilian coup and are running the affairs of Nigeria, thereby creating a serious threat to our democracy.


2. That the National Assembly shirked its responsibility of exercising its oversight to ensure Nigeria is being governed by constituted authority. In addition they have not insisted on the Nigerian people being regularly briefed about the health conditions of the President.


3. The PDP as the ruling party has failed to show leadership in the resolution of the crisis provoked by the political impasse.


4. We condemn the reckless and irresponsible statement by Vincent Ogbulafor denigrating the acts of patriotic Nigerians pushing for a return to legality and constitutionality.


5. The Justice Abutu judgement has further created conditions for an unelected cabal to continue to run the affairs of state.


6. The absence of the President is impacting on our capacity to exercise our leadership role at the regional and international level as exemplified by repeated postponement of the ECOWAS Summit of Head of States and Governments, of which he is Chairman.



Declaration



The activities of the cabal should be combated by all democratic forces in Nigeria. They must not be allowed to endanger the stability, peace, good governance and democracy in Nigeria.


Constituted authority should immediately begin to issue daily health bulletins on the condition of the President.


The Judiciary as a third arm of government should live up to the expectation of protecting and upholding constitution of Nigeria.


The President in conformity with the requirement of Section 145 of the Constitution, and pursuance of national interest should immediately transmit a letter to the National Assembly, enabling the Vice President to Act in his absence.


Should the President fail to transmit such a letter on or before January 31, 2010, the Executive Council and the National Assembly should immediately initiate the procedure for his removal based on Section 144 of the Constitution.



Call for Action



1. Giving the serious threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation, and to our democratic process, we call on all stakeholders to intensify all ongoing action aimed at returning our country to constitutionality and legality.


2. The Executive Council should fulfil their constitutional obligations and initiate the process of transmitting a letter to the National Assembly in the national interest to end current political impasse


3. The National Assembly should fulfil its obligations under section 144 and in concert with the Executive Council initiate the process of ending the current vacuum


4. The Police and other law enforcement agencies to sustain their constitutional role of protecting citizens during protest marches and maintaining law and order


5. The People Democratic Party (PDP), as the ruling party should provide the required leadership to end the current political impasse by calling its members in the Executive Council and National Assembly to act in national interest.


6. Other political parties should show statesmanship and ensure that the focus of their activities in the current situation is in national interest.


7. Civil society should build critical alliances at local, state and national level towards effective coordination for breaking the current political impasse and returning Nigeria to political legality


8. The Media should amplify ongoing struggles to return Nigeria to constitutional democracy.


9. Nigerians should abhor all sentiments, ethnic, religious and sectional in resolution of the political impasse.



Signed in Abuja this 16th Day of January 2010


1. Centre for Democracy and Development,

2. Family Worship Centre,

3. Ken Nnamani Centre

4. West Africa Civil Society Forum

5. National Human Rights Commission

6. Coalition of Nigerian Political Parties

7. Citizens Popular Party

8. Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

9. Alliance for Human Development

10. Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE)

11. Centre for Leadership and Strategy Development

12. West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI)

13. Africa Vision 525

14. Coalition for Change

15. Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative

16. Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR)

17. Actionaid Nigeria

18. Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre

19. Revenue Watch Institute

20. Bamidele Aturu and Co, Law firm

21. Community Action for Citizens Participation (CAPP)

22. Rights Enforcement and Public Law Centre

23. Centre for Peace Building and Socio Economic Resources Development

24. Dikko and Mahmoud Legal Practititoners

25. Open Society Initiative for West Africa

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Job opportunity with a Lagos think tank

A public policy think tank based in Lagos, Nigeria with a mission “to ensure that government action fosters growth, economic well-being, freedom and individual responsibility” seeks to recruit exceptional persons as research associates in the areas of policy, communications and fundraising.


The ideal candidate would have trained up to post graduate level with a strong academic background (at least a second class upper) in economics, sociology, mathematics, statistics or any related discipline and will match the following profile:

·
Aged between 25 and 35 years

· Keen interest in the interdisciplinary field between economics and sociology, as well as in the field of applied economic research

· Excellent written (e.g. experience of published reports) and verbal communication skills

· Leadership and track record of delivery

· A proven ability to inspire, coach and develop others

· Excellent project and stakeholder management skills

· First rate policy and strategy skills

· Outstanding analytical, research and problem solving skills

· Ability to deliver results in different environments (especially in a developing world context)

· Ability to work both independently and in a team

· Dynamic, flexible and reliable

· Ability to use a statistical package (such as SPSS) will be an added advantage.

Our organisation will in turn offer each candidate a stimulating and challenging work environment, a possibility to participate in frontier research, opportunities for world class, international training and an attractive salary package.

The selected candidate will ideally be expected to resume the post as soon as possible. The position will start with a one year contract with the option of renewal depending on performance.

Expression of interest in form of a cover letter accompanied by a one-page CV should be sent electronically to
cpaorg1@gmail.com <mailto:cpaorg1@gmail.com> by the 26th of January 2010.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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