Saturday, July 31, 2010

Naija - We need a Plan

On 28 July, 2010, the commissioning of a bridge in Ota resulted in a fracas between the Ogun State Governor (Daniels), the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Bankole) and the Minister of Works (Daggash). These are our "leaders", charged with the running of Nigeria Plc - our own particular breed of leaders I should say. This is only the latest in a series of humiliating incidents that the media have been good enough to share with us. Who can forget the fights that broke out in the House of Reps when some tried to move a motion to proble corruption.

So, what to do about this crop of gangsters that pretend to be our government? Well, replace them of course. But how?

Many are understandably wary of the political system due to its immense corruption and perhaps, more importantly, the corruptibility of the system in respect of even well-intentioned people who choose to participate. Whereas, others insist that we must participate in it to be able to change it. But how? With a plan.

To arrive at the type of nation we so desire in our lifetimes (as opposed to some indeterminate time in the distant future where as you know, all things move in a cycle anyway), I'm of the view that there MUST be a plan, it must be credible, there must be a small core no of people to make it happen & act as guardians of the plan. The idea that "good" people should all join rotten political parties and effect slow, incremental changes is not credible. It requires too many good people to behave unselfishly over a long period of time & to do so in an uncoordinated fashion - basically, it relies on the coming together of an unrealistic set of variables for it to be successful. People are conditioned to be super-selfish & to basically not give a shit about anything or anyone else. And those that may be willing to do something are effectively discouraged when they see the "no good deed goes unpunished" syndrome that permeates our public life (examples: suspension from the House of Reps because u want to see theft & corruption probed, see what happened to Ribadu, Akunyili, Soludo & Okonjo-Iweala) etc. We (me, you & others) need to come together as a small group of people & let us be the ones to come up with a 10yr plan to make this revolution happen. The revolution must be sharp & fast & must involve a big bang. People are naturally followers when they see leadership of any sort - whether good or bad leadership, people follow - so I know once we make a big bang, ppl will fall in line & help to actualise the (yes, you got it) PLAN.

If you're interested in establishing something, hit me up.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

BBC Documentaries on Lagos/Nigeria

(I have my friend Parakeet to thank for inspiring me to bother to write down my feelings about this...)

The BBC seems to be taking an unlikely interest in Nigeria lately. It has aired two programmes recently titled: "Welcome to Lagos" and "The New Kings of Nigeria". Both were seemingly uninformed, dishonest, misleading and condescending re both titling and content.

The problem with the BBC, CNN, Sky News, UK, the Western world generally is what Chimamanda Adichie referred to as the "single story" which, to my mind, translates into the arrogant and willful reduction of a complex set of events into a single (and often incorrect) notion. Welcome to Lagos was obviously an errorneous and grandiose title for a scripted look at a remote aspect of Lagos life. In fact, a look at the traffic jams in Lagos would have been more representative. There was a scene in this nonsensical programme where the narrator talks about the chronic electricity issues but unfortunately for him the lights were on, so he just faded the picture and switched to the following day!

Similarly, the New Kings of Nigeria was grossly misleading. I wanted to watch the programme because i thought it was going to be about the new, emerging middle class of entrepreneurs, self-made young people and professionals making it happen in Lagos against all the odds but instead got an idiotic portrayal of an insignificant Nigerian.

I don't actually mind the characters/people shown on both can identify or empathize with most of them...its the BBC i have an issue with. You won't find the BBC doing programmes on Soyinka, Gani, Emeagwali or Fashola or even on the atrocities of Shell & Western pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria and other African countries nor on the part that the British establishment continues to play in the intentional underdevelopment of Nigeria and other places on earth! Neither will you find programmes on the ongoing Eko Atlantic City project (see video here) on the BBC!!!

Anyway, the BBC is a state-owned and state-controlled TV channel so can't expect too much from it. We have to tell our own stories and choose/work to improve our collective situation.