Olamide Vs Buhari

Posted: February 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

olamide

PMB: Who are u flease?

OLAMIDE: Baba, this is Olamide, CEO YBNL

PMB: YBNL?

OLAMIDE: Yes Baba

PMB: What’s zha meaning of that?

OLAMIDE: Baba, YBNL is a popular brand among fun lovers in naija, it stands for Yahoo Boy No Laptop

PMB: Kai! you mean you are Yahoo Yahoo Boy wizout laftof?

OLAMIDE: No Baba, YBNL is (PMB cuts in)

PMB: So how do you oferate wizout laftof?

OLAMIDE: Erm erm, actually, YBNL doesn’t have anything to do with cyber fraud (PMB cuts in)

PMB: Will you answer my question and stof ferambulating! Hab you reforted yourself at Magun’s oppice?

OLAMIDE: Baba, we make our money legitimately, YBNL is just (PMB cuts in)

PMB: Amosun, can you exflain why criminals are allowed to grace zha occazhun when you know pully I zhon’t sit with criminals?

AMOSUN: Baba, Olamide is not a criminal, he is a good ambassador of this state and by extension, Nigeria. He is very good at what he does. Although, his record label, YBNL could give him away as internet fraudster but he is far from being one. The message he was trying to pass with his choice of name is that he can legitimately make money like internet fraudsters without having to swindle anybody.

PMB: (To Amosun) Toor! Does he sing like Dan Maraya?

AMOSUN: Baba, Late Dan Maraya was a legend during his time, his contemporaries in other parts of the country were also legends, Olamide’s songs and slang appeal to fun loving youths of today. Recently, his vituperation at the headies award were creatively twisted by Nigerians and it trended on twitter for weeks. Baba if you had not involved me in this conversation, Olamide would have asked you to Leave trash for LAWMA for not recognizing him.

PMB: Yo wa! Holamide, You are welcome, I am sorry por zha embarrassment. But try and do something about your name, because Amosun might not be frezent to tell Magun what YBNL means feradventure you’re invited for questioning. Gomant need money badly zhat is why I am here to see if Amosun will not pollow my prugal pootsteps. Rest assured zhat he’ll be invited to account por every kobo sfent on this annibersary in puture. We can’t apppord to waste scarce resources on pribolities now.

OLAMIDE: Alright baba… TO BAYO OMOBORIOWO: Oya Bayosneh snap this presidential handshake sneh. Iyalaya anybody, street ti takeover!

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OUR PRECIOUS BOX OF NOTHING

Posted: July 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

Our precious box of nothing

Our precious box of nothing

“Women are very complicated being sha”.

“Says who? You have not met the most complicated men? You will praise God that Devil is a saint when you see them.

“No, most men are simple. And you know why? It’s because their brains are so different”.

“Really? I see you already fixated”.

“Seriously, men’s brains are very unique. Most women don’t realize that whether we are having sex or watching sports, our brains are made up of little boxes. We’ve got a box for everything. We’ve got a box for the car. We’ve got a box for the money. We’ve got a box for the job. We’ve got a box for the ladies (or that particular lady). We’ve got a box for the kids. We’ve got a box for your mother somewhere in the basement”.

“And you think women don’t have their own boxes too? A box for make up, a box for shoes, a box for wedding gowns, a box for jewelries, a box for Captain America, a box for cloud nine, a box for everything including the most mundane and pendantic items on earth”.

“Of course I know they have boxes too. Infact more boxes than men. All their life is punctuated with boxes. But there is a rule: For men, the boxes don’t touch. When a man discusses a particular subject, we go to that particular box, we pull that box out, we open the box, and we discuss only what is in that box. And then we close the box and put it away being very, very careful not to touch other boxes”.

“You know women multitask more than men now”.

“Yeah, right, that’s because their brains are made up of a big ball of wire. And everything is connected to everything. The money is connected to the car and the car is connected to your job and your kids are connected to your mother and everything is all connected. It’s like the internet superhighway, and it’s all driven by energy that we call emotion. It’s one of the reasons why women tend to remember… everything”.

“And the men remember nothing”.

