Monday, April 16, 2007

Searching for election news, Atiku wins at the Supreme Court, reading Yellow-Yellow & Ayaan Hirsi

Saturday dawned bright and sunny and started with me going online and desperately searching for news about the elections. I didn’t find very much although www.nigeriavillagesquare.com was a good source as they had “reporters” posting photographs and personal accounts as well as people reporting conversations that they had had with family and friends in Nigeria. The News magazine website www.thenewsng.com also had some useful information and relatively frequent updates. I also tried to make a few telephone calls myself and by 3 pm some of the people I spoke to had not seen any INEC official let alone ballot papers. By 6 pm I thought surely there must be some news item on the elections in the international news so I went through all the channels including Al-Jazeera. Nothing on BBC, CNN or SKY. BEN TV (which is supposed to be the African TV channel here) was showing a Francophone African preacher and was advertising a cookery programme coming up after that. Al Jazeera had a banner running at the bottom of the page saying forty four people had been killed in election related violence in Nigeria but that was it. Switching back to the BBC, I found the distinguished looking newscaster still engrossed in a lengthy discussion with the BBC Royal correspondent over the intricate details of the break-up of Prince William and Kate Middleton. After a desperate half hour of switching channels I resigned myself to getting dressed for dinner. It’s not the first time though- whenever something happens in Nigeria and I surf the airwaves, I’m often disappointed. Surely there must be a market for an international television channel focusing on Africa- I know I’ve heard some discussion around this, hope it happens soon. Meanwhile the existing newspapers, magazines and television stations could use their websites more creatively for breaking news…..

The first election results have trickled in and it appears that INEC and the PDP heeded Obasanjo’s exhortation to “leave some states for the opposition in the spirit of true democracy” But there are cheering signs in the victory of the AC in Lagos State and PPA in Abia State and the delay in releasing the results for Edo, Kano and Ondo states. It appears that in these states the “people” were prepared to defend their votes and so INEC was forced to release or at least delay the release of the results…..

Just as I was typing this, I got a text from Nigeria saying that the Supreme Court had delivered judgment in favour of Atiku, thus allowing him to run in the presidential elections next Saturday. This of course throws up lots of logistic problems and issues but I’m glad that in spite of Obasanjo’s public holiday and other manoeuvres, the Supreme Court has ruled. I’m no fan of Atiku’s but welcome any gesture that tells Obasanjo and his PDP crew that Nigeria is not completely in their pockets…..

Still on the elections www.greenlightnigeria.org aims to provide a forum for election monitors, bloggers and other interested parties to post their reports, opinions and analyses. I think it's a brilliant idea but we'll see how it works in practice...

Today on the way to work I saw someone had put out a withered Christmas tree with their rubbish. I tried to work out why the Christmas tree was only being put out in April and decided that perhaps the householder has been away since Christmas and just got back…

The sun’s been out all weekend and as expected, there is an abundance of flesh on display- shorts, skimpy sleeveless dresses and the ubiquitous flip-flops (otherwise known as bathroom slippers in Naija)- all indicate that summer’s here, even if a trifle early…

Even today, the newspapers are still awash with the Prince William/Kate Middleton break-up- even the “serious” papers…. Looking at all the fuss following a relationship breakdown I wonder what they would have done if they had broken off an engagement….

I finally got round to reading Yellow-Yellow by Kaine Agary and I must say I enjoyed it, I read it in four hours flat .The plot and storyline aren’t the strongest but the depiction of contemporary life in Port Harcourt and the rural areas of the Niger Delta rang true and reminded me of Cyprian Ekwensi’s chronicles of Nigerian city life in the fifties and sixties in Lokotown and Jagua Nana…..it’s also tightly edited and is virtually grammatical and spelling error free which is a great plus…Also stumbled on the publisher's website which looked interesting http://www.dtalkshop.com/

I’ve just started Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s first book, The Caged Virgin. There’s a long waiting list at the library for her new book so I thought I better start with the older one. The arguments are clear and the language is refreshingly simple but the conclusions she jumps to at times are a bit far fetched for someone calling for logical rational debate…

3 comments:

My Talking Beginnings said...

Four hours? I couldn't possibly get through a book in four days even!! I am far too suspicious of Hirsi Ali to read her work. I find i have been sucked into the middle-will (see what i did there, lol)break-up and have only one thing to say...
p.s does anyone take ben tv seriously?

uknaija said...

@If you're suspicious of Ayaan Hirsi Ali that sounds like a good reason to read her work...I haven't really watched much BENTv

Anonymous said...

Good to know that you enjoyed Yellow Yellow. I must admit, it is the worse book i have read in recent times by the new crops of young Nigerians. The opening chapter was stunning, but after that I couldn't see the point of the book anymore. I was not moved by the characters. they were flat and uninspiring. Yes, I also noticed that it was free of grammatical error, but as a story it just didn't work.