Monday, March 22, 2010

Why should I vote?

...brought to you by One Vote Nigeria

Voting is voluntary, and the chance that the result will be determined by any single person's vote is extremely low, even the smallest cost for example, the time it takes to stroll down to the polling place, wait in line, and cast a ballot is sufficient to make voting seem irrational. Yet if I follow this line of reasoning, and do not vote, a minority of the population can determine a country's future, leaving a discontented majority.

If I don't want a small minority to determine our government, I will favour a high turnout. Yet since my own vote makes such a tiny contribution to the outcome, I still face the temptation to get a free ride, not bothering to vote while hoping that enough other people will vote to keep democracy robust and to elect a government that is responsive to the views of a majority of citizens.

But there are many possible reasons for voting. Maybe because I will enjoy it, and would have nothing better to do with the time saved if I did not. Others people might be motivated by a sense of civic duty that does not assess the rationality of voting in terms of the possible impact of one's own ballot.

Still others might vote not because they imagine that they will determine the outcome of the election, but because, like football fans, they want to cheer their team on. They may vote because if they don't, they will be in no position to complain if they don't like the government that is elected. Or they may calculate that while the chances of their determining the outcome are only one in several million, the result is of such importance that even that tiny chance is enough to outweigh the minor inconveniences of voting.

I will vote. Will YOU?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The fight

I live in a rented flat in a suburb of Lagos. There are four flats in the building, ample parking space for all of us, and a borehole for water. There is also one pump to supply the water to all of us. Yesterday morning, the pump stopped working.

Today, I woke up to hear insults being hurled across my ears. Stepping outside, I saw the wives of my neighbours abusing themselves while their husbands stood behind them. What was the problem?

M's wife said that S's daughter spoiled the water pump. Mrs. S did not take kindly to that accusation and let Mrs. M have a not too clean piece of her mind. Of course Mrs. M was not going to take it lying down, so things deteriorated very quickly. What was most interesting to me was that both couples were all dressed up for church, and The S kids were watching their mother use some language that would make a sailor blush. It appears that the Ms have no kids. Anyway, none that I have noticed.

I would like to see Mrs. S take the moral high ground in a few weeks when her little girl uses some choice language to describe something, but that is besides the point...

The point for me is that this morning's show highlighted one of the problems that we have in Naija. We tend too often to forget about the real issues and subjects and instead turn our attention to less important things such as persons and objects.

Take for example this little drama - maybe Mrs. S's daughter did spoil the pump by turning it on and off once too often especially given that the current is low on occasion. But would trading blame solve the problem? No. Why not sit down and find a solution, such as fixing the pump, then isolating it from the power line, connecting it to M's generator, and letting M pump the water. That way M's concern that the pump gets spoiled once too often (first time since I moved in) would be addressed, and we would still have water. At the moment, there is no water, and that is not fun.

There are so many other examples I can think of, but at the moment, I'm off to appear on TV.

Rubbin' minds on Channels TV at 1500 is going to discuss the enough is enough rally, and how we can secure our future. Ciao.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Amina and Lola

brought to you courtesy OneVoteNigeria

Amina, a twenty-five year old single mum was driving her six-year-old son, Ahmed, to school.

They were late, and Amina was beginning to think she should have canceled school today. There was always so much to do, and Amina, a night-duty nurse at Maitama hospital, had recently worked extra shifts.

She was tired. The rain was intense which added to her tension and she began to think of turning back.

"Mum!" Ahmed cried. "Look!" Just ahead, a car had lost control. As Amina hit the brakes, the other car spun wildly rolled over, then crashed sideways into a street light pole.

Amina pulled over and threw open her door. Thank goodness she was a nurse - she might be able to help these unfortunate passengers.

Then she paused. What about Ahmed? She couldn't take him with her. Little boys shouldn't see scenes like the one she anticipated. But was it safe to leave him alone? What if their car were hit from behind?

For a brief moment Amina considered going on her way. Someone else was sure to come along. No! "Ahmed, honey, promise me you'll stay in the car!"