“That’s the only good thing you have said so far. Do you know why? That’s because as men, we have a box in our brain that most women are not aware of. This particular box has nothing in it. In fact, it is called the ‘nothing’ box. It is the box that provides the reponse when your woman asks you; “Honey, what’s wrong with you?”

“And we say, ‘nothing’”.


The service chiefs get marching order from the president relieving them of their appointments

The service chiefs get marching order from the president relieving them of their appointments

President Muhammadu Buhari has fired Nigeria’s Chief of Defence, and the heads of Army, Navy and the Air Force.

The service chiefs were relieved of their appointments Monday.

They were appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Their replacements were not immediately announced.

Military officials had said last week that the delay is removing the military commanders was compounding the fight against the jihadist sect, Boko Haram.

The group has intensified its attacks in the last one month, with multiple suicide bombings and gun attacks killing hundreds of people.

Military experts said the service chiefs expected they would be fired any day, as such, they were hardly settled for the complex war against Boko Haram.


Photo Credit:  Google.com

Photo Credit: Google.com

Have you listened to radio lately and felt like slapping the so-called On-Air-Personality (OAP)? Or have you tried in vain to make out words and phonetics from a TV Show host but only left you more confused rather than informed? Sure. If you live in Nigeria, you all have at one point or the other.

From my social diagnosis, I have noticed that some Nigerians—and the number is increasing at somewhat the speed of light—are never comfortable being Nigerians. So, they acquire a new accent that is foreign to any Nigerian accents. This forcefully acquired accent is what my friend refers to as locally acquired foreign accent (LAFA). I like this concept because it clearly describes the illness and the status of its victims—Nigerians living and have lived in Nigeria their entire life but have foreign accent.

Listening to some Nigerian radio stations can either leave one permanently befuddled or just plain angry all the time. The latter is what happens to me mostly, so I stopped listening to most radio stations for some time. The television stations are not any better. The cause of one’s linear anguish is not hard to find. Confusing accents of the presenters! Yes, one cannot really tell if the presenters on radio and television are from Miami, Manchester or Mushin or if they are just a bunch of clueless upstarts mouthing words which seem to make them happy but leaves the listener with a terrible ‘earache’.

Tracing the history of radio and television presentation in Nigeria, who can never forget the glorious days and diction of Soni Irabor, Bimbo Oloyede, Donald Everedjo, Sienne All-Well Brown, Ruth Benemesia Opia, Lola Alakija, John Momoh, Silver Oforgu and so many other articulate and fantastic presenters who shaped the entertainment industry with their style and panache of presentation? What happened to these fine traditions of broadcasting? Globalisation!

What these names have in common is a clear and distinct presentation style with a pleasant-sounding smattering of perfect Queens English and intonations, mixed with the distinct mother-tongue of the personalities. They made millions of people shape up their articulation. We wanted to talk like them, to present like them, in the very clear and African-tinged intonations they had. We loved them and still do.

Being a former colony of Britain, it was only natural that our Spoken English as citizens of Nigeria, had to be a bit uppity and middle class even when many of us were of a lower rung in the society ladder. But that helped many people aspire to change their destinies in their chosen fields.

Sadly, in the mid-nineties, the sweeping American culture crept into our mainstream radio and things changed, albeit horribly. Before we knew it, the ‘Yo, Yo, Yo!’ presenters hit the airwaves. Sounding very American ( and most times Ghetto Americanese too) became the fad. So, the beautiful accents we have as Africans just disappeared with the ‘dash monkey banana’ borrowed accents.

Almost every Presenter came on air sounding like poor imitations of Hollywood Black Gangsters or rap artistes. These days, you just have to strain your ears to hear anything they say on air. Words like ‘alright’ has given way to ‘aight!’ and so many examples. It’s not so much the fake accents that pisses me off but the lack of a true identity by these presenters! Some are confused and don’t even know if the accent they speak with are American or British or just a horrible cacophony of both. All these ‘gonna, wanna, burra, berra’ Presenters! They are everywhere and sadly, they are becoming the “darling” of everyone on primetime broadcasting.

