Friday, November 10, 2006

Sleepy, soul sista, reading Hisham Matar, family politics etc

I wake up this morning, slightly deadened and lethargic- it is the end of what has been a long and busy week. The radio cuts into my sleep-tinged reverie, the head of MI5, the improbably named Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller has announced that the agency is tracking no fewer than 30 terror plots involving nearly 2000 individuals in the UK. She warns that the threat of international terrorism will be "with us" for at least a generation. Various talking heads appear- some to defiantly suggest that Britain has been through this before with the IRA in the 70s, others to urge caution. It is unclear why she has made this statement public at this time....to influence the impending budget allocations? To genuinely alert the public? Who knows....

Yesterday I visited Soul Sista's Diary on Nigeria Village Square http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php/content/view/4104/55 . In her latest column, she speaks about ringing a legislator from Anambra State to upbraid her on her role in the impeachment of the governor and how they subsequently have an interesting conversation which again reveal that like many things Nigerian the Anambra crisis has several layers and depends on who you believe. Again truth lies invisible beneath the murky layers of claim and counterclaim.....

I have just finished Sweet'n'Low: A Family Story in which Rich Cohen, a writer and disinherited grandson of the sugar substitute empire's founder deals spectacular revenge in a very readable and intriguing book. He weaves an intriguing picture of family politics in a Jewish immigrant family interspersing it with photographs and a history of sugar and all things sweet...

On the train to work I begin to read Hisham Matar's In the Country of Men, the book set in Libya which was shortlisted for the Booker- the language and imagery are dreamlike serving only to accentuate my lethargy and somnolent state.....

Donald Duke, the debonair governor of Cross River State has thrown his hat into the ring for the race to become Nigeria's next president. He's young, educated and forward looking and has set up a blog to boost his campaign. I like his youth, his laidback nature (witness his sax playing at public events accompanied by vocals from his elegant wife Onari) and his achievements in making Calabar, the state capital clean and vibrant. And his efforts to promote Calabar and Obudu as tourism destinations coupled with his investments in agriculture and education and the ambitious Tinapa free trade zone are all marks in his favour. And yet there are worrying issues as well- he's very close to Obasanjo for one and has had bitter falling-outs with rivals and supporters alike in his eight years as governor. But then that is in the nature of politics and perhaps Nigeria needs an adept political player to make the compromises that leading such a complex nation demands. I'll be watching to see when he begins to put forward a manifesto.....compared to many of the other contenders though, he's looking quite attractive..

Last night I had a late meeting and then drinks and dinner with colleagues, one of whom is going through a divorce at the moment. He's had an affair and his wife has kicked him out. He admits that the affair was only the symptom of a deeper malaise- his chafing at a number of things which he now wishes he had been brave enough to confront rather than taking what he calls the coward's way out....

Bush now looks like he's going to be forced to change his UN ambassador as well. He thought he was being smart appointing him while Congress was on recess and so bypassing the need for their approval. Now with the shift in the balance of power and time running out, he'll need to come up with someone more acceptable to both parties..... Ah the joys of democracy!

5 comments:

rr said...

I'd be really interested in a link to David Duke's blog, if you have one.

ayoke said...

Duke for President? Well, may not be such a bad idea but that is a worry for the future. What we are bothered about now is how to register to vote (presumably on the assumption that our votes will matter in the "elections"; my theory is that we had national elections in Nigeria in 1993, we had elections in some places in 1999, and we had NO elections in 2003.)

Anyway, I was informed that we have only 30 registration machines in the whole of Lagos State. Each machine can only register 30 people in a day. Can you do the maths and guess our most pressing worry for the 2007 elections?

uknaija said...

Donald Duke's blog is here..

http://donaldduke.blogspot.com/2006/11/corruption.html

Ayoke my sister...na wa O!Thanks for pointing out that before one can vote, one must get registered first...

rr said...

Thanks so much for that, much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

being a libyan and after all the noise about the book, i bought and read hisham matar's book..
it was disappointing, full of unrealistic stuff and false facts about libyan life and society
and many chronological contradictions
overall it is not that bad, but not up to the hyper reviews and all the good press
i think he is affected by max gorky's my childhood
i think the money i paid for it was a waste
Ibrahin Al-Koni is much much better
he will be awarded Noble soon - i am certain