Friday, January 04, 2013

Groan, not another ID card...

ENG9702262. That was the number given to me by the University of Benin upon my matriculation about sixteen years ago now. It is a number that has stuck in my head. Since it was given to me, there have been three National Identity Card schemes. Money has been allocated for these schemes, no results have come forth, yet, yet, more money keeps being allocated. When will it stop? Never it would seem if the NPC's big glasses has his way. Festus Odimegwu has told us that his commission has started a "comprehensive biometric capturing" of all Nigerians. Somehow, these guys always seem to forget that the mobile companies have all that data thus negating the need for all of us to go and stand in the sun. But then, if we don't have to go and stand in the sun, there will be no billions allocated for the exercise will there?

The problem with billions is that they roll of the tongue very easily. Try pronouncing "thousands", then try pronouncing "billions" and see which sounds better. However, when such things become the stuff of actual work, things suddenly become quite different. Thus it was that a few hours after nearly every major Nigerian publication stated that the FG would be spending N60 billions to acquire phones for farmers, Nigeria's number one farmer dropped his hoe and informed us that all the journalists were wrong*. Akin Adesina informed us that there was no plan to give all 10 million rural farmers** in Nigeria Samsung Galaxy S2s. Rather he said, giving all of them Nokia 3310s was being considered. He then proceeded to give five (or six) reasons why there is a rural farmer mobile initiative, and neglected to tell us that mobile phones can be a good substitute for roads. Ergo, when I want my next batch of yams from Gboko, Farmer Lim will simply text them over.

You see, the state of our roads is going to be a recurring theme in the coming year. Especially after the Speaker of the Kogi House of Assembly almost died on one two days ago. Sadly, his police orderly, Akeem Lamidi was not so fortunate. May he rest in peace. We are also wishing a peaceful rest to the 15 people who were killed yesterday in a gun battle between the military and gunmen in that forgotten corner that the north-east of our country has become. News of violence coming from those parts don't even make anyone bat an eyelid these days. Very tragic.

The FG's plan to buy $500m worth of aircraft for our local airlines has been described as worthless by someone who should know. Dele Ore, who doubles up as the oga pata-pata of the guys who like to discuss aircraft matters in Nigeria, pointed to the Cape Town Convention, an agreement which is intended to improve financial security for investors in high-value mobile equipment such as aircraft. Err, it is true, it is not exactly the business of the government to be buying aircraft for private airlines, especially when said airlines did not ask for such a gift.

Bits and bobs

Despite the government's policy of not paying ransom money to kidnappers in Nigeria, Hyundai decided that it was a better bet to let go of N30 million, and make the kidnapping profession more lucrative.

Probably because they get more from former governors such as one or more of the 48 houses seized from former Bayelsa head honcho, Timpriye Silva.

Still on the theme of kidnapping, three communities in Ebonyi state, Ovumte, Ayaragu and Ekembe, having taken a look at their collective finances and deciding that they don't have N30 millions to spare, have given the police seven days to find seven kids who were kidnapped by gunmen in the area or else...

Here's hoping for the safe return of those kids.


*If all the journalists got the maths wrong, there's somethng seriously rotten with Nigerian journalism
**I'm shocked that there are up to 10 million rural farmers in Nigeria. How is it that the country can't feed itself?

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