"I will, Mummy," he said as she ran, slipping and sliding toward the crash site. It was worse than she'd feared. Two girls of university age are in the car. One, Amara, the light skinned on the passenger side, was dead, killed on impact.

The driver, Lola, however was still breathing. She was unconscious and pinned in the wreckage. Amina quickly applied pressure to the wound in the teenager's head while her practiced eye cataloged the other injuries. A broken leg, maybe two, along with probable internal bleeding. But if help came soon, the girl would live.

Amina managed to get her to her own car, and she drove faster than she had ever driven to Wuse General Hospital. Her practice told her that Lola was bleeding internally and needed immediate surgery.

On the way to the theatre however, power went out and though the hospital had a generator, there was no diesel because of the scarcity. The doctors did all that they could to get Lola to hold on for but power was never restored. Lola died.

This is Nigeria.

Our President, Governors, Senators, House of Rep members and even Local Government Chairmen all go abroad for the least medical consultation. They run their homes on generators; they are not accountable to us because we did not take part in the process that brought them to power.

I must VOTE this time, I could have saved Lola if I voted the last time. You too must vote.

#enoughisenough

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

One vote

Please register to vote. Even if the election is rigged, you have to go out and vote. You would have no moral right to complain if evil geniuses are elected to power when you could not exercise your civic duties. The power of change is in your hands. The burden is on you. Evil prevails when good people do nothing.

What is the power of a vote?


That is a question that not too many people in Nigeria have bothered to ask. So many Nigerians see going out to vote as an exercise in futility. Imagine standing out in the sun for hours with, then you may not even vote, or your vote would be used for other purposes. I have heard people say outright that standing in the sun with “standing in the sun with local people is yuck”.


The mentality about elections in these parts especially amongst the middle class is ambivalent at best, and hostile at worst. And we have paid a heavy price for this attitude.


A few months ago I wrote an article for NEXT about godfatherism in Nigerian politics and its effects on the things that affect our day to day lives, no light, bad infrastructure, long and persistent fuel queues. Then we had a test case of what is to come in the next year. Last month, the people of Anambra state stood up to be counted, and in the process set a shining example for the rest of the country.


This is not to say that rigging did not occur during the Anambra elections of 6 February, it did in parts, but the truth is this: the candidate who won was for better or worse the choice of most of the voters.


How did they do it?


In Isuofia as an example, people came out and when it appeared that INEC wanted to pull a fast one by saying there were no names in the voters' register, the people insisted that before the INEC officials left the place, that the elections there be officially declared null and void. You might say that they did not vote, but you are wrong. They voted. They voted to ensure that their votes were not stolen. And that in itself is a major victory. What would have happened in previous elections is that after they had left thinking that their names were not in the voters' register, the INEC officials would have gone and sold their votes to the highest bidder, then when the results were collated, they'd have appeared as voting for that character. As a result of their actions, that did not happen.


The same thing repeated itself in at least two other places. People did not allow their votes to be stolen. THAT IS VOTING.


What must we do in 2011? We must emulate Anambra. We must all go out to vote on that day, and after casting our individual votes, we must make sure that the results are announced for our wards there and then. Then we must follow up to make sure that no 'new' voters are inserted between the polling stations and the returning offices. We must liaise with people in other wards around us so we will know precisely what is happening in those other wards.

The first step towards having a successful election next year (or in November of this year if the machinations of evil men work) is to go out and register in April. As things currently stand, INEC is prevaricating on fixing a date for registration. We will wait for them. And when they fix it, we should all go out and register. That is the revolution that some of us have been crying for in Nigeria.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Explanation of Jos crisis

Source (registered members only)

The issue is not so complex.

It basically boils down to greed. The indigenes sold their lands to the Fulanis, they felt the Fulanis were taking over (encroaching into more of the natives land)... little skirmish here, little skirmish there... some folks illegally sold land that belonged to the community or a larger family. Some will want to forcefully take over the land without refunding the money... and in a situation where individuals react differently to provocation, the outcome is expected.

The natives felt they can hide under the state apparatus... the "outsiders" believed that the only message they natives can understand is violence.

