Saturday, December 01, 2012

Court hilarity


These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and
published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS:      He said, 'Where am I, Cathy ?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS:      My name is Susan !
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS:      Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS:      No, I just lie there.
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS:      July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS:      Every year.
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS:      Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS:      Forty-five years.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS:      Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS:      I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep,
he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS:      Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS:      He's 20, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS:      Are you shitting me?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
WITNESS:      Yes.
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS:      Getting laid

ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
WITNESS:      Yes.
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
WITNESS:      None.
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS:      Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a  new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS:      By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS:      Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS:      He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS:      Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS:      No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS:      All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS:      Oral...
ATTORNEY:  Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS:      The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS:      If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS:      Are you qualified to ask that question?

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS:      No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS:      No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS:      No..
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS:      No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS:      Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS:      Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Job Opportunity - GEMS2 M&E lead and Skills Intervention Manager

 Job Location – Lagos

Coffey International Development manages the Construction and Real Estate (GEMS2) component of the joint DFID / World Bank Growth, Employment and Markets in States (GEMS) programme in Nigeria.

To effectively implement the programme strategic objectives, Coffey International Development is inviting applications from qualified candidates to fill the following vacant positions;

1.     Monitoring and Evaluation Lead

The core purpose of the position is to work with each all members of the technical team to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of all aspects of the project delivery.
The position holder will work with the Intervention Managers to plan, coordinate, monitor and report progress towards achievements of set targets as outlined in the Programme logframe.  
The position holder will also be responsible for coordinating collection of primary and secondary data requirements as deemed necessary. He/she will also provide assistance in aggregating the results from the intervention level M&E systems to the level of the overall programme.

Key Tasks includes:
·       Assist in the preparation and design of M&E strategy, systems, templates, and intervention monitoring framework (IMF) for intervention managers.
·       Prepare project’s M&E internal and external reporting milestones detailing output deliverables, person responsible and associated deadlines.
·       Assist intervention leads in the design and completion of intervention rationale, results chains, action plans, research summaries and measurement plans
·       Gather quarterly data and forecasted targets for key indicators of change
·       Work with the Intervention Managers and the Head of Finance and Administration to apportion project inputs/costs across interventions, specific activities and outputs so as to inform the value for money assessment of specific interventions.
·       Facilitate and manage primary data collection. This could involve: drafting the research requirement (TOR), drafting the research tools, coordinating the recruitment of suitable research firms, managing the selected research firm during the data collection phase and facilitating delivery of data in a timely fashion and to an appropriate quality standard.
·       Draft quarterly and annual Monitoring Reports
·       Assist with the development of Monitoring and Evaluation Plans for new interventions as they come on stream over the lifetime of the Programme
·       Liaise with other GEMS components to coordinate approach to M&E

Requirement, Qualifications and Experience
·      An advanced degree in Social Science or equivalent relevant experience
·      Relevant experience in designing and implementing organisational level systems for M&E
·      Demonstrable experience of both qualitative and quantitative social research techniques
·      Proven IT skills, with experience of developing, maintaining and manipulating large databases and using other analytical tools for research purposes
·      Ability to create effective and efficient systems for gathering and analysing complex data
·      Strong attention to detail and highly organised
·      Leadership qualities to inspire others and team player (in person and virtual)
·      Adaptation skills: ability to work well in a multicultural environment and in a team
·      Highly motivated, responsible, self-directed, resourceful and flexible
·      Report-writing skills – experience with donor-funded programme reporting would be desirable

2.     Skills Intervention Manager

The aim of the position is to lead and manage a number of programme interventions within skills development and business servies work streams and ensure that it effectively delivers against its terms of reference and budget. 

Key Tasks includes:
·     Review existing documentation particularly the intervention monitoring frameworks and the output facilitation strategies that includes background information, results chains,  indicators of change, action plans for the skills and business development services work stream
·     Reflect with the team the relevance of the existing interventions to Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) principles and to the project-wide results chain
·     Meet with the key stakeholders to have a better insight into some of the interventions underway and explore potential for new interventions
·     Following from the initial review and assessment, in consultation with the team leader and intervention managers review and/or redraft the results chains for specific interventions within skills development and business services
·     Provide advisory support to the interventions underway and in consultation with the team leader and based on the existing research design and initiate new interventions that has potential for scale
·     Provide adequate support and mentoring for the  junior staff involved in the skills interventions
·     In all aspects above, the position holder will consider the total geographic scope of the GEMS2, and the WEE (Women Economic Empowerment) strategy of GEMS2

