Friday, November 30, 2007
Lessons from Juba
Private Sector, Government and Taxation
Barriers to Middle East peace talks (I think I want to write my take on that one, but it may have to wait a bit)
Africa's top 10 economic hotspots
Don't name the teddy bear
Yawn Adua (it's been six months since Yar'Adua came in, and to be honest I agree with quite a lot of what Ijebu man has said, there's been a lot of motion but not much movement. Personally though I still think six months is too early to judge an administration that has a four year tenure...)
For a little bit of fun:
Militants have kidnapped...
In memory of Jaludo
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Something has been bothering me for quite a while, namely the reaction of too many of our people to 'long articles'. I mean, you need to see the comments in a place like NR when someone writes a long story, or puts up something remotely serious for discussion. Compare that to the reaction when the topic is mundane. I've also noticed that trend in the Nigerian blogosphere. When the 'issue' on the table is something sleazy like Overwhelmed Naija Babe's sex post (and its aftermath), we get over a hundred comments, but when it is something that would probably (and likely) contribute meaningfully in opening our minds (example is Chippla's wonderfully written article on the Nigerian population census), the sound of silence is almost deafening.
On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that the vast majority of people are rightly after their entertainment, and that cannot, and will not change, some things need to be talked about. And I indeed get frustrated when something important is on the table, and only the same set of people come to contribute meaningfully, then as is usual you have a few people who muddy the waters by talking about issues not remotely related to the topic on the table (I mean how does the Senate refusing to ratify the handover of Bakassi relate to Biafra?), then most importantly from the majority, silence.
Reminds me of what I read on Kulutempa's blog a few months back, something that sadly rings true...
...but I was the only person around for miles reading anything: a book, a newspaper, a billboard. I suppose people were reading the numbers on their recharge cards before they flung them into the street, but that doesn't count. Nigerians just don't read. As I waited for the driver - I'll call him Gaius - people passed me on the sidewalk, looking quizzically at this woman in the flowing clothes and furry "caterpillars" on her head (I'd twisted my hair), standing and reading under the blazing sun. A group of men walked past me, and one of them said, "You're a girl o!" I responded angrily, "And so what?!" but he refused to answer. I'm still trying to figure out what he meant by that. I'm a girl, so I shouldn't read on the sidewalk?...
While in most cases I believe people read such thinking bloggers as Chippla and go away without commenting, there are some cases that need a reaction, and discussion, such as Funmi Iyanda's post of two weeks ago which I will discuss all too briefly later on in this article. It is my opinion that that particular post is crying for attention, and I would be glad if people actually take the time out, read the speech she linked to, and talk about it. I believe that it is very fundamental to Naija, even today.
There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart's desire. The other is to gain it.
One must spare a thought for poor Gordon Brown. Yesterday's slating in parliament where the British prime minister suffered the indignity of being the butt of the joke of the day. Lib Dem acting leader Vince Cable said to loud laughter from the opposition, and visible embarassment to the Labour back bench, "Mr Brown's remarkable transformation in the last few weeks from Stalin to Mr Bean, creating chaos out of order rather than order out of chaos".
As the writer in that Times article I linked to pointed out, Mr. Brown has always hated the notion of incompetence, only to now be in a position of being labelled as extremely incompetent, and being unable to do anything about it. Since he became Prime Minister, his government has tottered from one crisis to another, in no particular order: he implied that most Brits are idiots (a lot of people would probably agree with that one) when he said that the issue of the EU constitution is too complex for the British public to decide on; his links with the nuclear power lobby (his brother and father-in-law) at the very least taint his green credentials which wasn't helped by the fact that he chose to buy a gas guzzler, his invitation of Meg Thatcher to Number 10 was a gaffe beyond comprehension especially given that till date she is hated by the party he represents; and probably even worse, his election stand down and subsequent 'theft' of Conservative and Lib Dem policies.
I would not even mention the Northern Rock (Northern Wreck according to certain others) scandal, the missing CDs, and the botched donations, since I believe that those were situations beyond the control of his government, and that those harping on that are just trying to make political capital...
Frankly, I have absolutely no ideas of what I would do were I in Mr. Brown's shoes, especially since he doesn't look like a quitter to me. I don't think he would resign. What I do know for certain is that the man had always wanted to be Prime Minister, and now he's gotten his wish big time.
Awo the great
It's been over two weeks since Funmi Iyanda linked to a speech made in 1961 by Obafemi Awolowo. The speech titled Philosophy for an independent Nigeria is a must read as far as I am concerned. It can be found on Dawodu.com. For those of you who may be interested, Dawodu.com and its sister site Dawodu.net are very fine sites (not in terms of interface) which house an extensive library of our history.
Concerning Awo's speech, it is interesting (and sad) to note that a lot of the problems he talked about on 3/9/61 still abound in Nigeria today. The question then should be how do we move forward?
First we have a problem of divided loyalties in Naija. Too many people south of the Niger feel an (all too uncomfortable) affinity to the West, while on the other hand too many people north of the river feel an (all too uncomfortable) affinity to Arabia.
We don't have as many people who are loyal to the concept of Nigeria.
How do we change this?
For me one such answer would be social engineering. But before we can even think of starting that, the educational structure has to be in place. It all boils down to what I have been saying for a long time: the three tiers on which Nigeria can eventually make progress are education, education and education. Infrastructure and a lot of others are actually a distant second.
Like I said a while ago, too many of my more reasonable Muslim brothers and sisters are too complacent. This complacency has allowed extremists in their midst to taint their religion, and that is the reason Gilian Gibbons will get flogged. This situation would have been funny if it weren't so serious.