And we all know too well that violence begets violence...

So when a Fulani is being attacked or has his property illegally appropriated, the only place he knows to run to is the mosque... b'cos when you go to the local authorities they tell you, "but you are not from here..."

Then add politicians into the mix... they rather give it a religious coloration in order to hide the true reason behind the conflict because it serves their interests.

Ps., and somewhere in this transaction and episode, copious amount of alcohol is consumed...

Monday, March 08, 2010

#NigerianOscars

So I'm in Abuja en route Jos and this morning my friend told me a joke about Nigeria winning the Oscars. I promptly tweeted it and @MrSawyerr picked up on it. The following is the result of his humorous #NigerianOscars trend. He is still tweeting away as I type this, but I would soon be on the move...

LOL RT @chxta: I hear that Akunyili picked an Oscar on behalf of the Federal Government for Best Screenplay by a Foreign Couuntry...

#OscarForNigerians Yardie wins best actor in a non-speaking role.

#OscarForNigerians Dora wins best crossover performance in all genres.

#OscarForNigerians PHCN wins big budget flop for the 50th year running.A 'bucks' office record.

#OscarForNigerians Shuaibu Amodu best villain in a villain role.

#OscarForNigerians Turai wins best director.Also wins best secretly released theatrical feature.

#OscarForNigerians Special mention goes to fuel pump attendants for d power they wield in times of shortage.

#OscarForNigerians Aaondaoka files an appeal and reclaims villain award from Amodu.

#OscarForNigerians Danjuma rejects lifetime achievement award..claims he shld be in the rookie category.

#OscarForNigerians Petrol Station wins Most Original Location to summarize a nation's problems.

RT @chxta: http://twitpic.com/17bn9l - #OscarForNigerians and the best picture goes to Kidnapping Osuofia

#OscarForNigerians costliest studio production set with minimal returns won by the National Assembly.

#OscarForNigerians In other news,powerful Nollywood brokers myt be considering granting IBB's wish for a directorial comeback.

#OscarForNigerians :Nollywood severely criticized for not exploiting the "silent" movie genre.Yardie blinks in agreement.

#OscarForNigerians Lagerback wins most näive newcomer!..Danjuma,Jerry Gana disqualified on grounds of over-experience.

#OscarForNigerians Aaondoaka accepts award via sign language.Risk of an actual speech wld be bad for TV.

#OscarForNigerians :Power outage in d middle of the show scheduled as part of d entertainment program.#lightupnigeria

#OscarForNigerians :Zaaki Adzee lights up hall after power outage.

#OscarForNigerians "malaria own don pafuka" wins best short feature by a clueless bunch.

#OscarForNigerians :Four litre fuel gallons 2 be offered in place of statuettes from next year according to organizers.

#OscarForNigerians OBJ fails to make award presentation as he coughs thru out.Some ppl pretend to understand wat he's saying.

#OscarForNigerians sponsored by Mikano *commercial break* #lightupnigeria

#OscarForNigerians powered by 150 million candles.

Thanks ma'am.Let's all join in RT @Omonioboli: @MrSawyerr lovely ur #nigerianoscars!!!

#OscarForNigerians powered by 150 million candles. #NigerianOscars

#NigerianOscars ..aaaand we are baaack!..Pat Utomi denied award as usual.

#NigerianOscars Candles being sold outside the event venue.

#NigerianOscars Lagerback wins most näive newcomer!..Danjuma,Jerry Gana disqualified on grounds of over-experience.

#NigerianOscars Rilwanu Lukman rejects lifetime achievement award..claims he shld be in the rookie category.

#NigerianOscars Ribadu receives award via satellite.Transmission company banned by NCC.

#NigerianOscars Yardie's BBC interview wins best impersonation of a serving president.

#NigerianOscars Dimeji Bankole wins "most neutral xter in a moral crisis" award.The ayes have it!

#NigerianOscars and your host is Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon!

#NigerianOscars :The cast and crew of #YardieIsBack wins most inventive cinematographic techniques.