Requirement, Qualifications and Experience
·      A degree in Economics, Social Science or equivalent experience in private sector development, or a related field
·      At least eight years’ experience in development sphere
·      Knowledge of strategic planning and managing change
·       Good understanding of data management and analysis
·      Experience of involving the community and other stakeholders in service design and delivery
·      Proven understanding of private sector development
·      Excellent analytical capabilities, with an ability to think creatively and to communicate ideas effectively with a team.
·      Good verbal and written communication skills
·      Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to build effective relationships with a range of people
·      Project management experience, exposure to technical assistance projects, an ability to bring together sector stakeholders and an understanding of Monitoring and Evaluation principles.

Method of Application: Application and CV’s with the job title clearly indicated as the subject of the mail should be sent to; [email protected]. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, October 12th, 2012


Friday, September 28, 2012

Water in Africa now and ahead

This slide was presented at a training workshop I participated in this week. The left hand image of Africa is the surface 'blue' water situation in 2002, the right hand side what its likely to look like in just over a decade's time..


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Job opening: PROGRAM MANAGER, Interfaith Dialogue Program

Location:  Nigeria
Start Date:  September 2012
Salary:  USD $40,000-60,000, based on experience

UMass Boston’s Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development ( and Public Conversations Project (PCP: are pleased to announce a major initiative to support the conflict resolution work of the Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) of Kaduna, Nigeria (see  We seek a Program Manager to assist IMC in coordinating the day-to-day operations of UMass Boston and PCP under the supervision of IMC leadership, and to support IMC operations if requested.  The Program Manager will be responsible for delivering services, consulting with staff and serving as primary liaison between IMC and PCP/UMass.  The role of the Program Manager is to ensure coherence among the international partners and the sustainability of their support efforts, and to help UMass better understand the daily working and needs of IMC.  The Program Manager will be responsible for assisting the PCP Project Director with delivering training in Reflective Structured Dialogue while he is in country, and will continue to monitor and support PCP dialogue initiatives when the PCP Project Director is not in Nigeria.  The Program Manager will also work with the UMASS Principal Investigator to oversee UMass Graduate Student teams while they are in Nigeria, including the gathering of monitoring and evaluation data.  Lastly, the Program Manager will also work with UMass and PCP in the development of as early warning system, and assist in developing the network in the field.

Consequently, the ideal candidate will have several years experience in Reflective Structured Dialogue and other conflict resolution methods, interfaith peacebuilding work, project management skills, and have lived in Africa.  Candidates with strengths in several of these areas are encouraged to apply, but conflict resolution experience is required, preferably with a Masters degree or higher in a relevant discipline.

Interested candidates please email your CV to both Prof. Darren Kew ([email protected]) and Dave Joseph ([email protected]) as soon as possible.  Further information about the project can also be provided on request.


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Soapstone sculptures of Esie

Nigeria's oldest museum is at Esie in Kwara State (midway between Osogbo and Ilorin).  The museum contains over 800 soapstone statues, and has a brand new extension with examples of sculpture and masks from across Nigeria.  It is well worth the detour to get to the museum.  Scholarly research suggests that the figures were made by the Nupe after they sacked Oyo.  The figures are therefore dated between the 11th and the 15th centuries.  Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos in the museum and there are no postcards or books available to buy there, so I had to take the picture below with my phone (hence the poor quality).  It is a real pity that photography is not allowed. It keeps the museum as one of Nigeria's best kept secrets, when it should be thronging with school children finding out about the wonders of their cultural heritage.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Prose poem for Eid Mubarak

In the local park, hundreds are out in their finery. Young men wear snazzy Bez-specs; little girls are startled in their wedding cake frocks, while older girls and women wrap translucent shawls over dresses in the northern style.  

The pony handlers are doing brisk business, two-up per under-nourished horse.  The grass smokers loiter contentedly in their usual spot, puffing out sweet herbal clouds.  The photographers’ patch is thronged, a little photo printer rolling out future nostalgia inside the scrum.

The tensions of the last few days: no fuel, insecurity and the Mpape demolitions, seem to float off, at least for the while.