Personally, I would not condone anyone ridiculing the person of the Prophet (PBUH), same as I would not condone anyone ridiculing the person of Jesus Christ, or Moses, or Confucius, or Mahatma Gandhi. These are men who by their actions shaped the world we live in for better. It is a pity that to a large extent their followers have lost the plot totally.
Flogging someone because a teddy bear was named Mohammed beggars belief. I mean, are we going to have to flog every one who has ever named a child Mohammed? I recommend the following for 40 lashes: King Mohammed of Morocco (or his parents), Mohammed Khatami (or his parents), Mullah Mohammed Omar (or his parents).
I hope for the best for Ms. Gibbons.
Vista makes top 10 worst ever tech products list
CNET is one of the most respected tech reviewers out there, and when their Crave blog published a list of what is or was, in their opinion, the worst consumer tech in history, you have to take note of that list. Vista comes in at number 10, in company with Apple's puck mouse (number 6) and Sony's CD rootkit (number 9). According to Crave: "[Vista's] incompatibility with hardware, its obsessive requirement of human interaction to clear security dialogue box warnings and its abusive use of hated DRM, not to mention its general pointlessness as an upgrade, are just some examples of why this expensive operating system earns the final place in our terrible tech list." That's gotta hurt a little, coinciding as it does with Apple's Don't Give Up On Vista attack ad.
Monday, November 26, 2007
YPops! is an application that provides POP3 access to Yahoo! Mail. It is available on the Linux, Mac, Solaris and Windows platforms.
Yahoo! Mail disabled free access to its POP3 service on 24th April, 2002. This application emulates a POP3 server and enables popular email clients like Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, Mozilla, etc, to download email from Yahoo! accounts.
How do we do it you ask? Well, this application is more like a gateway. It provides a POP3 server interface at one end to talk to email clients and an HTTP client (browser) interface at the other which allows it to talk to Yahoo!Using YPops!
First things first, download the application from here. It is a free software (and I believe it is open source as well since it can be found at Source Forge too).
1. Install YPops application. It will sit on the system tray.
2. Next, you will have to configure Yahoo mail account into your Outlook Express e-mail client.
3. Open your Outlook Express e-mail client. Click on Tools - Accounts. Click the Add button, select Mail from the pop up.
4. In the Display name text box, please type your full name or whatever you would like people to see in the `From' field and click Next.
5. Enter your Yahoo e-mail address and click Next. Select POP3 as `My incoming mail server.'
6. Type `localhost' as your Incoming mail (POP3, IMAP or HTTP) server and type `localhost' as the Outgoing mail (SMTP) server and click Next.
7. In the Account name field, type your full Yahoo! e-mail address (email@example.com). In the Password field, enter your Yahoo! password. If you do not want to type your password every time you check your mail, please tick the Remember password box and click Next. Then click Finish.
8. Now in the Internet Accounts window, click on the new account named localhost and click Properties. Select `Servers' tab and in the bottom tick the checkbox of `My server requires authentication' and click Settings button.
9. Select `Log on using' and enter your Yahoo Mail address as the Account name and your Yahoo Mail password as the password. Next select the `Advanced' tab and increase the Server Timeout to `Long' (5 minutes).
10. Click OK to close. Now you can receive your Yahoo! mails in Outlook. If you would like to receive Yahoo mails separately, either use mail rules to move Yahoo mails to one folder or Add new Identity in Outlook Express and repeat the above procedure on the new account.
One more thing, test system is Windows XP running in a virtual environment under Ubuntu Linux...
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Great result , no one even expected it , I didn't know Juve was that strong or Palermo was so weak...
What else can be said? Did we outclass them, or were they awful? When the game started, I thought our lineup was average, but we showed up and started attacking from the whistle, we had a period of boredom but we got our first goal, Legro headed it down and Trez did the business. And some say he is inconsistent, while he leads the scoring charts for Serie A...
Second goal came at just the right time. We needed something to put us into the break with comfort and to make Claudio's job in the dressing room easier. The second goal was well worked. Camo put in the cross, Vincenzo got to it and showed determination to get to the ball. Most other players would have gone down in hope for a penalty but I liked the way he got up and finished the move. The Criscito/Neddy incident was great, "I'll do the business boy!". Pavel is a tough nut .
Half time came and went. Palermo started off the second half looking for a goal but they seemed to run out of steam with 30 minutes left. In that time it was funny to see Nocerino and Simplico square up looking for a fight, before the giant figure of Amauri came out sorted it out I wouldn't have messed either Rino!
One part of the match stood out to me, and it was to see a defender chasing the ball with Iaquinta behind. Vinny caught him up, used his strength to win the ball and passed it into the area (poorly). This is what we don't get when we start Del Piero. On tired legs I think our captain is more useful. I hope Iaquinta and Mauro didn't get major injuries and that they are fit for next week.
Third goal was immense. Del Piero smugly put a free kick in after being on for a few minutes. He is underrated as he is great at the free kick. Then the best part of my match happened, which was to see Marchionni come on the pitch. This dude has been hampered with injuries for so long and it was awesome to see him play a part in a great game for us. Palermo had a corner which we cleared nicely. The ball was played to Del Piero who had one man in his way, he played a weighted through ball to Marco for his first Serie A goal for us. That was my highlight of the match, by a long distance.
Fifth goal was a soft penalty to be honest. The Palermo defender did not touch Neddy that much. I'll not lie and say I didn't want a penalty out of it, I'm just being honest, but I would have preferred if Neddy took it. Last kick of the game, and Alex hammered them. I loved the dancing Nedveds in the stands also, they were animated.
All in all our play was very wide today and we opened up their defense like a can of beans. Our best performance of the season, against tough opposition. That is encouraging for us fans to see. FORZA JUVE!