#NigerianOscars send PERICARDITIS to 3552 to save a nation.

#NigerianOscars Cameron considers replacin Pandora wit Nigeria 4 d Avatar sequel.He's lookin 4 d strangest place possible.

#NigerianOscars Nollywood to shoot Yardie biopic and @Omonioboli turns down chance to play Turai.

#NigeranOscars In memoriam..Dele Giwa shows on d big screen.A certain gap-toothed ex-General fidgets on his seat.

#NigerianOscars @Soundsultan wins best original soundtrack for a sick nation.Tight category.His consistency prevailed.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Enough is enough

March 16 is the date that young Nigerians will make their voices heard

#weneedfuel #lightupnigeria #whereisyaradua #enoughisenough!

Fellow Young Nigerians,

Did you know that, in Nigeria , young people are in the majority? Did you know that young people below 35 make up more than 70 per cent of the population? You know what that means? It means we have the power to actually make things happen!

So, how come we are doing nothing about the many problems that have hit our nation in the past few months?

Is it enough to make noise on Facebook, Twitter, websites, BBMs, blogs and others where no one is listening? How come it’s the Wole Soyinkas, the Femi Falanas and the Tunde Bakares that are fighting for us? Why do we allow ourselves to be branded as the do-nothing generation?

Like someone said recently, how can we be so talented individually and yet so disillusioned and disdained collectively? We all know the reason - we have been told that there is nothing we can do about the status quo; that the cabal is too strong. Well, that is a lie.

We have become cynics and complainers rather than change agents. But the time to “siddon look” is over... Will you stand up and be counted? We have made our choice. We want our country back. And we must get it. It is time for our voices t o be heard, and heard loud and long.

Therefore we are organising a first-of-its-kind rally right there at the seat of power in Abuja . However, this rally is unique because it will be completely powered by young people – young professionals, young celebrities, students, activists and others. We want history to record that this was the point that the young people in Nigeria began to drive fear into the hearts of our leaders and began to make change happen.

It is going to be a MASSIVE rally of hundreds of young Nigerians from across the country saying #enoughisenough!

We invite you to sign up to join this rally now if you are angry about what is happening in Nigeria .

DATE: TUESDAY, 16 MARCH 2010

VENUE: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ABUJA

RALLY TIME: 11AM

OUR DEMANDS: 1) End the fuel scarcity now! 2) Solve the electricity problem! 3) We want to see our president and we want all those who have been involved in the grand cover up around him to be investigated, arrested and brought to book!

If you want to be part of this movement, register on www.whereisyaradua.com now! The registration form is there, and further information and updates are there.

To get any further information, send a mail to info@whereisyaradua.com and info@thefuturenigeria.com.

There are cynics who will say this cannot work and nothing will change. They lie! Our history shows that civil disobedience has worked and has forced change. Added to that, after this rally, other activities are planned to keep the government on their toes. However this massive rally to make a statement is the first step.

This is our country; our duty; our future.

Join this movement now!

SIGNED:

Toyosi Akerele (Rise Networks), Audu Maikori (Chocolate City), Chude Jideonwo (The Future Project), Tolu Ogunlesi (NEXT Newspapers) Amara Nwakpa (Light Up Nigeria), Adesubonmi Plumptre, Segun Demuren (EME Music), Al Kassim Abdulkadir, Omena Daniels, Shade Ladipo (Avienti), Bisola Edun (Tae), Alex Yangs (Testify Music), Abimbola Ayorinde, Jibola Ayana Olubiyi, Wale Ewedemi, Chxta, Ohimai Amaize (Youth Media Intitiative), Alex Yangs (Testify Music), Adebola Williams (The Future Project), Ijeoma Okeagu (White Rabbit Concepts), Stanley Vito Achonu, Balkiss Adesokan (Green Nigeria), Aziza Uko, Shade Ladipo (Avienti), Michaela Moye, Onomarie Uriri (BrookStone Consult), Ifedigbo Nze Sylva, Emilia Asim-Ita (The Future Project), Gbenga Sesan (Paradigm Initiative Nigeria), amongst others.