2010 marks 50 years of independence for 27 African countries. I see that the majority of countries were French colonies, which makes me wonder if there was any particularly reason for this.
On 1 October, Nigeria marks 50 years of independence but apart from the government, few people have anything positive to write. The country is also in the early stages of campaigning for the 2011 elections with the party nominations coming next month. This week’s roundup covers comments on both Nigeria at 50 and the election campaigning which is already proving controversial with a plethora of social media sites, some real, some well… we just don’t know.
The leading candidates, Goodluck Jonathan, Ibrahim Babangida and Nuhu Ribadu along with steadily multiplying ‘pro-democracy’ sites, all have a confusion of Facebook pages, Twitter handles and websites in triplicate and more. We are now at the point of asking will the real ‘candidate’ or ‘group’ stand up? Campaigns show a lack of understanding of how to use social media, as there does not seem to be a coherent strategy. As yet, neither Babangida nor Jonathan are engaging with the general public, which is beginning to frustrate many.
Black Looks has two posts this week, the first of which addresses some of the issues just mentioned. In ‘Saving Nigeria from Save Nigeria’ she writes:
‘Nigeria’s election campaign is off to a great start. Political intrigue, a plethora of candidates – old faces which need to disappear have revived themselves and new ones provide plenty of opportunities for gossip – campaign and pro-democracy groups vying for constituencies and publicity, and the battle sites of Twitter and Facebook, all add to the excitement looming over the next 6 months. Discussions around postponing the elections may possibly put a temporary damper on election fever but I doubt it. Seriously I cannot understand why this particular discussion did not take place before the election announcement.’
One of Nigeria’s foremost political bloggers, Nigerian Curiosity has a number of excellent posts, but the two which come to mind are the Goodluck Jonathan and Dele Momodu campaign videos. On the latter she again picks up on the confusion of names between campaign groups, which point to a certain degree of dishonesty and lack of transparency:
‘He is a publisher of a gossip/society magazine, Ovation, and according to his website and other social media sources, he wants to become Nigeria's next president. I know very little about Momodu, but, there is growing controversy over the name change of a certain Facebook fan page. Originally called "Save Nigeria", the page was assumed to be related to Save Nigeria Group (SNG) which organized a youth-led march to the National Assembly on March 16th, 2010 in Abuja. SNG is tied to Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, and progressive youth groups such as Enough Is Enough (EIE). For those who mistook Save Nigeria for SNG, many were quickly outraged when an email was sent to members informing them that the fan page was to become 'Dele Momodu For Nigeria'. One commenter called it an "abracadabra" and "win members by subterfuge" tactic.’
Akin reports on the growing possibility of the elections being deferred to a more realistic timeframe. Why could this not have been decided in the first place? Nonetheless Akin puts the blame on the Nigerian legislature:
‘Hypocrisy of the highest order. The Nigerian legislature which is comprised of the political parties that are now acquiescing to the need for a postponement or rescheduling of the calendar are the ones who voted to have the elections hold in January 2011 instead of April 2011; giving the new chairman hardly any time to stamp his authority on the organisation he has sworn to make deliver free and fair elections.
‘The logic was wrong, flawed and self-serving, it is better to conduct free and fair elections late which put aside the need for dispute if the elections were conducted properly than to conduct them early to allow for disputes to be resolved before the declared winners or their aggrieved opponents are satisfied and sworn into office.’
Canary Bird by political activist, Kayode Ogundamisi, has a comprehensive post on the candidates battle for the ‘cyber generation’. ‘Team Ribadu’ is running in next to last place which might cost him as the ‘youth’ migrate to those candidates already online. However Nuhu Ribadu’s team can still move ahead if they show some ‘cyber savvy’ which is seriously missing from the other candidates. IBB [Babangida] is the ‘most aggressive’ and is described by Kayode as ‘the man they hate to like’. Well he does add to the intrigue and gossip!
Buhari, another ex-military dictator, is pictured as being cyber shy: ‘A Messiah we can all believe in’, whilst former Cross River State Governor, the suave looking Donal Duke is presented as ‘unNigerian’ after revealing how elections, including his own, were rigged. Finally former Vice President Atiku has very little cyber presence and frankly very little chance of getting nominated let alone winning the elections.
Max Siollun brings us a CNN interview with Babangida. If anyone has any thoughts about possibly voting for this man, this video should be confirmation that once and for all this man should be relegated into Nigeria’s political wilderness. If you are still in doubt then this wonderful piece, ‘When Babangida becomes President’ by Suleiman’s Blog should convince you.
Osun Defender likens the Osun State PDP branch to ‘the popular television soap opera, Fuji House of Commotion! The revolution of vote robbery and electoral banditry is consuming its own children; and the vote robbers are turning their swords against themselves! That is what you get when you steal the people’s vote.’
Osun gets somewhat carried away as he goes on to discuss the ‘spiritual implications of such grave evil’:
‘That spiritual comeuppance is playing itself out right now. The Osun PDP has become a tower of Babel . The falcon, as the literature says, cannot hear the falconer. Things have fallen complete apart and the robbers are completely aghast. The centre has not only collapsed, the PDP robbers are playing out a Samson syndrome: everything is collapsing on their heads! By the time the rubble clears, our people would have back our long suffering land. But there is need for more vigilance and more organisation yet.
'As they are wont, the whole crisis started with brazen imposition: an attempt by the renegades in power to impose, willy-nilly, Iyiola Omisore, who tragically and comically figures himself the next “governor” of Osun State , before whom everyone must bow. Since he is as hollow and shallow as they in the PDP could possibly be, it was a shock to him and his co-conspirators to realise some people, even withing the PDP, could rise against him.’
Grandiose Parlor adds to the depressing comedy of tragedies that is Nigerian politics. Describing two of the candidates, Nuhu Ribadu and Pat Utomi as ‘decent men’ he goes on to say that unfortunately their ‘decency’ will not win them an election:
‘Nigeria history tells us no “newbie”—what Ribadu and Utomi are, politically—has been able to move against the odds and wrestle political power from, or contest successfully against, formidable foes in the presidential elections. At the state level there are two instances in recent time: Adam Oshiomole (Edo State) and Segun Mimiko (Ondo State); and both men have strong political grassroots connections. Oshiomole was a national labor leader and an astute organizer. Mimiko has 15 years of politicking under his belt before he became governor and he’s the quintessential grassroots politician.’
Saratu of Method to the Madness is unable to write anything meaningful to mark Nigeria at 50 – the whole event being too depressing to know where to begin – she decides its fatigue:
‘The weight I am feeling on my fingers that renders this post such a chore is not fear at all, is it? It's fatigue. I don't want to throw my hands up in despair anymore. I'm tired of doing that. Lamenting "No water, no light" holds no interest to me. I'm not Wole Soyinka. Pounding my fists on my soapbox is getting irritating. I admire those among us who never tire of crying for change, but I do.
‘And yet, as living in the U.S. and knowing a fair amount about EU politics has shown me, every country has its problems. Logic then follows that Nigeria has either this set of problems, or another. So as the big 5-0 approaches, I will this space to hope not that Nigeria gets rid of it's problems, but that it replaces them. And soon.’
Finally Black Looks Black Looks takes the opportunity to recognise and celebrate Nigerian women in a post ‘Women and the Nation’.
More blog posts on Nigeria at 50 can be found on Nigerians Talk.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS
* Sokari Ekine blogs at Black Looks
* Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at Pambazuka News.
 PDP - People’s Democratic Party - Ruling party.