Fire it up you pirate-hookers, Serie A is back in town! Fire what up exactly? I’m not sure. Could be cigarettes, an old smelly couch, your ex-girlfriend’s busted-ass weave… whatever your fix, just light the damn thing on fire already. Juventus will be hot on Palermo’s scent come Sunday as your boys in white and black take on those other guys who don’t look nearly as good in pink as we do.
So the international stuff is over and done with for now, and yet again, Juventus’ contribution represented well for team and country. Camoranesi, Iaquinta, Palladino, Buffon, Chiellini, Criscito (U21), Grygera (Czech), and Del Piero (wait what?) were all back at camp Wednesday just in time for an early Thursday afternoon stroll around the grounds (OK OK, no Del Piero but he still tipped his hat. Pure class, kids). This evening's fixture against Palermo is one that I cannot see Ranieri taking lightly at all, as my recipe will explain.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 3 pounds of that parrot on Palermo’s crest, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 3 cups of Bitter Rival Draw
- 3/4 cup of Bloody Horrible Refereeing
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 cup unsifted all-purpose Parmalat flour
- 1/2 cup of Mamma’s tomato sauce
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Let contents soak overnight; next day, preheat oven to 400F. Skewer cubes of meat then broil, turning frequently and Enjoy!
Boy that would taste awful wouldn’t it? In any case, our boys will have to come away with three points here. No easy task. Although we’ve had their number in the past (26-12-5), Palermo is a different team up front this year with that Amaurito Braziliano, and the ex-Juve ‘Mighty Mouse’ Miccoli (who is fortunately for us injured and might miss Sunday’s match). These guys are a huge reason why Palermo sit seventh in the standings and haven’t lost once in almost two months.
But Ranieri must focus our boys into a “no ‘ifs’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’” mentality for this one. Let’s see here… I bet he knows that recently his club has run into some bad luck (if you can call it that) with the refs. Also, I bet he knows it’s imperative that they take this game into their own hands and not let Palermo dictate the pace. Plus for surrrrre he must know the importance of going into the San Siro on a high note for next week’s clash against Milan. Sooooo, a crushing victory for Juventus beyond the shadow of a doubt anyone? How ’bout it Tinkerman??… 3-4-3?? 2-4-4?? 1-6-5??!! all strong possibilities given the multitude of talent here guys (really i no joke).
Alas, a 4-3-3 with Camo, T-Rez, and Iaquinta upfront causing some serious fucking damage probably isn’t in the cards. However, a strong 4-4-2 should do the trick to pull off the victory.
(left to right infront of Gigi)
Attack: Trez–Del Piero
Most notable absentees: Chiellini (who is playing terribly well and deserves his new contract) is disqualified for that red card against Parma, but will return in time for Milan next week. Molinaro, because of a bum foot, might ride the pine. Iaquinta, Palladino, and Nocerino will most likely start from the bench and may only be called upon late if need be; given Ranieri’s probable plans for them in Milan.
Most notable inclusions: Tiago might actually get the start here. With International duty calling upon Camoranesi (who is just too good to leave on the bench no matter what) and Palladino for their midfielding efforts, Tiago (who has been steadily training and keeping his mouth shut) offers Ranieri a solid solution. For one thing, another game under Tiago’s belt would help him reach his potential with Juventus sooner. Secondly, if we are planning to sell the midfielder for perhaps a Diego, let’s say, Secco would be pleased to see Tiago’s stock rise before January… It’s called purchasing power $$$… But boy o’ boy the rumours are tempting for Juventus, aren’t they? Just about every defensive and midfielding option out there is being rumoured to join us, and fuck it’s getting hard not believing the hype!
Two things before I go:
- Check out the first video of Studio Sport’s preview of Juventus-Palermo. There’s a portion of it where Ranieri, I think, is trying to demonstrate some new foreign technique he learned whilst he coached a band of Taiwanese Gypsies (ooops will I get fined for that??)… Now whether the technique is football or ballet is another question entirely. Either way the Tinkerman (or Tinkerbell) is priceless.
- Check out the second video of Chiellini’s flippin’ peach of a goal against Faroe Islands. I think its high time we begin the search for his nickname…‘Giorgione’ just won’t do. If you got a good one that’ll stick, leave it in the comments. The winning entry will be decided by vote once all suggestions are collected and categorised in a later article devoted to this contest. The winner will receive an all expenses paid trip for two to Las Vegas for one week. Just as soon as I straighten out the details with Chiellini’s camp… (let’s hope his agent is his brother or sister for that one).
Predictions: Juventus 3-1 Palermo
27′ T-rez, 45′ Del Piero, 75′ Tiago, 83′ Amauri
IERI… OGGI… DOMANI… SEMPRE JUVE!!!
Stolen from Roberto
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
| Nigeria's Senate (upper house of parliament) on Thursday in Abuja rejected the handing over of the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula and other areas under Nigerian control to Cameroon, declaring the handover was unconstitutional. |
Nigeria ceded the peninsula to Cameroon on August 14, 2006, in consonance with an October 10, 2002 judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
The ICJ based its ruling on a 1913 treaty between former colonial powers Britain and Germany. Cameroon filed its suit on in 1994.
To implement the court's decision, former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo signed the so-called Greentree Agreement with Cameroon's President Paul Biya on June 12, 2006 in the United States.
Adopting a motion moved by Senator Bassey Ewa-Henshaw of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and 21 other senators, the Senate said the transfer of Bakassi to Cameroon under the June 12, 2006 agreement without ratification by parliament was an illegality.
The Senate insisted that the parliamentary ratification was a constitutional requirement, and therefore urged President Umaru Yar'Adua to submit the agreement to parliament for scrutiny without further delay.
