florinsandu

African Politics and Realities

Posts Tagged ‘Lagos

Pentru ca nu pot vota…scriu!

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Pentru ca nu exista niciun autobuz electoral care sa ma duca din Lagos pana in capitala Nigeriei, Abuja…nu pot vota! Singurul lucru care ma bucura este ca prin imposibilitatea mea de a vota reusesc, absolut lipsit de efort, sa fac parte dintre cei care „saboteaza” un proces electoral absolut democratic insa transformat intr-o hidosenie de catre actiunile celor implicati si contextul in care totul se desfasoara.

 

Nu sunt detinator de pasiuni politice, ratiunea ma impiedica! Ca un observator impartial, mi-am impartit timpul pe care l-am putut acorda evenimentelor din Romania intre diferitele posturi de televiziune mai mult sau mai putin patimase, si articole de tot soiul. Bombardarea telespectatorului, a cititorului, in fine a electoratului, cu mesaje golite de substanta si viziune politica, pline insa pana la refuz de ura si injurii ma inspaimanta dintr-un singur motiv, acela ca nu reusesc sa imi aduc aminte cum erau lucrurile inainte de toata abrambureala aceasta cu tentativa de suicid a unui fost premier, lipsa de responsabilitate a „premierului plagiator” si transformarea Romaniei in marul stricat al Europei. Pentru ca nu imi amintesc relativa normalitate dinaintea celor ce se intampla, nu imi pot inchipui cum vom reusi sa aducem in prezent ceva ce am uitat…

 

Constitutia Romaniei ne spune, cu urma de credibilitatea pe care inca o mai poseda, in Articolul 36 ca „cetatenii au drept de vot de la varsta de 18 ani, impliniti pana in ziua alegerilor inclusiv”. Suntem in pragul unui referendum, insa este evident ca Romania, dupa peste 20 de ani de democratie, inca nu este suficient de matura incat sa iasa cu demnitatea nestirbita, indiferent de rezultat.

 

„Vreau o tara ca afara!”, „Jos Basescu!”, Jos Antonescu si Ponta!”. Mesaje absolut goale, fara insemnatate, care sper sa nu functioneze! Indiferent de rezultatul de pe 29 iulie, tot ce imi doresc, ca simplu cetatean al Romaniei este o tara in care guvernarea sa insemne chiar asta, ca tara sa fie mai importanta decat cei ce o guverneaza, indiferent de nume. Am un singur vot, insa pentru ca nu pot vota..scriu!

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Written by fashionroseblog

July 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

DW Series..A breath of Lagos fresh air!

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Almost a month ago I had the opportunity to attend one of the conferences part of the DW series, held monthly at the University of Lagos. Many at times, it might prove quite difficult to keep yourself “entertained” or simply finding something productive to do during the weekend, well the Design Workshop series offers just that by giving students or anyone else interested in participating the opportunity of listening to words of wisdom from people that have something to show and talk about.Either architects, economists, artists or designers they try to inspire and offer proof of individual success in an inspiring fashion while breaking the crippling barriers of conservative thinking.

My goal here is not to describe the DW series, but rather to to make sure that you, the reader, is aware of the existence of it and maybe give it a try at some point, it’s worth it! If you are interested in finding more you can visit them on facebook or blogspot at the following destinations:

http://www.facebook.com/DWSeries

http://www.dwseries.blogspot.com/

Written by fashionroseblog

May 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

In Lagos, every face tells a story…

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In Lagos, every face tells a story…a story hard to see many at times in the darkness, the thickness of the crowds or the “masks of self-protection”, but they do!

The city attracts and holds thousands of new hopefuls every day, new ideals, new lives, new stories. They come from all over the country and outside the immediate borders in search for new beginnings, better ones. Cliches upon cliches, after all it’s the story of every metropolis in the world that feeds on the successes and disappointments of every passing soul, so why is Lagos any different? Young graduates unaware of how reality is. Middle class individuals with aspirations for a big house with a swimming pool and the latest Jeep from Toyota. The rich..no other words needed!