Every time I create time to listen to radio out of my busy schedule (as a journalist); I end up feeling disappointed. I have to switch from station to station, if it is not funky, obscene and lyrically explicit music content, it is the annoying and disgusting fake accents of OAPs mostly struggling to keep up with the pace they do not have; they throw away the message from every script. Even our news casts are becoming boring and useless. An Ijebu girl who has never been to an international airport, let alone live abroad; wants to be heard in Nikki Minaj or Kim Kadashian’s voice. The audience and message lost in the process.

This forged accent obviously is an attempt to impress, intimidate or cheat others through phoney American or British accent. I like the way accent is defined by Google: “A distinctive mode of pronunciation of a language, especially one associated with a particular nation, locality, or social class”. I think the third category is what these victims are trying to achieve, “a new social class”. But one wonders why no Nigerian has tried to fake the Indian, Chinese, Ghanaian, or the Liberian accent! But what is not funny is that the trend is spreading really fast such that it may lead to the extinction of the “Nigerianness” of our tongue in the near future because even the audio-visual media personalities are catching this infection.

Since Dan Foster—an African-America radio personality—started making wave on the Nigerian airwave, every presenter now “sounds” American. At the moment, some Nigerians now pronounce their country’s name as Ninegeria; even some radio stations now insist on only “returnee” OAPs for their stations.

Nigeria is swamped with British, American, Swedish, Italian and all manner of nationality of Naija-born returnees coming back (like my peeps say ‘from abroad’..LOL!) with foreign degrees and mixed up accents…Take the case of a popular Lagos-Based Radio Station – The Beat 99.9 FM, where all its Radio DJs  speak with British, American and mixed accents including accents of untraceable origins.. Tune in and you will be in strange land, entertained by a variety of accents from one ‘accent-phrenic’ Dj to another. It is absolutely hilarious and abysmally disappointing. It certainly makes going through traffic a breeze – You won’t find better entertainment in Nigeria (according to their management)

But seriously though, returnees are storming Nigeria with a game plan and they’re not taking ‘No’ for an answer…The brief is clear. It is ‘Mission: Nigeria Must Obey’. They have chosen not to be distracted by Nigeria and it’s downers but have instead come here on their own terms . While some are exceptionally talented and fun to listen to such as ChyDynma, Bobby Taylor, Eku Edewor, Tiwa Savage; some are not so useful.

But some questions remained unanswered?

“Why would Nigerians born and raised in Nigeria, who then emigrated from Nigeria to other lands, as adults, with legal education from Nigeria, suddenly assume foreign accents, in derogation to Nigerian accents? Why the preference for non-Nigerian accents? Well, some have said that, being identified as Nigerian in America and Europe has become burdensome for them, but what is the right thing to do? Be in denial? I have recounted the above to make the following points: I strongly believe that everyone has an accent worldwide, and that Nigerians should not be ashamed of or embarrassed about our distinctive Nigerian tongue and accents, as our accents, our colour, culture and country are why we are unique. These are no accidents or products of scientific mutations! ’He advised.

Americans and Europeans and everybody else have accents, and they do not engage in tongue-twisting imitations of Nigerian accents or any other accents, apart from theirs, not even when they are on Nigerian soil for business or pleasure, for a day or twenty-years! Are we running away from ourselves? The late Bob Nesta Marley said, “liberate thyself from mental-slavery.” While some Nigerians are rushing to give birth to their children in America and Europe, as an artificial insurance for their children, probably not realising that there are Americans and Europeans, born and raised in America and Europe that are poorer and more illiterate than the guy from my hometown and yours?


Online journalism has facicilitated media convergence   Photo Credit: Josh

Online journalism has facilitated media convergence                               Photo Credit: Josh

Anyone who has read  Steve Yelvington’s infamous argument on the viability of online journalism will probably have come across his great phrase for the oft-repeated claim that newspapers ‘sowed the seeds of their own demise’ by putting their content online for free many years ago. He calls it the ‘original sin’ myth: “The most charitable thing I can say about it is: This is bullshit.” Pardon him, he’s an American. Four letter words come to them handy.