The Senate requested the government to stop any further transfer of any part of the peninsula, particularly Abana and Atabong communities, to Cameroon until the agreement was ratified by parliament.
It further urged government to, as a matter of urgency, provide for the immediate rehabilitation and resettlement of the people of the peninsula who had already been displaced from their homes.
'The Senate sympathizes with the people of Bakassi and other parts of Nigeria for the hardship caused them by the unfortunate cession of their ancestral homes to Cameroon,' it said.
In any event, like I said before, the England players have played badly for a long time.
If anyone who has represented England over the course of this qualifying campaign, including the manager looked into their bathroom mirror last night and asked themselves if they did the best according to their abilities that they could to make England qualify, only McLaren can truthfully answer yes.
Unfortunately it wasn't good enough, but at least it was his best. None of the players (except Beckham maybe) have come remotely close...
O well, enough of the international football distraction. It's back to Juvemania and the anticipated destruction of Palermo this weekend. FORZA JUVE!!!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
For me there are two tragic parts to this story: first they didn't even name the boyfriend who caused young Yinka (and she's a fine girl) to be so silly. Second, the parents didn't even approve of the guy, but their daughter was so awe struck that she not only went ahead with the relationship, but has jeopardised all their years of investment, prayers and agonising over her performance in school.
Lord, may I not be a source of shame to my parents, and may my own children not be a source of shame to me. Amen.
In the end though, I do feel some sympathy for the girl. I know precisely how it feels when you are smitten by someone and believe that you are truly in love. There is this feeling within you that you belong entirely to that person for the person to do whatever he (in my case it is a she) will. Under such conditions reason takes total flight and you become a moron when the issue concerns that person, without the ability to think and with the ability to do incredibly stupid things. It is just her misfortune that she got smitten with someone who is so obviously wrong, because my opinion is this: if the guy could pressure her into doing something so silly so as to jeopardise her future, then he wasn't truly in love with her, but just using her to better himself.
I wish her all the best for the future when she comes out of nga.
Is it just me, or is something extraordinarily mental happening in this country (United Kingdom)? I mean, how in the name of all that is good and holy could a disk of such importance go missing?
For those who do not know, a couple of disks containing the benefit records of every family that has a child under the age of 16 in the UK were sent out by courier, and failed to arrive at the final destination. The disks contain records such as NI numbers, names, addresses, dates of birth, spouse (they call it partner here) details, names, sex and age of children, and wait for it... bank account details!
For those who are already blaming the Chancellor for what happened, I think they are just trying to score cheap political points. However this Alistair Darling fellow seems to be an unlucky chap. First Northern Rock, then this...
My addiction is back
I spent a sizeable chunk of last night doing this:
Yes, I am an undercover Liverpool fan, though in my estimation they will never match up to il Bianconeri le zebre...
Ever since I successfully got FM to play natively under Linux (and it runs faster in a Linux environment than in Window$), I have gotten rid of my VMware install (and saved quite some disk space), and do not touch Windows at home anymore. But better still, I have regained my addiction to the game that has made widows of wives, broken countless relationships, lost many a job and made many a martyr. If you think crack is addictive, then you haven't played that game. And I advice you, don't try it!
P.S: I've got my grubby hands on the 2008 version, but I ain't installing anytime soon. I'm on the verge of winning a treble...
Monday, November 19, 2007
Well aside from the fact that environmentally it is quite cold (and wet), it was hot for yours truly at the warehouse of my (soon-to-be-ex) office this morning as C and D, the Aussie noise makers brought a rope with which Chxta is meant to hang himself for daring to challenge the mighty Socceroos to a duel. Let them have their fun. No b d yeye Eagles wey put man pikin for this kyn hai jump?
Meanwhile Vogts is on collision course with the Premiership clubs who think that the Nations Cup is a tea party...
Taking things too far
The earliest episodes of Sesame Street are being made available on DVD, but the New York Times notes Volumes 1 and 2 carry a rather strange warning: 'These early 'Sesame Street' episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's preschool child.'
So why are they unsuitable for kids in 2007? Well, in the parody Monsterpiece Theater, Alistair Cookie — played by Cookie Monster — used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. 'That modelled the wrong behaviour,' explained a Sesame Street executive producer, adding that 'we might not be able to create a character like Oscar the Grouch now.'
Bobs na wa o. Isn't this whole kini of what kids can and can't watch getting a little too (I've run out of words to use)? This in a society where it is easy for kids to access porn...
So they killed 785 people in three months. And Okiro is proud. Well, I frankly do not know what to say about it, because I won't be saying anything new. Extra judicial killings are like routine for the NPF, and yours truly has had a gun pointed at him on no less than three occasions, including one in Itire where I ended up in a cell simply because I had the effrontery to inform the geezer holding the lugger that my mum is a lawyer.
While we are marking this milestone of 785 people killed (and I accept that some of them were indeed men of the underworld, I've had those point guns at me before as well), we must also remember victims of extra judicial killings by the criminals in black. The majority of whom have yet to find justice. The people who most readily come to mind here are Augustina Arebum, Ekene Isaac, Chinedu Meniru, Tony Nwokike, Paul Ogbonna and Ifeanyi Ozor, more popularly known as the Apo Six, victims of the Nigerian Police Force on that infamous night back in June 2005. Up until now the perpetrators of the crime have yet to be brought to book. We should also spare a prayer for the many young men who have been killed by the Special Anti Robbery Squad in Benin, a lot of whom were unfortunate to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
May they rest in peace.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
From the article: "The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is migrating off a 1,600 millions of instructions per second (MIPS) mainframe to IBM System p servers running AIX and x86 Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) servers running Linux, with the first part of the move going live today."