The struggle for survival, in one way or another is palpable, so much so that it chokes many or becomes the companion of others. Okada drivers, Suya sellers, people living off what they make in selling during Sunday market, small shops and hair salons at every step, open gutters /on the other side, rich areas well secured from any possible intruder. All of this is just a mere background for the real battle that takes place in Lagos, and in that battle everybody knows there is only one valid truth…everyone is on their own!

Every face in Lagos tells a story, but nobody has time to read it…

 

By Florin Sandu

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Written by fashionroseblog

April 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

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Occupy Nigeria – Week 2!

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Surprising enough for many, the strike over the removal of fuel subsidy is entering its second week today despite the announcement made early this morning by president Goodluck Jonathan through national newspapers that the official price of fuel is now 97 naira, down from 141 naira.

It seems that labor unions and civil society activists are holding their ground for now and respecting one of the main mottos of the Occupy Nigeria movement: “down to 65 or no deal!”. At the same time, the various scattered episodes of street violence across the country has made the unions call off street protests while still continuing with the strike.

The FG , in an attempt to prevent more street protests in Lagos today, has sent military troops and created various checkpoints across the important meeting points of protesters throughout the past week, such as the Ojota area and Ikorodu road. However, protesters are now meeting at the famous Afrika Shrine in Ikeja to continue with their protest in a peaceful manner.

The president is expected to adress the nation today, and rumours of the strike coming to an end soon are in the air.

by Florin Sandu

Written by fashionroseblog

January 16, 2012 at 11:07 am

Occupy Nigeria-Day 3…What’s next?

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January 11th and the general strikes continues in Nigeria, reaching its third day. Despite the larger turnout at the protest in Ojota, Lagos and other cities in Nigeria, the Federal Government doesn’t seem to be backing down from their decision of removing fuel subsidy. At the same time, the legislative seems to be turning their back to President Goodluck Jonathan by supporting the reinstatement of the fuel subsidy and urging the presidency to take the necessary steps.

Analysis of the current state of affairs in Nigeria are capturing front pages of newspapers and headlines in news across the world, some more competent than others. Being in the midst of it all, it seems to me that a breakdown of the important elements at play is necessary:

1. Governmental corruption extended over a few generations and administrations/political systems

– the average citizen cannot trust the “plan” to save Nigeria from economical collapse predicted by the administration

-general mistrust in what will happen to the extra money that will be added to the national budget as a result of removing oil subsidies

 

2. Failure of government of covering basic needs of the population…steady electricity, good medical service, infrastructure, just to name a few

-people are regarding the subsidy as the only benefit they are receiving from the state, the only direct benefit nigerians have for living in a country that represents Africa‘s largest exporter of crude oil

 

3. High level of poverty with around 90% of the population living on $ 2/day

– the removal of the subsidy has made the price of oil to more than double (from 65 naira to 140), causing also a major increase in food and commodities prices

 

4. The abrupt way in which the president had announced and implemented the removal of the oil subsidy

– an overwhelming majority is of the opinion that a plan of gradually removing the subsidy wouldn’t have sparked the amount of anger we currently see

– the gradual removal of the subsidy should be accompanied by the investment in the nation’s refineries, which at present is importing most of it’s refined oil

 

To my opinion, these are major elements that have led to the current status quo in Nigeria. So…WHAT’S NEXT? Will the president crumble under the pressure coming from the population, civil society and even the legislative bodies and reinstate the oil subsidy? if so, what is the path he will follow? if not, can Nigeria be at the brink of a civil war, as Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate claimed?

These questions  are very hard to answer. A reinstatement of the oil subsidy and the construction of a solid plan of gradually removing it in the future, showing the ways in which the funds will be used seems to be the logical way to go. The decision, in my view, will not show the weakness of the presidency and the government of standing behind its own decisions, but will instead show an understanding of the complexity and gravity of the situation, as well as a great deal of solidarity.