But not everyone will agree with him. Of course until you read his works to get the full background, but as someone else who has been following the trends in the industry and in active practice for over 10 years, I can only say: He’s right. What choice did publishers have? Why do we have punchng.com or vanguardngr.com. Or the very active thisdaylive.com? Online journalism is the new trend. And as a bath water, the traditional media practitioners are eager to throw it away but the baby wouldn’t let go of the baby-bath.

The thing about this myth is that it relies upon some sort of ‘genie in the bottle’: the idea that news organisations had something special that they ‘let out’. That’s a nice story, but it’s only half the story.

In reality, what publishers had was just a bottle: a way of restricting the content that was available to their readers. The reach of a newspaper was a function of its degree of circulation in terms of location, area and number of copies. So all the news content was restricted to the bottle.  The internet smashed that bottle: suddenly readers could access all sorts of content from all sorts of providers, including experts, celebrities, sports and fashion brands and eye witnesses.

As for the genie part: well, that’s where the story falls apart – on two levels.

Firstly, if the genie was content then newspapers didn’t have much exclusivity to sell: the problem wasn’t that the newspapers were giving away content for free; it was that their sources were giving away their stories for free, and that didn’t leave much left (it says something about journalism that we have to shout about stories when they are “exclusive” or an “investigation”).

But many newspapers now have bigger audiences than ever. The untold part of the story is the genie that newspapers really gave away: their dominance in advertising.

The list is growing and becoming endless. From Google, Ebay, Jumia, Facebook, lindaikeji, bellanaija to OloriSupergirl. Advertisers have shifted focus with the audience shift to online news and gossips. Newspapers’ original sin was not that they gave away their content for free; it was that they gave away their advertisers for free.

The internet makes news more interesting because of the interactivity and multimedia like videos, audios e.t.c. that are used. The online news organization is increasingly gloomy about its financial future and online journalists are optimistic, reporting expanding newsroom and business.

So what is online journalism? The practice most media scholars argue has been wrongly defined and situated according to who is defining it. Each situates the definitions in the context that captures his/her practice. Sadly, the need to define what online journalism is strongly hinged on who qualifies as a journalist.

Online journalism is journalism more or less produced for the World Wide Web (unlike print, radio and television journalism). It exploits the unique characteristics of the Internet. A network of networks, joining many governments, universities and private computers together and providing an infrastructure for the use of E-mail, bulletin boards, file archives, hypertext documents, databases and other computational resources. The vast collection of computer networks which forms and acts as a single huge network for transport of data and messages across distances which can be anywhere from the same office to anywhere in the world.

First conceived by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the United States government in 1969. The ARPA Net was a project funded primarily by U.S. military sources such as the Department of Defense. Journalism is any non-fiction or documentary narrative that reports or analyzes facts and events firmly rooted in time (either topical or historical) which are selected and arranged by reporters, writers, and editors to tell a story from a particular point of view. Journalism has traditionally been published in print, presented on film, and broadcast on television and radio. “Online” includes many venues. Most prominent is the World Wide Web.

So having established a universal understanding of online journalism, a question arises. Who is qualified as online journalist? Is it safe to refer to anyone who engages in online journalism as a journalist? Every blogger becomes a reporter. Every soul with a device that can access internet and push contents online become a journalist?

This has remained a subject of debate in media practice with the growing trend of online journalism. This is due to the attendant challenges and ethical issues.

A major strong argument in favour of online journalism is question of access to news. It must be acknowledged though that the development of digital journalism has radically changed the way people access the news. The introduction of the internet opened the way for the creation of an entirely new medium of journalism and online journalism. Online journalism presents users with the unprecedented ability to chose when, where and what news they will receive. The traditional news media of broadcast, print and radio all broadcast, publish or air their bulletins at the time they chose, in the order they chose and to the depth they chose.

However, online journalism allows the user to access the news at any time from any computer or personal device with an internet connection. Once connected, the user can select the stories they wish to view and can easily access further information on the story if they so desire.

