Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chimamanda on Orange Prize shortlist, Nigerian elections, the tragedy of Virginia Tech & hilarious Mr Fineboy

The Financial Times yesterday carries two Nigeria- related stories, one an interview with Obasanjo in which he claims that ballot box stuffing and stealing of ballot boxes is a new problem in Nigeria. Obviously he hasn’t read Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People written back in the sixties. More annoyingly, the FT reporters fail to challenge him on this and other contentious issues in the interview. That’s in keeping however with many Western governments and media and business people who prefer an uncritical and fairly simplistic approach to their “favoured” African leaders. To read the interview click here

That said the FT has got some interesting stories and pictures on Nigeria and the elections here

The second Nigeria story is on Chimamanda Adichie being short listed for the Orange Prize for the second time

Her book has been doing well in the sales charts in the UK, no doubt riding on the back of her Richard and Judy Book Club appearance. This new short listing should boost them even further. There’s also an Orange Readers Award where voters can vote for their favourite books and win all the shortlisted books. To vote click here At least INEC isn’t overseeing these elections and so the chances of ballot box stuffing and stealing of ballot boxes will hopefully not arise….

Meanwhile back home in Nigeria, the dictum of no honour among thieves continues to hold true. Apparently, Atiku and Buhari cannot agree on whether to boycott the presidential elections or not, partly because they do not trust each other, even if they are united in their distrust of INEC, PDP and Obasanjo…

Thankfully the courts have postponed hearing in a last desperate attempt by the Obasanjo government to stop Atiku following his victory at the Supreme Court. A certain Umar Faruk had gone to court to stop Atiku running on the basis of the report of the kangaroo panel of inquiry set up by Obasanjo. The vindictiveness of Obasanjo often demonstrated still has no bounds. When I heard of the court case I was reminded of the dubious judgment obtained by the shadowy Association for Better Nigeria which helped derail the country in 1993….

I don’t think a boycott of the elections is practical, feasible or desirable. My recommendation is for the opposition to go in on Saturday prepared to carefully document all the irregularities in preparation for a series of court battles which are inevitable anyway with last Saturday’s fiasco…

Nigeria throws up such paradoxes where you find yourself on the same side with people whom you would never have thought you could associate with. Who would have thought that Adams Oshiomhole, the principled trade unionist who fought military governments to a standstill would find himself on the same podium with such military apologists as Tom Ikimi….

An interesting quote from Oshiomhole in the Vanguard Newspaper below :

“ I believe that if we keep quiet Nigeria will not change. The mandate given to me by Edo people has now been awarded to Osunbor by President Obasanjo who sees Edo State as his bride price. This rumour has been going on that the President said that the late first lady would have wished to make Osunbor governor.”

And elsewhere the power of the PDP juggernaut is allegedly unleashed on a hapless electoral official

The sad news about the massacre of students at Virginia Tech has provoked the usual debate about US gun control and the right to bear arms. I'm not American and can't understand it but from my perspective, there are troubled youth everywhere, including in Nigeria, who given half a chance would probably unleash this sort of mayhem. The main difference is that they do not have easy access to arms. It's a tragedy for the murdered, their families and friends and I can't help but think of the family of the perpetrator as well. It's a tragic end to one immigrant family's dreams. I'm sure when they left Korea for a better life in the US, this was not supposed to be how it ended...

To end on a cheerier note, if you haven't discovered the funniest Naija blog yet, go and visit Mr Fineboy's blog


Idemili said...

Congratulations to Chimamanda. I am to tired to say more than that really.

Oh, and great post. The VT thing, I have been debating with my colleagues since it hit the airwaves.

Stella-Belle said...

I actually bought Purple Hibiscus yesterday. I'll read it after exams

Peace at Virginia Tech

oo said...

UK, lots of things to comment on.

FT - Too disgusted at the mo' to read anything related to Baba, but I'm sure I'll get to it eventually. Just need to find a productive outlet for the raw visceral pain/frustration that comes with every news from the Naija political sphere....

VT - crazy + easy gun access == petrol + fire. Its really not *that* complicated but this is America; the band plays on and the mouths gab on while the innocents die. More pain and frustration here. May their souls rest in peace.

On a lighter note,I see our 'iyawo' is doing us proud as always. Ah UK, this wine will cost you o ;D

uknaija said...

@idemmili- thanks for dropping by
@stella-belle- I've left you a few more reading suggestions
@oo- their Baba not my own o! I have to "gyde" my loins for the wine o!