Check out the full article here
This is a smart move from the NYSE who will save a lot of money by taking this step. I also think it's a great boon for Linux and shows how far the operating system has come in the last 10 years. I have to say though I'm surprised they didn't consider forking out a fortune to Microsoft for a Windows NT based system instead
We play Australia (Naija that is) in a football friendly, and the way all the Aussies in the warehouse of my soon-to-be-ex firm have been carrying on all week, I say that we kick their convict butts back to where they come from. This is going to be anything but friendly.
Keeping your house clean
The guy in the videos works in my (soon-to-be-ex) office. Damn!!!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
...and while the gas flaring is the fault of the oil companies, let's be frank, there is some (though it is half-hearted at the moment) effort to reduce it, and hopefully stop it in the near future...
A dear friend of mine had this to say in response:
Nice piece, but I'd like to correct the statement you make about oil companies doing a half hearted effort to stop gas flaring.
See, we've got two kinds of gas coming from down below; Associated Gas (AG) and Non Associated Gas (NAG). in simple terms, AG is the gas that comes out when oil is extracted, NAG comes purely from gas reserves alone (these are layman's definitions o!).
anyway, the gas being flared is 99% AG, cos no one would want to tap and produce a purely gas reservoir just to burn it up. Nigeria has an OPEC quota to meet, and major oil companies have to keep producing oil to meet that quota and make cash for themselves! Our increased production translates into cash for Nigeria, which means 13% derivation gets bigger bla bla bla.
There's no way to prevent the production of some quantity of Gas with oil, except we cease production altogether. and we can't do that, can we? so we have to find a way to handle this gas.
Nigeria's civil infrastructure is so poorly planned, no one saw fit to provide underground Gas mains and pipes, so we can't process and distribute this gas to every household. Many people don't even use cooking gas anymore. The gas power plants can only take so much gas, NLNG gets all the reliable gas supply from purely gas wells, and this has to be because there are contracts signed years ahead for the stable supply of gas to the LNG plant. besides, the plant has a finite capacity and can only take so much. Even if the gas could be piped, many producing locations are so far away that building pipelines to convey the gas would be an immense financial and engineering task. add that to the problem of getting permission to route pipelines through communities without being beaten/extorted. pipeline harvesting and vandalism are also rife.
so we have lots of gas being produced without any means of disposing of them. it would be unthinkable to vent these gases in the atmosphere so we just have to destroy it by trying for complete combustion of the gases through flaring. hence the numerous gas flares.
the federal government has given a 'flares down' target to the oil companies, and they are struggling to comply in time. Power plants are being built to consume some more gas, pipelines are being built to route and gather the produced gas, the capacity of the NLNG plant is being increased, and more and being built to handle more and more. But this isn't enough yet. we need more consumption of the gas in nigeria. meanwhile, millitants attack and community troubles delay the implementation of many of these projects and vandals disrupt pipelines. the vandalisation of the gas pipeline supplying the Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) meant that more gas still remains unconsumed and must be flared. service companies are afraid to go to work inthe niger delta for fear of kidnapping.
Through it all, the Nigerian government remains pristine, the nigerian people remain unstained by these failings, preferring instead to point accusing fingers at the major players inthe oil and gas industry. If we vandalised less, threatened less and even heckle the federal government to do more to promote local gas consumption, we'd be better off. at least Shell has taken over the Afam power station and is improving and expanding it to consume more gas and produce more electricity for Nigerian consumers. In the PR war, the federal government constantly blames the oil companies, coming out cleaner than clean. it's a joint venture and the federal government always is tardy to play its part.
Meanwhile, the hunt for new oil continues, and invariably with the oil, some dissolved gas is liberated,increasin g the problem. The federal, state and local government (and even the niger delta) benefits greatly from this windfall. but the gas becomes a problem for the oil Majors.
That's Nigeria for you. Vintage Nigeria!
At the end of the day all that is blah blah. The truth (as far as I am concerned anyway) remains this: targets were set as far back as 2003. Shell itself proposed a 2007 date to end gas flaring. They were given up until 2008. So why the fuck are they asking for the date to be shifted even further now?
This particular case is one of many that will determine how seriously the world will take us in future.
By the way, why hasn't Adaure spoken more on this issue?
Define irony? The US went into Iraq to root out chemical weapons. Four years later, they haven't found any Iraqi chemical weapons, but reports are beginning to emerge that there are American chemical weapons in Iraq!
So I've waited two months for CNN to let us know that Alan Greenspan actually admitted that the Iraq war was all about oil. I've waited in vain and my patience has run out. Not that I'm going to enter into a long running commentary on that. No, the reason I'm pointing it out is for those who still think that the whole Africom shabazz which we talked about earlier is for altruistic motives. Sorry to burst your bubble guys, it is not.
In the meantime, while I am not exactly a believer in conspiracy theories, some things are too much of a coincidence not to notice. For example the site Wiki Leaks appears to have gone offline, this after publishing a story that claims that the US military has been caught with chemical weapons in Iraq! If that story is true it would be..! Concerning the issue of coincidence, does anyone remember what happened back in 2003 when Al-Jazeera broadcast images of American soldiers captured by the Iraqis? Yes sir, their site went offline.
While on the one hand I would stop just short of believing that the Americans would be foolish enough to take chemical weapons into Iraq (I'll believe it when both Xinhua and Al-Jazeera report it), I want to point out that coincidences like this one (or these examples I've given) tend to fuel conspiracy theories, and it is getting even more difficult to defend the current American government. Not that the job was an easy one in the first place. By the way, if you are interested in reading the story about the chemical weapons in Iraq, you can find it here, and that is before that site takes a holiday as well...