Immediacy has always been a fundamental element of journalism as the very nature of the news is that it is new. Broadcast and radio were traditionally the most immediate form of journalism as, should a major story breaks, they could interrupt their programming with a bulletin. However, they are still constrained by deadlines and cannot explore the story in too much depth. Print journalism allows stories in depth but often the stories are not reported until the morning after. Online journalism provides perhaps the best arena for distributing news quickly as it presents the immediacy of broadcast and radio with the depth of print. However, this has presented a problematic question for news organizations that run both a traditional and online outlet whether or not to break a story on the online site before broadcasting or publishing it. In the one hand, the news organization wants to take advantage of the incredible speed of the internet and be the one to break the story. On the other hand the organization

does not want to beat its own primary news vehicle and tell competitor what it has. Then again, the organization wants to use the web site as a promotion for its primary news product. But it does not want to make it unnecessary for people to purchase the newspaper or to watch or listen to a broadcast because they saw the story on the Web already.

Even though there are many arguments in favour of online journalism, prompting millions of companies to advertise online, there are also some problems involved. This include issues with advertising online such as measurement problems, audience characteristics, websnarl, clutter, potential for deception, costs, limited production quality, poor reach and lack of Intrusiveness.

From coast to coast, online news sites are experimenting with new ways of storytelling on the Web. And around the globe, the next generation of web readers and writers is already rocketing through cyberspace to create inventive ways of conveying information.

If most Web readers are only scanners now, the generation that is growing up with the Web could well become serious readers. To limit our vision of writing forms for a current generation of scanners is short-sighted. So which form is best? All forms: the inverted pyramid for some hard news stories, serial narrative for others, screen-size chunks with links to different Web pages if stories have logical breaks and scrolling stories for those that need a more linear presentation for comprehension. Different forms for different functions. This is what the best global agencies are doing now.

On the subject of media credibility and questions of ethics in online journalism, the Internet has no doubt brought a multiplicity of senders and receivers, destroying the linear paradigm. A blow was dealt to editorial agenda setting. Veracity is paramount in the synaptic ricochet of the online news environment. Retaining credibility in this new psychologically intuitive medium is critical. Control of content and quantity of the news appears to slip from editors’ control. “Pathfinder” is coined as peers evaluate newsworthiness. Perhaps future gatekeepers will be dubbed “information specialists.”

The developments of online relationships have been viewed as virtual communities. Findings from various cases of web-based news suggest the early ideals of democratic community-building on the Web are encountering resistance as media organizations define “virtual geographic space” and stake out “territory” on the Internet. The traditional press is fusing with computing and telecom to create a new medium of human communication. The World Wide Web is a space allowing global community-building without regard to geography or time. Online journalists and media organizations would do well to mine this resource. Common interests make connections; tapping into these connections makes profits.

Post-publication manipulation of electronic copy and lack of editorial control are serious issues that bother on credibility concerns for media practitioners. Some speculate on the future demise of press objectivity and ethics, while journalists align with special interests, advocacy groups, and titans of commerce. They see a dismantling of the firewall between advertising and news: Ads, opinion, marketing, and news will become intertwined as the audiences lose their faith in journalistic objectivity. Advertisers have a long tradition of influence peddling with regard to editorial content; it is a vested interest. Media are often susceptible to this pressure in a bid to survive in the competitive market. Online news reporting is now dynamic and often “pre-verified.” Print journalism is more static. This disparity fuels the fragmentation of news consumers into readily targetable audiences or niches. These niche targets are sometimes labeled as communities defined by shared interests rather than simple geography.

All said. No perfect way of predicting the future patterns of online journalism. Even technology cannot. Much as the journalists is clueless on its future. Only time can tell.


wonderland logo ad

TV Continental (TVC) has purchased 100,000 CONSAT Satellite decoders with the intension of distributing them nationwide.

In the wake of Nigeria being one of 52 African countries that missed the International Telecommunication Unions mandated deadline of June 17th, 2015 to transition from analogue to digital, TV Continental, owners of TVC News and TVC Entertainment has decided to begin the process by empowering 100,000 Nigerian households in order to ensure they are not left without television at the time of switch off. As a consequence of digital migration, it is clear that the number of households that require decoders will grow considerably.

