ONE: The iron jewel of Nigeria is back. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the famous World Bank managing director was sworn in as the finance minister of Nigeria last week. She is also the chief coordinator of economic affairs and leads the 15-member Federal Government Economic Implementation Team. She is responsible for the entire republic and will play a key role in driving both the federal and states economic policies. Her powers are great indeed and as such the Nigerian people have great expectations for her tenure. We wish her well.
TWO: The Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, infamously known as the ‘panty bomber’ or ‘underwear bomber’ is to stand trial for terrorism. A Michigan judge has just decided that the man is sane enough to represent himself. Months ago, Mr. Abdulmutallab rejected the attorneys appointed to him by the court and asked to represent himself. He was urged to accept help from Anthony Chambers, a prominent Detroit lawyer but he insisted that he is “competent to proceed by himself.” His demands were granted and his trial is to start 4th Oct. 2011.
THREE: Finally catching up with the space age, Nigeria launched 2 Earth observation satellites into space last week. The NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X were launched in a small town in Russia and will be observed and monitored in the United Kingdom and also in Abuja, Nigeria. The satellites have many uses. Chief among these is the ability to monitor weather and thus prevent extreme drought and flooding in the Nigerian Sahel. This will help in preventing the displacement of the population living in that region. The satellites can also be used to better plan the many urban spaces in the country. The main agency responsible for this breakthrough is the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA). While we are all excited about this new development, we hope that the Nigerian allergy to the maintenance of public resources will not render useless these incredible tools in a decade.
FOUR: President Goodluck Jonathan has sworn to eradicate power outages in 16 months. He has been promising this very thing since he took office in 2009. While small strides have been made in the struggle to privatize the generation and distribution arms of the power sector, one wonders if it is moving in a fast enough pace to guarantee power outages by his deadline. However, the strategies set out in his Power Sector Road Map seems robust enough to, at the very least, eradicate extensive power outages.
FIVE: The estimated 140 dead Nigerians scatted on the terror trail being drawn by Boko Haram is beginning to catch the attention of the World press. A New York Times report published this week provides an introduction to the Nigerian branch of the terror franchise. The ineptitude of the Nigerian police forces and the brutality of the military seems to exacerbate the problem. An example of the complete ineptitude of the security forces is the tale of a military personnel, Brig Gen Muraina Raji, who was recently arrested after he allegedly allowed 2 suspected Boko Haram detainee to escape military custody. Further, the due date for the report that was meant to show if Al Qaeda is present in Nigeria has been predictably postponed. It was expected last week; however, it is to be released in two weeks. This begs the question, is the Nigerian government aware of the danger Al Qaeda’s presence in the country poses?
SIX: The attempt to review and rewrite the oil revenue allocation formula between the oil industry and the Nigerian government is dying. The infamous Petroleum Industry Bill has been amended so much so that the Nigerian government, whose main source of revenue is through the oil sector, is set to lose about $3 billion annually. The oil industry argues that increasing the Nigerian share of oil money poses a danger to possible investment in the sector and exploring other forms of drilling. We argue that taking money from the pockets of Nigerians and placing it in the hands of foreign oil companies whose history shows a systemic destruction of the ecological integrity and the human rights and dignity of the Nigerian people is dangerous indeed. But we admit that we are not experts, just citizens with good judgment.
SEVEN: It is not clear who will bring home the spoils of the Great War between the “Oracle of Ota” and “The Evil Genius”. What the world sees are two old men behaving like fools in public. However, we must point out that one of them is certainly more entertaining.
EIGHT: Here is an interesting overview of yet another war between 2 Nigerian elder fools. The current battle between retiring Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu and the former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami is slowly eroding the goodwill that the third branch of government recently gained. One wonders when actual non-fools will run public affairs in Nigeria. Until then, be amused.
NINE: The federal ministry of health has concluded its efforts to protect 186 Nigerian girls against cervical cancer. The pilot project began February earlier this year. 3 doses of the vaccine were administered to the study subjects over a 7-month period. Research shows that all cases of cervical cancer can be prevented once pre-adolescent girls have been exposed to this life saving vaccine. One hopes that it will be available for all Nigerian girls in the nearest future so they too may be forever free from cervical cancer.
TEN: CNN has declared the Nigerian accent 5th sexiest in the world. We have always believed this is to be true.