There is a simple reason why at the moment, I refuse to contemplate myself remaining in the UK (or England at least) beyond the London Olympics. There is this rather silly tendency to blame each and everything that goes wrong on foreigners like myself (I don't consider myself an immigrant just yet).
The most recent manifestation of that stupidity is when they are beginning to blame their current footballing woes on the number of foreign players in their league. What is even worse noise is that fact that someone like Steve Gerrard (who should know better) has added his voice to this ridiculous song.
For me it all boils down to this mistaken notion that England is a footballing super power, a notion fuelled by media hype, something they are so good at. Self deceit I've learnt the hard way is a sure recipe for disaster. England is not a football super power. For crying out loud, with the exception of one very debatable World Cup win, what have they ever achieved in international football? Remove 1966, and even Nigeria and Cameroon (yuck!) have better international records than the English.
It is absolutely ridiculous to argue that the number of foreign football players is the reason that England haven't won a major tournament for so many years. Just because its looking unlikely that England will qualify for the European Championships, they are looking for any reason to explain their poor qualification campaign, even if that reason is incredibly daft. England's national team problems have sod all to do with the number of foreign players playing in the Premiership, the problem is solely down to the lack of good, strong management. Personally I would seriously contemplate the benefits of suicide (car bomb at NFA HQ) if the NFA appoints as Nigeria coach someone who just lost 0-4 in a major final, and what made that loss even worse was the tame way in which Second-choice Steve's (thanks Fiver) team surrendered to Sevilla in that final.
As individuals England have plenty of quality players in their squad, certainly good enough to have already qualified for Euro 2008 - why are they not performing as a team? I think it is because of a lack of a proper manager to manage the team, and the fact that the expectations are way higher than what the players can actually deliver, then couple that with this unbelievable arrogance exhibited whenever they take to the field.
There can be no arguments that foreign players playing (or who have played) in the Premiership have actually helped to improve the quality of English players, and the league itself. In an ideal world there would be a balance of home grown and foreign players, but transfer fees for English players are already overinflated. Just look at Darren Bent in Spurs. How in the name of all that is good and holy did that guy command a transfer fee of £16 million ($32 million!) - and any new ruling would only serve to further inflate them. Alternatively it will become increasingly common for clubs to race to sign kids of 10 years of age, which will raise another issue altogether.
I still have a lot to say, but I have to go get ready for work.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
For the sake of clarity:
Bal·kan·ize /ˈbɔlkəˌnaɪz/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[bawl-kuh-nahyz] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object), -ized, -iz·ing.
1. to divide (a country, territory, etc.) into small, quarrelsome, ineffectual states.
2. (often lowercase) to divide (groups, areas, etc.) into contending and usually ineffectual factions: a movement to balkanize minority voters.
For those of you who missed Sunday's great game, the highlights are here...
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Unnamed Soldier: But surely Caesar must go to Rome and let the people see him in this his greatest of triumphs.
Caesar: Triumph? Over what? Over whom? Canidius, how soon can Anthony begin to head back to Rome?
Canidius: Anytime Caesar wishes.
Caesar: Then immediately. And when he gets to Rome, there is to be no question of his authority to act in my name.
Canidius: Anthony's word will be yours Caesar, and as always Caesar's word will be law.
Caesar: When Anthony gets to Rome, remind him to keep his legions intact. They make the law legal.
The above dialogue is from the 1963 movie Cleopatra, a movie which in my opinion is one of the best movies ever made. They simply don't make movies like those any longer. Sad state of affairs really...
In the last few days there has been a lot of trouble in Pakistan. The story methinks is well known, and I have neither the time nor the energy to delve into it. I just want to point out that General Musharraf has suspended the constitution of his country, and is as we speak taking on the legal system of his country simply because they appear to oppose his attempts to elongate his rule by any means possible. Aside from the token noises, the powers that be in the International Committee of Nations has just stood by and watched. Can we compare this with the reaction to Saddam Hussein?
Indeed it should be clear to all but the least discerning minds that promoting democracy comes a distant second to promoting self interest as far as the U.S government is concerned, and Dr. Ms. Rice would continue to simply be 'deeply disturbed' by the events in Pakistan, while those on the ground would be beaten to submission. I don't think there will be any elections in January. If in the event that they do hold, General Musharraf would metamorphose to Mr. Musharraf, and would continue to be an important ally in the 'war on terror', one of whose targets is the democratically elected government of the Islamic Republic of Iran!
My main fear from all this is that there are/may be some army officers in countries such as Naija who are watching the situation with keen interest, and learning that 'valuable' lesson that provided they are on the good side of the Western powers, that it is okay to be very undemocratic. Indeed, this blatant self interest by the powers that be actually helps more than any other force to prop up some of the most undemocratic institutions that have ever straddled the plane in some of the less developed parts of the world, and the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko immediately springs to mind, as does the current monarchy in Saudi Arabia. Double standards is indeed the way to go in the promotion of the 'strategic energy interests of America'.
These double standards bring us to the main topic of concern, AfriCom.
The United States Africa Command is to be responsible for U.S. military operations in and military relations with 53 African nations - except Egypt who are being grouped with the Middle East - and it is meant to be fully operational by September 2008.
The first commander of Africom, General Ward recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Africom would first seek "African solutions to African problems." This makes Africom sound like a magnanimous effort by the United States for the good of Africans, since we are incapable of solving our own problems. Permit me to say that this is horse shit.
As far as I am concerned, Africom is a dangerous continuation of US military expansion around the world. I do not understand how permanently stationing American troops in African countries would help protect American security, which should be the concern of the American military.