Deputy CEO of TVC, Mr Lemi Olalemi, said, “While 100,000 might seem small when compared to the nationwide need, every little bit that can be done at this stage matters. The actions of TVC in making this bold step brings to the forefront the critical need to keep consumers aware of the implications of digital migration and make them aware that they have a choice in their selection of a pay-tv provider”. He further said; “TVC is committed to transitioning Nigerians to digital TV with the distribution of CONSAT decoders.”

CEO of CONSAT, Mayo Okunola, said; “we are excited about the opportunity to work with TVC to distribute our set top boxes throughout Nigeria. It forms part of our strategy to contribute to Nigeria’s digital migration process by the provision of affordable digital television for everyone”. Okunola continued by saying, “it is important to note that the overall benefits of digital migration is equal access to information and entertainment which is key to the development of the average Nigerian household”.

Launching on July 8th, all that is required is a simple online registration, while stocks last, participants will be given a unique registration number which they can use to pick up their decoder from designated pick up points. It is that simple to transition to the digital TV.

Some of the channels that will be available to CONSAT subscribers include TVC news, Sky News, Fox Sports 1 &2, Fashion One, Colors and Fix and Foxi. The CONSAT channels were selected to ensure that subscribers get an exciting range of channels that cater for the whole family. The line-up is designed to cater for a variety of different tastes and cultures. This ensures that subscribers enjoy improved picture and sound quality synonymous with digital television.

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Chibok

Today is April 14th 2015. One year after the night a the mothers in Chibok will never forget. A night when over 265 of their daugters were abducted from school by the dreaded Boko Haram in Borno State, North East Nigeria. The abduction sparked global outrage and nationwide protests. It was trending on social media for months with #BringBackOurGirls. It made some celebrities overnight with their campaign for the release of the girls. It provided the opposition party with the fuel to burn the administration’s failure to provide security for the people. It provided newspapers with constant headlines; almost everyday. But all that soon died; naturally obeying the law of news worthiness. But not so with the grieving mothers; their daughters are still missing, one year after. Today, attention has shifted to them again. At least for the next 24 hours before another news breaks and they are forgotten again. But before then, there are growing calls for their release nationally and internationally. Such as this one provided by Olufisayo Olanrewaju titled Gone too Long BBOG Video But in the meantime; while counting the year, are the girls just missing or gone forever?

Who wins March 28th Election

Posted: March 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Americanah-Cover

Of Race, Reasons and Realities

‘Americanah,’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

By Joshua Adedeji Ajayi

Review Summary

Chimamanda Adichie proved yet again in this social classic that she has eaten deeply enough with literary elders; her maturity spans from the trails left by giants like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka among others in their quest to employ new techniques in narrative writing. Americanah portrays the author as an extraordinarily self-aware thinker and writer, possessing the ability to criticise society without sneering or patronizing.

Americanah is a story of love and race centered around a young man Obinze, and woman Ifemelu from Nigeria who face difficult choices and challenges in the countries they come to call home. Fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender, spanning three continents and numerous lives, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world – Nigeria, England and of course America.

Author:            Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Publication Date:    11 April 2013

No of Pages:          539 pages

Publisher:                Farafina – Kachifo Limited

Language:               English

Title:                      Americanah – Paperback

Cover design and layout was done by almost unknown Nigerian named Akeem Ibrahim.

Americanah a crafty story of romance, a coming-of-age journey, an immigrant’s tale, and a searing social commentary. It is rich with life and abundant in precise detail about the human experience. Americanah is Adichie’s third and most ambitious novel after Purple Hibiscus and Half a Yellow Sun both set in Nigeria but Americanah cuts new ground. Set in America, England, and Nigeria, it is broad in scope and analysis. Adichie’s power of descriptive detail and character development are on full display. Though the novel occasionally unrolls into raw social commentary, the primary story of Ifemelu’s quest for self is beautiful and captivating.