And then, the firmament opens.  Damina rain gushes down with pent-up fury.  People race for cover under the trees, cram beneath sparse umbrellas and sardine their way inside the keke napep.   

All scamper except for one or two rollerbladers, who sense that a stage is theirs.  One has lights on his blades that sparkle to his rhythm; another twists and turns in arabesques of rain-soaked delight.

All of life waits for the downpour to stop.  And I trudge home, drenched to my bones.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Doreen Baingana @ TEDxNairobi

Please leave a comment on the YouTube page and help get Doreen voted onto TED2013.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Naming Ceremony by Sefi Atta

"The play shows a couple, Akin and Tola, who have had their first child. As they both prepare for their baby’s naming ceremony, Tola prepares for a day of disagreements, especially with her husband, her mother and mother in-law."
The Naming Ceremony, a new play by distinguished Nigerian writer Sefi Atta and directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa, is showing at Nigeria House (next to the Olympics main site) on Sat 28th and Sun 29th July.
Here for more info.


Friday, June 29, 2012

On rejobulation


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The House of Obong Eyo Honesty IX, Duke Town, Calabar

An inspiring morning with Jide Bello, talking Nigerian culture.  I had no idea the Ife exhibition had moved to the National Museum in Lagos.  Great publicity Lagos State!

Meanwhile, he showed us some fascinating pictures of a recent trip to Calabar (to witness the filming of Half of a Yellow Sun), including these images of Obong Eyo Honesty IX's house in Duke Town.  The descendants of the old King still live in the house, which features beautiful wood panelling and stained glass windows.  To think that former governor Donald Duke wasted all that money on Tinapa, which no one visits except to stay in the hotel, when he could have spent a relatively tiny amount of government money renovating the magnificent old buildings of Calabar and turning them into museums.  Calabar's tourist potential is yet to be untapped.

I wonder if this is the house of Duke IX of Old Calabar (an earlier post).  Umoh Bassey-Duke/Nkoyo Toyo - can you help?  I'm not sure that it is, but he would surely have lived in a house similar to this (and its probably another still-standing place of faded grandeur).  To think of all the things that old mirror has seen!  Surely its not too much for the Government of Cross River to realise what enormous cultural wealth it has on its doorstep and do something about it...

Images by Jide Bello.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Nigeria: an opportunity lost?

I am a guest blogger today on the N-Katalyst site, a forum for progressive Nigerians.  N-Katalyst members have been actively engaging government on the fuel subsidy and various other pressing Nigerian issues.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

Niger Delta governance seminar coming up in London



Open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan from N-Katalyst

16 A7 Street

CITEC Mbora Estate

Jabi/Airport Road Bypass

Email: [email protected]

June 6, 2012



State House

Aso Rock


Your Excellency Sir,


We the undersigned representatives of N-Katalyst, a non-partisan network of individuals from diverse sectors committed to the promotion of Nigerian unity and progressive change, hereby request the establishment of a publicly accessible and representative inquiry into the Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012.

Background and Purpose
The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas 83 (MD83) with Registration Number 5N-RAM and 153 people on board departed Abuja for Lagos in the afternoon of June 3 but crashed five minutes to landing at Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated neighbourhood in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos. All the 153 passengers on board were reportedly killed as well as unverified number of persons on ground. The fallen aircraft destroyed several buildings and rendered a good number of others uninhabitable by the force of the impact on earth surface. Environmental experts have also reported possible emission of radioactive materials in the neighbourhood.

Available information from insider sources and passengers who have flown in the aircraft before the incident suggests that it ought not to have been in service on that day and in fact should have been retired on account of incessant engine faults if the oversight agencies as well as the airline had been steadfast with maintaining aviation safety standards, although the Dana Air disputes these claims.

Therefore, an open and accessible public Inquiry will help in ascertaining what really caused the crash and resultant deaths and destruction of property by investigating the immediate and remote causes and bringing to justice any persons or corporates found culpable.