This militarization of Africa is rationalized by no less a persona than Mr. Bush(!) who claims that "Africom will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote the goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth". What he forgot to mention is that securing and controlling African natural resources such as the oil from Nigeria, Angola and Sao Tome is vital to US trade interests, especially given the growing competition from China. The major multinationals are beginning to increasingly rely on Africa for oil, given the instability in the MidEast which according to Rt. Gen. John Abizaid, may last for at least half a century! Nigeria and Angola alone currently provide up to 15% of America's crude oil imports, and that figure is expected to rise to 25 % by 2015.
That is the real reason for setting up Africom. No one should be deceived about the sudden 'magnanimity'.
On the face of it, a strong military presence in Africa may appear to be the way to go in bringing about stability to the continent, and one thing I know for certain is that the sudden interest in African resources has led to so many multinationals coming in, which in turn has led to a slight improvement in our hithero very bad methods of doing business (although their own methods of dealing with our governments encourages a lot of corruption), but more importantly, their entry into the African (read Nigerian) market place has led to improved employment opportunities for a lot of our youths.
However we must take into account our own history, and the history of US military involvement in Africa. The mix has been terrible. During the cold war, African countries were used as pawns in post-colonial proxy wars in order to counter Soviet expansion. The preferred method of countering the Soviets was to sponsor and then prop up some of the most repressive dictators the continent has ever known. I mentioned Mobutu earlier. It was American and Belgian agents that killed Patrice Lumumba, an elected Prime Minister, simply because his political leanings were distinctly non-capitalist. It is unarguable that the Congo has never recovered from the resultant conflict, and this is a country that is so resource rich it makes even Nigeria's claim of natural resources look like a child's empty boast! Washington has backed monsters such as Savimbi and Sam Doe.
The experience of American intervention (or lack of it) in African affairs had a devastating impact on African democracy, peace and development. Washington tacitly backed the apartheid regime in South Africa until it became politically inconvenient to do so. This rather 'proud' history also includes cases of looking the other way while atrocities were being committed because it was deemed not to be in American national interest to intervene. Cases that immediately come to mind are Nigeria (1966-70), Ethiopia-Eritrea (1961-1991), Chad (1965-1993), Namibia (1966-1988), Mozambique (1977-2002), Idi Amin, Rwanda (1994), Liberia (1989-1996), Sierra Leone (1991-2002) and the ongoing slaughter in Darfur! I think that an increased US military presence in Africa will likely follow a pattern of extracting resources while playing God. There will be the divide and rule thing, where factions would be set one against the other, and the result would be further destabilization of the region.
We must also keep in mind that we have shown before that we are capable of sorting ourselves out, and that despite the propaganda you see on CNN and the BBC, it was Nigeria that ended the wars in both Liberia and Sierra Leone, a situation which in 1996 led a bemused Larry King to say that, "Nigeria is a funny country, they export what they don't have (democracy) and import what they have (oil)."
It is the opinion of this writer that if America really wishes the 'helpless' people of Africa well, there are better ways to go about it than militaristic expansionism. Fairer trade policies as opposed to protectionism for American manufacturers is one such way to go in my view. We must also be mindful that the two most powerful and influential sub-Saharan African countries, Nigeria and South Africa have made it clear that they are against the whole Africom parade. The question that should then come from that is this: if both countries which are potentially invaluable allies are against it, then why go ahead with it?
That brings me back to Julius Caesar's dialogue with Canidius: the presence of the army makes the law legal. The presence of American troops on some other country's soil would dramatically increase American influence in that country. America has an empire of bases around the world at the moment. Of all the countries in the world, there are only 46 that do not have a permanent (or semi permanent) American military presence, and most of these are in Africa. If American troops are permanently stationed on African soil, we won't just be under their influence, we would like Britain and the Western Europeans find ourselves in a situation where we are forced to do their bidding.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
1) I am dead frightened of failure. I used to be rather overconfident as a child, and I never failed an exam until my first year in UNIBEN. After that baptism of fire, my confidence took a rather nasty hit, and I've never fully recovered. Whenever I am embarking on a major project (exams included), I agonise and agonise until the results are out.
2) I am a rather poor judge of character, and as a result I am constantly re-evaluating people I am in contact with. To be honest, it is rather unfair to my closest friends, but I can't help it. I think it has put a strain on not one of my human relationships.
3) I have this tendency to keep wondering what could have been, even things that have long since passed. Case point is that up until now, whenever I see soldiers, I always wonder what could have been had I decided to follow my heart when my mum wailed that 'nne nwulu soja a nwuro nwa'. To be honest sometimes I regret obeying my parents. The star of the class should become a Major soon. Kefi I hail o...
4) I often find myself questioning what the priest is saying in church, it is even worse on the few occasions I go to Pentecostal Churches (most of their pastors are dimwits). The honest truth is that Christianity is a damned difficult religion to contemplate. How in the name of all that is good and holy did that fellow stand up three days after being put through one of the most brutal punishments ever dreamed up by men?
5) I love to listen to what others have to say. I learned rather early that most of the conflicts human beings have ever gone through are simply because one or both parties failed to listen to the other. After what I saw in Sierra Leone, I believe that conflict should never be an option on the table in any situation at all, and in a situation where conflict does arise, there should be no diplomatic settlement at all, but the conflict should go on until one party is totally destroyed. That way there will be never be any conflict again between both parties...
6) Handling a long distance relationship has been about the most difficult thing I've ever done.
7) Of all the people in all the countries in all the world, there is only one person I'm scared of disappointing. And no, I won't tell you who that person is.
I'd like to see what the following people would say:
Monday, November 05, 2007
For those from Naija who appreciate good writing, we just lost a national treasure.