Also, it’s hard for me to believe that the president will be blind to what the strike is bringing upon Nigeria: aprox. 160 Billion naira/day losses due to lack of economical activity; Lagos port shutdown; airports are at a stand still; sporadic violence and the emergence of groups of hoodlums taking advantage of the chaotic situation; the possibility of oil exports to be stopped….just to name a few..

 

Tomorrow is the fourth day of the Occupy Nigeria general strike…let’s see what’s next!

 

Florin Sandu

Written by fashionroseblog

January 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Nigeria- linistea dinaintea furtunii

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Incepand de maine, 9 ianuarie, Congresul Muncii Nigerian a anuntat declansarea grevei generale pe termen nelimitat ca urmare a deciziei Guvernului de eliminare a subventiei pentru combustibili. Consecintele sunt greu de imaginat. Inca de saptamana trecuta, decizia luata a dus la dublarea pretului combustibililor provocand panica si proteste in toate orasele importante, cel mai violent dintre acestea avand loc in Illorin, capitala statului Kwara.

 

In aceasta dimineata, toate canalele de stiri si publicatiile nationale au prezentat si comentat pe indelete discursul  presedintelui Goodluck Jonathan , care intr-o incercare de ultim moment de a preveni greva generala a facut apel la populatie sa sprijine decizia de eliminare a subventiei pentru combustibili, accentuand importanta economica viitoare a luarii acelei decizii si anuntand masuri viitoare de austeritate si reducere a cheltuielilor guvernului. Cu toate acestea, lipsa de incredere a cetatenilor de rand  in conducere si in masurile adoptate pare de neclatinat, intr-un stat in care majoritatea populatiei se vede nevoita sa traiasca cu aproximativ 2 USD/zi, dublarea costului de trai a produs cutremure inevitabile.

 

Desi exporturile de petrol nerafinat aparent nu vor suferi ca urmare a grevei generale, administratia are lucruri la fel de importante de abordat. Stabilitatea nationala, care a primit lovituri importante in ultimele saptamani ca urmare a numeroase atacuri sangeroase in nord-vestul tarii,  purtand semnatura gruparii teroriste Boko Haram  (Sistemul de Educatie Vestic Strict Interzis) este din ce in ce mai fragila.

 

Coruptia la inalt nivel cu o traditie indelungata contribuie de asemenea la starea de nervozitate generala si lipsa de incredere in masurile adoptate mentionate anterior. Ce ramane de vazut in momentul acesta este maniera in care presedintele si guvernul vor reusi minimalizarea consecintelor evenimentelor din zilele urmatoare, precum si modul in care vor continua sa sustina masurile deja adoptate.

Written by fashionroseblog

January 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Occupy Nigeria-Day 1

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January 9th and the biggest protest Nigeria has seen in response to a government‘s decision is on its way. The turnout to the Lagos protest was impressive, apparently a lot more numerous than even the organizers were expecting. Leaders of the labor unions and other workers associations were all present, taking turns in addressing the  crowd, all of them starting with..”Great Nigerian People!!!”.

While everyone was appealing to peaceful protests, the speeches were a tad confusing. Comparisons were made with the recent events that took place in the Arab world, with leaders that have been driven away, or killed, like the case of Gaddafi, associating words like “peaceful protest” and “Revolution”, many at times baring the same meaning ….what was more confusing was the artists’ performances… which usually represents scenes from an electoral campaign rather than a protest.

Just by following the events on tv, it seems to me that the removal of the fuel subsidies is a big part of what is taking place now, but surely not the only one. Corruption, bad government, lack of steady electricity, and so on, issues that have been affecting the country for some time are bringing out frustration and anger buried deep down, which makes the outcome more unpredictable than many were expecting.

Other cities have joined the protest as well, crippling activities nationwide. Majority of national flights as well as a few international ones have been cancelled, prices to any product have doubled, where and if you are actually able to find anything open…

All in all, day 1 of “Occupy Nigeria” is considered to have been a success, even if the government is not showing any signs of backing up from supporting the removal of fuel subsidies.

Today, January 10th -Day 2 …

 

 

Written by fashionroseblog

January 10, 2012 at 11:37 am