Chronology of major Air Crashes in Nigeria

Nigeria has experienced one too many crashes resulting to mass deaths in the last twenty years and all the aircrafts involved were registered and operated in the country, which calls into question how serious we take aviation safety and security:

1.    September 26, 1992 - A Nigerian Air Force C-130 crashed minutes after taking off from Lagos airport. Around 200 people died.
2.    June 25, 1995 - A Harka Airlines Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-134 crashed at Lagos airport, killing 15 people.
3.    November 13, 1995 - A Nigeria Airways Boeing 737 crashed on landing in Kaduna, killing nine people.
4.    November 7, 1996 - A Boeing 727 operated by Nigeria's ADC Airlines crashed on its way from Port Harcourt to Lagos. All 142 passengers and nine crew died.
5.    May 4, 2002 - A Nigerian EAS Airlines BAC 1-11 crashed in Kano. At least 148 people were killed, 75 on the plane and at least 73 on the ground.
6.    October 22, 2005 - A Nigerian Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos. All 111 passengers and six crew were killed.
7.    December 10, 2005 - A Nigerian Sosoliso Airlines DC9 from Abuja crashed on landing in Port Harcourt, killing 106 people, half of them schoolchildren on their way home for Christmas.
8.    September 17, 2006 - Twelve Nigerian military personnel, mostly high-ranking officers, were killed in a plane crash in Benue state. Six survived.
9.    October 29, 2006 - An ADC airliner with 114 passengers on board crashed and burned after take-off from Abuja, killing 96 people.
10.                       June 3, 2012 - A Dana Air passenger plane carrying 153 people crashed in the Agege suburb of Lagos, killing everyone on board and an unconfirmed number on ground.

It is disheartening to note that the standard response of the Government of Nigeria (GON) to all these aforementioned crashes was to set up secretive technical investigation panels whose reports were apparently neither made public nor acted upon. In a way, these technical panels became a tunnel through which successive governments ran away from their responsibility of making Nigerian airspace safe and secure for all stakeholders.

Your government is in a historic position to break this vicious cycle of public deceit if it heeds our request to convene a public inquiry into the crash.

Possible Terms of Reference

The Panel should among other things look into the following as part of its Terms of Reference (ToR):

a.   Investigate and determine the cause of the crash and examine contributory factors;
b.   Examine what regulatory guidelines, instructions and orders were applicable and whether they were complied with;
c.    Determine the state of serviceability of the aircraft and relevant equipment;
d.   Establish the level of training, relevant competences and qualifications of the crew members involved in the crash;
e.    Ascertain if search and rescue facilities were fully available, utilized and functioned correctly;
f.       Ascertain the number of people on ground that lost their lives and value of property destroyed at the site of the crash.
g.   Assess any health and safety at work and environmental protection implications to the residents of the area in which the crash occurred.
h.    Determine and comment on any broader contributory factors or causes including, management, oversight, maintenance culture and resources.
i.        Make appropriate recommendations.

We request that the membership of the panel should be broadly representative including members of non-governmental human rights organizations and Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This is to ensure transparency and accountability.

We look forward to a favourable and timely response to our request in order to take advantage of the mood of the moment; provide some assurance to the bereaved that the death of their loved ones will not go in vain; prevent avoidable air mishaps in future and more importantly ensure that the Nigerian airspace is not only safe but complies with international aviation safety standards.

We thank you for your kind consideration and attention to our request.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Jibrin Ibrahim                                      Dr Otive Igbuzor
Saudatu Mahdi                                      Bilkisu Yusuf
Ayisha Osori                                   Prof Ebere Onwudiwe
Yemi Candide-Johnson               Ayo Obe
Saka Azimazi                                 Maryam Uwais
Bashir Yusuf Ibrahim                     Innocent Chukwuma
Chris Kwaja                                    Hassan Hussaini
Dr A. S. Mohammed                     Nsongurua Udombana
Asma’u Joda                                 Nsirimovu Anyakwee
Dr Kabir az Zubair                          Martin Obono
Dr Hussaini Abdu                           Aisha Oyebode
Hubert Shaiyen                             Dr Arabo Ibrahim Bayo
Fatima Wali-Abdurrahman                  Dr Charmaine Pereira
Yusufu Pam


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Average age of aircraft per airline in Nigeria

Air Nigeria
Fleet Size: 12 Aircraft
Average Fleet Age: 13.5 years
Oldest Aircraft: 18.2 years

Fleet Size: 11 Aircraft (+ 1 On Order/Planned)
Average Fleet Age: 19.7 years
Oldest Aircraft: 20.7 years

Africa Charter Services
Fleet Size: 2 Aircraft
Average Fleet Age: 32.1 years
Oldest Aircraft: 32.8 years