I was informed this morning that Chief Cyprian Ekwensi passed away last night. He had been sick for a wee while now.
Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi was born at Minna, Nigeria on September 26, 1921. He later lived in Onitsha. He was educated at Achimota College, in the Gold Coast, and at the Chelsea School of Pharmacy of London University. He lectured in pharmacy at Lagos and was employed as a pharmacist by the Nigerian Medical Corporation. Ekwensi married Eunice Anyiwo, and they had five children.
After favourable reception of his early writing, he joined the Nigerian Ministry for Information and had risen to be the director of that agency by the time of the first military coup in 1966. After the continuing disturbances in the Western and Northern regions in the summer of 1966, Ekwensi gave up his position and relocated his family at Enugu. He became chair of the Bureau for External Publicity in Biafra and an adviser to the head of state, Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Ekwensi began his writing career as a pamphleteer, and this perhaps explains the episodic nature of his novels. This tendency is well illustrated by People of the City (1954), in which Ekwensi gave a vibrant portrait of life in a West African city. It was the first major novel to be published by a Nigerian. Two novellas for children appeared in 1960; both and The Drummer BoyThe Passport of Mallam Ilia were exercises in blending traditional themes with undisguised romanticism.
Ekwensi's most widely read novel, Jagua Nana, appeared in 1961. It was a return to the locale of People of the City but boasted a much more cohesive plot centred on the character of Jagua, a courtesan who had a love for the expensive. Even her name was a corruption of the expensive English auto. Her life personalized the conflict between the old traditional and modern urban Africa. Ekwensi published a sequel in 1987 titled Jagua Nana's Daughter.
Burning Grass (1961) is basically a collection of vignettes concerning a Fulani family. Its major contribution is the insight it presents into the life of this pastoral people. Ekwensi based the novel and the characters on a real family with whom he had previously lived. Between 1961 and 1966 Ekwensi published at least one major work every year. The most important of these were the novels, Beautiful Feathers (1963) and Iska (1966), and two collections of short stories, Rainmaker (1965) and Lokotown (1966). Ekwensi continued to publish beyond the 1960s, and among his later works are the novel Divided We Stand (1980), the novella (1980), and Motherless BabyThe Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), and Gone to Mecca (1991).
Ekwensi also published a number works for children. Under the name C. O. D. Ekwensi, he released Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales (1947) and The Leopard's Claw (1950). In the 1960s, he wrote An African Night's Entertainment (1962), The Great Elephant-Bird (1965), and Trouble in Form Six (1966). Ekwensi's later works for children include (1971), Coal Camp BoySamankwe in the Strange Forest (1973), Samankwe and the Highway Robbers (1975), Masquerade Time! (1992), and King Forever! (1992).
In recognition of his skills as a writer, Ekwensi was awarded the Dag Hammarskjold International Prize for Literary Merit in 1969.
May he rest in peace.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Full time scores: 1-1. Keeps us within touching distance of them at the top of the table, and I'm more than content with it. I must mention both Gigi (again) and Chiellini. Giorgio took cowface out of the game. It was a joy to behold.
Buffon 8 (kept us in the game more than once. That guy needs a cape)
Grygera 4 (couldn't keep up with the pace of Maicon, then Suazo)
Legrottaglie 5 (his mistake on the offside trap led to their goal)
Chiellini 8.5 (kept cowface, Ibrahimovic to some of you, out of the game. Was a joy to watch. Giorgio for president!)
Molinaro 6 (his inexperience showed. Figo had a nice time, but because of his age couldn't bully the boy)
Nocerino 6.5 (inexperienced as well, too much passion. Leave that to the fans. Collected an unnecessary yellow, but had a decent game in the middle of the park)
Zanetti 7 (helped Nocerino. His presence made sure they didn't dominate the middle. Deprived cowface of vital service)
Palladino 6 (ran his legs off. A star of the future)
Nedved 5 (disappointed. I never dreamt I'd live to see the day I'd be glad to see him hauled off the pitch. Unnecessary booking)
Del Piero 5.5 (started brightly, faded out. His age showed)
Trezeguet 5 (scoffed the clear chance he had. Almost invisible)
Iaquinta 6.5 (injected needed pace to our forward line when he came on. Showed a lot of passion even though he wasn't part of the Juve setup that Inter shafted)
Camoranesi 7.5 (combined well with Iaquinta. Took his goal to perfection)
Zebina 6 (did well. I was scared when he came on, but he kept his famous temper in check).
1- Why are our first halves always so bad? Terrible against Empoli, shaky at least today... We wake up in the second half but it was too late this time.
2- If we need to invest on players, it's on fullbacks. We all hold our breath when then ball comes close to Molinaro, Grygera, Zebina and Birindelli. They are not good enough! Inter had Chivu and Maicon, we had Grygera and Molinaro. That was the greatest difference between these teams tonight.
3- Camo. I am so happy for him that he scored, he showed something we lacked, passion, speed, creativity.
4- Gigi. Another . Saved our arses twice, maybe thrice. Best Keeper in the world. If Inter had him it would be 0-3
5- Palladino and Giorgio: pure, home made talent. I hope they keep it up, these kids can make it to become Juve legends. Giorgio is already our main defender, a rock! Raffaele proved he can be great on both right and left.
6- Many people (me included) criticized the offside trap we had (mainly 1st half) and which cost us the goal. I think Ranieri trained the trap a lot (and it worked well), but it wasn't the plan to use it all the time. It was bound to fail just once, and Cruz made use of that one failure. In the second half we used it less, I think Ranieri said that straight in the locker room.
Still, Inter were the better team. And I am happy with a point.
Great match overall. Beautiful showcase for the Serie A.