It is ostensibly a love story – the tale of childhood sweethearts at school in Nigeria whose lives take different paths when they seek greener pastures in America and England – but it is also a brilliant examination of modern attitudes to race, spanning three continents and touching on issues of identity (hair, skin, colour etc), loss and loneliness.

As a title, “Americanah” is a local parlance for “returnees” who have lost their identity after a brief stay in America; their tone is different; pronunciations identify their origin; they are neither speaking English, American or Nigerian – They floating in-between with crisis of identity. Americanahs are big shots who return from abroad to belittle their countrymen — and yet one that, sometimes unwittingly, endorses foreign values The choice of the word as title could not have been more apt as it exemplifies simplicity and brevity.

The book rides on a fantastic storyline telling the story of a smart, strong-willed Nigerian woman named Ifemelu – beautiful, self-assured who, after she leaves Africa for America, endures several harrowing years of near destitution before graduating from college, starting a blog entitled “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black” and winning a fellowship at Princeton (as Adichie once did; she has acknowledged that many of Ifemelu’s experiences are her own). Ever present in Ifemelu’s thoughts is her high school boyfriend, Obinze, an equally intelligent if gentler, more self-effacing Nigerian, who outstays his visa and takes illegal jobs in London. (When Obinze trips and falls to the ground, a co-worker shouts, “His knee is bad because he’s a knee-grow!” – [emphasis mine]).

Ifemelu and Obinze represent a new kind of immigrant, “raised well fed and watered but mired in dissatisfaction.” They aren’t fleeing war or starvation but “the oppressive lethargy of choicelessness.” Where Obinze fails — soon enough, he is deported — Ifemelu thrives, in part because she seeks authenticity. Never has Ifemelu felt as free as the day she stops hiding her Nigerian accent under an American one, the accent that convinces telemarketers she is white. She refuses to straighten her hair (a favorite Web site is HappilyKinkyNappy.com), even if she must endure muttered disparagements from African-Americans when out with a white man (She dated two African-Americans) — “You ever wonder why he likes you looking all jungle like that?”

Early on, a horrific event leaves Ifemelu reeling, and years later, when she returns to Nigeria, she’s still haunted by it. Meantime, back in Lagos, Obinze has found wealth as a property developer. Though the book threatens to change into a simple story of their reunion, it stretches into a scalding assessment of Nigeria, a country too proud to have patience for “Americanahs” — big shots who return from abroad to belittle their countrymen — and yet one that, sometimes unwittingly, endorses foreign values.

The settings provides the author with the room to take the readers back into history; starting the story in the future (somewhere in Princeton, in the summer, smelled of nothing, and although Ifemelu liked the tranquil greeness of the many trees..) The flashbacks to the childhood years in Nigeria provided the background to the story and a platform to unwrap the literary gift. The setting came through in Nigeria, America and England.

In fifty-five chapters, and seven parts, Chimamanda shares the fearless, gripping, at once darkly funny and tender story, spanning three continents and numerous lives.

The book however leaves readers with more questions than answers regarding the “borrowed-life” of Nigerians in foreign land. For instance, the first part of Ifemelu’s story is told in flashback while she is having her hair braided at a salon before she returns to Nigeria. Why did Adichie choose this structure for storytelling? What happens when the narrator shifts to Obinze’s story? What effect do the switches in narrative perspective add to the story?

No matter the number of questions the book left unanswered; one thing is certain. Americanah brought the issue of race in America into another dimension. It’s a book that preaches behavioural change with a great story. And while some novels tell great stories and others that make you change the way you look at the world. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a book that manages to do both.


Muhammadu Buhari , APC Presidential Candidate at the Chatham House in London UK today

Muhammadu Buhari , APC Presidential Candidate at the Chatham House in London UK today

Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition, By Muhammadu Buhari
Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.
The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.
So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.
As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.
In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.
The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.
But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.
While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation – that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.
With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.
It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.
Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.
The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.
But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.
Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.
You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.
Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.
On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.
But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?
The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.
Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.
With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.
In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.
On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.
But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.
In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.
As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.
In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and depriving those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing our fledgling democracy. That way, we will all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.
Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.
I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time.
You may ask: why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And here is my humble answer: because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.

I thank you for listening.