Air Taraba
Fleet Size: 0 (+1 on order/planned)
Average fleet age: 10.5 years

Arik Air
Fleet size: 21 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 5.5 years
Oldest Aircraft: 11.3 years

Axiom Air
Fleet size: 1 Aircraft
Fleet age: 24.5 years

Chanchangi Airlines
Fleet size: 6 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 25.6 years
Oldest aircraft: 30.2 years

Dana Air
Fleet size: 4 Aircraft (used to be five until Sunday’s crash)
Average fleet age: 21.4 years
Oldest aircraft: 21.7 years

First Nation Airways
Fleet size: 3 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 18.4 years
Oldest aircraft: 19.3 years

Government of Nigeria
Fleet size: 2 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 9.5 years
Oldest aircraft: 12.1 years

IRS Airlines
Fleet size: 5 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 21.6 years
Oldest aircraft: 22.5 years

Kabo Air
Fleet size: 5 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 34.5 years
Oldest aircraft: 41.3 years

Max Air
Fleet size: 6 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 24.1 years
Oldest aircraft: 25.7 years

Overland Airways
Fleet size: 2 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 22.2 years
Oldest aircraft: 25.6 years

Tradecraft Airlines
Fleet size: 1 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 25.4 years

Transky Airlines
Fleet size: 1 Aircraft
Average fleet age: 28.2 years


Pentecostal Aesthetics

Pentecostal aesthetics photography exhibition coming up in Italy.  More here.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Victor Ekpuk at MoAD, San Francisco

Inspired by Nsibidi, an African indigenous system of writing that uses symbols, signs and codes to convey concepts, Victor Ekpuk reduces forms to codes and symbols that express the human condition. In his compositions, the use of arcane signs and invented pseudo-writings often evoke the idea of writing, where legibility and illegibility are metaphors. Through slide presentations, Victor Ekpuk will discuss his process and his current work.

Victor Ekpuk, a Washington DC based artist, was born in Nigeria. He received a bachelor of Fine Art at the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1989. His works are shown widely and are in such collections as Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, The World Bank and Newark Museum.

Free with MoAD Admission.
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Time: 6:30pm-8pm Pacific Time


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3rd Annual Africa 2.0 Leadership Symposium coming to Lagos

Among confirmed key participants :
Dr. Mo Ibrahim (Founder Mo Ibrahim Foundation), ,  Dr. Frannie Leautier (Executive Secretary of African Capacity Building Foundation),  Mr. Amadou  Mahtar Ba (Chief Executive of the African Media Initiative, AMI),  Mr. Thierry Tanoh   (Vice President IFC (Africa, Latin America, WesternEurope),  Mr. Nkosana  Moyo (Founder and Chairman of Mandela Institute for Development Studies),  Mr. Mugo Kibati (CEO of Vision Kenya 2030 Secretariat),  Mr. Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane (former IMF director for Africa and former Prime Minister of Benin),  Mr. Francis Okomo-Okello (Chairman of Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited),  Mr. Frank Nweke Jr. (Director General of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group),  Mr.Jean-Louis  Ekra (Chairman and President of the African Export-Import Bank),  Mrs. Ann Grant (Vice Chairman of Standard Chartered Capital Markets Ltd)?(to name a few)

Kindly find attached the Africa 2.0 draft agenda for the 3rd Annual Africa 2.0 Leadership Symposium.

Please confirm your attendance of the event by registering here. Once your attendance is confirmed, you will receive an invitation letter which you will need to apply for a Nigerian Visa. You will also receive the events hospitality pack which will detail accommodation and flight details.

In a context of multiple initiatives across the continent, Africa 2.0 young emerging leaders (more than 40 African nationalities represented) aim to impulse greater coordination and cross fertilize knowledge/know-how by ?Gathering a Coalition for the sustained Transformation? to Design and Implement Solutions Together.

The event will be hosted by Africa 2.0 Nigeria Chapter led by Tonye Cole (CEO of Sahara Energy Group) among other Nigerian emerging leaders from  diverse backgrounds  (Kola Karim, Ndidi Nunwelli, Andrew Alli, Biola Alabi, Moji Rhodes, Debo Lukanmbi, etc.)


