Monday, March 19, 2007

Weekend runs, Nigerians in the UK, Yaradua webforum and writers wanted

Busy weekend. Friday night went out with a bunch of new work colleagues. One of the girls got really drunk and started spilling all sorts of details about her personal life- how she couldn't get a man, giving a colourful catalogue of her recent dating history, her recent forays into the speed dating world etc etc Just remembering it in the cold sunshine of this morning, I cringe for her. I wish there was a subtle way I could let her know that much as letting your hair down with work colleagues from time to time is a good thing, there are certain boundaries that it’s unwise to cross….

Saturday saw me making a foray into middle England, going to dinner with a friend’s family in the leafy Telegraph-reading, Women’s Institute infested commuter belt of Surrey. It was a very pleasant evening despite my initial misgivings, although we did skate on fairly thin ice when the topic turned to immigration. My hostess very deftly turned us on to more pleasant, less contentious topics and we tucked into the delicious quiche lorraine starter followed by honeyed duck with mash and peas and then cheese and a lemon sponge. By the time we sipped our after dinner cognac, I was a lot more tolerant of their views and way of life, and more conscious of how divorced London life is from the stereotypical middle England….

Sunday was the St Patrick’s Day celebration and I ended up dodging the crowds in green reveling in Trafalgar Square as I made my way southwards for lunch with old Nigerian family friends. As we tucked into akara (flatter than the typical Nigerian version and more like mini-pancakes) followed by a sumptuous jollof rice with spiced fish and chicken, I listened to my hosts talk about their arrival in Britain over four decades ago and their experiences. Their evident pride in their children’s achievements- the strings of degrees, the high flying jobs in law and medicine and business, contrasted with their heart rending stories of their early struggles. Surprisingly enough, they were all still seriously interested in contemporary Nigerian politics and we had a good debate about the forthcoming presidential elections. The encounter had me wondering if anyone had actually written a history of Nigerians in the UK. Judging from the colourful stories I heard yesterday- there’d be lots of material…. It reminded me of a book I stumbled across at the library recently called Black Londoners 1880-1990 by Susan Okokon which told a fascinating story of black professionals in London in the 19th and 20th centuries….

I see Yaradua and Goodluck have set up a web discussion forum- the admin left a message on this blog http://yaraduagoodluck.info/ . They warn that they may be unable to reply to posts as they are on the campaign trail. The current debate is about how to end fuel scarcity and power cuts- I think they ought to start by identifying and making public who imports all the fuel that Nigeria uses and also who imports all the generators. The rumours (trust Naija) have long held that there are very powerful people behind both businesses who sabotage any attempt at tackling the problems of fuel scarcity or power supply...

I'd like to ask them on the forum if they would pledge that within six months of taking office, they and their immediate families and cabinet will be barred from educating their children abroad or seeking medical treatment above. I'll post that as soon as I have been registered...

I got an e mail from a new Nigerian lifestyle magazine which is looking for contributors- for all of you in naijablogville with a passion for the written word, this may just be what you're looking for
http://www.bhfmagazine.com/

10 comments:

londonnaijachic said...

The woes and many disadvantages of getting drunk.chai, uncontrolable blabbing. Seems like you had an eventful weekend as usual.

Atala Wala Wala said...

"I'd like to ask them on the forum if they would pledge that within six months of taking office, they and their immediate families and cabinet will be barred from educating their children abroad or seeking medical treatment above."

And what would be the point of this, other than just being political posturing?

Would it help to make things better for the many Nigerians who currently don't have access to healthcare?

oo said...

UKNaija, Good luck in getting an answer from Goodluck & friend. In our Nigeria, it is a thing of pride, not shame, for the selected-president-to-be to fly to Germany to treat "catarrh." I doubt our 'friends' even remotely see the irony in this or in anything else really (sigh).
Website looks like the fantastic work of a good website designer working closely with an equally good spin doctor. I doubt Yar & Good know exactly what or where the WWW is. Call me cynical, disillusioned and depressed about Naija, but I'm unfortuntely, probably right.

o

Chameleon said...

bhf is set for great things. i know a few people working on the project and i hope to submit some articles which will not relate directly to fashion but i hope they'll be interested in.

politics... im a terrible realist. what will be will be.

this book u mention, is it recommended reading?

I just started on 'beasts of no nation' (so if u see a tall girl on northern line reading it, thats me) and so far so good...

My Talking Beginnings said...

Gosh another uber funky weekend under your belt, and all those lunches!!! Perhaps it presents some sort of chimera, this web forum thing...i.e the presidential pple seeing what tey dont want and it misleading the public. Your ideas on banning education abroad and the like are similar to mosts' but will never happed...i admit that i have resigned to that fate. On a lighter note, when i go out on the piss with work collegues, i always record the stuff. The threat of Youtube is great blackmail material!!!

exschoolnerd said...

thnx for stopping by my site.totally appreciate it.wud definately check out that magazine site..

kulutempa said...

now that he has finally arrived, you want to tell goodluck that he shouldn't travel "to oversea"?? do you want to kill the man?

nigerians are brilliant, i have to say, but their tomfoolery is about to catch up with them. i mean, this forum of theirs is clearly just a ploy to convince their constituency that they care about the concerns of the "common man", but what happens when it becomes clear they never once considered the suggestions people put up there? looking at MEND and MASSOB, people are not going to let themselved be shovel-fed bullshit for much longer. yar'adua and co better come up with something smarter.

uknaija said...

@londonnaijachic na wa o
@Atalawalawala- don't underestimate the power of political gesture- it would be a starting point
@OO you're right- I just looked on the site and not a single response to any of the issues raised
@chameleon- yes, if you can find it- it's more pictorial but fascinating still. Hmm, Northern line eh? I'll keep my eyes peeled
@mtb- I just edit out the boring bits
@exschoolnerd. Thanks for dropping by, your blog always has me laughing out loud
@kulutempa- What are you doing here, shouldn't you be writing that thesis? :-@ anonymous whose comments I deleted- if I catch you posting long incoherent nonsense on my blog again eh....

Idemili said...

I've found you! I looked everywhere for you and your blog, but Ihad forgotten your name...But I've found you! Bookmarking you now!

kulutempa said...

i've told those people that they are not getting a complete first draft from me. if they like, they should fail me; i'm not a machine. :)