Thursday, May 17, 2012

RIP Danlami Aliyu 1952-2012

After Ladi Kwali, Danlami was the best modern potter in Nigeria. He learned at the Pottery Training Centre set up by Michael Cardew in Abuja. He was good, so I asked Michael if he would take him on at Wenford (Cardew’s own workshop in the UK). He did. He thought Danlami was outstanding and arranged for the pots he made there to have a show at the Commonwealth Institute, London.

It was well reviewed in 'Crafts' (Another UK journal for Potters). After Wenford, Danlami went to Farnham College to learn about kiln-building. In the Thesis he wrote at the end of his course, he compared the pottery made at the Training Centre with the pots his mother used to buy locally. This thesis was published whole in ‘Pottery Quarterly’. Out of respect for Michael he gave it to him in person.

On the train to Cornwall, Michael's wife Mariel read it and was so moved by it tears ran down her cheeks, charmed by his simple way of writing and the Africanisms which made it so vivid. Michael read it and was silent. A comment made by Danlami in a spirit of humility, not of criticism, devastated Cardew: “too complicated for us" is what Danlami wrote of the Centre.

The Training Centre and the fifteen happiest years of Cardews life that he had spent setting it up, were deemed a failure. “Too complicated", those two words haunted me too and fundamentally changed the way I taught when I returned to Nigeria.

By this time, fifteen years after Cardew left, the Abuja training centre was in decline. After a further six years Danlami, having been overseas and now understanding it's significance, together with Umaru his brother and myself, decided to do something about it. We built a new pottery at Maraba, modelled on the original one at Abuja, hoping to recapture the extraordinary spirit it had while Michael was there. It was successful. Danlami stayed longer than I did and gave it a sound basis which enabled it to expand and last twenty years after he left. To this day there are more good throwers (potters) in Maraba than in the rest of Nigeria.

The other things Danlami did there would be of little interest here, except his ‘regiment’ as he called them, - his fifteen children! To spend a day in his compound was a pleasure, the younger ones were beguiling and so well behaved with inquisitive little faces, the adolescents graceful and friendly.

Danlami is well remembered in the UK when he was a student. He was young and handsome, a joker, popular with everybody.

In Minna, as news of his death spread, crowds filled his compound. People from all walks of life from top civil servants (the Governor sent a representative) to poor potters who - came from Maraba two hundred miles away. He was very well liked and it was a great tribute, but how sad he has gone, he was only 59. What a pity so little of his brush decoration has been seen (and valued). He saw Cardew’s work but his is different. It is so skilful that it is surprising it shows no trace of showmanship, instead it is simple, not the simplicity achieved by minimalism, but by a simplicity of spirit which sings as pure and as natural as a bird's song. Michael Cardew thought him outstanding and so he was.
This obituary was written by Micheal O’Brien for ‘Ceramic Review’, a UK Journal for Potters. 


Friday, May 04, 2012

Job opportunities in Nigeria

My client, School for Startups, is seeking to assemble a local team to support their School for Startups Programme in Nigeria. The project team will include a Programme Director, Programme Coordinator, programme Assistant and 30 Monitors. They will all be based in Nigeria.

School for Startups have been invited by Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria and UK Department for International Development (DFID) to support The Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (You WIN!). The core component of You WIN! is a Business Plan Competition through which 1,200 winners have been selected. The winning entries are a mix of start-ups and existing enterprises that are looking to expand.

School for Startups will run a year long programme for the 1,200 Business Plan Competition winners across six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The programme will include intensive training programme of ‘boot camps’ and e-learning support provided to build business skills. The year long programme will end with an Awards Ceremony in Nigeria.

School for Startups is a leading provider of business training for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Since 2008, School for Startups has trained more than 12,000 entrepreneurs in face to face and online classes. For further information about School for Startups and its programmes is attached.

I would welcome your support in helping me to identify suitable candidates for the post for Programme Director, Programme Co-ordinator, Programme Assistant and Independent Monitors for the programme.

Please find attached brief job description together with project background information. At this stage I would like to gather CV’s of the potential candidates together with their contact details. The full list will be reviewed with School for Startups followed by an interview via Skype or face to face in Nigeria. We hope to make the final appointments by the end of May.

We are working to a tight schedule. I would appreciate if you can please let me have any suggestions by Monday 7th May. We will review all the candidates’ week of 7th May; select and interview week 14th May and appoint by week 21st May.

Parminder Vir


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